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Discussion Starter #1
On my solar controller, there are 3 pairs connections for: solar input, battery, and final output. I have checked that their earths are not connected together. But i am thinking to join all the earth together, so i only need 3 +12 wires, plus one thicker common earth for all the 3 . Will this setup be OK?
 

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2010 GU DX CRD Grenade :)
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The solar panel should have pos and neg, battery is obviously battery and load is load. I don't bother using the load ports, just fit the 2 wires from the panel to the panel input and the battery to the battery. If you so desire you can run an earth all the way back to the battery too. I did, just ran twin core from the battery under the bonnet to the solar regulator. Rear power I have fed through a fuse panel in the boot. I also have the solar input fused through this fire box and feeding the aux battery only.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
My question is can the battery and the panel share the same earth? If this is ok then I can use the car body as earth and use only one wire for each input instead of a pair. So I can join the 3 earth together. I have the controller installed in the back of the car.

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I can't see why you would want to. The panel should have a pair of wires that goes to the panel input. The load and battery can share the same earth. You can earth it to the body, just make sure you have a decent earth to the body for the second battery too. Yours has a Duramax or something doesn't it? Is the battery under the bonnet or in the back?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I am wiring the cable from panel via the snorkel (so i dont have to drill a hole on the roof), then feed to the back of the car to connect the controller, then feed to the engine bay to connect the battery. it is quiet long. If the battery and the panel can share the same earth, then i only need to feed a twin wire to the back of the car. one wire for the panel input, one for the +12 for the battery. then connect all the earth to the panel. ......My engine is a Cummins and the battery is under the bonnet.
 

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Ok fair enough. I've got my solar panel mounted at the back of the roof rack and ran the wiring in through the rubber boot in the large barn door where the factory wiring goes.

I guess the next question is, can you mount the regulator up the front on the passenger side, under the dash or kick panel, or do you really need it fitted in the back? A lot less cable run and can be wired correctly.

I'm not sure whether the panel should be wired with a shared earth, I don't know if that would affect the charge rate of the regulator. The other option may be to get hold of some 3 core wire, if it is even available and run that to the rear.
 

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Discussion Starter #7

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There is quite a good lot of info on that site. What model controller have you got? Some of the question and answer threads on there seem to suggest a common ground is ok and others say to have all terminals separated.

Is there any reason the controller has to stay in the rear of the vehicle?
 

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Yes you can definitely use the same earth for all three, the earths share the same potential. Ideally you’d want the controller reasonably close to the battery it’s charging, but if that’s not practical don’t lose any sleep over it.

The only time I’d bother wiring the fridge (or any other load) to the load terminal, is if you have a controller like (for example) a victron, which has an app that tells you exactly how many watt hours your load has drawn in each 24 hour period, which is excellent as you can see if the panels are keeping up or not as it also gives you that info (watt hours fed in from panels).
 
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Yes you can definitely use the same earth for all three, the earths share the same potential. Ideally you’d want the controller reasonably close to the battery it’s charging, but if that’s not practical don’t lose any sleep over it.

The only time I’d bother wiring the fridge (or any other load) to the load terminal, is if you have a controller like (for example) a victron, which has an app that tells you exactly how many watt hours your load has drawn in each 24 hour period, which is excellent as you can see if the panels are keeping up or not as it also gives you that info (watt hours fed in from panels).
Question: Dont some solar controllers use the earth as the controlling wire? I'm sure my controller does.
In which case @patrol97 will needs to establish which is the controlling wire on his controller and be sure it is connected.

Just a thought

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Discussion Starter #11
There is quite a good lot of info on that site. What model controller have you got? Some of the question and answer threads on there seem to suggest a common ground is ok and others say to have all terminals separated.

Is there any reason the controller has to stay in the rear of the vehicle?
I am not sure where else can i install the controller if not in the rear. it is too hot in the engine bay, no much room in the front? or near the kick panel? It need to be visible for easy control/ or change settings. it is a simple controller - see the attached
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The panel is installed on the roof, the wire will go through via the snorkel, so no hole will be drilled on the roof. The panel is installed slightly lower than the rack, so it wont affect loading things on the roof.


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Have you thought of running the solar wire through the vents just behind the rear windows?
I've heard of others here doing this. This would significantly shorten the cable run to the controller

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I'm not sure at all about the common earth situation, although in saying that, i have seen some that are a positive earth.

also regarding the load connections i never used to use the load connections for say the fridge,
being the main thing hooked up to the deep cycle battery, and i noticed the controller couldn't keep up with the fridge in float mode even in full sun,
this was causing the controller to constantly cycle the battery between float and boost mode.

Once i tried the load connections for the fridge the controller can hold the battery in float and divert the excess to the fridge to keep that running,
this stopped the battery cycling between float and boost mode when there's plenty of sun, which i think in the long run will give longer battery life.

i'm using an Epever AN series 20a MPPT controller hooked up to an 185w panel with a 135ah deep cycle.
MPPT Charge Controller
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Have you thought of running the solar wire through the vents just behind the rear windows?
I've heard of others here doing this. This would significantly shorten the cable run to the controller

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I just don't want the wire visible from outside. So going through the snorkel. Still can see it , but not much, looks good

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
I think most time the panel (mine is 200 W) is not directly facing the sun, this why it cannot provide full power. Also, do you have the panel connected to the battery while driving? Or only when the engine is off? As I was wondering if I need to have a relay to connect the battery to the controller only when the engine is switched off? Otherwise, there will be two charges to the battery (from the alternator and the panel).

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Discussion Starter #17
The wire is hidden in the gutter, only up a little bit near the entrance at the snorkel. So it is bearly visible


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Discussion Starter #18
Finally, installed


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Discussion Starter #19
The panel is 200w from the paper spec. Open voltage is about 22v. But when connected to the battery and fridge, the panel out put drops down to 13.1v. this is under full sun at 12:30 winter time


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Discussion Starter #20
It finally settled at 12.58v while the panel charging and fridge running.....

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