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Old 01-12-2021, 06:24 PM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: ACE 30.1
State: West Virginia
Posts: 27
THOR #21234
Thor ACE solar controller mounting location?

I purchased a Grape Solar 200w kit to install on my 2013 ACE that is not solar prepped from the factory. We usually do about a month of boondocking in June, and I am hoping this might help not run the genny as much.

At this time, I do not want to mount the panel on the roof, so I am going to use it portable on stands. I've purchased a plug that I hope to mount somewhere on the drivers rear, so I can just plug the panel into that as needed, but one thing I am unsure of is where to mount the solar controller. My original plan was to mount it in the battery compartment on the wall above the batteries, as I am sure closer to the batteries is better. My concern there is that compartment is open on the backside, and I wonder is that would be good for the controller far as moisture/dust? Mounting it inside would be nice, but I've yet to find a decent spot for it.
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Old 01-12-2021, 07:03 PM   #2
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THOR #20289
If there is no good location on a wall inside, I would mount it in the battery compartment. It doesn't look like much road grime gets inside, those controllers are pretty impervious to dust and close to the batteries is best. Just don't let it get wet.

David
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Old 01-12-2021, 09:07 PM   #3
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THOR #6826
Mount it in an adjacent basement compartment especially if there is a wiring access hole for your panel wires. There’s really no reason to be able to see it regularly once the novelty wears off. Just curious why don’t you want the panel on the roof? To me, the very best reason to have solar at all is to keep the batteries charged when not using the coach.
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Old 01-12-2021, 09:16 PM   #4
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
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THOR #21234
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Originally Posted by Pete'sMH View Post
Mount it in an adjacent basement compartment especially if there is a wiring access hole for your panel wires. There’s really no reason to be able to see it regularly once the novelty wears off. Just curious why don’t you want the panel on the roof? To me, the very best reason to have solar at all is to keep the batteries charged when not using the coach.
That is a good thought, and probably my best option.

Honestly, I'd like it on the roof, and it may end up there. One of the factors is where we boondock, there is a lot of trees, and I am not sure how much sun it would get on the roof vs being able to set the panel in the sun on the ground.
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Old 01-12-2021, 10:42 PM   #5
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THOR #18907
I mounted my solar controller in the battery bay just above the hydraulic pumps on the left and an inverter on the opposite wall to the right . It fits nicely, snug but near the batteries and all in one spot. I travel in poor weather alot and it stays really clean in there. I did have to move the splices and overload breaker down a bit on the right hand wall, same as I see in your picture for the inverter. My panels are on the roof.
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Old 01-14-2021, 11:07 PM   #6
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THOR #21234
I think I have decided to mount the panel on the roof, and have been researching mounting options. Thor emailed me the roof construction drawings, so I have some idea as to where the crossmembers are. The only question I have is I'm not sure how to do the mounting on areas that do not line up with the crossmembers. More research is needed!
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Old 01-14-2021, 11:21 PM   #7
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THOR #8860
You could always mount the panels (using Z brackets); to a larger panel that can span the gap between your roof trusses.
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Old 01-14-2021, 11:31 PM   #8
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THOR #6826
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Originally Posted by AxialFlux View Post
I think I have decided to mount the panel on the roof, and have been researching mounting options. Thor emailed me the roof construction drawings, so I have some idea as to where the crossmembers are. The only question I have is I'm not sure how to do the mounting on areas that do not line up with the crossmembers. More research is needed!


I used a Renogy panel and the mounts I used could be positioned at any location around the perimeter. I used 3 on each side and on my coach the aluminum “rafters” are 16 inches on center so I was able to screw all six mounts into solid structure. I pre drilled for stainless steel sheet metal screws, injected Dicor into the holes, puddled Dicor around it for the mounts to bed into and then flooded each with the stuff for good measure. It’s not going anywhere and I have no concerns about leaking. If you need to fasten into the roof sheeting anywhere you can use well nuts and I expect they’d work fine. Incidentally I was able to easily and precisely locate my rafters using an ordinary stud finder. It was an interesting and fun project.
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Old 01-15-2021, 12:31 AM   #9
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
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THOR #21234
Thanks for the info, and good to know a stud finder works well.

My next issue is going to be the wiring, but I may have a solution for that. Instead of trying to run the wiring from the roof down inside the RV, I think I will run it to a receptacle on the roof. I had already planned on putting a receptacle on the side of the RV, near the bottom, so I could use the panel as a portable unit. My thinking is, with that receptacle, and one on the roof, I could make a connecting cable, and plug them together once I have camp setup, and unplug it before I leave. If that makes sense.

This is the connector I planned on using. I will 3D print me a little box for the roof plug/wiring to fit in:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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