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Old 12-11-2012, 06:52 PM   #71
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Question regarding installing inverter with this solar system

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Originally Posted by timmaah View Post
I just installed a 200 watt setup from AM Solar are am loving it. Their kit provided everything I needed to install myself, and I was able to do it in two afternoons while on the road. Price was $1400 for a beefy 200 watt system with monitor. Another $900 if you want it installed. The VHB tape had me a little nervous, but appears solid and made the install so much easier.

Boondocked for the last two weeks and had to pull out the generator twice. Though that is because we are full-timing and are heavy computer users. The laptops pull down ~4-5 amps while charging. Charge two laptops twice a day and that is ~60-80 amp hours. We are stationary in Desert Hot Springs for the next week or more, and AM Solar has a sale with free shipping, so I will order another 100 watt panel possibly two.

Attached is the diagram AM Solar sent me, showing how the system should be wired.


My wife and I just got back from visiting AM Solar and and are considering installing the exact same system you did on our 25 ft EB. Before we purchase the solar system from AM Solar (we are planning to do the install ourselves) we are wanting to install an inverter that we bought from another vendor.

My question is did you install an inverter as well? If so can you or maybe someone else familiar with this kind of thing tell me if I need to install the 500A/50mV shunt (shown in the diagram for the SunRunner 2512X) when I install the inverter. The instructions with the inverter say to run both the + and - leads directly to the battery. The diagram on the other hand says all negative leads should come from the 500A/50mV Shunt. So the question is does the negative lead from the inverter go to battery (makes for a more difficult install) or does it go to the Shunt?
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:58 PM   #72
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I put together and installed a 288 watt system this summer - and I love it. In the fall we mainly use our trailer for tailgating - and it's wonderful to be able to not worry about having to plug the Airstream in every week to make sure it's charged - it just charges itself like magic. Total cost after the 35% federal tax rebates will be about $500 - I installed myself.

We're headed down to the rose bowl later this month - family of four and a dog - and it's also nice to not worry about bringing along generator and fuel - we can save the resulting space and weight for more of our stuff.

So I'm a happy solar guy.
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Old 12-12-2012, 12:21 AM   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harpo View Post
My question is did you install an inverter as well? If so can you or maybe someone else familiar with this kind of thing tell me if I need to install the 500A/50mV shunt (shown in the diagram for the SunRunner 2512X) when I install the inverter. The instructions with the inverter say to run both the + and - leads directly to the battery. The diagram on the other hand says all negative leads should come from the 500A/50mV Shunt. So the question is does the negative lead from the inverter go to battery (makes for a more difficult install) or does it go to the Shunt?
We have managed to get everything running directly on 12v and do not have an inverter.

That said.. The negative for the inverter should go to the shunt. The only thing the shunt does is measure amperage, and if you have the inverter to the battery side of the shunt, you will not be including or see the inverter used amps in the battery monitor. (Battery monitor would still show the proper voltage coming from the battery, but I'm not sure if it would show proper % left)
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Old 12-13-2012, 08:26 AM   #74
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Solar Self-install

Could those of you who installed your own solar systems yourselves add some comments? How did you handle the wire run from the refrigerator vent to the controller? Exposed? or hidden? Where? How? Photos?

For those who installed a monitor, where did you put it? Why? How?

Our '06 Safari is not equipped with an inverter and part of the plan would be to add that capability.

At my relatively low level of knowledge & experience a self-install might make sense but my plan is to develop a detailed plan of work before leaping into the project.

This is a great discussion for those of us who do not have a factory installation.
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Old 12-13-2012, 06:22 PM   #75
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Quote:
Could those of you who installed your own solar systems yourselves add some comments? How did you handle the wire run from the refrigerator vent to the controller? Exposed? or hidden? Where? How? Photos?
With my trailer, the refrigerator is on the street side, and there is an existing wire chase that runs from the refrigerator compartment, underneath the cabinetry, and then through a square channel near the floor of the trailer almost all the way to the front of the trailer. So everything is hidden.

I needed to remove the refrigerator and the cabinet drawers / shelving but not the cabinetry to pull the wire.
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Old 12-14-2012, 06:51 AM   #76
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Quote:
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Could those of you who installed your own solar systems yourselves add some comments? How did you handle the wire run from the refrigerator vent to the controller? Exposed? or hidden? Where? How? Photos?
I didn't install mine, but - they come down through the fridge compartment, then under the shelf below the windows by the dinette, then through the back of the cabinet where a television would go, then they dive down and run through a piece of conduit that runs under the front table (and carries a bunch of other wires - clearly factory installed). They come back up in the arm rest of the couch, where the controller is installed, then from there to the main 12volt wiring panel.

(The two 120 volt wires for the inverter follow the same path as well from the fridge forward.)
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Old 12-14-2012, 08:14 AM   #77
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I was here working on a bug on the site and came across this thread. I just wanted to chime in with my own two cents if I may.

I bought a couple sets of solar panels from Harbor Freight to use up at my camp (which is a 30' yurt) way up in the Adirondack Park where electricity is not available. I too did not want the constant noise of a generator. I hooked the two panels (90 watts total) to two 115 AH marine batteries that I connected in parallel. After the inverter and a couple other odds and ends, it was around $800.00 total (not including the generator).

I use the system to light the entire camp with LED and CFL lights, play music, charge batteries/phone etc., and run some HF equipment nerds like me are wont to do. If I start with completely charged batteries, I am good for about 3 days if there is no sunshine. It gets extended to almost indefinitely if it is 100% sunny out all day. Generally when I get back the following weekend, the batteries are topped off.

I bought a little cheapy generator to charge up the batteries if I absolutely must, but otherwise I have been happy with it.

My reasons why I got this setup was pretty simple:
  • It was either this or a loud generator in one of the most quietest places in the US.
  • I like the fact that nobody has figured out how to charge any money for the fuel required in a solar power system.
  • I like tinkering with gadgets.
So to agree with many here: it depends.

I know this is a bit different than running panels on an Airstream, but just thought I would share.

- Jeff
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Old 12-15-2012, 11:42 AM   #78
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Hi Barts,
A quick question. I have seen pictures of your tin pickle but can't recall seeing the location of your panels. Just where did you find space for two panels? Side by side or fore and aft?
Thanks,
Tony
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Old 12-16-2012, 12:39 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by tonyp View Post
Hi Barts,
A quick question. I have seen pictures of your tin pickle but can't recall seeing the location of your panels. Just where did you find space for two panels? Side by side or fore and aft?
Thanks,
Tony
Here's a photo from our blog that shows the panels mounted on the roof...
These panels just fit between the vents...

- Bart
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Old 12-16-2012, 02:46 PM   #80
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For someone looking to buy perhaps new in a year - it seems the new ones are pre-wired...what considerations for those buying new? I suppose in that scenario IF you want the solar panels, you could work it into price negotiations and come out doing pretty well as far as that cost vs my installing it myself (which is perhaps moot cause I am honestly not that handy).

I think eventually I would want solar panels...I have been loving the idea of finding some cheap land up in around ft. payne alabama, could boondock there on weekends with the fam...or just for a weekend romantic getaway

But also could see the use of a generator since I live in AL - but it just depends I guess on if I would camp during the hot season away from shore power...and honestly I have no idea at this point....for beach trips I am guessing places will have shore power...but then again I saw something on that long long honeymoon site where in destin you can park on the beach....and as stated earlier that would be very cool to have the solar!

Great info here guys....thanks alot...this site continues to make me feel less and less ignorant about RV'ing as I continue to browse it!!
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Old 12-17-2012, 09:59 AM   #81
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PharmGeek,
Good to think about solar when buying new. For our new 2011FC23FB I knew that I would want a solar system capable of expansion. The pre-wire from Airstream was sized for their 50 watt panel. Airstream offered no options, would not even let me specify AGM's in lieu of the OEM interstates at a reasonable cost, so I worked with my dealer for my initial installation. I selected the components, had them shipped to the dealer, and paid for the installation as a matter of convenience. I chose a Kyocera 85 watt panel, Blue Sky MPPT 25 w controller and 8 AWG wiring. After a year of experience, I added a second 85 watt panel (by removing the unused TV antenna) primarily to compensate for partial shading in some campsites. I'd advise as much separation between panels as possible, for that reason. I also changed out my OEM batteries to AGM's and the system now fits our usage very well.
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Old 12-17-2012, 10:51 AM   #82
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Thanks Bart el al.,
AM Solar is having a sale this week, plus free shipping.
Maybe there really is a Santa Claus.
Tony
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Old 12-20-2012, 09:39 PM   #83
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Thumbs up Is it time to pull the trigger?

Reading this thread is really getting me motivated to finally pull the trigger and go solar. I am looking at AM Solar's preconfigured SunRunner Signature 100 / 40 / 6 / 4 Pro System with an extra 100 watt panel for a total of 200 watts. I am also thinking of upgrading from the GO100 panels to the smaller and more efficient GS100 panels. This setup will allow me to add additional 100 watt panel(s) in the future, roof top real estate permitting. Please share your comments and suggestions since it is easer to make system modifications now, before I make the purchase and install the system. Now all it takes is finalizing the system design and money....
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Old 12-21-2012, 08:05 AM   #84
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I installed 2 of amsolars 100 watt panels and still have room at least 3 more. I chose a controller that will allow me to run that many. I may never need to but the option will be easy. I also used cabling large enough to run them all if ever I do up-size. Who knows how I will be using the steam after retirement
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