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FORMERLY: ADVENTURE IN A BACKPACK

Interactive DIY Solar Wiring Diagrams for Campers, Van’s & RV’s

Solar Wiring Diagrams

for Campers, Camper Vans and RV's

On the Images below, most of the components are CLICKABLE.  If you are on a desktop, hold ctrl + click to open more info in a new tab.
Below the Image, there is a toggle bar you can click and see a shopping list for the ENTIRE project.

[100w Solar Panels] Amazon Affiliate Link [Roof Entry Gland] Amazon Affiliate Link [MC4 Connectors] Amazon Affiliate Link [30 Amp Breaker] Amazon Affiliate Link Battle Born / EXPLORIST.life Collaborative Solar Kit [50 Amp Breaker] Amazon Affiliate Link [Positive & Negative Bus Bar] Amazon Affiliate Link [High Amp Battery Cut Off Switch] Amazon Affiliate Link [250 Amp ANL Fuse & Holder] Amazon Affiliate Link [100 Amp Breaker] Amazon Affiliate Link [DC Fuse Block] Amazon Affiliate Link [1/4 Inch x 10ga Lugs] Amazon Affiliate Link [1/4 Inch x 8ga Lugs] Amazon Affiliate Link [5/16 Inch x 8ga Lugs] Amazon Affiliate Link [5/16 Inch x 2/0 Lugs] Amazon Affiliate Link [5/16 Inch x 2ga Lugs] Amazon Affiliate Link [3/8 Inch x 2/0 Lugs] Amazon Affiliate Link [#8 x 14ga Lugs] Amazon Affiliate Link Shore Power Plug [30 Amp Shore Power Cord] Amazon Affiliate Link [30 amp extension cord] Amazon Affiliate Link [30 Amp Exterior Shore Power Input] Amazon Affiliate Link [15 Amp 110v Breaker] Amazon Affiliate Link [2 Space 110v Breaker Box] Amazon Affiliate Link [110v Plug] Amazon Affiliate Link [110v Outlet Box] Amazon Affiliate Link [1/4 inch x 2ga Lugs] Amazon Affiliate Link [Butt Splice Crimp Connector] Amazon Affiliate Link [12ga Female Spade Terminal] Amazon Affiliate Link [12v switches] Amazon Affiliate Link Factory Alternator & Starting Battery [12v Puck Lights] Amazon Affiliate Link [Maxxair Vent Fan] Amazon Affiliate Link [12v Power Outlet] Amazon Affiliate Link

[100w Solar Panels] Amazon Affiliate Link

[Roof Entry Gland] Amazon Affiliate Link

[MC4 Connectors] Amazon Affiliate Link

[30 Amp Breaker] Amazon Affiliate Link

Battle Born / EXPLORIST.life Collaborative Solar Kit

[50 Amp Breaker] Amazon Affiliate Link

[Positive & Negative Bus Bar] Amazon Affiliate Link

[High Amp Battery Cut Off Switch] Amazon Affiliate Link

[250 Amp ANL Fuse & Holder] Amazon Affiliate Link

[100 Amp Breaker] Amazon Affiliate Link

[DC Fuse Block] Amazon Affiliate Link

[1/4 Inch x 10ga Lugs] Amazon Affiliate Link

[1/4 Inch x 8ga Lugs] Amazon Affiliate Link

[5/16 Inch x 8ga Lugs] Amazon Affiliate Link

[5/16 Inch x 2/0 Lugs] Amazon Affiliate Link

[5/16 Inch x 2ga Lugs] Amazon Affiliate Link

[3/8 Inch x 2/0 Lugs] Amazon Affiliate Link

[#8 x 14ga Lugs] Amazon Affiliate Link

Shore Power Plug

This is simply the wall plug in, in either 50 amp, 30 amp, or 15 amp that you can commonly find at a campground.  This icon is also representative of if you were plugging in at somebodies house.

[30 Amp Shore Power Cord] Amazon Affiliate Link

[30 amp extension cord] Amazon Affiliate Link

[30 Amp Exterior Shore Power Input] Amazon Affiliate Link

[15 Amp 110v Breaker] Amazon Affiliate Link

[2 Space 110v Breaker Box] Amazon Affiliate Link

[110v Plug] Amazon Affiliate Link

[110v Outlet Box] Amazon Affiliate Link

[1/4 inch x 2ga Lugs] Amazon Affiliate Link

[Butt Splice Crimp Connector] Amazon Affiliate Link

[12ga Female Spade Terminal] Amazon Affiliate Link

[12v switches] Amazon Affiliate Link

Factory Alternator & Starting Battery

This is your factory alternator and starting battery.

[12v Puck Lights] Amazon Affiliate Link

[Maxxair Vent Fan] Amazon Affiliate Link

[12v Power Outlet] Amazon Affiliate Link

200 Amp Hour, 400 Watt Solar, Inverter, Shore Power & Alternator Parts List (Click to Expand)

MAIN COMPONENT DISCOUNT BUNDLE

OTHER MAIN COMPONENTS (available on amazon)

WIRES

CLICK HERE TO ADD ALL WIRES TO YOUR AMAZON CART

LUGS & WIRE TERMINALS

CLICK HERE TO ADD ALL LUGS & WIRE TERMINALS TO YOUR AMAZON CART

BREAKERS & FUSES

CLICK HERE TO ADD ALL BREAKERS & FUSES TO YOUR AMAZON CART

Misc

CLICK HERE TO ADD ALL MISC ITEMS TO YOUR AMAZON CART

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16 Comments

  1. Josh Derocher

    Can you explain more about your ground wires? It appears they connect to the chassis of the van. I have a bus I am working on converting and I am unsure of what and how to ground things. I have a Victron solar controller and inverter similar to what you have in this diagram.

    Should I be using the ground lugs on the outside of these?

    Where do they connect?

    Any advice would be great! Thanks!

    Reply
    • Nate Yarbrough

      The ground wires can be connected to either the chassis of the vehicle OR the bus bar. They are, pretty much, one in the same as even your busbar is connected to chassis ground.

      Reply
  2. Judy Votaw

    Hey, Nate,
    I really appreciate all the work you do and the wiring diagrams! Thank you!
    So, I think I figured out that the “green Christmas Tree” thing is only needed if you use lithium batteries. Right?

    In your picture above, you show two black wires with yellow ends, by the shore power. Are they two different things? What are they called? Do I need both?

    Can I connect to the alternator if I am going to use the Yeti Generator instead of the DIY Solar System? If so, Since I would not use the “Green Christmas Tree” thing, Would I need something else instead, and what would that be?

    Sorry, to all those of you who are very smart but I don’t have much knowledge of how anything electric works and I am just learning. So, please be patient with me. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Nate Yarbrough

      The green Battery Isolator is only for lithium batteries and if you are going to be charging directly off the alternator (which you won’t be doing with a Goal Zero Lithium Setup.

      To charge from the alternator into a Goal Zero unit, you’ll be looking for a 300w plug-in inverter and an extension cord to your goal zero to charge the same way you would as if you were charging from the wall.

      Reply
  3. Johnathan Hall

    What did you use to create the diagram?

    Reply
    • Nate Yarbrough

      I used photoshop for the actual design and an image map software for the interactive features.

      Reply
  4. Jacob

    Nice looking diagram. What type of connectors are you using for your lights? Is it a step down connector?

    Reply
    • Nate Yarbrough

      Step down connectors are indeed ideal, but I typically just use butt-splice connectors. They are easier to find, less expensive, and more versatile. Step down connectors are the most-correct, textbook way to do it though. The diagram has been updated to reflect this.

      Reply
  5. Pieter

    Thanks for the amazing work on the research and for compiling article and excel sheet! It helped me out a lot and clarified a lot of questions I had. However just one thing I still dont quite understand. If yo would wire 4 12V 100w panels in series you would have 100W at 48V, to save space on the roof and get more power wouldn’t it be better to use 2 200W 24V panels? to get 200W at 48V?

    Thanks a lot!

    Reply
    • Nate Yarbrough

      If the panels are feeding into a 12v battery bank, the voltage of the panels “doesn’t matter” if you are using an MPPT controller. 400w of panels at 24v, 400w of panels at 48v, and 400w of panels at 18v will all produce the same amount of power at 12v coming into the batteries.

      …don’t think of the panels as ’12v panels’ because in all reality, 12v panels are really something like 17v-21v.

      This is explained in a bit more in depth here: https://www.explorist.life/diy-campervan-solar/#charge-controller

      Reply
  6. lauren borucki

    Howdy ya’ll! Super great digram! Question though, how/where did you tap into the ignition wire for the BIM? I am not able to find ANYTHING that’s remotely helpful.

    We used ya’lls diagram to a T and it’s been SO helpful.

    Reply
    • Nate Yarbrough

      Hey Lauren! I can’t remember exactly which wire it was, but you’ll need to splice into really any of the wires that are ‘hot’ when the key is clicked over. A good spot to start looking for this is behind the fuse box with your multimeter. Another good tactic for looking for a ‘switched’ or ‘accessory’ power wire is to find an aftermarket radio install manual and it will typically give you a wire color that will work for the ignition wire.

      Reply
  7. Tim Lei

    Where did you guys get the lithium ion battery?

    Reply
  8. Thomas Tugend

    Hello Nate,
    First, thanks for all of the work you have put into the solar/electric schematic.
    Second, I am in the middle of a Promaster conversion, rough wiring in, insulation in, walls/ceiling in, cabinet boxes in, plumbing rough in in, working on cabinet fronts and finish. When spring comes to Maine I will be doing the electric…solar, shore and engine charging. Three Li batteries, 12 and 120 volt systems.
    I am looking to “steal” most of your system details.
    I was looking through your parts list for solar/electrical and was surprised to see you call for romex type wire instead of a marine grade stranded wire. I have used stranded wire for the rough in and I am curious as to your thoughts on this. With your “do it right once” mantra I am thinking you would opt for stranded wire as it seems more in keeping with using the best quality materials.
    Thoughts?

    Reply
    • Nate Yarbrough

      Hey Thomas!
      No problem, glad you’ve found it helpful.
      Regarding the solid Romex wiring, I really don’t have a strong opinion in either direction in terms of the 110v wire runs. I know most RV’s use Romex, which is why I leaned in that direction but I don’t have a really really good and compelling reason other than that.

      I do know that the Yacht builders code forbids romex for vibration reasons, but that code is significantly more stringent than RV code, but I’ll look more into it and update the diagram as necessary.

      Reply

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