Originally Posted by Cmill29HFS
Thanks for the response, your system is almost the same as what I'm looking to do.The Solar prep is a simple SAE connector on the front of the frame that I assume goes into the factory inverter. I was hoping it had some type of wiring to the roof but it doesn't, it looks to be a simply plug so a small panel can be used to charge with small 12AWG wire.
Anyway what I was hoping I could see is how and where you ran the cables down from your fixed roof mount panels and then to the gen prep box. I have the Gen prep box too and was thinking the same thing as you for mount location.
Thanks again for your help.
So, Mr. C. The panels have 22" tails with MC4 connectors. I spliced 4' #10 to MC4 so I can unplug / plug on the roof if ever need be. I drilled through below the panels. The last photo is a .png that shows the location of holes, panels and vents (also AC) for reference. I also will followup with lessons learned and what I would do differently.
Top photo shows my short #10 to MC4. Near the holes in the roof, I attached a clip with a screw and buried all in Dicor. These short cables let me fish them to vents that I removed the trim piece, all but the frontmost, I opened a section of the ceiling in the pantry for that one; as well as that one runs directly to the Combiner... so the #10 for that one was about 8 feet in length.
A tip on MC4s... what looks like a male (the black part) is actually the female. The gender is determined by the metal part, not the plastic.
Just at the vents (rearmost and center) I made soldered and heat shrink splice into #6 to the combiner. The idea was to reduce the voltage drop all I could.
I am fairly decent at fishing, but those skills are fading fast, so I fished between vents with trim removed and the hole in the pantry ceiling.
From the Combiner (homemade with a 4" shallow WP box and cover with termination ground strip for a power panel) I ran #4 to the fuse / controller.
Rearmost panel has 40" #10, 14' #6, and 18' #4; the middle panel 40" #10, 8' #6 and the same #4, the front panel has 9' of #10 plus the same #4.
The photos pick up inside the pantry ceiling where all panel wires can be seen (I still need to make a cover plate); then you see the combiner; then the #4 and other stuff leaving the pantry cabinet down low and penetrating the floor (have to make a cover for this also); next is below the floor showing hose protecting the cabling; next the conduit running the length down the side and up into the genset (prep) box, which you can see the end in a previous photo.
What I would do differently:
I would have drilled closer to the center for the front panel. I drilled straight through the AC duct. I would forgo splicing #6 for the middle panel. I could do a neater job making the #4 run in conduit.
I had some #6 and #4 left over from the shop build and used the THHN I had, I would buy a high grade of audio or highly stranded #6 and #4 instead. Making up the THHN in the Combiner was a pain as was terminating the #4 into the AC disconnect / fuse box and Controller. I had to cut two strands off the #4 at the Controller, which is okay, but it is so incredibly hard to work with for an old phone / call center / network tech.
The placement of these 39x39.5 panels went fairly well. I stayed as far from the existing AC unit as possible to lessen the times when it could shadow the front panel. I also stayed back beyond the rear vent, in case I ever add an AC unit there, but depending on how well the portable works I might not need to.
With the panels on fairly tall mounts, the vents don't present much of an issue for shadows, of course, these Maxair powered vents are lower than a vent with the typical taller cover. These homemade mounts although stationary now, with the addition of simple arm, can be tilted.