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  #1  
Old 06-05-2019
AEmedic AEmedic is offline
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Default M380 - Proper Solar Management

When I went up to reseal the roof of my M380, I found that the solar wiring had been done very poorly and had been run, pretty much, directly to the batteries, with a very crude charge controller. As I traced the wires, I realized that it had open butt connectors and where they entered the fridge vent the wires were connected with wire nuts.

I just ordered a Victron 100/50 MPPT, an additional 170w Zamp panel, a 60 amp circuit breaker and a cut-off switch. I will put together a rooftop combiner box and wun 4/2 wires down to the MPPT.

For those that have added solar to an M380, where did you bring the power into the house system?
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2004 M380 DS
Jeep TJ Toad - LS 5.3 swap in process

Last edited by AEmedic; 06-05-2019 at 09:50 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-06-2019
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NoGas NoGas is offline
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Is smart to redo shoddy wiring that’s not up to par,

When I still had 4D’s, Solar Charge Controller Pos/+ output was “inserted” inside th PSU box and Neg/- at the BMK shunt (coach side). This is described with pictures in the M380 All-Electric thread, post #45 HERE. My fancy rooftop transition/combiner box is shown on the post before (#44). It was mounted on the plate that I used to cover the old refrigerator roof vent (which was unneeded for the house fridge). The solar wires then go down behind the fridge, through the floor into the bay below. That’s where I mounted my solar charge controller. You’ll find pics of that and the lightning arrestor as well. Later when I went to L-16’s in the new rear battery bay, those connections from the Charge controller are shown on post #65, same thread. I also upped the wiring gauge because it is traveling a bit further, and why not?
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  #3  
Old 06-07-2019
AEmedic AEmedic is offline
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Thanks Van! Excellent intel in that thread.

I ordered a Victron BMV-712 battery monitor kit, so I will have eyes on the battery status and I have a shunt that will give me a point to tie in my MPPT negative cable. I may do the same for my chassis batteries.
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2004 M380 DS
Jeep TJ Toad - LS 5.3 swap in process
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  #4  
Old 06-07-2019
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You’re welcome. If you’re doing a Vectron setup, definitely go with their shunt BMK. Then everything will work together perfectly. That’s how my Magnum setup works, seamlessly and automatically with no input. Is nice to watch it do it’s thing though! Can’t see ever needing a shunt on the chassis/engine side.

Some practical experience numbers - This morning when I checked at 9:30 am, solar was Bulk charging and working to replenish last nights drawdown. The output watts were climbing fast as the sun angle improved, I snapped the below pic of the control panel. Not bad for that early in the day! The battery pack was at 100% long before lunch... For lunch/dinner around 2 pm with 100%/Full batteries, I fired up the Convection Oven and ran it for an hour. During that time, solar subsidized the process to the tune of 1,100 watts and a bit more. When dinner was done, the batteries were only down a whopping -23 Ah’s thanks to being subsidized by solar output! That was quickly replaced in less than an hour of mid-afternoon sun. In the summer, my system can easily produce 1,100-1,200 watts 10am-2pm, between 9-10 am and 2-3 pm I’ve see 800-1,000 watts. And outside of those periods watts produced rises/falls quickly because my panels are flat mounted. Total daily solar output could be around 7 KWh, if that much is required (not likely without running A/C). Winter numbers would be reduced considerably due to my flat mounted panels, the sun angle and the number of sun hours available that time of year.

The battery pack is 1,260 Ah of AGMs and there are 1,425 watts (rated) of solar panels.

Pics L to R - seen at 9:45 am, subsidizing Convection Oven, and in watts, amount of drawdown from cooking for an hour:
.
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Last edited by NoGas; 06-07-2019 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 06-07-2019
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When I finally get everything complete, I'll have 600ah of Li house batteries and 680w of solar on the roof. This go around, I'll have 560w on the roof. Your system is a monster!
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  #6  
Old 06-25-2019
AEmedic AEmedic is offline
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I built some 80/20 solar panel racks and set of the solar panels up to be wired up when I get them up on the roof of the coach.
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Old 06-27-2019
DW SD DW SD is online now
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Chris - you will want the rack feet running parallel to the busses’ structural hoops. Then those feet can pickup several rivnuts which you install in the hoops.
Otherwise only one hole in the feet will be anchored.
This might be a master of the obvious comment.
Use rivnuts for thick material. They need to grab 3/8” to 1/2” if I remember right. The roof and structural hoops are pretty thick.
Good luck.

Doug
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Old 06-27-2019
AEmedic AEmedic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DW SD View Post
Chris - you will want the rack feet running parallel to the busses’ structural hoops. Then those feet can pickup several rivnuts which you install in the hoops.
Otherwise only one hole in the feet will be anchored.
This might be a master of the obvious comment.
Use rivnuts for thick material. They need to grab 3/8” to 1/2” if I remember right. The roof and structural hoops are pretty thick.
Good luck.

Doug
All of the PS feet are going through a panel right below the surface of the skin that is running the entire length of the installation. The DS did not get all of the support ribs but none of the self tappers that were being used previously did either... Your way would be the best but I am not concerned that all the feet didn't attach directly to a rib.
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2004 M380 DS
Jeep TJ Toad - LS 5.3 swap in process
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  #9  
Old 06-27-2019
DW SD DW SD is online now
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Hey Chris,
sounds good. I know just attaching to the skin alone would be a recipe for disaster and making a solar kite above your rig going down the freeway.
I wonder what support you hit.
I thought of one other thing to consider before you have your roof sealed:
Take a close look at the narrow and long riveted trim panel that covers the gap between the flat(ISH) center roof panels and the curved portion which becomes the sides.
Others have had issues where that trim has broken original aluminum rivets and the adhesive.
I had about a 4' section that also pulled up. There, I carefully cleaned the two panels' mating surfaces and applied 2-part 3M body panel bond with oversized rivets (1/4" diameter).
The early indicator would be loose rivet heads. A proactive approach would be to drill every other rivet and install an over-sized rivet (1/4" is one size up, I believe).

Doug
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  #10  
Old 06-27-2019
AEmedic AEmedic is offline
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Good call on checking the transition from roof to sidewall. Mine looked good the entire length, I did notice that the hole in the center of the rivets was open in a number of them. I'm sure that is source for leaking... Being sealed will resolve many potential points of potential water intrusion.
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2004 M380 DS
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