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Old 04-02-2019, 03:28 PM   #1
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Default 2004 Roadtrek 190 internal solar wiring

Hi,

I've got my 200 watts of panels mounted (2 x100), a location for the controller picked out (by the jack in the basement), by duel battery wiring figured out. But I'm having a heck of a time figuring out a clean way to run the cabling.

I'd like to start the cables coming in through the air conditioner grate. At that point I get lost. I've started taking apart some of the rear interior, with mixed results and lots of frustration.

Has anyone had success running solar or other wiring cleanly beneath the rear interior of early 2000s Chevy interior?

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Old 04-02-2019, 03:39 PM   #2
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Looks good AND it appears you can still drive through McDonalds for some coffee, egg whatever.....

What size is the cable you will use?

Bud
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Old 04-02-2019, 04:53 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Rogbo View Post
Hi,

I've got my 200 watts of panels mounted (2 x100), a location for the controller picked out (by the jack in the basement), by duel battery wiring figured out. But I'm having a heck of a time figuring out a clean way to run the cabling.

I'd like to start the cables coming in through the air conditioner grate. At that point I get lost. I've started taking apart some of the rear interior, with mixed results and lots of frustration.

Has anyone had success running solar or other wiring cleanly beneath the rear interior of early 2000s Chevy interior?
It is possible to do, but will require a lot disassembly/reassembly; remove the following from the right rear, keeping track of all the fastener's locations as they sometimes vary in length:
- two cabinets (if they don't come out fairly easily, look for hidden fasteners behind things like piano hinges, etc.)
- wall panel
- bolster cover
- corner post trim (will have to remove small rear cross panel first)
... then the trim panel under the air conditioner
Also remove the outside air conditioner cover.

Drill a suitable hole from inside the van through the vertical fore-aft fiberglass wall into the air conditioner "chamber". This should be planned carefully so it is an inch or two above the chamber floor, to avoid water ingress. Also create a notch in the air conditioner cover towards the right front (drill a suitable hole first and then make two saw cuts into it). Mount some sort of junction box or connector on the roof, near where this notch will be. Now you can route the wire from the junction box, into the air conditioner "chamber" (where the notch will be), through the vertical fiberglass wall (where it will heavily caulked), and then to your destination ...

The air conditioner cover can then be slid back in place and screwed down, with the wire in the notch. It appears in your photo that the rear solar panel is mocked up slightly over this cover, so it would be good if you can move them forward, otherwise you'll have to put the solar panel on after the a/c cover; or maybe you can forego the forward screws on the a/c cover as the solar panel will trap it.

Reassembly is tricky; you will likely need to use an awl to line up the holes as many of the sheet metal screws used to mount the various panels you removed are at very odd angles (Roadtrek quality).

Good luck, Dick 09/10 RT C190P
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Old 04-02-2019, 06:52 PM   #4
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Holy Cow!

Thanks for taking the time for the detailed response Dick. It sounds like you know a great deal about the Roadtrek interiors. Any advice or thoughts on a better routing?

Bud, I went with 8 awg which was just slightly oversized for my targeted wiring run. However, after Dick's detailed explanation and my elbows deep experience yesterday, may not be heavy enough if the actual wire run different gets out of hand.

J
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Old 04-02-2019, 07:11 PM   #5
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Any advice or thoughts on a better routing?J
Yep. Drill through the roof into the fore aft channel the thermostat is mounted on. From there travel aft and put your wires down the door post. You come out aft of the battery box and all is well

West marine sells a feed through cover which you would face aft. You do have to take off that channel cover the thermostat is mounted on. Can't remember if you have to remove a portion of the aft upholstery to get access to the top of the door jamb. I'm not close to mine now and can't get you a picture.

Look up from the bottom to see the door post channel. There may be some plastic inserts in it to drill through to get wire access. Worked for me.
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Old 04-02-2019, 07:39 PM   #6
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J, I ran some wire for a different reason, but I checked and that won't work with 8 gage -just a bit large.

2 ideas so far, so I would also consider a third since my original thought won't work. I would remove the black plastic piece over the back doors. There are slits and 2 small holes underneath inside the van right at the back doors. One of the 2 holes would not need to be much larger in my 04 van. Wire into the ac cover, then into the van under the black plastic piece, then to the side of the van with wire right next to the back doors, then down under the bed. That might be the least involved, but I don't know what I would see after pulling off the black plastic piece over the doors.
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Old 04-02-2019, 09:38 PM   #7
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Yep. Drill through the roof into the fore aft channel the thermostat is mounted on. From there travel aft and put your wires down the door post. You come out aft of the battery box and all is well

West marine sells a feed through cover which you would face aft. You do have to take off that channel cover the thermostat is mounted on. Can't remember if you have to remove a portion of the aft upholstery to get access to the top of the door jamb. I'm not close to mine now and can't get you a picture.

Look up from the bottom to see the door post channel. There may be some plastic inserts in it to drill through to get wire access. Worked for me.
Good luck with that Harry!
Will require a very long drill bit, and a very good aim, as you're going to go down through the cabinet. The original Chevy roof rail is inside that bolster below the cabinet, and ain't the easiest thing to drill thru.

See attached picture - zoom in to see the area in the corner which is still the bare fiberglass, about to be insulated.
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Old 04-03-2019, 12:21 AM   #8
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Good luck with that Harry!
Will require a very long drill bit, and a very good aim, as you're going to go down through the cabinet. The original Chevy roof rail is inside that bolster below the cabinet, and ain't the easiest thing to drill thru.

See attached picture - zoom in to see the area in the corner which is still the bare fiberglass, about to be insulated.
I've done it. Only running a 100 watt panel and I'm not home where I can look and see how I got to the cableway but I did. The controller is on the aft facing cabinet wall aft of the toilet.

I don't remember drilling through any steel but I'm senile and it was at least 8 years ago. I don't remember drilling into the cabinet but I do have some 18" bits.

For sure got into the channel, went aft, and went down the door post. The roof hole is just inboard of the roof corner.

I did not remove a cabinet. Wish I could go look at it. If I did go through the cabinet I drilled up from inside at the forward corner of the cabinet.

I do have a 90 degree aircraft drill chuck that can get right into the corner. Could have used it. Will be home for a few days in 6 weeks and am curious to look at it.
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Old 04-03-2019, 12:22 AM   #9
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Who knew. I had assumed running the solar wiring was going to be down towards the bottom of my challenges on this project. I'm heading out tomorrow for an extended trip to the southland for the superbloom, then on to who knows. With all the good information provided, I decided to close up the interior I had removed, pack up, then tackle the wiring when I find quite wide open spaces.

I'll update this post with how I make out in the next week or so.

Thanks again for freely sharing what has to be hard won knowledge.

Roger
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Old 04-03-2019, 12:45 AM   #10
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I have done what you mentioned on our 07 190 Roadtrek. 300 watts, wired through the AC vent to a box, #8 through the AC partition and then down between the partition and the upper cabinet wall, across the ceiling under the AC to the rear and across the back to the right side rear corner and then down. You can get the cable between the AC and cabinet, between the ceiling under the AC and the AC floor, behind the small rear upper corner upholstery piece, and behind the right rear corner upholstered piece down to the floor. I used the 8-2 super heavy jacket cable from AM Solar, but it would have been much easier to run two separate #8 wires in separate looms. You can easily remove the upper rear upholstered panel and get the front of the ceiling under the AC loose enough to help fish the wires. The rear corner to floor is tough because all you can get loose in the rear edge, so working in very tight spot. It is a truly ugly job, but doable. Took me over one entire day to get it run and put back together. Get a few pair of new cotton gloves you can put on to keep the upholstery clean.
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