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Old 10-06-2010, 09:37 AM   #1
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Solar panel installation

Hi everybody,
I'm new to the forum and I 've scanned it for the solar panel install.I can't seem to find info on the entire project... what I would like to know is, how is the wiring routed thru body & PH top? Also, where is the best location for the regulator? Any other info & pics would be appreciated. My rig is a 2003 e350,V10, EB50 interior, with a 4AGM battery. I hope I haven't made a mistake, but already purchased a 95W Go Power! panel & 25amp. regulator made by Carmanah Corp.

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Old 10-06-2010, 09:56 AM   #2
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Location: Monroe, WA
Posts: 310
Re: Solar panel installation

Hi Doug,

I've written up part, but not all, of the installation here:


I'm afraid I'm way behind on finishing it - kept thinking I'd be doing work on the van, and be able to take some photos of the wiring, but so far I haven't made it that far I'll plan on finishing the wiring write-up soon, and add photos when I have them.

Anyway, hope that helps! Feel free to ask questions.

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Old 10-06-2010, 11:59 AM   #3
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Location: Washington - Ridgefield
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Re: Solar panel installation

I ran the wire from the solar panel to the edge of the PH top (outside the flexible wall - hereafter called canvas) and through the top. That way, any leaks were outside the living spaces and not an issue. Then came the hard part - routing to the interior.

From the inside, I loosened the screws that hold the top and canvas together - be careful here, you don't want the screws to come out and have the wall separate from the top. I loosened the screws in one corner.

Note that you basically have 3 layers - fiberglass top, the canvas and the interior liner. From the outside, you want to route the wires over the canvas and under the fiberglass top. From the inside you need to route the wires over the liner and under the canvas.

I chose to route the wires about 1 foot from the corner, 1' towards the middle from the outside and 1' towards the front on the inside. To separate the liner from the canvas I stuck the housing from a ballpoint pen in there. Then, from the outside I pushed a piece of stiff, heavy wire (12ga building wire with the end bent over to make a smooth tip and lessen the chance of putting a hole in the canvas) towards the pen housing. Then go inside and check progress, repeat until the wire comes out where I wanted it. Eventually, I got it out. It could have been alot easier with two people, one on the inside and one on the outside, but I got it by myself.

Then I routed the wire down (similar to the SMB wiring for the 3rd brakelight) and under the SMB trim and up to my Solar Controller. All the interior wiring and routing will depend on your floorplan and where the controller is mounted.

My panel is a 125W Kyocera panel and I used 12ga 2 wire outdoor cord (SJOW or SOW or any other cord that ends in W for weatherproof). You may want to use lighter or heavier wire depending on your panel power.

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Old 10-06-2010, 11:05 PM   #4
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Re: Solar panel installation

Great info. Thanks to both Mikes! OK, getting wires from the panel to the inside of the SMB sounds straight foward. Now I want to run the wires behind the support ( steel ) for the upper bed, then down into the valance and down the wall to the "power center?" aft of my doors on passenger side of SMB. I have an EB50 floor plan ( like a VW camper). There is a window aft of the doors and then a 3" space and then a shallow shelf/cab. I'll install controller in the valance...if I can get it off. I'm hoping that there will be room in that 3" space to run the wires to the power center under my seat/ bed. Does this make sense? Any suggestions?
Many thanks again, Doug
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