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Old 06-07-2015, 06:54 PM   #1
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Solar panel installation guide for dummies needed

I have 2x100w flex panels and a 30 amp charge controller. I want to use the factory pre-wire on my 2015fb twin flying cloud.
I found the wires in the fantastic fan; to attach them to the panels do I fish them out somewhere or do I have to drill a hole?
Under the bed I found the other end of the green and yellow wire and the inverter box. Should I install the controller in the front outside compartment and connect the green and yellow to it in there?
How do you then connect to the batteries (stock interstates)? Any other steps I am missing?
I appreciate any help you can provide.
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Old 06-23-2015, 07:44 PM   #2
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If you know how to use a voltmeter and/or a test light, and you know some basic electrical theory (plus wire sizing), it's pretty easy. If those things don't sound familiar to you, I think Lewster is up in your general area, and he's legendary for doing a great job.
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Old 06-24-2015, 09:05 AM   #3
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Also see the diagrams and information at Welcome to AM Solar_Your RV Solar Specialists since 1987
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Old 06-27-2015, 03:52 PM   #4
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Just wondering what kind of progress you have made? Also, perhaps you can be more specific in terms of which panels you purchased and what controller you have? I'm sure we can walk you through the necessary steps if you're wanted to do it yourself.
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Old 06-30-2015, 09:19 PM   #5
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I have made zero progress with the solar install as we were streaming through Jasper National Park for a couple of weeks. We had no reservations and of course the electric sites were all full (thank goodness for the Yamaha!)

I have the flexible Grape Solar 100w panels and the Grape 320w ppt charge controller.

I would love step by step advice to be able to get some rays working for me. I'm not an electrical expert (obviously) but I enjoy learning.
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Old 06-30-2015, 10:10 PM   #6
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If you're looking for "using a yellow wire nut, twist the blue wire and the red wire together" level advice, the only way it can happen is face-to-face. Without being absolutely sure of exactly what your (insert color here) wire is connected to, nobody will tell you what to connect it to.

I hope.

I certainly wouldn't.
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Old 07-01-2015, 10:29 AM   #7
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Woof,

I'm pretty sure we can collectively walk you through a DIY installation. Let's first identify the parts you'll need for your system.

On the roof you'll need a combiner box, marine quality #10 AWG wire (order to length), tie wraps and adhesive clips and VHB tape. You can buy this from AM Solar.

Also on the roof you'll need Sikaflex 221, and (2) male MC4 connectors and (2) female MC4 connectors. I found these on Amazon.

You'll be connecting your two panels in series and joining them in the combiner box to the existing solar pre-wiring. Inside the Airstream you'll need a disconnect switch to disconnect the solar panels from the controller if for any reason you need to perform maintenance on the charger or disconnect the system. These switches are typically a rotary switch rated at 50A. I found mine at an auto parts store for less than $20. You'll also need a 30A inline fuse to go between the solar charger and your batteries. Again I bought an automotive in-line fuse holder and fitted it with a 30A automotive fuse.

Typically you would mount the Grape controller inside the Airstream, near where the solar pre-wiring terminates. From there you would wire the controller to the battery bus bar. Perhaps you could estimate how far of a run it will be from where you mount the controller to the battery bus bar and we could better advise you and what gauge wire to use for this run. The 2015 FB manual has a small section describing the factory solar pre-wire setup. I would familiarize myself by reading this.

So do you have any questions so far? Do all the components make sense? Perhaps you should do some on-line research and give AM Solar a call to identify what's been mentioned.

As an aside, I would consider adding a battery monitor now or in the future to your system. Although your Grape controller will give you an indication of when it's charging and when it's not, it's very useful to know exactly how much of your available battery capacity you have consumed at any point in time and where you are in replenishing the battery when charging. Since you already purchased the Grape controller your best bet is to acquire a Tri-metric battery monitor. Again, it's not necessary right now but it's highly recommended to have a battery monitoring system, especially when you have a solar charger.
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