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Old 11-19-2011, 05:24 PM   #1
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Question Factory Solar Install in Intl 23 FB

Does anyone have a factory installed solar system in an International 23 FB? I would be very interested in pictures of the solar/battery monitor panel location. In my unit, the pre-wired CAT 5 cable for solar monitoring terminates above the 120V outlet in the galley between the sink and stove. This requires cutting a hole in the interior skin to mount a monitor panel. In addition to not liking to cut the skin, I think this is a poor location. Interestingly, the prewired control cable for an inverter also terminates in the same location. Pics tell the story.
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Old 11-20-2011, 06:18 PM   #2
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I purchase 2011 International Serenity this weekend and dealer is intalling 50W Solar charging systrem, will see where he locate the panel and let you know
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Old 11-21-2011, 07:33 PM   #3
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Thanks Zia. You may want to ask them where they plan to put the solar monitor panel in case you don't like the location. In my case, I am considering a location just below the thermostat in the front bedroom. Pics of the installation would be great.
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Old 11-22-2011, 09:59 AM   #4
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I am going to the dealer tomorrow to pick up my rig. The did not ask me about the location of the panel, I thaught Airstream has a preferred location for each model. The new model comes with prewired.
I will let you soon
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Old 11-23-2011, 10:50 PM   #5
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I picked up my trailer today, the dealer ordered the solar system and will install it Monday. Thye will install the panel in bedroom next to the TV. They said that may be the best location to access the pre-wired junction.
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Old 11-26-2011, 06:13 PM   #6
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The location near the TV mount can work if they are able to snake the control cables that originate in the battery buss compartment and run to the vicinity of the 120V kitchen outlet. Since the charge controller will be mounted in the battery buss compartment under the forward side of the bed, my thought is to run the control cable from the buss compartment under the bed and to the starboard wardrobe and mount the control panel under the thermostat. This leaves the TV area uncluttered and available to mount a TV satellite receiver if desired. Also see my earlier post on this subject http://www.airforums.com/forums/f448...nce-79919.html
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Old 11-29-2011, 10:58 AM   #7
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We took our rig on the road first time this weekend to check out. Found lots of issues including the tanks level system, refrigeratior cooling air fan running all the time, windows opening lever loose, magazine rack missing, tank level not accurate.
Any way the dealer service folks are very accommodating and took note of all the issues. The also will install the switch for cooling fan near the TV where the solar controller will also be installed. The location is recommended by them may be due to ease of installation or lack of any other suitable place.
We left the unit at Irivine Airstream dealer and they will install the solar this week and take care of all the issues e.g. calibrate the tank guages, level indicator at power hitch, replace some of the windows rubber lining, add a water spray on the toilet (standard on 2012's on my wife request), adjust the hitch etc.

The walk around bed is very nice, double axcel more stable than single. And the attention at the camp ground and casino was as usual
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Old 12-02-2011, 07:07 PM   #8
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Tumajin,
Just came back from the dealer service center, they have installed the solar panel and the cotroller is located just above the thermostat inthe bedroom. They said it was the most convenient place for them, they braught the wire. through the closet. The panel is flat about 2.5" by 3.5". Happen to see 2011 Serenity 30 or 32' with 5 watt solar panel installed on the propane tank cover. Looked very ugly, the service manager did not agree with the installation either when they have so much roof space. The reason for the approach was cost. I could not believe it with the A/S close to $100K. The reason I am mentioning that there is this option where installation will be easy, close to batteries.
My rig is not ready for pickup the are waiting for some parts. Good luck for installation project. They extremely accomodating folks, you might consider them installing your solar
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Old 12-05-2011, 06:43 PM   #9
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Zia, I am pleased to hear the solar monitor panel was mounted on the wood wall under the thermostat. That is where I plan to mount mine. I have already installed the charge controller in the battery bus compartment and am using one of the "ugly" panels on the propane cover. This is only temporary for battery charging in storage and I will be ordering a 100w panel for roof mounting. See my earlier post mentioned above.
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Old 12-26-2011, 06:14 PM   #10
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Keep in mind that no matter where they mount the panel, you will want to clean it occasionally. Dust, dirt, road spray etc. can reduce efficiency a surprising amount.
A truck windshield squeegee and ladder work but you do have to get up there. Where the panel is mounted in relation to the batteries is not so much an issue. A "12 volt" panel typically puts out as much as 20 volts DC. Even a long run of wire to the battery compartment will drop only a few volts at typical loads. Just make sure the charge controller (not to be confused with the battery monitor panel) is mounted as close as practical to the batteries.
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Old 01-02-2012, 12:11 PM   #11
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Thanks for the advice.
I just get back from 9 days trip through Las Vegas, Laughland and Lake Havasu, thorouthly enjoyed the new A/S. One issue we had with the batteries that they did not hold the charge very well. I thaught the solar system should be able to charge the batteries fully during the day. After one and a half day the battery was almost gone. Another observation when the battery was low the water pump stop working.
With our new rig we were not very careful with the lights thinking the LED use very little power. I would like to know how much electricity is used by one set of light circuit which has 2 or 3 LED bulbs ?.
My 2011 23 FB Serenity does not have dimmers. Still learning about the new rig.
In our previous 20' we used candles and may be one light during dry camping.
Fortunately the dealer agreed to replace both the batteries under warranty.
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Old 01-02-2012, 12:45 PM   #12
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Its possible that the batteries installed at the dealership when the unit came in were not maintained properly? We had a factory installed solar panel and the trailer came with Lifeline brand batteries rather than the green top lead acid in yours. Our batteries at the beach re-charged by noon every day and this was on a 08 Bambi. I would recommend that you discount the batteries and any external power source and check all electrical connections. I did this and found several nuts were lose and re-torqued everything. Also, if you don't have one, get yourself a voltmeter so you can monitor actual voltage readings at your batteries and see the voltage generated by your solar panel. There should be a difference between a late afternoon reading and morning reading indicating that the solar panel is providing current when charging.
Good luck
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Old 01-02-2012, 03:39 PM   #13
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Zia, with only 50 watts and the short days, you will not get a tremendous charge. At this time of year, you'll get half the daylight. Trees and clouds also make a difference. It helps, but a generator can supplement. It is possible the OEM batteries were mistreated by the dealeróletting them go way below a 50% charge on the lot before they were recharged. This will shorten their life. If you used the furnace, that will drain the batteries fast and bad batteries will not last the night. There is a difference between bad batteries and just using too much power, so check their ability to hold a charge.

The OEM batteries are also not the best. We upgraded to bigger and better Lifeline batteries this year after our OEM's were going bad, put in a new and better converter and had 200 watts installed on our roof. We had the original 100 watt solar system installed by the dealer but the system failed this year and the manufacturer had gone bankrupt, so the warranty was useless.

For the water pump not to work the batteries must have just about dead or something is wrong with the pump. You should avoid running the batteries below 50%.

I'll attach a voltage charge.

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Old 01-03-2012, 11:22 AM   #14
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Gene/Subfan1,
You both are correct, when the pump stopped working I first thought the pump was bad or not getting the power after going through all the hassle, my better half mentioned about the battery power. I started my car and everything worked including the DVD.
The reason I was not too worried about reducing the batteries life by draining to a very low level, the dealer has agreed to replace the batteries any way.
The solar charger was showing 12.3 to 12.4 volts most of the day. My feeling is that the batteries are not up to par and were not well treated at the dealer lot. The unit has been sitting on his lot for about a year.
Gene, thanks for the chart, I will keep a copy in my AS for reference.
Thanks for the valuable insight.
I am still wondering about the power usage by those recessed LED light. After returning from the trip, I did washed and polished the entire outside, hard work but worth it, I normally do it once every 4-5 months. It is more satisfactory when every thinks is shinning, no dents or dings.
Happy New Year
Zia
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