The Makings of a Solar System

Controller, Fuse box, Inverter on Mount Board

Friday, I drove down to Miami and bought two 200 watt solar panels at Sun Electronics.

Saturday, I realized I had measured the roof wrong and the panels wouldn’t fit where I wanted them.

Saturday night I came up with a half-assed way to make them fit.

Sunday morning, She showed me an elegant way to mount the the panels beautifully—which we’ll install when my brother comes up next weekend. (More below the break…)

The photos show where I plan to mount the charge controller, fuse box, and inverter. By mounting them on a piece of plywood cut to the dimensions of one side of the interior of the dinette seat storage area, I will be able to do most of the wiring on my table top, rather than bent over like a contortionist.

Additionally, I plan on using, sealed (non-gassing) AGM batteries, which will fit under the dinette seat also. Since the dinette is over the axles, the additional weight of the batteries shouldn’t affect the trailer’s towing balance. On a side note, this layout should work with many RVs as they often have the same size dinette bench seats, but do not use this method with unsealed batteries as they leak explosive gas which could ignite from any of those devices.

The planned system:

A grateful thanks to Randy and Glenn for these detailed “How to set up your solar system” info links:

Controller, Fuse box, Inverter in Dinette Storage Area

(The photo above is with the mounting board in place. Dinette seat and back cushions removed.)

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5 thoughts on “The Makings of a Solar System

  1. Exactly how much power do you expect to harness with this contraption ? Well, time will tell– I don’t expect you’ll be scrambling eggs with it, aye?

  2. @Jim: Actually this should be a very practical set-up (I hope). I’m basing it on a lot of other full time RVers who have similar sized rigs and requirements.

    @Randy: Thanks!

    @All: I just received a post from “Handy Bob” mentioning you should NOT mount the controller in a horizontal position (probably due to heat buildup). Ironically, just today I decided to go with an automatic Solar/Shore power switch, so that will leave room on the mounting board to set the controller vertically. Thanks Bob!

  3. Hello Wayne, thankyou for your internet postings. As a follow on from ‘Handy Bob’s ‘ tip about the heatsink inverter location. What is more important is adequate ventilation; so that holes top and bottom will help circulate cooling air around the enclosure otherwise you have installed a nice slow cooker and early electronic failure.

  4. @Kevin: Thanks for the tip. I have since turned both the inverter and fuse box to a vertical position so the heat off the controller has the proper upward flow. In the space where I have all this stuff (under the dinette seat), I have cut an access hole so that I can turn the inverter on/off without removing the seat. You bring up a good point though and that is it should “ventilate” (allow air flow), so I will cut another cross ventilation hole on the side of the container farthest away from the first hole.

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