Ram Promaster Forum banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
2014 136” HR
Joined
·
4,823 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Our current electrical needs, even boondocking, are minimal, but that could change. Solar is steadily getting better. So I would like to prepare for the possibility of adding solar in the future.

We will have an AGM battery with inverter, etc., behind the driver's seat, and the wall innards at that area will remain accessible. Where would we run a wire to? As in, where does the feed from solar usually come through the roof?

We have a MAXAir fan mounted behind the cab in the designated spot for such.

Thanks.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
726 Posts
Our current electrical needs, even boondocking, are minimal, but that could change. Solar is steadily getting better. So I would like to prepare for the possibility of adding solar in the future.

We will have an AGM battery with inverter, etc., behind the driver's seat, and the wall innards at that area will remain accessible. Where would we run a wire to? As in, where does the feed from solar usually come through the roof?

We have a MAXAir fan mounted behind the cab in the designated spot for such.

Thanks.
Hi

You can see my solar panel setup somewhere in this thread:

http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12938
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
855 Posts
Our current electrical needs, even boondocking, are minimal, but that could change. Solar is steadily getting better. So I would like to prepare for the possibility of adding solar in the future.

We will have an AGM battery with inverter, etc., behind the driver's seat, and the wall innards at that area will remain accessible. Where would we run a wire to? As in, where does the feed from solar usually come through the roof?

We have a MAXAir fan mounted behind the cab in the designated spot for such.

Thanks.
There is no usual place. I would think a common place for cable runs is in the pillar shown in the attached photo. There is plenty of space. This is where I plan on running my 8 awg solar cable from the roof.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
100 Posts
That is indeed the best place to cleanly run wires, I know it's what i would do, especially as there's really no other way to run them downwards while aiming for a clean install.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,714 Posts
Get something like this to get through the roof:
 

·
Registered
2014 136” HR
Joined
·
4,823 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
OK, got that thingie for the roof that RD recommended.

I assume 8-gauge wire?

What to do with the ends of the wire?
How much wire should protrude?
How to hold it down?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,714 Posts
It is a design issue that lends itself to having one or two panels (not more) and a rack to attach the wires to. That way the wires outside will be as short as possible and attached so they cannot flap about in the wind. Position the "thingie" over the van's rib and attach it with adhesive after one or two holes have been made and keep the panels ends with the wires near it. Treat the raw edge of the holes to prevent chafing even tho it will look like they won't ever move. The wire gauge is dependent on the amount of current. For an example: Two 100 watt panels might produce 20 amps. (200watts/12volts=16.66... amps) and this requires 12 gauge wire. One could run 600 watts through 8 gauge wire so that is way overkill and will make the job harder. . Perhaps 10 gauge?? YMMV. I would try to get the connections inside the van as well as I could even if it meant two "thingies" and then maintain access to the connectors inside. It may be too late for you to do that. The connectors provided with the panels are waterproof... well sort of. Best luck.

BTW 200-300 watts is a lot. I have friends who live in a small house off the grid on 240 watts and seem to run everything fine. Others here will tell you that is not enough but our truck camper had 80 watts and propane refrig and we had plenty of power. For a 12 volt frig 200 should be plenty too. Perhaps
 

·
Registered
2014 136” HR
Joined
·
4,823 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
We haven't done anything yet except buy the thingie. I will remove a ceiling panel to facilitate interior access--easy now, a real pain later.

So if I understand you correctly, if we are not installing panels yet, for now install the thingie and cap it off, install conduit from it to the battery area, then run the wires later?

It's beginning to sound easier just to install solar now.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,714 Posts
Yup. I plan to do just this. Two 100 watt flex panels glued to the roof, two "thingies" and wire access by having a panel to remove on the ceiling, 12 gauge stranded wire inside conduit (flex plastic stuff) connected to the panel wires in a junction box hidden above the removable roof panel. Conduit in the ribs leading to the MPPT controller and then my two 6 volt golf cart batteries. $700+ including batteries. This was exactly the cost for my 80 watt set up in 2007. Solar has come a long way! 12 volt Refrigerator, led lights, electronic stuff (ipad, computer, iPhone for cellular wifi,) water pump for sink and shower but no external tanks
. Then a porta pottie, two butane stove tops
, heat by Espar, and about anything else I want. I have done the calculations to match everything up and be able to camp indefinitely off grid, getting water about once a week. Baja here we come!
 

·
Registered
2014 136” HR
Joined
·
4,823 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Why the junction box instead of just bring the wires all the way down?

Do I understand correctly one thingie per panel? I assumed they would be serial or parallel.

Please have mercy. I am an electronics idiot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
118 Posts
For those of you who have a panel that just gets stuck out in the sun when parked (not mounted on the van), how have you configured the connection. Plug in on the van side?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
855 Posts
Why the junction box instead of just bring the wires all the way down?

Do I understand correctly one thingie per panel? I assumed they would be serial or parallel.

Please have mercy. I am an electronics idiot.
I assume you wish to connect two panels in parallel. If so then you need to wire them together. What is typically used is a junction or combiner box. You can place your combiner box on the roof or inside but if you want to limit your holes through the roof then place the combiner box on the roof and then run one set of wires through your "thingy" down to your solar controller.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
8,964 Posts
I just did a trial filling of the "thingy box" [ame]http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008GYL7CC/ref=od_aui_detailpages00?ie=UTF8&psc=1[/ame] and unfortunately it is too wide to fit on the roof ribs or valleys by a good ½". Just wondering where and how you mounted yours? I may just get a PVC handy box and cover with two ⅜" threaded holes in one end to screw the wire glands into or just a PVC handy box cover, cut it to fit the bottom of the "thingy" and glue them together with ABS to PVC cement then use the extra VHB tape I have to stick the whole thing down to the top of a roof rib.

Any other suggestions?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
314 Posts
The cable feed box will fit in the recessed area on the roof near the back with a little fiddling, if you have a long van, I'm using 2, one for solar panels and one for antennas.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
8,964 Posts
Thanks but all my wiring is best accessed in the wardrobe closet that is just about in the middle of the sliding door and also the ceiling isn't finished in the closet. I can't put it where the front roof vent goes either because that's where I put the power roof vent. I want to keep the wire runs as short as I can so I guess I'll have to just modify the "thingy".

It gives me something to dream about tonight I guess, plus another trip to Home Depot0:):rolleyes:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,714 Posts
Send the thingy back and get two of these single thingy's also called Surface-mountable Single Cable Feed-thru Gland.

One on a rib and one in a trough? Gad I'm glad you all are prototyping this for us. Any pictures?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
8,964 Posts
Yea, I thought of doing that already but after having beer I decided I'll just get a blank white PVC cover for. 4" box and cut it to size, drill a big hole in the bottom and glue to the bottom of the "thingy". That way I'll only have one hole in one spot and it will be on top of the rib not in the valley. Should work fine, film at 11 ;)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
855 Posts
Forget the "thingy". I didn't use it because it's huge and doesn't fit anywhere. So, I just cut a hole, fit a rubber grommet, fed the wires, and Sikaflexed it. Looks great and is totally solid.

I have three 200w flexible panels, combiner box, and fantastic vent all Sikaflexed. No screws used.


Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top