Solar Cable Entry Plate - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-05-2019, 04:21 PM   #1
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Solar Cable Entry Plate

I installed this on my roof this summer. It came with nothing but what is pictured. Not even instructions. It seemed pretty self explanatory so I went ahead and installed it.

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The first try, I just pulled the wires through...and tore out the rubber seal that keeps water out. So..first try was a fail. John from Santa Cruz helped me there (pretty sure it was him), telling me to lube the wires with soapy water before pulling them through. I bought another, and that worked.

After a few good rains, no leaks. But this fall after having snow on the roof for around a week, there's moisture on the wires inside the camper. I went up on the roof and tightened the nuts hoping that would help, but instead something inside broke and now one wire nut is completely loose. So I'm going to buy another.

This time, with winter coming and me not wanting a roof leak for the next six months, I finally googled installation instructions for this thing. The first thing I notice is that all the images show MC4 connectors installed in the plate.

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So maybe that's it? Here's my installation (of the wires, not the final plate installation. I did cover it all with eternabond tape). I ran the wires right through on their own.

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My first question is whether the way I did it is fine, but just doesn't allow for quick-disconnect? Or do you think the connectors need to be there for it to seal? I do have an email sent to Go Power but I have no idea how long a response will take.

My other question is on Renogy MC4 connectors. My solar kit is Renogy. On Amazon, reviews for Renogy connectors say their polarity is reversed. I guess I shouldn't assume, but can I assume that if I'm using all Renogy products (except for this entry plate), that it will all be plug and play? No modifications like switching polarity required?

Let me know your thoughts.
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Old 10-06-2019, 02:07 PM   #2
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mc4 bulkhead connector

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZachO View Post
I installed this on my roof this summer. It came with nothing but what is pictured. Not even instructions. It seemed pretty self explanatory so I went ahead and installed it.

Attachment 131740

The first try, I just pulled the wires through...and tore out the rubber seal that keeps water out. So..first try was a fail. John from Santa Cruz helped me there (pretty sure it was him), telling me to lube the wires with soapy water before pulling them through. I bought another, and that worked.

After a few good rains, no leaks. But this fall after having snow on the roof for around a week, there's moisture on the wires inside the camper. I went up on the roof and tightened the nuts hoping that would help, but instead something inside broke and now one wire nut is completely loose. So I'm going to buy another.

This time, with winter coming and me not wanting a roof leak for the next six months, I finally googled installation instructions for this thing. The first thing I notice is that all the images show MC4 connectors installed in the plate.

Attachment 131738



So maybe that's it? Here's my installation (of the wires, not the final plate installation. I did cover it all with eternabond tape). I ran the wires right through on their own.

Attachment 131739

My first question is whether the way I did it is fine, but just doesn't allow for quick-disconnect? Or do you think the connectors need to be there for it to seal? I do have an email sent to Go Power but I have no idea how long a response will take.

My other question is on Renogy MC4 connectors. My solar kit is Renogy. On Amazon, reviews for Renogy connectors say their polarity is reversed. I guess I shouldn't assume, but can I assume that if I'm using all Renogy products (except for this entry plate), that it will all be plug and play? No modifications like switching polarity required?

Let me know your thoughts.
A. Don't mount on a horizontal surface.
B. Mount it with the connectors pointing up so that there is a loop hanging below that will cause moisture to collect and drip away form the bulkhead connector. Ain't gravity a wonderful thing?? Level roads and tailwinds. G.
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Old 10-06-2019, 04:30 PM   #3
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Thanks. I don't disagree with your advice, and maybe I should have considered mounting it on the side of the trailer. But, this is the product description:

With Go Power's Cable Entry Plate, MC4 cable installation is cleaner and more flexible; no longer is the solar cable's entry limited to the refrigerator vent. Run the wires through any part of the roof you choose, ideally as close as possible to the battery for the most efficient charging and minimizing energy loss. This product has been designed from the ground up to provide the best solution on the market for a cable entry port for RV rooftops.

It was meant to be mounted on the roof, and to be water-tight. So I'm missing something...just not sure what.
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Old 10-06-2019, 07:42 PM   #4
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I used the GoPower Cable Entry Plate 2 1/2 years ago, and all is still great with it. I did use some butyl tape under it, then sealed the edges and rivets with Dicor roof sealant. I highly recommend this entry plate, just plug in some MC4 connectors and all is good.

This is a waterproof unit so no need to worry about mounting on a close to flat and level surface.

Some have seen this photo, but thought I would share again. You can see the entry plate right beside the fridge vent.

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Old 10-07-2019, 08:41 AM   #5
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Thanks Jim. Yeah, I bought the plate based on your advice.

So how do the mc4 connectors connect to the nuts in the plate? Do they not actually connect? It seems to me that they just sit close to those nuts, but in the end, it's just the cable that runs into the nuts and through the plate. In that case, is there anything "wrong" with me just running the wires straight through?

I guess that's my question. Even though the plate was meant to be used with connectors so that you can easily disconnect everything, in the end, no matter what, it's just cables running into those nuts, right? So if mine is leaking, it's not because I didn't put mc4 connectors in there. It's another issue with my installation. Would you agree with that?

The company didn't answer that question, but gave me a link to a plate with the connectors and internal wiring already attached...for $125! Dang. That's convenient but not sure I'm willing to pay an extra $100 for convenience.
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Old 10-08-2019, 06:04 AM   #6
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I am not sure what you meant by the nuts, are these the MC4 ports. The MC4 connectors from the panel leads just plug into the two ports just as they would to any other MC4 connector. What is nice about this is if you ever plan to add a panel, make changes, etc, you can easily disconnect and reconnect.

It almost looks like you just have wires, not MC4 connectors going into the entry plate. The other image, presumably from the manufacture, does show the connections ready to be made.

I don't have a closeup of what I did, but once the snow that we got last night melts I will go over and take a photo.
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Old 10-08-2019, 09:06 AM   #7
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Thanks Jim. That's exactly what I mean. I just have wires going through the plate. The wires go through nuts, which can be tightened. Since the plate I bought came just with itself, no MC4 connectors, no instructions, I assumed it was meant to be used as-is. So like my photo shows, I just ran my cables through it.

I did get a reply from the company, and it sounds like that's not right. That explains my leak. I ordered a new plate with MC4 connectors and the interior wires already installed. We have snow and single digits on the way...so it's possible I'll be covering the plate for the winter and this will be a spring project. We'll see...
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Old 10-08-2019, 10:42 AM   #8
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I have mounted things on my roof but always covered them with Dicor with no problems except they are no longer accessible. As previously stated, if you need access, mount vertically with the wires entering from the bottom and looping down several inches so that any moisture present will drip from these loops instead of running along the wires and possibly into the fixture.
I have seen compression fittings that will seal around the wires when the nut is tightened and sometimes they work at least until the seal material deteriorates however if water continually runs down the wire onto the seal eventually it may leak.
Mounting on a vertical surface with the wires entering from the bottom means water will run down the wires away from the seals so even if they leak the water won't be there to enter.
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Old 10-08-2019, 02:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZachO View Post
Thanks Jim. That's exactly what I mean. I just have wires going through the plate. The wires go through nuts, which can be tightened. Since the plate I bought came just with itself, no MC4 connectors, no instructions, I assumed it was meant to be used as-is. So like my photo shows, I just ran my cables through it.

I did get a reply from the company, and it sounds like that's not right. That explains my leak. I ordered a new plate with MC4 connectors and the interior wires already installed. We have snow and single digits on the way...so it's possible I'll be covering the plate for the winter and this will be a spring project. We'll see...
The plate I used did have a long set of #10 wires coming from it, I just assumed they all did.
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Old 10-08-2019, 07:17 PM   #10
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That would have been nice. If you click the link in the first sentence of my first post, you'll see what I bought. Just the plate. No connectors, no wires. In fact, looking back...

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No blame to you, I'm responsible for my own destiny. In fact you mention the connectors and wires in that post, though the image doesn't show them and the linked product doesn't include them. But yeah, I wish I had looked closer before assuming it contained everything I need.
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Old 10-09-2019, 05:03 AM   #11
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I will probably try this one so I can quick detach.
https://cuttingedgepower.com/product...ry-gland-10-ft
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:04 AM   #12
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I will probably try this one so I can quick detach.
https://cuttingedgepower.com/product...ry-gland-10-ft
Not experienced enough to know how I should feel about the end connectors they've got on those...I like the MC4 connectors though.

I'm not happy with the response I got from Go Power. We seem to be talking past each other on whether or not the way I installed it is ok. But whatever. I bought a new plate all set up with connections and wires, so most likely next spring I'll have it all installed. Right now it's 17 degrees and dumping snow (over a foot forecasted in the valley)...
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Old 10-10-2019, 07:12 AM   #13
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Right now it's 17 degrees and dumping snow (over a foot forecasted in the valley)...
We sent that snow down to you guys as we really did not want what we got yet. Still need to do the acrylic coat on my stucco this year.
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Old 10-11-2019, 11:55 AM   #14
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Hey guys, my name is Bob and I'm with the company that makes the product CSiko linked. This product has become one of our best sellers and it has proven to be useful in many different applications. If you use our product, I hope it helps your installation and we would love to hear feedback from you.

Also, please let me know if you think of any improvements or design features you would like to see in products like this. We are trying to design more products for the RV community right now. You can always reach me directly at bob@cuttingedgepower.com

Personally, I don't have an RV but I am actively looking for one, or a camper. I am an Eagle Scout and love to be outdoors whenever I can.
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Old 10-11-2019, 12:56 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by CuttingEdgePower View Post
Hey guys, my name is Bob and I'm with the company that makes the product CSiko linked. This product has become one of our best sellers and it has proven to be useful in many different applications. If you use our product, I hope it helps your installation and we would love to hear feedback from you.

Also, please let me know if you think of any improvements or design features you would like to see in products like this. We are trying to design more products for the RV community right now. You can always reach me directly at bob@cuttingedgepower.com

Personally, I don't have an RV but I am actively looking for one, or a camper. I am an Eagle Scout and love to be outdoors whenever I can.
Can you make one with a larger plate so it covers a larger hole? I want to use my current water fill hole.
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Old 10-11-2019, 01:24 PM   #16
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Sure, let me know the hole diameter and we can make it.
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