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Old 05-28-2020, 10:23 AM   #1
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Adding solar controller

Has anyone here added solar to their coach and tied the added system into the Aladdin monitor?

I am going to add a 400w/40a Renogy MPPT kit. I already have the factory 150 watt panel with the Heliotrope controller under the bed that is tied to the Aladdin. I will have the Bluetooth add on but I would like for the Aladdin to display accurate solar info also if it is possible. I am open to combining the existing panel into a larger single controller if that would allow me to use the Aladdin monitor.
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Old 06-01-2020, 09:53 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spdracr39 View Post
Has anyone here added solar to their coach and tied the added system into the Aladdin monitor?

I am going to add a 400w/40a Renogy MPPT kit. I already have the factory 150 watt panel with the Heliotrope controller under the bed that is tied to the Aladdin. I will have the Bluetooth add on but I would like for the Aladdin to display accurate solar info also if it is possible. I am open to combining the existing panel into a larger single controller if that would allow me to use the Aladdin monitor.
I don't have an aladdin system, but since nobody else is jumping in...
The aladdin system is more about information while you're driving rather than parked right? What all information does the aladdin system know about the solar?
I had a heliotrope RV30D original solar controller. If it's like mine, I don't think it had any specific features that would send data to a 3rd party monitoring system. So I suspect that any information your aladdin system is getting is only based voltage; and maybe an amperage shunt external to the heliotrope. So I doubt it can give you an accurate state of charge.
Unless there's something really important about the aladdin system solar information, I would put a super-low priority on the aladdin connection and install a battery monitor system (BMS) that will give you reliable state-of-charge information.
So, my opinion?
1- select the best location for the new controller (my original controller was in a horrible location, electrically speaking),
2- plan the wiring path down from the panels to the controller (my original wiring involved >60' of #8ga wire from the panel, up to the controller and then back to the batteries!),
3- install a BMS with current shunt,
4- get everything hooked up and working
5- then see if its practical to also connect the aladdin.
Cheers,
Walter
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Old 06-01-2020, 10:00 AM   #3
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Thanks. The Aladdin basically shows solar voltage and amp output. It also shows house battery voltage and amp draw. The controller has a phone line type connector on the side that I assumed goes to the Aladdin. I'll check it out a little further but I agree the Aladdin won't be the driving factor just a convenience if it's possible because I can check tank and electrical status on the overhead console tv without getting up off the couch lol.
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Old 06-01-2020, 10:22 AM   #4
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Yeah, get a proper BMS and worry about the aladdin connection later.
The BMS will show amps, but more importantly it will track actual amp-hours out of or into the battery bank to show you its state of charge.
Cheers,
Walter
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Old 06-02-2020, 11:09 AM   #5
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The original solar panel from Monaco in 2004 is a single 100W panel unless you have an all electric coach and then it comes with two 100w panels. The charge controller on our coach is a Helitrope RV45D made by AM Solar. The owners manual says it can handle up to five 100w panels. This is an older PWM charge controller, but it is wired to charge both battery banks.

I removed the original 100w panel and installed three 200W +25% bistatic panels. I replaced the original combiner box on the roof but left the rest of the system intact for now. The Aladdin system works fine with this combination.

In the future I would like to add a new MPPT controller and a few more panels. The problem I'm having is justifying the expense. Solar is subject to so many overriding issues. Most of the time the charge output is less than 50% of the rated capacity. The current Heliotrope charge controller charges both battery sets and an affordable new controller is only going to charge 1 set. Also, like you are I'm concerned about monitoring it with the Aladdin system.
I have installed a BMS with my new inverter, but I actually like the Alladin system.
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Old 06-02-2020, 11:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vito.a View Post
The original solar panel from Monaco in 2004 is a single 100W panel unless you have an all electric coach and then it comes with two 100w panels. The charge controller on our coach is a Helitrope RV45D made by AM Solar. The owners manual says it can handle up to five 100w panels. This is an older PWM charge controller, but it is wired to charge both battery banks.

I removed the original 100w panel and installed three 200W +25% bistatic panels. I replaced the original combiner box on the roof but left the rest of the system intact for now. The Aladdin system works fine with this combination.

In the future I would like to add a new MPPT controller and a few more panels. The problem I'm having is justifying the expense. Solar is subject to so many overriding issues. Most of the time the charge output is less than 50% of the rated capacity. The current Heliotrope charge controller charges both battery sets and an affordable new controller is only going to charge 1 set. Also, like you are I'm concerned about monitoring it with the Aladdin system.
I have installed a BMS with my new inverter, but I actually like the Alladin system.
I will have to look at that controller closer. Thanks !!
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Old 06-02-2020, 03:33 PM   #7
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I have the Heliotrope RV30. I mounted 760 watts of 24 volt panels in series to a Morningstar Tristar MPPT 60 controller. I used the Heliotrope loop on the 8 gauge wire to the controller. I primarily use the Morningstar remote but the Aladdin reads out the panel voltage and amperage. Right now it is in Float Charge and Aladdin is reading 51.1 volts and 1.4 amps
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Old 06-03-2020, 09:17 AM   #8
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Quote:
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The original solar panel from Monaco in 2004 is a single 100W panel unless you have an all electric coach and then it comes with two 100w panels. The charge controller on our coach is a Helitrope RV45D made by AM Solar. The owners manual says it can handle up to five 100w panels...
Yeah, that's a good point. If only installing 400w, why not save some money/work and just use the old controller.
Cheers,
Walter
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Old 06-03-2020, 10:26 AM   #9
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Yeah, that's a good point. If only installing 400w, why not save some money/work and just use the old controller.
Cheers,
Walter
It will be extra nice if I find out they used the proper sized cables from the controller to the batteries to handle the full output but that would be too easy.
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Old 06-03-2020, 02:59 PM   #10
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It will be extra nice if I find out they used the proper sized cables from the controller to the batteries to handle the full output but that would be too easy.
Should be easy enough to check.
Mine were 8ga, which is plenty in terms of ampacity rating of the wire (rated for 80Amps?).
But mine were not so good in terms of voltage drop... The controller was in a panel above the entry door. So the solar wiring went from the panel in the middle of the roof, came through the fridge vent and then went all the way forward to the controller. Then from the controller all the way back to the batteries at the back of the coach.
400w of solar should have a max real-world charge current of about 26Amps. At 3% voltage drop, 8ga is good for about 15' of circuit at 25A (60'@10% voltage drop). Make sure to replace the fuses at the batteries. I believe mine had 10A fuses at the battery end of the solar wiring.
Cheers,
Walter
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Old 06-05-2020, 06:40 PM   #11
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I like others on here used the stock 8 awg wire from the factory controller. (mine is in the bed room) The wire comes from the roof thru the fridge vent to the controller...about 15 ft., then almost straight down to the batteries. I put four 175 watt panels using a Victron mppt 100/50. Next week I'm adding a Victron VMS 712 so I can actually now what my state of charge is on my batteries. As was said, the stock 8 awg wire will easily handle the solar current.
Hope this helps.

Tim
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