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Old 01-13-2015, 09:13 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Southern California
Posts: 206
Default Fun Finder Solar Install Part 2

This is the second installment of my project adding one 100w solar panel to the roof of my Fun Finder. Thank you to those who gave me tips on how to post photos. Not sure I got it right.

Today I ran my cables from the roof through the refrigerator shaft and then through the plywood floor of the refrigerator box and then forward into my cargo area. This is where I will connect the cables from the roof to the charge controller and also where I will bring cables up from the new battery rack (see part 1). Working alone, it was quite time-consuming using the fish tape to snake to cables around the refrigeration system along the inside wall of the shaft
The installation manual from Renology, which came with my solar panel, recommended using rubber well nuts (expansion nuts) for attaching the panel's Z-brackets to the roof. This turned out to be an excellent way to attach to the rather thin luan ply roof sheet. See link to manual:
You can see in the photos that I used a 3/8' punch to cut a nice hole the vinyl roof sheet. I didn't want to bungle the thin roofing with a drill bit. Then I used a 3/8"bit to drill through the approximate 5/16" plywood. The styrofoam below was no problem when I pushed the well nuts into the holes. A previous post noted that I was unable to find roof joists even though Cruiser did send me a rather thorough factory drawing. Note the one photo where I show a bundle of colored wires which run up through the refrigerator shaft and into a styrofoam "race" which runs across the roof. I am glad I took the refrigerator vent off and inspected this before drilling holes in the roof. Needless to say, drilling into this bundle of wires would not have turned out well. You can also see I used Dicor self-leveling lap sealant everywhere I thought was necessary.

For those of you who really know solar, you will likely look at my photos and note that the panel lies between the A/C unit and the Camco vent hood both of which cast shadows on the panel when the sun is low. I know this is not good. But I can also tell you there is not much real estate on the roof of a FF X-189 for bolting down solar panels...I picked what I thought was the optimum spot for a fixed (non-tilting) panel. I have another area picked out for the future installation of a second panel should we get out boondocking and determine that a single 100w panel will not match our needs. I made sure to buy a charge controller that could handle up to three 100 watt panels just in case. By the way, the panel is covered with thick paper in all photos so I don't inadvertently short the panel cables while it is exposed to the sun.

In Part 3 I plan to show the location and hooking up of the charge controller in the cargo area as well as re-routing battery cables from the tongue to the new rack I built.
Fun Finder 2006 X189FD sold
Fun Finder 2012 X189FBS sold
2020 Lance model 2075
2016 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel 4x4
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