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Old 03-30-2013, 01:31 PM   #1
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More Solar Help Please

I am thinking of installing solar and have a couple of questions. I am quite happy with the concept of hooking the power from the panels to the batteries through a charge controller.
I would also like to change the inverter to a 2000w pure sine wave. The Xantrex I am looking at has an auto transfer when on shore power. Now my questions. When on shore power does the inverter automatically charge the batteries and if so will it 'fight' with any input from the solar panels? Second, my circumstances dictate that when the RV is in storage so will the TV. If I leave the two electrically joined (as when towing) will the solar panels charge the TV batteries as well as the 5er or will it need additional wiring?
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Old 03-30-2013, 01:46 PM   #2
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Several good questions here:

1) My controller (Rogue) is a very different component than my inverter (Xantrex). The controller charges the batteries, not the inverter. My controller is a much better charger/conditioner than the factory unit, so I just leave the breaker off on the factory converter/charger, and run from the batteries, recharged by the solar. About the only time that I turn on the converter breaker is when I'm in poor sun for multiple days and I have a good supply shore-power. In my driveway, the solar keeps my batteries topped-off perfectly, all season, between trips.

2) Whether or not your TV will receive charge from your TT solar is dependent upon how it's wired. Some vehicles only allow 12v supply to TT to pass through the plug when the key is on. If yours is "always hot", (as mine is) then it should be putting charge back into the TV. However, keep in mind that the temp readings and other Controller sensor readings are coming from the TT batteries, and not the TV batteries, so I would think that you stand a chance of undercharging or overcharging the TV batteries.....

Hope this helps. There are lots of variables in solar systems, all dependent on how they were wired together, and there are as many opinions out there as to what is "rights" as there are solar users. I don't claim to be right, just right for me!
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Old 03-30-2013, 06:46 PM   #3
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I believe that the auto transfer is for the 120v ac. Normal shore power overrides the inverter. If you unplug the shore power then the inverter kicks on to keep the power on.

So, the inverter won't charge the batteries itself.
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Old 03-31-2013, 06:42 AM   #4
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So will I need a switch on the solar controller to turn it off when on shore power, so the inverter will charge the batteries and not the panels? It is a inverter/charger by the way.
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Old 03-31-2013, 09:48 AM   #5
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I'm not sure of your CC, but if I disconnect my batteries the CC will shut down, and the battery monitor won't work cause it won't know what the state the batteries are in.


I am able to fire up the converter with CC on. The higher voltage of the converter causes my CC to go to float mode. I've had no problems.

So, if you have to use the inverter-charger to charge the batteries, just open the solar panel feed fuses. You did fuse the panels right? If not, you should.
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Old 03-31-2013, 09:58 AM   #6
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oh, to answer the other Q about charging your TV. If the CC has an auxiliary power out, check to see if it's configurable as an auxiliary battery charger. Mine does have an auxiliary power that can be set for lighting, aux loads, or battery trickle charge.

If it does have an auxiliary power out, make up a cheap extension cord with gator clips, and use that to charge the TV battery.
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Old 04-01-2013, 05:41 AM   #7
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Thanks RP you have pretty much answered my questions. I was concerned about how the CC would react if used in conjunction with a charger/inverter but float mode would make sense. I will put a breaker in the live from the panels to the CC in case of future problems and, as suggested by others, will leave the original converter in situ with the breaker pulled. I will check for an aux output from the CC because the TV will be siting along with the 5er. Thanks again.
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Old 04-13-2013, 11:03 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by woodpidgeon View Post
So will I need a switch on the solar controller to turn it off when on shore power, so the inverter will charge the batteries and not the panels? It is a inverter/charger by the way.
No. I use both when I am in the yard at home or dry camping. As long as you wire the system correctly 12v is 12v no matter where it comes from. I put a fuse between the batteries and the controller just in case. Because my SP's are not permanently mounted on my trailer I also installed a switch to turn them off before I disconnect the plug. Just in case of arc or shorts.
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Old 04-30-2013, 06:56 AM   #9
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No. I use both when I am in the yard at home or dry camping. As long as you wire the system correctly 12v is 12v no matter where it comes from. I put a fuse between the batteries and the controller just in case. Because my SP's are not permanently mounted on my trailer I also installed a switch to turn them off before I disconnect the plug. Just in case of arc or shorts.
I agree about the switch
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:45 AM   #10
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I agree about the switch
Cool pic. My switch goes between the solar panel and the controller.
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:47 AM   #11
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I agree about the switch
How many watts are your panels. I a have 150 watt panel that sits on a ground mount.

Be interesting to see your mounts.
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:02 AM   #12
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I decided to mount my 2 80 watt panels on my truck so I could rotate and tilt them from the ground during the day.The supports are ,ade out of "kids stilts" support 250 lbs. ea. I bought them at a swap meet for $10.00 They have withstood 50 MPH winds.
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:50 AM   #13
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I decided to mount my 2 80 watt panels on my truck so I could rotate and tilt them from the ground during the day.The supports are ,ade out of "kids stilts" support 250 lbs. ea. I bought them at a swap meet for $10.00 They have withstood 50 MPH winds.
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:52 AM   #14
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I decided to mount my 2 80 watt panels on my truck so I could rotate and tilt them from the ground during the day.The supports are ,ade out of "kids stilts" support 250 lbs. ea. I bought them at a swap meet for $10.00 They have withstood 50 MPH winds.

Can not find new pictures. I will post my control panel later.
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Old 05-02-2013, 10:52 AM   #15
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This is from my Raptor (just sold) The switch is to disconnect the panels during hooking up and un-hooking. I mounted my panels on my truck, so that I could tilt and swivel them during the day for maximum efficiency. I also re-wired my television outlets and bedroom to run off my inverter in order to watch tv without running the generator and use my CPAP unit.
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Old 05-02-2013, 04:13 PM   #16
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My Panel

This is my panel. Orange switch is solar. Red switch turns the whole trailer off except for the radio. Was told a long time ago that the radio could last longer if power is applied all the time. Controller is top left. Push button fuse below. Pops off in the rear of panel. 8 gauge black cable on left is to the battery. Left one is to the rear of the trailer where the plug is. All is mounted on a sheet of 1 inch plastic(close enough not actually plastic). No shorts allowed. Do not have a converter. On board generator gets well used. Now the fun part is next. Building a house for my Wicked Kitty. Going to have to remember somehow how I wired the plugs since I will need to add a plug to the building. Going to be interesting.

P.S. One switch or was it both were fun to installed. Have to reach behind to hold the nuts. Really fun.
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Old 05-02-2013, 04:14 PM   #17
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If I can find this post in October I will show you the set up I have for the solar. I might be able to find old pictures. In that case real soon.
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Old 05-02-2013, 04:16 PM   #18
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Nice setup. It looks like you have some #4 or #6 wire there. Is your controller MPPT?
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Old 05-02-2013, 04:19 PM   #19
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Nice setup. It looks like you have some #4 or #6 wire there. Is your controller MPPT?

Wire is 8. MPPT?
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Old 05-02-2013, 04:20 PM   #20
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More solar

Solar hook up at home. Solar plug on the right.
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