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Old 10-17-2012, 03:50 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
2007 20' Safari SE
METAIRIE , Louisiana
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 15
solar prewire location: 2007 20' Safari SE

The yellow and green 10 ga wires labeled SOLAR go not to the fridge outside compartment, but to the streetside bathroom wood bulkhead, between the cafe table and the bathroom sink, and there I lose them. This is a 2007 20' Safari SE. Any suggestions as to where to look to tie in? I am inclined not use the pre-wire; and instead drop my cable behind the stone shield and then up through the existing floor cable port to the front bus, beneath the forward berth. The control panel would then attach to the wood bulkhead along side the bunk.
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:49 PM   #2
2 Rivet Member
2005 19' International CCD
Campbell , California
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 47
In my 2005 19' International, the solar prewire ran from the 12v electrical terminal block under the front dinette bench seat, back along the roadside behind the kitchen, up through the closet into the ceiling, and ended coiled up in the ceiling between the air conditioner and the front vent. Access to the coiled solar wires in the ceiling was made by removing the front vent trim panel and searching around through the insulation.

Generally, solar installers recommend using heavier wire then what is provided by Airstream's factory prewire. However, in my case, the solar company (AM Solar) concluded the factory prewire would be acceptable due to the relatively short solar wire lengths in the design of the 19' International and my relatively small 100-150 watt panel system. As a result, I used the solar prewires and just followed the factory recommended wiring layout, which made the entire installation much easier.

Good luck with your project. Solar has really worked out well for us.
~ Ken
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Old 10-21-2012, 11:01 PM   #3
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2000 27' Safari
Palo Alto , California
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 272
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I found that running cabling was the most painful part of my installation, so I would be inclined to use the existing wires if at all possible.

If you wire your panels in series, and use an MPPT controller, which you are likely to be doing anyway, you can get away with using 10 gauge wires without experiencing significant transmission loss.

In my system I've got two panels in series producing 288 watts at about 70 volts DC - making it perfectly acceptable to run with 10 gauge cable (even 12 gauge would be fine at this voltage over the short lengths in an Airstream. My MPPT controller converts the roughly 70 volt 4 amp current from the panels into roughly 21 amp 13 volt current to charge the batteries.

10 years ago folks were generally running 12V nominal systems (the panels ran at 15-18 volts) - at these lower voltages you can experience a large amount of transmission loss if you aren't using heavy gauge conductors.

Hope this helps.
- Dan

1999 27' Safari + 2011 Mercedes GL 350 Turbo-diesel
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