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Old 08-23-2011, 11:16 AM   #1
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2009 19' Flying Cloud
2016 25' Flying Cloud
Akron , Ohio
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Airstream solar pre-wiring compatibility with AM solar

Hi! I am relatively new to the forum, and all of the solar threads have been extremely helpful in evaluating systems. I purchased a used 2009 19ft Flying Cloud last fall. I chose an AM Solar system, starting with 100 watts with a combiner box to add an additional 50 watt panel later, if necessary. The technician at Camping World feels that the system can't be used with Airstream's pre-wiring, which will substantially increase the cost of the install. I am trying to understand why, but they don't let you talk to the technician, but only a service rep who relays info, so getting to the bottom of the issue is a challenge. I suspect the issue may be that Airstream's prewiring goes to the DC distribution system, not directly to the battery. I have spoken to AM Solar directly and they have explained the potential cons of not connecting directly to the batteries.Does anyone know if this is true regarding the Airstream pre-wiring?Has anyone out there added a system using the pre-wiring and experienced a significant decrease in voltage due to the extra links? Thanks!
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Old 08-26-2011, 11:59 AM   #2
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2005 19' International CCD
Campbell , California
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I also have an AM Solar system on my 2005 19 CCD. After confering with AM Solar, we elected to use the factory pre-wire due to the relatively short wire lengths used in the 19' trailer design and my modest system design (less than 200 Watts).

It is also important to be able to mount the charge controller under the front dinette seat where the solar pre-wire terminates next to the battery buss bar. As a result, I chose a controller that had a separate display panel that could be mounted remotely next to the MicroPulse montior.

Due to the close proximity of the battery box, I also elected to follow the factory wiring schematic and connected to the battery buss bar, rather than run extra cables directly to the battery.

We use the trailer for "fair weather" camping on the west coast - CA, OR, & WA. As a result, our power needs are pretty modest. So far, the system has performed very well.

Good luck with your project.

~ Ken
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Old 08-26-2011, 12:21 PM   #3
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2005 22' International CCD
Aliso Viejo , California
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I had solar installed by Inland RV. I started with one panel and added another one later. They did not use the prewiring the trailer came with and the install price was relatively modest. I'm surprised there would be a bigdifference in cost. I'm sure it will turn out nice either way.
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Old 09-01-2011, 10:26 AM   #4
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2009 19' Flying Cloud
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Finished Solar Install

Thanks for your input. The install is complete and working well. I used almost the identical install configuration as Ken, except we did extend a wire directly to the battery so the system would charge the battery while in the storage mode. The install without using the factory pre-wire would have been $300.00 more. One thing I learned from the experience, is that there are no set rules for wiring solar systems. The requirements (wire gauge, combiner boxes, etc.) are different according to wattage of panels, numbers of panels and length of wiring (trailer size). Conferring with Airstream and the system manufacturer to get recommendations for your specific situation can save alot of money and deliver good results if you have a small trailor/solar system. I am looking forward to seeing how well it works, as I am heading to California then up to the Candian border in a couple of weeks.
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Old 09-02-2011, 02:09 PM   #5
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Glad it worked out. You're right about solar wiring and the need to do some research. This forum has been a great help to me on several projects.

Enjoy your trip. We traveled on the west coast up to the Olympic Peninsula last fall. The coastal route is beautiful. Next week we will test our solar system on our first trip east of Calif to the Bryce and Grand canyons.
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Old 06-11-2014, 10:11 PM   #6
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Pelham , New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robi View Post
except we did extend a wire directly to the battery so the system would charge the battery while in the storage mode.
I know this is an old thread, but as I'm about to install solar in part so the batteries can charge when in the "store" position, is it necessary to run wire directly from the controller to battery? Or will it charge if connected to the bus when in the store position? Or would you do both?
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Old 06-11-2014, 10:31 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Hudsoncamp View Post
I know this is an old thread, but as I'm about to install solar in part so the batteries can charge when in the "store" position, is it necessary to run wire directly from the controller to battery? Or will it charge if connected to the bus when in the store position? Or would you do both?
It is very easy to wire the solar to the large cables (about #4) which run from the batteries to the interior where the use/store solenoid is located. You just attach the solar system to the battery input cables and all will be well. #4 wire is huge, compared to the actual charging capacity of the solar panels. The use/store switch is simply not in the solar circuits that way. There is just no need to run separate cable to the batteries directly.

I have 200 watts of panels and a Blue Sky MPPT charge controller, and use the factory installed wiring to the roof. I was out for a week last week and used lights and heat every night. My Tri Metric meter never showed any less than 85% charge in the morning, and the system was at 100% by early afternoon.

I built my first large solar installation with over 1000 watts of panels in 1995/6 and have lots of experience with solar. I know what I am doing, if self promotion is of any value.... grin.
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