Steps for Connecting RV Solar Panels to Your RV Batteries – Here are the steps to connecting your solar panels to your batteries:
- Mount your solar panels on the roof of your RV.
- Mount your charge controller inside the RV as close to your batteries as possible.
- Run your wiring from the solar panels into the RV and over to the charge controller. (You can run your wiring through a refrigerator vent or through the holes where the plumbing enters the RV if these are located near your batteries. If not, you can drill a hole through the roof of your RV to run your wires and thoroughly cover and caulk any drilled holes.) You should install a fuse or circuit breaker on the wires for this run.
- Connect the wires from your charge controller to your battery bank. A fuse slightly larger than the charge controller’s rated current should be installed on these wires.
- At this point, the system is fully installed but the RV solar panels are not connected to the charge controller. Before making the final connection it’s important to double-check all wiring to make sure polarity (positive and negative) are all correct. Once confident you can plug in the solar panels to the charge controller. We recommend doing this at night or with the solar panels covered by a blanket to prevent a spark.
- This step is optional, but if you want to use 120-Volt AC appliances, you’ll want to mount an inverter inside your RV, as close to the batteries as possible, and run appropriate wiring to that inverter.
Note: If you are wiring your solar panels/controller directly to your battery bank, there is no need to disconnect the existing converter in your RV. Both the converter and the solar panels will be able to supply charge to the battery bank.
- 1 Where do you mount a solar controller in an RV?
How do you attach solar panels to an RV?
Steps to Mounting Solar Panels on RV –
- Map out positioning of solar panels on your roof. Triple check that the panels will fit properly before drilling any holes into your roof.
- Attach mounting brackets to each panel.
- Set panels in place and mark where you need to drill holes. Make sure your holes will hit studs in your RV so your panels are secure. Each RV will be different, but the studs are usually visible with a 2-3inch wide grey line going width wise of your RV roof.
- Drill small pilot holes into your roof where your brackets will be screwed down. Fill the holes with a little dab of the Dicor sealant to help insure that everything will remain water tight.
- Line the bottom edges of each panel with butyl tape and put the panels in place. This will add a level of security to your panels to avoid them flying off.
- Attach panels to roof using the screws from the mounting kit.
- Apply a generous coat of Dicor sealant on top of and around the mounting brackets to seal everything off from the weather.
Can you run an RV air conditioner on solar power?
How RV Solar Panels Power an RV Air Conditioner – If your system is big enough, you can run RV A/C with solar power. Yes, it’s technically possible to power an RV air conditioner with solar panel. But to generate enough power, a large amount of solar panels and upgrades to the electrical system are required.
How do you install solar panels on an RV without drilling?
2. VHB Tape – @
- VHB is an affordable, lightweight solution for mounting solar panels without drilling.
- It is an extremely strong double-sided tape that can be applied easily, and quickly to solar panels.
- Despite its ease of use, VHB is not strong enough to adhere rigid solar panels to an RV roof and must strictly be used with flexible solar panels only.
- It should be noted as well that VHB tape cannot be applied to rubber roofs.
- The application of VHB tape is incredibly simple:
- Remove the plastic membrane from one side of the tape; stick to all bottom edges of the solar panel. It’s also recommended that you apply tape to the inner areas of the solar panel in a plus sign pattern to ensure the panel will be completely secured.
- Remove the plastic membrane from the other side of the tape; firmly press the solar panel onto the desired roof location.
When applying this tape, make sure that the area is free of dust and debris and that it is not too humid or cold outdoors.
What happens if I connect solar panel directly to battery?
Step 1: Understand the Wiring Diagram – Here’s the wiring diagram showing how to connect a solar panel to a battery: It’s important to understand the following:
Don’t connect a solar panel directly to a battery. Doing so can damage the battery. Instead, connect both battery and solar panel to a solar charge controller. It’s recommended you fuse your system. Safety best practices, y’all! Place one fuse between the positive battery terminal and the charge controller. Place another between the positive solar panel wire and the charge controller.
How much solar is needed for a full time RV?
How much Solar do I need for my RV? – 200 watts of solar is the bare minimum to keep a battery bank topped off, and that’s while your RV is not in use. But if you’re using your RV, you will need more. I install a 700 watt solar package for toy haulers with great results. This seems to be the sweet spot for many RVers with small inverter use.
Red is better for Solar Yield
A 100 watt solar panel sitting flat on the roof will yield about 30AH of 12v battery charging, (See Disclaimers below) this equates to 360Wh. If you look at the back of your TV and it uses 36watts, you can run this for 10 hours with a 100 watt solar panel.
Where do you mount a solar controller in an RV?
RV Solar Simplified! Simple RV Solar Setup.
GP-PWM Solar Controller 10-FM: Installation & Mounting
- Tools and Materials Needed
- • Flathead Screwdriver (for wire terminals)
- • Phillips Screwdriver (for mounting screws)
NOTE: If the GP-PWM-10-FM Controller was purchased with a Go Power! Solar Power Kit, then UV resistant wire is included. For instructions regarding the Go Power! Solar Power Kit installation, please refer to the Installation Guide provided with the Kit.
- Choosing a Location
- The GP-PWM-10-FM is designed to be mounted flush against a wall, out of the way but easily visible.
- The GP-PWM-10-FM should be:
- • Mounted as close to the battery as possible
- • Mounted on a vertical surface to optimize cooling of the unit
- • Indoors, protected from the weather
In an RV, the most common controller location is above the refrigerator. The wire from the solar array most commonly enters the RV through the fridge vent on the roof or by using the Go Power! Cable Entry Plate (sold separately) that allows installers to run wires through any part of the roof.
PV connections should connect directly to the controller. Positive and negative battery connections must connect directly from the controller to the batteries. Use of a positive or negative distribution bus is allowed between the controller and battery as long as it is properly sized, electrically safe and an adequate wire size is maintained.
Installation Instructions 1. Prepare for mounting. Use the template below to mark the four mounting holes and the cutting line for flush mounting your controller. 2. Complete the installation of the solar modules. If this GP-PWM-10-FM was purchased as part of a Go Power! Solar Power Kit, follow the Installation Guide provided. Otherwise, follow manufacturer’s instructions for solar module mounting and wiring. Do not exceed the GP-PWM10-FM Amp current and max voltage ratings The maximum current of the solar system is the sum of parallel-connected PV module– rated short circuit Currents (Isc) multiplied by 1.25. The resulting system current is not to exceed 12.5A. If your solar system exceeds this value, contact your dealer for a suitable controller alternative. Do not exceed the GP-PWM10-FM max voltage ratings The maximum voltage of the array is the sum of the PV module–rated open-circuit voltage of the series connected modules multiplied by 1.25 (or by a value from NEC 690.7 provided in Table 690.7 A). The resulting voltage is not to exceed 35V.
- If your solar system exceeds this value, contact your dealer for a suitable controller alternative.3.
- Select wire type and gauge.
- If this GP-PWM-10-FM was purchased as part of a Go Power! Solar Power Kit, appropriate wire type, gauge, and length is provided.
- Please continue to the article GP-PWM Solar Controller 10-FM: Operations,
If the GP-PWM-10-FM was purchased separately, follow the instructions included here. Wire type is recommended to be a stranded copper UV-resistant wire. Wire fatigue and the likelihood of a loose connection are greatly reduced in stranded wire compared to solid wire.
- Wire Strip Length
- Strip wires to a length of approximately 3/8 in (9 mm, as per strip gauge).
- Suggested Minimum Wire Gauge
(Cable length 25 ft. max. from solar array to battery bank)
- 80-Watt Solar Module #10 Wire Gauge
- 100-Watt Solar Module #10 Wire Gauge
- 160-Watt Solar Module #10 Wire Gauge
- 170-Watt Solar Module #10 Wire Gauge
- 190-Watt Solar Module #10 Wire Gauge
IMPORTANT: Identify the polarity (positive and negative) on the cable used for the battery and solar module. Use colored wires or mark the wire ends with tags. Although the GP-PWM-10-FM is protected, a reverse polarity contact may damage the unit. Wiring the GP-PWM-10-FM Wire the GP-PWM-10-FM according to the wiring schematic in Section 6.
- Run wires from the solar array and the batteries to the location of the GP-PWM-10-FM.
- Eep the solar array covered with an opaque material until all wiring is completed.
- IMPORTANT: All wiring must be in accordance to National Electrical Code, ANSI/NFPA 70.
- Always use appropriate circuit protection on any conductor attached to a battery.4.
Connect the battery wiring to the controller first and then connect the battery wiring to the battery.5. Torque all terminal screws per the following:
|Stranded Copper 90°C Wire|
|Wire Size AWG||Rated Torque (in-lbs)|
With battery power attached, the controller should power up and display information. Connect the solar wiring to the controller and remove the opaque material from the solar array. The negative solar array and battery wiring must be connected directly to the controller for proper operation.
Do not connect the negative solar array or negative battery controller wiring to the chassis of the vehicle.6. Mounting the GP-PWM-10-FM. Mount the GP-PWM-10-FM to the wall using the included four mounting screws. IMPORTANT: You must set the battery type on the GP-PWM-10-FM before you begin to use the controller (follow steps in Section 7).
The default battery setting is for AGM/LiFePO4 batteries. Congratulations, your GP-PWM-10-FM should now be operational. If the battery power is low and the solar array is producing power, your battery should begin to charge.7. Re-torque: After 30 days of operation, re-torque all terminal screws to ensure the wires are properly secured to the controller. WARNING: This unit is not provided with a GFDI device. This charge controller must be used with an external GFDI device as required by Article 690 of the National Electric Code for the installation location. Wiring Diagram IMPORTANT: This diagram is valid only for version 1.5 and newer.
Version 1.4 and older have different terminal locations. The GP-PWM-10-FM Maximum 12.5A rating is based on a 10 amp total maximum short circuit current rating (Isc) from the parallel solar modules nameplate ratings. The National Electric Code specifies the PV equipment/system rating to be 125% of the maximum Isc from the PV module nameplate ratings (1.25 times 10 = 12.5A).
Use the wiring diagram (below) to connect your battery to the battery terminals on the solar controller. First, connect the battery to the controller, and then connect the solar panel to the controller. NOTE: The fuse or breaker used should be no larger than 15 amps. WARNING: When the photovoltaic (solar) array is exposed to light, it supplies a dc voltage to this equipment.