PLAN YOUR SOLAR SYSTEM SETUP
Unlimited Solar offers a simple way to add flexible solar panels to campers, recreational vehicles, and boats. We offer 100W, 200W, 300W and 400 watt RV solar kits. Enjoy the freedom to run lights, refrigerators, fans, and electronics wherever your travels take you, on or off grid. Shade tolerant, lightweight and flexible Sunpower modules are superior in every way to the traditional heavy glass framed rigid crystalline modules for your RV or boat.
NOTE: Unlimited Solar recommends having the RV Solar Kit professionally installed. Although the kit is relatively straightforward to install, working with high current battery systems and working on the roof of the RV can be dangerous.
Unlimited Solar will be happy to work directly with your dealer or service center of choice to ensure a proper, long lasting installation. Just send us their contact information or have them contact us and we’ll take care of the rest.
READ THIS PRIOR TO INSTALLING
The SUNVICA Solar Charging Kit is intended for use on newer roofs that are in good condition. Cleaning the roof is critical in obtaining a safe, secure and long-lasting installation. Failure to follow the included instructions can result in loss of adhesion, damage or loss of the product, and shortened product life. Mechanical fasteners such as screws or rivets are recommended in any installation where the quality of the roof is questionable or if the vehicle is to be used in extreme environments. Contact Unlimited Solar Technical Support if you have any questions, concerns or would like to discuss you special application.
INTRODUCTION & SAFETY INFORMATION
The SUNVICA product line, the premier solar solution for RV’s and Marines, has been specifically developed for use on recreational vehicles and will provide years of reliable service when properly installed.
READ THESE INSTRUCTIONS COMPLETELY BEFORE BEGINNING INSTALLATION FAILURE TO FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS CAN RESULT IN DAMAGED PRODUCT, DAMAGE TO THE RV, AND/OR PERSONAL INJURY. UNLIMITED SOLAR HIGHLY RECOMMENDS HAVING THIS SYSTEM INSTALLED BY A PROFESSIONAL RV TECHNICIAN. THE INSTALLER SHOULD BE FAMILIAR WITH: DC electrical systems and wiring in RVs Working with high capacity battery systems.
NEVER MIX SOLAR PANELS OF DIFFERING BRANDS, PART NUMBERS OR POWER RATINGS IN THE SAME SYSTEM. DOING SO WILL RESULT IN POOR PERFORMANCE AND MAY DAMAGE COMPONENTS WORKING WITH ELECTRICITY AND LEAD ACID BATTERIES CAN BE DANGEROUS INSTALLATION OF THE SOLAR PANELS REQUIRES WORKING ON THE ROOF OF THE RV WHERE THERE IS A RISK OF FALLING
SOLAR PANELS PRODUCE ELECTRICITY WHEN EXPOSED TO LIGHT EVEN WHEN NOT CONNECTED TO THE SYSTEM. THE SOLAR PANELS SHOULD BE COVERED WHENEVER WORKING ON THE SOLAR POWER SYSTEM IN ORDER TO AVOID ELECTRICAL SHOCK AND/OR ARCING.
TOOLS REQUIRED FOR INSTALLATION
Screwdriver, Keyhole Saw, Pencil or Marker, Pliers, Wire Strippers and Cutters, Electric Hand Drill, Heat Gun.
ROOF CLEANING SUPPLIES
Medium Synthetic Bristle Brush (E.g. deck scrub brush)
Mild Liquid Dish Soap or RV-dealer-recommended wash
Isopropyl Alcohol >70%
The installation of the Sunpower Flexible Solar Panels is fairly simple and straight forward with a little planning. The key installation steps are:
Choose a suitable location for the solar panel(s).
Prepare roof surface.
Install the solar panels
Choose the internal RV location for the charge controller.
Route the cable from the solar panels to the charge controller and then to the batteries.
Connect the wiring.
Placement of the panel(s) should be as close together as possible. Each panel has 3.3’ of cable coming from the junction box. It may be necessary to use solar panel extension cables. If required, longer extension cables can be purchased. Select a location where the mounting surface is at least 1/2” thick and strong enough to support the solar panel mounting hardware.Solar panels should be located a minimum of 3’ from the front of RV to reduce wind load on the panels. Avoid internal wiring when selecting the solar panel mounting locations for drilling the mounting holes.Ensure fixed obstacles, such as air conditioners, will not shade the solar panels. (Shading can greatly reduce the performance of the solar system). Ensure there is enough room to access the panels and other fixed obstacles for future inspection and maintenance.
LOCATING THE SOLAR CHARGE CONTROLLER
The solar charge controller is designed to be flush mounted in an interior wall of the RV. Choose a location that is convenient for routing the cable and for viewing. Flush mounting the controller will require cutting a hole in the wall or cabinet.
ROUTING THE CABLE
A. Your solar kit came with 25’ lengths of 10 AWG solar cable with connectors to the panels and a 25’ length of 10 AWG cable to link the controller to the battery. These lengths should be sufficient for most installations. If more cable is required, use wire that is the same conductor size or larger. Using a smaller wire size can result in performance losses and potentially create a fire hazard. See the following wire-sizing table for further information.
B. When routing the cable, leave a foot or so extra at each end to make connections easier.
C. In most cases, the refrigerator vent is the best place to route the cable from the roof into the RV. Some RVs have the refrigerator located in a slide-out. In this case, an alternate location will be required and may require creating a roof or front cap penetration. This should be performed by a professional RV technician to ensure a watertight seal.
D. Starting at the solar panel connections, plan the routing for the Y-cables and connection cables[see below] across the roof to the entry location. Use the provided cable ties to secure the cable to the roof. Be sure to prepare the roof surface in the same manner as already described for ensuring good panel and edging adhesion prior to sticking down the cable tie mounts.
E. A cable tie mount must be placed directly adjacent to each side of each pair of cable connectors, at the center of each “Y” cable (where the three cables join in the middle) and then at least every 4’ along the roof to the point of entry. Use additional mounts anywhere the cable is not well supported. Additional cable tie mounts can be purchased at your local hardware store if needed.
F. Continue routing the cable to the solar charge controller location and cut to the appropriate length. Remember to leave some extra cable to make the final connections easier.
G. At the charge controller end of the PV cable, strip 3/8” of insulation to expose the copper wire. Route the 10AWG, cable from the charge controller to the battery location. Strip the cable as above at the charge controller end and crimp battery ring terminal to each wire. Do not connect the cable to the charge controller yet.
CONNECTING THE WIRING
Prior to connecting any of the wires, be sure the fuses are removed from the fuse holders and the solar panels are covered.
WHEN ALL OTHER INSTALLATION AND SAFETY ITEMS HAVE BEEN COMPLETED
Final connections should be made in the following order:
a. Ensure that the cardboard covers over the solar panels are still in place.
b. Select GEL or LEAD ACID battery mode.
c. Connect the positive (+) lead of the solar array to the ARRAY POSITIVE (+) terminal of the charge controller.
d. Connect the negative (-) lead of the solar array to the ARRAY NEGATIVE (-) terminal of the charge controller.
e. Connect the positive cable from the battery to the BATTERY POSITIVE (+) terminal of the charge controller.
f. Connect the negative cable from the battery to the BATTERY NEGATIVE (-) terminal of the charge controller.