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Old 06-04-2016, 09:00 PM   #1
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Klassic's turn for solar.

Gathering some solar parts for a 260watt solar system.
Keeping it smallish because of the smallish dollars I want to put into this.
I'm not a 7 day boondocker, maybe 3 at the most if I can't fit into a powered site and have to stay in a non powered site, or we do a 1 or 2 day event somewhere.
I've found having the residential fridge depletes 2 T-105's quicker than I thought
And I love the residential fridge so solar it is.
Most likely after a while I'll end up with a generator, or 2 more batteries.

The Morningstar controller is larger than I thought. I'm searching for somewhere to mount it.


The 260watt panel is 5'5" long. I want to keep it close to the roof connection so I don't have to run wires along the roof. So it needs to go in the middle of the roof near the roof solar connectors...longways across the roof because there is only 5 feet between my AC and the roof vent.
The roof has a pretty good arc over a 5'5" run from side to side...I'm going to make some aluminum "L" brackets and bolt them to a piece of aluminum angle that is bolted along the bottom of the panel frame. This way I can unbolt it easily to scrape off the wasp nests I know will be under there.


So far I think my mounting location for the controller is going to be near the batteries...I need to extend the Jayco prewire 8ga to the battery area. The 8ga is already about 17' long coming from the roof connection. I need to extend it another 15' to the battery area where the controller will be.

Question for the Solar gurus..the panel is about 8.3 amps and 31v. I think the 17' 8ga is about the limit for a 2% voltage loss. Does it make sense to splice a 4ga to the 8ga for the remaining 15' to the controller?
It's either that or mount the controller behind the basement wall (where there is lots of room) near where the 8ga wire from the panel ends. I won't be able to see the controller without removing the wall. Removing the wall is a PITA.
I wouldn't need to see it, though, if I bought the remote moniter, but that is another $200 Canadian
If I mount it behind the wall then I would run 4ga to the batteries for about 15'.

Opinions?
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Old 06-04-2016, 09:24 PM   #2
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Nice components there Klassic! Good call on going with an MPPT controller too.

In my opinion, splicing a 4 ga to the 8 ga will only help a little. I would go with 6 ga or bigger for the whole run if you can. You already spent $ on the system, so keep the wire big.

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Old 06-04-2016, 09:48 PM   #3
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Thanks jgerhard.
With the residential fridge there is no easy way to run new wires. It would be easy to go down an RV fridge stack. I might be tempted then.

I guess I could go down one of the tank vents.
Hmmm... More to think about now.
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Old 06-04-2016, 10:00 PM   #4
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I see your predicament now. Since you can't run a new wire easily, I would do your original plan and splice 4 to 8 ga. The loss will only be apparent if your batteries were really low. You can always change it later if you notice an issue which I think you won't.
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Old 06-04-2016, 11:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgerhard View Post
I see your predicament now. Since you can't run a new wire easily, I would do your original plan and splice 4 to 8 ga. The loss will only be apparent if your batteries were really low. You can always change it later if you notice an issue which I think you won't.
Looking at a couple of different 24v wire loss charts I see anywhere from about 33-38 feet as being the limit for 8ga w/2% loss so in theory if the OP ran the extra 15' with 8ga it should be OK. If it's easy to splice the 4ga in that would eliminate any uncertainty so I might be inclined to do that as well.
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Old 06-05-2016, 07:09 AM   #6
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Klassic - are you sure that you have 8awg from roof? Mine was wired with 6awg.

ON EDIT: My mistake! I knew that I had 6awg going into my controller. I had forgotten that I extended the factory 8awg with 6awg to get the controller closer to the batteries than the location that Jayco mounted their "suggested" controller location plate.
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Old 06-05-2016, 07:17 AM   #7
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Klassic,
Measure the wire and compare to the chart below to find the wire gauge.

Don
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ELECTRICAL - Wire Gauge by Wire Thickness.jpg  
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Old 06-05-2016, 07:29 AM   #8
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As for controller mounting position, I mounted mine in the basement, in that recess where the factory cord hook was mounted, on the drivers side. I also mounted the 2000w inverter there. That keeps both within 4 or 5 feet from the batteries, yet in a separate compartment (as both the controller and inverter manufacturer recommend).
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Old 06-05-2016, 08:10 AM   #9
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My math was wrong. You are a lot closer ttavasc.
Thanks Mustang.

Instructor, what did you splice with?

To splice and make the wire longer I need to buy wire because in the Jayco prewire setup, they came from the roof with 2 wires (+ -) ...then the wires end behind the basement wall.
They continue again to the battery area with only one wire (+) and the negative is chassis grounded right where the roof wires stop and the battery wire starts.
I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be right to splice just the positive wire to extend to the controller and chassis ground the negative wire at the panel input in the controller.
?
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Old 06-05-2016, 08:44 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fire_Instructor View Post
As for controller mounting position, I mounted mine in the basement, in that recess where the factory cord hook was mounted, on the drivers side. I also mounted the 2000w inverter there. That keeps both within 4 or 5 feet from the batteries, yet in a separate compartment (as both the controller and inverter manufacturer recommend).
Hey now! ... I never looked over there because I have too much stuff in that spot, but that might be the perfect spot if I move a couple things.
Thanks.

I can easily acquire 6ga wire. I think the plan will be to extend with 6ga over to the spot mentioned above. That's within 5' to the batteries and use the 6ga to hook up to the batteries.
As much as I love gadgets, I'm forgoing the overly expensive RM2 moniter and will read battery voltage from my $10 battery voltage moniter from Mustangs thread.

Then I will probably never be on a site without power and never end up using the system.
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