Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 05-24-2018, 02:05 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
 
2017 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Ventura , California
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 55
Solar Charger/controller

Posted this issue with my last Fusion problems., but thought I'd better post it separately, too.

Discovered Airstream's Sun Explorer charger/controller waits until the batteries are as low as 11.2 before kicking in. This didn't me much good when it starts charging at 4:45 p.m. So, I'm in the market for a new charger/controller as well as possibly rewiring the wires from the panels to the batteries if they are too small.

Looking for recommendations. So far, from the amazing info I have gleaned from this forum, many like the Blue Sky and Morning Star charger/controllers. I'm still looking for anyone near me who installs either of those. Any others you can recommend? One installer near me used Go Power. Any info about this brand?

Also, what size wire is best to use? I know if wiring is too small it would be like shoving an elephant down a rabbit hole. I need all the power my panels can give me.
__________________

Dena m is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2018, 02:17 PM   #2
Prof. of Pending Projects
 
wachuko's Avatar

 
2018 Tommy Bahama Interstate
Orlando , Florida
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 1,708
Yes... Victron Blue Solar 100/30 has been working great in ours...

https://www.victronenergy.com/solar-...rs/mppt-100-30

That would be my recommendation... along with their smart battery monitor with Bluetooth instead of just the Bluetooth dongle...

https://www.victronenergy.com/panel-.../bmv-712-smart
__________________

__________________
Safe travels!
Wachuko
WBCCI #26769
2018 Airstream Interstate 3500 Lounge EXT Tommy Bahama w/ARS
wachuko is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2018, 02:48 PM   #3
Rivet Master
 
FlyFishinRVr's Avatar
 
2017 Interstate Lounge Ext
Northern , California
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 1,275
Quote:
Originally Posted by wachuko View Post
Yes... Victron Blue Solar 100/30 has been working great in ours...

https://www.victronenergy.com/solar-...rs/mppt-100-30

That would be my recommendation... along with their smart battery monitor with Bluetooth instead of just the Bluetooth dongle...

https://www.victronenergy.com/panel-.../bmv-712-smart

I would change this answer to be an even simpler solution and go with the Victron SmartSolar 100/30. This has BT built in so the dongle isn't needed. The 712 can always be added later if necessary.
FlyFishinRVr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2018, 02:55 PM   #4
Prof. of Pending Projects
 
wachuko's Avatar

 
2018 Tommy Bahama Interstate
Orlando , Florida
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 1,708
Red face

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyFishinRVr View Post
I would change this answer to be an even simpler solution and go with the Victron SmartSolar 100/30. This has BT built in so the dongle isn't needed. The 712 can always be added later if necessary.
Mine is dated ... sorry... yes... what he ^ said.

You can have it now with built in Bluetooth... the monitor is not really necessary unless you do not want to monitor via your phone or tablet...

https://www.victronenergy.com/solar-...-100-30-100-50
__________________
Safe travels!
Wachuko
WBCCI #26769
2018 Airstream Interstate 3500 Lounge EXT Tommy Bahama w/ARS
wachuko is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2018, 07:27 PM   #5
Rivet Master
 
Boxster1971's Avatar

 
2013 Interstate Coach
Fulton , Maryland
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 2,949
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dena m View Post
Posted this issue with my last Fusion problems., but thought I'd better post it separately, too.



Discovered Airstream's Sun Explorer charger/controller waits until the batteries are as low as 11.2 before kicking in. This didn't me much good when it starts charging at 4:45 p.m. So, I'm in the market for a new charger/controller as well as possibly rewiring the wires from the panels to the batteries if they are too small.



Looking for recommendations. So far, from the amazing info I have gleaned from this forum, many like the Blue Sky and Morning Star charger/controllers. I'm still looking for anyone near me who installs either of those. Any others you can recommend? One installer near me used Go Power. Any info about this brand?



Also, what size wire is best to use? I know if wiring is too small it would be like shoving an elephant down a rabbit hole. I need all the power my panels can give me.

Dena m - that Atkinson Sun Explorer is junk. Can't believe Airstream is still installing them. With your solar and battery upgrades you should have no issues running out of power on a sunny day.

I don't know much about the Go Power controllers, but I know several B-van builders are using them. I think Winnebago has it in their new B-vans.

I have a Blue Sky MPPT controller I got from AM Solar before they switched to the Victron systems. If your panels are wired with the typical 12AWG that Airstream has used in the past it would a be good to upgrade to a larger gauge wire. Check out the recommendations for AM Solar they are one of the best for RV solar installation guides and systems.
https://amsolar.com
__________________
- - Mike
--------------------------
2013 Airstream Interstate Lounge EXT
Boxster1971 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2018, 09:07 PM   #6
4 Rivet Member
 
2015 Interstate Grand Tour
Lake Oswego , Oregon
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 253
I also upgraded to the Victron 100/30 and love it. Today I just had a professional complete the picture by adding the Victron BMV-712 Smart and I love it as well because now I can see actual state of charge (SOC) instead of being mislead by the report of a battery voltage being influenced high due to a charging situation, or influenced low based on a drawdown happening.

The guy also installed the battery temperature sensor that came with the Victron BMV-712... the new ones can now talk to the Victron solar charge controller which now benefits from the same battery temp reading and can adjust it's charging algorithm.


Another cool feature of the BMV-712... I didn't have to pay for the readout module to be mounted in my electronics cabinet... we just stuck into the cavity where the inverter lives and the Bluetooth keeps me informed on the Victron app on my phone. Probably saved $200+ on that installation thanks to BT.



Also, it shows actual net current going in or going out so I can judge how well the solar is doing at any given time.


Happy. Happy.


Happy.
Tronadora is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2018, 09:16 AM   #7
Prof. of Pending Projects
 
wachuko's Avatar

 
2018 Tommy Bahama Interstate
Orlando , Florida
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 1,708
Since I posted in the other thread...





I did mine... here is the link where I documented some of it:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f240...ml#post2047788

And a photo of both items installed... Blue Sea ACR that replaced the BIM and the Victron that replaced the solar controller...





And updated links...

Blue Sea ML-ACR 7622
Victron SmartSolar 100/30 MPPT Solar Charge Controller (the Smart version is the newer one with built-in Bluetooth... go with that one).
__________________
Safe travels!
Wachuko
WBCCI #26769
2018 Airstream Interstate 3500 Lounge EXT Tommy Bahama w/ARS
wachuko is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2018, 11:49 AM   #8
2 Rivet Member
 
2017 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Ventura , California
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 55
Thank you for the photos. Very helpful. Just when I thought I beginning to understand the system, a few confusing but, I guess, related components have muddled my mind.
Apparently, the Magnum inverter has been replaced with the smart Victron read out. Then what about an inverter? I'm sure I need one. How does the Victron charger relate to an inverter?
Did you just unhook the Sun Explorer and leave it in place?
Would it be better/easier to go with a charger that fits where the Sun Explorer is?
Sorry I'm slow to understand all of this. Appreciate your patience.
Dena m is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2018, 12:05 PM   #9
Prof. of Pending Projects
 
wachuko's Avatar

 
2018 Tommy Bahama Interstate
Orlando , Florida
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 1,708
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dena m View Post
Thank you for the photos. Very helpful. Just when I thought I beginning to understand the system, a few confusing but, I guess, related components have muddled my mind.
Apparently, the Magnum inverter has been replaced with the smart Victron read out. Then what about an inverter? I'm sure I need one. How does the Victron charger relate to an inverter?
Did you just unhook the Sun Explorer and leave it in place?
Would it be better/easier to go with a charger that fits where the Sun Explorer is?
Sorry I'm slow to understand all of this. Appreciate your patience.
All batteries should be disconnected when doing the install... solar panels should be covered...

BIM is replaced with the Blue Sea ML-ACR 7622 - Easy swap. Only gets a bit complicated if you want to have a remote switch in front... This will help you avoid all batteries going dead as it will effectively disconnect the engine battery from the coach/house batteries. Or connect them together while charging, or... you get the idea...

Here is a photo (not my install... mine is installed in a different location) of the stock BIM vs ACR



Solar Controller gets swapped by the Victron Smart Solar controller... again, easy swap. The challenge is making room for it... a few things need to be moved around and some additional (longer) cables made. But not rocket science.

Here is what the stock solar controller looks like next to the Victron... yes, I know - stock is that tiny black box...





There is no need to mess with the inverter/charger (well... only to move it a bit to make space for the ACR, that is it)... unless you are looking to installing a larger inverter/charger. The inverter/charger is that big black box with Magnum Energy on it...
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	New BIM.jpg
Views:	283
Size:	333.8 KB
ID:	311969  
__________________
Safe travels!
Wachuko
WBCCI #26769
2018 Airstream Interstate 3500 Lounge EXT Tommy Bahama w/ARS
wachuko is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2018, 12:09 PM   #10
Rivet Master
 
FlyFishinRVr's Avatar
 
2017 Interstate Lounge Ext
Northern , California
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 1,275
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dena m View Post
Thank you for the photos. Very helpful. Just when I thought I beginning to understand the system, a few confusing but, I guess, related components have muddled my mind.
Apparently, the Magnum inverter has been replaced with the smart Victron read out. Then what about an inverter? I'm sure I need one. How does the Victron charger relate to an inverter?
Did you just unhook the Sun Explorer and leave it in place?
Would it be better/easier to go with a charger that fits where the Sun Explorer is?
Sorry I'm slow to understand all of this. Appreciate your patience.
The Magnum inverter stays. The Victron replaces the Sun Explorer and it gets removed.

The job of the Magnum is to 1) charge the batteries when the van is connected to shore power or the generator is on, and 2) "invert" the voltage from the batteries from 12v DC to 120v AC to run what ever you plug into the one outlet in your coach that it's connected to (where that is differs by model).

The job of the Victron (or Sun Explorer) is to take voltage/current from the solar panels and charge your batteries. This can happen at the same time the Magnum is also charging your batteries, say, for when you're parked in the sun and also plugged into shore power or running your generator.

I hope that helps.
FlyFishinRVr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2018, 12:40 PM   #11
2 Rivet Member
 
2017 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Ventura , California
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 55
Mind is moving forward. Can you please send a photo of what your nav station looks like? Perhaps I'm confusing operating systems with displays.
I have no desire to monitor with my phone, but I do want displays to keep me informed.
What happens to the Magnum display? Does the Victron charger have a separate display that replaces the Sun Explorer one? Does the charger and inverter work/display together?

Next week I'll be visiting with the pro who will be installing. I want to be armed with as much knowledge as possible.
Have any idea as to how long this install would take?

Promise I'm teachable. Anything with wires is challenging for me. Plumbing is easier.
Dena m is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2018, 12:55 PM   #12
Prof. of Pending Projects
 
wachuko's Avatar

 
2018 Tommy Bahama Interstate
Orlando , Florida
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 1,708
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dena m View Post
Mind is moving forward. Can you please send a photo of what your nav station looks like? Perhaps I'm confusing operating systems with displays.
I have no desire to monitor with my phone, but I do want displays to keep me informed.
What happens to the Magnum display? Does the Victron charger have a separate display that replaces the Sun Explorer one? Does the charger and inverter work/display together?

Next week I'll be visiting with the pro who will be installing. I want to be armed with as much knowledge as possible.
Have any idea as to how long this install would take?

Promise I'm teachable. Anything with wires is challenging for me. Plumbing is easier.
Nav station?? To me that means the front radio/head unit in the dash

If you are talking about the house control panel... here...

Stock (this is my 2018 AI Tommy Lounge so please forgive the nasty finger prints all over the screen... it was wings night )



And a bad photoshop attempt to show you what it would look like with the optional Victron display (if you do not want to use your phone to look at the solar info...)

Solar display becomes obsolete... Victron sells a housing to insert the display. Similar to what I attempted to show with the modified photo.

Magnum display is not touched... continues to work as it was before...



With the phone, connected via Bluetooth... you get to see all this information (image from my phone):

Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_2470.jpg
Views:	270
Size:	210.1 KB
ID:	311972   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_2470-victron display.jpg
Views:	260
Size:	213.8 KB
ID:	311973  

Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_1389.jpg
Views:	271
Size:	92.6 KB
ID:	311974  
__________________
Safe travels!
Wachuko
WBCCI #26769
2018 Airstream Interstate 3500 Lounge EXT Tommy Bahama w/ARS
wachuko is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2018, 01:06 PM   #13
Prof. of Pending Projects
 
wachuko's Avatar

 
2018 Tommy Bahama Interstate
Orlando , Florida
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 1,708
Oh... and remote display requires a wired connection to the Victron controller... folks here have been able to use the old wiring and just installing the correct connector (terminal) to match what the Victron is using... saves a lot of time and labor on having to run a new harness...
__________________
Safe travels!
Wachuko
WBCCI #26769
2018 Airstream Interstate 3500 Lounge EXT Tommy Bahama w/ARS
wachuko is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2018, 02:35 PM   #14
Wannabe RV'er in training
 
Alex AVI's Avatar

 
2018 Interstate Lounge Ext
High Desert , Las Vegas , Nevada
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 1,546
Quote:
Originally Posted by wachuko View Post
If you are talking about the house control panel... here...

Stock (this is my 2018 AI Tommy Lounge so please forgive the nasty finger prints all over the screen... it was wings night )

Magnum display is not touched... continues to work as it was before...
WACHUKO - why do I have an extra display in my cubby, not to mention that SEELEVEL II display hidden behind all these (which I know is not related to these displays, but just blurting out some discrepancies from your unit). Does that mean my PCS display is really useless anyways?

Click image for larger version

Name:	Screenshot_20180525-122209.jpg
Views:	126
Size:	352.2 KB
ID:	311979
__________________

Alex AVI 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
Solar Controller vs. AC-DC converter/charger Chuck Generators & Solar Power 4 10-26-2017 11:11 AM
Startup Voltage for Solar Charger and 12v solar panels ggreen63304 Generators & Solar Power 12 09-01-2017 07:58 PM
Converter/Charger vs. Inverter/Charger moosetags Batteries, Univolts, Converters & Inverters 5 11-22-2013 11:21 PM
New F150 '09 brake controller vs. Prodigy brake controller dukester Brakes & Brake Controllers 17 01-20-2009 11:46 PM
Adding charger where no charger has gone before Jabba Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar 4 03-08-2003 10:39 AM


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 03:48 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.