Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 05-11-2017, 07:28 PM   #401
Rivet Master
 
InterBlog's Avatar

 
2006 22' Interstate
League City , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 4,817
We're jettisoning our on-board generator anyway. We're not yet clear on the actual order of operations, air suspension vs. generator removal and now potentially toss diesel heater installation into the mix. But I'm anxious to get rid of that ball and chain of a generator. In 2.5 years, I've used it to make exactly one dozen pieces of toast. Which we don't even need anymore because our inverter now supplies the same functionality. The plan is to have one or two portable Hondas on hand just in case we need it/them for hurricane evac.
__________________

InterBlog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-14-2017, 09:17 PM   #402
Rivet Master
Commercial Member
 
lewster's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
Naples, FL , Hood River, OR
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 7,354
Quote:
Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
We're jettisoning our on-board generator anyway. We're not yet clear on the actual order of operations, air suspension vs. generator removal and now potentially toss diesel heater installation into the mix. But I'm anxious to get rid of that ball and chain of a generator. In 2.5 years, I've used it to make exactly one dozen pieces of toast. Which we don't even need anymore because our inverter now supplies the same functionality. The plan is to have one or two portable Hondas on hand just in case we need it/them for hurricane evac.
Add the Easy Start to your A/C and a 2000 watt inverter/charger and you will only need a single Honda 2000!
__________________

__________________
Lew Farber...ABYC Certified Master Marine Electrician...RVIA Certified Master Tech ...AM Solar Authorized Installation Center...AIRSTREAM Solar & Electrical Specialist...Micro Air 'Easy Start' Sales and Installations
lewster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2017, 04:22 PM   #403
Rivet Master
 
InterBlog's Avatar

 
2006 22' Interstate
League City , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 4,817
This thread could use a status update, a more technical one than I am capable of providing, but let me just add a few cents worth and maybe LB_3 will chime in.

I'm writing this from the local Cabela's parking lot (they are friendly to travelers and RVers, including people cranking gensets) as I'm testing our Interstate's electrical system holistically. It's so hot outside right now that I can't really rest my bare foot on the metal floor flange that accepts the computer table leg - it's heating up from below to an uncomfortable level, the heat is that severe. The van is absolutely getting pounded with incident solar energy in this concrete crucible adjacent to the Gulf Freeway. It's bearable in here with the a/c running on genset, but it's not what I'd call frosty.

I'm duplicating conditions as they will soon manifest on the road to Nova Scotia. I'm a morning person, and I anticipate rising every day at dawn, driving about 5 hours, stopping for lunch, napping, and then continuing the drive. Napping means I have to be able to run a/c off-grid, so that's part of what I'm testing now.

We did get the EasyStart that Lewster recommended in the comment above (it's also discussed in part on another thread), and it does work. We actually have four-way charging now - not LB_3's original design, but <insert story here> about how the alternator charging wasn't working as expected, and so we needed a fall-back on the solar, especially given that we upgraded to a 12 volt Vitrifrigo refrigerator. Those batteries are now a habit that's got to be fed.

In two sessions of system testing yesterday and today, I managed to make the following mistakes:

(1) I "babied" the a/c boot-up sequence like I do in my home office in order not to trip circuit breakers (babied = bringing loads online gradually because I have a huge amount of crap running in my office and normal household circuits don't like it). By that I mean that I intentionally turned on the a/c fan before the a/c compressor. This resulted in the inverter faulting out and the whole thing shutting down. Unbeknownst to me, the system LB_3 built would have gone through a second power-up sequence and eventually turned on the a/c without my intervention, but one sees a flashing fault light and one naturally assumes it's game over at that point. Home-made systems do not operate as consumer goods - they don't necessarily use the same logic, is the take-away. The other take-away is that the EasyStart must be allowed to do the job for which it was designed. Just crank that sucker up all at once (the a/c) and the EasyStart will do the rest. Don't try to baby it - things will just get out of whack.

(2) On my second Cabela's parking lot test, I became startled by the fact that the three simultaneous inputs (alternator, solar, and genset) had driven up the lithium input to about 100 amps. I didn't know if that was safe, so I rushed to shut down the chassis engine to unload one source. Normally there would not be three simultaneous battery inputs, but it's so effing hot out here that I could not bear to shut down the engine before the coach a/c was up and running.

During this somewhat frightening distraction, I pushed the inverter button at the wrong time, did not successfully disengage the inverter, and ended up running the a/c off the lithium batteries (which it will do) even though the generator was also running (under no load). Classic failure pathway - distraction leads to improper actuation. I wanted to try taking a nap and I didn't notice the failure until the lithium bank had gotten sucked down by about 15%. (Sigh.) The take-away from that trial is that, even with good design, this stuff is never idiot-proof.

But that's why I'm sitting in this scorching parking lot, right? To discover and work out any kinks ahead of real-time operation.

Anyway, I'll close with a pretty picture of the spare fuses I mounted this morning. I did a light Rustoleum coat on a piece of scrap steel bar, 3M'd it to the back closet wall above the main switches, and then stuck my magnetic fuse holder on it. All nice and organized. Given that I went to all this trouble for the sake of the fuses, Murphy's Law says that we'll never blow another one again in our lives.


InterBlog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2017, 05:04 PM   #404
Rivet Master
 
Troutboy's Avatar
 
2017 23' Flying Cloud
Parker , Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 1,591
Images: 1
I do enjoy all your input and takes and lessons learned. However, the one question I often wonder is.....

With your hatred of that Houston heat, why stay there. Relocate to a more friendly and tolerable environment....

We have room in Colorado.....
__________________
Thanks,
Troutboy
Troutboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2017, 06:47 PM   #405
Rivet Master
 
73shark's Avatar
 
2011 Interstate Coach
Overland Park , Kansas
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 2,797
Quote:
Originally Posted by Troutboy View Post
I do enjoy all your input and takes and lessons learned. However, the one question I often wonder is.....

With your hatred of that Houston heat, why stay there. Relocate to a more friendly and tolerable environment....

We have room in Colorado.....
Probably because LB_3 works at the Space Center.
__________________
Glass half full or half empty to an engineer is the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

PM me for sale info on my 2011. SOLD!
Upfitted Transit 350 sitting in driveway.
73shark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2017, 06:49 PM   #406
Rivet Master
 
2006 22' Interstate
League City , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 670
IB can humble the best of engineers. I was pretty pleased with how the system was running. Then I hand the van over to her and immediately get a stream of texts about how everything is broken. I had performed a system test with dozens of generator and A/C starts as well as as probably another dozen transitions between various power sources without any trouble other than a single gfci trip.

The story of the gfci trip is very frustrating in that it's intermittent and so far proven difficult to isolate. After finding a technical bulletin, it appears that when not using shore power, the inverter will shunt the input neutral to ground and it sometimes doesn't detect the shore power and unground the neutral wire fast enough. Not having any downstream loads on may alleviate this issue but it's proven intermittent and so far pretty rare only occurring once during about a dozen system activations. Adding another automatic transfer switch would solve the issue but I don't really have time for one and it would add another 30 seconds to the already slow system activation.

IB would be a good software bug tester because she is always doing things in ways engineers never envisioned. I can't count the number of times she has had a Dell service rep reinstall a corrupted operating system or come to the house to install new motherboards.

It's not really her fault that we engineers can get so deep into the technical details of a system that it never occurs to us to that someone might try to do things in a different sequence. I find this quite frustrating at work when engineers build us a treadmill with no power-switch. Seriously?!?! NASA has the only treadmill in the universe with no power switch. They never envisioned the need for the astronauts to turn off the treadmill? I guess they assumed it would rarely fail and that one of us on ground could power it down using the upstream circuit breakers when we needed to do maintenance. We do however have a radiation detector with a power switch, however if the crew uses it the device will brick itself if the ground hasn't first powered down the primary sensor. Ugh, the only thing I hate more than dumb engineers is when it's my turn to be the dumb engineer.

Having built the system, and knowing how the Easy-Start takes over the a/c start up, it never occurred to me that one would do anything other than just turn the A/C to on. But trying to baby the system by turning on just the fan first circumvents the Easy-Start and results in the generator voltage sagging below the inverter's cutoff limit and the system resetting.

Lesson Learned #1: Just turn the a/c on and don't try to baby it.

While much of the system is automated, not all of it is. It's an either or proposition with the inverter and alternate power sources which leads us to IBs second issue. If the inverter is inverting it will keep inverting. It has an internal 30A transfer switch but it won't interrupt existing power so if you want to use shore or generator power you must first turn off the inverter.

Lesson Learned #2: Turn off the inverter before starting the generator or plugging into shore power.

As for IB's distressing sight of pumping 100 Amps into the battery, it's expected and safe. I didn't necessarily plan to charge from the generator and alternator at the same time but I did size the wiring and heat sink to handle the BMS's rated capacity of 100 charging Amps. The BMS will shut off the charging if it exceeds 120 Amps or if the BMS gets too hot but I put a sizable heatsink on the back of the BMS and it's mounted to an aluminum panel so it should be fine.

I'll post a schematic this evening.
LB_3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2017, 08:49 PM   #407
Rivet Master
 
2016 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Bellevue , Washington
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 688
Quote:
Originally Posted by LB_3 View Post
As for IB's distressing sight of pumping 100 Amps into the battery, it's expected and safe. I didn't necessarily plan to charge from the generator and alternator at the same time but I did size the wiring and heat sink to handle the BMS's rated capacity of 100 charging Amps. The BMS will shut off the charging if it exceeds 120 Amps or if the BMS gets too hot but I put a sizable heatsink on the back of the BMS and it's mounted to an aluminum panel so it should be fine.

I'll post a schematic this evening.
Good stories you all.

On above, I actually pumped in excess of 120 amps into the battery bank when I had your BMS and nothing faulted or shut off. I am suspicious of it actually performing that function (reported the same to Dacian).

The battery bank was cool as a cucumber though. You can easily pump 3C into them and that means 300 amps.
amirm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2017, 12:50 AM   #408
Rivet Master
 
2006 22' Interstate
League City , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 670
Charging/Inverting System:


DC Schematic:

The 12v-12v converter may not be wired like in this schematic. I think it actually feeds switch 3 that has the Apple TV and audio amplifier but my memory is a bit fuzzy at the moment and the wiring behind the panel is a disgrace so I avoid looking in there as much as possible.

AC System:
LB_3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2017, 01:02 AM   #409
Rivet Master
 
2006 22' Interstate
League City , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 670
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post
Good stories you all.

On above, I actually pumped in excess of 120 amps into the battery bank when I had your BMS and nothing faulted or shut off. I am suspicious of it actually performing that function (reported the same to Dacian).

The battery bank was cool as a cucumber though. You can easily pump 3C into them and that means 300 amps.
Luckily, we can't put much more than about 100A into the battery since the Sterling charger really only puts out a max of 45A due to a nearly 3% voltage drop from the alternator and more constantly 38A-41A. The Lithium charger puts out about 55A under ideal conditions but more commonly about 49A. And the solar maxes out around 15A-20A but is generally in the 13A range in full sun.

3C on a 300Ah battery is 900A. I don't think the suspension could support all the copper.
LB_3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2017, 01:23 AM   #410
Rivet Master
 
2006 22' Interstate
League City , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 670
Oops, the battery relay was in the wrong place. Hopefully an admin will allow me to edit my earlier post and delete this one.

LB_3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2017, 09:04 AM   #411
Rivet Master
 
InterBlog's Avatar

 
2006 22' Interstate
League City , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 4,817
I got a good chuckle out of those responses. The human brain does not run on engineering theory - it runs on a wealth of unconsciously-internalized schemata, and it's very hard to override those imprints. It takes conscious effort, and when the inside of the Interstate is 100 degrees or higher, overriding the imprints is a challenge. Of course I know intellectually how the EasyStart is supposed to work, but when I'm effing miserable, I default to the normally-applicable schema, which says to power up gradually. It's an involuntary substitution of an existing precedent. Which of course will lead to failure in that context.


Thus we move out of the realm of mechanical and electrical engineering and into the realm of human factors engineering. Those are profoundly different things.

LB_3 gave an example of the space station treadmill. Here's another example. I once served as an assistant operator on a groundwater treatment system installed on a Superfund environmental remediation site. Ergonomically-speaking, water treatment systems have the characteristic of needing to be viewed as fully analogous to living things. You do X, the treatment system responds by doing Y, just as an animal would. In fact, domestic systems are explicitly regarded as living things because they literally are - it's the microbiological organisms that conduct the treatment, and those organisms must be kept happy - ecstatic, in fact - or nothing good will come out at the other end of the process.

Well, with domestic wastewater treatment, we've collectively had the time (over 100 years) to work out the kinks and make the engineering fit the unconscious expectations of human brain. Superfund wastewater treatment systems, not so much. There are far fewer of them, fewer opportunities to incorporate lessons learned in design iteration. At the site where I worked, the lead operator and I spent 90% of our time circumventing the mechanical and hydraulic engineering in order to make the system fit the human brain, and 10% of our time actually operating the system. Because if it didn't behave in a way that was systematically consistent with brain expectations, then we couldn't anticipate its needs, and therefore it would fail.

Human factors. Don't underestimate 'em. Huge airplanes sometimes crash entirely because of human factors issues.
InterBlog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2017, 09:09 AM   #412
Rivet Master
 
Troutboy's Avatar
 
2017 23' Flying Cloud
Parker , Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 1,591
Images: 1
My Interstate Lithium Battery Adventures

Haha. Now your in my world interblog. Environmental engineer w/WW and certified operated for industrial facilities. Seen at least 30 of the groundwater sites and operated a few. I get it 100% now.

Same also goes for the municipal systems (donestic) now with all the technology and automation.

Nice schematics. They make sense.
__________________
Thanks,
Troutboy
Troutboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2017, 09:19 AM   #413
Rivet Master
 
InterBlog's Avatar

 
2006 22' Interstate
League City , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 4,817
Quote:
Originally Posted by Troutboy View Post
I do enjoy all your input and takes and lessons learned. However, the one question I often wonder is.....

With your hatred of that Houston heat, why stay there. Relocate to a more friendly and tolerable environment....

We have room in Colorado.....
We allow ourselves the luxury of hating the heat (howling about it helps to dissipate tension) because every single place in this country has drawbacks of its own, and this just happens to be our whopper of a drawback.

If we moved somewhere else, we'd have different drawbacks - it would be a lateral move in that context. I spent my first 23 years in Nova Scotia. I did not mind the discomfort of the incessant cold, wet, and snow, but I did mind the fact that life itself must shut down for long periods of time. As one gets older and the remaining time becomes shorter, one gets less tolerant of having to wait for life's activities to proceed. My 81-year-old father is downright hilarious in this regard. In his younger years, he had the patience of a saint. But he ain't got time for that no more (literally ain't got time), and he can't sit still for a single day now (which is probably what's keeping him alive).

Both LB_3 have jobs that demand Houston - he at Johnson Space Center, and my roster of industrial clients is here. We are pretty much committed to life here (LB_3 is a native Houstonian) but it's not without burdens, as any place would be.
InterBlog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2017, 09:25 AM   #414
Rivet Master
 
InterBlog's Avatar

 
2006 22' Interstate
League City , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 4,817
Quote:
Originally Posted by Troutboy View Post
Haha. Now your in my world interblog. Environmental engineer w/WW and certified operated for industrial facilities. Seen at least 30 of the groundwater sites and operated a few. I get it 100% now.

Same also goes for the municipal systems (donestic) now with all the technology and automation.

Nice schematics. They make sense.
Then you know that all that automation is no substitute for the intuition of a good operator. Automation is useful, it can help with routine daily life. But the operator needs to have his or her finger on the pulse of the system, or else there will be trouble and/or needless expenses.
InterBlog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2017, 11:43 AM   #415
Rivet Master
 
toskeysam's Avatar
 
2013 Interstate Coach
Townsend , Tennessee
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 641
LB_3... great schematics! Lewster did a complete lithium/solar/inverter upgrade for us and I have been putting together a "manual" for us. My old engineer-mind has been revising circuit diagrams.....but that doesn't help my microbiologist-cancer-researcher wife. She just doesn't speak that language and that's ok! I showed her you diagram and got a big "YES!" from her. Filing away my "diagrams" and using an approach like yours. Great job!
__________________
FMCA # 436814
toskeysam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2017, 12:32 PM   #416
Rivet Master
 
2006 22' Interstate
League City , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 670
I'm hoping to add hyperlinks to the PowerPoint with specs and product manuals. But that's down the road a bit and I wish I had a web friendly way to share that and get away from the PowerPoint documents.
LB_3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2017, 12:41 PM   #417
Rivet Master
 
2016 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Bellevue , Washington
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 688
Thanks for the diagrams LB_3. One of these days I will do mine.

Questions: did you change the charge thresholds in the BMS or are you going with the defaults Dacian put in there?

I upped mine as otherwise the charger would keep staying at full power and making noise. With higher thresholds, it shuts down on its own, fixing that problem.
amirm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2017, 01:05 PM   #418
Rivet Master
 
2006 22' Interstate
League City , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 670
I'm still using the default settings. I haven't noticed a noise issue yet but I'll keep an ear out for it.

I did have an issue with the Sterling charger dropping out of its bulk charging mode. It was the result of the input voltage dropping as low as 13v while driving. Putting the charger into 'regen braking' mode, which lowered the minimum voltage to 12.2 volts, solved that little issue.
LB_3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2017, 03:09 PM   #419
Rivet Master
 
Troutboy's Avatar
 
2017 23' Flying Cloud
Parker , Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 1,591
Images: 1
My Interstate Lithium Battery Adventures

Quote:
Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
Then you know that all that automation is no substitute for the intuition of a good operator. Automation is useful, it can help with routine daily life. But the operator needs to have his or her finger on the pulse of the system, or else there will be trouble and/or needless expenses.


Yep. And with biological systems, the most important thing to live by is "keep the bugs happy!"
__________________
Thanks,
Troutboy
Troutboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2017, 05:19 PM   #420
Rivet Master
 
InterBlog's Avatar

 
2006 22' Interstate
League City , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 4,817
Quote:
Originally Posted by LB_3 View Post
I'm hoping to add hyperlinks to the PowerPoint with specs and product manuals. But that's down the road a bit and I wish I had a web friendly way to share that and get away from the PowerPoint documents.
There's a product called ThingLink which does this quite nicely but when I tried to fire it up a few months ago, the freeware portion proved to be buggy. The developers sent me a fix, but the balkiness had derailed my momentum, and I never got back to it.
__________________

InterBlog is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Electrical, Solar, Lithium Batteries on 28' International wbrown Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar 25 09-13-2014 07:44 PM
Lithium ion battery bearrand Batteries, Univolts, Converters & Inverters 9 04-04-2014 07:02 PM
Lithium Battery - 2012 doublebubble Batteries, Univolts, Converters & Inverters 23 08-05-2012 10:43 AM
Lithium ion battery sk8r29 Batteries, Univolts, Converters & Inverters 18 03-30-2011 02:33 AM
Spray Lithium Grease (Wal-Mart) Old_Town Hitches, Couplers & Balls 3 11-16-2007 01:48 PM


Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:51 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.