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Old 09-16-2018, 07:59 AM   #1
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Solar on 26A Minnie

I am putting a single 100 watt Solar panel on the top of my 2018 26A Minnie. My plane is to Flat mount the panel on top, and then run the wire down through the refrigerator vent to the back of the refrigerator. Then drill a hole into the cabinet area and run the wire over to the Fuse box area where the Charge controller will be mounted. Before I begin I thought that I would just touch base here on the wire to see if anyone has a better idea for an install.

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Old 09-17-2018, 05:09 PM   #2
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I have run the solar panel wiring down the fridge vent on two RV's. Bit of a pain though. On both of mine there was a wire mesh at the top I have to go through. Also when you run the wire down the rear of the fridge, be sure the wire doesn't rest on the cooling fins. They may be hot enough to melt the insulation.
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Old 01-17-2019, 09:01 AM   #3
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When you say flat mount..... You do mean raised up off the roof though? Panels need air flow under them for cooling. Output is reduced if mounted without space.
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Old 01-18-2019, 06:12 AM   #4
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They are off the top of the roof only about 1/2". Just enough to allow air under them.
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Old 01-18-2019, 09:15 AM   #5
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If you do go through the refrigerator vent, make sure you protect the wires from chafing where they go through the wire mesh and make sure they're secured so they don't move around.

Alternatively you can use something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/Link-Solar-We...68524188&psc=1
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Old 01-18-2019, 04:15 PM   #6
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One: The down hall wires from the roof need to terminate at the solar controller as close to the battery as possible, location of the fuse panel does not matter. It is important to keep the cables from the controller to the battery as short as possible.

Two: The proposed 1/2" air gap is rather small. 2 to 2 1/2" is typical for that air gap. Most standard solar mounting Z brackets will do that for you.

Three: With only 100 watts you'll be using small gauge wire for the down haul and a run down the chimney should be good enough. Heed the advice from above posts. I prefer to use a dedicated roof entry housing something like the link above.

Have you run any calculations as to what a 100 watt flat mounted system is really going to do for you? People with a 100 watt system very frequently upgrade to 200 to 400 watt system.
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Old 01-18-2019, 06:20 PM   #7
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Here's a link with some helpful information, including wire gauge:

https://amsolar.com/diy-rv-solar-ins...estions-wiring

I agree with rarebear.nm about the likelihood of adding at least one more panel. I found 200w to be adequate for my wife and I with the 25' TT we previously owned. We had 100w on a previous TT and 200w was much better. As former boat owners, we are, by nature, conservative in our power use. I have two 180w panels to go on our current MH.

In any case, run a heavier wire gauge than necessary in order to handle potential expansion. That way you won't have to re-do it.
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Old 01-18-2019, 06:33 PM   #8
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I actually do have about 1 1/2" gap using the Z brackets. I'm using #10 wire for the down run which is approximately 20 ft total to the controller. I hook the output from the controller to the Battery wire that feeds the fuse panel. The panel is about 4' from the batteries. I very well might add another 100 watt panel if this does not keep the batteries charged. Doubt that I would need much more but it is always possible. This is the 5th RV that I have installed Solar panels on and I have never really needed a large amount of power to keep up my batteries. I suppose it all depends upon how much of a energy consumer one is. We use very little. Now days with all the LED lighting and the low current needs of modern TVs, there really isn't anything that pulls much power. Even a single 100 watt panel will easily provide half a kilowatt on a normal day. That usually keeps my batteries at full charge, but you never know when a little more power might come in handy. Tnx
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Old 01-23-2019, 03:07 PM   #9
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I do most of my camping in the sticks. I have 300 watts connected. Camping in the winter with the extra cloud cover and shorter days and running the furnace blower more I have found the extra helps the batteries charge back up.
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Old 02-02-2019, 07:35 AM   #10
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Added another 100 watt panel to the MH. I believe that plus the 100 watt that I already had should give me all that I need. Will find out soon. Heading for AZ in a couple weeks to give it a Dry Camping test.
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Old 02-02-2019, 09:16 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snakebite View Post
I actually do have about 1 1/2" gap using the Z brackets. I'm using #10 wire for the down run which is approximately 20 ft total to the controller. I hook the output from the controller to the Battery wire that feeds the fuse panel. The panel is about 4' from the batteries. I very well might add another 100 watt panel if this does not keep the batteries charged. Doubt that I would need much more but it is always possible. This is the 5th RV that I have installed Solar panels on and I have never really needed a large amount of power to keep up my batteries. I suppose it all depends upon how much of a energy consumer one is. We use very little. Now days with all the LED lighting and the low current needs of modern TVs, there really isn't anything that pulls much power. Even a single 100 watt panel will easily provide half a kilowatt on a normal day. That usually keeps my batteries at full charge, but you never know when a little more power might come in handy. Tnx

All depends on your power usage. Just remember that you may lose around 30% output due to the panel/sun angle. More loss from the wiring and controller. Not all of the power reaching the battery gets stored, some is lost due to the recharge process. The 100 watt rating is only seen in the testing lab under ideal conditions. This lab test is standardize so "rating" numbers between different panels can be compared. In real life you'll likely never see the 100 watt rated value.


Good luck and have fun in AZ.
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Old 02-02-2019, 09:35 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snakebite View Post
Added another 100 watt panel to the MH. I believe that plus the 100 watt that I already had should give me all that I need. Will find out soon. Heading for AZ in a couple weeks to give it a Dry Camping test.
We will be dry camping near Quartzsite in a few weeks also and 'fully testing' our new 200 watt solar installation.
Of course we live here so it's always working.
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Old 02-02-2019, 09:46 AM   #13
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200w served us well in our Nash TT for several years but, as former sailboat owners, we were conservative with our power usage. In our previous TT we got by with 100w so, if you're conservative I think you'll be OK. Just don't expect to run the TV and other things off the inverter all day. That 100w panel cost me close to $600, how times have changed. I have two 180w panels in the garage to install on my Suncruiser that, together, cost less than that 100w panel.

Let us know how it works out.

Don't forget that you may be eligible for a solar tax credit for your solar install for your 2019 taxes equal to 30% of the system's cost. This is also true for those who installed systems in 2018. Beginning in 2020, the percentage declines.

https://tax-queen.com/residential-en...credits-solar/
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