Adding Solar to Bigfoot Roof - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-26-2019, 09:21 AM   #21
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Alright, thanks.

Jim, I guess my "issue" (other than you being some random dude on the internet ) is that I'm not routing the solar through my power center. That can be another conversation...but that's my plan. What I'd be doing if I routed the wires into the camper is...routing the wires into the camper, then back out again to connect to the battery on the tongue.

If you'd like to question to wisdom of that approach, I'm open to hearing ideas. I just don't see any reason not to connect the solar directly to the battery.

By the way, if I routed the wires through the grey or black water tank vents...where do they come out?? Do you cut a hole in the pipe, feed the wire though then seal the hole around the wire? Or what?
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Old 06-26-2019, 09:46 AM   #22
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indeed, black wire, zip ties, etc all have better UV protection, the milky white nylon zip ties will turn yellow and crumble in less than a year outside.
Yep.
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Old 06-26-2019, 12:12 PM   #23
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the solar panels normally have to connect to a solar charge controller, and that connects to the batteries.

me, I'd be drilling that hole on the roof, using a marine style wiring gland, then run the wires down inside cabinetry or whatever to the solar charge controller, which should have as short a run to the battery as practical...
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Old 06-26-2019, 07:26 PM   #24
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Which is why I planned to mount it on the tongue next the battery tray.

I know that invites theft, but no more than the battery itself sitting there. It would be under the cover.

I'll do a little more research into this. Since I'm used to a portable panel, it made sense to me to keep this very simple, and just run everything outside the trailer. If there are reasons that isn't a good idea, I'm sure I'll be hearing them.
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Old 06-26-2019, 07:50 PM   #25
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My pair of 40 watt panels go to a hub, then to a controller and then connect to the battery terminals with alligator clips. The issue I'm working on is that the controller isn't water proof and should not be placed inside the battery box ( which would be the easiest thing to do.

I have a small food storage container I could use, but I'm concerned about heat building up inside. I don't know if that's an issue or not.
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Old 06-26-2019, 07:51 PM   #26
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Few solar controllers are weather-proof, mine included. The battery box is typically not weather-proof either since it has to vent (at least for the most common battery type). It is especially not weather proof driving in a rainstorm at 65 MPH. My controller is inside the camper, and close to battery for the heavier gauge wire run of about 18 inches.

And dont forget that if driving at 65 MPH into a nine MPH head wind, you are experiencing hurricane and F1 tornado wind. Make it darn secure!

PS.. Im in Scamp but its the same principal.
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Old 06-26-2019, 08:15 PM   #27
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Well crap. Ok, thanks.

Looks like I'll probably be routing it inside then.
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Old 06-26-2019, 08:44 PM   #28
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Well crap. Ok, thanks.

Looks like I'll probably be routing it inside then.
Zach,

I still use a portable panel.
I mounted my controller inside, front left corner just above the front shelf in the dinnette. I have some short pigtails that go down thru the shelf into the electrical cave , which l plug into the panels. The output side also goes down into the cave and back-feeds into the small fuse block. That way you can see the controler.

If I was adding a panel to the roof I would route down a stink pipe, out in the water cave, along the inside into the electrical cave. I have a center bath so the routing may not work on yours.

Jim
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Old 06-26-2019, 09:29 PM   #29
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Do you have a ladder on the back with the rack, it would be fairly visually unobtrusive to run wires in a conduit(plastic could be painted with uv resistant paint) attached to the ladder, behind the bumper( if you needed to go up the curb side would be easy to route the conduit under the bumper) and then under the body and run to the front along the outside of the frame when you get to the front you can route easily to battery compartment and or the connection panel. depends on your trailer layout, our fb has a connection panel in the pass through on the curb side.
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Old 06-26-2019, 10:33 PM   #30
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I don't think I'd ever consider routing wiring through a holding tank via the vent tube...
and, I'm not sure how you get out of the holding tank?? drill a hole near the top, and use a marine wire gland ???? I don't think I'd want to run the wire out the sink drain, hah hah.


if you do, be smart to use cable rated for direct burial, it will survive longer wet with stuff.

if this BF has the ladder (I know the big ones do), I like the idea of running it down the inside of one of the ladder rails, then under the trailer to the tongue. put the solar controller near the battery in a small poly weatherbox, using marine glands for the cable ports.

weather box like this, https://www.amazon.com/OUTDOOR-CABLE.../dp/B00FU9KGSM mounted between the battery box and trailer (or get a bigger battery box and put it inside?), and use marine cable glands for the wires into the box... the solar controller will need 2 2-conductor cables, or 4 discrete wires... + solar, -solar, +battery, -battery.

if you're wiring outside, I would use marine 10/2 or 8/2... its expensive, but worth it. weather and UV resistant, white flat jacket...
https://www.amazon.com/Lawrence-Mari...T5W?th=1&psc=1
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Old 06-26-2019, 10:41 PM   #31
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I don't think I'd ever consider routing wiring through a holding tank via the vent tube...
and, I'm not sure how you get out of the holding tank?? drill a hole near the top, and use a marine wire gland ???? I don't think I'd want to run the wire out the sink drain, hah hah.


if you do, be smart to use cable rated for direct burial, it will survive longer wet with stuff.

if this BF has the ladder (I know the big ones do), I like the idea of running it down the inside of one of the ladder rails, then under the trailer to the tongue. put the solar controller near the battery in a small poly weatherbox, using marine glands for the cable ports.

weather box like this, https://www.amazon.com/OUTDOOR-CABLE.../dp/B00FU9KGSM mounted between the battery box and trailer (or get a bigger battery box and put it inside?), and use marine cable glands to run the wires into the box... the solar controller will need 2 2-conductor cables, or 4 discrete wires... +solar, -solar, +battery, -battery.

if you're wiring outside, I would use marine 10/2 or 8/2... its expensive, but worth it. weather and UV resistant, white flat jacket... tinned finestrand wire, crimps and solders beautifully (warning, soldering 8 gauge requires a big soldering gun)
https://www.amazon.com/Lawrence-Mari...T5W?th=1&psc=1
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Old 06-27-2019, 06:27 AM   #32
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Not through the tank! In the top of the vent pipe, out towards the bottom of the vent pipe, well above the horizontal plumbing....
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Old 06-27-2019, 08:36 AM   #33
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I don't have the ladder on my camper, and mine is a rear bath gaucho model.

It's not that big of deal to drill one small hole in my roof. If there isn't an easy solution for routing the wire along the outside, then I'll just go inside and not worry about weatherproof boxes and all that.

I prefer to keep active electronics out of my living space, but there's only so much I can do. I'll look into the best place to route wires through the trailer. Probably up under a front dinette bench seat is a good spot for the controller.
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Old 06-27-2019, 12:32 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by ZachO View Post
I don't have the ladder on my camper, and mine is a rear bath gaucho model.

It's not that big of deal to drill one small hole in my roof. If there isn't an easy solution for routing the wire along the outside, then I'll just go inside and not worry about weatherproof boxes and all that.

I prefer to keep active electronics out of my living space, but there's only so much I can do. I'll look into the best place to route wires through the trailer. Probably up under a front dinette bench seat is a good spot for the controller.
I lowered the wire by the fan of the bathroom, and then run in the cabinets up to the front, to use a cache wire to go down the wall to go to the cabinet that is under the left front seat and install the controller and then go out at the same place as the wires enter the floor in order to get to the 12 volt battery.
In the installation instructions it is recognized that it is more efficient when installing the shortest possible between the battery and the controller.

I had 15B17G 1986, no shower.
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Old 06-27-2019, 03:08 PM   #35
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If you are back to running the controller inside, consider using the refrigerator vent as a path for the wiring from the roof.
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Old 06-28-2019, 08:58 AM   #36
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Mine is side vent... I'm striking out!

I think it's also important to consider the temperature of that vent, too, though I guess a black wire out in the sun may get just as hot. But I think the fan in my upper fridge vent turns on at 110F. It's on pretty regularly.
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Old 06-28-2019, 02:45 PM   #37
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Mine is side vent... I'm striking out!

I think it's also important to consider the temperature of that vent, too, though I guess a black wire out in the sun may get just as hot. But I think the fan in my upper fridge vent turns on at 110F. It's on pretty regularly.

ZachO,


Have you thought of trying to contact Grant at BigfootRV and seeing what he recommends? From what I understand (which frankly isn't much at this point) Bigfoot now comes standard with wiring for solar in the fridge vent. I'm hoping my 2018 model will have this.



Obviously yours is quite a bit older but Grant still may have some advice. Just a thought.


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Old 06-28-2019, 07:01 PM   #38
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I can't speak for a Big Foot or any other than my custom Scamp. but I drilled holes in the side of the Max Fan and routed the solar panel wires through the fan assy and to the controller, hiding as best as I could.
I sealed the holes with 3M 5200 sealer/adhesive.
No leaks.
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Old 06-28-2019, 11:08 PM   #39
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Solar wiring running through fridge vent in Bigfoot

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonRaw View Post
ZachO,


Have you thought of trying to contact Grant at BigfootRV and seeing what he recommends? From what I understand (which frankly isn't much at this point) Bigfoot now comes standard with wiring for solar in the fridge vent. I'm hoping my 2018 model will have this.



Obviously yours is quite a bit older but Grant still may have some advice. Just a thought.


Jon
I had a 320 watt Panasonic solar panel mounted on our 25RQ last year. The wires were run through the fridge vent into the controller mounted on the wall adjacent to the fridge. I'm not saying this is right, but the system seems to be working fine.
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Old 06-29-2019, 08:04 AM   #40
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Zacho....

ok, I can see that with a G model using the fridge vent is not possible (the upper vent is not on the roof, like in a CB model)
both models have two plumbing vents on the roof and running a wire down the grey water vent is certainly an option...you could drill a small hole inside the kitchen cabinet, as high as possible...all you would have to seal against is odor (that's easy).


at that point you're inside....sorry but I can't see the rationale of going back outside to connect directly to the batteries....it's not as if electrical wires are a "fuel line" and current only flows in one direction!....if the wires going from your battery to the power center are big enough to carry ALL the camper loads on at the same time....they are certainly large enough to carry the current your solar system will produce. By going to the battery with dedicated wires you are merely duplicating wires that are already there (and making yourself some more work routing the new wires)


as for all the fretting about UV rays....I used wire available from auto supply places (black and white wires sheathed in a thick grey cover)
I can't see it being an issue...at least not in my lifetime.
If I were you I would add a switch somewhere between the panels and the controller...for trouble shooting, measuring or working on your electrical system it'll be better/easier than having to cover your panels on the roof on a sunny day...or waiting for the sun to go down...that switch does not have to be readily available either...it could be under the counter somewhere


Good luck
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