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Old 05-31-2016, 04:25 AM   #15
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Sebas, I used 90ft of 8/3 wire.

Your description of the run is correct.

I have a switch for the two AC's.
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Old 06-04-2016, 08:38 AM   #16
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This next weekend is a four day weekend, and I am going to bring DD to the house and verify my plan for cable routing will work for the solar. As a recap:

I plan to use the fantastic vent as the input. I will place the MC4 connectors on the outside and run the cable into them from the inside so it is a simple connect and disconnect on the roof for each panel. I have measured the projected run as 25ft (allowing for 12" of play on each side of the run), I could run the panels in pairs on the 10AWG wire I have planned, but could double up each panel for less runs. Current plan with five panels is 10 holes in the fantastic vent. If I ran the three I could do six holes.

So on to the questions:
1. Do I have to run the (-) to the battery or can I ground it on the chassis? By electric theory I could ground to chassis, so what are the issues with this?
2. There is clearance at the black tank vent around the PVC pipe to enter there. I could also enter at the fridge vent. What is the recommended course of action?
3. I currently have a 30A MPPT solar charge controller. At full sun each panel creates 5.5A for a total of 27.5A. As I understand I can add a sixth which would put me at 33A, at 3A over the MPPT max. However in partly cloudy conditions it would give me more Amps to the batteries but less than the max rating. What would be the concerns to doing the 6x 100W panels at 5.5amps with a 30A MPPT controller?
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Old 06-04-2016, 10:41 AM   #17
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I would defiantly run the pos and neg solar wires to the controller...don't ground to chassis.
What is the voltage rating on the controller? You could run all the panels in series up to the max voltage rating for the controller on one #10 wire if it can take the voltage. What happens to the controller if you go over on amp rating depends on the device, but typically it is better to keep volts as high as possible and amps lower...it's the amps that create heat. This is advice from my residential solar experience.
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Old 06-04-2016, 10:52 AM   #18
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FYI, on my old Excella there was a small solar panel...factory installed I think that was tied in on the terminals in the back of the fridge. I think the fridge wire and circuit are a # 10 or even an 8.
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Old 06-04-2016, 01:24 PM   #19
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Just remember that every wire and connection created resistance and voltage drop. Longer cable runs require higher voltage or heavier cable sizes.

All connections should be kept to a minimum for best results.

This is why we connect directly to the batteries in our solar installations.


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Old 06-04-2016, 06:12 PM   #20
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SebasSF, great point! Chassis ground would completely bypass the controller, since the battery is a chassis ground. Thanks for the catch!

Lewster, you bring up a great point WRT number of connections and voltage drop. Looks like the clean and direct connections of each panel will work best.

Current routing is the 3' factory line from the panel to the rooftop connection at the fantastic fan which will add 0-3' depending on which solar cell by placement. Each panel will have a (+) and (-) line at 10 AWG for 20' to the junction box. From the junction box to the controller I will have a 6-8" run of 4 AWG, and from the controller to the battery I will have a 3' run of 4 AWG.

These are the panels I am using. Optimal current is 5.29A, planning based on 5.5A

Any feedback on the routing?
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Old 06-04-2016, 06:53 PM   #21
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What solar charge controller are you using?
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Old 06-05-2016, 06:33 AM   #22
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My solar wires run down the refrigerator vent. The controller on the sink cabinet wall with the status/voltage indicator right under the aux battery-lights-step-patio switches. That's the factory installation location.
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Old 06-05-2016, 07:59 AM   #23
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SebasSF, I am using this controller

Kota, I was not using the factory installed routing because I did not know where it went. Thanks for sharing the knowledge. I will dig around to check wires, I know there is a 6AWG at the fuse box up front for Solar wire, and will see what the rating is in the locations you mention

Gents, If I am reading my research correctly the 500W of panels with a current of 5.5A (average of continuous and and short circuit current) per panel or 27.5A overall I would need a 3AWG wire for that travel distance to maintain below 80% capacity.
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Old 06-05-2016, 11:09 AM   #24
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Vycan, I would not do it that way if I was you. Put as many of the modules as you can in series until you get up to 150 volts. If you need to, you can combine into 2 strings that will double your amperage. Is way you will be running much smaller wire and have less voltage drop. My home solar system is 3.4 kW and has 2 strings of modules combined on the roof with 1 #10 homerun to the inverter. High voltage is good...high amps is bad.
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Old 06-05-2016, 01:03 PM   #25
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SebasSF, thanks again for the feedback, you are so correct. It was staring me in the face, and I have an MPPT controller, so no need to keep high amps, as it will convert the ~100VDC at 5.5amps to the necessary amps at 12VDC. Thanks!
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Old 06-09-2016, 09:50 PM   #26
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Looks like I have a 50 amp main breaker...Click image for larger version

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Old 06-13-2016, 10:59 PM   #27
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Just finished the Solar Panel install. I have five 100W solar panels. I hooked the solar array together to test it on the ground. It was putting out 102V at 5.5A in the middle of the afternoon. After sundown it put out 48v at 5.5A. It seems we will be in good hands.

First pick shows the panels stacked with AM Solar mounting kits installed. Second pic shows DD's profile without the panels. Third pick shows DD's profile with the panels. You will note, not much has changed. Fourth Pic shows the rooftop view of the (x4) panels to the rear. Fifth pic shows the mid panels (x2) and the (x1) forward panel. I was able to install all five panels thinking I would have room next to the AC's. That ended up being false. The AM Solar install added 3" in length and 1.5" in width. Thus I was over width by 0.5". However I managed to find a way to get all five mounted. I am concerned with the one on the rear, and may adjust the leading edge down one hole to ensure it receives a down force rather than the potential for a lifting force. As you can see from the pictures it has minimal impact to the aesthetics of the coach.

I am planning on entering the coach through the fantastic fan vent as others have successfully done. Tomorrow is the fun of taking apart the fantastic fan. Verifying the wiring was done correctly for it (it does not open and close based on the rain sensor, nor the thermostat), and checking for clearances for the best option for entry to the coach.

I used 6 USE-2 wire for the connections between the panels, and will use the same from the array to the solar charge controller.

I used silkaflex to cover each of the feet on Lewster's recommendation. There is no doubt about it, those feet are on there for good until I scrape off the silkaflex and use a lot of goo-gone on the 3M VHB tape.

So far so good!
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Old 06-14-2016, 09:08 AM   #28
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Very very cool!

My little 20' doesn't have enough real estate on top for that many panels
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