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Old 06-19-2021, 02:17 PM   #1
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Solar question

While researching solar power a question came to mind. With the ORV prewired for solar panels on the roof or the portable unit by the door, when the main 12volt switch is turned off, does this disconnect the solar to the batteries also? Or do they remain useful for keeping the batteries charged while in storage?
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Old 06-19-2021, 04:31 PM   #2
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My trailer does not disconnect the solar panel when I turn off the disconnect switch.

My battery manufacturer recommends disconnecting the solar panel for storage, so I climbed up on the roof and unplugged my solar panel for the winter.
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Old 06-20-2021, 04:58 AM   #3
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Thanks for the confirmation. With my motorhome, I removed the batteries in the winter and the heat of the summer if I was sitting for a long time. Stored them in my temperature controlled garage. Keeping them charged and comfortable saved a lot of money on replacing.
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Old 06-20-2021, 05:18 AM   #4
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Many solar controllers must be connected to the batteries BEFORE connecting solar panels to the controller. Otherwise damage can be done to the controller.
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Old 06-20-2021, 07:08 PM   #5
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Looking at the factory wiring diagram and also using mine, the solar stays connected when the battery disconnect is in the off position.
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Old 06-21-2021, 02:53 AM   #6
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Thanks for the responses. I'm slowly getting my learning curves flatter.
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Old 06-21-2021, 03:32 AM   #7
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This is good information for me. I'm thinking to install a solar panel in my home also.
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Old 06-21-2021, 09:26 AM   #8
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I would and did install a breaker between the panels and the controller. That way I can disconnect the panels from the controller and battery.
I also installed a solar controller in the basement for the portables I use with the Zamp exterior connector. I put a breaker there also.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/18489675068...BoCkZgQAvD_BwE
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Old 06-21-2021, 01:39 PM   #9
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Cumminsfan, I'm not sure I follow. Does the exterior connector not put its power thru the existing controller? Or have you added this as an added safety factor/convenience?
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Old 06-21-2021, 01:46 PM   #10
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My solar controller is wired to the battery bypassing the battery master switch. I also installed 2 switch. 1) controller to battery, 2) controller to solar panel, also a fuse.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cumminsfan View Post
I would and did install a breaker between the panels and the controller. That way I can disconnect the panels from the controller and battery.
I also installed a solar controller in the basement for the portables I use with the Zamp exterior connector. I put a breaker there also.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/18489675068...BoCkZgQAvD_BwE
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Old 06-21-2021, 09:55 PM   #11
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There is no need to disconnect the panels for winter storage and by leaving them connected your batteries do not need to be removed either. The charge controller will not overcharge them but will keep them topped off which prevents them from freezing down to -70 F or so. A switch before the charge controller is nice to have so you do not need to cover the panels in order to work on the system. As mentioned it will fry the charge controller if you disconnect the battery before covering or disconnecting the panels from the controller.
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Old 06-22-2021, 05:02 AM   #12
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Keymaster, what type of batteries are you referring to not freezing to -70, lead acid, AGM or Lithium? Living in Ks, I've seen temps as low as -15 so I worry about batteries getting to cold. The batteries that I had in my DP were lead acid and I removed them to my garage in winter to keep them warm.

With solar, would it be possible/worthwhile to possibly put a small thermostatically controlled electric heater in the battery compartment which would be powered by the batteries or solar panels. Don't know if such a creature exists, but was just a thought.
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Old 06-22-2021, 10:08 AM   #13
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Quote:
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Cumminsfan, I'm not sure I follow. Does the exterior connector not put its power thru the existing controller? Or have you added this as an added safety factor/convenience?
For reference my 2019 25RDS has the wiring for the exterior connector running straight to the battery. The wires run in between the corroplast and under the flooring. They connect under the floor at a junction point along with other wires from, your guess is as good as mine.

I didn't have an existing controller either for the roof panels or the Zamp sidewall connector. I put a Victron in the upper bedroom cabinet for the roof panels and had a EPEVER from another project that I installed in the front storage compartment.

The exterior port is for portable panels that would have their own solar charge controller. I happened to have an extra one so I installed it in the front bay on the street side. I ran new wires from the port to the controller and then from the controller to the junction points under the floor.
I know the wires only go from the port to the under floor junction because I taped on the new wire to the OEM wire to fish it through. Had it been connected to anything else it wouldn't of been able to be pulled through.

If you stick some 12V tester leads into the Zamp sidewall port you'll get a battery level readout with no other controllers or panels installed.

FWIW I removed the Zamp port a little ways and had my wife pull he wires so I could tell which were which.
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Old 06-22-2021, 10:23 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4everlooking View Post
Cumminsfan, I'm not sure I follow. Does the exterior connector not put its power thru the existing controller? Or have you added this as an added safety factor/convenience?
In most cases "solar ready or solar prepped" is nothing more than an external connector with wires that terminate near the batteries. Some have conduit and a box on the roof to allow easy wiring. These are "selling features" to make a unit seem more valuable. My trailer has a 10 amp eternal solar plug which is totally worthless in my case. Being on the side of the RV it is even less useful if you plan on installing a system vs using portable panels.

You are are still responsible for supplying all of the equipment to actually have useable solar.

It is always good to ask what "solar read or solar prepped" really means on any unit you are looking at.
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