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Old 03-06-2015, 10:44 PM   #1
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Question Solar Run, keeping it short



Very excited about this, but just had a thought tonight. I purchase my solar through AM Solar with a refrigerator vent combo box. I know a number of folks, especially the ones I follow on IG who run their wires this route, down thru the vent and then forward towards the batteries.

In my of my reading, the topic of short cable runs, in relation to inverters and solar and your batteries comes up a bit. And I'm wondering, if it would be worth a roof box to run my cables down the bedroom curbside wall to have a shorter run closer to the batteries.

Thoughts? Or will the loss not be that noticeable?
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Old 03-06-2015, 11:02 PM   #2
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When it comes to solar, short runs and fat wires are the rule. Only you can decide if drilling a hole in your roof to install a combiner box is worth risking a leak. I ran mine down through the refer vent because it was convenient to do so, but I wouldn't hesitate to install AM Solar's roof combiner box because I'm sure it's high quality and with Sikaflex adhesive caulk would not leak.

I think you'll be okay so long as you use #6 or larger wire from the combiner box to your controller and mount your controller and inverter as close as possible to the batteries. Use larger wire (ex. #2 or larger if possible) from the controller to the batteries and from batteries to the inverter.
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Old 03-06-2015, 11:05 PM   #3
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Well I was going to use cable glands for leak proof holes in the roof for my internet setup, and I just thought same thing could be done here. But good to know. Going to do some measurements and think about what I feel will be the best vs reward vs hassle.
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Old 03-07-2015, 09:43 AM   #4
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I'm still working on my Solar install writeup but I asked a few people about the fridge vent combiner privately and they said that if they did it again they'd just drill a hole and use a combiner box for ease of installation and maintenance. So that's what I did. Cut my #4 cable run by 8 feet or so. I think we ended up at 35' running through the pantry and out under the water heater under the trailer to the front power center. (27FB). When you start working on the roof you realize that Airstream has cut several holes in your roof already (even on main seams) and some of them not well sealed (sewer vents and skylights). Just mount and seal carefully using trempro or Silkaflex and you'll be fine. - Brad


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Old 03-07-2015, 09:45 AM   #5
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Oh and X2 on ACstokes recommendation on mounting solar charge unit close to the battery and #2 wire from charger to battery.


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Old 03-07-2015, 10:05 AM   #6
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Great guys, going to contact AM Solar, didn't think about the pantry. Was not excited about running it thru the fridge and then across and over.
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Old 03-07-2015, 10:07 AM   #7
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Bold, I think if you study the solar wire size charts and balance distance against gauge (and cost), you'll find your desired answer. I also say keep the controller as close to batts as possible. Voltage loss is much more critical between controller and batts than it is between panels and controller.......but don't ignore either.
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Old 03-08-2015, 11:42 AM   #8
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Preview

Hi Bold,

My schedule is packed the next few weeks so my solar install write up is on the back burner but since you have nearly the same vintage and layout AS I as I have, and are moving forward soon, I thought I'd give a little preview so you can make informed decisions. Eventually I'll add my story to kscherzi's excellent thread as I followed most of his design excepting the fridge vent. http://www.airforums.com/forums/f37/...ml#post1320025

I procured a sunrunner signature 40mppt procore system (Bluesky) and (4) GS100 panels. Also a 300 watt suresign inverter. Ran #4 homerun from combiner to Bluesky and #2 from Bluesky to batteries (2) Lifeline 6 volt 220AH in parallel. I also cleaned up the existing wiring and added a 100 amp main fuse. I recommend taking the front bed structure out to work on the install. I also added a 120 volt shore/Inverter switch like kscherzi so ignore the extra wire and conduit in the pictures if that is not part of your plan.
We pulled the kitchen cabinets down and pulled the water heater out a little to facilitate running the cables out of the floor near the wheel well and came up in the area near the spare tire. More details in a month or so. Some pictures:
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Old 03-08-2015, 10:47 PM   #9
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Thumbs up

Thanks SuperTrouper for the information. Have me considering some of those finer point of your install now.

I got started mounting my panels tonight. AMSolar is 3 day shipping my combiner box.
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Old 03-08-2015, 11:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoldAdventure View Post
Thanks SuperTrouper for the information. Have me considering some of those finer point of your install now.



I got started mounting my panels tonight. AMSolar is 3 day shipping my combiner box.

Are those 135 watt panels? The installation is looking good!

I'll post a picture of my final layout of (4) 100 watt panels when I get to my computer. I have room and charger sizing for two more 100 watt panels if required down the road. -Brad


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Old 03-09-2015, 07:26 AM   #11
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Yes they are, I went with 3 135W panels, 405 watts total. But if the 20% inefficiency others mention holds true, I may add a 4th panel later on.
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Old 03-09-2015, 07:31 AM   #12
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Here's the finished product from the outside. (4) 100Watt.
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Old 03-09-2015, 11:50 AM   #13
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I'm impressed where you got that panel on the street side, I didn't think one would fit there.

I was thinking if I run a 4th panel, it'd put in front of the AC since I tested fitted and found I can still put a panel there and tilt, although your layout looks like a better idea.
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Old 04-15-2015, 01:46 PM   #14
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You can easily add #5 and 6 on either side of the center skylite also.


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