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Old 04-07-2016, 09:58 PM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Four Winds, 28z
State: Georgia
Posts: 4
Post Solar Install Tips needed

Hello everyone, first post . I am designing a solar setup for our 2016 Thor Four Winds 28Z. I have questions on the roof mounting of this system. I'm planning four 24" x 48" panels for the roof (Robot Check) with angle mounts (http://amzn.to/1NbVbKh). I have picked the desired locations on the roof, but I have found that routing the solar wire down to the battery bank is going to be somethin' ;-).

I considered the shower vent, the toilet vent, and the fridge vent, but there are problems with each of these locations; in order, heat shield, toilet removal, doesn't go through to the under-belly. I am now eyeing the TV antennae entry. I have yet to see if there is a route from there to the under-belly of the coach. Any suggestions on this?

Also, I am afraid (there, I said it ) to drill into the roof. How can I be sure? I will need to put at least 4 bolts down for each panel then there will be smaller screws needed to secure various wiring. I know I will be using Dicore (Robot Check) and EternaBond (http://amzn.to/1VBSwQQ) for these holes, but what are the chances of drilling into a "bad" place. Any suggestions?
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Old 04-08-2016, 06:21 PM   #2
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: ACE 27.1
State: California
Posts: 224
I had many of the same concerns that you now have but one by one I overcame them. I decided to byte the bullet and drill through the roof. I have the ACE 27.1.

I cut out cardboard squares the size of the panels and used those to orient them on the roof. I also made sure I had enough space to work. It also made planning the cable run much much easier.

My fridge is in the slide so using the frig roof vent was out. There were other vents and spacing but that means cramped runs.

I looked underneath and discovered that I could run wires in flex conduit easily along the frame rails. I went online and found I could easily get 2 to 6 gauge cable online which meant distance would not be a factor. I was enchanted by the location of the water tank in the back closet and the open access it offered to the water heater/generator compartment and frame rails down below and the roof above. I used 1.5" hole saw to cut into the plastic "tubs" and sealed the conduit runs with silicone caulk.

I decided that was a long but great route. Lots of room to work. If you look carefully at your roof at the right angle you can see the aluminum framework supporting it. I took a 6" by 1/4" drill and drilled a pilot hole about 4" from the edge into the back bedroom closet about 2" from one of the aluminum cross braces, also the closet edge inside. I knew where that was by drawings Thor sent me, confirmed by my tape measure and double checking electrical drawings and good old snooping. From the 1/4 inch I went to 1/2 inch, finger checked, needed to be 1/4" or so further from the brace. Took a 1" hole saw and centering it 1/4 to one side of the pilot made a perfect 1" hole through the pilot hole and roof.

Because of the length of the run and because I could get 2g red and black 17 strand wire with the proper U.L. Approvals for that type of use. after using 8g solar on the roof through the hole to the closet I used a commonly found 2 to 8g connector in the closet.

My voltage drop is in the 0.05v range. Very happy. 480 W three panels.
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Old 04-09-2016, 03:17 AM   #3
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Four Winds 33SW, Diesel
State: California
Posts: 305
Nice Grump, here is another idea, I secured my panels down with Well Nuts, they are 3/16 x whatever your roof thickness is. You drill the 3/8" hole after marking the spot, and put the well nut in and when you add the bolt it compresses the insde flexable rubber against the inside of the roof material making a fantastic seal. But I didn't stop there I put roof repair tape down first just under each foot to give it better support on the top surface, incase the bracket wanted to cut my TPO, I have the extra thickness. After attaching all this I added the sealer to all as you can see in the picture. As far as going through the roof, see the area between the two vents, that is a 4 inch vertal wall which makes up one side of the bathroom. I went that route through the roof then through the floor and to the controller. I got a 90 degree plate for the turn down which is made just for this. I'll include a picture when I'm home as I could not find that one right now.


The second picture shows where I went through the roof, sorry it's not exactly a great picture, perhaps I can get a better one. But it gives you the idea. Maybe you have a similliar layout where you can also investigate for a turn down.
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Old 04-09-2016, 06:03 AM   #4
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Model: Four Winds 33SW, Diesel
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OK, finally got home, so here is a better picture of the turn down plate that makes it a complete waterproof job. And then the picture after that is taking out the cover (inside motorhome bathroom/shower) and pointing the camera up so as to get a look at what I had going from floor to ceiling inside wall. Hope this helps.
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Old 04-09-2016, 08:16 PM   #5
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: ACE 27.1
State: California
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Yosemite Bob
I used the expanding bolts. I also used a generous amount of dicor for TPO. It also has excellent adhesive properties when correctly applied. I used it in the hole for the expansion nuts too and also liberally on the base plates.

I decided against the 4" space because of my lack of ability but I did use a down plate device love iike you did. Since I could het the 2g wire in red and black it really opened up my options. When you do this stuff yourself it really allows you the freedom to pick the best options and the associated costs are very manageable and you know what you have and where it is and you discover a lot of other stuff too.

When I talked to thor about drawings etc. they seemed to be very interested in where I was going with my projects and they even would cross talk with his neighbor next to him making brand suggestions etc.

Your layout looks great, very clean and neat. It's kind of fun isn't it.
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Old 04-09-2016, 10:10 PM   #6
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Four Winds, 28z
State: Georgia
Posts: 4
Solar is amazingly cool! Wind would be nice too... I am working through my information to process you guys' posts. I am also waiting for Thor to get back to me on the schematics for the coach for the planning of this. I am so glad to have come across THAT post! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 04-09-2016, 10:36 PM   #7
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Four Winds 33SW, Diesel
State: California
Posts: 305
Thor seems to be very selective on whom they hand out their drawing to, I requested some months ago, never heard from them, then I did it again a month ago, still never heard from them. So I just dug in and did it. I did find out that the cross members in the roof (at least in my coach) are on 16" centers, so I just took a fan out of the kitchen saw where one was and went 16" both ways from there to find their locations. Didn't hit a one in all 32 holes I made in the roof, not counting the 1" hole I made for the turn down. Just had bunches of rain here in So Cal. and not a leak, that made me happy. I had a lot of fun installing my own adds, you really get to know your coach that way too. Along the way if I think something can be improved, I do it at that time. I will forever be doing something, besides, it keeps me busy

So to answer your question Grump, yes it is. I'm courious how you picked or was given the name Forest Grump.

Nalasha79, keep things going, will love to find out how it's coming as you go. If I can help I'll try. I studied up on Solar for two years before I installed my first 200w on my fifth wheel then again I used all that info on my current coach with 400w upgradable to 600w.
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Old 04-10-2016, 06:29 PM   #8
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
State: New York
Posts: 38
Schematics

Quote:
Originally Posted by nalasha79 View Post
Solar is amazingly cool! Wind would be nice too... I am working through my information to process you guys' posts. I am also waiting for Thor to get back to me on the schematics for the coach for the planning of this. I am so glad to have come across THAT post! Thanks for sharing.
I called this #24/7 support 877-855-2867 go through the prompts and than ask for Tech Support, You may get a Tim, Terry, Bob. Have the last 8 Digits of your vin and then ask for the schematics you need sent vial email.
I have gotten just about all the drawings available on my coach
Butch
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Old 04-10-2016, 07:09 PM   #9
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: ACE 27.1
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Yosemitebob:

After we moved to Big Bear full time I was looking for something to do so I volunteered for the USFS OHV Volunteer program. Befriended another old guy and we went out together lot. We each felt the other was grumpier and just started calling each other Grump. People would ask who was who, Grump 1 and Grump 2, and we would argue about that. But we had the most hours and the most interesting patrols. Grump 2 moved north so I decided Forest Grump fit me pretty well. After 1700 hours I left the group, too expensive too political.
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Old 04-10-2016, 08:45 PM   #10
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Four Winds 33SW, Diesel
State: California
Posts: 305
Some similarities in our names, mine came from spending a whole lot of time in Yosemite Valley and the surrounding mountains. On one venture I hiked from Yosemite up to the John Muir Wilderness Area and from there to the Bishop Creek Trail Head. Had to get a permit of course and when I got to the other end, the ranger tagged my permit with "Yosemite Bob made it", so I kind of hung onto it.

Toolman, I'm going to try your way next.
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