Renegade Classic 45CMB-XM
Basic Parts List
This installation was completed in April of 2023. The owner contacted me in November of 2022 about upgrading his RV solar installation. The RV came from the manufacturer with three Jaboni 265 watt solar panels and two Jaboni solar controllers. The owner of the RV wanted more solar production capabilities for his rig to allow him to boondock without having to run the generator as frequently. The RV has a Magnum Energy based dual inverter system from the manufacturer, so it has the ability to run what the owner wants when boondocking, but it can’t keep up with the owner’s power needs with the small OEM solar array.
We discussed options for the installation and finally settled on adding 12 Newpowa compact 100 watt solar panels to the existing system. The compact panels allowed for the best use of space on the roof without having to move any existing items already installed. I also planned to reconfigure the existing OEM panels into a single solar array instead of the two separate arrays they were configured in from the manufacturer. We set an installation date in April, when the owner of the RV planned to be traveling through my area (he is a full time RVer).
Once the owner arrived with his RV for the installation, I took some time going over the existing components and wiring. There were two sets of 10 AWG wire run down from the roof for the existing OEM solar panels. My plan originally was to run new wire down from the roof, but after looking at the existing wiring and running some voltage drop calculations, I determined I could take advantage of the OEM wiring and not have to run any new wire. This greatly simplified the installation. I was able to take advantage of the OEM 10 AWG wiring by running the original Jaboni panels in series to one controller and running the new Newpowa panels in two series strings of six and then combining those two strings in parallel to the second controller.
The installation went fairly quickly because I didn’t have to run new wire. Once the installation was completed, we began testing everything. The solar controllers were installed in a storage compartment under the RV (where the OEM solar controllers were installed). All the storage compartments on this RV are constructed of metal. This metal box severely limited the Bluetooth range of the Victron Smart Solar controllers. Ultimately we decided to add a VE Direct Bluetooth dongle to the controllers to extend their Bluetooth range. Unfortunately I only had one dongle in stock and couldn’t get another one in time before the customer had to leave. I installed the one dongle in a kitchen cabinet above the storage compartment where the solar controllers were installed. I then ran the cable for the dongle through the floor and into the compartment where it was connected to a solar controller. I also ran a pull string with the dongle cable so the owner of the RV could add a second dongle for the other solar controller relatively easily at a later time. Having the Bluetooth dongle inside the RV instead of in the metal storage compartment greatly increased the Bluetooth range for connecting to the solar controller so the customer was happy with the compromise.