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Old 10-28-2020, 07:37 PM   #1
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2016 19' Flying Cloud
Los Altos , California
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solar pre-wires- 2016 19ft flying cloud

Hi, we own a 2016 19ft flying cloud and are considering adding two 100 watt solar panels from renogy. I understand we have pre-wires that start under the front couch/bed and terminate in the front fantastic fan. I'm going to use those wires (I know they are not ideal gauge, but I don't mind a little power loss)

Does anybody have a suggestion on how to run those wires up to the roof to connect with the solar panels? Guessing I will have to drill a hole somewhere since I don't have a refrig vent like the larger AS. Maybe try to run them up through the TV antenna?

Also, I plan to connect the controller under the front couch to the PV wires and then run directly to batteries (I have two). any suggestions on how to get those wires out the front and to the battery box? I'm thinking somewhere through the floor.
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Old 10-29-2020, 01:57 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsmall01 View Post
Hi, we own a 2016 19ft flying cloud and are considering adding two 100 watt solar panels from renogy. I understand we have pre-wires that start under the front couch/bed and terminate in the front fantastic fan. I'm going to use those wires (I know they are not ideal gauge, but I don't mind a little power loss)

Does anybody have a suggestion on how to run those wires up to the roof to connect with the solar panels? Guessing I will have to drill a hole somewhere since I don't have a refrig vent like the larger AS. Maybe try to run them up through the TV antenna?

Also, I plan to connect the controller under the front couch to the PV wires and then run directly to batteries (I have two). any suggestions on how to get those wires out the front and to the battery box? I'm thinking somewhere through the floor.
If there was a fridge vent, that wouldn't help you. The wires, as you mentioned, terminate at the Fantastic Fan, not near the fridge. I would look into drilling into the outer roof adjacent to the fan, fish the wires through that hole (with a plastic or rubber bushing in it), and then in through the bottom of a solar combiner box placed over the hole in the roof. You can attach the box with VHB

tape and then seal up around it with SikaFlex, etc. Those wires then connect to the positive and negative bus bars in the combiner box. Then the wires from the panels enter through holes in the side of the box, using liquid tight strain reliefs, and wire up to the bus bars as well.

There is no reason to run wires from the controller outside to the batteries (or is there some reason you'd want to do that?) When you're in the electrical area under the dinette bench to install the controller, connect the controller outputs to the neg and pos bus bars that are under that bench. That will feed directly to the batteries without having to run wire through the floor to the batteries. Don't forget a fuse on the pos wire between the controller and the pos bus.
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Old 10-29-2020, 11:21 AM   #3
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2016 19' Flying Cloud
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a couple more questions

Peter,

Thank you the reply.. Really appreciate it.

I've not looked under the front dinette area yet, so I did not realize there is already a a bus bar directly to the battery there. I figured that bus bar would first go the panel and then the battery. I want to make sure i'm going from the solar controller directly to the battery.

For the roof part, do you know where I can find that solar combiner box with a bus bar? I'm not seeing anything on amazon. Also, I will have two 100watt panels on opposite sides of front roof. Should run them in parallel or in series? If parallel, I use a y connector I think. If in series, I would just run both sets of wires from the panels to that bus bar.

Final question, should I drill the hole up from inside the trailer or down from the roof? I know there are two layers of aluminum, so not sure how I can drill up from below.. (sorry, newbie question)
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Old 10-29-2020, 11:53 AM   #4
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2016 19' Flying Cloud
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combiner box

sorry, another question. Do I really need a combinor box with a bus bar on the roof if I just have two 100watt panels I plan to run in Parallel? Could I just use an entry gland to cover the hole in roof? I would still need somehow connect the pre-wires to the solar wires, but a combiner box with a busbar seems a bit overkill since I'm only going to have two wires from the panels connecting to the pre-wires..
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Old 10-29-2020, 01:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsmall01 View Post
sorry, another question. Do I really need a combinor box with a bus bar on the roof if I just have two 100watt panels I plan to run in Parallel? Could I just use an entry gland to cover the hole in roof? I would still need somehow connect the pre-wires to the solar wires, but a combiner box with a busbar seems a bit overkill since I'm only going to have two wires from the panels connecting to the pre-wires..
If you do series, you would have just two wires entering, and the series connection on the roof between the two panels would be via using the correct MC4 connectors. (Your earlier post had it backwards.)
The rub comes from connecting the #8 solar wire (two if series, four if parallel) to the two strands of #10 solar prewire in the roof. I guess you could try wire nuts but that would be far less than ideal. A combiner box would give you a solid safe connection, as well as provide the opportunity to add another panel or two if you can fit, and later decide to do that.
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Old 10-29-2020, 02:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsmall01 View Post
I've not looked under the front dinette area yet, so I did not realize there is already a a bus bar directly to the battery there. I figured that bus bar would first go the panel and then the battery. I want to make sure i'm going from the solar controller directly to the battery.

For the roof part, do you know where I can find that solar combiner box with a bus bar? I'm not seeing anything on amazon. Also, I will have two 100watt panels on opposite sides of front roof. Should run them in parallel or in series? If parallel, I use a y connector I think. If in series, I would just run both sets of wires from the panels to that bus bar.

Final question, should I drill the hole up from inside the trailer or down from the roof? I know there are two layers of aluminum, so not sure how I can drill up from below.. (sorry, newbie question)
It will make sense when you open up the dinette bench. Connecting the controller wires to the negative and positive Bus is the same as going directly to the batteries.

There are various combiner boxes out there. AM Solar makes a nice one, though larger than you need for just two panels. But it would leave expandability. Otherwise surf around on rv solar sites, there are other options.

As mentioned on previous post, running series would require a pos panel wire to connect to the neg wire on the other panel using the appropriate MC4 Connectors, and then the two remaining pos and neg wires going to the combiner. There is not a way to do series if you run all four wires into the combiner unless you somehow attached the pos and neg wires from the two panel in the box somehow, which would be difficult and wouldn't make sense. Only parallel is possible that way, with both pos wires going to positive bus and two negs going to neg bus.

As far as drilling the roof. I would drill a VERY small hole first from the inside and then feel around with a thin screwdriver or nail, moving it around to make sure there is no wiring loom right where you chose to drill. If it seems clear, drill the larger hole, being careful not to go any further than needed. With the bigger hole, you can more easily make sure there is nothing you'll hit. This part will be easier to figure out after removing the Fantastic Fan shroud, allowing you to see the solar prewire and what the roof situation looks like. This is obviously not something you want to screw up. Another element of this: I'm not sure how the roof is all sandwiched together if you have ducted AC, which I think you do. Not sure if that means you have 2 layers of aluminum, or three. I don't know how the roof is constructed for that. Maybe someone else can chime in here.

Look online, there are plenty of wiring schematics and videos showing how to hook up two panel in parallel or series. For example Renogy and AM Solar have those types of videos.
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Old 10-29-2020, 06:26 PM   #7
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solar

just one further clarification. I plan to use the renogy Y connectors to connect the two panels for parallel operation. So that means if I understand the videos and diagrams correctly, that I will only have 1 set of solar panel positive-negative wires come from the two Y connectors that will connect to the solar pre-wires coming up through the inside. SO I will need to make 4 connections only. Positive coming from panels to prewire -Yellow, Negative coming from solar panels- green prewire.

I agree that a bus-bar would be the best way to make the connection. I just don't want to put some huge box on the roof. I have no more room for panels, so I know I would not ever be adding more.
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Old 10-29-2020, 06:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsmall01 View Post
just one further clarification. I plan to use the renogy Y connectors to connect the two panels for parallel operation. So that means if I understand the videos and diagrams correctly, that I will only have 1 set of solar panel positive-negative wires come from the two Y connectors that will connect to the solar pre-wires coming up through the inside. SO I will need to make 4 connections only. Positive coming from panels to prewire -Yellow, Negative coming from solar panels- green prewire.

I agree that a bus-bar would be the best way to make the connection. I just don't want to put some huge box on the roof. I have no more room for panels, so I know I would not ever be adding more.
Yes, using the correct connectors you can parallel the cable and have just two wires from the panels to connect to the prewire. In that case, since you don't need expandability, you can just get a fitting like the one below, which already has liquid tight connectors, stick it down with VHB and seal it well. The wires will continue on to the solar prewire where you can connect them with a good butt splice connector, or even barrel or spade lugs or something similar, with heat shrink over the connection. You would want the 6-12 millimeter version I believe. Double check the OD of the wires coming from your panel connections. https://www.amazon.com/Link-Solar-We...68524188&psc=1
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Old 10-30-2020, 12:08 AM   #9
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2016 19' Flying Cloud
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solar wires

That's exactly what I was thinking. I'll probably try to make the butt connections inside the trailer and of course use heat shrink tubing over the connections.

My two big challenges will be making sure the panels mount well on the roof and wires are well managed, and cutting that hole to drop the PV wires down to meet the prewires

Thanks again! Super helpful!
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Old 10-30-2020, 11:47 AM   #10
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yes, another question, fuse

Peter,

Should I run an inline fuse from the positive PV wire to the controller and then another in-line fuse from the controller positive wire before it connects with battery bus bar? Or is that over-kill? Should I use in-line fuses or a resettable breaker setup? let me know.. thanks
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Old 10-30-2020, 01:29 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by jsmall01 View Post
Peter,

Should I run an inline fuse from the positive PV wire to the controller and then another in-line fuse from the controller positive wire before it connects with battery bus bar? Or is that over-kill? Should I use in-line fuses or a resettable breaker setup? let me know.. thanks
Resettable breaker on positive wire between controller and positive bus. Fuse between panels and controller is optional, most of us do put a switch so that power from the panels can be 'shut off' if ever necessary (repairs, changing out controller, etc). Could use resettable breaker there to give you a fuse and a switch all in one.
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Old 11-07-2020, 12:40 PM   #12
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2016 19' Flying Cloud
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question on battery disconnect

Hi Peter or anyone,

I'm planning to wire my solar controller to the positive and negative bus bars located under the front left bench in my 19ft FC. Do you know if that bus bar is controlled by the disconnect switch next to the door? In other words, if that is set to "store" will solar not charge the batteries? It looks like there a relay connecting postive wires after the bus bar, but not sure.
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