Solar Charger and Panels - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-19-2007, 09:08 PM   #15
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And then I connect the panels to the charge controller.

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Old 03-19-2007, 09:10 PM   #16
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Now I close the battery box, and Wa-La!

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Old 03-20-2007, 09:51 AM   #17
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Looks good!
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Old 03-20-2007, 06:39 PM   #18
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OMG Fred it's a thing of beauty! You'll have to let us know how those panels work. I've looked at them several times but didn't have the spare change. They seemed like a great deal but like you I thought the controller was heavy and big and the included lites were "interesting".

How much do the panels by themselves weigh?
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Old 03-20-2007, 08:38 PM   #19
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Quote:
How much do the panels by themselves weigh?
30 pounds together; 10 pounds each How did you know I'd weigh them?
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Old 03-20-2007, 10:21 PM   #20
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Does anyone use (READ : do I need) a fuse and/or ground for a 12V solar system? It feeds a 100Ah deep cycle marine battery.

Also, while I'm on the subject, how do I check the ground on my 120V plug-in?
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Old 03-20-2007, 10:52 PM   #21
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Darren,

You will be grounded by default if you wire your controller correctly. The controller OUTPUT connections go straight to you battery terminals + and -. You panel lines go INTO the controller inputs.. + and - . You are now grounded if the battery is (and I hope it is!)

You could put an inline fuse on your solar lines, but your controller will probably handle 5 amps or more if you get a decent one, and it is doubtfull you will come anywhere near that just trickle charging.

The story would be different if you are trying to run items from your panels, but during the day.. when the solar is doing it's charging job...when you don't need lights.. you get the picture.

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how do I check the ground on my 120V plug-in?
Trailer cord or park outlets?
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Old 03-21-2007, 06:15 AM   #22
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on sale at this moment for $199.99 ( lets me out, heheh), i think i'll stick with my gen.
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Old 03-22-2007, 12:38 PM   #23
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Darren,

You will be grounded by default if you wire your controller correctly. The controller OUTPUT connections go straight to you battery terminals + and -. You panel lines go INTO the controller inputs.. + and - . You are now grounded if the battery is (and I hope it is!)

...
Hey Gina,

I'm starting from scratch. The old 12V system in my Boler is toast and doesn't seem to be wired to/from anything! Just a single 12V female socket near the top right corner of the cabinet above the sink .. pretty much just floating there. Not even a battery!

So I've bought a 57W panel array (Coleman, from Cosco - nice product if anyone's in the market!). It comes with a 5A charge controller, I bought a 100 Ah deep cycle marine battery. Now I have to figure out how to install it all - from scratch.

I know I need a bunch of 12V female outlets (I'll install them into the sides of the sink cabinet unit to power devices from the guacho or bed/dinette) which I'll run direct to the battery. The battery will permanently connect to the controller. The array of course will be quick-install to the controller on arrival at camping.

The reason I want to do it all 12V is that we aren't 'check-in campsite' campers. We are out in the boondocks campers so we really want to be completely self-contained.

I also have a 400W inverter which I will plug the main trailer electrical into (to power all 120V devices and sockets) on the rare occasion I need it. (In fact all we really use is a small all-in-one portable TV/DVD player/Radio/CD Player. We do have compact flourescent lighting too, but that will only be used when docked - we have 12V lights as main system- these are LED lights that plug into a car lighter socket but they work great!)

I guess I'm trying to get a feel fo what else I"m missing. Grounding for sure. This might sound dumb, but I guess I don't know how to ground the 12V battery. What kind of wire, how to connect to battery and how to ground it.

I think the 120V is grounded to the bolt that attaches the refridgerator to the frame. ( ? sound right?) I'd like to test this though - is there a quick way to test a ground?

Sorry to get off-topic, but any help would be appreciated!

Darren
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Old 03-22-2007, 01:08 PM   #24
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It seems to me, and I'm no expert...<strike>if your 12 volt system isn't grounded properly nothing will work. I'll have to go home and look how my Trillium's 12 volt is grounded</strike>(I have been home and looked, only grounding comes from (-) post on battery), I know where the 110volt is grounded, I can see a ground wire to the frame in the back under the street side bench. As far as 12 volt wire goes, as I am cleaning some things up I am using 12 gage wire for my main runs, and lesser gage depending on what I am connecting. For my 12 volt outlets I will use 12 gage wire. My trailer has a very simple electrical system, sounds much like yours. I have 2 110 volt plugs and 1 110 volt light. The 12 volt consists of 3 lights, and a run to the fridge, it came with no battery.

I'm thinking about it now...maybe my ground is coming from the battery??? When connected it has a negative pole, and the same when connected to the tow vehicle, ground comes from the vehicle.
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Old 03-22-2007, 02:03 PM   #25
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Hmmmmmmm .... I dunno,

First, a lot of people use the term 'neutral' and 'ground' to mean the same thing, and from what I gather, they're really not. The neutral handles the flow of current FROM devices that have used up power from the live wire. It returns back to the battery to complete the circuit and for re-energizing. The ground wire creates a 'path of least resistance' and dissipates any extra current - created by eg, a surge - and stuffs it some place safe - usually the ground.

So, your 12V would - like any other system - work fine without a ground, but if there is a short circuit or surge you could get an unfortunately high current through your lines and either fry your wiring, devices or worse, yourself.

Having said that, the trailer wiring diagrams I've seen only show a ground at the hitch's electrical connection, not from any battery. I don't know if these are generic diagrams for all types of trailers or designed for RVs with on-board 12V battery.

So, I'll be installing a single connection from the battery to a terminal block to connect all 12V devices/lighter socket plugs. I'll be putting 5A automotive fuses on those. And I'll need to ground the whole setup.

I know that to ground it, it would have to go FROM something TO the frame ... but what is the 'FROM' part of this equation? A tie from the neutral? The battery's negative terminal?
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Old 03-22-2007, 02:37 PM   #26
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Hmmmmmmm .... I dunno,

So, I'll be installing a single connection from the battery to a terminal block to connect all 12V devices/lighter socket plugs. I'll be putting 5A automotive fuses on those. And I'll need to ground the whole setup.

I know that to ground it, it would have to go FROM something TO the frame ... but what is the 'FROM' part of this equation? A tie from the neutral? The battery's negative terminal?
You probably have a valid point, the fail safe point may be the fuse that is in the "power" line (black wire) back to the battery. It seems to me if my memory is working, the guy who wired my vehicle indicated that the fuse would protect the electrical system if a short or overload occured.

I would think that the ground could go from the terminal block to the frame, that way the entire system would benefit from the ground. From the terminal block to the battery would have a fuse in the power wire, protecting the battery.
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Old 03-22-2007, 03:08 PM   #27
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There are a few clues shown in the manuals that you can see under Resources~Document Centre~Manuals that you can get at from the home page on this sight. For instance, the Scamp manual shows an in-line fuse on the black (power) wire from the battery. You can also get some idea of the guages and fuses used too.
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Old 03-22-2007, 04:00 PM   #28
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Brenda & Dave and Darren
I think you may be starting down a tricky path here trying to compare D.C. and A.C. electrical systems in your trailers.

These systems are seperate and dis-similar aside from the fact that they both control electrical items.

In a D.C. system there is a 12volt positive and a negative or ground cable.

All 12volt circuits run on these two wires.

For reasons I will never understand there are two different conventions used to mark the wires and they are exactly opposite.
In some the red is 12v positive and in some the black is 12volt positive?

If you buy a cheap multi-meter you can easily determine which you have for any given 12vdc circuit. They are also very handy for many other uses and under $20.00 at a home center....get one.

In a trailer you can ground a 12vdc outlet or fixture to the trailer frame and then just run a single conductor wire to the Positive load. Most small trailers come wired like this, but I always just run two conductors with a dedicated ground to each fixture. Most wire is two conductor anyway and it is a lot more reliable to run the ground on a wire rather than through the trailer frame especially for us as the trailer body is non-conductive fiberglass which can make frame grounds unreliable.

It is then a simple matter of running your load wires to the battery directly or if you want more control through a switch or switch panel so you can control them from a central point.

Likewise you will need to charge the battery and you can connect the charger directly to the battery too. It may be Solar or it may be a house powered charger but either way it will output 12volts DC to charge the battery.
Some of these will also supply enough 12volt DC power to run the trailer while your battery is charging. some will not.

This is a very simplified overview for sure but 12volt DC systems are fairly straightforward really.

The 120volt AC system is like a residential house system and the three wires are not directly comparable to that of the 12volt systems and should not be interconnected directly!

There is a device many trailers have and that you can add called a "Converter" that will supply both 12volt DC power from 120volt AC power and charge your battery and supply 120volt AC power when plugged in.

They can act as a central point for all of the wiring and simplify things a lot.

I hope this clears up some of it and there is a wealth of other info out there on this site and many others.
I recommend a West Marine catalog as they include basic info on all of these systems and feature equipment to make it all work in a single free catalog.

Remember if you don't know,please find out. This stuff can be bad if done wrong.

And Have Fun.

Ed
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