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Old 05-17-2010, 05:53 PM   #1
Jolu
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Solar Installation

Some of you know I have been planning solar for our new 3150RL for sometime. I have finally got it installed and up and running. This was a project I became interested in long before we traded our 2955RL.

After the Quartzsite Rally in Jan it became a must. With several visits to Solar shops this winter in AZ it became clear I wanted to do my own install. I have to admit WorkerB (John) at the Q Rally was an inspiration. And who can forget Robbie & Alice using Solar probably 99% of the time. After reading a lot of threads of other folks who installed their systems and their photos were always helpful, it was time to leap in.

Solar may not be for everyone. It is costly to do a medium to high end system if you DIY or have someone else do it. Some folks use only solar for their power and don't even carry a generator. There is always that issue "I bet you can't run your Air Conditioner". Maybe not for hours on end anyway. I'm looking forward to not going outside early in the morning on a cold day and feeding the Honda. I do like pushing a single button and having AC power.

Here is a link to view my installation: Solar
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Old 05-18-2010, 02:06 AM   #2
Mudchief
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Nice job. You have been busy for sure.
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1200 watts of Solar
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Old 05-18-2010, 02:06 AM   #3
Wild Horse
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Holy Frijoles, Batman ! Impressive, to say the least. I looked at your link, and it gave me a headache ! I've been intrigued by solar, and it was certainly nice to look at your link and get a real sense of what's involved. Thanks for posting this !

On a side note, I always stop in Canon City almost every year, en route to my favorite elk grounds....I think it's called Bighorn Trading Company ? Nice area there !
Bill

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Old 05-18-2010, 03:30 AM   #4
WorkerB
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You did GOOD boss!
Very nice job. You are gonna love it. Are you looking forward to Q next year? Now you need to keep an eye out for a wet year at Death Valley, CA. Wild flowers can be spectacular. Perfect for testing your new independence. See you on the road,
WorkerB, John
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Old 05-18-2010, 07:53 AM   #5
scattershot
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Great job, and thanks for the pictorial. I'm currently running one 135W Kyocera panel with two golf cart batteries, and I'm impressed with that, so you must be able to run an arc welder with your setup.

Congrats on a great installation.
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Old 05-18-2010, 10:04 AM   #6
gojodo
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I am also very impressed, especially with the neatness in your wiring. I also followed Jack's site but installed 4 AM Solar panels with six 6V Deep cell Golf Cart batteries, 2000 watt Inverter/Charger, Solar Boost Controller, and meters. I was fascinated by your wiring into the system an Air Conditioner panel. Can you explain what that is about and whether or not you can run your air conditioner with just the 4 panels? I also noticed you wired in a 4 circuit sub panel. Why did you do this and what are they powering? I am asking because right now I can power everything in the rig (oh, I have a 3075RL) including the microwave, but not the air conditioner. I appreciate your pictures they really help. I may try to work out some modifications if I could add in my air conditioner. Thanks for your help. John
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Old 05-18-2010, 10:25 AM   #7
Jay Bird
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Nice job. Very impressive.
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Old 05-18-2010, 12:00 PM   #8
Jolu
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gojodo,

The AC fuse box has two sides and is an inline disconnect from the solar panels to the charge controller and then the other side serves as a disconnect from the charge controller to the battery. I also added a disconnect coming out of the battery box strictly for my convenience to shut down the battery power to the system immediately at that point if I am working on anything in the battery bay.

I do not have the AC wired into the system. It is still on the main panel. I read where some do power their AC from the inverter and batteries. With a but, they power it maybe for a couple of hours. The AC would probably drain my batteries pretty quick.
In my last rig after owning it for 2 1/2 years I turned the AC on once to see if worked. When I traded it off I couldn't tell you if it worked. When and where we go mostly we just do not use the air.

The reason for the sub panel is I have a 30 amp built in transfer switch in the Xantrex SW2000 inverter/charger. The Xantrex SW3000 has a 50 amp built in transfer switch and can be wired directly to the main panel. The sub panel allows for more control on what I want to run in the coach. I do not want to power all the circuits in the coach. Example frig, WH, etc.
With the sub panel I can run both inverter and shore power at the same time. Flip off the 30 Amp breaker in the main panel to the inverter and inverted power will still power the four circuits in the sub panel and the shore power will power the rest of the circuits in the main panel. Whew! this needs to be read a couple of times. But it can save you some dollars if you are in a metered park.

I power four circuits the 1. BR,Bath,outside plugs, 2. Entertainment Center Center, Computer, Fireplace plug, Right side back plug, 3. Kitchen-GFCI, 4. Liv RM Slide and back left plug.
I moved the wires from the main panel to the sub panel for these circuits.
The inverter will power these circuits or shore power will pass through the inverter to power these circuits.
To do this you have to have an inverter with the pass through capability.
My intent is to change out the 4 circuit sub panel and install a six circuit sub panel so I can use the main Microwave maybe at some point. We do have a small Wattage microwave right now we can plug into any of the kitchen outlets and run off inverter power. This small microwave saves on the amps used.
I need to live with the system I have for a bit to see if I really need to make any adjustments.

The inverter can dictate what kind of system you can have. Some are inverters only and others have a built in battery charger. (Inverter/Charger). The inverter/charger can have a high AMP charger and gets the job done fast. With theses you do not use your converter. Unless you shut down the charging part of the inverter/charger and plug the converter in externally with a power cord.

I know my answers are a little long winded. Hopefully I have answered your questions.
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Old 05-18-2010, 01:34 PM   #9
gojodo
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You did. Thanks for the input. You have put a lot of thought into this system.
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Old 05-23-2010, 08:00 AM   #10
Lije Baley
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That is great installation. It's wonderful to have the skill and know-how to do a job like that so well.
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Old 05-23-2010, 11:23 AM   #11
Jolu
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Bill,
Your wiring layout was helpful when I was planning my layout. You were a great help in Quartzsite. Thank you and the new 3150 is serving us well. DW now has a countertop extension also.
Joe
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Old 05-23-2010, 06:20 PM   #12
jackel1959
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Joe, You did a super job on the solar install. After seeing the mods you made to the previous 2955 I should not be surprised...but very nice never the less.
Jack
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Old 05-24-2010, 02:04 AM   #13
trophyhusband
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that is awesome. two questions, how much weight does it add, and about how much did it cost?
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Old 05-24-2010, 05:33 AM   #14
Jolu
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trophyhusband,
You asked two good questions. I really didn't think all that much about the weight but it does add up.
4 batteries at 62 lbs each =248 lbs, 4 panels at 27.5 lbs each=110 lbs, inverter charger=56 lbs. and the cables and other components and misc stuff probably adds up to 50 lbs for a total of about 464 lbs give or take. There is a small trade off if you subtract the weight of the battery or batteries that comes with the unit.

The second question how much did it cost. The cost is right at $4850. This includes the shipping for panels and all the other stuff. Then there was a few trips to our local ACE Hardware for minor stuff which can add up also. The big items were the batteries $400, inverter/charge $1200, and panels $1700.

I would consider this system an upper end medium system if there is such a thing. A high end system might be in the range of another $2000 if you do it yourself.

The bottom line that dictates the cost and type of system is what do you want it to do. Most folks can get by on a lot less than this system.
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Old 05-24-2010, 06:04 AM   #15
helmick
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Joe
Your installation looks amazing. I sure wish I could do that, but I think it would be way to complicated for me.
Maybe you just started a new career.
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Old 05-24-2010, 07:03 AM   #16
ols1932
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If a person is really concerned about weight then it is extremely difficult to estimate the weight involved in making any modification. In our case, when we went solar back in '03, weight was a problem but we had to "weigh) (no pun intended) our needs against the total load involved on the rig. I'm pretty sure there aren't any MOCers who carry two batteries that weigh approximately 150-160 lbs. each. But that's what our need was and is.

Orv
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Old 05-24-2010, 12:06 PM   #17
Jolu
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Wow! Orv, those are some manly batteries. They must be a modern day version of WWll submarine batteries. If those are the original batteries you installed in 03, you have taken good care of them and they are holding up well.
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Old 03-25-2012, 03:47 AM   #18
Bigboomer
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Jolu,

Outstanding presentation of your system. We had a very similar set-up on the rig we just traded in. I too did the entire installation and must say that what you described was pretty close to how I installed ours which took a good 6 to 12 months of constant research until I got everything down right.

Now the question I have is that with our new rig I was thinking of installing a new solar system on our tow vehicle's roof and putting all the components (batteries, inverter, charge controller, etc.) in the garage box and then creating a hook-up to the trailer similar to to a shore power hook-up.

Have you every seen something like this? What do you think the possibilities are?

The reason for this thinking is that I would not have to modify the new rig at all and can keep the entire solar system on our permanent MDT so if we decided to trade our rig in down the road we do not have to do it all over again like we are going to now.

Any advise is much appreciated.

Regards,

Les

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