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Old 12-16-2014, 01:08 PM   #1
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Solar Installation

Our trailer is permanently boondocked on our own private campground. I plan to install a solar charger to keep the battery topped off when we're not there. The panel will be mounted on a pole right next to the trailer. The controller will be on the side of a kitchen cabinet, just inside of the panel.

My original plan was to drill a hole in the wall next to the controller and take the shortest route to the panel, with the battery wires routed down the outside of the trailer and then along the frame to the battery.

Thinking it over, I think the best route would be to run the wires down along the side of the kitchen cabinet and then drill thru the floor. I am guessing that the floor consists of the "linoleum", plywood and black plastic outer covering. As long as I don't hit the propane line (attached to the frame) or a frame member, is there any flaw in my logic?

I realize that the holes will need to be sealed on the inside and out. What's the best product to use on the outside?
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Old 12-16-2014, 01:40 PM   #2
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For best results, the controller should be as close to the battery as possible. I would run the wire from the panel under the trailer, drill a hole from underneath into your pass through storage and mount your controller in the storage compartment. Then run your next wire to the battery. Make sure to use proper size wires. Working with 12V, you need heavy wires to avoid loss. I will be installing a Solar System from AM Solar on my new trailer soon. This will be my second install. If you don't have your system yet, check them out. They have great kits.
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Old 12-16-2014, 02:24 PM   #3
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I hadn't thought of that. Mounting in the pass-thru would save some work and not require anything unsightly inside. Can you still see the controller well enough to use it?

I had looked at AM Solar, but their "kits" are not complete. Have to buy the panels and controller separate.

I thought Renogy looked like a good kit.
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Old 12-16-2014, 03:33 PM   #4
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Since you ere mounting panel on post next to camper & assuming battery is on the tounge... why not just connect wires to battery and save a lot of work/ Or did I not read this right?
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Old 12-16-2014, 04:00 PM   #5
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You do buy the solar panels separate from the kit. They are not the cheapest kits, but really good quality. I have a remote meter with mine to monitor the batteries with. I am not sure what kind of controller you are looking at and how easy it will be to see if mounted in storage.

I would want the controller out of the weather which is why I would not just mount it outside the trailer.
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Old 12-16-2014, 06:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dennis b View Post
Since you ere mounting panel on post next to camper & assuming battery is on the tounge... why not just connect wires to battery and save a lot of work/ Or did I not read this right?
I'm not a solar expert, but I believe that you need a controller in the system, thus a direct connection won't work.
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Old 12-16-2014, 06:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddrueckh View Post
You do buy the solar panels separate from the kit. They are not the cheapest kits, but really good quality. I have a remote meter with mine to monitor the batteries with. I am not sure what kind of controller you are looking at and how easy it will be to see if mounted in storage.

I would want the controller out of the weather which is why I would not just mount it outside the trailer.
Absolutely, it should not be mounted outside - that's why I thought on a kitchen cabinet. But the pass-thru is probably a better idea.

The Renogy kit has a premium MPPT controller, with remote access capability. Its on sale now (10% off) for the next 6 days, so I'll probably jump on it soon. The warranties on all of them are about 25 years. I imagine that they are all prbably about the same quality.

Before I install I'll stick my head in the pass-thru to see how far it will go.....LOL.

Thanks for the comments. My plan gets better every day....
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Old 12-16-2014, 06:57 PM   #8
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Portable panels have the controller built in. If you go with a stationary unit place controller as close to battery as possible.
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Old 12-17-2014, 09:01 AM   #9
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Charge controller should be as close to the batteries as possible.. Since you are talking a maintainer and not for constant use you could use a solar panel that has a built in charge controller. OR you could get one that is weather proof and that way no holes need to be drilled. There would be no need to see it from inside if you are just using it to maintain your batteries while you are away. Of course a live off solar system is a different matter but that is not what you asked about.
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