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Old 02-03-2019, 10:58 PM   #1
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portable solar project and drilling external holes

I've been working on a portable solar setup that I believe will be quick and easy for my wife and her mother to use when they take the RV (four winds 2018) on a trip to moab. They will need a reliable charge on the house battery as they hike the area but they won't leave the panels outside while away from the RV since they are theft targets.

I have worked out most of the details for cables, connectors, panels, batteries (2x12v 100ah in parallel), external housing, etc. So far I like the renogy eclipse 200w portable for panels & 20A charge controller and I'm looking at using an mc4 extension with an mc4 to anderson powerpole adapter. I want to hard wire a connector to the house battery and run that to an exterior weatherproof anderson powerpole port that the panels can be plugged into. I've settled on anderson connectors since they are simple, fast, and hard to get wrong.

The catch is that I'm very worried about drilling a 1 1/8" hole for the housing into the exterior wall. as I'm pretty sure there's probably something necessary to keep an exterior wall's integrity intact during and after such an alteration than I am probably aware of.

Thoughts on this mess?

solar panels -> mc4 connectors -> renogy voyager 20A waterproof controller -> mc4 connectors -> mc4 extension cable -> mc4 to anderson powerpole adapter -> weatherproof powerpole houng/plug on exterior wall -> housing -> power pole 40Amp fuse (on both - and +) jumper -> power pole ring battery terminal connector

Edit: I should mention I'm not into doing the full RV roof solar install at this time with an inverter and everything because there is hardly any room left in my four winds for more battery unless I sacrifice some serious storage or pull the generator out and turn that space into a battery vault.
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Old 02-04-2019, 01:52 AM   #2
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THOR #13228
ACOPOWER HY-3x35W18V2 Solar Panel Kit w 10A Charge Controller

Love the simplicity, light weight and portability of this solar panel set.
Bought on Amazon a year ago and used them a dozen or more times boondocking. Pushes our dual 12v deep cycle batteries to full easily.
Their benefit of light weight is also a determent as wind easily blows them around. An easy fix though by bungy them to the RV ladder, bumper or stake in the ground. They store and setup easily. I added a 20' ACO extension to the panels to keep the controller protected from possible weather.
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Old 02-04-2019, 11:41 AM   #3
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THOR #11130
Not a solar guru but the thought of drilling a hole anywhere in my MH makes my skin crawl. If I were to go with a solar setup someday, I would want everything stealth and as portable and stowable as possible. Any component seen advertises the rest of it...then someone will pry your door open or bust out a window. The more remote they boondock, the more stealth your equipment needs to be.
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Old 02-04-2019, 11:48 AM   #4
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When you want to hook your panels 9(and controller) to the house batteries: could you just hook the wiring up with alligator clips to the battery bank, and crop the wiring down and out from under your rig?

Or aren't your batteries hidden under your steps?
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Old 02-04-2019, 11:53 AM   #5
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THOR #1150
If the house batteries are under the steps simply run the wires out from underneath the coach--no drilling required.

Even the chassis battery can be accessed without a hole.
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Old 02-04-2019, 02:22 PM   #6
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I've considered using ring connectors and a shorter PP end and just letting it dangle down to grab it but I have to consider both needs now and in the future. My knees andcback don't always allow such movement sometimes and grabbing a cable a couple feet from under the lower profile sidewall behind the steps is not that easy when compared to a mere plug on the side. I would never imagine running a coax connector directly to the TV when a coax port can on the side of the rv. If it can be toaster simple it will be more often used and done right. Then again I did burn my toast more than a few times in my life so I could be off my rocker.

Point noted on the visibility aspect being a magnet for break in. In fairness, the TV dish on top indicates a couple tvs are inside, the noise of a generator means desired appliances, and even just size of the rv can all be factors.
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Old 02-04-2019, 02:30 PM   #7
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"Point noted on the visibility aspect being a magnet for break in. In fairness, the TV dish on top indicates a couple tvs are inside, the noise of a generator means desired appliances, and even just size of the rv can all be factors."


True...but most RV peeps (good or bad) have this stuff already. Solar is something new that most don't have. Everyone is not a crook but it only takes one to wreck your day. Statistics say...1 of of every 15 people will take something from "out in the open" when no one is looking. (REF: this was stated in a situational awareness meeting with local PD a few months ago by a guest FBI agent giving a presentation on statistical data)
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Old 02-04-2019, 03:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Gritz Carlton View Post
"Point noted on the visibility aspect being a magnet for break in. In fairness, the TV dish on top indicates a couple tvs are inside, the noise of a generator means desired appliances, and even just size of the rv can all be factors."


True...but most RV peeps (good or bad) have this stuff already. Solar is something new that most don't have. Everyone is not a crook but it only takes one to wreck your day. Statistics say...1 of of every 15 people will take something from "out in the open" when no one is looking. (REF: this was stated in a situational awareness meeting with local PD a few months ago by a guest FBI agent giving a presentation on statistical data)
I've found that if you leave a couple of old snotty handkerchiefs draped-out to dry over them: folks will leave them alone...
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Old 02-04-2019, 03:36 PM   #9
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how do they know you're not looking?
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Old 02-04-2019, 04:04 PM   #10
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Wear a Santa Claus costume: he always knows...

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Old 02-04-2019, 05:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurnerFam View Post
how do they know you're not looking?

I'm never "not looking". Cobra CDR900. I have 3 of them. 1 goes with me, two stay at the MH and keep eyes on things. Small enough to place in inconspicuous places. Always looking for a reason to "decrease the surplus population". Great battery life. I hate a liar and a thief!!
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Old 02-04-2019, 07:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I'm never "not looking". ...I hate a liar and a thief!!


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Old 02-05-2019, 10:16 PM   #13
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THOR #12231
Im sure you could find some plug in connection on Amazon that would work. Just make sure its rated at the amount of amps you will be pushing (like 20 amp or better to be safe - most 100 watt panels are 8.33 amp each).

You just want to plug into the side of your RV right? Since you talking about the lower part of your RV (Below the floor) I would not worry if it leaks when it rains... it will just drip on the ground (nothing below it). But I would still seal it just because it seems like the right thing to do plus you dont want water to delaminate any fiberglass in that area.
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Old 02-05-2019, 10:24 PM   #14
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Something like this might work for you.

https://www.amazon.com/Pactrade-Mari...+12v+connector

Not sure if this link will work but look for trolling motor or some HD 12 connector.
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Old 02-06-2019, 12:25 AM   #15
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Have you thought about routing the wires, tying them up, or have someone do the job for you, and put your plug in the grill area up front for the solar connection, if it is always temporary until set up?
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