Solar power bank for van 2024

Boondocking and living off-grid in a campervan have increasingly attracted more people over the last decade. It becomes a home or lets one escape to nature to recharge batteries (not lithium!). However, as much as we love pretending to be independent, many things must be running to make a camping experience enjoyable. We still need power for our fridges, cameras, laptops, LED lights, and heating. That’s why we look for an alternative power source such as solar. With this, travellers can have the best of both worlds without relying too much on shore power or generators.
If you want to do the same, check out our DIY campervan solar system design. Our clear and easy-to-read layout and step-by-step guide cover everything you need to know, whether installing a first-time electrical installation or retrofitting solar panels into an existing design. It’s a great way to live off-grid conveniently while reducing a carbon footprint.


Victron solar wiring diagram for RV

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We’ve noticed that there are some really helpful tips available online that explain how to install solar system in RVs or where to buy the necessary parts. In this post, we’ve combined the best of both worlds by providing easy-to-follow Victron 12V solar wiring diagram and links to product sources. Our goal is to make the process of purchasing and assembling a Victron solar kit in RV as simple and stress-free as possible.


12V Solar Panel Wiring diagram shopping list


Flexible Solar Panel
400W Max View Product

Victron Multiplus || 3000VA
1 View Product

Victron DC-DC Charger
1 View Product

Victron SmartSolar MPPT
1 View Product

BMV-712 Battery Monitor
1 View Product

DC Switch ON/OFF
2 View Product

Victron Lynx Distributor
1 View Product

ANL Holder with 300A Fuse
1 View Product

4/0 AWG Red/Black
3 pairs View Product

8 AWG Red/Black
1 pair View Product

10 AWG Red/Black
2 pair View Product

8/3 8 AWG AC Wire
1 pair View Product

Safety!

At SunnyWell, we understand that many people may try installing solar panels independently. Therefore, safety should be a top priority. We suggest following valuable tips to guide you through the DIY installation project:

1. Please remember to read and comply with all safety instructions provided by Victron or any other hardware manufacturer before starting the installation.
2. Be extra cautious while working around live wires, and do not touch any electrically active components, such as terminals, battery posts or panels MC4 connectors. Be aware that a solar panel can produce electricity even inside a building.
3. If you are installing solar panels and power equipment outdoors, avoid doing so during unfavourable weather. Just wait until it’s dry, and there is no danger of getting an electric shock in any way possible.
4. Cover the panels with a cloth or a piece of fabric to prevent energized MC4 connectors.
5. Ensure you fully understand a parallel vs series solar array connection. REMEMBER, solar panels connected in series add up the voltage across the string, whereas parallel interconnection increases amperage.
6. Finally, avoid sitting or stepping on your solar panels. Adhering to these safety guidelines is essential in any DIY solar installation project.

How do I hook up solar panels to my RV?

If you’re planning to install solar panels on the roof of your vehicle, you might be wondering about the best way to do it.
Mounting Directly To Roof: One option is to use specialized brackets and screws that are designed for this purpose. These can help you securely attach the panels to your roof without damaging the surface. However, there’s some debate about whether you need to locate a specific spot on your roof to attach the brackets. Some people believe that as long as your roof is sturdy enough to support your weight when you walk on it, it can probably handle the added weight of solar panels when you’re driving down the road.

Applying tape: Some campers have had success with industrial adhesive tape, such as 3M VHB, which they’ve used to tape the panels down to their roofs. They’ve reported driving thousands of miles without any issues, which suggests that this method can be effective.

Drill-Free brackets The mounting brackets universally fit with aluminum-framed solar panels that have a side length of at least 25cm, making them perfect for larger panels of 100W and above. The brackets offer a secure and drill-free mounting solution for flat surfaces and find common use on RVs, motor vehicles, caravans, and boats.


Drill-Free brackets

Special brackets

Adhesive tape
View Product View Product View Product
Handy hint:
1. Steer clear of areas where solar panels may be shaded by objects such vent, air conditioner or antennas.
2. To ensure that there is no water leakage, use an appropriate sealant under every mounting to create a water-resistant barrier

Wire Installation

To transmit power from the solar panels to the RV charge controller, you must run the cables through the RV. You can use a few typical techniques to set up the wiring:
Using the existing roof entrance vent or pipe: Consider running the wire through a fridge vent or alongside a plumbing pipe while applying sealant around any holes you create. It can be an easier and more practical option than creating unnecessary openings in your RV.
Drilling: If all else fails, drill a new hole where you need it. Drill near a cabinet or interior wall to hide the wire inside the RV. Make sure to utilize a weatherproof entry port or sealant. The most efficient approach would be to employ the RV solar Double Cable Entry Gland, which allows for a clean and organized wire entry point. We have listed a few options below.


View Renogy Entry Gland View Waterproof Solar Entry View MC4 housing

DC Wiring Interconnection

Before beginning the interconnection process, carefully review the system design and identify all of the components that need to be interconnected. This include inverter, charge controller, fuses, and switches. Refer to the illustration provided above along with the associated shopping list to ensure the correct selection of wire gauge and fuse/switch sizes for your application.


To ensure proper installation, follow these steps:
Note: Assemble the DC system before connecting any power sources, including batteries, solar panels, or the grid. Then, connect the power sources such as batteries, panels, and inverters.
1. Connect the positive and negative wires to the respective positive and negative bus bars, located within the Lynx 2. Distribution Box.
2. Connect the Victron charge controller, BMV-712, Orion DC-DC charger, and inverter/charger to the Lynx Distribution Box using the appropriate wiring.
3. It is essential to use an appropriate fuse and disconnect for each branch between the device and the Lynx Distribution Box. This will help prevent electrical hazards and ensure the safety of the system. Here are the top-notch options for ON/OFF switches and sets of fuses required for any high-quality solar installation, and we have simplified the selection process for you.


Handy hint:
Wire lugs are a crucial part of electrical connections. Firstly, they help to securely connect wires to devices or other wires, ensuring a safe and reliable connection. Secondly, it is important to use the correct size and type of wire lug for the specific wire gauge and application. Additionally, heat shrink should be used to protect the connection and prevent any accidental contact with other conductive surfaces.
Important:
It is crucial to adhere to proper wire polarity to ensure safe and efficient electrical connections. In accordance with electrical standards, the red wire should be connected to the positive side of the 12V system, while the black wire should be connected to the negative side. Fuses and switches should be placed on the positive wire. The ground wire should be connected to the main negative interconnection point, which is typically located on the main negative battery terminal or bus bar, such as the Lynx Distribution.

4. If you have a 12V DC appliance, you can connect the DC fuse box to either the main battery terminals or the Distribution box (not shown on the diagram). Afterwards, connect the DC appliances to the fuse box with the correct fuse size.


View Fuse Block 12 Circuit

Victron AC Wiring Interconnection

To power AC appliances with solar energy, you will need an inverter that can convert DC power to AC. In order to ensure safety, it is crucial to install the inverter close to the batteries in a location that is safe from corrosive gases, heat, and other harmful elements. To avoid any mishaps, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
After completing the installation, the next step is to connect the positive and negative wires to the inverter. Once the inverter is connected to the wires, it needs to be linked to your RV’s electrical system. This will allow you to use AC appliances with ease.
When it comes to connecting the inverter to your home battery posts, there are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, it is important to connect the negative terminal first. Additionally, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take appropriate safety measures when connecting the inverter.


1. Don’t install an inverter above the batteries.


Solar power bank for van Victron inverter/charger install

2. Connect the DC cables from Distribution Box. Install the ON/OFF switch upfront and make sure the batteries are not yet connected to the system.


solar power bank for van battery connection

3. To connect the AC cables, first plug the IN and OUT cables from the AC distribution box into the inverter/charger. Then, to insert the wires into the designated slots, use a 1/8 inch or 3 mm flat screwdriver and hold it at a 20-30 degree angle (not completely flat). Afterwards, apply firm pressure to securely insert the wire into the slot. So, this will release the spring and allow the wire to be properly seated in its slot.


Victron Multiplus AC wiring connection
Handy hint:
Ensure the wires are stripped correctly to a length of three-quarters of an inch or two cm. To ensure an exceptional performance, a professional tool kit of this caliber is essential.

AC wiring

May the solar power be with you!



Hey, have you checked out the latest Sunnywell posts yet? By the way, if you haven’t already, make sure you don’t miss out on some of their other amazing content too!

Author

  • Vlad Vakulenko

    Hey, I'm Vlad, a Renewable Energy expert with 7+ years in solar battery storage and EV charging. At SunnyWell Energy, I'm sharing top industry knowledge and practical expertise. My goal is to help both DIY enthusiasts and professionals make the most of this valuable information.

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