Installed a 400 Watt Solar System in my Arctic Wolf 5th wheel

400 Watt Solar with MPPT Controller for my Forest River Cherokee Arctic Wolf 5th Wheel

I decided to install a 400 watt solar system so we could run the 12 volt fridge without shore power or a generator as we Boon Dock (Dry Camp) sometimes for 3 or 4 days. I determined that a 400 watt solar system using a Series Parallel Array would work best for me in case of partial shade or cloudy days.

The first Thing I did after studying different configurations was to get up on the roof of the 5th wheel and determine where I was going to put the panels keeping in mind I may want to expand the system at a later date. While up there I noticed the factory installed 50 watt solar panel which is hooked to a PWM charger controller. It is worthless for anything other than maintaining or trickle charging the batteries while the 5th wheel is stored.

Factory installed 50 Watt Solar Panel

Next I installed the 4ea 100 Watt Solar Panels In a series parallel array. Which should give me about 37 volts and 16 amps. My total cable run to the controller will be 20 feet.

4ea 100 watt solar panels in series parallel array

It was time to Install the MPPT 40 amp controller as close to the batteries that I could. I took a board 16 inches wide and 30 inches long and mounted it to the back wall above the batteries in the front compartment. I mounted a DPST circuit breaker where the cables from the Solar Panels will come into the front compartment. Below it I mounted the 40 amp MPPT Controller and below that I ran the Cables to the batteries Less than 2 feet with a ANL fuse in the Positive Cable.

Board with MPPT Controller

Now I had to run the Cables from the solar panels to the MPPT controller. I decided that I could drill a hole in the roof above the Linen closet in the bathroom which sits above the Wardrobe in the bedroom.

Linen Closet

Then I drilled a hole into the wardrobe and then down to the bottom of the wardrobe and drilled a hole in the side watt into the wash basin cabinet in the bathroom.

Wardrobe

Once the cables where in the wash basin cabinet I drilled a hole in the floor and ran the cables to the front wall of the front storage compartment and hooked them to the DPST Circuit breaker.

Wash Basin Cabinet

All Done and working.

The install wasn’t to bad and I managed to keep the Cable run from the solar panels to the controller to 20 feet. I covered all of the cables in the cabinets with electrical flex tube. The cables are pretty well hidden and out of sight. Stay tuned for my next project.

Mel

Why I Went to a 5th Wheel Trailer

After all of the work and time spent on my Zinger Travel Trailer, I’ve had several friends and relatives, ask why did I go to a 5th wheel trailer. I bought the travel trailer because It was all on one level and fewer steps to climb. But after pulling it a few times and because the bedroom was a little cramped. I decided to Look at 5th wheels again. The travel Trailer at almost 32 feet was a bear to tow with any wind at all. Could not get into many camp grounds and to manuver many of the places I wanted to camp was problematic at best. The bed being a short queen just did not hack it for a good nights sleep. The wife and I are big people. Getting around the bed could be a chore for the wife unless going through the bathroom, and getting into the bed for her would have been hard to do. Storage was ample for our needs. But all in all I missed towing a 5th wheel. So I went and bought a newer 2020 Forest River Arctic Wolf 271RK Fifth Wheel 30Ft long.

Forest River Cherokee Arctic Wolf 271RK 5th wheel trailer

Here are some of the pluses for us.

The kitchen is in the rear W/Large Pantry, A large stainless steel sink, It has a large 10cf 12 volt fridge, Free standing table and 4 chairs. 3 burner stove with oven and glass door. Microwave W/turntable and lots of storage.

The Living area has two leather recliners and a couch that makes into a nice big bed. It has a nice Entertainment center with a large TV. It has a fireplace (electric) under the entertainment center. It has what are called Zebra Shades on the living and slide areas and a ceiling Fan. Large slide with the table and chairs and the couch.

large private bathroom W/lots of storage and a large shower.

Private Bedroom has a Residental Queen Bed, and lots of storage under the bed. It has the standard shirt closets on each side of the bed with reading lights. It has USB ports on both sides of the bed. There is a wardrobe to the right and at the foot of the bed with hookups for a tv above it.

The Entrance to the 5th wheel has the solid steps which is a plus for my wife and I. There is only a couple of small steps to get to the bath and bedroom. and I really Like the floor plan and the way it is layed out.

Outside There is a outdoor Kitchen with a 2 burner stove, a small fridge and a ice maker. It has black tank flusher, 50 amp service (I could add a second AC). It has one button self leveling and one button to raise the trailer to hook and unhook. from the Anderson Ultra Hitch. Lots of storage space underneath. Fold down Rack on the back to carry a small generator or camping gear. it has 50 watt solar (jucier) trikle charger, to charge the batteries when it is in storage.

CONS

With the slide closed you can’t access the entertainment center or the kitchen pantry. Everything else is accessable. The solid steps need 42 inches of clearance between the trailer and any objects, walls or other trailers to put the steps down. In the event I am to close to something and need to get in the trailer I can pull 2 ea hinge pins and remove the steps so I could get in the trailer.

All in All I am happy with the trailer so far. It pulls like a dream with the Anderson Ultra Hitch. My truck has a B&W turnover ball in the bed of the truck, So the Anderson at about 47 Lbs and one pin to remove it makes it ideal so I can have full access to my truck bed for hauling.

Stay tuned for more and some of the mods I plan to make.

Mel

200 watt Solar System Install part two

In part one I told how I ran the cables from the PWM controller to the batteries and where I mounted the PWM controller. Now it is time to mount the solar panels on the roof of the travel trailer.

sol5

I mounted the solar panels on the roof of the my Zinger travel trailer using the supplied brackets. I covered the panels with cardboard from the box that the panels came in. This so the panels from the sun would not make electricity until everything was hooked up. I then sealed the screw holes and brackets with Dicor self leveling sealer. Next it was time to run the Cables from the panels to the PWM controller located above the fridge.

sol7

I Ran the cables from the solar panels over to the right the fridge vent and drilled a hole in the roof that goes into a cabinet above the microwave and to the right of the fridge. I know many of you are wondering why I drilled a hole in the roof to run the cables. Well I always install a 16 amp Mini Cicuit breaker disconnect switch, so I can cut the power from the panels without having to disconnect cables or wires. I need access to that switch which I would not have if I ran it though the fridge vent. The picture below will show why.

sol6

As you can see I have access to the mini breaker to disconnect the solar panels from the system, and I still have use of the cabinet above the microwave. The cables come through the roof through the breaker and the through a hole that goes into the space above the fridge where the PWM flush mounted controller is. Where I drilled the hole in the roof, I used a double entry cable gland and sealed it and the screws for the cable clamps with Dicor Sealant.

sol8

Cables from solar Panels through the roof using a double entry cable gland.

sol9

All done and working. This was the easiest way for me to install the 200 watt solar system. No wires or cables showing and the pwm is in a location where I can see what is going on with the solar. ALL in ALL not a bad setup for under $250 and a day of my labor.

Mel

200 Watt Solar Install Part one

Well as I said in my previous post this is the 4 thinstall of a weize solar system for a RV. The package arrived safely via UPS a day early with no noted damage. Better service and fast delivery compared to the last one I got which was 2 weeks late as it was shipped via FedX. The solar kit was packaged well and weighed about 30 or 40 lbs.

 

solup1

I also wanted a flush mount PWM solar controller so I ordered one on Amazon along with a 16 amp mini circuit breaker so I can disconnect the solar panels from the system without unhooking the solar panel cables. Next I had to decide where I was going to install the flush mounted PWM controller and be close to the main distribution panel to hook to the batteries in the front of the trailer on the tongue. I finally decided that the best place was in the space above the refrigerator to mount the controller and run the cables down and over to the main power distribution panel which was located below the refrigerator and about 4 feet to the left. I ran the cables down the right side looking at the front of the fridge. It took more cable that way, but I did not want to run the cables by the heat vent pipe.

sol1

I cut the hole for the PWM Controller above the refrigerator and ran the battery cables down the left rear side of the fridge and over to the power distribution panel. I had to drill a hole in the floor behind the fridge so I could run the cables under the cabinets to the power distribution panel.

sol4

Here are the red and black battery cables run down the left rear of the fridge looking at the back with the access vent removed, and through the floor and then over to the power distribution panel under the cabinets. This was the easiest way to run the battery cables from the controller.

sol2

Here is the Power distribution panel on the floor and to the left of the fridge under a hallway cabinet.

Going to install 200 Watts of Solar

I will be installing 200 watt solar system on my Travel trailer in the next week. Will take pictures as I install the solar system. I have decided to install a flush mount PWM Controller, I just have to decide where I will put it and how I am going to run the cables. The Weize Solar Panel Kit arrived via UPS from Amazon today, this will be the 4th Weize Solar panel Kit that I will be installing. They have come way down in price at $199 plus Sales Tax. Stay tuned for more.

Mel

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