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Old 02-12-2016, 06:38 AM   #1
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Planning & Installing Solar on X23B

I am on to phase 2, solar, after adding a pair of 6V batteries (Trojan T105) and an inverter last year. I am planning on a 200W system.

I have purchased a Morningstar Tristar 45 PWM charge controller, Morningstar Remote Temperature Sensor, Blue Sea mini switch, Blue Sea 187 Series 60 amp circuit breaker, Excelene 4 AWG welding cable, 4 AWG lugs, butt splice kit

I am still shopping for the panels. I may settle on the Renogy 100W mono panels for about $270 for a pair at Amazon. I will be making my own combiner box.

My initial plan is to connect the panels to the combiner box using 4 AWG wire, to connect the combiner box to the charge controller using 4 AWG wire with the mini switch in between, to connect the charge controller to the batteries using 4 AWG wire with the 60 amp circuit breaker in between.


I am using 4 AWG to reduce voltage drop and to be ready for any expansion in the future.

I do have a question or two. Is it okay to use a short run (5') of 10/2 wire on the roof from the solar panels wired in parallel to the combiner box? I was thinking about using 4 AWG wire for that run (this is where the butt splice kit comes into play in connecting the 12 AWG wires from the panel).

Also, is the AM Solar Rocker Foot Mount a "must have?" The kit seems pricey at $80 per panel.

Also, is the Tristar Remote Meter a "must have?"

Thanks!
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Old 02-13-2016, 12:00 AM   #2
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Well, I went ahead and purchased the TriStar Remote Meter. And, I saw that the Renogy 150W panels were $1.17 per watt for a pair through Amazon. They are now en route along with some Renogy Z brackets.

I will be busy this spring!
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2013 Jayco X23B
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Old 02-14-2016, 02:38 PM   #3
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Parts are coming in. I like the build quality of the Morningstar products so far. I really liked the simplicity of flipping a few DIP switches to select the correct charge rate for my batteries. And it is nice to have the option in the first place.

I am leaning toward running the cables down the refrigerator vent. I have made use of a voltage drop calculator to estimate the following:

Two 150W panels wired in parallel at 17.9 V max and 18.1 amps max

panels to combiner ... 8/2 cable ... 15 ft. ... 2.35% drop ... 0.42 V drop

combiner to charge controller ... 4 AWG cable ... 25 ft. ... 1.56% drop ... 0.28 V drop

charge controller to battery ... 4 AWG cable ... 8 ft. ... 0.5% drop ... 0.09 V drop
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2013 Jayco X23B
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Old 02-14-2016, 03:05 PM   #4
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I need to respond so I am subscribed to this thread. Keep updating.
I hope some solar gurus weigh in here.

Don't forget fuses and breakers.
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Old 02-14-2016, 05:04 PM   #5
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I will have a Blue Sea 6006 mini switch between the combiner and the charge controller...







... and a Blue Sea 7140 60 amp circuit breaker between the charge controller and the battery...



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2013 Jayco X23B
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2013 RAM 1500 V6/TF8/3.55
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Old 02-14-2016, 06:41 PM   #6
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Here's a question I've been waiting to see an answer to.
When plugged into shore power why is a transfer switch not used?
There is no need for the solar when there is shore power keeping the charger going.
So wouldn't the smart charger of the rigs converter be competing with the solar charger when they are running at the same time?
They each would see a high voltage from each other and think the battery is charged....?

Or are you suppose to manually shut the solar charger off when plugged into shore power.
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Old 02-14-2016, 06:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klassic View Post
Here's a question I've been waiting to see an answer to.
When plugged into shore power why is a transfer switch not used?
There is no need for the solar when there is shore power keeping the charger going.
So wouldn't the smart charger of the rigs converter be competing with the solar charger when they are running at the same time?
They each would see a high voltage from each other and think the battery is charged....?

Or are you suppose to manually shut the solar charger off when plugged into shore power.
There is no need for an automatic transfer switch. Both the TT's Battery charge controller and the SOLAR Charge controller work fine together. The only time you need to disconnect the TT's charge controller is when you use the inverter. If you did not shut off the TT's Battery Charge controller the inverter would be supplying 110VAC to it and drain your battery while the TT's battery charge controller is trying to charge your battery..

I have a 250 Watt solar panel and from the day I installed my SOLAR the TT's battery charge controller has been in the off position. No need for it. I rewired the 110VAC supply to the TT's battery charge controller to its own 110VAC breaker, that is left in the OFF position.

So far after 3.5 years all is working well.

Don
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Old 02-14-2016, 07:15 PM   #8
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Thanks for the tip on the panels, I now also have a pair of 150 watt panels on the way. So far I have a Bogart TriMetric meter installed, up graded the battery cables and am about to install the solar charger. Then when the panels arrive they will get installed. Hopefully the batteries, a pair of 75AH 12v will last until I can afford to replace them with two 6v golf cart batteries.
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Old 02-14-2016, 07:36 PM   #9
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Thanks Mustang... I never thought about the solar would now be the charging system.
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Old 02-15-2016, 03:31 PM   #10
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I found some 8 AWG MC4 cable to connect the panels to the combiner. Robot Check I have decided to run the 4 AWG cables inside via a hole at the front, street-side corner. There are a few pics of such an X23B install on this forum. A couple of relevant examples are below...







I also picked up some grommets and a corner raceway to dress up the install. The grommet will go in two places: the underside of the overhead storage in front of the bed and the wood fascia in front of the popout hinge. See the above photos for the locations.

Considering this will be a much shorter run compared to run via the refrigerator vent, the voltage drop will be much less.


1" Black Desk Grommet (5 Pack) http://amzn.com/B000MLCNKW





Small Corner Duct Cable Raceway, taupe http://amzn.com/B017DWZ2ZU


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2013 RAM 1500 V6/TF8/3.55
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