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Old 08-04-2016, 12:41 PM   #21
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There is a difference if you have solar. The output of the solar controller is wired to the battery side of the disconnect switch so that it can charge the batteries even with the disconnect switch open.
You really got me thinking. What is the recommended wiring method for a RV with solar. So I did some research and found that the diagram below is the proper way to connect a solar charge controller to the battery. Notice that a battery disconnect is installed between the solar charger and the battery. I picked up the diagram from here - RV Solar 101 | Part 1, A Solar Solution for Your RV | ChromolyWally.

The case by case breakdown I did previous holds true in that the only time a battery disconnect should be opened is if you want to isolate the battery to prevent residual current from discharging the battery while in storage. If you are charging the battery - either with a converter or solar - the battery disconnect should be closed.
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Old 08-04-2016, 01:32 PM   #22
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Escape wires their switch after the controller, so that you get battery charging over the winter with the switch off, to keep parasitic draws to a minimum and to keep the batteries charged.
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Old 08-04-2016, 01:52 PM   #23
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Isn't there a chance of overcharging the batteries when directly wired to the solar panels? I thought the controller function was to prevent that.
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Old 08-04-2016, 01:57 PM   #24
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Isn't there a chance of overcharging the batteries when directly wired to the solar panels? I thought the controller function was to prevent that.
The solar panels aren't directly wired to the batteries. The solar charge controller supplies all charge voltage to the batteries. When my battery switch is turned off, the solar charging still works, via the charge controller. And yes, once the batteries are at 100%, the charge controller just maintains that.
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Old 08-04-2016, 01:57 PM   #25
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The controller prevents overcharging.....
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Old 08-04-2016, 01:58 PM   #26
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Isn't there a chance of overcharging the batteries when directly wired to the solar panels? I thought the controller function was to prevent that.
There would be, which is why the solar panels are not wired directly to the battery; they are connected only through the controller.

The discussion of solar charge controller wiring is about which side of the shutoff switch the controller's output goes to - and in an Escape it is apparently always on the battery side, so the solar panels can charge the battery while everything that draws power is shut off (even if that shutoff is arguably unnecessary with solar charging available).
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Old 08-04-2016, 01:59 PM   #27
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Then the solar panels are wired to the controller not directly to the batteries. The controller bypasses the on/off switch.
I was misunderstanding the discussion.
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Old 08-04-2016, 02:02 PM   #28
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...the solar panels can charge the battery while everything that draws power is shut off (even if that shutoff is arguably unnecessary with solar charging available).
Good point Brian, but in my case the trailer is stored in a covered area, so not much happening on the charging side.
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Old 08-04-2016, 02:05 PM   #29
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You really got me thinking. What is the recommended wiring method for a RV with solar. So I did some research and found that the diagram below is the proper way to connect a solar charge controller to the battery. Notice that a battery disconnect is installed between the solar charger and the battery. I picked up the diagram from here - RV Solar 101 | Part 1, A Solar Solution for Your RV | ChromolyWally.

The case by case breakdown I did previous holds true in that the only time a battery disconnect should be opened is if you want to isolate the battery to prevent residual current from discharging the battery while in storage. If you are charging the battery - either with a converter or solar - the battery disconnect should be closed.
While disconnecting the battery(ies) from the solar controller may be acceptable with some controllers, many state in their manuals to ALWAYS disconnect the panels before disconnecting the batteries. It may damage the controller not to have a load on with input from the panels. I would be wary of the disconnect in the location in this diagram unless the controller manufacturer specifically allows it.

The wiring of the disconnect switch in my 2011 Escape 17 with solar is designed to remove all loads from the batteries, but allow the solar controller to keep the batteries charged.
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Old 08-04-2016, 02:13 PM   #30
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Good point Brian, but in my case the trailer is stored in a covered area, so not much happening on the charging side.
Yes, solar charging in storage is allowed by the wiring, but won't always happen.
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