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Old 09-25-2011, 07:09 PM   #21
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Finished my electrical system project today, in time for 5 nights of boondocking next weekend at the NA$CAR race in Dover!

First, I ran 12-3 Romex from the Xantrex to an area inside the TT adjacent to where the TT's 120v, 30A twist-lock male wall plug is located (for feeding the TT). I then put a 120v "standard" plug on one end of the Romex, so that it could be plugged into the Xantrex GFIC outlet.

Next step was to install a 120v duplex outlet with a flush-mount weatherproof box, right next to the 30A twistlock box. This outlet is fed by the other end of the Romex.

Final step was to connect a 30A, 125V female plug to 2' of 12-3 power cord, and a 120v "standard" male plug to the opposite end, making a 2' long adapter / lead-cord. I can now plug the 120v supply from the Xantrex into the TT feed with the 2' lead-cord.

By minimizing my microwave use (my heaviest 120V draw), switching the fridge to "propane", instead of "auto", and turning off the 120v to 12v converter breaker (so that I'm not trying to recharge the batteries with the 120v charger, which is drawing it's power from the batteries, through the Xantrex), I can now power-up all of my inside and outside 120v outlets.

All parts came from the local Home Depot. Cost, you ask???:

Two "standard" male plugs - $12
One 30A, 120v female plug - $30
One 120v duplex outlet in flush-mount weather proof box - $24
2' of 12-3 power cord - $4
24' of 12-3 Romex - free (on a spool in my basement, left over from a previous home project)

Total Cost: $70

Looking forward to seeing how well it works this upcoming weekend!
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Old 10-27-2011, 08:54 AM   #22
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Help with Solar Install

I have purchased everything needed to install my 120w solar panel, but I'm stuck on how to run the wire from the panel to the battery compartment. I have been on the roof and see the fridge vent, but I don't see where it leads to.
I really don't want to have pull my fridge just to run the wire. Does anyone have pics and details on how I can snake my wire down to my battery compartment. I have 2002 Sierra Toyhauler. I've been inside every compartment in the unit, and I don't see where any vent leads to from the roof.

Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Kerry
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Old 10-27-2011, 09:22 AM   #23
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I have purchased everything needed to install my 120w solar panel, but I'm stuck on how to run the wire from the panel to the battery compartment. I have been on the roof and see the fridge vent, but I don't see where it leads to.
I really don't want to have pull my fridge just to run the wire. Does anyone have pics and details on how I can snake my wire down to my battery compartment. I have 2002 Sierra Toyhauler. I've been inside every compartment in the unit, and I don't see where any vent leads to from the roof.

Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Kerry
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Old 10-27-2011, 01:37 PM   #24
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I've been inside every compartment in the unit, and I don't see where any vent leads to from the roof.
If you take the fridge roof vent off, you will be looking down the back of the fridge, and should be able to access the outside door of the fridge. This is where the burner and the electrical connections are. Run the wire down this "chimney", then go from there to get the controller and batteries.
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Old 10-28-2011, 10:46 AM   #25
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How was the Dover trip with your current set up??
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Old 10-28-2011, 01:25 PM   #26
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I can now power-up all of my inside and outside 120v outlets.
I did a similar wiring activity on my TT. Home Depot sells a flexible conduit jacketed 12/2 romex product that was perfect for routing underneath the trailer. I ran that from the front storage area where my Xantrex inverter is to the converter/distribution panel near the rear. I hardwired it into a WFCO autotransfer switch. The only electrical devices that cannot be powered by this circuit are the reefer, the converter (don't want to charge the battery with the battery, right?), and the air conditioner. It works well. I split the distribution panel so that in effect there is a sub-panel with the convenience outlets and the microwave on it. I have a remote power switch inside the trailer to turn on the inverter whenever I want A/C power. This comes in handy with all of the laptop computers we have.
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Old 10-30-2011, 02:55 AM   #27
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How was the Dover trip with your current set up??
Outstanding! Ran the generator for about a total of five minutes all weekend, even with the cold and rain. That was just to run the microwave for the wife's morning hot chocolate or to mw some bacon!

Likely next year I'll add the second pair of 6-volt batteries, and then it should run the MW without a hiccup!
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Old 10-30-2011, 05:36 PM   #28
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I am thinking of adding two more batteries next. Use the genny and then see if solar makes sense or gets cheaper next year.
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Old 11-13-2011, 09:46 AM   #29
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Are the solar wire clips used on the roof caulked on, or are they screwed in as well? Are they a solar-specific part, or something from Home Depot?
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Old 11-13-2011, 10:14 AM   #30
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Nylon coax cable clips, about $1.39 a pack at Home Depot, attached with a stainless steel screw (no rust), all sealed with a dab of Dicor. The clips allow for a little movement of the cable, as the panel wires are a slightly smaller diameter than coax, but that's OK, as it holds them in place.

I also needed a loop of slack cable at the panel end, as I need it to tilt the panel up at the front end if the trailer is oriented N/S, hitch facing north.
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Old 11-13-2011, 11:44 AM   #31
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From the storage compartment, you drill down through the floor, and and run the wires underneath the rv to the battery box? How do you seal the hole? Not with thereof sealant, and I imagine.
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Old 11-13-2011, 12:26 PM   #32
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Yes. I've drilled a total of five holes in the floor in that area. The first pair was to bring the new #4 cables from the battery to the inside compartment junction box. I also drilled a hole and ran the factory positive and ground (originally connected to the battery) into the same box PLUS a twisted pair control wires for the controller, PLUS the battery temp monitoring wires for the controller. (Six small wires in a 3/4" hole.) I sealed these three holes with clear silicone, from inside and outside.

Later, when I installed the Xantrex 2000w converter, as I needed larger cables to feed that. It was easier, and neater (after the fact) to to drill another pair of holes, and run a pair of 1/0 cable rather than yank-out the #4's and redoing the original work. I then similarly sealed this pair of holes with silicone.

LEARN FROM MY MISTAKE - If you plan on adding a big inverter (2000W+/-), then run 1/0 (or whatever size you deam appropriate for your inverter) inside to begin with, as the inverter will likely require larger cables than the solar panel controller. I hadn't really planned on doing that until 2012, so I didn't research what size cables would be needed, but the project progressed so well that I went for it early, and found that I had undersized the feed....
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Old 12-22-2011, 06:04 PM   #33
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Wow. Lotta great info here. Kinda hard for a newb to fully grasp it all.

If I understand you correctly, youve got plenty of previous experience that let you know exactly how you wanted you're setup. It also seems like you bought and installed most of this particular system in the same general time span. Am I correct about that?

I was wanting some pointers on where to start. I've got my eye on a cheap FEMA trailer hoping I can start from there and have something nice. Do you guys know if they even have a 12v system in them or would I be starting from scratch. I'd like to eventually have a rig that could run off shore power or solar depending on myriad factors, mostly just what is actually up and running, fixable, totally trashed, etc. The key to my thinking on alot of this is redundancy. I want to go full time, for the rest of my life! Sticks and stones houses are just a little out of my price range being an ordinary average guy, but I think I can swing a trailer. Sick of renting.

So where to start? Whether I've got some 12v to start with or from scratch. I've got to do this in stages so I can reap the benefits of my effort but do it as possible, considering time and money.

My initial, very uneducated guess at a starting point would be to establish a solid, basic 12v system. I mean all led lights, some dc appliances, converter, and a very nice controller. I think that's the main unit isn't it? Seems like the foundation for it all and yes I realize that the inverter and charger if included would be dormant and wasted without batteries. The nice unit in this thread seems priced well and packed w features so I figured I'd ask you guys if that's the appropriate starting point.
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Old 12-22-2011, 06:54 PM   #34
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If I understand you correctly, youve got plenty of previous experience that let you know exactly how you wanted you're setup. It also seems like you bought and installed most of this particular system in the same general time span. Am I correct about that?
Thanks for the compliment, but I'm far from "experienced" at this! It was only just a little more than a year ago that I really started seriously studying the possibility of going solar.

As for the FEMA trailers, my experience with them, and YES, because of my F/T employment in NYS Office of Emergency Management, I've had some exposure to FEMA trailers, it depends on which generation, from which contract, in which build-out year to know what you get. I've seen some with 12v systems, but the more recent ones, (especially the ones with the peaked roofs) only appear to have 110v systems. However, since you'd have to buy a controller, batteries, cables, and a good inverter anyway, you really wouldn't need an existing 12v system. Many of the propane appliances (especially refrigerators) require 12v control circuits, so consider that into your plans as well.

As I've expressed to many, mine may not be the most economical, or highest performer, but it more than meets my needs, and keeps me from having to run my generator for a few hours every day, allowing me to more enjoy my camping experiences!

Good luck, and be sure to use this forum to ask questions. There are any number of folks on this forum that understand solar MUCH better than I do!!!
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Old 02-07-2012, 10:56 PM   #35
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Just tossing ideas out here.

I have one of those TV antennas, you crank to raise it and then it has a collar so you can aim it... I wonder how much work it would take to modify one to raise and position your panel array. Even get it to track the sun AM to PM...
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Old 02-07-2012, 11:02 PM   #36
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Also, I'm really new to all these trailers, and I'm having a hard time envisioning how you guys have everything setup. My generator and battery is mounted on my tongue, kind of out in the open. 99% of the camping I do is dry camping out in the desert on BLM land.

Im in Southern CA, and I can park pointed any direction I want with a fixed panel mount on or above my genset.
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Old 02-26-2012, 10:51 AM   #37
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Great Thread Fire Instructor! I really appreciate your consistent updates and attention to detail. Your descriptions are very clear and understandable. I copied some of your photos for my personal library as I will be tackling this similar project on my TT very soon. I will be converting a small home system to my TT and will definitely use some of your ideas as a base for my new system.
I also appreciate your comments on my thread at Ok, You installed a Solar Sys, How is it now? - Forest River Forums
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Old 03-02-2012, 12:28 AM   #38
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Wow!
I just hooked up my WD hitch for the first time. Hope to do my first camping trip for spring break.
I've got some electrical engineering to study.
Very impressed.
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Old 03-24-2012, 03:06 AM   #39
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I enjoyed reading your thread. I thought of going solar but could not justify the expense.I dry camp about 30 days a year and I would have wanted a system about the size of yours. I have alot of electircal toys 3 tv's, portable sat dish and two computers. I decided to go with four deep cycle batteries and converted half my interior lights to led's. I run the generator as needed to keep the batteries charged.. Some day if the cost to a high ouput solar system comes down I am in!
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:36 PM   #40
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I don't know if this is the right place for this...

I found some Sunforce 30A charge controllers on ebay for $55 and free shipping. I went ahead and ordered one as I'm pretty sure these are MPPT charge controllers. I'm trying to piece together a system and buy things in stages instead of slapping $1000 or more on a credit card.

eBay - Sunforce 60022

I just thought this might get some of you guys off the fence and out playing with your toys.
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