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Old 11-09-2017, 06:48 PM   #1
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1970 25' Caravanner
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wiring for solar now for install later

Reading through the solar install threads have taught me 2 things :
1) It is not for the average DIYer
2) It is not cheap

For these reasons, I am benching the idea of solar install during my current Caravanner renovation, however, since I will have the interior skins off, I would like to lay in the wiring that would be needed.

Would appreciate any advice on what to put in (and where to put it) so that the professionals will have an easier time down the road. Thanks.
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Old 11-09-2017, 07:33 PM   #2
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Same here. In my 73 23-footer, all the wiring terminates in the back curbside closet, and the battery is located there as well, so I ran a pair of #8 wires from there to the fridge vent. I'll likely never use them...but they're there if I change my mind.
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Old 11-09-2017, 10:36 PM   #3
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Future wiring

You are making a smart move to think about solar wiring now. I would suggest you think about how large a system you plan on (solar panels & batteries) now also. They will dictate sizing wire and several other pieces necessary. This is the wiring plan I have for my unit. What I would point out is there are several pieces, besides the panels and battery location, to plan on. If you use an inverter like mine its big and heavy. If you have to spread out these pieces to multiple cabinets now is a great time to rough-in the wiring.

Wiring Diagram.pdf

My system is from AM Solar in Oregon. Their site and tutorials can be quite helpful.

https://amsolar.com/

If you review posts by Lewster on wire and component sizing and specs you'll be ahead of the game.
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Old 11-09-2017, 11:37 PM   #4
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I might suggest not only pre-wiring for solar but also for inverter plugs if you think they may be in your future.
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Old 11-10-2017, 11:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy9107 View Post
Reading through the solar install threads have taught me 2 things :
1) It is not for the average DIYer
2) It is not cheap

For these reasons, I am benching the idea of solar install during my current Caravanner renovation, however, since I will have the interior skins off, I would like to lay in the wiring that would be needed.

Would appreciate any advice on what to put in (and where to put it) so that the professionals will have an easier time down the road. Thanks.
It's much easier than you think and what some make it out to be. Getting all the components is the hard part depending where you live. In the US this is a non issue. I can go to HD and get all the components for a combiner box, but you are best to just buy a pre made one if you don't know what you are doing. Double sided VHB tape sticks everything to the roof. Wiring in a battery monitor at this point is also much easier and will help you even if you don't utilize the solar.

For a pre-wire I would just go with #4 wire since then you are safe with what you want to add later. Sure a smaller Guage will work, but for the difference in cost it's not worth it. For the pre-wire that is all you will need. The wire to the roof and the combiner box. Then you could add the wiring from the inverter to your AC panel. 10 guage will be more than you need there.

When you get to adding the components you simply stick the panels to the roof and wire into the combiner box. Inside you add you disconnect and fuses and your charge controller and hook that up to your pre-wire then add the wiring to the batteries (fused of course). The inverter connects to the batteries then to your AC panel or you could just feed a separate receptacle instead of the panel the way AS does.

As for cost the sky is the limit if you want a huge amount of panels and storage, but a modest system can be had for around $2400. That is what I have in mine and I can boondock for weeks without any issues. No generator disturbing the peace and polluting the environment. Even on dark overcast rainy days it charges.
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