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Old 05-06-2003, 11:54 PM   #21
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2004 30' Classic Slideout
Fenton , Missouri
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So where did you end up mounting the control panel? Any pictures?

Jack
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Old 05-07-2003, 04:16 PM   #22
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1999 25' Safari
Edina , Minnesota
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Jack,
I knew you'd ask.

I mounted the controller on the fascia is behind the door in the compartment above the refer after I found that there was nothing behind it but space. Though it is not completely sealed from the inside of the coach, to prevent any refer venting issues, I drilled two holes for the wires in the fascia and mounted the controller in a surface mount box with about a millimeter of space for the compartment door to close. The holes were then sealed around the wires.

The heat issue is a concern, but the thought is that I will leave the compartment door open if there is any question about the heat, leaving the controller near the A/C flow or the rear Fantastic Fan.

We're weekenders mostly, so I think I'll be fine. If not, I have a 12V low speed, high flow (but silent) fan from an old power amp that I can rig up somehow to increase flow.

This location was about the only realistic option without major work.
Jace
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Old 09-19-2012, 02:17 PM   #23
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1999 27' Safari
Palo Alto , California
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I just added solar to my 1999 Safari two weeks ago.

Like the previous poster, there was no pre-wiring in my trailer. The only part of the job that was difficult was pulling the wires.

First step - I added a second battery in my rear trunk in an Atwood batter case, sealed the case to prevent battery gas entering the storage compartment, and vented the battery box to the outside with a small piece of tubing. I ran four gauge wire from the new battery to the electrical connectors at the front of the trailer. I just following the existing wiring all the way - there was plenty of extra room in the existing chases to pull more wire.

Part of this project is removing the refrigerator (great time to clean the coils). Inside the refrigerator compartment you'll find metal access panels that give you access to both underneath the shower, and to underneath the pantry. This makes it relatively easy to pull wires to both the back of the trailer (under the shower and restroom sink) and to the front of the trailer (under the pantry and through the existing wire routing channel inside the trailer near the floor.)

It's important to seal everything back up in the refrigerator compartment when you are done to prevent the exhaust from the propane refrigerator from getting into your trailer cabin. In my trailer, much of the factory sealing (they used aluminum HVAC tape) was already broken when I opened up the compartment - so I killed several birds with one stone.

The wiring for the solar panels goes from the power bus at the front of the trailer (where your trailer on-off switch connects) to your charge controller, and from the charge controller to your panels.

I ran heavy gauge SOOW power cord from my charge controller in the front of the trailer and routed it behind the fridge and up through the refrigerator vent to the roof of the trailer, so I didn't need to make any new penetrations through the roof of the trailer. I also installed a 25 amp automotive-style fuse in this cord near the controller, both to protect the system and so I can turn the power from the panels off if I need to.

I purchased two Unisolar ePVL-144 flexible solar panels on Ebay. Unisolar recently went bankrupt, so these panels have been going for around $150. The cool thing is they are flexible and peel and stick - you just roll them onto your roof and then pull off the plastic protecting the sticky mastic one you are happy with the positioning. Each strip puts out up to 144 watts and they are about 18 feet long and 14 inches wife, and 1/16 inch thick. They weight maybe 10 pounds. The great thing about these panels is you do not need to screw into your roof - they just stick on.

I purchased an Intronics 25 AMP MPPT solar controller and installed under my front lounge next to my AC converter. It is the brains of the system - it converts the higher voltage DC coming from the panels to 12-14 volt power for the trailer.

Everything worked perfectly the first time.

Total time for the project was about 1/2 day. What I like about it is that now I can largely forget about power - I don't have a 120V power outlet near the trailer, so it was a pain to have to remember to run an extension cord and plug it in periodically. I no longer turn off the main power switch in the trailer anymore when I'm storing it, and the trailer charges itself during the day. I'm not yet sure if I can totally eliminate all use of my generator when camping - time will tell - but for sure for tailgating on weekends during football season the trailer is completely recharging itself in between games - which is extremely convenient.

Total cost for all of the parts going into the solar system was about $600 - for a 288 watt system - which compares awfully well to the $2600 airstream wants for the factory 58 watt system. The second battery cost another $150 or so including all parts and a new RV battery from Costco.
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Old 09-19-2012, 03:18 PM   #24
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Interesting! Any photos of the installation?

Philip
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Old 09-19-2012, 07:24 PM   #25
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1999 27' Safari
Palo Alto , California
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Here it is going in... The white stuff is the plastic you peel off to expose the mastic on the underside of the panel. On my 27 foot safari, there was only room for one full strip to run the full length of the trailer. I'm planning to cut the second panel into three pieces, and then then wire them back together so they can be pasted down side by side in a 6 foot by 5 foot open space I have toward the back of the trailer roof when I have some time to do some soldering one of these weekends.

There is a thread on the Unisolar panels over in the solar panel forum...



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