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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > RV Rooftop Solar Charger Question

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infogeek

Hartford, CT

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Posted: 05/23/21 01:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

So, my 21-yr-old roof air conditioner bit the dust and after failed repairs by a certified tech I decided to replace it. However, the new unit lacked wiring for the solar panel. My initial plan was to remove the old wiring and install it in the new, but it wasn't easily removable and the insulation was cracking.

Am I fine without a 5-watt trickle charger? Should I consider a replacement? What have other people done?

New AC working great. [emoticon]

AC Brand Coleman, replaced 13500 BTU unit with Mach 15 15000 BTU unit.


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2oldman

NM

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Posted: 05/23/21 02:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

5 watt charger? That's almost nothing.

time2roll

Southern California

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Posted: 05/23/21 02:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Skip it. For the effort if you need solar get a minimum 100 watt panel.


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BFL13

Victoria, BC

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Posted: 05/23/21 02:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

AFAIK that solar was for the engine battery. If it is likely to go flat while you are parked on shore power, you can put the engine batt in parallel with the house batts. (Several ways to do that) A common MH problem.


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wa8yxm

Davison Michigan (East of Flint)

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Posted: 05/23/21 03:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A five watt panel is a "Sales gimmic"
If they have a controller. and not a just a diode get a larger panel and hook i up. You can get replacement panels in the 10-50 watt range at harbor Freight.

If you have electronics ability All Electronics (dot com) and wish (Dot com) and make your own panel Wish has a real nice panel but how good it is I do not know.

Cost of solar is dropping as more and more solar goes on line. There is a major solar farm a few miles east of me and another one .. Well the luddites are already screaming "What will it do to your property value" (It should increase it) and so on as the power company is talkign to land owners.


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Reisender

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Posted: 05/23/21 04:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That panel was meant to keep a small charge on your chassis battery. If you can, replace it. The wire terminated up there somewhere. A small 5 or 10 watt panel will be under 50 bucks.

Do you have a solar system for the coach batts?

infogeek

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Posted: 05/23/21 04:49pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have no other panels and am not planning on installing any. The wires to the battery are in the AC compartment. The original panel was attached to the top of the AC and the wire went into the AC and out along with the other wire cable for the AC itself.

Just not sure how/where to run the cable without drilling a hole in the roof or air conditioner. Unless I just get a totally different setup.

Reisender

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Posted: 05/23/21 04:59pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

infogeek wrote:

I have no other panels and am not planning on installing any. The wires to the battery are in the AC compartment. The original panel was attached to the top of the AC and the wire went into the AC and out along with the other wire cable for the AC itself.

Just not sure how/where to run the cable without drilling a hole in the roof or air conditioner. Unless I just get a totally different setup.


Well, many just run the wire down the fridge vent. But from there you’ll have to get it to your chassis battery.

If you pull the inside grill off can you see the original wire pair?

infogeek

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Posted: 05/23/21 05:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Reisender wrote:

If you pull the inside grill off can you see the original wire pair?


Yes.

Reisender

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Posted: 05/23/21 06:18pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

infogeek wrote:

Reisender wrote:

If you pull the inside grill off can you see the original wire pair?


Yes.


Okay. There are probably a couple ways to route that up to the top of the roof from that point. Not knowing your roof or the type of gasket I’m reluctant to advise how to get it back to the outside but a competent tech or maybe someone else on here can help with that. Once it’s outside then it gets easier. Either recycle the original panel or get something small and cheap and mount it on the top of the AC to avoid shadows. Newer panels will be bigger capacity If you go bigger than 15 watts you’ll need a regulator...so don’t. [emoticon].

In my opinion you will regret not having that trickle charger on your chassis battery. We added one to every vehicle we had in our squadron in my Air Force days. We never had dead batteries even though some sat for a long time without being used.

JMHO

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