Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 03-05-2015, 10:35 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 10
Solar upgrade

How / what do I do to hook up shore, generator, solar and batteries on a complete remodel
Do I need multiple components (converter, inverter and solar control) or is their one unit that does it all
__________________

__________________
duckguts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2015, 11:02 PM   #2
Rivet Master
 
drboyd's Avatar

 
1978 25' Tradewind
Metro Phoenix , Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,428
You'll need all three if you want 120 volt AC when you're on battery. The actaul hookup requires some pretty detailed instruction. The expert is Lewster.
__________________

__________________
"Between what matters and what seems to matter, how should the world we know judge wisely?" - E.C. Bentley, Trent's Last Case
drboyd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2015, 08:51 PM   #3
1 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 10
After some research I'm going to buy a few more batteries and not a 12v converter
We are only going to be running some LEDs and a tv
If I need to plug the generator in for the tv I can
Most of our camping is on the beach
__________________
duckguts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2015, 08:52 PM   #4
1 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 10
Our generator can charge 12v
__________________
duckguts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2015, 08:58 PM   #5
Rivet Master
 
AWCHIEF's Avatar
 
2006 23' Safari SE
Biloxi , Mississippi
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 8,138
Images: 33
Some good reading here.
Designing your RV Solar Battery Charging System for Real World Conditions
__________________
MICHAEL

Do you know what a learning experience is? A learning experience is one of those things that says "You know that thing that you just did? Don't do that."
AWCHIEF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2015, 09:15 PM   #6
Rivet Master
 
switz's Avatar

 
2014 31' Classic
2015 23' International
2013 25' FB International
Apache Junction , Arizona
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 4,799
Images: 8
Here is another educational link to one of the better solar vendor's website primer on solar systems.

AM Solar's Educational Pages for RV Solar Systems

Due to the costs and changes made to wiring and equipment being placed in various locations, one really needs to really aim then shoot because funding major mistake reversals can be a real challenge.

The technology is changing rapidly and what was the normal last year has been eclipsed by new stuff coming on line now.

An example is replacing four lifeline model 6ct 6Vdc 300-amp hour batteries that weigh 360 pounds and can only provide 50% of the power rating (12Vdc and 600 amp-hours) with a single Lithium Ion battery assembly providing 12Vdc 600 amp-hour capacity of which 85% to 90% can be used at a total weight of 168 pounds. That weight and space savings comes at a roughly 3 times cost multipler this year.
__________________
WBCCI Life Member 5123, AIR 70341, 4CU, WD9EMC

TV - 2012 Dodge 2500 4x4 Cummins HO, automatic, Centramatics, Kelderman level ride airbag suspension, bed shell

2014 31' Classic model 30 twin beds, 50 amp service, 900 watt solar system, Centramatics, Dill TPMS, disc brakes, 16" tires & wheels
switz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2015, 09:18 PM   #7
Rivet Master
Commercial Member
 
lewster's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
Naples, FL , Hood River, OR
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 7,282
Quote:
Originally Posted by duckguts View Post
After some research I'm going to buy a few more batteries and not a 12v converter
We are only going to be running some LEDs and a tv
If I need to plug the generator in for the tv I can
Most of our camping is on the beach
Simple solutions, but I think you should do a bit more research before deciding on which components you will/will not be using.

Example: 'Our generator can charge 12V'

While this statement is true on the surface as a generator usually has a 12VDC charging port, it's the value of the voltage that is most important. A quick search of proper battery charging threads will tell you that ANY battery (with the exception of the new lithium battery packs) require 3 stage charging for proper maintenance and maximum life.

A generator's 12VDC output will be a single, constant voltage, which will effectively kill any battery in short order......just like the Parallax single voltage converters in Airstream trailers will do. It will not provide enough charging voltage for a full bulk/absorption charge and will provide too much voltage for a float charge. Your batteries WILL NOT BE HAPPY!

Simply, a generator will put some charge back into depleted batteries, but the varying voltages required to keep the batteries really happy will just not be available unless you have at least a quality multi-stage 'smart charger' available to properly charge your batteries when on either shore power or generator.

And regarding your initial post, any installation that will seamlessly integrate shore/generator, solar and batteries should be done by someone who has significant experience with such installations and who fully understands the complex interactions between the various components and the AC and DC systems. There is no single device that will do it all..............
__________________
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 03-07-2015, 12:07 AM   #8
Rivet Master
 
1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,591
Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster View Post
And regarding your initial post, any installation that will seamlessly integrate shore/generator, solar and batteries should be done by someone who has significant experience with such installations and who fully understands the complex interactions between the various components and the AC and DC systems. There is no single device that will do it all..............
The key is understanding, as Lew says, that there are many components to a good RV electrical system and each one needs to be carefully selected as a part of a total design. The "best" individual parts often don't play well with each other when it comes to a total integrated long term functioning design. Just battery type selection alone requires specific charge controllers and monitoring systems, and battery type A may need quite different charge controllers than battery type B... or C.

About 10 years ago I had a friend who found, on line, a solar charge controller at about half the price of one which I had recommended to him as a known good one for his application. Of course he ignored my advice. First it took him 6 + months to get the bargain charge controller, and within 6 more months he was re asking me for recommendations for a replacement, as the one he got was simply unsuited for his application. This type of problem happens far more often than you might imagine.

Even the electrical experts have different philosophies as far as overall design, sort of like Ford vs. Ram vs. Toyota. But they do have a larger goal which they strive for, a long term well functioning integrated system which does the required job at some price point.

Bottom line, you can't just pick pieces and parts and install them on your Airstream and expect they will do what you want them to do. Well, you can but if you do, expect to make some errors which may be simple or might be costly to correct. After all, even the experts had to learn by trying and evaluating their results, and I guarantee they made some mistakes. I am a dedicated non professional and certainly know I have. But I know a whole lot more than I did in 1995 when I built my first solar system.
__________________
idroba is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2015, 10:29 AM   #9
Rivet Master
 
switz's Avatar

 
2014 31' Classic
2015 23' International
2013 25' FB International
Apache Junction , Arizona
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 4,799
Images: 8
Having read this forum for over two years and especially the tire and solar threads, I became aware of the issues surrounding the design and components for a proper solar system. I switched to Michelin tires as soon as possible after taking possession of both trailers.

As an extra cost option, our 25FB came with a dealer installed 155 watt solar panel on the roof. We discovered it was inadequate to restore the battery in broad daylight with no clouds after the furnace operated during the night. We had to run the generator(s) to bring the charge level up. The dealership installed the charge controller on the side wall of the hanging closet beside the head of the cross frame queen bed. When the sun tickled the solar panel, the display would start blinking and awake the wife. Really a dumb place for the display, but quick and easy for the dealer.

When we ordered our Classic, I knew we would skip the factory 1,000 watt inverter (it was not enough power to run the standard factory installed microwave) as well as the 104 watt solar panel (could generate about 76 watts on a perfect day).

I learned a great deal about solar systems and selected components from the extremely knowledgable posts by Lewster and on the AM Solar website. I called AM Solar and chatted to get answers to my questions and asked for the names of relatively near by recommended installers. I knew I did not want the local dealership to install what we were contemplating as they had relatively no solar experience.

We selected an Airstream restorer (A&P Vintage Trailer Works in Paradise, TX) who was highly recommended by AM Solar. We took the trailer to them and had all Airstream warranty issues resolved properly on my nickel while doing the solar system installation and disc brake conversion.

During our second trip over, we converted the fluid gage system to SeeLevel and installed new flooring (another long story). We also completed many custom cabinetry projects as well as upgrading all electrical outlets to Hubbell 20 amp GFI outlets.

In May we will make a third trip to switch to a German on demand water heater (unloading 50 pounds of water storage weight from the trailer) that runs only on propane and 12Vdc for the control circuity. We are also switching to the new generation of AM Solar's version of a Lithium Battery system and will have the same capacity (12Vdc and 600 amp-hours) as we have now.

The big differences include the availability of 85% to 90% of the 600 amp hours with Lithium versus 50% or less for the Lifeline 6ct batteries as well as a decrease in the battery system weight from 360 pounds to 168 pounds. The Lithium batteries can charge much faster than the Lifeline units and have different charge maintenance programs so the Magnum MS-2812 inverter/converter will be reprogrammed along with the Tri-Star MMP 60 solar charge controller. The Magnum is capable of generating 2,800 watts from the batteries.

Our operational experience with our solar system reflects the 20% derating from the "sales" wattage number per panel. Thus, our eight 100 watt panels could realistically be expected under optimum conditions to produce about 600 watts. We have seen around 560 watts on a clear fall day.

This system allows us to be off grid in more remote sites and still use whatever we want in the trailer.
__________________
WBCCI Life Member 5123, AIR 70341, 4CU, WD9EMC

TV - 2012 Dodge 2500 4x4 Cummins HO, automatic, Centramatics, Kelderman level ride airbag suspension, bed shell

2014 31' Classic model 30 twin beds, 50 amp service, 900 watt solar system, Centramatics, Dill TPMS, disc brakes, 16" tires & wheels
switz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2015, 06:00 PM   #10
Prairie Schooner II
 
Jim Flower's Avatar

 
2012 30' International
1997 25' Safari
1967 20' Globetrotter
Burlington , Ontario
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,182
Does an upgrade to AM Solar's version of a Lithium Battery system require that I change the standard MagneTec Converter and my Go Power PWM 30 solar controller in order to accommodate the change from AGMs to Lithium batteries? Switz, can you tell us a little more about your water heater? Jim



Sent from my iPad using Airstream Forums
__________________
Jim
Jim Flower is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2015, 06:14 PM   #11
Rivet Master
Commercial Member
 
lewster's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
Naples, FL , Hood River, OR
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 7,282
[QUOTE=Jim Flower;1590718]Does an upgrade to AM Solar's version of a Lithium Battery system require that I change the standard MagneTec Converter and my Go Power PWM 30 solar controller in order to accommodate the change from AGMs to Lithium batteries? Switz, can you tell us a little more about your water heater? Jim


Jim,

AM Solar's lithium battery packs require constant currant/constant voltage charging (CC/CV) at very specific voltage points. These happen to be 14.3VDC for what we'll call 'bulk charge' and 13.5 VDC for float charge. There is no tapering of the charge amperage for these lithiums like you would see in a normal absorption phase.

Unless your charging equipment is capable of delivering this type of charge (at this point, I don't think so), then yes, you will also need to upgrade your charging equipment (and specifically your solar charge controller) to get the proper voltages for lithium charging. We have some folks out there with sub-standard converters but have Blue Sky charge controllers and they basically let the solar do the majority of the battery charging.
__________________
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 03-08-2015, 08:44 PM   #12
Prairie Schooner II
 
Jim Flower's Avatar

 
2012 30' International
1997 25' Safari
1967 20' Globetrotter
Burlington , Ontario
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,182
[QUOTE=lewster;1590724]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Flower View Post
Does an upgrade to AM Solar's version of a Lithium Battery system require that I change the standard MagneTec Converter and my Go Power PWM 30 solar controller in order to accommodate the change from AGMs to Lithium batteries? Switz, can you tell us a little more about your water heater? Jim





Jim,



AM Solar's lithium battery packs require constant currant/constant voltage charging (CC/CV) at very specific voltage points. These happen to be 14.3VDC for what we'll call 'bulk charge' and 13.5 VDC for float charge. There is no tapering of the charge amperage for these lithiums like you would see in a normal absorption phase.



Unless your charging equipment is capable of delivering this type of charge (at this point, I don't think so), then yes, you will also need to upgrade your charging equipment (and specifically your solar charge controller) to get the proper voltages for lithium charging. We have some folks out there with sub-standard converters but have Blue Sky charge controllers and they basically let the solar do the majority of the battery charging.

Thank you Lew. My Controller specifies 14.1 to 14.4 VDC and a float charge of 13.7 VDC. It does have 4 stage charging and is temperature compensated. I don't know if is adjustable or if it can be constant currant/constant voltage. If the Blue Sky charge controller works with the lithium battery, perhaps I can make a switch with my son's AM Solar provided Blue Sky Sun Charger 30 should I make the battery change in the future.
But it does sound so far like the new Lithiums may need specific converters and controllers. Jim


Sent from my iPad using Airstream Forums
__________________
Jim
Jim Flower is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2015, 10:02 AM   #13
Rivet Master
 
switz's Avatar

 
2014 31' Classic
2015 23' International
2013 25' FB International
Apache Junction , Arizona
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 4,799
Images: 8
We are installing a German designed and built AquaGo comfort model that is Truma's middle model of three:

Truma AquaGoâ„¢ provides instant hot water while on the road

The base model has no winterization capability and the top model would require a complete re-plumbing to have a hot water circulating circuit which would use propane all the time which defeats the purpose.

I am having a senior moment, but I believe the MSRP for the three models is $1,095, $1,195 and $1,295.

Truma is an established vendor in Europe and have an office in Elkhart. They are setting up their US reseller network now. The chap that does my custom work will be one of the first non-manufacturering dealers.

This unit does not need 120Vac, so that allows me to get rid of the last two circuits on one breaker in my new primary panel and use a standard 20 amp 120Vac single circuit breaker in that spot.

The propane input can be primarily from the right side when looking at the installation or the rear. Since the unit is narrower than the Atwood, right access will be easier.

We will have to be creative in the sheet metal installation as their unit is smaller than the Atwood six gallon tank water heater the factory installed. We will fabricate a new stainless steel door based upon the Airstream one we currently have to take care of the issue.
__________________
WBCCI Life Member 5123, AIR 70341, 4CU, WD9EMC

TV - 2012 Dodge 2500 4x4 Cummins HO, automatic, Centramatics, Kelderman level ride airbag suspension, bed shell

2014 31' Classic model 30 twin beds, 50 amp service, 900 watt solar system, Centramatics, Dill TPMS, disc brakes, 16" tires & wheels
switz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2015, 01:25 PM   #14
Prairie Schooner II
 
Jim Flower's Avatar

 
2012 30' International
1997 25' Safari
1967 20' Globetrotter
Burlington , Ontario
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,182
Thank you for that Switz. My potential upgrade file is getting pretty thick as I add ideas from you, BAB, and others. One day I will have the time to have some fun adding to my Airstream some of the great ideas shared on the forum. I am particularly enthused about the ideas that enhance the ability for one to be independent of shore services. So far, since I am usually dealing with periods not exceeding a week, I have managed quite nicely, black tank being the limiting factor. But even that is not too bad because the week is usually travelling between destinations. We are getting really good at balancing needs but they seem to change a bit with each trip out. I even found myself researching


Sent from my iPad using Airstream Forums
__________________

__________________
Jim
Jim Flower 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
Converter,battery and solar upgrade SilverSinbad Batteries, Univolts, Converters & Inverters 2 01-19-2015 11:57 AM
Airstream solar pre-wiring compatibility with AM solar robi Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar 6 06-11-2014 10:31 PM
Solar upgrade beerrun'r Generators & Solar Power 1 09-21-2013 04:00 PM
Solar Install AM Solar outdoors717 Generators & Solar Power 3 07-15-2012 08:11 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:08 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.