Help a newbie: Can I install a solar system without original wiring? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-05-2017, 06:05 AM   #1
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Name: Melody
Trailer: Scamp
Massachusetts
Posts: 3
Help a newbie: Can I install a solar system without original wiring?

Hi everyone,

After dreaming of Scamping for years, I finally found an '86 13' in good condition in my price range. The old wiring was decaying so the previous owner removed it. This wasn't a deal breaker since I mostly camp off grid and for festivals anyway. I would like to have the ability to have some lighting, run a fan and charge a phone. I want to have a portable solar panel for this. Do I have to replace the original wiring or can I plug directly into a solar system? I'm handy at a lot of things but have no idea where to begin with this sort of thing. Thanks in advance for any advice!

Melody
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Old 02-05-2017, 06:25 AM   #2
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Name: Gerry
Trailer: 1979 Boler 1300 / 1991 Casita Freedom Deluxe
Maine
Posts: 1,651
Melody I am sure your going to get the answer real quick from those who know more about it then me.
I'm not hard core Solar Junkie and for sure am not going to sink a bunch of $$$ into a system. That said, I did work for the White Mt National forest In NH, for the summer years ago and did so with 2 batteries and a 15 watt solar panel.
Charged one all day and used it that night, while I ran one all day.
Did this from May 1 to Oct.18 2006. Worked fine for LED lights at night and could run the standing pilot light Furnace during those cool nights.
Good luck and I want to see how you end up doing your low key solar panel job
But seeing that your from MA and not too far away I hope your going to the Spring Fling in New England Rally in May.
If you haven't made a reservation yet I recomend you do soon as the place fills up fast.
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Old 02-05-2017, 09:42 AM   #3
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Boler13/trillium4500/buro13
Ontario
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melodywolfe View Post
Hi everyone,

After dreaming of Scamping for years, I finally found an '86 13' in good condition in my price range. The old wiring was decaying so the previous owner removed it. This wasn't a deal breaker since I mostly camp off grid and for festivals anyway. I would like to have the ability to have some lighting, run a fan and charge a phone. I want to have a portable solar panel for this. Do I have to replace the original wiring or can I plug directly into a solar system? I'm handy at a lot of things but have no idea where to begin with this sort of thing. Thanks in advance for any advice!

Melody
Melody think of a solar panel as doing one thing "charging the battery " as that is all it does. You will not be running off the solar panel but off the battery.the only wireing involved will be from the panel to the solar controller and then to the battery.the battery will then power all your dc needs unless you incorporate a inverter to run a limited amount of ac needs.
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Old 02-05-2017, 10:18 AM   #4
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Name: Gerry
Trailer: 1979 Boler 1300 / 1991 Casita Freedom Deluxe
Maine
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Mike is right.
All the things mentioned can be down with the 12v battery you will need of course you will need wires to run all these lights and some 12v plugs (look like cigarette lighter ports) for other things.
I have a 12v fan that I wired direct through a switch for over the stove to act as an exhaust fan.
So yes you will need to do some wireing from the battery to all the things you want to run.
Remember
Inverters change DC power to AC power
Converters change AC power to DC power.
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Old 02-05-2017, 10:29 AM   #5
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Name: Jack L
Trailer: Sold the Bigfoot 17-Looking for a new one
Washington
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Hi Melody. Are you sure the wiring was removed? Hopefully, it was disconnected and is still there. I would suggest you have someone with experience look at the situation. Unless your trailer was completely gutted, removing all of the wiring would have been a chore.
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Old 02-05-2017, 11:08 AM   #6
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Trailer: Scamp
Colorado
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Inverters change DC power to AC power
Converters change AC power to DC power.[/QUOTE]

I just wanted to add that some Converters change DC voltage. Example, I have a converter that changes 12 volt DC to 24 volt DC for my CPAP.
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Old 02-05-2017, 03:46 PM   #7
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Trail Cruiser
Alberta
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Melody,
You sure can! Ive been doing it for years. It can be as simple as putting your solar panel on top of your trailer and running the two wires to your 12 volt RV battery. Connect the solar panel wires to the posts of your RV battery with alligator clips.
I bought my trailer new and didn't want to touch the wiring so I did this for 10 years. Now that I'm retired I'll mount my panels to the roof of my trailer permanently and hard wire them into the battery leads but won't impact anything else in the trailer's wiring harness.
You can use an inverter to convert 12 volt DC to 110 AC but why bother? Inverters are inefficient and waste power. Your trailer runs on DC anyway. Any other items you want for your trailer are available in DC. This works great for boondocking and if you visit a trailer resort the AC power will be provided if you need it.
The wiring harness in your trailer is a separate issue. It will be DC. One wire runs from the positive (live) terminal of your RV battery and the other from the negative (ground) terminal. These wires connect to a distribution box which should contain a fuse. If not, put an inline fuse in the positive wire from the battery. Individual lines should run from the distribution box through fuses to each fixture such as lights, fridge, fan, furnace etc. Each fixture will have a place to attach a positive wire, the runs that runs through a fuse in the distribution, and another connection for the ground wire which may or may not be a common connection at the distribution box. Some fixtures will have a built-in on/off switch. Otherwise you can add an on/off switch in the positive line from the distribution any place you want. Be careful not to mix up the positive and negative wires. Use LED bulbs in your lights as they use 10% of the power used by the hot-wire incandescent types. Let me know if you have any questions.
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Old 02-10-2017, 05:06 PM   #8
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Name: Melody
Trailer: Scamp
Massachusetts
Posts: 3
Thanks for the advice. I have a lot to figure out. There may be some wiring left in there. I do know that there is nothing behind the outlets. I can see where the wiring was cut off at the outside. I'll have a closer look this weekend, take a few pics and report back. Bonus if anyone knows someone with more experience in suburban Boston!
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Old 02-10-2017, 06:31 PM   #9
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Name: Gerry
Trailer: 1979 Boler 1300 / 1991 Casita Freedom Deluxe
Maine
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Melody, I sent you a personal message...
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