Go Power Retreat Solar Charging Kit Review and Installation - 2018 Forest River

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Review and How to Install the Go Power Retreat Solar Charging Kit on a 2018 Forest River

Shane: Hi, I'm Shane with etrailer.com. Today you're going to be taking a look at, I'm going to walk through how to install the Go Power Solar Charging System, Redarc Power Management System and the Buyers Product Booster Cable Kit on our 2018 Forest River Salem Hemisphere Lite Travel Trailer. Adding a solar panel to your camper or RV is going to allow you to maintain charging your batteries. So if you're camping somewhere and you don't have a power hook up, the battery charge will allow you to use the appliances inside. Keep in mind it will not run your air conditioners, that will require a generator. However, with solar power maintaining that charging your batteries will allow you to use any other appliances you may need.

This kit's going to come with one solar panel. This is going to give you 100 watts of DC power to your batteries, it's going to work with up to two batteries that are either 12 or 24 volt. If you have more batteries, you can add a second or third solar panel, which can connect directly to them. And the panel is going to have a 5.43 amp outlet.Now the installation process on set setup, it's not hard at all. There's two ways to do it.

If you have a refrigerator vent, you can run it that way. If you don't, I recommend the Go Power's Entry Plate, which allows you to run two wires through the roof, inside and the entry plate is going to cover the two holes, because the wires come out underneath to prevent any water from entering that.With the kit, you're going to have a controller like this. It's going to mount inside the camper or RV. It's going to allow you to maintain and monitor your charging power that's going to your batteries. Keep in mind that this set up will only allow you to charge your batteries to 80%.

Our customer chose not to use this panel and to go with a Redarc Power Management System, because the kit will only allow us to charge our batteries to 80%, this setup will allow us to charge our batteries an extra 20% from our vehicle battery.Our Redarc Power Management System is also going to come with a control panel. This is going to allow us to control and manage the power going into our batteries. It's also going to allow us to set date, time and we can do hour by hour, or we can do day by day on how much power our batteries are receiving. As I mentioned before, this is a pretty simple, straightforward installation. It can be done in your garage, it can be done in your barn.

Maybe you have your camper parked there. And it's not going to require any major tools. There are a few items that I will recommend getting to help you with your install. You're going to need two 40 amp fuses. They're going to come in a two pack. You're going to need eight four gauge ring terminals. You're going to need a pack of two gauge heat shrink sleeves. You're going to need extreme self leveling sealant, Butyl tape, and some different size self-tapping screws. All of those items can be found here etrailer.com.Now let me walk you through how I installed this setup. To start your installation. The best thing you can do is to plan out where everything is going to sit on the roof, where your wires are going to run inside. You're going to have a panel that comes with this kit that you'd mount inside. That is your monitor, to monitor your battery charging power coming from your solar panel. You determine where you're going to mount that, because the wires from your solar panel are going to run down to it. Also from that, you're going to have to run down to the battery. So in our case here, our batteries are on the front because this is the hitch-mounted trailer, so it's fairly easy to get down to our batteries. Once you determine where your wiring is going to run inside, you need to determine how you're going to set up your panel on top.There's two different ways to do it. If you have a refrigerator vent on the top, you just want to follow the instructions. You can route your wires through that refrigerator vent and run them through the inside panel. In our case, we don't have a vent, so we had to go with a Go Power Mounting Plate. It looks like this. It's going to have a red and black cable, which is a positive and negative, and it hooks directly to the plugs on the solar panel herself. Once you get this mounted, you're going to mount your solar panels. So that's where you need to figure out is where you want to mount your solar panel on your roof. I would suggest when you mount this, mount this close enough that you can get these plugged in. So don't mount it so far away, because these have to plug directly into these ports here.When you mount your solar panel, try not to get it so close to the air conditioner that it shades it. We're at an angle with this camper, so early in the morning you might get a little bit of shade on one side depending on how you're parked. But with it being an angle we should get total sunlight on top of this. Our refrigerator is actually in the back corner. Again, we don't have a vent, so we had to come up front. To mount this, your red and black wire, you're going to have to drill two holes into your ceiling and run your wires inside. After you drill your two holes, you're going to route your red and black wire in. Before you mount the plate on the ceiling, I would go ahead and put some XTRM Non-Sag Sealant around the holes just in case water happens to get in here. We're actually going to seal around the top of this, but I wanted to get the panel installed so we can seal them both at the same time. Non-Sag and Self-Leveling both can be found here at etrailer.com.Once you get the two holes, a little bit of sealer around those, put your plate down and you're going to mount the four corners with some screws. And again we're going to take Self-Leveler and I'm actually going to go right along this edge so that it covers the screw holes and all the way around the bottom edge. We want to try and keep any water from getting inside that plate as much as possible.Once we got that mounted, I mounted my solar panel, in reach again so I can put my plugs in. You're going to have four plates that mount to the bottom edge of the solar panel. You want to make sure you don't touch the glass of the panel by hand. The box that it comes in, you can see how I did it. I taped it over the top of it and you want to make sure sunlight doesn't hit it while you're installing it. Once you get it mounted onto the frame of the solar panel, take some Butyl tape, put some Butyl tape on, and then it comes with mounting screws to mount that down. Butyl tape is going to grab onto the screw threads and suck down in that hole and it'll keep that from leaking.I'm actually going to, when I do self sealant up there, I'm actually going to put that self-leveling sealant around each one of these feet also. Once you get that done, you're basically done on the roof. You're going to have a nut and bolt and two washers for each bolt that run through the leg or through this foot into the frame of the solar panel.Once you get your wires routed inside, this panel right here is typically what you would mount inside and run your wires to it. This is how you would monitor the power going into your batteries from your solar panel. We're not actually going to be using this panel. Our customer actually chose to do his power to his batteries a little bit different from the solar panel.So what we did is from here, route it through the nose, down to the bottom edge of this cabinet. And what I did is there was actually a board that runs across here for a brace, so I had to come in above it. You can see I put a hole right in that panel, that's just a rubber grommet. Put a hole right into the floor, ran my power and ground wire down, and it actually goes right down into the under compartment where we're going to be mounting our unit that is going to be charging our batteries.So right here is where our power and ground came through from inside the bedroom. What we're going to be doing, instead of tying into the panel, we're actually going to be tying into a Redarc Management 30 System. What this allows us to do is not only tie into our solar panel, but if we put a plug on our vehicle, because our solar panel by itself is only going to charge our batteries up to about 80%, with using this setup, coming from our vehicle battery with a plug, this will allow us to use our vehicle to charge our batteries to a hundred percent. So it makes good sense if you do a lot of traveling where you don't have 110 or 120 volt hookup, this will allow you to charge your batteries to 100% to use your amenities inside your camper.To hold our wires down, we're going to have a couple of clips. They're going to look like this in our kit. There's a couple different ways to do this. If you want to use these, all you would do is clip this over the wire and you'd take a screw and screw it into the roof. Keep in mind, if you screw into the roof, you're going to have to seal that hole. I chose not to do that, because the least amount of holes I can put in the better. I'm going to actually use these. They're adhesive on the back and what they do is they stick down. These also give you an option. If you want to put a screw in, you could screw right through the center. I'm not going to do that.What I'm going to do, these can be found at any hardware store. You're going to want some adhesive tape, two sided. What you're going to do is you're going to take the adhesive tape that's already on there and you're going to take it off, so it's going to look like this. And you're going to put on a piece, and I've already determined I'm only going to need two. I'm going to put one here and here. And then we remove this tape here and do the same thing with this one. And what these things allow us to do is zip tie our wires to it. And we can put both of them on one instead of having them separated. You're not going to really be up here. You're not going to see it, but again, least amount of holes we have to put in the better.Once we get these down, you need to apply some top pressure on them for at least 20 to 25 minutes. What I'm going to do is I'm just going to use a 4x4 like this. That'll give it my downward pressure. Once we are able to take it off, you simply take a zip tie, run it through, set your wires on top and you zip tie your wires together. From here what we're going to do, while we're waiting for that, we're going to go ahead and put our self-leveler on. As I mentioned before, XTRM Self-Leveler and Non-Sag Sealant. The XTRM Non-Sag is what I used inside. The Self-Leveling I'm going to use on the outside. So the same thing we have here, it allows it to lay out flush. You can find both of those here at etrailer.com.So you can see how I laid it out here. You want to make sure you cover the screw holes. Make sure you cover the edge. I put an extra bead on the top so it falls onto the lower edge. Also, that way I know I'm good and sealed. I'm not going to have water finding any way underneath that. I'm going to do the same thing with the feet on the solar panel itself where the screws went in. Even though I used Butyl tape, I'm going to go ahead and seal around that. Give me that extra protection that I need.One thing to keep in mind when you put the Self-Leveler on, it needs to sit and dry for at least 24 to 48 hours. You want to make sure it's not getting wet, and as soon as you put it on, you don't want to take off and start pulling your camper, because it is wet and it's a little bit soft and you don't want the wind drag to pull it off. You don't want the rain to make it sag even farther than it needs to.Next thing you're going to do is determine where you're going to mount your unit. You can see I raised mine up, I mounted it in between the top and bottom, level with the inverter that's on the other side, so that if they put anything in here, it's less chance of anything else getting damaged. After you have that mounted, you need to drill a hole. And you want a pretty good size hole, because we're going to have some wires that need to run outside through the nose to the frame rail into the batteries. After you drill that hole, your control unit for it, you're going to have to mount that. You notice right here there's another hole, so you're going to need to drill a second hole for that. On the back of it there's actually like a telephone cord plug that's actually going to sit inside the wall. So mount the plate, use just the four screws and you're going to take your unit, it snaps into place and then you have a cover.From the back of our control panel, we're going to run it through behind the wall out of this hole into this yellow box that comes with our Redarc Power Management unit. You're going to have a bundle of wire that connects into the single side and runs over to the unit itself. You're going to have the green plug that comes with this kit along with this yellow plug. You want to make sure that any connections you make to this, you make them before it gets connected to the power unit itself.Next, you're going to take your red wire coming from your solar panel. You're going to cut it to size and you're going to attach it into number five on this green plug. The rest of your wires that are going to be running out, you're going to have some insulation in here. You're going to have to make a hole to get those wires through the insulation. You're going to need power and ground to the unit. You're going to take the extra wire that you cut off from your solar panel wire. You're going to attach it into the number one slot. You run it through the insulation, out towards your batteries.You're going to have your red wire coming out right behind the nose piece on the camper. You're going to attach your 40 amp fuse and holder to the frame rail. You can see I just used some self-tapping screws right into the side of the frame. You're going to cut this wire down to size. You're going to add a ring terminal, which can be found here at etrailer.com, and also when doing this, you also want to add on some heat shrink. You want to make sure that the heat shrink is large enough to go over the wire. Once you add that, you're going to put your fuse on. You're going to add your ring terminal onto one side. You're going to take any extra wire, connect it to the other side. Again, add your ring terminal and heat shrink, route your cable over, add your ring terminal, your heat shrink, add it onto the positive side of the battery.Now we need to hook up our ground to our unit. The brown wire is going to go into the number three slot. We're going to run it outside the same way we did our red wire. At the same time, we also ran our ground wire coming from our solar panel out the same way. My two ground wires, I ground them right here to the frame. Again, the ring terminal and heat shrink on each one and I just used self-tapping screws. Next you want to mount this unit. This comes with your Power Management System. I used self-tapping screws. I actually added a flat washer so that the head of the self tapping screw will not go all the way down in in case this needed to be removed at any time. From here, you're going to have a cable that's going to go to the positive side of the battery. You're going to have a cable that needs to be routed inside and it's going to hook to that little yellow box. Again, it's going to have a little phone jack on the ends. We're going to route it inside the same way we ran our other ones out, from here off these two posts. And this one you're going to add a ring terminal. Again, heat shrink. You're going to run a cable over to the negative side of the battery.On this side add a ring terminal, heat shrink, and it's going to ground right to the frame. From here, I ran it over, up to the negative side of the battery.Our wire with our phone jack ends again, routes in through the whole, same way we ran our other wires, plugs into the open slot on the yellow plug. We used the booster cables by Buyers Products. It's going to look like this. You're going to have two plugs. One's going to connect on the vehicle side that runs up to the battery. The other side is going to run inside to the unit. When you're ready to plug them in, you just take the caps off, plug them in together.Now when routing your blue wire from the back of the vehicle to the front or from the front to the back, they're going to come with clamps on them. You're going to remove the clamps. There's just a nut and a bolt on there. If you take them off, they already have ring terminals on them. Make sure that you mark your negative one coming from the plug. You're going to hook negative to the negative side of the post. Positive actually is going to run to another 40 amp fuse. They come in a two pack. You're going to hook it into one side. Your second 40 amp fuse, you're going to run your positive cable into one side. We're going to make the connection the same way we did on the trailer. Other side, they're going to run over to the positive side of the battery.You want to make sure when routing this underneath the vehicle, you are staying away from anything hot or moving. For the second side that hooks to the trailer, you want to make sure that you're going to have enough that when you're turning a corner or something like that, this is not going to pull loose and it's not going to stretch it. Our ground, you want to make sure, again, you mark your ground wire, so you know which one's which. Our ground wire we just grounded directly to the frame of the vehicle of the trailer. My ground that is coming off of here where I ground it on the frame rail, I actually grounded my blue wire right in the same place. I routed my positive side up and in, same way I routed my other ones. And attach it into number six.Once you have all your connections made to the green connector and to the battery, which is your negative and positive wires, you can go ahead and attach the green plug onto the power unit. You're going to slide it into place. You're going to have two flathead screws. You're going to tighten those down. That's going to hold our plug in. Once you're done with that, you're going to have a 12 volt plug on the opposite end. You're going to plug that into an outlet.Once you've made all your connections, you can go ahead and remove the cardboard from your solar panel and you're ready to start receiving power. Again. I'm Shane at etrailer.com. I hope this video helped you, whether you're still deciding or installing the Go Power Solar Charging System, the Redarc Power Management System, and the Buyer's Product Booster Cable Kit on our 2018 Forest River Salem Hemisphere Lite Travel Trailer.

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Info for these parts were:

Employee Jeff D
Installed by:
Jeff D
Employee Joshua S
Video Edited:
Joshua S
Employee Shane H
Test Fit:
Shane H
Employee Michael B
Video by:
Michael B

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