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Old 05-12-2021, 09:13 PM   #1
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Factory Solar

I was told my RV came with solar, not sure if it is factory but it is supposed to be 100w. Does anyone know if it comes with a controller from the factory because I can't seem to find one. I have the full size Amana residential fridge so I am thinking it may be something that came with the coach
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Old 05-12-2021, 11:40 PM   #2
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All solar panels I know of that came with the RV will have a controller. Standard. If your refer was installed by a PO the heavy wiring used by a 100 watt panel would likely go down the vent that's on the roof over the what was the original absorption refer. Then routed to the battery compartment. So the controller for that could be anywhere along that route. The controller doesn't need any external power source but it usually has a LED that glows when it's getting sun and that would be where the user could see it...with the controller nearby.

Note that most RVs of that era came with a 10 watt panel, not 100 watt so the PO may have installed the 100 watt so the controller could be in an odd place, or in a basement compartment near the battery compartment...which is where most solar installation companies put them.
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Old 05-13-2021, 07:03 AM   #3
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My very early 2003, 40ft MDTS came with 100watts OEM solar [2-50 watt panels] and a residential fridge. Small controller was in the 12v house fuse block area, under the sink in the bathroom. Some Alpines of that era came with just the 10 amp panel--neither the 10 nor 100 watt configure was very effective.
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Old 05-13-2021, 09:54 AM   #4
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Our '07 has both 10W and 100W panels, as listed on the MSRP sticker. While the 10W was fried (inop) and now removed, the 100W panel works well to keep the batteries charged in outdoor storage via a new marine control unit that allows choosing chassis or coach battery charging.
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Old 05-13-2021, 11:51 AM   #5
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If I could make a recommendation.....any factory solar at this point will be completely outdated and also deteriorated to the point of "Why Bother"!

The 100W panel you mention will really not do much other than top off the chassis batteries but will be completely ineffective on the house batteries.

I would say that you should look at a minimum of 200W and really that number should be more like 600W to have any noticeable effect on keeping your house batteries charged.

I think at a minimum you should look at a 50/20 or 30 MPPT controller as the costs have come down dramatically and some even have the ability to track via Bluetooth.

At a minimum you should install a real battery monitor, Victron makes a very good one that you can see on your phone for ~$120....this will give you so much more info than the idiot lights if you don't already have one.

Good luck on your solar journey!
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Old 05-13-2021, 01:06 PM   #6
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The solar panel is mounted above the washer dryer cabinet and appears to be run down the wall in a conduit but looks like it goes straight to the batteries and just wired to one. I am in caution of this because if it is in fact that, then the batteries would always be charging and thats not good
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Old 05-13-2021, 03:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul65k View Post
If I could make a recommendation.....any factory solar at this point will be completely outdated and also deteriorated to the point of "Why Bother"!

The 100W panel will really not do much other than top off the chassis batteries but will be completely ineffective on the house batteries.
Not my experience. Both sets of batteries charge fine, as is. We don't do much dry camping, hence cannot justify the mega-bucks you spent on a state-of-the-art (today) solar setup. The charge controller sees to that, as we chose to program same, with the meter typically showing 100% charge on both.

The RV-electric expert who rewired the system, made new intra-battery cables and programmed the solid state controller replied that he'd not recommend < 300W of solar. I chose to wait and evaluate how well it worked and am pleased, until and unless our needs change.

My biggest issue is the leaky battery auto-watering tank.
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Old 05-13-2021, 03:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whalepirot View Post
Not my experience. Both sets of batteries charge fine, as is. We don't do much dry camping, hence cannot justify the mega-bucks you spent on a state-of-the-art (today) solar setup. The charge controller sees to that, as we chose to program same, with the meter typically showing 100% charge on both.

The RV-electric expert who rewired the system, made new intra-battery cables and programmed the solid state controller replied that he'd not recommend < 300W of solar. I chose to wait and evaluate how well it worked and am pleased, until and unless our needs change.

My biggest issue is the leaky battery auto-watering tank.
i'm sure you know about that set-up better than I would

In the case of the OP who states that the wiring is direct to the Batteries/bus, I would recommend that you find a charge controller to manage the charging.....you can find them for as little as $15 on Amazon or ~$75 for a name brand controller for that size controller.
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Old 05-18-2021, 09:26 PM   #9
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I also had both 10w and 100w factory panels. The 10w ran straight to the chassis batteries with NO controller. The 100w ran through a small PWM controller with a red LED, lit when solar panel is outputting. In my case, the controller board was in in the cabinet with the circuit breaker & fuse panels.

Wiring is two pair of 10g wire running from roof down through refer cavity, and then to the breaker panel area. I replaced the factory PV with four 175w panels, wired series-parallel, and continue to utilize the factory 10ga wires. Old controller replaced with new Victron 100/50 MPPT controller. Wow. I saw 42 amps charging on my first outing here in Oregon.

Paul is correct. The factory panels are doing very little. A fraction of an amp to the Chassis batteries, plus maybe 3 or 4 amps to the house.

Side note: the 10 watt panel is screwed and glued to the roof. I discovered all the screws rusty, and allowing a slow leak inside (which I never discovered previously). So glad to have that thing off my roof.
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Old 05-18-2021, 09:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinequip View Post
I also had both 10w and 100w factory panels. The 10w ran straight to the chassis batteries with NO controller. The 100w ran through a small PWM controller with a red LED, lit when solar panel is outputting. In my case, the controller board was in in the cabinet with the circuit breaker & fuse panels.

Wiring is two pair of 10g wire running from roof down through refer cavity, and then to the breaker panel area. I replaced the factory PV with four 175w panels, wired series-parallel, and continue to utilize the factory 10ga wires. Old controller replaced with new Victron 100/50 MPPT controller. Wow. I saw 42 amps charging on my first outing here in Oregon.

Paul is correct. The factory panels are doing very little. A fraction of an amp to the Chassis batteries, plus maybe 3 or 4 amps to the house.

Side note: the 10 watt panel is screwed and glued to the roof. I discovered all the screws rusty, and allowing a slow leak inside (which I never discovered previously). So glad to have that thing off my roof.
That makes sense I appreciate that. I plan on replacing it as I do store outdoors without a extension cord and want to maintain the batteries. I think I will just do AGM not Lion but I do dry camp a lot. My Yacht has 3 8D AGM batteries and I can maintain them pretty easy in Catalina while running a fridge or 2 and freezer all day on the inverter
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Old 05-19-2021, 08:42 AM   #11
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My 2001 has a small solar panel (10w). It was original with the coach. It is connected to a multi-battery isolator in the battery compartment. The 2001 manual says that a 50w solar panel was optional and that version came with a charge regulator in the 120v main panel compartment.

Research that I have done leads me to believe a nearly 20 years old solar panel would not be working well if at all.



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Old 05-19-2021, 08:49 AM   #12
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A high quality solar panel should work quite well after 20 years. The 10W panel that was slapped on our roofs probably didn’t survive more that a year or two in the sun.
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Old 05-19-2021, 10:09 AM   #13
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controller

Our 2000 38' came with two 50w panels. The 8amp controller is mounted above the the breaker switches in the bath area.
Best ever was 5amps direct from the Siemens panels.
Still using them for the starter batteries but with new wires.
Installed two 200w panels with a 25amp controller for the house batteries.
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Old 05-19-2021, 01:40 PM   #14
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So thanks to your help here I did find this controller in the fuse panel, just not sure if its original or put on later
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