Sunday, October 19, 2014

Solar Panel Installation

I decided to mount my solar controller on the wall seen on the left side of this photo. I had already run wires down the A pillar towards the battery for some other 12 volt circuit. I used that wire to snake the new wires from the over-cab storage area to the battery under the hood. 

Close up of the wires where the come out of the A pillar under the dash. 

And where they go in, the over cab storage area. 

Wires are run!

I ran the wires from the controller to the panel up though an existing hole in the roof vent. I also set the panel up on the roof and marked the location of the holes I needed to drill. 

Time to drill! The scary part. 

Most of the holes looked like this from inside:

But for some, the fabric ceiling wasn't cut by the drill, but twisted around it.  

So I had to cut it:

No bother, they got covered by my wood backing plates: 

When it was time to bolt it down, I applied Butel Rubber to the brackets first. When it was snug, I covered the top and sides of the bolts with more Butel Rubber.

The black wires on the left come from the panel and were supplied by Renogy in the kit. The other wires are 8 AWG I supplied myself. The 8 AWG is slightly too thick for the controller. I had to struggle to get them to stay in.

The Volt Minder (purchased separately) measures the voltage of the storage battery and sounds an alarm if it drops below a 12.2 volts (or whatever limit the user sets). It was mostly cloudy the day I took this and I was getting 14.5 volts from the panel.

I don't have any pictures of the fuses I installed on positive wires on either side of the controller. I couldn't find a pre-wired fuse with 8 AWG so I bought an un-wired fuse holder from RadioShack and soldered them myself. The Volt Minder came with a fuse pre-installed.

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