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Old 10-25-2022, 10:54 AM   #1
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2022 25' Globetrotter
Madison , Alabama
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Where to locate disconnect for factory solar?

Good morning,

I've got a 2022 GT 25 FBT with factory solar. I'm going to install a disconnect switch between the panels and charge controller and was wondering where folks have placed theirs?

I'd like to make it as easy to access as possible. I believe the charge controller is under the foot of the curbside bed, accessible by removing a panel under the mattress. Has anyone placed the switch in the outside storage compartment? Any challenges to routing cables?

Thanks for any help.
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Old 10-25-2022, 11:04 AM   #2
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Hi

The "full up" way to do a disconnect is to put it in its own enclosure on the outside of the trailer and clearly mark it as a solar disconnect. That way, in an emergency folks will know what to do with it. Having it indoors or inside a locked compartment kind of defeats this portion of the value of doing it.

Bob
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Old 10-25-2022, 11:18 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

The "full up" way to do a disconnect is to put it in its own enclosure on the outside of the trailer and clearly mark it as a solar disconnect. That way, in an emergency folks will know what to do with it. Having it indoors or inside a locked compartment kind of defeats this portion of the value of doing it.

Bob
Hi Bob,

Understand the concept/benefit, however, does anyone actually do this? Even on the pro installs from AM Solar, Airstream Nuts and Bolts, etc., I don't recall seeing disconnects outside the trailer.

I was a bit surprised the factory didn't include one at all, especially if it's a safety issue. Seems like it's a necessity anytime you're disconnecting the batteries. I guess there's other ways to do it like unplugging from the combiner on the roof.

Thanks
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Old 10-25-2022, 08:50 PM   #4
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Where to locate disconnect for factory solar?

My main battery disconnect switch from BlueSea Systems is mounted outside. Makes it easy to evacuate the interior in case of a fire, and then kill all DC power from outside. Itís a waterproof and explosion resistant sealed unit, marine rated. Enclosure is a modified dual duplex splash proof cover assembly that just barely fits the switch. Wires are chafe protected with split loom tubing.

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This disconnects the positive side of the pair of GC-2 flooded lead acid batteries mounted in a plastic box on the A-frame. Remember that the idea is to fight a fire from a safe position, not up close and personal.

Been there, done that, coughed up yellow dry chemical fire extinguisher agent for a week or so. I have data on the fact that itís very effective on burning wires, and tastes really bad.

Fortunately it wonít harm you. Killing all power is the quick way to limit the spread of an electrical fire. My Airstream has two dry chemical 10B:C extinguishers, one aft by the kitchen, one just inside the main door next to the front bedroom area. Not that Iím paranoid, but ďthey are, in fact, out to get youÖĒ
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'The Silver HamShack' ('07 International 22FB CCD 75th Anniversary)
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Old 10-26-2022, 08:17 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyler2you View Post
Hi Bob,

Understand the concept/benefit, however, does anyone actually do this? Even on the pro installs from AM Solar, Airstream Nuts and Bolts, etc., I don't recall seeing disconnects outside the trailer.

I was a bit surprised the factory didn't include one at all, especially if it's a safety issue. Seems like it's a necessity anytime you're disconnecting the batteries. I guess there's other ways to do it like unplugging from the combiner on the roof.

Thanks
Hi

The "flip side" of doing this is to burry the switch in a location that works with the wires. You flip it for the odd maintenance job and that's about it.

There's also the fun of bumping this or that switch by accident ( or some kid poking at it ....). There's always a downside.

The "why" drives just how far you go with this.

Bob
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Old 10-26-2022, 08:46 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

The "why" drives just how far you go with this.

Bob
Understood--thanks. The "why" for me is mainly to prevent damaging the charge controller when disconnecting the batteries and for other general maintenance tasks. I'm planning on either under the bed or in the outside storage compartment depending on what things look like once I get it apart.

After some more searching I did see an install by Airstream Nuts and Bolts where he kept the disconnect inside near the fridge but put a sign on the outside that indicated where to go in an emergency. Lots of discussion online regarding location/marking for disconnects to comply with NEC 690.13. Apparently the code doesn't apply to RVs which is why I guess there isn't one from the factory.
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Old 10-27-2022, 08:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyler2you View Post
Understood--thanks. The "why" for me is mainly to prevent damaging the charge controller when disconnecting the batteries and for other general maintenance tasks. I'm planning on either under the bed or in the outside storage compartment depending on what things look like once I get it apart.

After some more searching I did see an install by Airstream Nuts and Bolts where he kept the disconnect inside near the fridge but put a sign on the outside that indicated where to go in an emergency. Lots of discussion online regarding location/marking for disconnects to comply with NEC 690.13. Apparently the code doesn't apply to RVs which is why I guess there isn't one from the factory.
Hi

Simple answer in any RV fire: Focus on getting folks, pets and gear (= the truck ....) moved away from the RV. Things can get very bad very quickly in the RV. Going back in for any reason is typically not recommended.

Yes, this can be easier said than done. You have a lot of money in that RV. Folks put a lot of faith in small fire extinguishers. Better to spend some "quality time" over the winter making sure your insurance policy is up to date.

Bob
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Old 10-27-2022, 08:09 AM   #8
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Erie , Colorado
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Where to locate disconnect for factory solar?

This was how I did a install on a 29 ft Lance, by Entry way. Red Roof, Black For potable plug in. Blue sea isolation switches are heavy duty. And can easily handle the amps. Condensation.
Just another monkey brain idea.
Cheers
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Old 10-27-2022, 12:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyler2you View Post
Good morning,



I've got a 2022 GT 25 FBT with factory solar. I'm going to install a disconnect switch between the panels and charge controller and was wondering where folks have placed theirs?



I'd like to make it as easy to access as possible. I believe the charge controller is under the foot of the curbside bed, accessible by removing a panel under the mattress. Has anyone placed the switch in the outside storage compartment? Any challenges to routing cables?



Thanks for any help.


Hi again, We are picking up our 2023 Globetrotter tomorrow. So Have not done that install yet.
I had a couple more thoughts.
When I went to do quick inspection on or new GB I opened the door to everything lit up, I said what the heck/ because I had just opened battery box. Which was empty. The sales guy says oh it must be because of the solar. unless Iím wrong and my girl does point out when I am.
The Victron. Charge controller Must be connected to 12 V DC before turning on the solar panels and turned off reverse order. Like if you store indoor shop for weeks or months at a time no sun light.
So Iím thinking I hope I donít have any damage to my charge controller cause airstream sending them down the road improperly?
But Iím sure Iíll be figuring out what works and what donít.
Anyway another idea is to not add anymore wire length to this project.
Another idea what I did last install and I have done a few, is to face the blue sea switch into your outside storage compartment. I did that behind these charge controllers. You can offset so when you peek in from outside into storage compartment it looks flush.
Sorry no pick of that one. But hereís other side. I hope to be more useful when I get onto my Airstream upgrades.
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Old 10-27-2022, 01:45 PM   #10
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Madison , Alabama
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrvlngTinTin View Post
When I went to do quick inspection on or new GB I opened the door to everything lit up, I said what the heck/ because I had just opened battery box. Which was empty. The sales guy says oh it must be because of the solar. unless Iím wrong and my girl does point out when I am.
The Victron. Charge controller Must be connected to 12 V DC before turning on the solar panels and turned off reverse order. Like if you store indoor shop for weeks or months at a time no sun light.
So Iím thinking I hope I donít have any damage to my charge controller cause airstream sending them down the road improperly?
Seems odd that the 12V loads would power-up absent a battery. They should at least be leaving the panels unplugged on the roof until they get batteries installed. Can't imagine it's good for the charge controller.
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Old 10-28-2022, 07:56 PM   #11
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I got out to the trailer today and got the disconnect installed, so I thought I'd post a follow-up in case it helps anyone in the future.

Once I got the bed platform apart, I was pleasantly surprised by the condition of everything underneath. After seeing so many examples of rats nests around the 12V panel and inverter, I expected the worst. The wiring was actually pretty well organized and I didn't find any construction debris except for one stray screw. The only thing I found out of sorts were the connections on one side of the battery disconnect solenoid. The nut was on by around 3 threads and all the connections were loose. I'm surprised that everything was working properly given the lack of a solid connection. That was an easy fix. The only other thing I wasn't pleased with was the mouse runway into the trailer as you'll see in the picture below.

I installed the disconnect in the outside storage compartment up and out of the way. I was prepared to find 10 gauge wire coming from the panels to the controller based on everything I'd ready here in advance, so I had 10 gauge wire and connectors ready to go. What I found was actually 8 gauge wire. After an hour and a half searching Lowes, HD, and Ace for 8 gauge wire and 3/8" ring terminals, I finally found what I needed at Autozone. They had a 6 ft. roll of 8 gauge wire in the battery section and some pricey gold plated ring terminals.
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Old 10-28-2022, 09:33 PM   #12
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200W-300W solar 12V system is literally nothing. Panels only generate power when properly loaded by a controller (which is very complicated, solar silicon is weird), the system is running at 12V (AS could wire in series but from what Iíve seen it doesnít appear so, and would mean that any shade on any panels takes down the array).

House solar is different, the important bit is your controller gets its frequency reference from the grid, so if that goes down so goes the solar, thus ensuring you arenít backfeeding to the grid in an outage.

EVís are a fun combination in that they run at HV (~400 something VDC usually) with a tremendous amount of work stored (60 kWh on up).

The newer ASís at least have an aux solar panel port for a ground based panel, connect/disconnect to your hearts content.

Anyhow cool if you want a Frankenstein switch, but just unplugging from the controller is fine too (or hitting the breaker to the controller will take down the solar too - no worries.)
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Old 10-28-2022, 10:28 PM   #13
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Erie , Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tyler2you View Post
seems odd that the 12v loads would power-up absent a battery. They should at least be leaving the panels unplugged on the roof until they get batteries installed. Can't imagine it's good for the charge controller.


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Old 10-28-2022, 10:34 PM   #14
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Just got it home.
Will connect charge controller and battery monitor to app and check info.
I expect will be ok? But Not what victron
Instructs. The pc board need itís steady voltage to do itís job dealing with panels.
And needs to be on beforehand. And last when isolated panels.
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Old 10-29-2022, 05:14 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by DrivingDan View Post
Anyhow cool if you want a Frankenstein switch, but just unplugging from the controller is fine too (or hitting the breaker to the controller will take down the solar too - no worries.)
Well, that was really the issue. Based on how AS wired the solar, there was no way to easily disconnect the panels or controller.

Disconnecting the panels required getting on the roof and unplugging the cables from the combiner box.

Disconnecting the controller from the batteries required pulling the 35 amp fuse on the wire between them (not easy to get to).

Neither were a good solution for my use case, hence the "Frankenstein switch".
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Old 11-10-2022, 09:19 AM   #16
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Where to locate disconnect for factory solar?

[quote=trvlngtintin;2643651]after watching this video,
learning a new school approach and legal way of installing disconnect.
Will do it this way.
There is legal code that both negative and positive inputs need to be on disconnect.
So my old school blue sea switch do not handle the voltage.
I will do it this way going forward.
Sorry for my previous sharing!
https://youtu.be/HOXnWXvLXko
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Old 11-11-2022, 07:01 AM   #17
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[QUOTE=TrvlngTinTin;2643653]
Quote:
Originally Posted by trvlngtintin View Post
after watching this video,
learning a new school approach and legal way of installing disconnect.
Will do it this way.
There is legal code that both negative and positive inputs need to be on disconnect.
So my old school blue sea switch do not handle the voltage.
I will do it this way going forward.
Sorry for my previous sharing!
https://youtu.be/HOXnWXvLXko
Hi

Voltage does matter for the switch.

There is no law that requires this or that be done for solar on an RV. Folks get confused about what does and does not actually apply as a regulation to RV's. A recommendation is not the same as a regulation / law. You can legally do it as you see fit. If you want to put a switch in one leg, that's fine.

Bob
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Old 11-13-2022, 05:43 PM   #18
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Where to locate disconnect for factory solar?

[QUOTE=uncle_bob;2643814]
Quote:
Originally Posted by TrvlngTinTin View Post



Hi



Voltage does matter for the switch.



There is no law that requires this or that be done for solar on an RV. Folks get confused about what does and does not actually apply as a regulation to RV's. A recommendation is not the same as a regulation / law. You can legally do it as you see fit. If you want to put a switch in one leg, that's fine.



Bob
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Old 11-14-2022, 07:09 AM   #19
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[QUOTE=TrvlngTinTin;2644341]
Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

Which is not something that applies to an RV.

Simple way to look at the electric code: It applies to all the hard wired stuff that gets power up to that socket you plug into. Once you go past that socket, other rules apply. Your entire RV is "past the socket" as far as the electric code is concerned. Yes, this is a simplification, but it applies in this case.

Bob
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