Go Power Solar AE-4 All Electric Solar Panel System Installation - 2018 Tiffin Open Road Allegro Mot

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How to Install the Go Power Solar AE-4 All Electric Solar Panel System on a 2018 Tiffin Open Road A


Hi there motorhome owners Today in our 2018 Tiffin Allegro Open Road, we're gonna be taking a look at and showing you how to install Go Powers! four panel, solar panel kit. Having solar panels on your motorhome, it's gonna be great no matter what you plan on using your motorhome for. If you're planning on going off-grid, it's almost a must because it gives you that power you need when there's no other source to gather it. But if you're still planning on being on-grid it still is plenty beneficial because you have your generator that you use at certain places. Well, with this, you can minimize that generator use which extends the life of your generator and also cuts down on your fossil fuel use. These are also silent.

So instead of sitting there at your campsite whether you're having company over, you don't have to listen to that generator cause you're charging your batteries up top using the power of the sun. This kit's gonna come with four solar panels. Each of those solar panels are gonna be 190 watt panels totaling 760 Watts. These panels are high efficiency monocrystalline so it's gonna be better than your polycrystalline panels. They're going to be more efficient, so they're gonna harness more energy than those other types would.

Each panel has MC4 connectors on it, so we'll work with your solar prep kits that may be installed on your motorhome already, and if you don't have a solar prep kit on your motorhome it does include a rooftop bracket here that you see which gives us our connection points we can go down inside the motorhome. To assist you getting your solar panels positioned appropriately on your roof since they do take up quite a bit of real estate, and you've already got things on your roof, Go Powers! also included some extension for your MC4 connectors, you'll receive two small and one long. On your controller you're gonna get plenty of information, here you have your state of charge, you got your type of battery at the bottom, and one of the most important ones here is this symbol here at the top left, right now it's showing the moon indicating night, this either means that it is nighttime outside or that there is insufficient sunlight currently to charge the battery. It's automatically cycling through the various screens, so once we get past state of charge here you can see your current battery voltage, and if we go one more screen, it's gonna show the amount of amps that's being charged into our battery. Now, since we're inside, it thinks it's night and we're not charging right now.

Let's head outside and see how that changes. And this is a few adjustments on it, your A and B buttons here are just buttons that allow you to cycle through your menus. The A button, if held down for three seconds, will change it from automatic cycle mode to manual selection mode, so you can see here, we're on automatic, where this will change by itself to the next mode. By holding it down for three seconds, it puts it in the other mode. So you can see, I'm gonna go back to the manual mode, and if I hit B, it switches our modes, and then if you go back to the other mode, it will automatically switch now by itself cycling through your state of charge.

Your current battery voltage. And the amount of amps being charged into your batteries. You also notice across the bottom, here it says flooded this is the type of batteries you have installed on your motorhome. You wanna make sure you have that set correctly, and this way the computer inside will use its internal strategy to optimally charge that specific type of battery so you don't overcharge it, causing any damage to it. This is going to extend the life of those batteries by keeping them topped up and at the optimal state of charge. Next to our A and B buttons, we have our max boost button, and when we press this button it's going to give us 30 minutes of maximum charge. So really what this does is, instead of using the internal strategy to optimally charge the batteries, as well as preventing any overcharge. You can hit the max boost, which gives it 30 minutes of full blast of charge. Now it only does this for 30 minutes 'cause we don't want to overcharge the batteries too much but a small amount of boost charge is great, if you're planning on using your batteries a lot in that afternoon, you might want to hit the max boost button before the sun starts to get at a level where it's not really gonna charge too much anymore to get the most charge at the end of the day, so you'll have a little bit extra capacity that night to use your batteries. The last button on our controller is the AC button, this isn't gonna function on our current system here but if you have a Go Power! inverter installed on your motorhome, the smaller ethernet port located on the back can be plugged in to our remote controller here and then go to your inverter, so you can turn it on and off, right here from this controller. In addition to your solar controller and the remote controller, you'll also receive a disconnect switch which will go between your solar panels mounted on the roof and your solar controller. so this way, if you need to perform any maintenance on the system, you can safely remove our solar panels from the circuit, so we can perform that maintenance. When we're all done performing any maintenance, we just flip the switch, and it connects it back and we're now charging again. You also receive one more layer of protection with an 80 amp circuit breaker, that's located back near your batteries. Your solar controller is going to be on one side of the circuit breaker, which is up there in our cabinet and that's going to connect to here, and then from here, it goes to our batteries, this way if we have any shorts, we've got circuit protection here to protect us against that. Also, you can flip the switch here and this will turn off your solar controller, so you can turn it off at this end, again, this is for maintenance purposes, so if you need to make any adjustments up there you can do so without accidentally causing any shorts, and then flip it back on, you're ready to go. These are particularly useful, if you're going to be doing any upgrades where you're adding additional solar panels, so you can quickly turn those off, add your panels and then just flip them back on. On your batteries, you'll also have a temperature sensor that you can connect to the negative terminal. The solar controller will use the information from this temperature sensor in its charging strategy. By monitoring the temperature of the battery it helps it determine the appropriate amount of voltage that this battery should get, so it doesn't overcharge it. If you're overcharging your battery, that creates excess heat, which you would be able to pick up here, to dial that back, and ensure that you have the longest life possible out of your batteries. Now that we've gone over some of the features, hang out with us and we're gonna go over the installation, on how we got it all done. I will admit that if you do not have a solar prep package on your motorhome, it's a pretty lengthy install. If you've got a solar prep package it cuts it down drastically, but it is still a little bit more involved. But we're gonna cover this and break it down component by component and how they all connect, so it should be pretty straightforward. We'll begin our installation by determining where we're gonna place our solar panels. You can see here, I've got the solar panels sitting on the box that it came in, so I highly recommend that you remove all of your solar panels and inspect them to make sure there's no damage or anything to them, and then use the boxes they came in since they're much lighter and easier to move around to set those up on your roof, so you can figure the appropriate layout that's gonna work for your motorhome. Because your layout of your vents and everything, you are gonna be slightly different depending on your options that you have, and you may have also added other things like this satellite dish here and that's gonna change your location where you're gonna wanna put those. You wanna keep in mind that you wanna stay at least three feet back from the front of the motorhome, when placing your panels, because the air that goes across the top could potentially damage 'em when it's towards the front there it's more turbulent. Now that we've determined where we're gonna be placing all of our panels, we need to put the feet on the bottom of our panels. The mounting brackets have two holes on one face and a slotted hole on the other face. We're gonna take our hardware, go down through the slotted hole, our bolt has a flat washer on it, go through the hole towards the furthest corner. We're gonna do that all the way around, we're gonna place our bolt down through the hole with our bracket on top. And then on the bottom, we're gonna place another flat washer and follow it up with a nylon locking nut. We can then tighten it down with an 11 millimeter socket and wrench. And now we're gonna repeat that for the three remaining corner holes. We can then take butyl tape and we're gonna rip small pieces and cover the bottom of our brackets, this way when we run our hardware through it seals it to top of our roof. If you need some butyl tape, you can pick it up here at etrailer.com. You'll do this for each of your solar panels, so they'll all have feet on the bottom with butyl tape on it, and now we can position the panel on top of our motorhome's roof and get it secured down. I recommend before you secure it down, you take your wiring, cut the zip ties on them and stretch it out, 'cause it's pretty low as far as how it sits on the roof so it's difficult to reach under there and grab these after you've got it down, so it's nice to have it just off to one side so you can access those. We can now take our solar panel and set it in the location that we've desired. Ours was sitting on the box and the location that we wanted it to be in. Just try to get it even, and you also want to position your solar panels fairly close together so that your wires can reach so they can plug into one another. You can see that your wires aren't that crazy long, we've maybe got a foot and a half, two feet at best coming out of our panel here and it is offset to one side. Now you do get extensions that come in your kit, you'll receive a couple of short and a longer one, so you'll have that option, so you want to just keep that in your plan when you're positioning these out to make sure they can all connect together. If things just aren't gonna work out on your roof, due to the components you have up there, and your layout is gonna be too far apart we sell extensions here at etrailer.com. Now that you've got them set in position you could screw them down, but I highly recommend before you screw them down that you test the length of your cables to make sure you don't need to reposition them. You're gonna plug your panels in series and you really can't do it wrong because one of the wires on them is male, and one of them is female, so when you're plugging in one panel to the next you really only have one option. So our solar panel here is a little bit far from this one, so we're gonna start by trying the short extension that comes in our kit, we're gonna plug it into our solar panel here, we're gonna stretch this out, I like to feed it under the panels when possible to hide the wiring and then we're gonna come to our panel here, and it looks like our wiring is going to be long enough to allow it to plug in. The first and last solar panel that you have in your series you're connecting together, will have blank ends and this is what's gonna plug into our connector, that's gonna go down to our motorhome. We're gonna go ahead and get these mounted up now that we've got everything plugged in and then we'll come back and plug these into our motorhome. We're gonna use the provided screws and run them down through our brackets, two screws in each foot. And then on the top of each of your brackets, we're going to use self-leveling sealant to seal in the top of our bolts. We're just gonna cover the whole top side of the bracket, and then we're gonna repeat this for each foot on each solar panel. Now that we've got all of our solar panels plugged together they're all fully mounted, we just need to plug it into the connector in the top of our motorhome. If your motorhome has a solar prep package it'll already have the MC4 connectors, for these to plug directly into. If your motorhome doesn't have solar prep then you'll need to install the included connector that will mount on the top of your motorhome. Simply drill a hole out, it's about a three-quarter inch size, the grommet that comes included will poke down in there and you poke the wiring down through that hole inside your motorhome and route it to wherever you want to mount your controller. The top plate you mount on top, we're gonna go over to that here in a minute. First, we're gonna plug in our extension from our furthest solar panel and then we're gonna route this to our connector and then we'll show you what we we're talking about. The way we laid ours out we are gonna need an additional extension so we had to get one of those as well. Just like I mentioned on the solar panels I'm gonna hide the wiring for my extension under those as well. This is our extension cable from our furthest solar panel. we're gonna plug this in, see that here there's only one male, this is the female one, I've already got the closest solar panel plugged directly into this side, and this is what your connector would look like if you had a solar prep package. On your Tiffins are typically found on the driver's side and usually towards the middle or front of the vehicle, sometimes it's not gonna be plain on the roof like it is here, it may be positioned underneath one of the domes that you have on your roof, as Tiffin sometimes hides it under those, like you see there on the other side of our solar panel down there. Then we can go back and cling up all our wiring. I use some adhesive pads that are designed to hold down wiring. You can find these at your local hardware store. With all of our solar panels, mounted, secured and connected to our connector on top, we're completed up here and we can go down inside, we're gonna finish up our connections. We're now on the inside of our motorhome, we need to find the wires that come from the connector up on top and attach that to our disconnect switch and then run that to the rest of our solar system. The location of your wires on the inside of your motorhome is gonna vary depending on the options you have on your motorhome. So I'd highly recommend that you call Tiffin and provide them with your VIN number so they can assist you in finding your wiring. Ours is located in the cabinet here in the front, but again, yours may vary slightly depending upon your options that you have on yours. Our wires come down and we'll have a black and a red and those are the wires that we plugged our solar panel into up on top this comes from that roof mounted connector. We mounted our disconnect switch here in the cabinet and we routed our wires down into our disconnect switch. One wire hooks to one side, one wire hooks to the other side. We've got the red on our right, we've got the black on the left. so on the bottom, we just need to make sure we connect them the same way, so that way our red will connect to our red and our black will connect to our black. Use a Phillips head screwdriver, to tighten these down so your wires you'd strip them back, poke it into the opening and then tighten it down to clamp onto the wire to make a good connection. Once we come out, we're gonna route our wires to our solar controller. Now, depending on where you want to place your solar controller, it's gonna vary where you're gonna route these wires. On ours, I wanted to keep everything in the cabinet so that way the customer wouldn't see them, so I routed it down the inside lip over to the front cabinet here, where we had more room and we installed our solar controller here. Now, inside this cabinet, there was panels here, there was two of these, and it already had our inverter controller mounted on it, so this was a great location for us to mount this behind it because we mounted the remote controller for our solar controller, right on this panel, above our inverter so we can easily access those. Now, again, yours may vary in the location of where your inverter is, depending on the layout that you have on your Tiffin. But if you can position it in a location where it is near your factory wiring, that's also great because you'll see here, this white and this yellow wire, these are the wires that go from our batteries up to here and this is part of the solar prep package. so when you speak with Tiffin and you're asking them where they had placed the solar wires and things like that, ours was located behind this cabinet, and you wanna discuss that with them to ensure that yours is gonna be in the exact same spot. So, this is where we chose to put it because of that. Now that we've got our solar controller mounted we use the included screws to just run into the wood behind this panel here, we can start connecting everything to it. You'll see that there are several spots here, where you can place a flat bladed screwdriver in and you loosen these up. This is similar to our disconnect switch, you loosen these up, you can poke your wires in on this side and then you tighten it back down to crimp it and hold it in place. The one here, has a picture of a solar panel, this is where we're gonna connect our solar panel wires. They're labeled positive and negative so our reds are positive and the black is the negative. Below our solar panel, we'll have connections for our battery banks. Now, it provides two different spots so that way, if you have multiple battery banks that you want to charge, you can do so. We're only charging one battery bank, so that's why we only have one used on each of these. Each of these here are labeled, so the center two here are our negative for our battery and the bottom two here are the positive for our battery. So then we connected the wires that we're already run by Tiffin for our solar prep kit, and we connected those to our solar controller here, our white wires are negative and our yellow wires are positive. If you have a solar prep kit, these will already be routed to your batteries. If your motorhome doesn't have these wires or you're unable to find them, then you can run your own wires from your controller here to your battery bank. There are wires that come included with your kit to run this depending on where you mount your controller and where your batteries are located, you may need additional wire. You can get additional wire here at etrailer.com. You want to make sure you refer to your instructions, so you use the appropriate gauge wire for the distance that you are running the wires from your controller to the batteries. On the top side of our box, we'll have a location to plug in an ethernet cable and there's actually one of the opposite side as well so you can daisy chain multiple together if you're wanting to expand, this ethernet cable will either connect multiple units together if you're expanding and adding a unit, or if you're installing the kit like we are, fresh then this is just gonna go from our controller here to the remote controller, wherever you decide to mount that. Again, we're gonna be mounting ours on the panel that's located right here, we've removed that, and you can see here where it plugs into the back. This is an ethernet cable, so it is only gonna plug into the large one you'll see that it will not fit in this one over here, so we won't be using this one. And then lastly, we'll have to cook up our temperature sensor wire. That's the small black wire here with the small green connector, it just pokes into your module, just clicks in like a connector normally does, and this needs to route to your batteries, and it will connect onto the negative post of your battery. Now this, you will have to run yourself and you may need to extend this wire in order to reach your controller, and then from here to your batteries. If you do extend it, I highly recommend using thermostat wiring you can pick up at your local hardware store. Now we'll need to connect our remote controller, that we plugged in with our ethernet cable. This will mount wherever you want to access it. So we're putting ours in the cabinet on the panel just above where our inverter remote controller was, and to get this here, we just had to cut this out, so I removed the panel first, I found it just easier to work with there's just some screws that you can take out and this panel comes off, If you've got a different layout yours might be slightly different. On the back here, we cut out a five inch by three inch square and then we did it to make some small modifications in order to get it to fit and be level, and then you just poke in your controller and you use the provided black screws, and just run it down into your paneling. We're now back at our battery bank, here you see the white and yellow wire, this is the factory wires that we're run from the location in our cabinet there back to our batteries. Now they're not connected to your batteries so just find these bare and exposed here in your battery compartment if you have these pre-run from the factory with a solar prep package, before you connect it to the battery, we need to put a circuit breaker in line with our positive wire, so the yellow wire from our factory wiring we connect that to one side and then I just cut off some of the excess yellow wire that was here, there was plenty, I just took it from the spot behind the cabinet because it was more than we needed, and then I used that to connect it to the other side and then run it over to the batteries. You will need to provide your own ring terminals to make these connections, but you can pick those up at etrailer.com here. The circuit breaker we mounted just using self tapping screws, and you can get those at your local hardware store. Gone ahead and extended our batteries out so we could see those connections. So here's our yellow wire coming from the circuit breaker, we connected it to our battery positive post. The white wire is our ground wire and we just ran that down and connected it to our battery negative post, also on our negative post, you'll see a copper ring terminal here and this is the other end of that temperature sensor wire that we had to route, so it was a green connector up inside the motorhome, that plugged into the controller and back here on our battery bank, we've got a copper ring terminal and the sensor is actually inside the small crimped area with this potting material in it. Now you'll see here that the wire for our temperature sensor does change colors from black to this red and white here, this is wire that we had to use to extend it in order for it to be long enough. In most cases, I feel like you're probably gonna have to extend this wire because it's just not that long and probably won't go from where your controller is to your batteries. When routing your wire, you wanna make sure that you avoid anything excessively hot such as your exhaust and any moving components such as your steering and suspension. If you mount your controller inside, you just need to route it outside and then you can go along the bottom side of your motorhome to bring it to where your battery banks located. If you're a little confused looking at your batteries, and you're unsure how to hook up the positive and negative, you'll see here that this is a sticker of a series-parallel circuit, and this is actually the one that's on the inside panel of our door where our batteries are located. You wanna make sure you hook your positive wire to where it shows battery panel to that post, and then the negative wire to that one there, where it shows ground chassis. We've now completed all of our connections, so we can turn on our two switches and verify that everything powers up. So we're gonna start by turning on our circuit breaker here at the batteries. If all your connections we're made properly, once you switch that on, you'll see the light illuminate here on your controller. Now we'll need to turn our solar panels on, so I've gone ahead and re-installed the cover, and we're just gonna turn this, until it's the on position. You'll know it's that way, if this is vertical up and down like this. Before we take it outside to see that it's charging though, we wanna make sure that our controller is set for the appropriate battery that we have installed in our motorhome. And ours here, we've got regular led-acid flooded type batteries, so if you look here at the bottom it'll tell you the type battery that it's set for, so I've got it set for flooded right now but it does come set as AGM right out of the box, to adjust that, we actually need to do that on the controller itself, not on the remote controller here. So I'm gonna move this panel to the side, so we can access our controller, and then where the little battery symbol is right there just around the side there, there are three DIP switches that you can adjust for the appropriate mode. DIP switches one and two, are used for setting the type of battery that you have, so for our flooded, which is just your standard lead-acid batteries, DIP switch two is gonna be on and DIP switch one is gonna be off. They both come in the off switch from the factory. That third DIP switch is for setting whether you have a single or parallel solar controller set up so if you're just installing this unit, like we are you'll have it off on DIP three, but if you're adding a second unit, so you've got two of these in parallel, you wanna make sure you've got both of your controllers with DIP three set to on, so that way they know to communicate and work together. If you've got another style of battery, you wanna refer to your instructions for the appropriate DIP switch positions for that type of battery. And now we'll attempt to find a nice sunny area, to see how much we're gonna be getting charged to our batteries. I've now pulled it outside, where we've got a clear view of the sky, It is a fairly cloudy day today, but we're still getting a decent charge. It's in the automatic cycle mode right now, and you can see that it's currently charging our batteries, It's 13.5 volts, we're doing it at 8.6 amps, it's how much we're charging into the batteries, now 8.8, looks like we've got a little bit more sun. You can see the sun indicator there, showing we're harnessing that power and we're currently at 100% state of charge. With our remote controller showing that we're charging our batteries, our installation is now complete. The only thing you might have left to do, is just run around and make sure all your wiring is as clean and tucked away as possible, 'cause having good cleanly wiring does result in a longer lasting, better performing system. And that completes our installation of Go Powers! four panel, solar panel kit on our 2018 Tiffin Allegro Open Road..


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