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RVing message boards => Van Conversions => Topic started by: Len and Jo on June 11, 2015, 07:14:32 PM

Title: Up grading (or is it more complex?) my 'B'
Post by: Len and Jo on June 11, 2015, 07:14:32 PM
Thought we would try using a refrig for awhile in our 'B' rather than our trusty ice chest.  We remote camp a fair amount of the time and it gets tiring to have to drive for half an hour sometimes to get ice.  On other hand it does provide a GREAT opportunity to get an ice cream, unhealthy junk food or B E E R.

Finally came across an Energy Star one that made the project within reach.  3.2 cf with an Energy Star rating of 219 kw/year.  A 100 or so Kw less then what they have been (new standard in 2014??).  Any case for $100 bucks not much lost if I had destroyed it while trying to "make it better".  I was able to reduce its power consumption by 50-60%.  So running it with my 1000w inverter would give me 2-4 days run time off my 215 Ah house batter bank (if, if, my 6 year old batteries were new  :-\ :-\).  A project within reach.  Will use it a bit and if we really like it will replace our house batteries (should do that anyway) and/or add 100-140 watts of solar.

Any way here is the before and after pics for those of you who like to monkey around:

Title: Re: Up grading (or is it more complex?) my 'B'
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on June 12, 2015, 08:29:26 AM
You do nice work, Len!
Title: Re: Up grading (or is it more complex?) my 'B'
Post by: Oscar Mike on June 12, 2015, 08:36:06 AM
Well thought and implemented...I love the ingenuity some of you folks have.
Title: Re: Up grading (or is it more complex?) my 'B'
Post by: Len and Jo on June 17, 2015, 03:48:37 PM
WELL I bite the bullet and did it.  I replaced my two 6 year old 12 volt Delco Voyager group 29 batteries with two Cosco 6 volt golf cart batteries.  The Delco batteries 6 years ago cost me $140 each and the new Costco GC2 batteries cost $83.99 each (plus sales tax).  Turned out to be two day project.

My battery compartment is inside the van so first thing I had to fabricate a new battery venting system.  That took awhile to figure out since the Costco Interstate batteries came with a super duper remove all three battery cap at once system. 

The GC2 golf cart batteries are 1.25000000" taller then the old batteries.  As it turned out with moving a few "miner" things, measuring 10 times,  I could gain 1.24900000 inches of clearance for the new batteries.  So I figured those dimensions and a hammer and I could make it work.  It did.  Every cabinet and storage space I have in my 'B' is TAILORED to its function to conserve our van living space.   The battery compartment WAS NO EXCEPTION.

Two batteries in series versus two batteries in parallel required several modified/new cables.  Also the Delco had battery posts as well as threaded studs.  The golf cart batteries had threaded studs only.  More chopping and soldering required.

Looking forward to our next trip and using the new DC power source.

Having a nice cold Corona as I type this.   :P :P

Title: Re: Up grading (or is it more complex?) my 'B'
Post by: Kim (skyking4ar2) Bertram on June 17, 2015, 04:34:26 PM
Having a nice cold Corona as I type this.   :P :P

A man who has his priorities straight!

Your work is excellent on the refrig - now you have me thinking about adding one in the basement so I don't have to go so far for a Corona! (or Dos Equis)

Thanks for sharing that idea!

Title: Re: Up grading (or is it more complex?) my 'B'
Post by: Len and Jo on June 30, 2015, 10:10:03 AM
Well the complexity continues ::) ::).  Ordered 200w of solar to go along with the refrig and new batteries.  Came unbelievably fast.  Ordered at 5pm on the 25th and they came at 9am today on the 30th.  The default order is series wired for the two panels.  Will give that a try.  I think though with trees and shade coming and going here on the N.E. the final setup will be with the panels in parallel.  Got time to shake that out.

I have read that for good heat dissipation that the panels should be 2-3" inches off of the roof.  With the supplied mounting brackets and including the panel frame the actual PV will be 1.75" off of the roof.  Any feeling if that is enough.  Was thinking of adding a 3/4" or 1" spacer to get the panels higher in the air off of the roof.

Title: Re: Up grading (or is it more complex?) my 'B'
Post by: Len and Jo on May 05, 2016, 06:31:20 PM
Thread getting old but to keep all info in one place.....

Follow up: The refrigerator over the year I have had it in the van has stalled 4-5 times on start up with the vans 1000w modified sine Tripp Lite inverter. Has never stalled on start up when using true sine wave shore power. So I have just replaced the Tripp Lite with a Xantrex Prowatt 1000w inverter (Amazon: $232.90). It is a very nice unit and seems to be working great. An unexpected PLUS is under no load (refrig compressor in the off cycle) it only draws 0.3 to 0.4 amps while my previous 1000w Tripp Lite drew 0.8 amps. That really stretches the length of time the refrig can run off of the the 230 Ah house batteries. 29 amp daily draw with 115 amps available in the batteries gives me 4 days! With my 200w of Renogy solar panels keeping the house batteries charged I will never run out of cold beer while dry camping.
Title: Re: Up grading (or is it more complex?) my 'B'
Post by: TravMan on March 11, 2017, 06:29:40 PM
Len, you and Jo are rock stars. I saw your video a year or so ago, and loved how you setup you van. Well thought out utilization, multi-purposes, and good flow. You inspired me to get off my butt and get back to traveling myself. I would love to build a custom van, but went with a Roadtrek 190P to save time and get on the road sooner, and that will be my starting point for customizing.

I bought it last may, have put 10K miles on it traveling up and down the east coast, GA, TN, NC, VA, MD, up to MA, RI, NH, VT, NY and ME.  Will be departing this year for a 2-3 month trip out west.

Do you have a blog following your travels? I’d love to read it if you do.

Safe travels…