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Old 05-08-2011, 09:04 AM   #1
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1996 36' Clipper Bus
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Clipper, Land Yacht, Electronics Dedicated Power Supply

This applies to the Clipper but some aspects may work on many other units.
To supply an isolated power supply for the electronics up front in the Clipper, (that was protected from power spikes at engine starts etc.) I fabricated a battery box mount and installed a 12V deep cycle battery in the cavity in the lower pass. side, forward and below the front bulkhead of the Clipper.
This battery is charged by, one, or by all of the three systems. Solar, Aux. power through the house batteries, or by the chassis charging system. This battery generally is charged by a dedicated 11W solar panel, but can be monitored via digital voltage gauge on the dash and manually controlled from the cockpit to be charged by the other systems as required. This solar supply is mounted on the front a/c shroud that was reinforced to accept the 2 X 5.5W monocrystaline panels. No charge controller is required or used on this leg of the solar system.
The solar is fed direct to the battery/inverter feed which is #8AWG. I originally installed a !000W inverter, but this was overkill for the demand and I am now running a 400W inverter, that runs the Rogers WiFi Hub/Bluetooth GPS, the ARC camera (see post 17 http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...tml#post938938 ), and the laptop(s). After proving this works, if I ever have need to redo it, I will install a single 20W polycrystaline solar panel as it is about the same size. ( I have installed that 20W size on the rear ac shroud to supply a dedicated chassis feed and it works great.)
I have also installed a quick plug in feed in the front access by the battery which I can attach a solar feed from my home solar system when parked at the house. By setting the control switches on the dash, this feed will charge either one or all of the 3 separate solar systems on the Clipper.
All feeds in and out are protected by in line fuses or through a new fuse panel that I installed on the front bulkhead with access from the exterior panel.
I will, at a future point, review and detail the other solar systems and changes I have made to improve the OEM Clipper specs.
Dave
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Old 05-08-2011, 12:36 PM   #2
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Looks Like You are On top of It Dave

thank You for sharing
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:08 AM   #3
65th Anniversary CLIPPER
 
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1996 36' Clipper Bus
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Clipper, Aux. Inverter

Just an update re. the aux. inverter installed for the electronics up front in the Clipper.
As indicated in previous posts, I had started with an ELIMINATOR 1000w inverter and in 2009 downsized to an ELIMINATOR 400W which, technicaly was all that was required to run the demand and, was a smaller and lighter package. (Thought I was doing the right thing. )
However, I found that the cooling fan cycled almost constantly on the 400W and the small additional noise annoyed me when parked and enjoying quiet areas.
I upgraded this to a new ELIMINATOR 600W to try to eliminate the constant fan run. Unfortunately, the new models have a "continuous run" fan, not an "on demand" cooling fan. So this continuous run fan was just not suitable for what I wanted.
I have now, on the road, purchased another new 1000w ELIMINATOR and it works great with the fan never running. Normal load is the ARC camera,( http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...tml#post938938 ) the navigators laptop, and occasionally the drivers laptop. I had to use my drill for about two minutes to load the invertor enough to activate the fan. The increased size and weight is minimal and is not a problem for the location on the Clipper.
In this case, I have now proved once and for all that, bigger is better.
Dave
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Old 07-22-2011, 12:34 PM   #4
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1996 36' Clipper Bus
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Clipper, Solar, Penguin Duo Therm

As posted previously, I had installed 2 X 5.5 Watt Monocrystaline solar panels on the forward ac shroud for the #3 battery bank.(electronics circuit).
At that time I had a brittle damaged shroud that needed repair and after I had repaired and reinforced the shroud I mounted the 2 x 5.5w panels.
This worked so well that I then installed a 20W Polycrystaline panel on the rear ac shroud for the #1 battery bank (chassis circuit), using similar reinforcement techniques.
I have now, after research and procurement, installed a new 40 Watt Polycrystaline Solar panel (ebay deal) on a new shroud (purchased at CW), on the forward ac and tied to the # 3 battery bank.
I will keep the old shroud as backup insurance in case I catch a tree branch at some of our boomdock campsites.

To accomplish the install:
Cut up some scrap pieces of vinyl siding to fit the underside of the shroud to reinforce where the rails will be mounted.
Clean the underside of the shroud and the reinforcement strips, with a good dish soap.
Use a good construction adhesive and some weights to set the strips in place on the bottom side of the shroud.
Note. Everything has to clear the ac unit when you remount the shroud. Take measurements and double check your clearance.
Source and acquire a length of bright aluminum stair nosing at you local hardware. Cut to lengths desired and smooth the edges and any sharp corners.
On the solar panel bottom frame, drill 4 x 3/8" holes and install 1/4" rivnuts to receive the 1/4" stainless anchor Phillips head bolts. Drill the rails with 1/4" holes to match.
Fit the panel, double check your measurements, and drill the holes in the shroud for the anchor bolts.
Also drill 2 x 1/4" holes for the two wires from the solar panel. (these should be about 8" forward and 3" in from the left side rear of the top plane of the shroud.) The wire has to clear the ac on the open side. Measure - measure - measure.
Now, run the wires through. Sikoflex the wire/shroud holes.
With a bit of sikoflex on the top side of shroud and on the bolts, mount the panel using a large washer, to spread the load bearing area, on the underside of the shroud If you have a leak here it will show up as a wet headliner sometime in the future.
Install a connector on the exposed wiring so that the shroud can be removed for service access to the ac unit.
My wiring was in place, but if this is a new install, fish #10GA wire (preferred) or #12GA (acceptable if you battery is nearby) through the ac unit and along the existing conduit in the ceiling of the Clipper to the front seam in the headliner where it transitions to the cockpit. I was able to then hide the wire beneath the air barrier twin curtain track (see above posts) I have installed in the Clipper, and run it down the passenger sidewall to the 1000W inverter heavy #6 wire leads to the #3 battery bank.
Be sure to fuse the circuit, and install a charge controller if you have small battery capacity.
The solar panel I used here measures 660 x 525 x 338 mm. I wanted a monocrystaline, (slightly better gain in poor light conditions) but could not find one that had the correct width for this installation. The maximum width you could use on this shroud is 532mm which would entail a little more detail to the reinforcement of the Penguin shroud.
Total cost of the update is approx. $315.
New Penguin shroud CW $97.00
40W solar panel $189.00 delivered to door.
Stair nosing with tax $19.00
Misc. shop supplies $10.00
Not all the joy of RVing is on the road. Great satisfaction is gained from self maintenance and repair. It just takes a little time to plan the project. Always try to put it on paper first, so that the problems will appear before cutting/destroying valuable material.
Dave
Original shroud and 2 x 5.5W monocrystaline panels can be view in above posts.
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Old 02-21-2012, 02:07 PM   #5
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1996 36' Clipper Bus
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Clipper, Solar, Wire Size,

When installing Solar, the largest wire size you can conveniently run in the space available will be of long term benefit. This applies even more when you live in the marginal solar regions of the continent which include the rain and fog areas.
This site lists charts to readily give you an idea of the distance/wire size needed to limit your line loss to 5%.
DC Wire Table

But if you are in a marginal solar area, that 5% loss may be critical to your solar systems performance.

On my Clipper, as posted above, I have a 40W panel on the #3 battery bank that has no controller and is within 21' of the battery. About 1/3 of this distance is #6 wire which feeds the 1000W inverter and the remainder to the panel is #10 which was about the largest I could manage in the area available for concealment. This #10 wire is more than acceptable for this size of panel and short run.

This panel charges directly a Trojan 12V deep cycle wet cell battery which now is protected from overcharge (if I ever see the sun ) by a SurePower 1315-200 Separator that ties into the #1 Chassis battery bank. (this circuit is controlled from the cockpit with a Cole Hersee BX24200 solenoid)

The #1 Chassis bank also has a 40W panel wired with #10 a distance approx. 24' direct to the twin Group 31 wet cell start batteries. I initially installed a controller for this circuit, but have since bypassed it as the panel output could never produce enough to be concerned, at least not until I again see more direct sun. (at that point I can reconnect the controller).

12 Volt DC chart compliments of Wind and Sun. Solar Electric Power Systems For On & Off Grid

These are one-way distances, measured from point A to point B. The out and back nature of electrical circuits has already been included. For PV arrays, figure the entire run, from the panels to the charge controller to the batteries

The chart will not load on this site, so you will have to go to the site listed at the top to view.
In the chart you can see that my 40W panel would put out 3+ Amps and would require a #14 wire to give a 5% loss at 30'
I have #10 wire so should not experience appreciable loss over my application distances.

My other concern about the cheap controllers, is they have a diode in them to restrict backflow of current when no solar is available. This diode drops the output somewhat, and is not necessary in most cases, as the solar panel also has a diode installed. (check yours with a resistance meter) They also will be set to restrict the upper output of the panel, and with a small panel and a large battery bank, this would seldom be necessary.

Caution:: if you do not have direct solar wire to the battery, but are wired to the fridge circuit, or other fuse block, excessive panel voltage will probably burn your circuit board on the fridge. (especially if you disconnect the batteries and the solar still runs the fuse block.)

I will review my other two main solar systems in another post in the future.

Dave
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Old 04-10-2012, 10:18 PM   #6
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Solar, Intellitec

Applies to the Clipper but may be of interest to other model owners.

Having extra time at home base has started to cost as much as being on the road.

This is a lead I have come across that may be of interest to those who have diesel Airstreams equipped with the INTELLITEC.

http://intellitec.com/PDF/5300755.000.pdf

On my OEM solar installation, the 2 X 53 watt SHARP panels were wired down the fridge cavity edge trim, then forward to the entrance step to the controller, and then to the rear of the Clipper to the main fuse panel at the foot of the bed. I never was impressed with this inefficient system and have had the plan but not the time to update it.

When I started looking closely at the wiring, I found that the wire from the solar panels to the controller were #12 wire for the ground, (green) and #16 wire for the positive. (yellow). (yes this was factory installed wiring)

This run of wire to the controller was approx. 24' and then another 30' to the fuse box with # 12 or 14 Ga.

Over the last few days, I have pulled 8/2 marine wire direct from the solar panels to the fuse box at the foot of the bed. I have moved the existing controller to that location temporarily as I plan on sourcing a new MPPT controller to locate in that area. My plan is to continue from the controller to the house batteries direct, rather than feed onto the fuse panel. (my other 2X100 watt system feeds into that fuse panel at this time also)

I have the difficult part done and just need to pickup some ring connectors tomorrow for the battery hookup.

Any information/preference you have on good controllers let me know. The controller does not have to be fancy but one with a remote would be nice, as the controller will be out of the way.

Dave
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:24 AM   #7
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a little a/c help please?

Hi Dave, and thanks for posting the last, as, down the road I will need some of the upgrades that you have done..

wondering if you can give any pointers or shortcuts to dash A/C compressor wiring...
got the guages hooked to a/c and compressor not running, need to trace the hot wire from compressor and have yet to find the right diagram...
so, Im assuming that the hot lead runs to the ac swictch, or does it go to a relay first....
thinking that you may have had some experience with this..
freightliner condemned the evaporator....probably never had the compressor running.

thanks Dave, really appreciate your feedback and enjoy ALL of your posts...
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Old 04-11-2012, 02:18 PM   #8
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1996 36' Clipper Bus
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I think you have a different OEM setup than my 96 Clipper.
My dash control looks like this.


I have not had the specific problem you have indicated so am not going to be much help.
I would suspect the power from you switch does lead to a relay because these dash controls never are heavy duty. And I would think the relay may be located close to the battery source or in the engine bay. Where are your batteries located? On the Clipper they are in the extreme left rear compartment above the wet storage for the waste hose, etc. but I have no OEM relays in that compartment, only solenoids.

There should be a plug at the compressor that would a good place to start.
Check all your fuses and follow the wire using a test light at any plug/connection is about all you can do.
http://www.airstream.com/files/libra...9cc0d4bd4c.pdf

Looks like Airstream still used ACME in 1998 for the Air Conditioning system. Try Airstream and see if they have an updated supplier as ACME is long gone.

Dave




Quote:
Originally Posted by mfancher View Post
Hi Dave, and thanks for posting the last, as, down the road I will need some of the upgrades that you have done..

wondering if you can give any pointers or shortcuts to dash A/C compressor wiring...
got the guages hooked to a/c and compressor not running, need to trace the hot wire from compressor and have yet to find the right diagram...
so, Im assuming that the hot lead runs to the ac swictch, or does it go to a relay first....
thinking that you may have had some experience with this..
freightliner condemned the evaporator....probably never had the compressor running.

thanks Dave, really appreciate your feedback and enjoy ALL of your posts...
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Old 04-12-2012, 09:40 AM   #9
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Thanks Dave!
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Old 04-12-2012, 09:42 AM   #10
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I have engine battery compartment same place as yours, will look around there.
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:51 PM   #11
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I have finished the update on the OEM 2X53W panel wiring. These panels are now wired direct to the house battery #2 bank and I did reuse the SunForce controller that I have had for 4 or 5 years. I moved the controller to the foot of the bed and mounted it within the storage compartment, which is out of sight, but the controller displayed no real visual information that was of value. I have wired in a digital voltage meter on the solar panel side just for confirmation that the panel is producing. I have mounted that gauge on the TV cabinet.

I was going to upgrade to a MPPT controller, but I did not feel it was worth the expense for 106 Watt production at this time.

Dave

Quote:
Originally Posted by masseyfarm View Post
Over the last few days, I have pulled 8/2 marine wire direct from the solar panels to the fuse box at the foot of the bed. I have moved the existing controller to that location temporarily as I plan on sourcing a new MPPT controller to locate in that area. I have the difficult part done and just need to pickup some ring connectors tomorrow for the battery hookup.
Dave
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Old 08-31-2012, 11:04 PM   #12
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Another upgrade of an existing upgrade today.

I have on my Clipper a 3rd battery bank that runs, thru an ELIMINATOR 1000W inverter, my ARC,
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...tml#post938938
my navigators laptop, and occasionally other various a/c powered items such as my cell phone charger etc. as necessary.

For convenience, to be able to leave some of this equipment plugged in all the time, I mounted a 4 position power bar to a clear plexi panel that was secured with Velcro and two screws mounted into the lower window channel.

Below this is the Inverter and a holder for the electronic bug zapper that we always seem to need after every stop.



This worked OK but today I wanted to add a laptop cooler under the laptop so that it will not freeze up when running the "Streets and Trips" full time on these hot trips. Although I can wire the cooler to 12V, this one was setup to run off a/c power and I thought it was better left this way as it will get shut off with the other equipment when we leave the unit.

Unfortunately, I was out of room on the power bar. So --- change things around to add a 6 plug power bar.

Cut up a piece of dark plexi, did some bending and grinding, and it fits securely and looks like it will do a good job.

I remounted my pen holder, and it also holds a couple maps or a small book, or TGW's lottery scratch tickets.

I had to move the lamp to a lower position, but it has seldom been used and should still work OK. Just have to lift the coffee cup out of the way to access the lamp.

Dave
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Old 10-22-2012, 10:34 PM   #13
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Upgrade of the upgrade!

I got a deal on a Pure Sine Wave 1000W Eliminator Inverter last week so installed that in the Clipper today.
I had to re-arrange the power bar holder as the new inverter was larger than the last one.

This seems to, and should, work like a charm for the electronics.

Dave
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Old 11-10-2012, 10:31 AM   #14
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Fail

For unknown reasons, my new Pure Sine Wave Inverter failed this week. It would not shut off, even though the master switch shut off the display monitor, the unit still powered the ac equipment and thus rundown the solar powered battery over a couple days.

I was not happy.

Returned it and got a refund.

Reinstalled my previous modified sine wave Invertor that had worked fine.

Dave



Quote:
Originally Posted by masseyfarm View Post
Upgrade of the upgrade!

I got a deal on a Pure Sine Wave 1000W Eliminator Inverter last week so installed that in the Clipper today.
I had to re-arrange the power bar holder as the new inverter was larger than the last one.

This seems to, and should, work like a charm for the electronics.

Dave
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