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Old 09-25-2015, 06:04 PM   #1
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"New" Roof Mounted Solar Prep

Has anyone utilized this new Jayco feature yet? It's supposed to be on the 377RLBH that I just ordered, and I'm trying to find out what gauge wire that they use from the roof connector to the front compartment for the pre-wire. I currently use 4-gauge from the roof of my travel trailer to the front compartment, for my two 150w panels, and I really don't think that going much smaller is safe. Does anyone on the forum know?

Thank you in advance for any info!!!
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Old 09-25-2015, 11:18 PM   #2
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If the wires are short I would say 8 AWG would be fine. Do some figuring with an online voltage drop calculator (I use http://www.nooutage.com/vdrop.htm) and shoot for no more than 5% drop through your system. I suggest anyone contemplating solar should visit Handy Bob's website https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/...ging-puzzle-2/ and read what he has to say. I followed lots of his advice and installed two 158W panels with a good charge controller and a small inverter last year and it has worked great for us.
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Old 09-26-2015, 09:13 AM   #3
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Looking at the wire size charts, 10AWG "should" work, for less than a 30' run. 300W at 34.4V max output from the panels is only a 8.72 amp load, and a 2% voltage drop. Given the limited times that panels actually operate at 100%, in reality the losses are much less... My system typically has my batteries "full", and back on float before noon even on a partly cloudy day, so having it take a bit longer because of line-loss shouldn't be a problem for me.

All that said, I'm still trying to find out what gauge wire Jayco uses for the solar "prep". Drilling the hole in the roof, and running the wire is the "high anxiety" part of installing an RV solar system...
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Old 09-26-2015, 08:59 PM   #4
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I agree with your calculations. Sounds like you are planning on running an MPPT setup with the panels in series. I used a PWM regulator with the panels in parallel. I used 10 AWG and the amount of drop is reasonable for my system. Most of my boondocking has been in sites where I was shaded in the morning. Even so, I was always charged by 3PM or so.

You are wise to verify the wire size. From the reading I have done that is a major pitfall of solar installations, even by supposedly knowledgeable dealers. And drilling holes in the roof is no fun. I even hated running in the screws for the panel brackets.
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Old 09-27-2015, 10:50 AM   #5
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I have just been reading the owners manual for a 2016 Designer, maybe the same as yours, and says;
"Solar Prep
Your recreation vehicle has been wired with a (exterior) plug in that will allow the batteries to be trickle charged using a free standing solar panel. The solar panel kit is a customer purchased and installed option and is not supplied by Jayco."

To my mind that's a connector on the side not on the roof. so might pay to check with your dealer what you are getting.
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Old 09-27-2015, 03:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KiwiBruce View Post
I have just been reading the owners manual for a 2016 Designer, maybe the same as yours, and says;
"Solar Prep
Your recreation vehicle has been wired with a (exterior) plug in that will allow the batteries to be trickle charged using a free standing solar panel. The solar panel kit is a customer purchased and installed option and is not supplied by Jayco."

To my mind that's a connector on the side not on the roof. so might pay to check with your dealer what you are getting.
Check out what I found on the Jayco Website: http://www.jayco.com/products/fifth-.../pdf/solar.pdf
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Old 10-07-2015, 06:35 AM   #7
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I heard back from Jayco. They use 8 AWG in the run from the MC4 roof connector to the battery panel. Perfect for my pair of 150w, 34.4v panels!
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Old 10-07-2015, 11:57 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fire_Instructor View Post
I heard back from Jayco. They use 8 AWG in the run from the MC4 roof connector to the battery panel. Perfect for my pair of 150w, 34.4v panels!
That is good to know, thanks for sharing. This was on my list of questions as well. Handy Bob recommends running #6 gauge from the roof down, but #8 is pretty beefy.
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