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Old 05-03-2011, 10:42 AM   #113
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Soyboy,
I too look forward to your progress...
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Old 05-03-2011, 03:27 PM   #114
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Evan,

Thanks great thread! It has given me ideas for a future solar installation
You're welcome. Thanks for the the thanks ...

-evan
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Old 05-03-2011, 04:12 PM   #115
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Originally Posted by Soyboy

I know some folks hook into the buss, but Dave discouraged this and recommended running the wires out to the batteries (two 6V Trojans). I will also install the temp sensor.


Soyboy, i'm close to following a similar road as you with respect to a solar install, and your comments and experience are very interesting to me.

I'm curious with respect to the above comment; I would think that the concern would be mitigated by use of remote voltage sense at the battery, which would enable the controller to compensate for voltage drops thru bus and battery cables. (provided the controller supports the feature)

Anyway, I look forward to reading more about your project!

Steve
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Old 05-03-2011, 04:23 PM   #116
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Originally Posted by steverino View Post
Soyboy, i'm close to following a similar road as you with respect to a solar install, and your comments and experience are very interesting to me.

I'm curious with respect to the above comment; I would think that the concern would be mitigated by use of remote voltage sense at the battery, which would enable the controller to compensate for voltage drops thru bus and battery cables. (provided the controller supports the feature)

Anyway, I look forward to reading more about your project!

Steve
Steve, one of the key aspects of a properly designed and installed solar charging system is minimization of the voltage drop (and corresponding amperage drop) from the panels to the controller and then from the controller to the batteries. This is why AM Solar suggests the use of direct battery connections and over-sized cables (currently up to 4AWG), along with temperature and voltage sense for proper charging.
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Old 05-03-2011, 10:47 PM   #117
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Steve...what Lew said. ;-)
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Old 05-03-2011, 10:50 PM   #118
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Lew, do you have any idea what size rivets I should use in order to re-install my fridge vent cap after I run the wires? I do have a rivet tool, but I have only used it a few times, and never on the Airstream. With all of the wire running / pulling etc with the solar installation, the only part I am worried about is the R&R of the vent cap!
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Old 05-03-2011, 11:05 PM   #119
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Lew, do you have any idea what size rivets I should use in order to re-install my fridge vent cap after I run the wires? I do have a rivet tool, but I have only used it a few times, and never on the Airstream. With all of the wire running / pulling etc with the solar installation, the only part I am worried about is the R&R of the vent cap!
Does one need to pull the vent cap? Seems like the connector box could be fastened in place w/ that VHB tape....

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Old 05-04-2011, 07:17 AM   #120
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Originally Posted by Soyboy View Post
Lew, do you have any idea what size rivets I should use in order to re-install my fridge vent cap after I run the wires? I do have a rivet tool, but I have only used it a few times, and never on the Airstream. With all of the wire running / pulling etc with the solar installation, the only part I am worried about is the R&R of the vent cap!
IIRC,on the last installation that I did with a vent cap, I drilled a hole in the side wall of the fridge vent after removing the top cap. Use an appropriate size grommet that is then placed in that hole and run your wire thru it, then seal it with SikFlex 221 or other appropriate waterproof sealant and you're done.

Barts is correct in that I use VHB tape to attach the combiner box on the roof (usually under one of the panels) where all of the panel wires are joined, then one wire from the box runs down the fridge vent to the charge controller.
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Old 05-04-2011, 11:04 AM   #121
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Lew, just to clarify, do you think I can drill a hole without removing the fridge vent cover? From looking at it, it seems that you could do that and then use a grommet etc. I don't know if it would cause much difficulty feeding the wire down through the drilled hole vs. having the cap and screen off. I just might give it a try. Any suggestions on the grommet? Would it be like the one that AM Solar is sending me for the combiner box? BTW: I ordered the "non" fridge vent C box to mount on the roof. However, I will not be drilling a hole in the roof and feeding the wire through the "bottom" of the box. Instead I will use a grommet and feed the wire out the side and to the fridge vent (BTW, they said I would have to "ream" the output hole a bit to run the wire out the side vs the bottom). The reason I didn't get the fridge vent box is because I didn't want to have to unrivet the vent cover every time I accessed the box (such as adding another panel in the future). One other point, I guess I will need to be careful and drill the hole in the vent on the side away from the fridge heater stack.

Also, I am glad you brought up about mounting the box under one of the panels.

Bart, thanks for your input too.

Thanks
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Old 05-05-2011, 12:07 AM   #122
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Take a look at this link; note the sideways install and the provided tape to avoid needing to drill any holes.

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Old 05-05-2011, 08:38 AM   #123
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Thanks Bart, but I am using the larger box, so per Lew's advice, and what others have done, I will mount it under a panel. I think I will try the tape to see how it holds and avoid more holes in the roof.

Dennie
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Old 05-05-2011, 08:43 AM   #124
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The dealer installed a panel and controller in 2007. It has worked fine until I went into the Safari yesterday when I was getting 0 or minimal voltage from the panel. This unit is called SolarPro CC20 and the company is ICP Solar of Montreal, Quebec.

E-mails to them are returned as undeliverable and their phone is disconnected. I think my warranty is fried just like the controller may be. Anyone ever hear of this company and know whether someone else owns them now? I haven't been able to find anything on the internet so far.

Gene
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Old 05-06-2011, 10:59 AM   #125
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The dealer installed a panel and controller in 2007. It has worked fine until I went into the Safari yesterday when I was getting 0 or minimal voltage from the panel. This unit is called SolarPro CC20 and the company is ICP Solar of Montreal, Quebec.

E-mails to them are returned as undeliverable and their phone is disconnected. I think my warranty is fried just like the controller may be. Anyone ever hear of this company and know whether someone else owns them now? I haven't been able to find anything on the internet so far.

Gene
Hi Gene,

Sorry to hear that your controller & the company that made it has packed it in. From my reading on the subject it appears that the quality of the controller can make a big difference in how much real charging power you can get out of your panels.

I have this controller & get reasonable charging even when I'm parked in shadier spots. It ain't cheap but it will allow for further expansion of your system in the future.

HPV-22B MPPT | Charge Controllers

Good luck on the fix.

-evan
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Old 05-06-2011, 11:14 AM   #126
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Originally Posted by Soyboy View Post

I know some folks hook into the buss, but Dave discouraged this and recommended running the wires out to the batteries (two 6V Trojans). I will also install the temp sensor.

I plan on running the wire down the fridge vent as that location will work for me. I think drill the rivets out and reinstalling will likely be one of the biggest pains of this job. Hopefully not too bad. The other will be feeding the wires out to the batteries.
Hi Soyboy.

I'm sure you'll be pleased to acquire all that silent clean power. It is a very worthwhile upgrade.

I don't wish to contradict Lewster but unless AM Solar has changed the terminal fused connector, or you upgrade the connector yourself, I don't see much point in going to all that extra work to avoid connecting to the bus. The connections from the bus to the batteries are pretty heavy (I'm guessing they are easily AWG 4 - 6). OTOH, the terminal connector that AM Solar provided me is a much lighter gauge & I would bet that if there is any voltage drop in the system it is there & not at the bus level. (See attached pic) I called Roger at AM Solar & asked him whether this light gauge connector was good enough & he assured me it was. If they are now using heavier 4 or 6 AWG wire for the longer interior runs then it would make sense to go to the extra work to fish the wire all the way to the exterior batteries, but otherwise, IMHO it's a lot of extra work for minimal gain.



Good luck & have fun with your project. It's a pretty satisfying upgrade.

-evan
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