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Old 05-30-2013, 10:39 PM   #1
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Location of Solar Pre-Wire. Where are the wires?

My manual for my 2013 says the 10 gauge solar pre-wires are at the front battery block (found them) and under the roof behind the front fan. It says to look for a label marking the spot to drill a hole. I got up on a ladder and can't see any labels. Has anybody used these directions and found wires?
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Old 05-30-2013, 10:55 PM   #2
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I have the same model, and although the User Manual has that info on page G-10, I'm hesitant to drill anything until I have a more exact location. While we all recognize that it can vary, I would appreciate any photos that someone may have to help with finding the solar pre-wires in the roof area.

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Old 05-31-2013, 08:44 AM   #3
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On mine, the green and yellow wires were found in the front near my converter, just laying on the floor under the couch. The other ends were taped up with the harness up high in the fridge compartment, just below the roof fridge vent.
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Old 05-31-2013, 08:52 AM   #4
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Can a dealer do the install? Or will it require a trip to Jackson Center?
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Old 05-31-2013, 02:59 PM   #5
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I'm sure you could get someone like a dealer to do it for you, the job isn't too technical. But I'm too thrilled about drilling holes into my roof hoping to find those wires. The manual also says there's a cat-5 wilre for the associated solar monitor panel loose somewhere below the Micropulse tank display. I popped that off to look for that wire and it wasn't obvious. I stuck my fingers down into the wall as far as I could but came up empty. I'm going to remove the AC outlet just below the Micropulse to see if I can find the Cat-5 wire there. If not then I give up on the pre-wire and will run my own.
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Old 05-31-2013, 03:38 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
On mine, the green and yellow wires were found in the front near my converter, just laying on the floor under the couch. The other ends were taped up with the harness up high in the fridge compartment, just below the roof fridge vent.
2013 models don't have a roof fridge vent - both vents are on the side.

If it were me and I wanted this info I would go to the best source which is of course Airstream itself.
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Old 06-01-2013, 07:16 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Al - K4GLU View Post
2013 models don't have a roof fridge vent - both vents are on the side.

If it were me and I wanted this info I would go to the best source which is of course Airstream itself.
My 2013 Classic does have a refrigerator roof vent. Thank goodness it is silver.
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Old 06-01-2013, 07:24 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Al - K4GLU View Post
2013 models don't have a roof fridge vent - both vents are on the side.

If it were me and I wanted this info I would go to the best source which is of course Airstream itself.
Ah, yeah, missed that little detail. OP, have you tried pulling out the vent (Fantastic Fan????) and checking if there is a label or even the wires themselves in that location between the inner and outer skins? Hopefully there's not a rib in the way. If there is, I would explore running new and heavier gauge wiring before cutting blindly.

I have found that the wiring isn't always where they say it is. When I got mine, I hunted, probed, and yes did some cutting (woodwork) looking for the TV end of the audio cables running to the radio. Found the radio ends....NEVER found the TV ends even after many calls to AS factory. Ran new ones in the end.
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Old 06-01-2013, 08:22 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by kscherzi View Post
My manual for my 2013 says the 10 gauge solar pre-wires are at the front battery block (found them) and under the roof behind the front fan. It says to look for a label marking the spot to drill a hole. I got up on a ladder and can't see any labels. Has anybody used these directions and found wires?
You might want to re-consider searching for the 10AWG solar pre-wire at all. When we install a solar array (AM Solar), we use 10AWG as the connector wiring to join individual panels to a roof top combiner box. We then run a heavier gauge wire (dependent on the maximum # of panels called for in the design) from this combiner box to the solar charge controller, and then the same heavier gauge wire from the controller directly to the batteries. This is done with a minimum of connections to minimize voltage drop in the system.

As an example, a 2 panel, 200 watt array uses 10AWG to connect the panels to the combiner box, 8AWG from the combiner box to the controller and then 8 AWG again from the controller directly into the batteries, NOT to the bus bars.

In a larger system, say 400 watts, 10 AWG for the panels and 6 AWG from the combiner box to the controller and then to the batteries. We go up to 2 AWG for the 800 + watt systems. The pre-wire in your Airstream will be OK for a couple of 50 watt panels, but not much more.

Some will look at these wire sizes and say that the NEC specifies that 10AWG will handle a 30 amp load, which is true. We maximize the wire gauge to eliminate or minimize voltage drop, as every tenth of a volt is precious in a solar installation to get optimal performance.
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Old 06-02-2013, 10:31 AM   #10
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You might want to re-consider searching for the 10AWG solar pre-wire at all. When we install a solar array (AM Solar), we use 10AWG as the connector wiring to join individual panels to a roof top combiner box. We then run a heavier gauge wire (dependent on the maximum # of panels called for in the design) from this combiner box to the solar charge controller, and then the same heavier gauge wire from the controller directly to the batteries. This is done with a minimum of connections to minimize voltage drop in the system.

As an example, a 2 panel, 200 watt array uses 10AWG to connect the panels to the combiner box, 8AWG from the combiner box to the controller and then 8 AWG again from the controller directly into the batteries, NOT to the bus bars.

In a larger system, say 400 watts, 10 AWG for the panels and 6 AWG from the combiner box to the controller and then to the batteries. We go up to 2 AWG for the 800 + watt systems. The pre-wire in your Airstream will be OK for a couple of 50 watt panels, but not much more.

Some will look at these wire sizes and say that the NEC specifies that 10AWG will handle a 30 amp load, which is true. We maximize the wire gauge to eliminate or minimize voltage drop, as every tenth of a volt is precious in a solar installation to get optimal performance.
Thanks. I was leaning towards your suggestions anyway. You just helped get there. Yesterday I bought some 6 AWG, some twisted pair, some Romex and conduit and started running the wires from the battery area around and up to the roof. I couldn't stand waiting and figure running the wires will be the hardest part. I'm routing under the trailer along the gas line (inside waterproof flexible conduit). Then inside along a circuitous path. So far only had to cut one 1" hole underneath. I'm ordering the rest of it from AM Solar tomorrow.
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Old 06-02-2013, 05:06 PM   #11
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I would at least like to have one of the automotive solar panels that plugs into the cigarette lighter to charge the battery.
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