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Open Roads Forum  >  Toy Haulers

 > Cyclone 3010 Battery Inverter Solar Upgrade

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watchthebox

California

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Posted: 03/03/11 12:54pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Manke wrote:

Thanks for all the helpful info watchthebox!

You're welcome!

Quote:

Do you have a rough estimate of total material cost of everything it took to make this mod?

Too much! I haven't kept tabs on total cost (I try not to think about it ). The inverter, with it's remote and battery monitor, the solar panels, the solar charge controller, and the batteries were the big ticket items. You can look around for best prices on those. The little stuff adds up too, like large battery cable 2/0 @ $6 per foot, 10AWG Romex ($30 something, if I recall correctly, for 25 ft), subpanel box $15, terminal lugs -- a bunch of them at $1.50 a pop, heat shrink, screws, bolts, solar panel mounting brackets, etc. I'm sure I'm in at least three grand. But think how much I'll save in gas not running the genny so much!


2008 Ford F-250 6.4 PSD, Curt Mfg. 20K Q5 & R5
2011 Heartland Cyclone 3010


Golden_HVAC

Fulltime, CA, USA

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Posted: 03/03/11 10:54pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What a great looking install!

You might want to check out the price of solar panels at SolarOnSale.com

I have also found some used solar panels at Craigslist.com However those panels did not have the correct mounting locations and frame work that a typical RV mounted panel would have. It was only about $300 for a 145 watt solar panel. Anything over $4 per rated watt is kinda expensive, and around $2 per rated watt is a great deal. Then you will need a solar controller too.

For my heating system, I normally don't use 12 volt power, I use a Olympic Catalytic heater, and leave a window and roof vent slightly open at night. I can keep my RV at 68-70 with very little use of the furnace, until it is below 30F. I have 6,000 Btu's and a 30' RV with dual pane windows.

You can find the Olympic Catalytic heater for a good price here. It is not listed on their website, until you get to the check out, and it was found there last time I checked. I have a dust cover and leg kit, and kit to plug in a quick connect gas line, and 18" gas line. I put a tee under my oven, and the quick connect next to the wall, where I would not hit it with my foot, but it is handy to heat the whole RV. RvSolarElectric.com

I have 4 batteries too, and 415 watts of solar. I started with a pair of 45 watt panels, then installled a 75W panel when I went to a larger RV, and installed a pair of 120 watt panels when I got a DSS system, and needed more power watching a lot of TV.

Fred.

stsmark

Northern CA

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Posted: 03/04/11 07:11am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

From what I have read here and other sites the folks who are satisfied are running at least 6 awg wire from the panels to the controller. For some reason the standard line loss calcs don't cross over to reality. Quite a few people have commented on this after adding panels and not seeing the performance gain expected.

The message that seems to always come through is cable size and charger voltage in the bulk mode as the keys to true success.

Just food for thought


Mark, Cathy and Zoey (aka The Golden Missle)
2011 F350 CCSB 6.7 (aka Frosty)
2011 Cyclone 2812 (aka The Little Guy)
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watchthebox

California

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Posted: 03/04/11 10:54am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Fred, thanks for the tip about heating with a catalytic heater. It sounds like you have it set up for convenient use with the quick connects. I guess since they are catalytic heaters they're safe for use indoors? (Pardon my ignorance, as I've never used one before!)

How is your solar working out for you? What charge controller are you using?

watchthebox

California

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Posted: 03/04/11 11:01am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Mark, I hear what you're saying about wire sizing, and believe it. Thank you for your input. I have already bought a big spool of 10AWG wire, so I'm going to give it a try and hope for the best. My expectation has been that with the 24V nominal panels, there will be 1/2 the current and therefore half the voltage drop (compared to 12V nominal panels). I'll let you know next week, assuming I can figure out a good route for wiring to panels.

nayther

Burbank, CA

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Posted: 04/27/11 03:59pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That's one super clean install, one that should last for a LONG time. Nice work.


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watchthebox

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Posted: 04/26/11 09:07pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Last week I completed the electrical upgrades and modifications I've been making to my Cyclone 3010. I got the two 180W solar panels mounted on the roof, and finalized the cable routing and connections to the Rogue MPPT solar charge controller.

We went dry-camping last weekend, so I got to put the system to test for the first time. I'm happy with the results. Having the inverter and solar panels significantly decreased generator run time. I probably only used the generator 1/4 of what I previously have. It was nice being able to watch a movie at night, or use the microwave in the morning without having to start up the generator.

The maximum daily harvest was 2.43kWh (178.6Ah). The maximum amp output I observed on the Rogue's display was 25A. As I had expected, the 360W total of solar panels I installed couldn't always fully keep up with usage. On heavy electricity usage days, the generator was needed to top off the batteries. Overall I'm very pleased with the results.

Here are some pictures of the installation:

Solar panels on roof:


I mounted panels with simple aluminum brackets secured to the roof with 3/8 inch well nuts and stainless steel security bolts.


One of the trickiest parts of installing the well nuts was getting them through the EPDM rubber. It helped to spread the rubber roofing with needle nose pliers while pushing well nut in.


Cables between solar panels. I didn't want to make any more holes in the roof to affix the solar cables, so I screwed a couple clamps to the solar panel frames and used those to secure the short span of solar cables in split loom tubing between the two panels and from the panels to the refrigerator vent. The solar cables are rated for outdoor use, but I thought it would be good to have some extra protection, so I wrapped the cables in split loom tubing.


Close-up of cable cover clamp:


Cables from panels to refrigerator vent:


Cables through grommets in refrigerator vent screen:


I thought awhile about how to route the solar cables from the roof to the charge controller in the pass through compartment. I decided I didn't want to bother going into the undercarriage, so I decided to run the cables from the refrigerator vent passage, behind the kitchen cabinets, under the main door threshold, and under the stairs. It worked pretty well. I'm still waiting on a longer piece of a portion of the threshold to fully cover and hide the cables, but here's what it looks like now:

Cables from kitchen cabinet to threshold:


Cables from threshold to stairs:


Charge controller in pass-through compartment:


Readout of charge controller showing maximum daily harvest this last weekend of 2.43kWh (178.6Ah):


It's taken awhile to complete this project, but it's been rewarding and educational.

* This post was edited 04/26/11 10:35pm by watchthebox *

McKenziek

Visalia, Ca

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Posted: 03/04/11 01:57pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

watchthebox wrote:

Mark, I hear what you're saying about wire sizing, and believe it. Thank you for your input. I have already bought a big spool of 10AWG wire, so I'm going to give it a try and hope for the best. My expectation has been that with the 24V nominal panels, there will be 1/2 the current and therefore half the voltage drop (compared to 12V nominal panels). I'll let you know next week, assuming I can figure out a good route for wiring to panels.


Oh yeah, size matters!




2013 Four Winds 33SW F550 Class C

watchthebox

California

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Posted: 03/04/11 02:05pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wow! You running those from your solar panels to the charge controller?! That should certainly minimize voltage drop.

McKenziek

Visalia, Ca

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Posted: 03/04/11 02:25pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

watchthebox wrote:

Wow! You running those from your solar panels to the charge controller?! That should certainly minimize voltage drop.


No, inverter to batts.

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