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Old 12-08-2019, 04:06 PM   #1
azwiz
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mounting solar panels

Any advice or experience on mounting solar panels on 2019 Montana ?
Roof rafter placement, or is decking adequate to screw into, etc.
Thanks in advance
Steve
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Old 12-08-2019, 05:40 PM   #2
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Hello Steve, We also have the 2019 3121 RL and am thinking about adding some solar. Contacted Keystone with my Vin Number to ask for roof drawings and what material my roof rafters were made out of. My first response was that No Drawings are available to owners and she would have to ask someone else about the material of the rafters. Also, the roof warranty would be gone. When I mentioned to the person that all she would need is my Vin Number to find the material used for our Rafters, she did get back to me that the rafters were wood. I installed solar on our Lance Truck Camper, asked the same question to them, within an hour they sent full frame, 120 Volt and 12 Volt Drawings. Amazing. I did buy a Zircon Center Finding Stud Sensor, HD 70 from Home Depot. It was dead on to find the aluminum ribs on the roof of our TC. Will be interested in your project and answers to your post.
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Old 12-08-2019, 11:11 PM   #3
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I have mounted four solar panels on the roof of my unit. I didn't worry about studs; I used 1/4" x 1" lag screws into the roofing material. Use plenty of Dicor. Put some Dicor under the mounting bracket, screw it down, then cover the whole thing with Dicor. Mine are rock solid. I just had to lift one of mine to switch from 12V to 24V; it took a lot to get it to release.
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Old 12-09-2019, 09:13 AM   #4
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Thanks to the folks that replied, now for the next question, series or parallel?
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Old 12-09-2019, 10:30 AM   #5
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Thanks to the folks that replied, now for the next question, series or parallel?
I'm not the expert here, but in the process of changing from a PWM to a MPPT controller, so I'll pass along what I think is correct.

The answer is, it depends on your controller. Choices are PWM and MPPT. A MPPT controller is more expensive and, in most cases will out perform a PWM controller. There is a ton of information on the web for you to look at.

If you have a PWM controller, you will have to set your panels up in parallel; 12VDC from panels to controller, 12VDC from controller to batteries.

If you have a MPPT controller, it will function as a DC-DC converter. You can run higher voltages between the solar panels and the controller which will step down to 12VDC for your batteries. The advantage is when you increase the voltage, you decrease the current.

I am switching to a MPPT controller for the performance it provides in colder weather and to reduce the current between the solar panels and the controller. With my PWM controller and 400W of solar panels, the 10ga wire was about maxed out in current capacity. I am going to reconfigure my panels (easy, just swap some connectors) for 24VDC and cut the current in half. That will give me room to grow should I decide to add a couple more panels. Also feel better not running 30A on a 10ga wire. I will have two pairs of panels in parallel (12VDC) which are connected in series to provide 24VDC.

Hope this helps.
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Old 12-09-2019, 10:59 AM   #6
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I have replaced 100/30 charge controller with a Victron 100/50 MPPT charge controller going to three Battle Born Batteries. Trailer came with a 265 watt panel, I'm replacing it with 2 LG 335 watt panels. Any suggestions or comments, will factory wiring be sufficient ?
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Old 12-09-2019, 11:12 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by azwiz View Post
I have replaced 100/30 charge controller with a Victron 100/50 MPPT charge controller going to three Battle Born Batteries. Trailer came with a 265 watt panel, I'm replacing it with 2 LG 335 watt panels. Any suggestions or comments, will factory wiring be sufficient ?
I am also switching to the Victron 100/50 and have three AGM batteries (Li batteries will be a future upgrade). I can't answer the question since I don't know anything about the factory wiring; I installed my own.
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Old 12-09-2019, 11:17 AM   #8
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what size wiring did you use from panels to controller ?
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Old 12-09-2019, 11:26 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by azwiz View Post
what size wiring did you use from panels to controller ?
#10 came with the kit I bought from Renogy. It is good for about 30A.
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Old 12-09-2019, 11:32 AM   #10
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Are you coming to Quartzsite?
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Old 12-09-2019, 11:33 AM   #11
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which will charge batteries faster series or parallel?
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Old 12-09-2019, 11:45 AM   #12
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which will charge batteries faster series or parallel?
I don't think that is a factor. Watts are the same.
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Old 12-09-2019, 01:13 PM   #13
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Are you coming to Quartzsite?
I'm going to try
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Old 12-15-2019, 04:28 PM   #14
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Solar

If on panels are series any shade on any panel with shut down the two panels. However you double your own load but you will send more than your converter will handle (30). I run two 265 panels on parallel thru the stock converter and everything works fine. If one panel is shaded other one wii continue. Screw intoroof with sealant over screws. Works great mine one Panay came with trailer from keystone I had dealer add second.
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Old 12-16-2019, 09:27 AM   #15
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I don't think that is a factor. Watts are the same.
The 3 things to consider for going series vs parallel are, wire size, shading, and what controller to use. If series is used and there is any shading on a single panel this will cause total output to be reduces to that panels output. But you can use the OEM 10 gauge wires with the higher voltage and lower amperage being provided as long as you use a MPPT charge controller. Now with a parallel connection you will not be as affected by shade as each panel sends its total output to the common connection feeding the charge controller. But you need wires large enough to carry the added amperage and lower voltage being supplied and a PMW will work. There are also other factors to consider.

I recently finished installing solar on our RV and did 1/2 of our panels series and the other parallel with separate charge controllers. Kind of an experiment. We will be heading out to Quartzsite to test it all out soon.
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Old 12-16-2019, 11:30 AM   #16
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How many amps will 10 ga wire handle or rated for?
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Old 12-16-2019, 12:29 PM   #17
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https://www.wirebarn.com/Wire-Calculator_ep_41.html

It all depends. This calculator will tell you exactly what is recommended for wire size based on voltage and amps passing through the wire. You need to figure out the total wire length which includes both the positive and negative wires combined to get your actual length.
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Old 12-16-2019, 07:32 PM   #18
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How many amps will 10 ga wire handle or rated for?

Unless otherwise specifically stated within the NEC 10AWG wire shall not be protected by a breaker greater than 30 amps. Those specific instances can be found in the tables associated with motor controls.
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Old 12-17-2019, 10:12 AM   #19
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Anyone know what gauge wire the factory runs from panel to charge controller,w/ factory solar?
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