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Old 06-01-2014, 02:42 PM   #1
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Electrical System mods

I'm thinking of putting solar panels on my newly acquired 2005 AI.
Also wondered if anyone has added a second house battery and inverter on a similar model, mine has the rear sofa/bed .
Not sure if there's room for another battery, but maybe someone has already done this?
Cheers
Colin
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Old 06-01-2014, 03:34 PM   #2
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The 2005 model has the house battery under the passenger-side front seat. There may be room under the sofa to add one AGM battery, but then you run into problems with the two house batteries separated by such a large distance.

Also, if you add a second house battery, you should also replace your existing one, so that they're the same brand and same age.
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Old 06-01-2014, 06:02 PM   #3
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There are some ideas on increasing battery capacity on older Sprinter RVs over on the Sprinter Forum. Check out this one about a mod to 2005 LTV B-van.

http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2674

...and this one on a 2004 LTV

http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=32040
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Old 06-01-2014, 09:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrcolin2u View Post
I'm thinking of putting solar panels on my newly acquired 2005 AI.
Also wondered if anyone has added a second house battery and inverter on a similar model, mine has the rear sofa/bed .
Not sure if there's room for another battery, but maybe someone has already done this?
Cheers
Colin
I am looking to do the same. Let me know what you decide on if you would. I have the same year/model. I sis swap out the charger for a boondocker 60A and have been looking to replace the wet sell under the front seat with a agm on its side so I can put in a swivel seat. So few we have spent 3 weeks total live time boon docking and the single batter has worked pretty well for us. I am debating if two is necessary. We used the fan all the time on the west coast and the furnace all the time on the east cost and never ran out of juice. Batteries did get a decent charge most days while we were driving though.
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Old 06-05-2014, 07:53 PM   #5
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I am looking to do the same. Let me know what you decide on if you would. I have the same year/model. I sis swap out the charger for a boondocker 60A and have been looking to replace the wet sell under the front seat with a agm on its side so I can put in a swivel seat. So few we have spent 3 weeks total live time boon docking and the single batter has worked pretty well for us. I am debating if two is necessary. We used the fan all the time on the west coast and the furnace all the time on the east cost and never ran out of juice. Batteries did get a decent charge most days while we were driving though.
Why did you swap out the charger , is the factory model not good enough ?
If I did that I would probably go with a charger/inverter so we can have the tv on when dry camping. I don't know if there's room for many solar panels, i looked and there's a lot of stuff on the roof taking up space. It would be nice though to have solar to charge the batteries during the day when there's no shore power.
I'd like to figure a way to add another battery....
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:29 PM   #6
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FWIW, my 50W panel that came w/ mine keeps the two coach batteries fully charged even on cloudy days.
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Old 06-06-2014, 10:27 AM   #7
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FWIW, my 50W panel that came w/ mine keeps the two coach batteries fully charged even on cloudy days.
Interesting... mine would never keep the batteries charged and that's why I added a new more powerful solar system. I have to park my van in a spot behind my townhouse that only gets full sun for a few hours each day.

Do you have any idea what the parasitic (standby) electrical load is on your batteries?

BTW - Airstream updated the new Interstates with 100 watt panels.
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Old 06-06-2014, 11:40 AM   #8
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I have everything that can be shut down disconnected. I think the only draws are the chassis battery, solar controller, BIM, and possibly the CO/Propane detector. The solar panel will produce current even during a cloudy day. Any daylite seems to work.

I would guess the draw is 0.5 Amp or less. Mine is the 50W panel.
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Old 06-06-2014, 12:04 PM   #9
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The older AI were a lot dif than the newer ones. Mine had an outside accessed storage compartment just inside the sliding door. Always thought that would be a good place for a second battery. About four feet? From the one under the passenger seat. Jim
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Old 06-06-2014, 06:49 PM   #10
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FWIW Roadtrek has been installing 240 watts of solar now for 2 years on most of their Sprinter chassis.
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Old 06-07-2014, 10:43 AM   #11
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Why did you swap out the charger , is the factory model not good enough ?
If I did that I would probably go with a charger/inverter so we can have the tv on when dry camping. I don't know if there's room for many solar panels, i looked and there's a lot of stuff on the roof taking up space. It would be nice though to have solar to charge the batteries during the day when there's no shore power.
I'd like to figure a way to add another battery....
The charger is used when charging your batteries with land power or with the generator. The charger in the 2005 interstate is a single stage charger Magnatek 7300 in mine. So it basically starts charging as soon as it detect a low voltage and it charges at a single voltage. This often causes the battery to overcharge. New chargers like the boon docker have a 4 state (other brands 3 stage) charger. This lets me keep my interstate garaged and plugged in all the time. It has a low voltage stage (trickle charger) a boost charger (highest I have seen on the market) for very fast charging when the battery is low, a normal charge and last a battery maintenance charge system that mixes up the chemicals(desulfation cycle to prevent stratification that can lead to battery sulfation) in the battery extending its life. The idea is to keep the battery at its peek charge all the time. With Solar I will also look for a multi-stage charger so when we are on the road the battery is fully charged for the evenings. Lastly I have seen my fair share of stock chargers and most all if not all have had some burning on the circuit boards after a few years use. Older models will actually burn the plywood they are set on. Note most installed past 2000 are in a metal cage so this wont happen like my 2005 interstate. I have added a few pictures of my old board. The upgrade took about 30 minutes and cost about $160 or so to do. I got my charger from PowerMax Boondocker Converters they were super helpful and I cant say enough about their customer service. <---Shameless plug for a great vendor I used the 60 Amp version. In the pictures you can see the dust build up over the years and the charred circuit board. It was working fine and charging the battery but I noticed the fan ran most of the time so I decided to take a look and decided it was best to replace the unit with a multistage. Bestconverter recommends this unit for AGM batteries (way safer for coach installed batteries) which I am installing this weekend because I have ordered a passenger seat swivel and I can lay the agm on its side without worries of battery leakage. I am still debating if I need more than a single agm as our current lead acid flooded cell has work fine and we have never run out of power yet. I have converted the bulbs to led as well to keep the power consumption to a minimum.
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Old 06-07-2014, 12:54 PM   #12
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If you truly want the best charging system for AGM batteries, you should forego any type of converter and go with a quality inverter/charger like a Magnum MMS-1012 or MS-2012. Both are pure sine wave inverters with 4 stage charging that is fully temperature compensated (something that a Boondocker will NOT do) and are also fully adjustable for type of battery and the size of your battery bank. Expensive...yes! But then so are your AGM batteries.

These are very important features that no converter offers. When properly charged, AGM batteries (Lifelines in particular) can easily last 7-10 years ( i have several clients in their 10th year with Lifelines and are still at 95% capacity). Temperature compensation ensures that your batteries see the proper charging voltage at varying battery temperatures, guaranteeing that they will not be overcharged in hot temperatures or undercharged in low temperature situations.
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Old 06-07-2014, 01:44 PM   #13
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In the pictures you can see the dust build up over the years and the charred circuit board.
Since the charred area appears to be below the hi-wattage resistors, quite possibly they undersized the power rating on those resistors which caused them to run hot.

Had an old tube TV that had a power resistor in the HV section that ran red hot. Replaced w/ a higher rated one and cooled things off.
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Old 06-11-2014, 05:44 PM   #14
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If you truly want the best charging system for AGM batteries, you should forego any type of converter and go with a quality inverter/charger like a Magnum MMS-1012 or MS-2012. Both are pure sine wave inverters with 4 stage charging that is fully temperature compensated (something that a Boondocker will NOT do) and are also fully adjustable for type of battery and the size of your battery bank. Expensive...yes! But then so are your AGM batteries.

These are very important features that no converter offers. When properly charged, AGM batteries (Lifelines in particular) can easily last 7-10 years ( i have several clients in their 10th year with Lifelines and are still at 95% capacity). Temperature compensation ensures that your batteries see the proper charging voltage at varying battery temperatures, guaranteeing that they will not be overcharged in hot temperatures or undercharged in low temperature situations.
Lewster,
You seem to know a lot about RV Power.
If I replace the stock Convertor/charger on my 2005 AI with a convertor/charger/invertor and I want to add solar panels, how does the solar power intergrate with the charger/invertor because in effect when connected to shore power I would have 2 chargers and I think they would conflict?? I know they have a Solar controller that will charge the batteries, does this only work when not on shore power?
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