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Old 06-14-2013, 11:26 AM   #1
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Mikec1231's Avatar
2012 27' FB International
Ormond Beach , Florida
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 57
Installation with Hole in the Roof vs. Frig vent

I have been reading of a number of installs where a hole was drilled through the roof to run the controller wire from the Combiner box. There are also quite a number who use the frig vent stack to do the same. Most of these posts go back to at least 2011. For those who have done these, I am curious as to your feelings now 2-4 years later.
It looks to me to be an easier install using a new hole. It also looks to be in plain sight where if a future leak might happen, it would be very obvious that it was leaking.
It also looks like no grommet was used either inside or topside to shield the wire from potential wear/shorting where it passes through the aluminum roof. Any comments.
I am getting close to starting on mine and I am just trying to save some future grief.

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Old 06-23-2013, 11:02 AM   #2
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1994 30' Excella
Mississauga , Ontario
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 976
I have the same decision to make. I think I am going to drill two small holes in the streetside of the fridge chimney. Install grommets and feed the wire in and down behind the fridge. That way I don't have to make any holes in the bug screen on top of the chimney and I can visually inspect the grommets and wires from a ladder. I will make these holes near the front of the chimney in the roof since the fridge chimney is near the rear of the roof opening.(hope my description is clear!).

Al and Jean

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Old 06-23-2013, 01:10 PM   #3
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Vintage Kin Owner
Naples, FL , Hood River, OR
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 7,328
Anytime I have a fridge roof vent to work with....I use it and mount a combiner box under one of the solar panels. I have a variety of liquid-proof strain reliefs that I keep handy for just about any size wire.

I have never had a complaint in 8 years about leaking water thru these type of connections. As most cable other than the 10AWG ship-board cable that AM Solar uses to interconnect the panels is NOT UV resistant, I wrap the line coming from the combiner box in black poly wire loom.

The other benefit on Airstreams is the availability of a wire-way just below the fridge that usually leads to other cabinets. Makes pulling the charge lines that much easier!
Lew Farber...ABYC Certified Master Marine Electrician...RVIA Certified Master Tech ...AM Solar Authorized Installation Center...AIRSTREAM Solar & Electrical Specialist...Micro Air 'Easy Start' Sales and Installations
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Old 06-23-2013, 01:59 PM   #4
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2015 30' Classic
2012 28' International
Greensboro , North Carolina
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 1,629
A timely post, as my system from AM Solar will arrive Tuesday and I'll be doing the install! I've already been behind the cabinetry on the SS and see no problem running wires. Think I will have to remove my L seat sofa to run battery cables to the two new Lifeline AGM's that are also waiting for an install.
"SilverLeaf II" 2015 30' Classic
2014 RAM 2500 Laramie 4x4 CC w/6.7L Cummins
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Old 06-23-2013, 06:09 PM   #5
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1994 30' Excella
Mississauga , Ontario
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 976
Right you are Lew; but my install is four self adhesive flexible solar panels with 10 guage wire leads but no combiner box and really no need for one, therefore I opted for a waterproof strain relief through the side of the chimney. And you are right, the wiring from the fridge compartment to the front of the trailer is really easy.
Al and Jean

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Old 06-23-2013, 06:18 PM   #6
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1975 31' Sovereign
Palomar Mountain , California
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 354
The nicest insulation I saw was in the side of the vent pipe for the water tank, down to the level you need it and back out of the vent pipe - which I copied and it worked great. If it leaks - no harm, just into tank. Not sure which tank vent I used - think it was the black water tank - it was toward the back next to my solar panel.
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Old 10-27-2013, 11:25 AM   #7
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2014 25' FB International
2007 20' Safari SE
2005 19' Safari
Qualicum Beach , British Columbia
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 915
Does anyone have experience running the cable in a 25fb? The fridge vent would be a nice clean way to run the wiring, but of course in the FB the fridge is on the street side , and the electrics that you have to get to are on the curb side.I am trying to get away from having to drill a hole in the roof, but it's not looking possible. Any ideas?

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