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Old 10-28-2009, 05:22 PM   #1
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Just say No...using plumbing vent for Solar wire access->??

Hi all,

I appreciate the good feedback so far as I try and plan my solar charging system. I've ordered a 2 panel Solar system from AM Solar in Oregon & am looking forward to the installation - sort of.


I've been thinking. ( I know I shouldn't do that...)


I understand that the usual method to feed the solar output wires into the trailer interior is to drop them down the Reefer vent & either tie into the 10 AWG factory wire or fish a bigger wire towards the battery bank in the forward part of the trailer. This might actually be easier by running wire underneath the trailer than to fish through the more complicated interior. Due to the "series" configuration of the charger controller, the controller needs to be relatively close to the battery bank & should use heavy (8 AWG or bigger) wire on both sides of the controller (both in and out). Thus the factory installed solar wires would be inadequate & the controller position in the galley which is wired with the wrong gauge wire would add a lot of unhelpful length to the run. (It might work as a satellite readout maybe...)

So, when I think about it, it would make sense to have the solar charge controller close to the battery bank and to shorten the overall length of the wire runs as much as possible. The hallway wall between the Bathroom & the Bedroom would work well for the controller. If that is the location, it doesn't make a lot of sense to run the Solar feed back to the port side reefer vent and then forward again & over to the starboard side prior to running forward to the battery bank...

When I look at the roof, I see a plumbing vent on the starboard side that runs down the corner of the bathroom to the tanks. It would certainly be a short & convenient run to drop the wire down the vent stack & drill a hole mid-way to exit the wire into the target wall. It should be quite easy to waterproof the entire run and caulk the exit hole to keep the vent function intact. The entire run would be considerably shorter & there would be no need for any new holes in the belly pan etc.

Lew tells me it would be do-able but I do not believe he has ever tried this himself. Does anyone have any thoughts on this idea or know whether this would be a problem?

Thanks.


-evan
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Old 10-28-2009, 05:28 PM   #2
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Unless the hole in the stack is sealed well, you are opening yourself to sewer gas smell inside the trailer.

Bill
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Old 10-28-2009, 05:38 PM   #3
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Thanks Bill,

I would expect that the hole would have to be totally sealed to isolate the stack interior from the living interior. I wouldn't think that would be too difficult to do...

-evan
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Old 10-28-2009, 06:44 PM   #4
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It should work, but I'll just bet you the fine folks at AM Solar will let you know what they think! Chances are they have either done it, or seen it done.

Say hello to Deb and Greg for me!

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Old 10-28-2009, 07:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkerfoot View Post
Unless the hole in the stack is sealed well, you are opening yourself to sewer gas smell inside the trailer.

Bill
I wouldn't think it would be problem sealing that penetration. It should stay sealed as there is no pressure on it to cause a leak.
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Old 10-29-2009, 01:00 PM   #6
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It should work, but I'll just bet you the fine folks at AM Solar will let you know what they think! Chances are they have either done it, or seen it done.

Say hello to Deb and Greg for me!

FLYNCLD
OK. Will do.

As you suggested, I did ask AMSolar what they thought of this idea & the fellow I spoke with told me he has done this once but cautioned that I would have to make sure to seal it up well to avoid water entry.

I was thinking that a small loop of the wire (encased in appropriate hose and dropped down below the entry point like a P trap would help reduce any tendency to draw rainwater or other fluids into the hole.


-evan
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Old 10-29-2009, 01:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne&Sam View Post
I wouldn't think it would be problem sealing that penetration. It should stay sealed as there is no pressure on it to cause a leak.
Thanks Wayne.

This is what I was thinking too: No pressure to drive water or gases where you don't want them.

-evan
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Old 10-29-2009, 02:59 PM   #8
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Through the roof cap with a drip loop under the cap. Ya could add a "T" to the vent pipe and cap the added inlet. Then, drill a hole large enough for the wires. They make
putty or caulk strong enough to prevent sewer gas from escaping. It could be done
neatly and relatively easy. I say yes.
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Old 10-29-2009, 04:50 PM   #9
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-evan,
Your concepts sound logical, trying to make the most out a great system. That triangular space seems like the way to go. We're looking at AM Solar for next years major project. Let us know how it goes. What size panels did you go with and where? The roof on my rig is plenty cluttered.
Stream Safe,
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Old 10-29-2009, 05:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennethowens View Post
Through the roof cap with a drip loop under the cap. Ya could add a "T" to the vent pipe and cap the added inlet. Then, drill a hole large enough for the wires. They make
putty or caulk strong enough to prevent sewer gas from escaping. It could be done
neatly and relatively easy. I say yes.

Thanks for the vote Kenneth.

-evan
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Old 10-29-2009, 05:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elfirebob View Post
-evan,
Your concepts sound logical, trying to make the most out a great system. That triangular space seems like the way to go. We're looking at AM Solar for next years major project. Let us know how it goes. What size panels did you go with and where? The roof on my rig is plenty cluttered.
Stream Safe,
Thanks for the encouragement Bob,

Yes that triangular partitioned corrner is just begging to be explored further.

I decided to go with 2 of their 100 watt panels & the 22B controller as per this package + extra panel... SunRunner 100-22 System

I measured the roof spaces on my unit & I would be able to accommodate four panels fairly easily & maybe even a fifth if I were really going to really go overboard. I will possibly get one or two panels more in the future depending on how things balance out; but will have to see how well the first two work. A better investment as a next step might be to get higher capacity AGM batteries rather than more panels as it would be a better boon-docking compromise...

I will try and take pictures as I go along with the job. I suspect that if I can document the hidden bits I expose, this might be of some use to others contemplating the same sort of installation.

I'll be sure to post my experience here if people would be interested.

-evan
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Old 10-29-2009, 06:25 PM   #12
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The only downside I can think of would be sealing against rain water intrusion. The gaskets under that cap should be changed every few years, so you may have a recurring water leak.
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Old 10-30-2009, 12:03 AM   #13
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The only downside I can think of would be sealing against rain water intrusion. The gaskets under that cap should be changed every few years, so you may have a recurring water leak.
I was planning to drop the wire down through the open end of the vent without disturbing the cap or the roof gasket. I was thinking that I would not drill at all at the roof cap but only down at the exit point from the vent tube; but, your comment prompts the thought that I should try & run the wire in such a way that the roof vent cap can be changed without needing to cut & splice the wire. A notch in the cap would accomplish this & allow for changes of the gaskets & cap when needed. On the other hand I could also be able to disconnect the cable from the roof mounted "Combiner box" to allow for changes in caps, gaskets etc.

Thanks for the feedback & the caution.

-evan
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