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Old 05-24-2020, 12:56 PM   #1
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355MBQS Electrical System Upgrade

Last year we bought a 355MBQS. Two of our favorite camping spots donít have hook ups so I modified the electrical system.

I mounted 4 Ė 200-watt solar panels on the roof as a front pair and rear pair. Each pair is in series and then the two pairs are hooked together in parallel. Max power is 42.1 volts and 19 amps so I could use the existing Jayco roof solar inlet. The panels are screwed down to the roof with lots of Dicor around the mounts and screws and the wires are held down with Eternabond tape.

Here are the four panels mounted to the roof:


In the front compartment I put in 2 Ė 125-amp hour sealed AGM batteries for a total of 250 amp-hours (see the right side of the front compartment image). Because you shouldnít discharge AGM batteries below 50% there is 125-amp hours of usable power. At some point I may replace them with Lithium batteries for the greater depth of discharge and lower weight. With Lithium batteries I could even go to four batteries and have 400-amp hours of usable power, I just have to get over the price.

I put in a Vectron Energy 150 volt Ė 60-amp charger (blue box in the middle of the image). The 42.1-volts Ė 19-amps from the panels gets converted to 14.4-volts and up to 54.44-amps so a 60-amp controller is needed. The Vectron can be monitored by your smart phone or tablet over Bluetooth which is very handy. My bedroom kind of looks over my driveway where I park the camper and I can check the batteries from there.

There is a 2,000-watt TrippLite pure sign wave inverter/charger (grey box on the left side in the image). I have used TrippLite before with good results, but this unit doesnít behave correctly with the remote control and TrippLite discontinued the unit and hasnít supported me. I disconnected the converter built into the camper and use the charger in the TrippLite, by doing that the TrippLite manages charging versus inverting and I donít have to worry about the inverter and converter both running at once. I used the breaker for the converter to feed the charger.

Here is the front compartment:


Shore power comes in through the side of my unit, through the back of a cabinet, under a drawer and then into the power panel all on the front wall of my kitchen. I put a Technology Research 50-amp surge arrestor-transfer switch in the kitchen cabinet where the power comes in (mounted upside down for ease of wiring). I ran Romex from the power panel converter breaker to the front compartment for the charger and then another Romex feed from the inverter back up to the transfer switch. It was relatively easy to thread the Romex runs from the kitchen to the front compartment.

Here is the transfer switch:


I put a shunt in the ground line from the battery bank and hooked up a Trimetric battery minder so I can monitor the percentage charged for the battery bank. I ran the wire for the Trimetric display and the inverter/charger remote controls up to the cabinet in the master bedroom that has the washer/dryer hookups. I snaked the wire alongside the washer/dryer water lines.

Here are the remotes.


I also have a 120-watt Go Power portable solar panel from the travel trailer I had previously. I put a solar inlet into the front compartment so I can also hook that panel up. One place we camp has a lot of shade on the sites and with the portable panel and a long cord I can move it around to find sunlight. The Go Power has its own solar controller, so it runs right onto the main buses that come off the batteries.

Here is the electrical diagram for the whole system:


I have now camped for two weeks at one of the spots and a week at the other and the system has performed well.
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Old 05-24-2020, 01:14 PM   #2
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Thatís a nice installation and nice equipment. Itís pretty rare here on the forum that any does any electrical work correctly And youíve just set the bar. Iíll be doing a solar system next year right before I end a 38 year career in electrical construction.
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Old 05-24-2020, 08:54 PM   #3
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Wow. I hope someday I can understand all I just read. Nice work. Iíd really like some solar some time in the future. Do you have a res fridge or propane/electric? Iím guessing propane/electric.
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Old 05-24-2020, 09:01 PM   #4
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Wow. I hope someday I can understand all I just read. Nice work. Iíd really like some solar some time in the future. Do you have a res fridge or propane/electric? Iím guessing propane/electric.
Propane/electric, I think a residential only makes sense if you are on shore power most of the time.
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Old 05-25-2020, 12:38 PM   #5
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Iíd agree. I didnít think there was a way to support a res fridge on solar, but one can dream.

Again, nice job on the install.
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Old 05-25-2020, 01:15 PM   #6
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Iíd agree. I didnít think there was a way to support a res fridge on solar, but one can dream.

Again, nice job on the install.
Thanks

This is an interesting question.

- Jayco offers a 21ft3 residential model on the Eagles.
- Best Buy has a Samsung 21.1ft3 model and the estimated annual electric usage is 478Kwh/year, that is 1.31Kwh/day.
- I have an 800watt array, if I figure 12 hours of sunlight per day that is 9.60Kwh/day but the panels never actually hit 800 watts.
- If I assume 20% average output efficiency, that gives 1.92Kwh/day so maybe the solar is enough assuming sunny days.
- If you figure a nominal 13 volts for DC and 95% inverter efficiency, then 1.31Kwh/day = 106 amp-hrs, my battery bank is 250 amp-hrs, 50% max depth of discharge = 125 amps-hrs so I could run the refrigerator off of batteries for 24 hours with no recharging.

So in theory my system could do it although I suspect with other uses I would need an unobstructed location and constant sunny days.

If I added a couple more panels to the roof to get 1,200 watts and went to 4 - 100 amp-hr Lithium batteries it would probably work.

I actually have a utility trailer with 579 watts of panels on the roof and a 510 amp-hr battery pack. I have a Thetford DC compressor refrigerator in that and the solar easily keeps up although it is only 7ft3.
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Old 05-25-2020, 01:18 PM   #7
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Very nice job on your solar install.........another thing on the list.
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Old 05-25-2020, 06:57 PM   #8
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Very nice. Keep an eye on the factory solid connection. I have heard of a couple that had issues and someone had thereís melt and almost start a fire from poor connections. I found mine the same way. It fell apart in my hands. Click image for larger version

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Old 05-25-2020, 07:19 PM   #9
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Best Buy has a Samsung 21.1ft3 model and the estimated annual electric usage is 478Kwh/year, that is 1.31Kwh/day.
I know that they have a total amp draw around 4 or less if that helps. Our 18 cu'ft french door was 3.4 amps with the Inverter Compressor.
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Old 05-26-2020, 09:14 AM   #10
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I know that they have a total amp draw around 4 or less if that helps. Our 18 cu'ft french door was 3.4 amps with the Inverter Compressor.
4 amps x 24 hours = 96 amp-hrs, pretty close to the 106 amp-hrs I estimated.

My solar controller tracks how much power I make in a day, I need to put a big load on my system on sunny day and see what I make since the 20% efficiency number I used is a complete guess. The controller reset since last summer so I don't have any of my history from then.
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Old 05-27-2020, 12:35 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by prm99v6 View Post
Very nice. Keep an eye on the factory solid connection. I have heard of a couple that had issues and someone had thereís melt and almost start a fire from poor connections. I found mine the same way. It fell apart in my hands. Attachment 59217
Attachment 59218
Attachment 59219
Yeah, that is a concern of mine too, mine doesnít seem that well connected. I have checked it with a IR thermometer before to make sure it isnít getting hot. I donít actually run on shore power too often so mine doesnít get much of a work out but I am keeping an eye on it.
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