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Old 03-30-2020, 04:16 PM   #1
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5 watt solar panel on 2015 Cornerstone

Anyone know where the wiring routes for that baby solar panel on my roof?

It's the 5 watt panel used to trickle the chassis batteries.

Thanks!
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Old 03-31-2020, 02:42 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by bigroadadv View Post
Anyone know where the wiring routes for that baby solar panel on my roof?

It's the 5 watt panel used to trickle the chassis batteries.

Thanks!
Well as you stated it ends up at the chassis batteries and I do not believe there is a controller, just a fuse and a direct connection. Is that what you meant or are you looking for the actual path the wire follows to get from the roof to the batteries?
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Old 03-31-2020, 05:17 AM   #3
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Yes, the small solar panel is to trickle charge the chassis batteries. Nice little feature to keep them ready to go.
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Old 03-31-2020, 02:58 PM   #4
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I see a small wire directly connected to the battery, but not sure if that is it. I'm going to have to do some more digging to find it. I'm thinking it is somewhere in the engine battery compartment.

The reason I'm looking for how it connects is I'm probably going to upgrade it to 30 watts (and add a small controller) and take out my BIM (part of a larger solar install).
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Old 03-31-2020, 03:07 PM   #5
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The reason I'm looking for how it connects is I'm probably going to upgrade it to 30 watts (and add a small controller) and take out my BIM (part of a larger solar install).

Won't your larger array charge the batteries, eliminating the need for the 30 watt panel?
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Old 03-31-2020, 03:28 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by bigroadadv View Post
I see a small wire directly connected to the battery, but not sure if that is it. I'm going to have to do some more digging to find it. I'm thinking it is somewhere in the engine battery compartment.

The reason I'm looking for how it connects is I'm probably going to upgrade it to 30 watts (and add a small controller) and take out my BIM (part of a larger solar install).
Don't know what year coach you have, but the Classics have solar wires already installed if it did not come with the factory 200w panels.
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Old 03-31-2020, 03:40 PM   #7
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I wouldn't bother doing anything with that existing system. First, it's practically worthless. It's so low powered it doesn't have a solar controller... there nothing to control maybe a couple of tenths of an amp.

The wiring is too small to upgrade it and besides 30w is so little you're throwing good money after bad.

Perhaps it will make you feel better to have "more solar" but it won't do much for your chassis battery or anything else. A 30 watt solar panel has an output of 1.6 amps of DC power during peak solar hours and much less over the period of a day. The smallest AC trickle charger will easily do much more. Also, at 30w you'd need a solar controller and that just costs more money.

Do you have a problem keeping the chassis battery charged in storage? Most folks do not.
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Old 03-31-2020, 04:41 PM   #8
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We are about to go full-time (at least that was the plan prior to Covid-19) in the next couple of months. I'm in the middle of a 2680 watt solar installation that is a 24-volt system.

I want the chassis batteries to be completely isolated from this system. The only issue I see is if we sit somewhere a long while and the chassis batteries are not being topped off (which the BIM would normally take care of).

I have already ripped off the 200 watt panels, but the 5 watt is still installed (but under one of the new panels). Since I have to move it anyway, and have a spare 30, I thought a minor upgrade might ensure my chassis batteries were always topped off no matter how long I'm parked. The other option would be a trickle charger if we stayed somewhere more than a few weeks.

Here's my roof. Thanks to Don for the inspiration!

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Old 04-05-2020, 11:30 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by bigroadadv View Post
We are about to go full-time (at least that was the plan prior to Covid-19) in the next couple of months. I'm in the middle of a 2680 watt solar installation that is a 24-volt system.

I want the chassis batteries to be completely isolated from this system. The only issue I see is if we sit somewhere a long while and the chassis batteries are not being topped off (which the BIM would normally take care of).

I have already ripped off the 200 watt panels, but the 5 watt is still installed (but under one of the new panels). Since I have to move it anyway, and have a spare 30, I thought a minor upgrade might ensure my chassis batteries were always topped off no matter how long I'm parked. The other option would be a trickle charger if we stayed somewhere more than a few weeks.

Here's my roof. Thanks to Don for the inspiration!

If you get rid of the BIM then you will loose the battery boost function if one set or the other goes dead. Also with eliminating the BIM you will loose alternator charging function of the house batteries and the charging of the chassis batteries either from shore power or solar.

That 30W solar panel may not fully charge the chassis batteries on a consistent basis.

Even with your 24v system I would get rid of the 5W solar panel and not replace it with a 30W panel and keep the BIM.
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Old 04-07-2020, 09:55 AM   #10
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If you get rid of the BIM then you will loose the battery boost function if one set or the other goes dead. Also with eliminating the BIM you will loose alternator charging function of the house batteries and the charging of the chassis batteries either from shore power or solar.

That 30W solar panel may not fully charge the chassis batteries on a consistent basis.

Even with your 24v system I would get rid of the 5W solar panel and not replace it with a 30W panel and keep the BIM.
Hey Don, thanks for the reply.

I don't think alternator charging will work (I have a 70 Amp Orion 24-12 volt converter, so the 12 volt alternator feed would just act as another voltage source to the 12 volt system).

I think you're right about the battery boost from the house 24v battery bank to the chassis batteries - the Orion will always be putting out around 13.2 volts, so effectively the BIM would only activate if the chassis batteries had been depleted.

If the house 24v bank depletes, the Orion converter would shut down (the alternator has no path for charging my bank).

I think I will leave it in place - my only fear of doing that was toasting my alternator (which I'm sure is crazy expensive on this beast). But I'm thinking that probably won't happen in my use case. I will run some tests with a clamp meter to verify.

thanks everyone!

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Old 04-07-2020, 09:57 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigroadadv View Post
We are about to go full-time (at least that was the plan prior to Covid-19) in the next couple of months. I'm in the middle of a 2680 watt solar installation that is a 24-volt system.

I want the chassis batteries to be completely isolated from this system. The only issue I see is if we sit somewhere a long while and the chassis batteries are not being topped off (which the BIM would normally take care of).

I have already ripped off the 200 watt panels, but the 5 watt is still installed (but under one of the new panels). Since I have to move it anyway, and have a spare 30, I thought a minor upgrade might ensure my chassis batteries were always topped off no matter how long I'm parked. The other option would be a trickle charger if we stayed somewhere more than a few weeks.

Here's my roof. Thanks to Don for the inspiration!


That make my original answer really dumb now that "I know the rest of the story."
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