Putting cable for solar through the roof. - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-30-2020, 09:56 AM   #1
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Name: Greg
Trailer: bigfoot
SK
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Putting cable for solar through the roof.

I'm planning to mount a 100w solar panel on my B17 Bigfoot that I am restoring. I'm wondering how the hole through the roof should be made secure and waterproofed. Should some kind of plastic conduit be placed in the hole first and then sealant applied after putting the wire is through?

For the location of the panel I'm thinking putting it near the front of the trailer. Would this be okay or is there a better spot? The ceiling is out on the interior to run the wires so I could place it anywhere.

I guess I'll screw the panel down as well since I can put wooden braces on the inside to secure to but it is tempting to use 3M VHB tape - thoughts? It has been a challenge to get the roof reinforced and waterproofed so I'm hesitating before putting holes in it!
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Old 06-30-2020, 10:35 AM   #2
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What do you have for existing holes on the roof. TV antenna, refrigerator vent or something similar could be used rather than making another hole.
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Old 06-30-2020, 11:35 AM   #3
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The only things in the roof right now are the Fan-tastic Fan and the bathroom vent.
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Old 06-30-2020, 01:24 PM   #4
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Name: Christian
Trailer: Scamp 13'
Arizona
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I installed a flexible panel on my 13' Scamp. I used this double cable gland to route the cables through the roof. The wires enter inside an upper cabinet. I used conventional raceway to manage the vertical run to the solar charger. The cable gland yellowed nearly instantly but isn't brittle.

I also used VHB to secure my panel, although I did add 3 rivets on the front edge (just in case) and laid clear Gorilla Tape over that as well to prevent water ingress.
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Old 06-30-2020, 01:34 PM   #5
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Name: Nicolas
Trailer: 1978 Boler
Almonte, Ontario
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For the cable pass-through, i would recommend a rubber wire grommet that auto parts stores sell. They are meant to go into holes drilled into the body of the car and sit around the hole so that, if installed with a bead of butyl caulk will seal really well and if the grommet is sized to your cable, a bead of butyl on the cable just as it is seated should seal that too.

As for fastening the solar panels, i would suggest attaching studs to the roof to mount the panels/panel frame to. What you need to do is decide where the studs need to be placed; sand/grind down to expose the fibreglass; fibreglass those cute bolts with flat heads that are used to slide in tracks like a table saw; layer successive layers of fibreglass cloth to form a secure base; sand to make it look good and no one will ever know that you didnít drill through the shell.
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Old 06-30-2020, 01:52 PM   #6
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
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https://gpelectric.com/products/cable-entry-plate/
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Old 06-30-2020, 02:30 PM   #7
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Trailer: 91 Bigfoot 17
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I have the linked cable entry plate. Some would say it's overkill and they're likely right, but it seemed like the right tool for the job. It's expensive. I'm very inexperienced but keep in mind that, so far as I can tell, it's not meant to be used to simply run long cables through, from the roof to the controller. The plate is meant to have MC4 connectors mounted in it, so you'd need to cut the wire and attach those. If you buy the plate with these already mounted with attached wire long enough to make it to the charge controller...even more expensive. Seems to be hard to track down lately, too.


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I went with just VHB tape for my panel but if I had to do it again, I'd probably at least bolt two diagonal corners, through the ceiling. I likely will do that at some point. You'll hear from people from both camps, but in the end, there are already holes in your roof. So long as you seal them, they won't leak. I used VHB tape, covered with sealant (sikaflex, which was a mistake), covered again with eternabond tape, which adds more stability/larger footprint of adhesion. But still...crazy enough gust of wind driving at highway speeds...

I put my panel on the back end of the roof, ran the wires along the roof to the front, driver side corner, closest to the power center and battery, then down through that corner into the cabinets, along the corner beam, down into the lower cabinets/dinette, to the charge controller which I mounted under the front dinette seat, right above where all the wires come through the floor. Close to the battery.

Thread.

You have the benefit of a torn-apart trailer to work with. You can add supports and anchors anywhere you want for securing things.
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Old 06-30-2020, 05:34 PM   #8
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Good advice. Thanks everyone.
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Old 07-01-2020, 12:28 PM   #9
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Name: Thomas
Trailer: Casita Independence 17í
Texas
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Solar wires thru roof

Please check out Slim Potato Head on YouTube. he just did a solar panel install on his Outback 13' trailer.


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Old 07-02-2020, 06:36 AM   #10
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Trailer: Bigfoot 25B21RB, 2004
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According to the year and the model there are different possibilities for the passage of the wiring, without making perforations.
What are yours?

Model : 15B17G, 15B17**, 25B17**, ??
Year ?
Shower or not ?

Have a good day.
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Old 07-02-2020, 09:10 AM   #11
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Name: Cate & Dan
Trailer: 1976 Triple E SurfSide "The Mutt Hut"
Manitoba
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If you look at page 4 0f Rookie vs. 1990 Casita, he uses a flexible conduit to run his wiring for his harness. I thought this was a nifty idea and picked up one to do the same on our trailer reno. Perhaps this would work for your solar. They are available at Lowes, HD etc. Just a suggestion.
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