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 > Solar Ready Camper Help!

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coachb_32

Colorado

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Posted: 05/05/21 11:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hello everyone,

I recently traded in my old travel trailer for a new one. This new one is "solar ready". I never dealt with solar panels before. All they said during the walk-through was buy a panel, plug it in, and go. Well reading so many reviews and other things, this isn't the case. I found out you need a charge control and then find the wires that go to the battery from the solar port on the side. No further directions were given and I can't figure it out for the life of me. My new trailer does not have a battery disconnect so the battery died and I want to keep it alive. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Lwiddis

Williams AZ area

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Posted: 05/05/21 11:47am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Welcome. Read the basics on solar. Try this one...https://roadslesstraveled.us/rv-solar-power-basic-concepts-components-and-installation-tutorial/

Solar is great! A properly sized system will eliminate the need for a generator most days. Yes, you need a controller and the article will discuss the two types as well as panels. Are any of the solar wiring plugs proprietary?


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, 300 watt solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL flag pole. Prefer boondocking, USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, state camps. Bicyclist14 yr. Army vet-11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560) IOBC & IOAC grad


2oldman

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Posted: 05/05/21 12:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Solar ready means a couple #10 wires to somewhere near your batteries. That's it.

Lwiddis

Williams AZ area

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Posted: 05/05/21 01:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Exactly! Wire size needs to be large enough to minimize loss. We are dealing with nominal 12 volt - low pressure. See chart below.

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Posted: 05/05/21 03:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

1. Add a battery disconnect switch.

2. Solar ready likely means there are some wires near the roof that go to somewhere for the controller. Those wires may/may not be adequate for whatever amount of solar you want.

3. The controller should not be located near flooded batteries and their acid fumes.


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Bob


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Posted: 05/05/21 03:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

So yes you need the controller, panels, mount the panels on the roof and/or use portable panels, wiring, fuses, switches etc.

What it is not is "plug and play".

JimK-NY

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Posted: 05/05/21 05:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lwiddis wrote:

Exactly! Wire size needs to be large enough to minimize loss. ....


Thanks. It seems typical to see "solar ready" wiring that is only 10 gauge. That just doesn't cut it. For a typical install, even a small solar system would be in the 20-30 amp range. The panels are likely to be at least 10 feet from the battery bank and 6 gauge should be a minimum.

2oldman

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Posted: 05/05/21 05:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

JimK-NY wrote:

It seems typical to see "solar ready" wiring that is only 10 gauge. That just doesn't cut it. For a typical install, even a small solar system would be in the 20-30 amp range.
Everyone is probably tired of my saying this, but wiring in series takes care of that problem, and only one 2-conductor wire is needed.

Lwiddis

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Posted: 05/05/21 06:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I’m not tired of you saying this, 2oldman, but it’s not yet time with this RV solar newbie to broach parallel and series. Remember he just discovered he needs a controller.

Almot

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Posted: 05/06/21 06:53pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lwiddis wrote:

I’m not tired of you saying this, 2oldman, but it’s not yet time with this RV solar newbie to broach parallel and series. Remember he just discovered he needs a controller.

So let's not make his life more difficult yet [emoticon]

#10 wires from panel to controller will work just fine if (IF) he will purchase MPPT type of controller. Or if he decides not to go over 200W of total panels wattage.

First he needs to decide on how much he wants to spend and how much solar wattage he needs.

Wiring panels in series simply means plugging one panel pigtail into another, you can't make a mistake here, 90% of panels have standard MC4 connectors that only go Positive into Negative. And then connect the remaining pigtails to the existing #10 wires.

The problem (very likely) is that such "solar ready" trailer will have an odd 2-pin connector on the roof, not MC4. This obstacle he will have to overcome with most any panel on the market, very few exist with 2-pin pigtails. Or there will be no connector on the roof, just 2 bare wires covered with wire nuts. Who knows the extent of engineering "ingenuity" of people at RV factories...

If he decides to go MPPT route, better deals are to be found in big 24V panels, not small 12V panels - again, no rocket science here, any panel from 200 to 280W or 300W will be it. They will also tell this in specs.

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