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Old 05-12-2008, 02:35 PM   #1
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Our Winnie came with a small solar panel. You know, the one that's (10watts) already mounted on the roof. I'd like a bit more capacity. I'd like to add a 15 amp panel, just to keep the batteries charged while running only the refrigerator during the week while the rest of the rig is shut off (master switch off). I've added a bypass switch so the refrigerator gets 12V power even though the rest of the rig is shut down. If I add another panel can I use the same wire the existing panel uses to get the power into the coach? I want to avoid putting another hole in the roof, if at all possible.
As always, thanks for any suggestions that might be forthcoming.
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Old 05-12-2008, 02:35 PM   #2
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Our Winnie came with a small solar panel. You know, the one that's (10watts) already mounted on the roof. I'd like a bit more capacity. I'd like to add a 15 amp panel, just to keep the batteries charged while running only the refrigerator during the week while the rest of the rig is shut off (master switch off). I've added a bypass switch so the refrigerator gets 12V power even though the rest of the rig is shut down. If I add another panel can I use the same wire the existing panel uses to get the power into the coach? I want to avoid putting another hole in the roof, if at all possible.
As always, thanks for any suggestions that might be forthcoming.
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Old 05-12-2008, 04:12 PM   #3
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You can't use the same wire. A 15amp panel equates to 180 watts. You'll also need a charge controller. Look for a panel that comes in a kit with a charge controller. One panel may not be enough to run you fridge on AC. Consult and expert.

Mount near your refrigerator roof vent and run the wiring down that vent.

-Tom
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Old 05-12-2008, 05:05 PM   #4
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You should be able to use the same wire, you will only have a maximum of 2 amps. The solar panel is most likely connected to your chassis battery. Did you just want to provide 12 volt control power so that the refrigerator can run on propane?
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Old 05-13-2008, 02:06 AM   #5
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The existing wire from my solar panel (10 watts) in my Winne is only 16 gauge and as Tom pointed out, will not handle 15amps. At least from what I've read, I wouldn't run 15amps down a 16 gauge wire.

You only need 2 amps to run the fridge on LP, but there are other draws on the battery even when disconnected.

If you're really going for a 15amp (180watt) panel, I really recommend heavier wire. If you just want to bump up the amps a bit, I would use a 30-40 watt panel over the wire Winne installed. That increases the amperage to 1.9 to 2.3 depending on model and that can be handled by that 16 gauge wire. (source: http://www.powerstream.com/Wire_Size.htm)

Just my .02
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Old 05-13-2008, 03:33 AM   #6
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Sorry I miss read what you were going to add. Tom N and ua40j are right, if you add that large a panel you will have to add a larger wire, I'd go with 10ga and you would need a charge controller.
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Old 05-13-2008, 04:46 AM   #7
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You could probably get by okay with adding one 50 watt panel. Our solar panel has a six amp circuit breaker.

We had a 50 watt panel on our boat and the most current I ever saw it put out was 2.5 amps. Modern panels are most likely much more efficient than the one we had, so I would suspect at the optimum angle to the sun, a 50 watt panel might realistically put out 4 amps for an hour or two in the afternoon.
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Old 05-13-2008, 06:53 AM   #8
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My Norcold 1200 draws 1.90 amps on 12v or 23watts.

One days amp/hr draw would be 1.9 X 24 = 45.6 amp/hrs.

One weeks amp/hr draw would be 45.6 X 7 = 319.2

Two weeks 638.4 amp/hrs

What is the amp/hr capacity of all your coach batteries?? You may be able to go a week without adding anything.

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Old 05-13-2008, 11:06 AM   #9
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Your control panel with the little red LED will take only about 1 amp. More current than this will probably damage the small diodes that are in the LED circuit. Its better to route a new and bigger solar directly to the house batteries with a new fuse or breaker.
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Old 05-13-2008, 02:58 PM   #10
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by smith88:
Your control panel with the little red LED will take only about 1 amp. More current than this will probably damage the small diodes that are in the LED circuit. Its better to route a new and bigger solar directly to the house batteries with a new fuse or breaker. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>Interesting... so you are saying that Winnie uses a regulator on the 10 watt panel? I was not aware of that. Its been a while since I have looked at the rear of the One-Place.
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