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Old 11-02-2020, 07:51 PM   #1
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Kodiak Cub - 2021 solar port on roof?

Hello,
We are thinking about getting a 2021 Kodiak Cub 177RB. I've asked a couple of dealers around me and they don't know the answer as they don't have any cubs available.
My question: Do the cubs have a solar port/wire to the roof preinstalled? I saw a pdf from dutchmem that the ultra lights do, but made no mention of the cub.
I'd like to do my own solar and inverter. Thinking to go with 3 panels on the roof paired with a 2000watt pure sine wave inverter with automatic power transfer switch. This will allow me to run the microwave for short bursts. I know it'll involve redoing lots of wires, but that's fine with me. It'll help me learn the cub so I can maintain it better.
In the very least, I can have the dealer run the wire from the roof down as I don't want to mess with running wires in the walls just yet. :/

Thanks for your help.
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Old 11-07-2020, 04:59 PM   #2
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I have a 2018 Kodiak Cub. It is "solar ready". It does not have a wire to the roof. It has a 10 amp DC socket next to the front pass through. It runs from there to the battery that is about 5 feet away on the front "A" frame. It has a fuse holder.

So, the "solar ready" feature it is entirely useless. The Cub needs an entire solar system including a controller and suitable wiring. Also the "Heated and Enclosed Underbelly" and "All Season" logo on the side is also useless since the belly is not sealed. The slightest breeze blows away the heat.

If you look deep into the owner's manual, you will see, you must winterize the plumbing if the temperature will be below 32 deg. If not, warranty will not cover.

I recommend a better brand of TT. Lower cost to purchase does not always translate into lower cost to own.

I wish you good luck and happy trials ahead!
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Old 11-07-2020, 05:12 PM   #3
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Thanks for the feedback. We decided to go with factory install of the roof solar system with controller and inverter. It's only a 190 watt system, but it should extend our battery life a bit. We can add a suitcase system if we need additional power or want to be able to change location of the solar cells while camping.

Here in Sacramento, we get very few days below 32. I'm planning to open up the bottom and ensuring the wires are properly protected, maybe install seeview monitor, install additional insulation - including on the pipes and tranks, and adding 120v heat strips. I'll also be checking to make sure the furnace is sending heat down there incase we get caught camping when it's too cold.

I'm already planning to install maxxair deluxe fans. That should round out our first round of upgrades.
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Old 11-07-2020, 05:38 PM   #4
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make sure you install the fan covers and make sure the maxxair vents will operate underneath the covers!

IF you head UP the mountain from where you are (Tahoe area) you will need to heed his advice.
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Old 11-07-2020, 05:45 PM   #5
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The maxx deluxe includes an integrated cover. Can use while there is rain.

When we go to lake Tahoe, we will stay in the cabin. Just got a set of new snow chains.
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Old 11-07-2020, 08:24 PM   #6
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Winterizing a Cub

The wires underneath in my Cub run helter skelter in every direction. They run across edges in a tangle. I wish I had taken the time to bundle and protect them when the bottom cover was off for sealing an insulating. I am not sure the dealer would have let me work in his service shop.

I have a hot and cold pipe running under the floor. They are what froze first when I tested the rig. The dealer pulled the bottom and found the "heat" was not drilled all the way through the floor.

He sealed the frame to the floor, insulated all around, blocked spaces without water, and added tank heater pads to the bottoms of the three tanks. He then insulated the bottom and reinstalled the bottom cover. All that cost about $2500.

Another job to do while bottom cover is off, is to insulate the hot water pipe and/or run a return line to the fresh water tank so you can flush the cold water out of the pipe without wasting water and unnecessarily filling your gray tank.

Put a valve under the sink in the hot line. Run a pipe from the valve to the fresh tank. Turn the valve on to flush the supply pipe. My hot line holds about a quart of water. If I want hot water, I have to waste a quart.

It took three years for me to finish winter hardening. I redesigned the furnace air flow through the belly to heat it with propane. We dry camp a lot and electric heat pads are useless there. It now holds 47 deg when the furnace is set to 60 degrees. This will be the first winter I will be able to dump in freezing weather.
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Old 11-07-2020, 10:54 PM   #7
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Thanks very much for the ideas. We dont cold weather camp much. Just want enough to not freeze whole parked at home.

The return water lines sounds like a great idea!!
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Old 11-08-2020, 12:22 AM   #8
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dealer installed solar

In my opinion. dealer installed solar is a rip off. It is not really difficult to run your own wires down from the roof, many times the fridge vent is a good way. I've installed dozens of RV solar systems, and here are the top three things I recommend (in order of importance, and it doesn't match what you plan)
1) the number one thing is a good battery monitor. If you can manage and keep track of your batteries, you will be much happier off grid.
2) lithium iron phosphate batteries. These are a total game changer for RVs. The other Li chemistries are not as good for RVs. I like the Battle Born brand because it is American made, but there are other good brands also.
3) panels on the roof and panels on the side. We all like to park in the shade, panels on the side are great for that.

Notice I own a solar company and solar panels are the number three thing I recommend. If there was a 4th, it would be to buy the best electronics you can afford.

Hope this is helpful.

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Old 11-09-2020, 05:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TazzyTazzy View Post
Hello,
We are thinking about getting a 2021 Kodiak Cub 177RB. I've asked a couple of dealers around me and they don't know the answer as they don't have any cubs available.
...
I'd like to do my own solar and inverter. Thinking to go with 3 panels on the roof paired with a 2000watt pure sine wave inverter with automatic power transfer switch. This will allow me to run the microwave for short bursts. I know it'll involve redoing lots of wires, but that's fine with me. It'll help me learn the cub so I can maintain it better.
...
Thanks for your help.
Doing your own solar and inverter is a great idea, you learn about how the system works and can piece together a nice system for less money than a kit or dealer install.

A 2000 watt inverter is humongous DC draw, you'll need a humongous battery bank and wiring for it to achieve the rated power. Solar does not power your inverter, your batteries do.
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Old 11-09-2020, 06:04 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ewarnerusa View Post
Doing your own solar and inverter is a great idea, you learn about how the system works and can piece together a nice system for less money than a kit or dealer install.

A 2000 watt inverter is humongous DC draw, you'll need a humongous battery bank and wiring for it to achieve the rated power. Solar does not power your inverter, your batteries do.
The plan is now to remove the bottom shell, cleanup & protect the wires. Add a water return circuit from new valves installed near the shower and sink to waste less water. While at it, install solar, routing the wires down the fridge vent.

I'll install whatever size inverter is needed to run the microwave, probably something in the 1200-1500 watt range. I'm thinking to go with 2 agm 12v batteries, rated at 100ah. If needed, I can add a 3rd. The batteries will be moved under the bed, and vented outside thru the bottom.

At max, only want to enough to power the mircowave for 5 to 10 minutes per day; just to heat left overs from the previous night type of thing.

I know this will mean rewiring the 120v with an automatic transfer switch to energize the entire trailer, with the exception of isolating the charger/converter circuit.
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Old 11-09-2020, 09:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TazzyTazzy View Post
The plan is now to remove the bottom shell, cleanup & protect the wires. Add a water return circuit from new valves installed near the shower and sink to waste less water. While at it, install solar, routing the wires down the fridge vent.

I'll install whatever size inverter is needed to run the microwave, probably something in the 1200-1500 watt range. I'm thinking to go with 2 agm 12v batteries, rated at 100ah. If needed, I can add a 3rd. The batteries will be moved under the bed, and vented outside thru the bottom.

At max, only want to enough to power the mircowave for 5 to 10 minutes per day; just to heat left overs from the previous night type of thing.

I know this will mean rewiring the 120v with an automatic transfer switch to energize the entire trailer, with the exception of isolating the charger/converter circuit.

@Tazzy, what is a water return circuit?

Thanks
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Old 11-09-2020, 09:50 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by TazzyTazzy View Post
The plan is now to remove the bottom shell, cleanup & protect the wires. Add a water return circuit from new valves installed near the shower and sink to waste less water. While at it, install solar, routing the wires down the fridge vent.

I'll install whatever size inverter is needed to run the microwave, probably something in the 1200-1500 watt range. I'm thinking to go with 2 agm 12v batteries, rated at 100ah. If needed, I can add a 3rd. The batteries will be moved under the bed, and vented outside thru the bottom.

At max, only want to enough to power the mircowave for 5 to 10 minutes per day; just to heat left overs from the previous night type of thing.

I know this will mean rewiring the 120v with an automatic transfer switch to energize the entire trailer, with the exception of isolating the charger/converter circuit.
A 2000 watt inverter sounds like the right size to run a microwave, I suspect it will pull upwards of 1500 watts if it is a full size microwave. But again, you'll need a humongous battery bank and wiring to achieve that wattage. I went down this same path when our camper was new with same idea as you which is why I own a 1500 watt inverter. Mine cannot run the microwave due to insufficient battery capacity.

Let's say your microwave is rated at 1200 watts for math convenience. Your inverter needs provide 1200 watts to this AC load, which will come from your 12V DC power system (batteries plus whatever solar harvest you are gathering at that time). 1200 watts / 12V = 100 amps of current, not accounting for inverter efficiency. Your inverter wiring to the battery will need to be able to safely accommodate that kind of current load without catching fire. 2 batteries will not be able to provide that kind of amperage without a significant drop in voltage which will trip the inverter into shutdown from low input voltage. 4 batteries could probably do it.
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Old 11-09-2020, 09:58 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TazzyTazzy View Post
...
I'll install whatever size inverter is needed to run the microwave, probably something in the 1200-1500 watt range. I'm thinking to go with 2 agm 12v batteries, rated at 100ah. If needed, I can add a 3rd. The batteries will be moved under the bed, and vented outside thru the bottom.

At max, only want to enough to power the mircowave for 5 to 10 minutes per day; just to heat left overs from the previous night type of thing.

I know this will mean rewiring the 120v with an automatic transfer switch to energize the entire trailer, with the exception of isolating the charger/converter circuit.
Battery bank for 2000 watt inverter
I have a 1000 watt inverter and a pair of 100 amp hour AGM's. I tested the set using a hair dryer and monitoring 12 v DC current. The pair of batteries is barely able to run the hair dryer on "low" setting.

A 1000 watt inverter draws about 85 amps. A 2000 watt inverter would draw about 170 amps. You will need at least a 300 amp hour AGM battery bank to run more than 1000 watts. It does not matter "how long" the micro runs. The batteries just can't supply current fast enough. Check the battery specs for maximum draw.

Transfer Switch
I would add a sub-panel just for things to connect to the inverter. I would not want to connect
the converter/charger,
the tank heaters,
the electric water heater,
the electric refrigerator
or the air conditioner to the inverter.
Use the transfer switch to switch the sub-panel from shore power to inverter power. The sub panel would need a 15 amp 120 volt main breaker.

I wish you good luck and happy trails ahead!
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Old 11-10-2020, 05:37 AM   #14
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@Tazzy, what is a water return circuit?

Thanks
I used the wrong wording. I was talking about what 'persistent' suggested:

Quote:
Originally Posted by persistent View Post
Put a valve under the sink in the hot line. Run a pipe from the valve to the fresh tank. Turn the valve on to flush the supply pipe. My hot line holds about a quart of water. If I want hot water, I have to waste a quart.
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Old 11-10-2020, 05:43 AM   #15
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Thanks for the input everyone, regarding the battery capacity, wiring, and such. Was just trying to avoid starting up a generator for a quick micowave re-heat. I'll have to reconsider this.

Thanks for the suggestion of the sub panel and just powering a few circuits with the inverter using the auto transfer switch.

Regardless, i'm planning to install the batteries and the inverter under the bed at the front of the trailer. Yes, I'll use appropriate sized wire, but voltage drop will be small due to shorter runs. And yes, the batteries will be vented to the outside.

I'm still in the pre-planning stages as I don't get the actual trailer until early Feb. Final plans will be done after I bring it home and open it up underneath.
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Old 11-10-2020, 03:21 PM   #16
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Good that wire run will be short and fat, this addresses voltage drop due to wire resistance. In the case of large loads, the voltage drop is due to the battery's capacity to supply that much current.
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Old 11-10-2020, 03:27 PM   #17
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And while I think the automatic transfer switch would be a great convenience, I still just plug my shore power cord into the inverter 120V AC outlet to energize the whole camper. Converter breaker is switched off when doing this, along with other circuits that would be too much for the inverter to power like air con, electric water heater, and microwave.
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Old 11-19-2020, 10:48 PM   #18
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Just to give an update of our plans. Decided to go with 2 x 100AH lithium batteries wired in series to get to 24volts. They are rated at 100amps discharge, but can spike higher. Since they are in series, Ill limit my current pull to 100amps. I know it's not enough to run the AC just yet, but it's half way there. Still going to install a 2000 watt inverter, but at 1500 watts, that's 62 amps at 24 volts. This should happily power the microwave.

I'll be using 2 guage wire for 3 feet to the inverter. Should be minimal voltage drop. There will be battery disconnect, fuse, and victron bp220, and a battery monitor, all before the inverter. Lots of short wires. I'll draw up plans and post here after Thanksgiving.

I'll install another pair of 100AH lithium batteries if we really want short bursts of AC or just want longer duration.

And yes, I'll be installing 24v to 12v step down converters to power the remaining items of the trailer. And, a 12v to 24v lithium dc to dc charger when connected to the car. I'll have a 5 minute delay timer to enable the charger so the suv can warm up. I'll also have to replace the converter to power 24volts and support lithium. I plan to sell the previous parts as 'used - like new' on eBay or something.

As for disabling 120v circuits. Will be adding a sub panel, wired through an auto transfer switch. The sub panel will have things that I want powered by the inverter. Basically, everything except tank heaters, fridge, water heater, etc.

Cheers.
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