Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 01-03-2018, 09:44 AM   #1
Senior Member
 
JFlo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Boulder
Posts: 118
Wiring solar on a penthouse top

I'm in the planning stages of installing a 100w panel on the front portion of my penthouse top. Looking for advice on the best way to route the cabling through the top. Is it best to punch a hole directly into the interior (i.e. inside the canvas)? Or is it better to enter outside the canvas on the edge of the top and then route the cable to the inside? How does SMB do it?

Also, what fittings, if any, are recommended to avoid leaks and make a clean install? I've had good luck with a Blue Sea cable clam but am open to suggestions.

Photos of your install encouraged.

TIA

Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
__________________

JFlo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-2018, 10:09 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 285
I would not go directly into the top. That is what SMB did on one of my vans. The holes were filled with silicone which leaked and the top delaminated. Water leaked all inside the head liner and everywhere else.

I would go outside the canvas with clamshells then route it under the canvas back into the van.

Rob
__________________

Nrobert10 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-2018, 02:25 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
boywonder's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: So Cal
Posts: 2,976
I fabricated a custom bulkhead and penetrated the PH top outside the canvas then fed the solar wires between the canvas and the underside of the top to bring them inside.

That way if the penetration leaks the leak is outside the canvas.....I've had zero issues and it's been a couple years.
__________________
2008 E350 RB passenger 4WD SMB penthouse
2013 KTM 350 EXC
2008 KTM 250 XCF-W
2000 KTM 200 EXC
2003 Honda Element
boywonder is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2018, 09:45 PM   #4
Member
 
Blowby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Truckee CA
Posts: 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by boywonder View Post
I fabricated a custom bulkhead and penetrated the PH top outside the canvas then fed the solar wires between the canvas and the underside of the top to bring them inside.

That way if the penetration leaks the leak is outside the canvas.....I've had zero issues and it's been a couple years.
Boywonder you wouldn't happen to have any photos of your installation by chance.
Blowby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2018, 05:35 AM   #5
JWA
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Reynoldsburg, Ohio
Posts: 2,268
Send a message via Yahoo to JWA
Just my own $0.02 worth but the BlueSea cable clams in any of their variations are about as good a cable run sealer as I've ever seen.

I do augment their natural sealing capability with a dab of RTV but honestly that's a bit of overkill.
JWA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2019, 07:23 PM   #6
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 1
I sent a message but probably good to have info out where it's searchable. I have the same penthouse top on a 144 and mine came pre-wired for solar with a loom and wires that goes from under the penthouse top, outside the canvas sides to the inside of the van. I'm not sure yet were those wires go inside, hopefully under the seat or somewhere useful. I think I need to drill a hole in the front edge of the penthouse top to get the wires to the panel. Did yours not include this pre-wiring? Did you put the hole in the front edge of the top?
colinmichael is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2019, 08:25 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
86Scotty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: TN
Posts: 8,264
Quote:
Originally Posted by boywonder View Post
I fabricated a custom bulkhead and penetrated the PH top outside the canvas then fed the solar wires between the canvas and the underside of the top to bring them inside.

That way if the penetration leaks the leak is outside the canvas.....I've had zero issues and it's been a couple years.
I have done it this way on 3 or 4 PH vans. Definitely don't drill a hold through your top inside the canvas. I may have pics in one of my threads but there are hundreds. You could wade through my galleries if you like.

Basically, drill a hole anywhere you like OUTSIDE of the canvas and route it through to the interior between canvas and roof by unscrewing a few of the screws in any top corner. Drop your solar cable down and hide under the upholstery running the wire down in to the van wall. All of the interior pieces around a PH top hiding the springs and lifting mechanism can be easily removed by popping the upholstered snap covers (or black plastic covers) off the screws. You'll probably have to pull some glued upholstery pieces loose too. Just reglue with 3m spray glue when you're ready to go back together. You can remove the front and rear bows (cross pieces) and the black metal latch keepers with a 10mm wrench and socket IIRC.

I zip tie my solar cables to the existing power wires for the interior lights in one corner, seems like it's either the front left or rear right corner IIRC. Tying them to existing wiring helps train them to fold like the existing wiring already does when top is dropped. Never had a problem.

Also, it's easy to drop your cables down behind a wall or run them behind upholstery to wherever you have mount your solar controller once the PH upholstery pieces are moved out of the way. You'll see lots of possibilities.

__________________
Currently vanless. Weird.
86Scotty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-18-2019, 12:16 PM   #8
Site Team
 
BroncoHauler's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Southern New Mexico
Posts: 8,907
Keep in mind that the roof top storage box looks like it will cause significant shading on the solar panel, causing significant loss of panel production.

Some important threads that are a must-read for you:


http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...ing-21140.html

http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...anel-6853.html



Herb
__________________

__________________
SMB-less as of 02/04/2012. Our savings account is richer, but our adventures are poorer.
BroncoHauler is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3
Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Sportsmobile SIP or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:33 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.