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Old 04-19-2015, 09:01 AM   #1
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Solar Install

I have had a solar battery charging setup for several years that I used when tent camping. I removed the workings and installed them into my 5.0.IMG_20150407_163025.jpgCompartment I put equipment into.

IMG_20150411_210505.jpgThe panel before install.

IMG_20150417_182551.jpgAfter install and wiring. The pentametric batt monitor is visable on the right of the photo.

IMG_20150418_202220.jpgInlet for solar panel connection.
The original converter/charger is now one source for charging the batteries, solar is the other.
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Old 04-19-2015, 12:03 PM   #2
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Nice install. Did you mount the solar panel(s)? If so, do you have any pics?
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Old 04-19-2015, 01:00 PM   #3
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My panel is portable. Allows trailer to be in the shade while panel is in the sun. Connected by 20A drop cords, allows infinate distance from camper to find sun.
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Old 04-19-2015, 02:09 PM   #4
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Very tidy.
What type of connector is behind that solar power inlet cover?
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Old 04-19-2015, 02:19 PM   #5
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Very nice. I want to do something like this but have no experience. Is it difficult? How much does it cost and how long did it take? Do you have any wiring diagrams?
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Old 04-19-2015, 03:23 PM   #6
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A very impressive piece of work--and something that will be well used during your adventures! May you always find a bright patch of sun wherever you go~
Peace~
Gae
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Old 04-19-2015, 03:41 PM   #7
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Very nice solar install. Parts of it has a familiar look to it. I assume you are using a marine inlet for the plug mounted on the outside of the trailer?

I see a really big shunt, perhaps it is the photo. Are you using a Trimetric Battery Monitor?

The black box in the lower right of the Escape install has some big wire, can I guess that is an inverter. You must have been doing some elaborate tent camping to have all those circuit breakers, it appears you are only using three in the current install? Were you powering 3-4 sites or perhaps the entire campground?

What is your portable panel in watts and how do you transport it?
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Old 04-19-2015, 07:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fudge_brownie View Post
I see a really big shunt, perhaps it is the photo. Are you using a Trimetric Battery Monitor?
Apparently close - this is the caption for the second photo:
Quote:
Originally Posted by strawbarry View Post
The pentametric batt monitor is visable on the right of the photo.
... and indeed in the photo there is a Bogart PentaMetric PM-101-CE Ethernet computer interface. The Trimetric is another Bogart product line.
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Old 04-20-2015, 04:51 PM   #9
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Brian,

The inlet is a nema 5 20P 120 V with ground. Conntek NEMA 5-20P 20-Amp 125V Charger Inlet with White Cover from amazon. Having a blade at 90 degrees to the hot blade should eliminate most drop cords, and making a habit to leave the breaker feeding the sunsaver mppt off will also help.

Every circuit in the trailer is supplied by the breakers you see on the panel. The converter is an input which can be switched off. The battery is always connected to the buss on the board.
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Old 04-20-2015, 05:05 PM   #10
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fudge_bronie,

No inverter, struggled with that during the build sheet. I decided for any off grid I would you 12V dc appliances.

Currently I have 4 12v panels in two banks of two. They input to the sunsaver at 24V 70 watts each, for a total 140W. They have to ride in the truck, and they are very cumbersom. I plan to purchase a 225 W 43v panel which should ride on the bed. 200 watts is all the sunsaver can use at 12v. If necessary I can move to 24V and use 400 watts of solar, however I would then need a 24 to 12 converter to feed the trailer. Don't plan on doing that unless this setup fails to meet my needs.

There are three shunts, a 500A, and 2 100A. The 500 is the main battery and the 100A are the solar charger and WFCO converter.
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Old 04-20-2015, 06:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strawbarry View Post
The inlet is a nema 5 20P 120 V with ground. Conntek NEMA 5-20P 20-Amp 125V Charger Inlet with White Cover from amazon. Having a blade at 90 degrees to the hot blade should eliminate most drop cords, and making a habit to leave the breaker feeding the sunsaver mppt off will also help.
Thanks.
I see you have anticipated my next question
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Old 04-20-2015, 07:03 PM   #12
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I see you have labelled the inlet "solar only", having the slightly different blade on the female side is good and using the circuit breaker you are good to go. I realize there is always the chance someone will . . . but life is too short. At the same time you cannot fix stupid.
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Old 04-21-2015, 02:04 PM   #13
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I'd be very careful about mixing connector types. A NEMA 5-20P/R is for 20A 120VAC which would make all your electricals very excited if someone connected up a 120V lead, esp since it is side by side with your NEMA 30P. Of course, the hole is already in the bulkhead wall...

I'd suggest a marine trolling motor plug/receptacle such as a MinnKota MKR-18. You can get these at West Marine or Amazon. They are water sealed twist-lock (like the 20P and 30P) but are designed for 12-36V DC at 20A but a different formfactor so there is no confusion for power sources. Also note that the 3 wire is for 12V to one pin and 24V to the second hot pin. I missed this in the install doc the first time around... This is safe because asking a helper to plug in matching to matching doesn't require reading a label.

Also, I added a 20A breaker (the extra from my brake controller install) on the power lead in and kept the inline fuse on cable to the portable panels. You don't need to turn either your batteries or panel into a welder...
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Old 04-25-2015, 08:00 PM   #14
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Battery Upgrade

I just finished upgrading the battery capacity in my camper. I added two GC2-XHD-UTL to the camper. This brings the capacity up to 464 ah, with a usable capacity of 232 ah.IMG_20150425_190055.jpgI have not decided how to handle the venting of hydrogen.IMG_20150425_190319.jpg
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Old 04-25-2015, 11:59 PM   #15
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Very nice battery cable installation!
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Old 04-26-2015, 06:26 AM   #16
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Barry,
Wasn't the old box vented thru the side or rear? I see a vent hose in the picture.
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Old 04-27-2015, 05:56 PM   #17
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Jim,

Yes it was. The connection was mounted in the bottom. Hydrogen gas rises. I noticed in your battery conversion it appears you vent connection is at the top of the battery case. That should work OK, mine being in the bottom means I will have a box full of batteries and explosive gas. I am considering this Zephyr Industries Battery Box Ventilator
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Old 10-04-2015, 08:34 PM   #18
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Second Phase of Electrical

While the east coast was getting soaked, I spent Friday and Saturday installing a new electrical panel. The WFCO charger is still connected just relocated. I did this to remove the fuse panel I an not using. Photos are attached.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_20151003_094548.jpg (253.8 KB, 26 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_20151003_094601.jpg (186.1 KB, 22 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_20151003_105239.jpg (193.5 KB, 29 views)
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Old 10-04-2015, 08:46 PM   #19
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Barry, looks great.

Question, I have a set of portable Zamp 160w panels for the same reason you prefer portable but use a matched 2 prong ring connector wired to the batteries. Easy enough to connect. Pardon my ignorance (no wise guy comments are necessary!), is your install preferable in some way to mine or just a different aporoach?

Gracias,
Greg
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Old 10-04-2015, 09:17 PM   #20
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I tend to over do things, it is fun for me. I wanted to be able to control my 12 loads idividually. The orginal fuse assembly would not allow that. I added DC breakers which rail mount to get to where I can control the loads. The solar charging is controled by a sunsaver mppt controler. It can utilize 200W @ 12 V DC battery voltgage. My panels currently produce 24 V DC. I am in the process of purchasing a solar panel which will produce Watts @ 36 V DC. The higher voltage panel will allow the controler to produce charging power at lower light levels due to the conversion of voltage from 36 to 12 in the unit. Power in to the unit equals power out. 200w/36V = 5.55a Equal to 200w/12v =16.66 No one way is better or worse, as long as the batteries get charged. As I mentioned before I like to tinker with things.
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