What Does the Term, "Prewired for Solar" Actually Mean?

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X-Roughneck

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We are getting closer to the RV dream.  We have our new downsized place. Our house in San Antonio went on the Market on Wed 15 May, and we got it under contract that same Sunday.  I am still working until July and our buyers want a 5 Aug close so that worked out good for us.

I have shifted focus to the Class C Gas, Jayco, Entegra as the most likely candidates.  I like the idea of the more rugged suspension as one of the major factors.

Looking at these coaches I see pre-wired solar, but I have a feeling there maybe alot of additional expense required other than buying a Mobile solar panel and plugging it in.

Looking at the site Go Power, I see no real pricing. I am not sure what a "Prewired for Solar" RV actually comes with? I am going to guess it is not much. 

Can anybody give me a ball park guestimation on what I would pay $$ for a Prewired coach to be brought up to the specs of what I copied and pasted below?  I am in the exploratory phase.  A DIY electrical job of this magnitude I would not want to attempt.  I see this complete kit below.


Solar Elite Charging System (380 watts) This system includes two 190 watt solar panels and a 2000 watt pure sine wave Inverter Charger? 

https://gpelectric.com/products/solar-elite-charging-system/
 
We had one travel trailer ?prewired for solar? with a worthless package. Wire gauge was way too small to be useful for more than a trickle charger. Kevin ended up running all new heavy gauge wire, not hard but tedious. In addition the stock converter, used to charge batteries, was a cheap one that wouldn?t have worked well for solar. He replaced that too. The motorhome we are in now was prewired too, but came with quality 8 gauge wiring and a good multistage power converter. In other words, find out real details about the prewire setup - wire gauge, distance between panel location and converter, and the type of converter. Makes a big difference in cost.
 
Yes, I am feeling things will be on the less than stellar side, but need to dig into it a bit more.  I imagine Tiffin erred on the quality side as opposed to going cheap.

Interested in hearing 2019 pricing for persons who bought entire systems and had them installed also.
 
I think your expectation of "not much" will be on target.  Unless they give a spec for the size (wattage) of the solar panel it is pre-wired for, it doesn't mean much at all.  And "wired" probably means just that: some wire run roof to battery compartment. No controller or battery amp monitor.  The size of the wire will likely be driven by the MSRP price range of the RV.  Cheaper models get cheaper components, especially in places not readily visible to buyers (like wiring and plumbing).
 
My brand new Grand Design Momentum, which is a 44' Toy Hauler was "pre-wired" for solar.  This involves them putting a 10A two pole plug on the front of the trailer, an inline fuse, and a set of leads going to the battery.  It was obviously made for one of the 100 Watt portable suitcase solar panels and might provide enough power to charge my two Trojan T105s...........if I had a week or so to wait.  Pretty much useless.
 
X-Roughneck said:
Yes, I am feeling things will be on the less than stellar side, but need to dig into it a bit more.  I imagine Tiffin erred on the quality side as opposed to going cheap.

Interested in hearing 2019 pricing for persons who bought entire systems and had them installed also.
I wouldn't "assume" (A$$ out of YOU and ME) that Tiffin or any other MFG puts in large enough wire size.  If you are looking at Tiffin, call them and ask, push to get to a technical person.
However unless you are technically well informed the info you get may be meaningless.

If you are interested in education:
This link is pretty basic, but covers most of the bases.  Note there is 2 parts so click on part 2 at the bottom: http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/12volt.htm

More info in pretty good detail
--  http://www.rv-dreams.com/rv-electrical.html
--  http://www.rv-dreams.com/our-rv-electrical.html


Pretty technical but some very good info and advice:
http://www.jackdanmayer.com/rv_electrical_and_solar.htm

Very opinionated and strongly worded, but great info on what NOT to do and what to look for in a quality solar/battery install:  http://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/the-rv-battery-charging-puzzle-2/

Bottom line there are lots of people who install solar and batteries. Lots of them are in the business to SELL you something. If you don't know what to ask for, or maybe demand, you may very well get some system which will under perform and not give you what you pay for.

PRICE????  Use the above links to really understand how you are going to use your RV, what your power requirements will be and then size out your system and then look at prices for individual components.
 
Tiffin's prewire consists of 8 gauge wire run from the roof to a cabinet over the driver seat where the controller would be housed, and then into the battery bay.  I had my Bus prewired in case I ever wanted to add solar, or in case the next owner wanted to add it.  You can also have the wire bumped to 4 gauge during the build if you desire.

The installed 8 gauge wire would be sufficient to run about 200 watts of solar. (I am told)
 
SargeW said:
Tiffin's prewire consists of 8 gauge wire run from the roof to a cabinet over the driver seat where the controller would be housed, and then into the battery bay.  I had my Bus prewired in case I ever wanted to add solar, or in case the next owner wanted to add it.  You can also have the wire bumped to 4 gauge during the build if you desire.

The installed 8 gauge wire would be sufficient to run about 200 watts of solar. (I am told)
Sarge is right about the location of the pre-wiring on a Tiffin, but you can definitely get more than 200 watts out of it. We run 900 watts in three gangs of panels so a 36 volt system. The 8 gauge handles that fine with reasonable loss. If we had known about the ?hidden? option for 4 gauge wire, we would have ordered it and been able to use a lower voltage. That would have minimized the shading issue that can happen and let us put more panels on top. However it wasn?t worthwhile to us to run more wire. (Note Kevin is an electrical engineer and had a great time running all the calculations then moving panel cutouts on the roof to minimize shading.)
 
After reading the replies, it sounds like the MFG spends more money producing and purchasing the Sticker that says "Prewired for Solar" that set up expense getting one set up to actually run a system off of their foundation they lay out during the MFG process.  I thought that connection cover near the door with the covered plug in was not what it appeared to be and after reading the replies it is not.  I kept reading the sticker listing the things the RV came with and did not see anything solar related.
 
What Does the Term, "Prewired for Solar" Actually Mean?

it means your wallet is much lighter because you just bought an overpriced useless piece of salesmanship !!!

"The installed 8 gauge wire would be sufficient to run about 200 watts of solar. (I am told)"

this is what you get when you can only think 12 volts..  bites you in the ass every time..


 
I disagree. Prewired for solar means that in my 40' RV, about 60' of necessary wire and a charge controller are already installed through the roof, down the walls, and into the battery bay.  The few hundred bucks I spent for that pales in comparison to what would be charged to put it all in later.
 
Marty, on our Tiffins the pre-wire option is a good one. However it isn?t in many other installations, including the Outdoor RV trailer had. So caution is appropriate for the OP of this thread, and the variation is the reason he really can?t get a good answer on price. But Solarman is overstating the poor quality by implying that all installations are bad. As with most things in RVing, ?it depends.?
 
UTTransplant said:
Marty, on our Tiffins the pre-wire option is a good one. However it isn’t in many other installations, including the Outdoor RV trailer had. So caution is appropriate for the OP of this thread, and the variation is the reason he really can’t get a good answer on price. But Solarman is overstating the poor quality by implying that all installations are bad. As with most things in RVing, “it depends.”

the issue is not of quality, ( although that is questionable, i'm sure ) it's paying for something that will most likely not be suitable for one's particular requirements.

how can the RV manufacturer even know what your usage will be  ? they don't, so they fit a length of 8 AWG wire and a crappy PWM controller
that cost $50 and add it as an option for a mere $300 !

that's my argument..

when i ordered my ORV, I specifically denied any solar option for good reason..





 
AStravelers ........Nice links.  Book marked them.  Thanks
 
You know I am pretty savoy and insistent to making things correct the first time around when it comes to all things being correctly rigged to the point of overkill.  And I have read tons of these solar threads and end up right back in a similar train of thought that these threads are similar to the ones that ask "How much can I pull with my truck" or " How big of a truck do I need to pull a __________________across Mt. Everett with ten kids, two dogs and a yapping wife"? ;D As someone stated, "Depends" . But thanks for all the reading materials anyway guys and girls on those sleepless nights. I may need to buy a bigger unit and add extensions on each end to get enough panels on top to run the coffee pot in the morning. ;). :)) Prewired for solar means little to nothing, as I learned the hard way.
 

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