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Old 04-21-2016, 12:30 PM   #43
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Heaters in general tend to draw boat-loads of power (unless they are gas) and so I'd like to see the calcs on that one.
Since you would only need the battery heaters during charging, seems like the only downside would be the extended charging time. Probably missing something here.
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Old 04-21-2016, 01:57 PM   #44
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Since you would only need the battery heaters during charging, seems like the only downside would be the extended charging time. Probably missing something here.

You have the right idea. Just like an electric vehicle the charging source would have to heat the batteries above freezing before starting charging. Since I rely heavily on my solar charging the added load of a heater would likely cause the batteries to not get fully charged on s cold winter day. I'd be back to having to plug in during the winter.
Also I would have had to build an insulated box to hold the batteries with a heater if I wanted to mount the lithiums under the van like Advanced RV and Roadtrek do with their lithium batteries. For my DIY project lithiums were just getting too complicated and expensive.


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Old 04-21-2016, 02:03 PM   #45
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Thanks Mike. Do you have a photo of how you added the batteries underside? And the battery cases you used? The OEM cases on mine will require modification to go with the 6 volt batteries. I'm not sure where I could shoehorn in two more.

I see LB_3 posted link to one of my photos. I'll post more when I get back home. Someone else on this forum has had new battery cases made for a late model GT. I'll try to find the thread.


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Old 04-22-2016, 06:23 AM   #46
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".........Back when I was in my pre-solar redneck stage of attempted boondocking, I tried to argue to my husband that we simply buy a separate Lifeline, bench charge it, and stow it in isolation under the bloody couch so that I could physically swap it out with the house battery when the house battery got too low......"

I like this idea, probably because I do something similar. After buying our Interstate I found an almost brand new AGM in my garage. So I ordered the battery shelf to attach under the hood on the drivers side, and the battery rides happily there under the hood. It isn't attached to anything. It's just there. I put the charger on it before a trip, carry jumper cables, but I haven't thought of anything to do with it on a permanent basis yet.
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Old 04-22-2016, 06:55 PM   #47
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Here is link to a recent thread on increasing batteries in a 2015 Interstate Grand Tour for better boondocking performance.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f240/upgraded-batteries-143038.html


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Old 04-22-2016, 08:46 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Mcrider View Post
Thanks Mike. Do you have a photo of how you added the batteries underside? And the battery cases you used? The OEM cases on mine will require modification to go with the 6 volt batteries. I'm not sure where I could shoehorn in two more.

Here are some additional photos of the battery racks I installed on my van to mount two 6V AGM batteries on each side. This is a view of one of many fit checks.
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Here are photos of final installation on each side. Note that Lifeline AGMs can be mounted on their side.
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Getting the batteries under the van freed up space to mount a larger inverter where the old battery box was mounted. Here is photo of new inverter installation.
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Enjoy,


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Old 04-22-2016, 10:15 PM   #49
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I meant to also include this photo showing the battery trays lowered to the ground. This is how I installed the batteries and how they are removed if needed.
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Old 04-23-2016, 09:51 AM   #50
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Thanks Mike. Very helpful
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Old 04-25-2016, 08:37 PM   #51
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Thanks for all the advice. Inspired by Boxter and others I'm now on a Solar Upgrade Journey. I examined the GT roof this past weekend and no TV antenna in the way so clear real estate behind the AC. Checked with Airstream and existing wiring and controller is good for adding two additional GP 100 Flex Panels Plug 'n Play. (I plan to do a much more elegant install than the factory did.

Leveraging Boxter's thinking I have plenty of room to add two additional batteries curbside. Will see on ordering the OEM boxes and go with the 24T first. This should be easiest and least cost approach. Pictures to follow as the parts and project come along.

I will also REMOVE the Service Bulletin -164 change that was made as that adds a stupid 850 mA parasitic drain.

The SB 164 and 300 Watts of solar should almost meet my objectives. The additional 160 AH will most certainly. I'll let the Lithium technology mature a bit longer.

Thanks again.
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Old 04-26-2016, 02:16 AM   #52
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Sorry to be late to the party. We've boondocked extensively in our 2013. We upgraded our 50w panel by adding an additional 100w panel. Now power is not the limiting factor. Running the generator helps. The real reason we move in three days is we need to fill or drain water. Add solar panels or whatever. Solving the power problem is a bit of learning. How long you can can go is more holistic. 26 gals of fresh water is our limiting factor. Enjoy the journey.
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Old 04-26-2016, 11:23 AM   #53
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There are others that know a LOT more about solar than I do. However, I will give you my perspective that 1) flex panels are not optimal, vs. rigid; and 2) you should upgrade BOTH the wiring and CONTROLLER. Otherwise, you will fall short of what you're expecting from the addition of 200w of solar.

I added 200 w via 2 rigid panels, upgraded wiring, and an upgraded MPPT charger/controller.

The reasons for and benefits from upgrading are: 1) more efficient capture of the sun from rigid panels; 2) less loss of charge from the panels into the battery via the wiring; and 3) better charging, and prevention of over-charging via the MPPT

As I said, others who know a lot more about this than me might weigh in
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Old 04-26-2016, 11:23 AM   #54
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There are others that know a LOT more about solar than I do. However, I will give you my perspective that 1) flex panels are not optimal, vs. rigid; and 2) you should upgrade BOTH the wiring and CONTROLLER. Otherwise, you will fall short of what you're expecting from the addition of 200w of solar.

I added 200 w via 2 rigid panels, upgraded wiring, and an upgraded MPPT charger/controller.

The reasons for and benefits from upgrading are: 1) more efficient capture of the sun from rigid panels; 2) less loss of charge from the panels into the battery via the wiring; and 3) better charging, and prevention of over-charging via the MPPT

As I said, others who know a lot more about this than me might weigh in
sorry .. this was supposed to be a reply to Mcrider
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Old 04-26-2016, 06:47 PM   #55
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Thanks for all the advice. Inspired by Boxter and others I'm now on a Solar Upgrade Journey. I examined the GT roof this past weekend and no TV antenna in the way so clear real estate behind the AC. Checked with Airstream and existing wiring and controller is good for adding two additional GP 100 Flex Panels Plug 'n Play. (I plan to do a much more elegant install than the factory did.



Leveraging Boxter's thinking I have plenty of room to add two additional batteries curbside. Will see on ordering the OEM boxes and go with the 24T first. This should be easiest and least cost approach. Pictures to follow as the parts and project come along.



I will also REMOVE the Service Bulletin -164 change that was made as that adds a stupid 850 mA parasitic drain.



The SB 164 and 300 Watts of solar should almost meet my objectives. The additional 160 AH will most certainly. I'll let the Lithium technology mature a bit longer.



Thanks again.

If you up your solar to 300 watts you should consider upgrading the wiring and controller. But doing that is a bigger project. So yes you could start with the new panels and see how they perform before going the next step to upgrade wiring and controller.

I also like your approach of getting more Airstream OEM battery trays and adding them on curb side to increase capacity. I've done all my electrical upgrades in stages. First I replaced the original 50 watt panel with two 100 watt panels plus new wiring and controller. Then about a year later I added two more 100 watt panels, all matched rigid panels. This year I upgraded the batteries and inverter. I now have an electrical system that meets all my needs.


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Old 04-29-2016, 09:17 PM   #56
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Supposed to be wet this weekend so perfect time to start the upgrade.
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