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Author Topic: Building a new System  (Read 11850 times)

Kathy & Bill

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Building a new System
« on: October 27, 2018, 09:26:06 PM »
We bought a new T.T. that fulfills our needs and most of our wants. It took going to many RV shows and countless hours searching floor plans online, but we are very happy with our Apex. It also has nice size tanks for dry camping which we like to do.

I would like to put together a DIY system for the electrical to enhance our dry camping experience. I would like to build it in two or three stages; batteries and battery monitor first; solar, charger and inverter or inverter/charger; then a generator. We will be retiring in a few years and want to have it set up for extended stays dry camping.

I'm planning on biting the bullet and go with the Battle-Born 100Ah 12V LiFePO4 batteries. I'd like have 400Ah total which will pretty much eat up the budget for the first stage. I was looking at the Victron BMV-712 Battery Monitor. Any advantage/disadvantage using this brand/model over another? Seems like the Tri-Metric TM-2030-RV is the other popular one.

The second stage would be the Solar system. My head starts spinning after a few hours of reading everything that goes a long with that. Good thing I still have some time to figure all that out. One thing that is nice about the Apex, it has some nice roof space for the solar panels.

What is the consensus of going with a separate inverter and charger, verses a inverter/charger combo?

Looking forward to upgrading small things on our camper to make it comfortable for us. We like camping at the federal campgrounds in Allegheny National Forest in PA. We like our space and always are looking for the secluded/out of the way campgrounds.

This is a great forum and have learned a lot reading different topics. Looking forward to hearing everyone's ideas related to my build.
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

Lou Schneider

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2018, 02:07:21 AM »
Good luck on your project - it sounds like fun!

Both the Tri-Metric and Victron do about the same things, Victron has an edge in that it can communicate via Bluetooth to your Smartphone, tablet or computer and has an app that makes it easier to see and manipulate the data compared to staring at that limited display on the unit.

One advantage to using a separate invverter/charger is cost if you already have a good converter/charger.  Another advantage is if you have limited electricity, like at a rally or plugged into a home outlet while driveway surfing, you can plug the converter into that outlet to keep the batteries charged, then use the inverter and batteries to supply bursts of power above the outlet's rating for things like microwaving a meal or using a hair dryer.  The charger won't draw more than it's rated input current from the AC line and batteries will act as the buffer when you need more power.

If you decide to go with a combo inverter/charger, I'd leave the RV's old converter connected on the 12 volt side and just disconnect it's AC feed.  Then if the inverter/charger ever has to be removed for service, you can use the old converter by plugging it into 120 volts.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2018, 02:22:26 AM by Lou Schneider »

kdbgoat

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2018, 05:16:13 AM »
Some good reading:
http://marxrv.com
http://www.jackdanmayer.com/rv_electrical_and_solar.htm
https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com
And somemembers here, Solarman, Kevin Means, and HueyPilot, to name a few, has a lot of good advice,
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant

2012 Redwood 36RL
2016 Leprechaun 319DS

solarman

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2018, 07:14:11 PM »
We bought a new T.T. that fulfills our needs and most of our wants. It took going to many RV shows and countless hours searching floor plans online, but we are very happy with our Apex. It also has nice size tanks for dry camping which we like to do.

I would like to put together a DIY system for the electrical to enhance our dry camping experience. I would like to build it in two or three stages; batteries and battery monitor first; solar, charger and inverter or inverter/charger; then a generator. We will be retiring in a few years and want to have it set up for extended stays dry camping.

I'm planning on biting the bullet and go with the Battle-Born 100Ah 12V LiFePO4 batteries. I'd like have 400Ah total which will pretty much eat up the budget for the first stage. I was looking at the Victron BMV-712 Battery Monitor. Any advantage/disadvantage using this brand/model over another? Seems like the Tri-Metric TM-2030-RV is the other popular one.

The second stage would be the Solar system. My head starts spinning after a few hours of reading everything that goes a long with that. Good thing I still have some time to figure all that out. One thing that is nice about the Apex, it has some nice roof space for the solar panels.

What is the consensus of going with a separate inverter and charger, verses a inverter/charger combo?

Looking forward to upgrading small things on our camper to make it comfortable for us. We like camping at the federal campgrounds in Allegheny National Forest in PA. We like our space and always are looking for the secluded/out of the way campgrounds.

This is a great forum and have learned a lot reading different topics. Looking forward to hearing everyone's ideas related to my build.

I would suggest you not buy batteries first until you have at least performed a power budget and have a better idea of what you actually need.  I witness this "cart before the horse" engineering all the time, even by those qualified to know better..

ok, professional rant over.. LOL... seriously though, it would be better for you to have a good estimate of your actual needs rather
than just buying four of this or that..  I know it may seem to be an overkill to have a good estimate first, but it will pay off in the long run having a system better matched to your needs. ( and potentially a more economical solution )

I have a post here that explains solar and battery capacities..
http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php/topic,113514.0.html

also one thing you should be aware of with lithium is the limited temperature range.. if you intend to camp
in colder,freezing or sub zero weather then they are not a good choice unless you can install them inside the RV.
I have done this with mine for such a reason.

as for separate vs combo units.. it's down to reliability, cost and personal preference.

combo units take up less space generally and may include an automatic transfer switch too..
best of all worlds.. however, if you have not sized it correctly, then upgrading is more expensive vs individual units
as you have to replace everything in one go.. if space is not an issue then separate units will give you more flexability
in the event of failure.

KZ MXT20 480 W solar
ORV 24RKS 960 Watts solar
48V LFP, 2000W inverter/charger
Ram 2500 CTD

Kevin Means

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2018, 01:03:06 PM »
I'll build a little on what Solarman recommended, because it's easy to spend a lot of money on batteries and be disappointed with the results. Good batteries can be expensive, so it's important to know how much capacity you need.

I'd recommend installing a battery monitor first - either one you mentioned would work fine. Then spend a day, or two, or whatever boondocking. Do all the things you'd normally do. Watch TV, run the lights, charge phones, tablets etc. then look at your battery monitor and see how many amps you've consumed. Both of those battery monitors will indicate (in percentage) how much battery capacity remains. 

Let's say you currently have a 200 AH battery bank, and after one day of camping (24 hours) your battery monitor indicates that you're at 50% capacity, without any type of charging. That means you've consumed 100 amps in 24 hours. It would be better to take repeated measurements over time and average the results.

Here's where battery choice starts getting important. Li batteries can be safely and repeatedly discharged to 20% capacity, but lead/acid batteries don't tolerate repeated deep discharges well. Repeatedly discharging them to even 50% will shorten their lives, especially if they aren't fully recharged soon thereafter. For what it's worth, I never discharge our AGM house batteries below 75% and our last set lasted seven years.

Using the numbers I mentioned, a 400 AH Li battery bank will go about three days before it needs recharging. If you're going to use lead/acid batteries, and you subscribe to my 75% philosophy, a 400 AH battery bank will last one day before it needs recharging. That's a big difference... but so is the price differential. Li batteries have other significant benefits as well, but they also have some drawbacks, like the temperature issue Solarman mentioned.

Once you understand your actual power consumption, which a battery monitor will indicate, then you'll have a better idea of how much battery capacity you'll need, and how much solar you'll want. You may decide that you don't even need a generator. We have a relatively high power consuming motorhome, and during our last two week-long boondocking trips, we never needed the generator at all. Solar handled all our charging needs.

Kev
« Last Edit: October 29, 2018, 01:09:58 PM by Kevin Means »
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ
RVI Brake 2, TST 507 TPMS, 960 watts of solar, SolaRVector tilt
Lakeside, California

Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2018, 08:00:12 PM »
I thank you all for taking the time in writing the thought out replies.  I read the links posted, they were informative.

Solarman, Kevin.. doing a load assessment and figuring out what my usage is sounds like prudent advise.  Our new TT came with the usual 12v Marine/RV battery and is not equipped with an inverter... Yet.  I guess I would need some ideas on how to get my usage numbers?

I asked Battle-Born about purchasing.. say 2 of their batteries now and adding 2 more at a later date.  This is there reply;


"Thank you for your email and support on our batteries. We love our Customer’s and Customer Service is definitely our top priority!

To answer your questions, yes you can get 2 batteries now and then down the road 2 more batteries to add to your bank in parallel. We do have customer’s add to their bank up to 2 years down the road even. The reason why you are able to do this is because our lithium batteries do not lose their capacity as fast as say a lead acid battery. If you were to fully charge and discharge your 100AH battery every single day for a year your battery would only lose up to 3% of it’s capacity, so if you were to add a new 100AH battery to a battery that has 87AH’s you wouldn’t even notice a difference.

And yes, the only difference between the GC2 battery and the regular 100AH battery, are the dimensions. The only reason the GC2 is more expensive, is because they’re harder to build."


Does this sound like the proper advise?  If it is, I could install a battery monitor, purchase 2 batteries with an inverter, and be able to figure out my usage.  Maybe I'm overthinking or missing something easier.

Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

solarman

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2018, 08:21:36 AM »
I thank you all for taking the time in writing the thought out replies.  I read the links posted, they were informative.

Solarman, Kevin.. doing a load assessment and figuring out what my usage is sounds like prudent advise.  Our new TT came with the usual 12v Marine/RV battery and is not equipped with an inverter... Yet.  I guess I would need some ideas on how to get my usage numbers?

I asked Battle-Born about purchasing.. say 2 of their batteries now and adding 2 more at a later date.  This is there reply;


"Thank you for your email and support on our batteries. We love our Customer’s and Customer Service is definitely our top priority!

To answer your questions, yes you can get 2 batteries now and then down the road 2 more batteries to add to your bank in parallel. We do have customer’s add to their bank up to 2 years down the road even. The reason why you are able to do this is because our lithium batteries do not lose their capacity as fast as say a lead acid battery. If you were to fully charge and discharge your 100AH battery every single day for a year your battery would only lose up to 3% of it’s capacity, so if you were to add a new 100AH battery to a battery that has 87AH’s you wouldn’t even notice a difference.

And yes, the only difference between the GC2 battery and the regular 100AH battery, are the dimensions. The only reason the GC2 is more expensive, is because they’re harder to build."


Does this sound like the proper advise?  If it is, I could install a battery monitor, purchase 2 batteries with an inverter, and be able to figure out my usage.  Maybe I'm overthinking or missing something easier.

personally, I'm suspicious of these claims..
I know a few guys who race golf carts and they use prismatic lithium cells in the 100 to 200 Ah range.
they usually start to loose capacity within 2 years, well short of manufacturer claims.
I don't know who's cells Battleborn uses, but even the best cells from A123 or Kokam have less than 2000 cycles when used heavily
I know the usage pattern is different, but the claims of high cycle life is questionable..
the only saving grace here with lithium is that they do parallel without issue unlike lead acid..
so you could add extra batteries at a later date, something one would never do with lead acid.. !

they claim 3% over 365 cycles.. the EV guys have measured 20% over two years ( 700 cycles or so )..
the only way I know to get the life they claim is to "over capacity" the cells, so the 100 Ah battery could well contain 120 Ah or more cells and the BMS prevents the user from over and under charging..
that way they CYA. very much like chevy and tesla do...

the only other issue I have with these drop-ins is the price.. certainly for me, I would expect premium performance from a $950 battery.
just to highlight how expensive these batteries are.. I recently had a quote for 240 Ah LFP cells at $168 each, delivered to my dock..
so 4 of them for 12 V would be $672  and that's 240 Ah.. !

so for me, "the jury is still out".. 

the other thing I would say is that unless you have space or weight constraints, you might like to re consider lead acid..
 
here is a comparison of cost for 12 V at 200 Ah  for current batteries:
lead acid is GC2 6V format and does not include useable DOD corrections.

Lead Acid    :  $200 total and $1.00/Ah
AGM           :  $472 total and $2.36/Ah
Battelborn   :  $1900 total and $9.5/Ah
Prizmatic    :  $672 total and $3.36/Ah

that's food for thought...


ok, on to measurement.. as Kevin suggested, get yourself a Victron or Trimetric and measure your use
over several days. that will get you the DC usage, next would be to estimate the appliance use such as the microwave, coffee maker etc.
those devices have defined wattage so we just need the "on time" estimate for each one and go from there.

« Last Edit: October 30, 2018, 08:29:01 AM by solarman »
KZ MXT20 480 W solar
ORV 24RKS 960 Watts solar
48V LFP, 2000W inverter/charger
Ram 2500 CTD

Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2018, 08:11:23 PM »

that's food for thought...


Good info to sort through and think about for sure.  I thank you for taking the time to post your detailed thoughts and expertise.  I guess with the Battleborn batteries you pay for convenience of "drop in" simplicity.  If I am correct, the BMS is built into the Battleborn's, where as batteries such as the Prizmatic you mentioned, need a BMS added to protect them?  When you are a novice as I am, you want a system that is easy to build and somewhat simple to use, you end up paying for it.  I'm not saying I have money to burn, but it is appealing to have a product you can "drop in" and hook up so to speak.

What do you think the chances are Battleborn did "over capacity" the cells.  What I've read about charging/discharging your assumption might make sense.

Question... When they talk cycles, does it matter the DOD % for a cycle?  In other words if you take the bank to a DOD of 80% and charge, or 20% DOD and charge.. each one is a cycle correct?

Winterized the camper last night.  I'll have to wait until next season to get our usage, it's going to be a long winter in Western NY El Niño or not.

Thanks again,
Bill
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

Lou Schneider

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2018, 08:19:00 PM »
Question... When they talk cycles, does it matter the DOD % for a cycle?  In other words if you take the bank to a DOD of 80% and charge, or 20% DOD and charge.. each one is a cycle correct?

It's more like how much total energy you move in and out of the battery over it's lifetime. 1000 cycles at 20% DOC moves the same amount of energy in and out of the battery as 250 cycles at 80% DOC.

It's not quite that cut and dry, but in general you get more shallow discharges or fewer deep discharges.   Your choice.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2018, 08:23:20 PM by Lou Schneider »

Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2018, 06:54:07 AM »
It's more like how much total energy you move in and out of the battery over it's lifetime. 1000 cycles at 20% DOC moves the same amount of energy in and out of the battery as 250 cycles at 80% DOC.

It's not quite that cut and dry, but in general you get more shallow discharges or fewer deep discharges.   Your choice.

Ok... that makes sense.  Thanks
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

solarman

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2018, 07:48:21 AM »
Good info to sort through and think about for sure.  I thank you for taking the time to post your detailed thoughts and expertise.  I guess with the Battleborn batteries you pay for convenience of "drop in" simplicity.  If I am correct, the BMS is built into the Battleborn's, where as batteries such as the Prizmatic you mentioned, need a BMS added to protect them?  When you are a novice as I am, you want a system that is easy to build and somewhat simple to use, you end up paying for it.  I'm not saying I have money to burn, but it is appealing to have a product you can "drop in" and hook up so to speak.

What do you think the chances are Battleborn did "over capacity" the cells.  What I've read about charging/discharging your assumption might make sense.

Question... When they talk cycles, does it matter the DOD % for a cycle?  In other words if you take the bank to a DOD of 80% and charge, or 20% DOD and charge.. each one is a cycle correct?

Winterized the camper last night.  I'll have to wait until next season to get our usage, it's going to be a long winter in Western NY El Niño or not.

Thanks again,
Bill

i'll bet there is a 100% chance they over spec.. they have to in order to meet lifetime claims, this is what chevy and tesla do.. they control the charge and discharge profile
to prevent the user from abusing the batteries, Tesla's cells have only a 400 to 500 cycle life, so they have no choice but to control every aspect of battery management.

battery cycles are limited to the technology, reversible chemical reactions within the cell are not symmetrical, so eventually the cell fails.

with drop-in's such as Battleborn, you are indeed paying a very high premium for convenience

the problem with drop-in's is the bms system, the only practical way to isolate the user from the underlying technology is to top balance the
cells, this is usually done with what we call a "vampire" board, the cells voltage during charging is measured and when it exceeds a certain value the
control system activates the board to steal some energy from the cell, limiting it's voltage. the idea is that eventually, all cells will reach this value and therefore
are now in a balanced state. the problem is that these boards have been shown to be unreliable and have a high probability of failing.

when I was contracting for NASA I discovered that they do not use any bms in their spacecraft, the extra weight and potential failure point is unacceptable.
they typically do a middle balance of the cells.. I personally do a bottom balance. fyi, my cells over an 18 month period have drifted by less than 1%
so for me, the effort of manually rebalancing the cells every 18 to 24 months is not an issue. that's easy for me to say as I have over 40 years as
an MSEE and PE. but for most people, they do not want or need to even know what is inside a battery, sometimes I wish I was one of those people. !!





KZ MXT20 480 W solar
ORV 24RKS 960 Watts solar
48V LFP, 2000W inverter/charger
Ram 2500 CTD

Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2018, 09:38:12 AM »
But for most people, they do not want or need to even know what is inside a battery, sometimes I wish I was one of those people. !!

lol... I hear ya.  Sometimes just knowing that it will work might be best.  My DW is glad I take the time and research things, although she thinks I over research at times.. she maybe right..  lol
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2018, 10:35:09 AM »
Well... we will take a few more things out of the camper today, then it's ready for 5 months of hibernation in my friends barn.  WNY winters suck!!

While I was winterizing I figured out where I can install the inverter and batteries.  The 12 volt Li-on batteries will go under the foot of the bed.  The inverter will be about 4' away under the kitchen counter, I figure 7' or less of wire.  This (under the counter) is the only big void where I can hide the inverter, the electrical distribution is close by.. about 3' away.

With all that being said I have been looking at inverters.  LOTS of choices I see!!  I am wondering what the consensus is from members on the forum about brand, size and wave form?  I pretty much decided on pure-sine wave but would like to hear thoughts of others.

I have looked at the Magnum Energy MSH-3012M, it is a "hybrid" pure sine wave 3000 Watt inverter/charger/transfer switch all in one unit.  Getting a 3000 watt inverter might be overkill but it seems to have some nice features.  The "hybrid" feature seems like a neat idea if it works properly.  I haven't heard/seen any complaints online but not sure how long this technology has been on the market.  The other thing that is nice, you can add their BMS to the remote so all your info is in one place, a neater install.  Although I would be putting the cart ahead of the horse as far as the BMS.  I wouldn't have usage numbers until after I purchased the inverter.. lots to think about.

Interested in everyone's thoughts.  I have thick skin so you can be blunt, to a point. lol
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

schwyl

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2018, 09:08:25 AM »
Personally if you have a 30amp TT then I would look at a nice 3000 inverter/charger/transfer switch unit.

I have found that no matter how much you pay stuff is always going to break. You could try a cheaper model and you may be fine ( My buddy has been running one for 7 years now some no name knock off from ebay)

I would look at

Aims
Samlex
xantrex
Magnum
Gopower

and honestly theres so many just try not to buy the cheapest or the most expensive.

Edit:

I should add the reason why I say a 3000w inverter is so if your running off shore power its like the inverter is not even there when in pass through mode.  A lot of 2000w inverters only offer 20 amps while in pass through where the 3000w offer 30+ amps during pass through mode

So wiring it in to the trailer is simple. Just unhook the like to the panel wire it to the inverter ac in. Then run a new cable from the ac out on the inverter back to the panel and your done.

Also I would try to get the inverter much closer to the batteries. Close the better. Its better to have a long AC run than a DC run. I know trailer manufacturers dont even follow this but that is the best way
« Last Edit: November 05, 2018, 09:13:28 AM by schwyl »

solarman

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2018, 06:53:16 AM »
Personally if you have a 30amp TT then I would look at a nice 3000 inverter/charger/transfer switch unit.

Also I would try to get the inverter much closer to the batteries. Close the better. Its better to have a long AC run than a DC run. I know trailer manufacturers dont even follow this but that is the best way


I would strongly advise against a 3000 W unit, at 12 Volts you are getting into very high currents and very heavy cabling.

this highlights one of the biggest problems with low voltage systems, cabling and contact resistance have a big effect.

secondly, a 3000 W inverter has a high standby current, some as high as 30 to 40 Watts in idle mode.

thirdly, at full power and with 90% efficiency, you will need to supply ( 3000 * 1.1 ) / 12 = 277 Amps.  even using cable to 90 degree spec you will need better than 4/0
cables, also most DIY do not have the tools or experience to terminate cable lugs, you will need to have cables made by a marine or golf shop..
don't under estimate this, I have seen melted battery posts, lugs and cable from improper design..

additionally, at 90% efficiency, the inverter will need to dissipate close to 300 watts of heat, it should be in a ventilated area.

I suggest you scale it down to at most 2000 W, less idle draw and easier on cabling.

good units to consider are:

Victron Multiplus
Xantrex freedom XC2000
Samlex EVO-2212

these have 30 to 40 A transfer relays and good efficiency.
personally I would not consider the aims units, the quality is low compared to the others.




KZ MXT20 480 W solar
ORV 24RKS 960 Watts solar
48V LFP, 2000W inverter/charger
Ram 2500 CTD

schwyl

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2018, 08:49:11 AM »
Your right some do have the appropriate sized transfer relay to allow the full use of shore power.

Agreed most diy dont have the proper crimping tool required for the cabling but theres hundreds of online shops that will make the cable for you

Agreed with aims being on the lower end but people may be more apt to purchase based on price.



Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2018, 06:43:36 PM »

I would strongly advise against a 3000 W unit, at 12 Volts you are getting into very high currents and very heavy cabling.

The Magnum MSH-3012M is definitely bigger than we need.  It's physical size was appealing for where I was thinking of installing it.  The Victron Multiplus 2000VA should fit our needs, I had looked at it but wasn't sure it would fit where I'd like to install it.

Maybe installing the inverter under the bed next to the batteries would be better.  I wasn't sure about installing in that location but have seen other installs online that were similar.  Whether they were proper installs I guess is open for debate.

The planning continues.....
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

wmtired

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2018, 11:28:28 PM »
You can purchase a hydraulic crimper for heavy cable for less than $50.

For reasons previously mentioned, a combined inverter/charger with auto-transfer switch and load sharing is a nice feature if your budget can afford. it.

Yes, 3kw inverters have a large idle load it must be noted that inverter's are most efficient when they are operating at near max capacity.  Lower power loads equals less efficiency.  Some folks deal with this by using much smaller inverters for more common low loads (TV, DVD player, computer and printer etc...) and use the big inverter for microwave, vacuum, hair dryer, toaster oven, etc...

Battery monitor:  Victron is what I prefer although I have a trimetric.  The trimetric looks dated and something that was designed in the 70's.

Sounds like your system will be top notch once it is complete.





Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2018, 08:22:38 AM »
Some folks deal with this by using much smaller inverters for more common low loads (TV, DVD player, computer and printer etc...) and use the big inverter for microwave, vacuum, hair dryer, toaster oven, etc...

I hadn't thought about that.  That would work good for running my C-Pap at night.  I already have a 300 watt inverter that I used for that, then the bigger one could be turned off for the night.  If everything is under the bed, it would be an easy install.  Great idea... Thanks!
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

schwyl

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2018, 01:57:09 PM »
If trailer manufacturers weren't so shitty with their builds you could have an easy time adding a simple sub panel with a few low load drawing plugs and others and run off of a small inverter.

Then for the larger loads run through a larger sized inverted with a transfer switch.


Yes im taking a shot at forest river the company that ran both dc and ac wiring through a hole cut in metal with no sort of bushing allowing the electrical cables to rub against a jagged edge wearing through the insulation.

Oh yeah the call to the factory was a joke. I was told to fix it. I was secretly hoping that it would just cause a fire in the unit and burn the pos to the ground

Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2018, 04:07:44 PM »
It is a shame that manufacturers don't take a little more time when they build RV's.  The quality of workmanship is really lacking.

I'm a long ways from adding solar just yet but ran across these panels and wondered if anyone knew anything about them.. good or bad?
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

solarman

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #21 on: November 12, 2018, 08:38:58 PM »
It is a shame that manufacturers don't take a little more time when they build RV's.  The quality of workmanship is really lacking.

I'm a long ways from adding solar just yet but ran across these panels and wondered if anyone knew anything about them.. good or bad?

good well made panel, just low on efficiency therefore heavy for the wattage vs other makers

one benefit for diy from this supplier is the free postage vs other suppliers that charge an arm and a leg for shipping



« Last Edit: November 12, 2018, 08:44:28 PM by solarman »
KZ MXT20 480 W solar
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AStravelers

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2018, 05:12:04 PM »
I hadn't thought about that.  That would work good for running my C-Pap at night.  I already have a 300 watt inverter that I used for that, then the bigger one could be turned off for the night.  If everything is under the bed, it would be an easy install.  Great idea... Thanks!
About the CPAP:
--  Turn off the humidifier heater or heated hose and you will most likely find the CPAP pulls less than 1amp of 12V power.  The heater jumps the current to 4-7amps of 12V.
--  Check the actual voltage the CPAP actually uses.  Most (or many) use 12V or 24V.  There is a transformer in the 120V power cord to lower the voltage.  If 12V, just tap into the 12V light fixture at the head of the bed with a 12V outlet.  If 24V, you can buy a 12V to 24V converter which may be more efficient than an inverter.
--  If you find you can sleep w/o the humidifier heater, you can just wire a 100watt inverter into the light fixture and use that for the CPAP. 
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Journey 36G
2020 Chevy Colorado 4X4 Diesel
650 watts residential solar panels--400AH Lithium batteries

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

AStravelers

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2018, 05:23:05 PM »
No matter where you install the inverter/charger, solar controller and batteries, you MUST have ventilation for removing the heat from the components.

Additionally inverters and solar controllers usually need space below and/or above for air circulation. This makes it difficult to mound under the bed.

Most mfg allow you to download the install and operations manual for the devices you are thinking of buying to see where you can mount them.
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Journey 36G
2020 Chevy Colorado 4X4 Diesel
650 watts residential solar panels--400AH Lithium batteries

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

JDOnTheGo

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #24 on: November 16, 2018, 06:14:55 AM »
A few more thoughts for the OP.

Lithium batteries are MUCH lighter than lead acid. For example; My 10,000 Wh lithium bank weighs 230 lbs and measures 22” X 19”x 10”. I would need fourteen 6V batteries to achieve the same usable capacity. That would weigh approximately 1000 pounds and consume a lot of space. I realize you are not looking at that large of a bank so you'll have to do your own comparison.

Having lived with lithium for nearly two years, I love them.  That said, there is no doubt that they are not for everyone. In general, I'd say they are an unnecessary expense for weekenders, occasional users, and full hookup type campers. 
 
PSW inverter is always better (but not necessarily 'required'). Many/Most components will run on MSW but it is certainly not ideal.  Choose your inverters carefully, especially if putting one under your bed. IMO, many of them are terribly noisy (the cooling fans). The fans will always(??) come on when the inverter is working hard so no avoiding that.

JD - Full timer out west
Missy - 1998 MCI 102-EL3 - 1.7kW Solar - 10kWh Lithium
My Adventures & Build

Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #25 on: November 17, 2018, 05:03:15 PM »
No matter where you install the inverter/charger, solar controller and batteries, you MUST have ventilation for removing the heat from the components.

Additionally inverters and solar controllers usually need space below and/or above for air circulation. This makes it difficult to mound under the bed.

Most mfg allow you to download the install and operations manual for the devices you are thinking of buying to see where you can mount them.

I've been thinking about ventilation and contemplating several ideas.  My compartment under the bed is probably 3'x4' by 20" deep, should be no problem with air circulation.  Downloading the install manuals is a good idea, I thank you for your thoughts.
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
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Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #26 on: November 17, 2018, 05:11:08 PM »
About the CPAP:
--  Turn off the humidifier heater or heated hose and you will most likely find the CPAP pulls less than 1amp of 12V power.  The heater jumps the current to 4-7amps of 12V.
--  Check the actual voltage the CPAP actually uses.  Most (or many) use 12V or 24V.  There is a transformer in the 120V power cord to lower the voltage.  If 12V, just tap into the 12V light fixture at the head of the bed with a 12V outlet.  If 24V, you can buy a 12V to 24V converter which may be more efficient than an inverter.
--  If you find you can sleep w/o the humidifier heater, you can just wire a 100watt inverter into the light fixture and use that for the CPAP.

I have a small portable CPAP I use for camping, no humidifier or heated hose.  The machine I use is 120V with no transformer in the power cord, it's basically a computer power cord.  This machine works fine for a week or so, but when we snowbird or fulltime it in a few years I will want humidification.
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
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Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #27 on: November 17, 2018, 05:42:06 PM »
A few more thoughts for the OP.

Lithium batteries are MUCH lighter than lead acid. For example; My 10,000 Wh lithium bank weighs 230 lbs and measures 22” X 19”x 10”. I would need fourteen 6V batteries to achieve the same usable capacity. That would weigh approximately 1000 pounds and consume a lot of space. I realize you are not looking at that large of a bank so you'll have to do your own comparison.

Having lived with lithium for nearly two years, I love them.  That said, there is no doubt that they are not for everyone. In general, I'd say they are an unnecessary expense for weekenders, occasional users, and full hookup type campers. 
 
PSW inverter is always better (but not necessarily 'required'). Many/Most components will run on MSW but it is certainly not ideal.  Choose your inverters carefully, especially if putting one under your bed. IMO, many of them are terribly noisy (the cooling fans). The fans will always(??) come on when the inverter is working hard so no avoiding that.

The only place I have for lead acid batteries is on the tongue and I wouldn't be able to get enough AH's for what I want to do.  I guess I could put AGM's under the bed but then you have the weight which I'd like to stay away from.  Lithium seems like the answer for my install.

We enjoy the quite of campgrounds without hookups.  The Allegheny National Forest is close by and we take advantage of that many times during the summer months.  In a few years we hope to follow the weather and take advantage of BLM's out west when we retire.

I will be purchasing a PSW inverter, a little more money maybe but as you said "PSW inverter is always better".  I have thought about the noise factor under the bed and have a concern about that.  It should be at idle (or off) at night, or very low draw if I'm using it for my CPAP.
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #28 on: November 17, 2018, 06:10:32 PM »
Up to this point I have been exploring a 12 volt system only.  I have seen 24 volt systems but they seem to be on big AH battery banks.  I really don't see myself going any bigger than 400 AH's but still need to do my power assessment.  If 400 AH's is my max, is there any reason to investigate a 24 volt system?

Seeings how I put the camper to bed in a friends barn for the winter, I will have to wait the 5 long months of Western NY winter before I can do a assessment or anything else for that matter.
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
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JDOnTheGo

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #29 on: November 18, 2018, 04:31:08 AM »
If 400 AH's is my max, is there any reason to investigate a 24 volt system?

Given what has been said here, I would say no. 

I have a 24VDC bank and am very happy with it but, as you you've noted, it is supporting reasonably large loads AND high charge rates.
JD - Full timer out west
Missy - 1998 MCI 102-EL3 - 1.7kW Solar - 10kWh Lithium
My Adventures & Build

Kevin Means

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #30 on: November 18, 2018, 12:35:13 PM »
I agree, I don't think it's necessary. The overwhelming majority of RVers do just fine with 12 volt battery banks of all sizes. Would a higher voltage battery bank be more efficient...? Probably, but at what cost? Once you change the operating voltage, you need to change some components. Only you can decide if making those changes would be worth the additional expense.

Kev
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
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Lakeside, California

Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #31 on: November 23, 2018, 10:14:16 AM »
I agree, I don't think it's necessary. The overwhelming majority of RVers do just fine with 12 volt battery banks of all sizes. Would a higher voltage battery bank be more efficient...? Probably, but at what cost? Once you change the operating voltage, you need to change some components. Only you can decide if making those changes would be worth the additional expense.

Kev

Yes.... I think it would be prudent of me to stay with a 12 volt system.  Keeping it simple has its pluses also.  Maybe our next camper when/if we fulltime will be bigger and I can think about it at that time.
Bill & Kathy
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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #32 on: November 23, 2018, 10:19:53 AM »
good well made panel, just low on efficiency therefore heavy for the wattage vs other makers

one benefit for diy from this supplier is the free postage vs other suppliers that charge an arm and a leg for shipping

How does the efficiency calculate?  It doesn't mean that these panels only put out 17.3% of the 200 watts does it?
Bill & Kathy
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Kevin Means

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #33 on: November 23, 2018, 11:43:13 AM »
A solar panel's efficiency rating refers to the portion of visible light energy (sunlight) the panel can convert to electricity via photovoltaics. A 200 watt panel, for example, will produce 200 watts under ideal conditions - when measured at the panel itself. Unfortunately, we rarely have ideal conditions. Things like, the sun's angle, clouds, shading, temperature, wire run distance and installation errors will all reduce the amount of volts/amps that ultimately make it to the batteries.

Kev
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ
RVI Brake 2, TST 507 TPMS, 960 watts of solar, SolaRVector tilt
Lakeside, California

solarman

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #34 on: November 23, 2018, 12:38:42 PM »
How does the efficiency calculate?  It doesn't mean that these panels only put out 17.3% of the 200 watts does it?

The supplier quotes efficiency of 17%, that's on the low end, better panels have a figure of 20 to 22%.. so for an identical surface area, the lower efficiency panel
produces less power.. it's not really a deal killer, one merely increases the panel size or number to compensate
IF you have the room.. if you are tight on room then the higher efficiency panel are desirable.

efficiency is a measure of light to wattage output, for panels of the same physical size then higher efficiency = more watts



 
« Last Edit: November 23, 2018, 12:43:30 PM by solarman »
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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #35 on: November 24, 2018, 10:56:41 AM »
I can't tell you how Great it is to have a forum such as this.  The wealth of knowledge, ideas and opinions on here makes it easier figuring out projects/repairs/upgrades.  I can't thank everyone enough for the help and ideas.  If one didn't have resources like this forum, they most certainly would be spending their hard earned money on trial and error methods of figuring stuff out.

I saw post someplace (maybe from solarman) about wiring batteries in parallel so they are balanced.  I have attached a picture of a diagram showing 4 batteries wired so they are balanced for draw and charging.  This looks correct to me but want to make sure.  Also should all wires between the batteries be the same length regardless of the distance between the terminals?  I thought I read that they should be.

Again.... I thank everyone kindly....
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
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Ernie n Tara

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #36 on: November 24, 2018, 11:09:54 AM »
Just to expand on the efficiency discussion; the average insolation is on the close order of one kiloWatt per square yard. That means that, under average conditions, a 17% efficiency panel measuring 36- by 36- inches would produce about 170 Watts of electricity or about 14 Amperes at 12 Volts.

The above will be reduced by the efficiency of the charge control circuit.

Ernie
« Last Edit: November 24, 2018, 11:13:17 AM by Ernie n Tara »
Ernie 'n Tara

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solarman

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #37 on: November 24, 2018, 01:07:40 PM »
I can't tell you how Great it is to have a forum such as this.  The wealth of knowledge, ideas and opinions on here makes it easier figuring out projects/repairs/upgrades.  I can't thank everyone enough for the help and ideas.  If one didn't have resources like this forum, they most certainly would be spending their hard earned money on trial and error methods of figuring stuff out.

I saw post someplace (maybe from solarman) about wiring batteries in parallel so they are balanced.  I have attached a picture of a diagram showing 4 batteries wired so they are balanced for draw and charging.  This looks correct to me but want to make sure.  Also should all wires between the batteries be the same length regardless of the distance between the terminals?  I thought I read that they should be.

Again.... I thank everyone kindly....


here is an example of a power distribution system.

ideally all batteries should have a fuse on the positive side. this prevents shorts between batteries from destroying each other.
each fuse can be sized to the 90 degree temp spec of the cable + 50%. if you have a max current draw of say 200 Amps
then for 4 batteries as shown, the cable size on each battery can be 1/4 of that so for 50 A per leg we could use 8 AWG and a 75 Amp fuse
to balance the currents somewhat, make sure all cables from the battery to the collection point are the same length.
the collection point could be a small bussbar or have all cable lugs connected to one point on the distribution bussbar..
this will give you an idea.. just scale the cable and fuses for your requirements.

a little academic, but you get the idea.. for a quick and dirty method, choose the cable and fuse for half load.
so for 200 A you could use 4 AWG and a 100 A fuse.. 4 awg cable is less than $1 per foot.


for fuses, these are a good choice https://www.bluesea.com/products/5191/MRBF_Terminal_Fuse_Block_-_30_to_300A
« Last Edit: November 24, 2018, 01:34:42 PM by solarman »
KZ MXT20 480 W solar
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Frank B

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #38 on: November 25, 2018, 06:58:07 PM »

It is a shame that manufacturers don't take a little more time when they build RV's.  The quality of workmanship is really lacking.

I'm a long ways from adding solar just yet but ran across these panels and wondered if anyone knew anything about them.. good or bad?

Something else that you might want to consider are residential style panels. They are typically 72-cell, and therefore in the 40 Volt range. One does not necessarily have to put those in series to work effectively with an mppt controller. This also means that you can use an odd number of panels with no problem. They are all wired parallel.

When we installed our system 2 years ago, they made two kinds of residential solar panels. One uses a 5 in Ingot to produce the cells, and the other uses the more common 6 in ingot. Panels made from 6 in ingots are about a meter wide, which is often too much for an RV roof. The ones made from the 5 in ingots are closer to 32 " wide, which worked very well on our 30 foot travel trailer. I was able to add a strip of panels on each side of the trailer, and not have a huge issue with shading. I found that the cost of the individual panels themselves was a relatively small amount of the total install cost. Therefore, if one has the space, one can add a couple more panels for a small percentage of the total system cost. That way, even if one or two are occasionally shaded, you still get good efficiency in direct sunlight, and much higher efficiency in cloudy or rainy weather when shading is a much smaller issue.

Residential style panels are more than robust enough to mount on the roof of a travel trailer, as our experience has shown. Their price per watt is often very good, and their overall efficiency is often very high. One benefits from the fact that there are far more residential panels developed, and manufactured, than lower voltage RV type panels.

Just a thought.

Be sure to bounce that off the experts here before you make a decision one way or the other.

http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php/topic,106669.0.html


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Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #39 on: December 09, 2018, 09:28:08 PM »
A little curious  ::)  if one has a 24 volt system with.. lets say a 300 AH battery bank, is that kind of like having a 600 AH battery bank on a 12 volt system?
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
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2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

Frank B

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #40 on: December 09, 2018, 10:51:09 PM »
My understanding is, yes. Amps times volts gives you the power rating.


However, there are a lot of complications converting a trailer to 24V. Fridge, furnace, etc will still require 12V.
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JDOnTheGo

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #41 on: December 10, 2018, 05:40:18 AM »
A little curious  ::)  if one has a 24 volt system with.. lets say a 300 AH battery bank, is that kind of like having a 600 AH battery bank on a 12 volt system?

Yes, exactly.  Watt's law is volts * amps = watts.  (600 x 12 = 7200 watts just as 300 x 24 = 7200 watts)

Many of the items on my coach 24VDC (water pump, lights, inverter, etc..). However; some are simply available only in 12VDC (hose reels, ceiling fan, dump valve, some lights, etc.) so a 24VDC to 12VDC step-down converter is required.  Of course, there is an electrical 'cost' involved every time you 'convert' electrical power so it's always best to keep that to a minimum.

The amount of power you plan to draw from your battery bank - assuming lead-acid (of some sort) - has a lot to do with the 'better' battery bank voltage decision (C rate).  If you have lithium, this is much less of a problem.  The next most important factor, IMO, is the solar charge controller. All of the name brand MPPT controllers output their rated amperage at whatever the battery bank voltage is (within reason).  Thus; a 40 amp charge controller will output a maximum of 40 amps into a 12V battery bank - OR - the same controller will output 40 amps into a 24V battery bank.  That is DOUBLE the capacity for free!! :-)    (remember Watt's law)

The big downside to converting an existing rig is that you already have a whole bunch of 12VDC components that are probably working just fine. Replacing them with their 24VDC counterpart is probably an expense that will gain you very little. :-(
« Last Edit: December 10, 2018, 05:42:37 AM by JDOnTheGo »
JD - Full timer out west
Missy - 1998 MCI 102-EL3 - 1.7kW Solar - 10kWh Lithium
My Adventures & Build

Gizmo

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #42 on: December 10, 2018, 06:26:40 AM »
I would suggest you not buy batteries first until you have at least performed a power budget and have a better idea of what you actually need.  I witness this "cart before the horse" engineering all the time, even by those qualified to know better..

ok, professional rant over.. LOL... seriously though, it would be better for you to have a good estimate of your actual needs rather
than just buying four of this or that..  I know it may seem to be an overkill to have a good estimate first, but it will pay off in the long run having a system better matched to your needs. ( and potentially a more economical solution )

I have a post here that explains solar and battery capacities..
http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php/topic,113514.0.html

also one thing you should be aware of with lithium is the limited temperature range.. if you intend to camp
in colder,freezing or sub zero weather then they are not a good choice unless you can install them inside the RV.
I have done this with mine for such a reason.

as for separate vs combo units.. it's down to reliability, cost and personal preference.

combo units take up less space generally and may include an automatic transfer switch too..
best of all worlds.. however, if you have not sized it correctly, then upgrading is more expensive vs individual units
as you have to replace everything in one go.. if space is not an issue then separate units will give you more flexability
in the event of failure.

Good info but with regards to lithium batteries and freezing temperatures might discourage some and should not.  We have the Battle Born batteries and because of available and realistic real estate in our rig, we have them in the battery box.  I lined the battery box with reflectix and I placed a worklight with a 60 watt bulb inside to warm the box if necessary.  We have camped as low as mid twenties and have not had to turn the light on as the ambient temp in the battery box never dropped below 42 degrees.  Understand a couple things, first with regards to temperature, the batteries measure temp at their core so it is going to take a sustained very cold weather to reach that point.  Second point is these batteries have internal BMS which will shut down any charging if the temps drop below 32 degrees to protect the batteries.  So until the temperature rises above 32 degrees the batteries will not receive a charge, but they will not be harmed.

Also it was said in this thread that these batteries can be discharged down to 20%, actually it is 10% but many use a 20% number for a margin of safety.  So if in practice one reaches the 10% mark, no harm is done, but for sure you better get to charging fast, because if they get down to zero, your expensive investment will be toast.

We have 3-100ah Battle Born batteries for a year now as full timers and they have performed brilliantly, highly recommend them.  We have never dropped below 55% capacity and that was only once, so we right now have plenty of capacity and comforting to know we had plenty more capacity. 

As for battery monitors, the Tri Metric has been around a long time and does the job well, it is among the best and yet typically is less expensive among the top brands.  I prefer the Tri Metric over the Victron because the Victron seems to rely too much operationally on a laptop or smartphone to effectively program, trouble shoot etc. As we prefer to boondock, I do not want to have to rely on needing a laptop or smartphone off grid, keep it simpe in other words.  Also the Victron is more expensive than the Tri Metric and I see no real benefit to the added cost.

Regards, Bruce, Lin An, Kenji & Suki
2015 Ram Big Horn 3500 CC Cummins TD Dually 3:73 Gears & AISIN Tranny
2019 Grand Design Solitude 310GK-R

Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #43 on: January 01, 2019, 10:14:59 AM »
Attached is a pic of my roof from the rear looking forward.  I took this on November 4th at 9:00 in the morning, sun being low and bad shade angle.  I'm thinking I can get five of the bigger, higher voltage residential panels up here.  Two up front either side of the bedroom vent, one cross-ways in front of the AC unit and two either side of the TV antenna.  Keeping them wired in parallel to minimize the lose when shaded.  Is there a rule of thumb as to how far back from the front edge of the roof a panel should be with regards to the wind generated while traveling?

With the mild winter here in Western NY, and the camper in storage, it is killing me not being able to measure things, see where I can run wires and just planning overall.  Since I can't do any hands on with the camper I've been doing the next best thing... reading and reading and reading this forum and other articles.  What a wealth of information that is on here!!

The DW has a couple trips planned and reserved already, the first one the beginning of May.  My plan is to get two 100ah LiPo Battle Born batteries and a battery monitor installed before that first trip so we can get a handle on our usage.  Then I will be able to more accurately know what our needs will be.

Again I can't thank everyone enough for their replies and expertise.

« Last Edit: January 01, 2019, 10:17:26 AM by Kathy & Bill »
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
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Blues Driver

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #44 on: January 01, 2019, 01:04:31 PM »





 

Re: Building a new System

« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2018, 02:07:21 AM »


Quote

 

Good luck on your project - it sounds like fun!

Both the Tri-Metric and Victron do about the same things, Victron has an edge in that it can communicate via Bluetooth to your Smartphone, tablet or computer and has an app that makes it easier to see and manipulate the data compared to staring at that limited display on the unit.

The Victron at ~ $206 includes a shunt and cable. Not sure what those are $ wise. Maybe $45.
Pat

Gizmo

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #45 on: January 01, 2019, 01:25:25 PM »

I would strongly advise against a 3000 W unit, at 12 Volts you are getting into very high currents and very heavy cabling.

this highlights one of the biggest problems with low voltage systems, cabling and contact resistance have a big effect.

secondly, a 3000 W inverter has a high standby current, some as high as 30 to 40 Watts in idle mode.

thirdly, at full power and with 90% efficiency, you will need to supply ( 3000 * 1.1 ) / 12 = 277 Amps.  even using cable to 90 degree spec you will need better than 4/0
cables, also most DIY do not have the tools or experience to terminate cable lugs, you will need to have cables made by a marine or golf shop..
don't under estimate this, I have seen melted battery posts, lugs and cable from improper design..

additionally, at 90% efficiency, the inverter will need to dissipate close to 300 watts of heat, it should be in a ventilated area.

I suggest you scale it down to at most 2000 W, less idle draw and easier on cabling.

good units to consider are:

Victron Multiplus
Xantrex freedom XC2000
Samlex EVO-2212

these have 30 to 40 A transfer relays and good efficiency.
personally I would not consider the aims units, the quality is low compared to the others.

I agree with this, staying away from a 3000 watt inverter, unless of course your energy needs require a larger inverter.  I have seen where too many folks go with a 3k inverter because they "might need the extra power" and in reality only need 1500-2000 watts.  It is doable of course but a significant drain on their battery banks.

We full time and prefer to boondock a lot, we have gotten along quite well on a 2000 watt Samlex inverter which I can recommend.  Magnum also makes excellent inverters.  As to your question on inverter/chargers, it seems if you go 3000 watt most of them have both, while many 2000  watt come as inverter only.  A couple advantages to an inverter/charger configuration is you may have the ability and should locate it near the batteries which will be more efficient for charging and they often have a higher amperage output which should yield a faster charge time.  Also, if you choose to install one and keep but shut off the converter in your rig you would have a back-up.  Good luck with your new rig and planned projects.
Regards, Bruce, Lin An, Kenji & Suki
2015 Ram Big Horn 3500 CC Cummins TD Dually 3:73 Gears & AISIN Tranny
2019 Grand Design Solitude 310GK-R

AStravelers

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #46 on: January 02, 2019, 07:07:56 AM »
Attached is a pic of my roof from the rear looking forward.  I took this on November 4th at 9:00 in the morning, sun being low and bad shade angle.  I'm thinking I can get five of the bigger, higher voltage residential panels up here.  Two up front either side of the bedroom vent, one cross-ways in front of the AC unit and two either side of the TV antenna.  Keeping them wired in parallel to minimize the lose when shaded.  Is there a rule of thumb as to how far back from the front edge of the roof a panel should be with regards to the wind generated while traveling?......................
I would keep them back 2-3 inches from the edge if you can, but not so much for wind.  More if you get really close to a tree branch or something.  Be sure to fasten the panels down securely.  This is what I use to anchor my panels:  https://www.zoro.com/red-head-anchor-kit-phillips-1-14-in-pk25-ezp25/i/G4306723/  I bought them at a big box hdwr store.  My Winnebago has a 1/8" or thinner luan panel with a thin coating of fiberglass cloth and resin.  In addition to the screws I put Dicor self leveling between the foot of the panel support and the roof.  40,000 miles including some rough dirt and gravel roads as well as a trip to Alaska and the panels didn't loosen at all.  I just pulled them off a few weeks ago to move them to our new-to-us RV.

I somewhat tilt my panels so the water doesn't pool on the panels.  Pooling water also collects dirt.  Also raising the panels allows for air circulation underneath helping to keep the panels a little cooler.  Heat reduces the output.   My panels are 66" x 52" and are tilted about 1.5" along the 66" edge. 

When you install your panels try to leave a walkway of about 15-18" so you can get up and clean the panels.  Dirty panels really reduces the output.

I would also raise your panels maybe 5-7 inches to reduce the shading from the TV antenna and A/C in early morning and late afternoon.  As long as you install a battery monitor you will notice a few amps being generated as soon as it is bright daylight. 5 or 10AH in the morning and evening goes a long way. Every little bit helps.
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Journey 36G
2020 Chevy Colorado 4X4 Diesel
650 watts residential solar panels--400AH Lithium batteries

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #47 on: January 05, 2019, 09:53:40 AM »
The ones made from the 5 in ingots are closer to 32 " wide, which worked very well on our 30 foot travel trailer.

Frank... could I get a little info on your panels?  Manufacturer, Wattage, Where you purchased them and shipping cost?

I live in the burbs of Buffalo.  Tesla has a new plant in S. Buffalo that is making panels, I think Panasonic panels.  Thought I might see if they sell factory direct there and eliminate the shipping cost.
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

Frank B

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #48 on: January 05, 2019, 11:37:21 AM »

Frank... could I get a little info on your panels?  Manufacturer, Wattage, Where you purchased them and shipping cost?

I live in the burbs of Buffalo.  Tesla has a new plant in S. Buffalo that is making panels, I think Panasonic panels.  Thought I might see if they sell factory direct there and eliminate the shipping cost.


http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php/topic,106669.0.html

16 messages down.  These are Mexican made panels that may escape the Chinese tariffs.

You can also try Rebecca Sanchez at Solarflexion in California. 951.691.7621. An honorable lady who knows her product well.

If you do have to ship, get them to deliver to the warehouse in your city, and then go pick them up yourself. Freight companies charge stupid money for the last mile delivery.



Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
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1.2 kw solar

Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #49 on: January 19, 2019, 12:02:51 AM »
I purchased an inverter and it was delivered today.  I went with the Xantrex Freedom XC 2000.  It's a nice compact unit and fairly light weight.  This should meet our needs nicely and I can mount it in the forward storage compartment.  This will keep it close to the Batteries under the bed enabling a very short cable run.

The plan is to acquire the Pieces Parts in the next couple of months.  Then when the Camper comes out of storage I can get to work installing everything.  I'm going to start with the Victron 712 Battery monitor, two Battle Born batteries, the inverter and a hard wired surge protector.  I can't wait to get started on the project.

 
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

Frank B

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #50 on: January 19, 2019, 09:34:57 PM »
Sounds good!  Keep us informed!
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
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Blues Driver

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #51 on: January 20, 2019, 04:25:41 PM »
Attached is a pic of my roof from the rear looking forward.  I took this on November 4th at 9:00 in the morning, sun being low and bad shade angle.  I'm thinking I can get five of the bigger, higher voltage residential panels up here. 

Bill , that's a lot of nice open space. 5 larger  panels is going to give you a sizable system. Frank may need a do over. I'm thinking 4 larger panels.
Please let us know if you elevate the panels near the antenna and what hardware you use.
Pat

Blues Driver

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #52 on: January 20, 2019, 04:28:47 PM »

I somewhat tilt my panels so the water doesn't pool on the panels.  Pooling water also collects dirt.  Also raising the panels allows for air circulation underneath helping to keep the panels a little cooler.  Heat reduces the output.   My panels are 66" x 52" and are tilted about 1.5" along the 66" edge. 


I would also raise your panels maybe 5-7 inches to reduce the shading from the TV antenna and A/C in early morning and late afternoon.  As long as you install a battery monitor you will notice a few amps being generated as soon as it is bright daylight. 5 or 10AH in the morning and evening goes a long way. Every little bit helps.
I like the tilting and elevating idea.  What kind of hardware did you use to raise the panels? 
Thanks,
Pat

Frank B

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #53 on: January 20, 2019, 10:51:38 PM »
While I agree heartily that mounting the panels high enough to allow air flow is very positive, there is a trade-off on everything.


On solar farms, the panels are mounted on racks that are several feet above the ground. On a typical roof top installation on a house, the panels are mounted only a few inches off the roof. What is optimal? I really have no idea.


My panels are mounted about an inch above the roof. For me that was sufficient to run the conduit under the panels. Also, because most trailers these days have curved roofs, a certain amount of angle will be generated with just the curvature of the roof. That assumes, of course, that you mount panels in a longitudinal strip from front to back on a trailer. If you mount them across the trailer horizontally, then you lose any angle. I find that with the longitudinal installation on my trailer, just the angle of the roof is sufficient to keep the water from pooling.


As to the hardware used to do the mounting, that is pretty much variable. Most often, there are so-called 'z' brackets that are used for this. One side of the 'z' bolts to the bottom of panel, and the other side is attached to the roof with screws. If a panel has to be removed, you have to unscrew the wood screws from the roof, as often removing the machine screw attachment between the bracket and the panel is next to Impossible.  I tried to avoid this problem using L-shaped brackets that I pop riveted to the sides of the panels. If one of my panels has to be removed, I just drill out the rivets. The L brackets remain attached to the roof, reducing (in theory anyway) any chance of producing a leak.
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
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1.2 kw solar

AStravelers

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #54 on: January 22, 2019, 09:39:55 AM »
I like the tilting and elevating idea.  What kind of hardware did you use to raise the panels? 
Thanks,
Pat
I purchased aluminum 1 1/4" angle bar and aluminum 2" flat bar 1/8" thick along with #10 stainless steel screws, flat washers, lock washers and nuts.  I cut the pieces to size bolted everything together.  For the lower end of the panels I didn't use the flat bar.  I made a "Z" bracket by bolting one angle bar to the solar panel, bolting the other angle bar to the first to make the "Z" and then screwed the lower part to the roof.  For the higher end bracket I used the 2" flat bar as a spacer between the two angle bars.  If I was to raise the panels up to 6-10 inches I would use 1/4" flat bar for the spacer instead of the 1/8" I used.  I probably would use 2 pieces of the 1/4" flat bar for spacers as well as 2" angle bars 1/8" thick.

To attach the Z brackets to the roof I used E-Z anchors https://www.homedepot.com/p/E-Z-Ancor-Stud-Solver-7-x-1-1-4-in-Phillips-Zinc-Plated-Flat-Head-Drywall-Anchors-50-Pack-25316/100391938.  I drilled a 5/16" hole (which is the diameter of the center of the anchor) in the roof, put a little Dicor in the hole, and screwed the anchor into the roof.  When I actually put the solar panels on the roof, I covered the anchors with self leveling Dicor, placed the panels with Z brackets onto the anchors and used the screws that came with the anchors to screw into the anchors.  Topped off the screws and Z bracket with more Dicor to seal everything up.

My MH is a Winnebago which comes with a fiberglass roof which is glued to solid white Styrofoam.  This makes a very sturdy roof.  While the fiberglass is very thin, just one sheet of fiberglass on 3/32" a luan sheet.  While this doesn't sound very strong, the luan glued to the Styrofoam makes it pretty strong. 

These solar panels went 45,000 miles on my former MH including an Alaska trip for 4 months with about 600-700 miles of gravel and potholes.  Lots of bouncing and wind from all directions in the 4 years.  I have now moved these panels to our new-to-us MH.

What I really love about Dicor is it never hardens.  Stay flexible.  To remove the panels just take the screws out, use a thick bladed putty knife and push it under the Z bracket and pry it off the roof.  Paint thinner is then used to remove the Dicor left on the roof and Z brackets.  To fill in the holes in my old RV, I used Bondo, which is used to patch holes in auto/truck bodies.

NOTE:  Don't use paint thinner on rubber roofs.  This is just another reason I don't like rubber roofs. 
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Journey 36G
2020 Chevy Colorado 4X4 Diesel
650 watts residential solar panels--400AH Lithium batteries

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Blues Driver

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #55 on: January 26, 2019, 02:01:23 AM »
I purchased aluminum 1 1/4" angle bar and aluminum 2" flat bar 1/8" thick along with #10 stainless steel screws, flat washers, lock washers and nuts. 

Where did you bu;y the aluminum bar?
Thanks , Pat
« Last Edit: January 26, 2019, 02:15:50 PM by Lou Schneider »

AStravelers

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #56 on: January 27, 2019, 06:36:55 AM »
Where did you bu;y the aluminum bar?
Thanks , Pat
Big Box hardware store.
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Journey 36G
2020 Chevy Colorado 4X4 Diesel
650 watts residential solar panels--400AH Lithium batteries

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Frank B

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #57 on: January 27, 2019, 08:54:14 AM »
If you have one in your area, these folks are very helpful:

https://www.metalsupermarkets.com/
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
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1.2 kw solar

Blues Driver

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #58 on: January 27, 2019, 03:42:46 PM »
If you have one in your area, these folks are very helpful:

https://www.metalsupermarkets.com/
Found one in Las Vegas .
Thanks.    Pat

AStravelers

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #59 on: January 29, 2019, 02:45:23 PM »
If you have one in your area, these folks are very helpful:

https://www.metalsupermarkets.com/
Thanks for the link.  Looks like a great link to a place to buy most any size metal you could want.  Should be much better selection than the big box stores.
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Journey 36G
2020 Chevy Colorado 4X4 Diesel
650 watts residential solar panels--400AH Lithium batteries

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Frank B

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #60 on: January 29, 2019, 03:48:19 PM »
Thanks for the link.  Looks like a great link to a place to buy most any size metal you could want.  Should be much better selection than the big box stores.


These are the folks that cut up the brackets for me on my install. 2" x 1" aluminum angle cut in 4" lengths. I've used them for a number of projects  over the years, as we have one in Calgary as well.
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar

Blues Driver

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #61 on: January 29, 2019, 10:03:41 PM »
Yep, good link. They have a store in Vegas.
Thanks again.
Pat

Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #62 on: February 12, 2019, 09:58:45 AM »
As my overtime checks allow, I have been buying items for my project.  So far I have the inverter and remote, hardwired surge protector, battery monitor is coming today along with two Maxxair Maxxfan Deluxe units with remotes.  We purchased the fans with the hopes that they will keep the Camper comfortable enough so there will be no need for the AC.

Another question....
I read an article somewhere (can't seem to find it now) that one should have some protection between the alternator and the LiFePO4 Batteries so the alternator doesn't overheat and burn up.  It seems this would be more for Motor-homes but my Pickup does have a charge circuit to charge the trailer battery bank when towing.  If I remember correctly the article stated that the LiFePO4 batteries really suck up the juice fast and could damage the alternator.

Is this something that is needed to protect the tow vehicles charging system?  Also.. which one of these units (if either) is for that application; Precision Circuits LiFePO4 Battery Isolation Manager, or Precision Circuits Battery Guard?  It doesn't seem that the battery guard would be for this application.

Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

Frank B

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #63 on: February 12, 2019, 10:14:39 AM »
I'm pretty sure that the charge circuit from your tow vehicle will have a fuse somewhere, so burning up the wiring is unlikely. There is also a fair bit of resistance on the long wire from the alternator to the battery in your trailer that will automatically limit how much current can flow.


With that said , I am no expert here. There may be current limiting devices that are recommended for this sort of thing, so I will step aside to allow those who DO know for sure to comment.
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
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1.2 kw solar

kdbgoat

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #64 on: February 12, 2019, 10:45:01 AM »
If you don't need the tow vehicle to charge the batteries, you can remove the fuse and disable the charge line until you get it figured out.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant

2012 Redwood 36RL
2016 Leprechaun 319DS

Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #65 on: February 13, 2019, 09:48:55 AM »
I don't think the article was referring so much about the amount of current draw, as Frank B stated, there is protection for that.  I think it was the length of time for the high draw that was the concern.  It was suggesting some sort of regulator that would stop the draw from the battery bank for a given period of time, let the alternator cool, then let it charge again.  Wish I could locate the article.

As kdbgoat stated, maybe just pulling the fuse is the easy answer.
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

HueyPilotVN

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #66 on: February 13, 2019, 10:33:33 AM »
You may have already addressed it but you need a catastrophic fuse in the positive cable running from your batteries to your Inverter.

Bill Waugh
2 Jeep Commanders
Mustang Bracket Race Car
Retired from the road to Lake Havasu after 35 years on the road
Now just another Lurker

Kevin Means

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #67 on: February 13, 2019, 10:53:55 AM »
Gee Bill... you could have at least cleaned up your electrical compartment before posting that picture. The wood shavings in the corner are blocking our view of the fuse. :)

Kev
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ
RVI Brake 2, TST 507 TPMS, 960 watts of solar, SolaRVector tilt
Lakeside, California

HueyPilotVN

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #68 on: February 13, 2019, 11:03:21 AM »
What did you expect for free pictures.

At least I zoomed in on the fuses so you did not see my whole messy workbench.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2019, 11:09:59 AM by HueyPilotVN »
Bill Waugh
2 Jeep Commanders
Mustang Bracket Race Car
Retired from the road to Lake Havasu after 35 years on the road
Now just another Lurker

Kevin Means

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #69 on: February 14, 2019, 10:29:35 AM »
 ;D ;D
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ
RVI Brake 2, TST 507 TPMS, 960 watts of solar, SolaRVector tilt
Lakeside, California

Drewd

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #70 on: February 14, 2019, 10:41:33 AM »
Looks good, I ran a catastrophic fuse from each battery bank to a switch then goes to a common terminal block which then feeds all of my DC power needs including inverter; not just inverter.  With solar installations needing so many batteries, there is increased risk of electrical fire form a short.  All it takes is one wire to pull out of a crimped fitting or for road vibration to loosen a terminal lug.

If you have multiple batteries consider separting them into separate battery banks.  This allows me to perform equalization charges with my 4 stage converter regularly to balance the batteries.  It also allows me to use one battery bank as a spare incase of a short or issues in others.  I rotate battery banks so they remain exercised equally. 

Using a spare bank as a backup has saved my once.  I was towing on a fairly long trip to my camp site and my fridge was set to auto and  my electric heater 120 volt AC switch was accidently left one.  Unfortunately, I left the inverter on, and the fridge and water heater drew my batteries down to below 50% during the long drive in rainy weather.

Once I got back to my destination, I switched my backup bank on for power and let the original cells rest until the sun came out the next day so they could be charged separately by solar.  A little power management without having to run the generator got my back to 100% in 2 sunny days.




AStravelers

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #71 on: February 15, 2019, 08:03:17 AM »

Another question....
I read an article somewhere (can't seem to find it now) that one should have some protection between the alternator and the LiFePO4 Batteries so the alternator doesn't overheat and burn up.  It seems this would be more for Motor-homes but my Pickup does have a charge circuit to charge the trailer battery bank when towing.  If I remember correctly the article stated that the LiFePO4 batteries really suck up the juice fast and could damage the alternator.

Is this something that is needed to protect the tow vehicles charging system?  Also.. which one of these units (if either) is for that application; Precision Circuits LiFePO4 Battery Isolation Manager, or Precision Circuits Battery Guard?  It doesn't seem that the battery guard would be for this application.
At best you are only going to have #10 gauge wire from your alternator to your trailer and maybe not even #10 wire in the trailer, so you are not going to get much current down that small wire and whatever current you do get is going to have pretty good voltage loss along the way. 
Take a look at this voltage loss calculator:  http://nooutage.com/vdrop.htm
From the calculator,  if your trailer battery is 20' from the alternator and you only run 10amps down the #10 wire you will have a voltage loss of about 0.5V.  So if your alternator is putting out 14.0V you will only see 13.5V at the battery.  If you manage to get 20amps down the wire you have a loss of about 1V so the battery will only be seeing 13.0V.  That is not enough to charge the battery.

If the wire run is longer or the amps are greater, you will see even less voltage at the battery.
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Journey 36G
2020 Chevy Colorado 4X4 Diesel
650 watts residential solar panels--400AH Lithium batteries

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #72 on: February 18, 2019, 10:20:46 PM »
At best you are only going to have #10 gauge wire from your alternator to your trailer and maybe not even #10 wire in the trailer, so you are not going to get much current down that small wire and whatever current you do get is going to have pretty good voltage loss along the way. 
Take a look at this voltage loss calculator:  http://nooutage.com/vdrop.htm
From the calculator,  if your trailer battery is 20' from the alternator and you only run 10amps down the #10 wire you will have a voltage loss of about 0.5V.  So if your alternator is putting out 14.0V you will only see 13.5V at the battery.  If you manage to get 20amps down the wire you have a loss of about 1V so the battery will only be seeing 13.0V.  That is not enough to charge the battery.

If the wire run is longer or the amps are greater, you will see even less voltage at the battery.

I think I'll just pull the fuse if I notice a problem.
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #73 on: February 18, 2019, 10:23:09 PM »
You may have already addressed it but you need a catastrophic fuse in the positive cable running from your batteries to your Inverter.

Yes... I will definitely have a catastrophic fuse.
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #74 on: February 20, 2019, 08:43:02 AM »
I'm in the process of placing an order for some of the smaller components; switch, battery fuses, buss bars and the catastrophic fuse.  I'm wondering what the proper sized catastrophic fuse should be for the inverter?  I have a Xantrex Freedom XC-2000.  The data sheet states that the DC nominal current at full load is 192 Adc.  The Buss bars I'm looking at are rated at 250 amps continuous load.  I'm thinking I'll end up with 3 or 4 LiFePO4 Batteries wired and fused as Solarman suggested.  Each battery fused and wired separately; to a buss bar, then a switch, then distribution buss, then catastrophic fuse and then to the inverter.  Negative side would be; from the inverter to a collection buss, to the Shunt, to the battery buss.

A ruff (and I mean Ruff) drawing attached.
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

AStravelers

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #75 on: February 20, 2019, 12:23:01 PM »
I would just put a CB/switch like this:  https://www.bluesea.com/products/7149/187-Series_Circuit_Breaker_-_Surface_Mount_200A in place of the switch you have coming off of the plus buss bar.  I don't think there is a need for another fuse/CB between the buss bar and the inverter.

Be sure to size the heavy gauge cables going to the inverter & batteries with a wire size calculator. Try to size the cable for a 1% voltage drop.  Some places say 3% is OK, but the extra cost of the cable to go to 1% is not that much more than 3% and you will get much better efficiencies.   Note that some calculators only calculate for the length of cable you provide while others calculate for the round trip length.  You need to calculate the round trip distance (plus & minus length).

Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Journey 36G
2020 Chevy Colorado 4X4 Diesel
650 watts residential solar panels--400AH Lithium batteries

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

solarman

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #76 on: February 20, 2019, 08:36:15 PM »
I'm in the process of placing an order for some of the smaller components; switch, battery fuses, buss bars and the catastrophic fuse.  I'm wondering what the proper sized catastrophic fuse should be for the inverter?  I have a Xantrex Freedom XC-2000.  The data sheet states that the DC nominal current at full load is 192 Adc.  The Buss bars I'm looking at are rated at 250 amps continuous load.  I'm thinking I'll end up with 3 or 4 LiFePO4 Batteries wired and fused as Solarman suggested.  Each battery fused and wired separately; to a buss bar, then a switch, then distribution buss, then catastrophic fuse and then to the inverter.  Negative side would be; from the inverter to a collection buss, to the Shunt, to the battery buss.

A ruff (and I mean Ruff) drawing attached.

the battery positive bus and the distribution bus can be one and the same.

delete the fuse as drawn, replace the switch with a bussman or similar resettable fuse or "breaker"
for 192 amp full load you will be using at least 3/0 awg  to the inverter and will need a 250 amp breaker.

note: the fuse or breaker is there to protect the cable not the inverter !
also I would suggest a battery disconnect on the negative side by the shunt.

for powering smaller loads, these low cost fuse blocks actually work really well..


https://www.amazon.com/WUPP-Blade-Warning-Indicator-Damp-Proof/dp/B07GBST5NX/ref=pd_day0_hl_263_4/131-3829022-9020408?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B07GBST5NX&pd_rd_r=b77078dd-3583-11e9-80dc-db96b6b7be1a&pd_rd_w=ns6xL&pd_rd_wg=dxPf9&pf_rd_p=ad07871c-e646-4161-82c7-5ed0d4c85b07&pf_rd_r=N6GJV3G8W8FDCT44SYK2&psc=1&refRID=N6GJV3G8W8FDCT44SYK2



if i get a few minutes tomorrow i'll rough draw you a suggested layout for comparison..
« Last Edit: February 20, 2019, 09:04:40 PM by solarman »
KZ MXT20 480 W solar
ORV 24RKS 960 Watts solar
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Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #77 on: February 21, 2019, 12:44:30 AM »
if i get a few minutes tomorrow i'll rough draw you a suggested layout for comparison..

That would be great and appreciated...
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

solarman

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #78 on: February 22, 2019, 05:09:06 PM »
That would be great and appreciated...

ok, i had a few minutes to draw this on my board.. it's quick and dirty, but you
will see the general format of things.
KZ MXT20 480 W solar
ORV 24RKS 960 Watts solar
48V LFP, 2000W inverter/charger
Ram 2500 CTD

Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #79 on: February 23, 2019, 03:11:07 PM »
ok, i had a few minutes to draw this on my board.. it's quick and dirty, but you
will see the general format of things.

Very good, thank you much solarman.  I forgot about the chassis ground in my planning.  Hopefully I would have remembered when I was putting everything together.

Having a little trouble finding a 250 amp breaker that also can be used as a disconnect.  I found this one; https://www.amazon.com/XSCORPION-CB250-Circuit-Breaker-Manual/dp/B00MR1LVZS,  but the reviews were not good at all.  This one; https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B06Y454WHC/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=ALHXFZX1L0DAX&psc=1,  seems good and has positive reviews but no manual button for disconnect.

Anyone have a resource for such a breaker/disconnect at 250 amps?
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

solarman

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #80 on: February 23, 2019, 09:17:38 PM »
Very good, thank you much solarman.  I forgot about the chassis ground in my planning.  Hopefully I would have remembered when I was putting everything together.

Having a little trouble finding a 250 amp breaker that also can be used as a disconnect.  I found this one; https://www.amazon.com/XSCORPION-CB250-Circuit-Breaker-Manual/dp/B00MR1LVZS,  but the reviews were not good at all.  This one; https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B06Y454WHC/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=ALHXFZX1L0DAX&psc=1,  seems good and has positive reviews but no manual button for disconnect.

Anyone have a resource for such a breaker/disconnect at 250 amps?


https://www.waytekwire.com/products/1366/Circuit-Breakers/
KZ MXT20 480 W solar
ORV 24RKS 960 Watts solar
48V LFP, 2000W inverter/charger
Ram 2500 CTD

AStravelers

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #81 on: February 24, 2019, 11:02:52 AM »
While it could be "best" to go with the 250amp, I would be highly surprised to ever see the inverter pull 200amps and trip the 200amp CB/disconnect from Blue Sea I suggested earlier. 

Additionally the CB is a safety device so if something shorts out and pulls max amps available it will trip a 200amp CB sooner than a 250amp.

When I am using the inverter I don't try to use more than one high amp draw device at once.  My microwave pulls a max of 140amps DC.  I do have a toaster which can take 4 slices of bread.  It pulls 180amp of DC.   I guess if you try to use the microwave and a toaster or coffee pot, or hair dryer and the microwave at the same time you could have a problem.   I would be more worried about making the inverter work to the max or even overloading it by using 2 high power devices than popping a 200amp CB.
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Journey 36G
2020 Chevy Colorado 4X4 Diesel
650 watts residential solar panels--400AH Lithium batteries

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

solarman

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #82 on: February 24, 2019, 08:54:48 PM »
While it could be "best" to go with the 250amp, I would be highly surprised to ever see the inverter pull 200amps and trip the 200amp CB/disconnect from Blue Sea I suggested earlier. 

Additionally the CB is a safety device so if something shorts out and pulls max amps available it will trip a 200amp CB sooner than a 250amp.

When I am using the inverter I don't try to use more than one high amp draw device at once.  My microwave pulls a max of 140amps DC.  I do have a toaster which can take 4 slices of bread.  It pulls 180amp of DC.   I guess if you try to use the microwave and a toaster or coffee pot, or hair dryer and the microwave at the same time you could have a problem.   I would be more worried about making the inverter work to the max or even overloading it by using 2 high power devices than popping a 200amp CB.


that's a reasonable argument..

avoid running at max load and fit one of these..

https://www.waytekwire.com/item/48909/Mechanical-Products-175-S2-200-2-Surface-Mount/

and your good to go...


KZ MXT20 480 W solar
ORV 24RKS 960 Watts solar
48V LFP, 2000W inverter/charger
Ram 2500 CTD

Blues Driver

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #83 on: February 25, 2019, 05:51:07 AM »
ok, i had a few minutes to draw this on my board.. it's quick and dirty, but you
will see the general format of things.
Question. What does "BS Feeds" out of the dist. block stand for? 
Thanks, Pat

AStravelers

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #84 on: February 25, 2019, 09:05:34 AM »
Question. What does "BS Feeds" out of the dist. block stand for? 
Thanks, Pat
I believe BS is "buss" as in 12V positive buss feeds. 
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Journey 36G
2020 Chevy Colorado 4X4 Diesel
650 watts residential solar panels--400AH Lithium batteries

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

solarman

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #85 on: February 25, 2019, 07:40:51 PM »
Question. What does "BS Feeds" out of the dist. block stand for? 
Thanks, Pat


LOL.. sorry, it's my chicken scratch writing...

that says "Pos" as in positive..

KZ MXT20 480 W solar
ORV 24RKS 960 Watts solar
48V LFP, 2000W inverter/charger
Ram 2500 CTD

Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #86 on: March 23, 2019, 12:43:57 AM »
Has anyone heard of these, know where they are made, any info good or bad?

https://lionenergy.com/products/lion-safari-ut

I went to order batteries today from Battle Born and they have a two or three week back-order time.  I ran across this other brand but can't find much info about them.

Getting ready to start putting things together.  Wednesday I'm installing the Equa-Flex Equalizer and a Mor/ryde wet bolt kit.  Then I'll be bring it home from storage and upgrading the 12 volt electrical system.  We have a trip planned for April 28th so it's crunch time.


Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

ClassyC

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #87 on: March 23, 2019, 04:42:27 AM »
I read you want to do this in stages and I see you started buying stuff.  Just wanted to point out the solar tax credit of 30% if you buy the solar panels this year as well since you need all the components you are currently buying to implement the system, they might be deducted too.

Robert K

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #88 on: March 23, 2019, 05:39:16 AM »
Classy C
 You can use that credit for rv use? I am going to add a couple of panels when I run out of other projects.
 

  By the way I am about 30 miles due west of you in wyoming county.If you see an older Safari on rt 70 or 36 its us. We come thru there 4 to 5 times a year
     
      Bob
Bob&Sandy
96 Safari Serengeti
3126 Cat
2011 jeep wrangler
Western New York

AStravelers

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #89 on: March 23, 2019, 06:42:06 AM »
Has anyone heard of these, know where they are made, any info good or bad?

https://lionenergy.com/products/lion-safari-ut

I went to order batteries today from Battle Born and they have a two or three week back-order time.  I ran across this other brand but can't find much info about them.

Getting ready to start putting things together.  Wednesday I'm installing the Equa-Flex Equalizer and a Mor/ryde wet bolt kit.  Then I'll be bring it home from storage and upgrading the 12 volt electrical system.  We have a trip planned for April 28th so it's crunch time.
I looked at the Lion Energy website.  The main thing I came away with is a distinct lack of detailed info.  Additionally the info they do provide is promotional in nature rather than informative.   
--  There is no mention of a BMS (battery monitor system). 
--  The FAQ section talks about a "generator" and includes words about 120V AC power.  But the info needed is about a battery they rate at 100AH. 
--  If companies won't provide precise detailed info on their website I would be reluctant to trust them with my money.
 
« Last Edit: March 23, 2019, 06:43:46 AM by AStravelers »
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Journey 36G
2020 Chevy Colorado 4X4 Diesel
650 watts residential solar panels--400AH Lithium batteries

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

ClassyC

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #90 on: March 23, 2019, 01:54:10 PM »
Robert - Consult your tax professional but if your RV is your second home then yes, a 30% credit for all expenditures to put a solar system on it is deductible on taxes. Note that this is an actual credit, not a deduction so its a big deal.    This goes down to 27% next year. And I think keeps going down after that...
I’ll look for you going by ;D

ClassyC

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #91 on: March 23, 2019, 02:02:44 PM »
Here is one link with some more detailed background info ( I have no affiliation).
https://www.wholesalesolar.com/solar-information/federal-tax-credit

Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #92 on: March 24, 2019, 09:20:47 PM »
I looked at the Lion Energy website.  The main thing I came away with is a distinct lack of detailed info.  Additionally the info they do provide is promotional in nature rather than informative.   
--  There is no mention of a BMS (battery monitor system). 
--  The FAQ section talks about a "generator" and includes words about 120V AC power.  But the info needed is about a battery they rate at 100AH. 
--  If companies won't provide precise detailed info on their website I would be reluctant to trust them with my money.

I was thinking the same thing.  I've never seen them anyplace else which makes me uneasy also.  They do have an appealing price, $799 at Continuous Resources, but I think I'll order the Battle Born's and hope they come in time for my trip.

Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #93 on: March 30, 2019, 08:52:24 PM »
Even though they are calling for snow tonight, we got the camper out of storage and it's in the driveway!   :)  I have most of the pieces for the 12 volt system except the batteries and cables.  I've been told that I should have the batteries by the 24th of April.  I hope this is true because we leave on our trip the 27th.  If they don't come in on time... well I guess I'll be up RV's creek without a battery.

The plan tomorrow is to get everything laid out so I can get cable lengths and get those ordered.  I have plenty to keep me busy until the cables are delivered.  Mount the Inverter and remote, Victron battery monitor, hard wired surge-guard and remote and two MaxxFan's.

The friend of mine where I store the camper in his barn helped me Wednesday install a wet-bolt kit and a Lippert Equa-Flex equalizer.  Pulling it home today it seemed to be a little smoother.  You didn't get that extra jarring as much from the camper when you go over a bump/ruff road.  So far it seems to be a worthwhile upgrade.

I'll try and take pictures of before/after/during the build.  I usually get involved in what I'm doing and forget about the pics though.  Looking forward to getting started tomorrow.. that is if I don't get called to work because of the weather.

Again.. thanks to all for the advise/ideas/comments over the winter.  This is a Great resource!

« Last Edit: March 30, 2019, 08:55:20 PM by Kathy & Bill »
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

solarman

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #94 on: April 01, 2019, 12:54:02 PM »
I always find these Lithium battery sites a great source of amusement..

here are the specs from the website..

***   Last longer - 14 x the life cycle

14 times eh..  well the trojans on my small camper have a cycle life of about 1500 cycles
therefore these would need to be 14 x 1500 = 21000 cycles.. sure..
or lifespan.. well trojans are good for 5 years so these need to do 70 years.. LOL


******    Longer run time - Camp longer, dump 5x more

ok, so FLA to 50% DOD equates to Lithium at about 80% that's not five times more..
if you size Lithium to replace FLA then you will have the same capacity..
else you have at best 80% dod instead of 50%

the only dumping here seems to be the five times pile of bullsh*t


******    Zero maintenance - Retains charge 3x longer

mostly correct, i'll give them that one...

    Fast charge time - 15% faster
    Weighs less - Up to 4x less


******    Green safe - No emissions, no carbon footprint

except for the horrendous amount of carbon energy that it took to manufacture them in the first place.. !!
and also the toxic waste from recycling when they do die on you.. oh and don't forget to tell the fire boss
about those cracked open batteries when you have wreck and you're on fire.... see how they like that..


« Last Edit: April 01, 2019, 12:58:07 PM by solarman »
KZ MXT20 480 W solar
ORV 24RKS 960 Watts solar
48V LFP, 2000W inverter/charger
Ram 2500 CTD

Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #95 on: April 07, 2019, 07:48:18 AM »
A productive day yesterday.  Got everything tore apart (DW was a little nervous when she walked in and saw what I did) so I could get the AC and remote wires pulled.  Surge Guard and remote installed, Inverter and remote mounted, Victron battery monitor mounted, AC wiring and remote wires pulled.

Today is supposed to be another nice day so the plan is to get on the roof and tackle the new Maxx fans install.  If that goes smoothly I'll pull the short DC runs under the camper so I can get that sealed back up.  Calling for rain most of the week so I'll save the inside work for then.

Attached are a few pics....
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

AStravelers

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #96 on: April 07, 2019, 04:09:58 PM »
Looks like nice quality work.
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Journey 36G
2020 Chevy Colorado 4X4 Diesel
650 watts residential solar panels--400AH Lithium batteries

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #97 on: April 07, 2019, 06:39:11 PM »
Looks like nice quality work.

Thanks....
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #98 on: April 11, 2019, 07:45:24 PM »
Everything is coming along nicely.  Batteries were shipped Monday, although there is a delay because of the weather in Mid-west.  I have almost all the wiring and connections completed, two ground connections to the frame and then the battery cables to the Battle Born batteries.

Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

Frank B

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #99 on: April 13, 2019, 09:51:23 PM »
Very neat and classy! Makes my install look pretty crude by comparison....  :-[
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar

Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #100 on: April 15, 2019, 08:48:38 PM »
Very neat and classy! Makes my install look pretty crude by comparison....  :-[

I don't know if I'd say that Frank...  I thought your Solar install was pretty sweet.  I'm hoping to do my solar next year.

I hooked up my single flooded battery to the new system and threw the switch... no sparks and everything seemed to work, so I guess I did okay.  The Xantrex Freedom XC 2000 seems like a pretty nice unit.  The hardwired Surge Guard unit has a pretty good hum/vibration to it.  I have it screwed tight to the floor, maybe mounting it differently would quite it down some.  The batteries should be delivered tomorrow and that's the last piece of the puzzle for now.  I'll set parameters for the inverter and battery monitor and we should be all set. 

Heading out on the 27th for a two week trip and can't wait to see how everything works out.


Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #101 on: April 20, 2019, 12:36:14 PM »
Okay... everything is done , I'll wrap this thread up.

With the help from everyone that chimed in, everything seems to work fine.  I put the finishing touches on the battery install this morning.  A few routine checks and we'll be all set to head out next Sunday for two weeks and start enjoying the fruits of my labor.  Thanks again for all your help!!

A quick recap of the upgrades to the Truck and Camper....

Truck, 2012 1500 Silverado 5.3 liter;
Installed a 25 row Derale Stacked Plate Transmission Cooler
Transmission filter and oil change, Full Synthetic
Mobile 1 Extended life oil and filter change
Banks Ram Air system, Jet throttle body spacer
MSD plug wires, Bosch Double Platinum Spark Plugs

Camper, 2019 Apex 265-RBSS;
Lippert Equa-Flex with MORryde Wet bolt kit
Xantrex Freedom XC 2000 with remote
Hardwired Surge Guard with remote
Victron 712 Battery monitor
4 - 100 Ah LiPo batteries from Battle Born
2 - Maxx Air Deluxe fans
SurFlow accumulator tank and pump silencer kit



« Last Edit: April 20, 2019, 01:01:50 PM by Kathy & Bill »
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

Gizmo100

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #102 on: April 20, 2019, 04:04:17 PM »
Very nice and neat ....
2017 Heartland Trail runner 24 SLE
2017 Ford F150 3.5 Eco boost

To be 1/2 the man my dog thinks I am...But twice the man My wife thinks I am...

Drewd

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #103 on: April 20, 2019, 09:06:52 PM »
May I make one suggestion?  Please use split loom tubing (I call it split loom conduit) on wiring that is or has potential to rub against each other.  Not needed for a stationary installation but I was almost down to bare/esposed wire on 2/00 gauge wires where it was touching each other on the run to my inverter.  The short would have been ugly for the microsecond it took to blow my inline fuses from each battery bank.  Our RV's bounce around a lot and I'm a bigger safety freak from my experience.

You have a very clean install and it looks great, BTW!
« Last Edit: April 20, 2019, 09:09:08 PM by Drewd »

Kathy & Bill

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #104 on: April 24, 2019, 05:19:02 PM »
May I make one suggestion?  Please use split loom tubing (I call it split loom conduit) on wiring that is or has potential to rub against each other.  Not needed for a stationary installation but I was almost down to bare/esposed wire on 2/00 gauge wires where it was touching each other on the run to my inverter.  The short would have been ugly for the microsecond it took to blow my inline fuses from each battery bank.  Our RV's bounce around a lot and I'm a bigger safety freak from my experience.

You have a very clean install and it looks great, BTW!

That's probably a very good idea where my runs to the inverter go through the wall.  Thanks for your input...  :))
Bill & Kathy
Western NY
2019 Coachman Apex 265RBSS
2012 Silverado 1500, 5.3L

ClassyC

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #105 on: April 24, 2019, 05:40:03 PM »
 Even Harbor Freight carries that wire wrap stuff if you can’t find other source.

AStravelers

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Re: Building a new System
« Reply #106 on: April 26, 2019, 06:05:21 AM »
Or Amazon.  Just search Amazon for "wire loom" or "split loom".  They have a selection of diameters.  Local stores sometimes only have limited sizes & lengths.
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Journey 36G
2020 Chevy Colorado 4X4 Diesel
650 watts residential solar panels--400AH Lithium batteries

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/