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Old 11-18-2016, 01:50 AM   #1
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THOR #4366
"The Nest" and it's solar

This is what has been completed to date on our solar mod.
The system has 3 - 100 watt solar panels on home made 3/4 pvc stands.
The PWM Charge Controller, breaker panel and Trimetric are located in what use to house a T.V.
Wiring is 8 AWG from the panels to the breaker panel. Breaker panel to CC and CC to tie point is 4 AWG, largest wire the breakers and CC could handle.
Wiring from the tie point is 2 AWG.
The CC also has remote sense and temp inputs.
3 solar panels :


Shunt under steps:


Controls:


Home made clamp:



Since I didn't have 1 1/2 inch clamps for the split tubing, I drilled small holes through storage compartment and looped ty-raps around the tubing and through the holes.

The Green thing that looks like beads is to tie up the 8 AWG wire when we travel.
While I had the house batteries out to install the shunt and it's housing the strap battery hold down system was replaced with regular automotive battery rod and wing nut hold downs. Battery wiring was marked with phasing tape to keep tract of polarity. Also both jumpers between batteries were resized to get a better match. Holes made to run the cables will be filled with expanding foam and painted.
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2016 Axis 24.1 E-450 6 spd tranny
300 watts portable solar.
200 watts solar on the roof.
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Old 11-20-2016, 09:10 PM   #2
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THOR #4532
solar install

Thanks scrubjaysnest

It looks more doable now. Is the shunt attached to something?
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Old 11-21-2016, 01:15 AM   #3
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The shunt is inside a standard electrical box. First mount the box to the frame the mount the shunt, I drilled through the box and then the frame again for this.
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Old 11-26-2016, 11:34 PM   #4
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THOR #4366
small inverter added

I installed one of two portable 400 watt inverters we carry with us. Mounted it to the left of the breaker seen in pic #2 above. While the specs on it say 40.2 amps at 12 volts we have never seen it draw that much. Ran 8 AWG wire from the inverter to mounting posts below the breaker panel and added a 40 amp automotive breaker in the hot lead. Was drawing 4.2 amps while it recharged the battery for my 1/2 drive drill.

Also got started installing additional 12 volt outlets in the dash.
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Old 12-28-2016, 04:25 PM   #5
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300 watts is doing well so far when the sun is out. Unusually cloudy for AZ.
Heat is cycled 5 times some mornings. Battery voltages are looking better then this summer; around 12.4 in the morning. This past summer they ran between 12.0 and 12.2 volts.
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Old 04-23-2017, 04:16 PM   #6
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started on the roof

Got the first panel sitting on the roof. Carefully laid our where the stringers are per drawing form Thor. ooops; appears the drawing is wrong. Will call tomorrow. Also some parts I had ordered for this mod got lost in the post office but maybe they will be here by Tuesday.
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Old 04-27-2017, 05:56 PM   #7
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roof solar complete

Completed the 200 watt solar roof mod today giving us a total of 500 watts with the portable set up. All wiring has been run in split tubing and clamped.
Running the wiring through the refrig roof vent was a piece of cake.
Panels on the roof can be tilted in any one of four directions. I made up Z brackets from 1 and 5/8 aluminum angle. These are attached to the roof with # 12 SS screws 1 inch in length. They were installed using an adhesive/sealant. Tomorrow everything will get some Dicor 501 self leveling caulking. Also will touch up anything else that needs it on the roof. One panel is placed just behind bathroom skylight and the second is behind the refrig vent cover. These will somewhat breakup the air flow across the roof to the panels.
It really is to bad I never located the roof stringers. Don't know what the drawing is for that Thor set me. It's dated 2015 and for the Axis/Vegas but I never found a stringer within 6 inches of where the drawing showed them to be.
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Old 06-06-2017, 05:09 PM   #8
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Been dry camping since the 2nd week in May. Solar is doing great. Over night usage is about 10 percent and is usually made up by noon. So far 200 watts on the roof and 300 watts portable have been a great combination.
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Old 06-06-2017, 07:09 PM   #9
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Nice job! Any plans to go beyond the 400W inverter running off your batteries?
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Old 06-06-2017, 07:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scrubjaysnest View Post
Been dry camping since the 2nd week in May. Solar is doing great. Over night usage is about 10 percent and is usually made up by noon. So far 200 watts on the roof and 300 watts portable have been a great combination.
Are you using 10% of battery capacity overnight? If that's what you are referring to, how much battery capacity do you have installed?
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Old 06-06-2017, 11:14 PM   #11
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electrical mods

I have just 2 original equipment d27 12 volt batteries on board my Vegas. The 6 volt batteries are too high to fit under the step. Has anyone found a high quality set set that would fit or do I have to rebuild the battery support structure?
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Old 06-08-2017, 06:41 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Chance View Post
Are you using 10% of battery capacity overnight? If that's what you are referring to, how much battery capacity do you have installed?
So far just the crap batteries that came with the coach, some where between 95 and 105 Ah each. The programming assumption for the battery monitor is 105 AH.
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Old 06-08-2017, 06:44 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Terryo View Post
I have just 2 original equipment d27 12 volt batteries on board my Vegas. The 6 volt batteries are too high to fit under the step. Has anyone found a high quality set set that would fit or do I have to rebuild the battery support structure?
Trojan T 105's should fit as they are the same height as most size 27's.
Exide Stowaways, these are 12 volt 105 Ah which run $90 each at Tractor Supply, will fit also.
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Old 06-08-2017, 07:06 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by scrubjaysnest View Post
So far just the crap batteries that came with the coach, some where between 95 and 105 Ah each. The programming assumption for the battery monitor is 105 AH.
Thanks, I appreciate the feedback because I'm always checking to confirm that manufacturers' performance claims aren't exaggerated.

If I understand your system and usage correctly, you have 210 Ah programmed, so around 10% represents about 21 Ah (that's your reported overnight usage). That converts to about 250 watt-hours of energy -- more or less. With 500 watts of solar panels total, even after taking typical inefficiencies into account, it's no surprise your batteries are recharged by noon. It sounds like you have quite a bit more untapped capacity in your system (both batteries and solar) before the generator would be needed.

Thanks again for sharing data.
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Old 10-31-2017, 01:49 AM   #15
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THOR #4366
Just a slight update. At Cataloochee CG in Smoky MTN NP there was so much shade the best we saw from the panels 10 amps for about 15 minutes. This meant we let the batteries get down to about 70% and would run the jenny long enough to bring the SOC charge back to about 81 %. Getting above that requires to many hours of jenny run time for the small gain.

We are thinking about adding a 2000 watt inverter to run the reefer while changing CG's. Reefer temps were fine all summer with it off between CG's but sometimes we may need to keep it cool. We don't run the propane when on the highway, seen to many MH fires over the years. When we had the class C back in the early 90's we did run it on propane but got really uncomfortable with that idea. The last two TT we could run the reefer on DC while the TV was running.

Need to make up short 10 awg extensions so the portable panels can be separated a little more. Sometimes at Cataloochee we had two panels in sun but no room for the third.
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Old 11-09-2017, 08:47 PM   #16
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Batteries Plus has 6v deep cycle AGM battery 210 AH that will fit.
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Old 11-09-2017, 11:06 PM   #17
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Old 04-01-2018, 04:12 PM   #18
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THOR #4366
House batteries

Replaced the house batteries with a pair of Excide Stowaways. These are 12 volt deep cycle with a 105 aH for a total of 210 aH. They are slightly taller the original factory installed ones. Width and length are the same.
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Old 04-01-2018, 04:38 PM   #19
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If you replace your batteries, do yourself (and your new batteries) a favor and check that your converter/charger is working correctly. Both mine in The Vegas and Axis did not step down to 13.1v, so over time, if you leave the rig plugged in, it boils off the batteries.
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Old 04-02-2018, 03:59 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Oneilkeys View Post
If you replace your batteries, do yourself (and your new batteries) a favor and check that your converter/charger is working correctly. Both mine in The Vegas and Axis did not step down to 13.1v, so over time, if you leave the rig plugged in, it boils off the batteries.
Since the on board convertor is junk we use automotive smart charger on occasion. Mostly let the solar handle it.
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