Born Free Leap'n Lions RV Club

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 5:39 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:27 pm
Posts: 18
Location: Lyons, CO
I am installing 2 - 100 watt solar panels on my 98 24' Born Free. How do I patch them into my existing batteries? I know that I need a controller between the arrays and the batteries to make sure I'm not overcharging the batteries, but will the new battery connection interfere with the existing 30amp system in any way? I thought that if the patch in might create problems that I could buy two more batteries and have a separate system that I could use if the house system batteries run down below 60%. Any ideas? Thanks.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:43 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2015 8:37 pm
Posts: 33
Location: Monument, CO
AM Solar has lots of info that will help. I suggest you go to this site

https://amsolar.com/rv-solar/support

and scroll down to the kit wiring diagrams. Your equipment may be slightly different but the connections will be pretty much the same.

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Monti
2015 Triumph Royal RB 4X4


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:04 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2018 7:43 pm
Posts: 148
Location: Wauchula, FL
Solar.

We've had a 100 W solar panel on our Scamp 16. The panel is about an 1/8th inch thick and weighs less than 5 lbs. It is flexible and is taped to the curved roof with double side Scotch exterior tape. It's been on the roof for 8 years and we virtually always have a charged battery. I suspect that over almost a decade it's lost efficiency. It's nice because it charges as we drive, when boondocking or when the trailer's in storage.

The panel has been in all kinds of weather and temps without issue. One nice attribute is that it doesn't add to the frontal area and adds little in the way of weight.

Our panel plugs into a solar controller and the output of the controller goes directly to the output of the converter. The converter's outputs go directly to the battery. It seems to work just fine.

After our 8 month trip I'll add 200 watts of solar to the Born Free.

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Norm Milliard
'93 Born Free 21' RB
'06 Scion xB
Escapee, Full timer


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:38 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:27 pm
Posts: 18
Location: Lyons, CO
I bought a new controller with my new 2 100watt arrays. Where does my controller plug into the on board converter and where is the convertor located in my 98 BF?


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2019 10:36 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2005 8:05 pm
Posts: 1975
Location: Spencer, IA
You don't say which model 98' BF you have. But the converter should be located in the bottom section of the Magnetek power center as shown in the photo below.


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Bill Hemme - Spencer, Iowa
E-mail: whemme@earthlink.net
2002 Born Free (Ford E-450 V10) 26' RSB
2016 VW Golf GTI - toad
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2019 7:31 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:15 am
Posts: 398
Location: New Hope, MN
The charge controller will work fine with the existing batteries. There is no need to buy more batteries unless you need the added capacity.

My converter is located under the kitchen sink. The charge controller should be installed as close to the batteries as possible but not inside the battery compartment. For me this was the area under the sink. On my '05 there is a hinged panel on the end of the kitchen cabinet to gain access to this area. Find the wires that come in from the battery compartment and connect the controller to these wires. On mine, the positive wire connects to the converter and the negative connects to a buss bar.

For my installation I installed my panels on the side of my coach. I ran the cables through the side of my coach behind the microwave. Then through the back of the cabinets and down to the area where the converter is. The panels are removable so that I can park in the shade and set them out in the sun using extension cables.

Image

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Tom
2005 24' RB
Towing 2013 Smart car
New Hope, MN


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 4:53 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:27 pm
Posts: 18
Location: Lyons, CO
Thanks Bill and Tom! Also, I was thinking of the same solar set up Tom. It's a go for sure now!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 5:42 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:27 pm
Posts: 18
Location: Lyons, CO
Bill, the model is a President. If you have a wiring diagram that would be helpful, but I think I can sneak under there and see for myself.

Tom, what kind of screws or bolts do you use to mount the arrays. I'm assuming a stud finder will work to find a good anchor. Any tips?

Thanks again!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:21 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:15 am
Posts: 398
Location: New Hope, MN
I used some aluminum rectangular tubing that I had on hand. These are fastened to the fiberglass using #12 stainless steel sheet metal screws and construction adhesive. They do not fasten into studs.

Image Image

Image

I made up two 45ft extension cables using #10 stranded wire that I bought at a local surplus store. The connectors are SB50 Anderson Power Poles that I purchased on eBay.

Image

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Tom
2005 24' RB
Towing 2013 Smart car
New Hope, MN


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:28 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:27 pm
Posts: 18
Location: Lyons, CO
Tom, I'll bet VHB tape would work as well as the construction adhesive. I saw a video recently of a VHB mounted solar array on a roof and the guy said to just put a safety strap on them in case they were to blow off. Any thoughts?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:46 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:15 am
Posts: 398
Location: New Hope, MN
The VHB tape would probably work but it's expensive. I used Loctite PL Premium adhesive and stainless steel screws. The adhesive also seals up the screw holes. My panels have been in place for 8 years and have had no problems. I'd be a bit worried using only the tape.

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Tom
2005 24' RB
Towing 2013 Smart car
New Hope, MN


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:55 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:33 pm
Posts: 1107
Location: Near Ashland, OR
Tom
Why didn't you fasten into the studs? Thanks

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Steve
2011 Born Free 22 foot/ corner kitchen, E350, 30k miles.
Our first RV. Lots to learn. Thanks.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:29 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:15 am
Posts: 398
Location: New Hope, MN
The Born Free fiberglass is very thick. There is no way that two studs would be spaced the same width as my panels.

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Tom
2005 24' RB
Towing 2013 Smart car
New Hope, MN


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