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Old 06-12-2018, 08:41 AM   #43
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Thanks for the response Bob. Yes, I’m thinking I can save much money, either making a portable like you did, or getting a kit (complete?) from AM Solar. And as I’m a self-confessed toolhead (never can have too many, unless you ask my wife) I’ll probably carry a generator as well.
The AM kits feature pivoting panels too - the AS setup is fixed - so they can be adjusted somewhat, assuming ideal orientation of the trailer. And the factory prewire should make it reasonably easy to install without any new holes in the body etc.
Regarding batteries, are you using wet cell, or AGM? Your preference?


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Old 06-12-2018, 08:53 AM   #44
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Ray, thanks for the tips on Int vs. FC/safari, we will look at those things closer...my wife likes the Serenity trim, I’m not sure what the difference is vs. the standard international.
See my reply to Bob above regarding solar.
And same question to you, Wet cell or AGM? AS dealer said AGMs last “much” longer (I believe they upgrade to AGM with the solar panel install) but is it worth the cost difference?
And I too still pick up loose change, although I have to weigh pain/$return ratio each time...

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Old 06-12-2018, 11:30 AM   #45
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And I too still pick up loose change, although I have to weigh pain/$return ratio each time...

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Which is why I always drop some loose change to make it my while.

My pauper 200W portable system charges the batteries fine also. The only thing I don't like is once it goes into float the controller will only put out a maximum of 1.5 amps no matter the draw.
Using the Midnite Brat controller.

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Old 06-12-2018, 12:17 PM   #46
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Ray, thanks for the tips on Int vs. FC/safari, we will look at those things closer...my wife likes the Serenity trim, Iím not sure what the difference is vs. the standard international.
See my reply to Bob above regarding solar.
And same question to you, Wet cell or AGM? AS dealer said AGMs last ďmuchĒ longer (I believe they upgrade to AGM with the solar panel install) but is it worth the cost difference?
And I too still pick up loose change, although I have to weigh pain/$return ratio each time...

Glassman
Hi

AGM should give you 3 to 6 years of use. A flooded cell should work for 2 to 5 years. Hmmm .... that's quite a range isn't it? Now toss in the region you live in. If you spend all your time in the Arizona desert in the summer, any battery ( AGM or flooded ) will dry out. The AGM's just don't dry out anywhere near as fast. The flooded cell is something you expect to check and refill. Most people pretty much ignore AGM's in this regard. You used to be able to figure out where the "hot zone" was for batteries. The guys selling "zero maintenance" batteries didn't sell them there ....

AGM's normally will give you more amp hours for a given sized battery than a flooded cell. The question always is - how many dollars per amp hour / can you fit in more batteries? AGM's are not the winner on a dollars per amp hour basis.

Batteries die based on the number of cycles, the depth of discharge, how they are recharged, how they are maintained, pure dumb luck, how they are built, how many bumpy roads you go over , and a few other things. None of the battery types we put into RV's will last forever and ever. We both buy the same batteries off the same shelf at the same time. I get 6 years out of mine, you get 2 years out of yours. That's the way it works ....

Bottom line - batteries are a consumable. They are no different than tires or a bottle of ketchup. Cheap ones ( = flooded cells ) will last a while and probably are the best in terms of "bang for buck". You will be stuck with dead ones more often, you will have less capacity, but look at all the money you saved .....

There is no one size fits all answer to this. Some are happy monitoring ( = limiting ) their power use and squeezing every last hour out of a set of batteries. Others wish for "all the modern amenities". What makes sense for one likely is not the ideal answer for the other.

Bob
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:46 AM   #47
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Bob, thanks again for your insight. We live in temperate Coastal Northern Cal - great for grape vines and cows, maybe a few other crops too...that being said, the marine influence (read: salt) can degrade battery life in sure.
I’m reminded of when I used cordless tools extensively while working in the field. Most companies I worked at issued the same tool set to each of us. Some guys would make their batteries last a long time, some would go through them quickly and get yelled at for it, but those guys were getting the most work done!
I’ll try the stock batteries and see how they under the conditions we create.

Cheers!

Glassman
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:50 AM   #48
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Matters, we are practically neighbors! How do you like your FC? Did you buy at BayArea AS? We are shopping, FC vs. International.


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Old 06-13-2018, 10:51 AM   #49
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Sorry, stupid auto correct! I typed “Mattirs”
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Old 06-13-2018, 11:58 AM   #50
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My rationale for purchasing a pair of 'wet cell' batteries versus the AGM sealed batteries was... Warranty comparisons and Prices.

My thought was by buying two wet cell Interstates for $72.99 each, less $15 a core with a two year warranty was a better choice than paying over $500 for a pair of AGM good for at least... three year warranty.

The difference in cost would be worth it and getting new batteries every two years or so would be better for me. Or at least it has been up to this point in my Battery Education.

Lew, the Solar Expert, works with those who want to run a Microwave and Hair Dryer while Boondocking. No problem with that.

It is just not how Nancy and I Boondock. LED lights, radio, water pump, refrigerator fan... the standard 12 volt items for Off the Grid Boondocking. We can go a couple weeks without fresh water, grey or black water dump or needing to purchase additional food.

Some on the 2016 Wyoming Boondocking Adventure did not quite get that thought run through, but that is water under the bridge for me, at least.

My wife, Nancy, found a great Costco deal offer. A Solar Panel and a Controller shipped to our doorstep. "Go for it!" Electrically challenged couple going to do a Solar Panel... remote... not attached to the trailer Solar Panel.

This is the true story. It is unedited. The 'thing'... works. I did it. I followed the simple + and - wire leads, some solder, about 10 to 12 feet of an electrical cord, two male and two female plugs to plug it all together, wire the batteries... and if I can do this and get the results I am passing onto you... anyone can.

Our experiences as well Ö right down the line! We use a different portable solar panel but parallel your camping style.
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Old 06-13-2018, 12:00 PM   #51
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Sorry, stupid auto correct! I typed ďMattirsĒ
I get auto corrected all the time also.
Yup got ours at Bay Area Airstream, really like them. Since they are so close, 3 miles, I drop in on occasion, and any service work is taken care of correctly and on time. Being Finnish, I love the wood look of the FC, others are too plastic for me-personal taste.
I do like the look of the Globetrotters.
Henry was/is our salesman, he was wonderful to deal with.

Matti
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:45 PM   #52
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I guess this being a pauper solar power thread, we are leaving lithium batteries out of the discussion.

They are expensive. I built my own non-pauper solar system because we off grid almost exclusively. I bought from am solar and also redid my entire power system. I installed all myself. Can send you a link to that long winded thread.

500 W on top 200W portable. New battery monitor, BMS, inverter, etc. and 320 amp hour of lithium.

The batteries are expensive. $4K for batteries. Almost same amount for all the other junk. Iím a geek and like tech. So I bought a smaller 23D instead of a 25 and used the difference to pay for the solar system.

Two seasons into it, I donít worry about power ever, even when wife uses microwave or hair dryer.

It may be overkill, but I had fun and it meets our needs. As Bib/Ray and others mention. Many variables that play into it. They call all work. I had a wet cell version designed for about $2k with same amount of solar and wet cell. Add another 800 to that for agm. Gives you an idea of diy cost range for top of line am solar setup.
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:38 AM   #53
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I guess this being a pauper solar power thread, we are leaving lithium batteries out of the discussion.

They are expensive. I built my own non-pauper solar system because we off grid almost exclusively. I bought from am solar and also redid my entire power system. I installed all myself. Can send you a link to that long winded thread.

500 W on top 200W portable. New battery monitor, BMS, inverter, etc. and 320 amp hour of lithium.

The batteries are expensive. $4K for batteries. Almost same amount for all the other junk. Iím a geek and like tech. So I bought a smaller 23D instead of a 25 and used the difference to pay for the solar system.

Two seasons into it, I donít worry about power ever, even when wife uses microwave or hair dryer.

It may be overkill, but I had fun and it meets our needs. As Bib/Ray and others mention. Many variables that play into it. They call all work. I had a wet cell version designed for about $2k with same amount of solar and wet cell. Add another 800 to that for agm. Gives you an idea of diy cost range for top of line am solar setup.
Hi

These days, 400AH of lithium with built in BMS is just under $4K delivered. The other needed stuff can be had for under $1,000. That assumes you already have solar panels and this is just a conversion to lithium. There are a couple of outfits that will sell you the batteries with BMS. A converter is around $200. An upgraded solar charger runs $300 or so. Battery monitor comes in just over $200. There's not a lot more that really is needed beyond wire and small bits and pieces.

A 200AH / 200W system uses the same converter and monitor. The only thing you save on is solar. That should drop to about $100. Net should be $2K for batteries, but still over $500 for the rest of the stuff.

Those are prices for some pretty good support gear. All of it is Victron except the converter is from Randy. You *could* shave some dollars on each item by shopping / substituting.

Bob
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Old 06-14-2018, 09:23 AM   #54
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Solar Power- Pauper Power Charging

I would highly recommend eliminating a converter and just by a charging inverter. Like the Victron Multi-plus.

No need to convert. Just run everything directly from battery. Charge battery with inverter/charger.

Also, wiring and parts adds up. My costs above are a year old. I have detailed breakdown. I donít see Victron lithium dropping in price yet. There are other brands that are cheaper like BattleBorn that are likely okay and those are cheaper and donít require a BMS. They donít have the years of experience and note reliability/reputation yet. Not to say that they wonít over time.

Bob, how much did your lithium upgrade cost? Did you do the install yourself?

Probably should take this discussion elsewhere, as adding lithium is not a pauper solution.
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Old 06-15-2018, 08:07 AM   #55
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Hi

I did all the work on mine myself. Details are scattered in various threads. Since I put it into the ex-center section of the power recliner, it's a fairly unique approach. Very specific to a Classic 30, also very ugly until you close it all up.

Total cost was ... errr .... a bit over $5K for the 400AH setup. Solar was already on the trailer, so no panels were involved.

Mounting a charger / inverter back in the original location on the Classic is not a job I'd want to tackle. Best approach would be to pull the entire kitchen / wardrobe out of the trailer, do the work, and then re-install the kitchen and wardrobe.

Lots of fun !!!

=======

Is lithium a low cost solution? It very much depends on how you look at it and how you do it.

If I only did the 100AH single pack, that's $1K. If I use the existing converter / charger and solar with the Battle Born, that's all I spend. I now have a setup that lasts for a *lot* longer than lead acid. It's way cheaper in the long run (if you use it a lot). You can use the full 100AH, just like with the lead acid setup at 200AH ( = same as group 27 AGM's, better than group 24 flooded ).

Double the capacity and the math still works. You are doing a drop in, so no wiring or mods. The work is the same as replacing the lead acids. The gear you have does what it's always done.

Pretty much all of us who are doing these upgrades are gear junkies. I know I am It does not take much of an excuse for me to drop this or that into a system. There *is* a lower cost approach. Just as with any cost reduction, there are compromises involved. I think that very much *does* put it in the context of the thread.

Bob
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Old 06-16-2018, 11:15 AM   #56
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Problem Solver at Work Overtime...

- Eliminate my Pauper Solar Power. Or, keep it to demonstrate I have concerns for the environment, noise pollution and global warming.

- Eliminate a Solar Panel or five, added to the roof of my Airstream.

- Eliminate the expense of Lithium batteries and multiple solar panels on the roof of my Airstream.

- Buy the cheapest pair of used golf cart 6 volt or 12 volt batteries at a Garage Sale or Battery Supply.

Purchase two Honda or equivalent portable generators. Two Honda's only if you want to use the Microwave, which we do not have or Hair Dryer, which seems to be missing when we are traveling, for some reason unknown to me... No Television Station to be found in the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico to be bothered.

I can add gasoline with stabilizer for extended camping trips.
I can manage to pull start the generator, easily.
I can ask Nancy to unload the generators from the pickup bed (in my wildest dreams).

When I sell the trailer:

- I sell the generators, gasoline containers, stabilizer fluid, toss in the grease tubs for lubricating obnoxious sounding metal to metal towing hardware, sway bars, paper towels, rubber gloves, bolts, nuts, screws, lath screws, bailing wire for a flat fee, or item by item. To the new owner, or on Craigslist.

Maybe reduce the tool volume by 70% needed to survive Off the Grid. No chainsaw. No bow saw. No shovels. No leveling blocks. No brush clippers. No bandaid supply needed, and so on.

Problem solved.

I already have one Honda generator. Enough power to run everything but: the missing hair dryer, and at 5,000 to 9,000 feet elevation campsites, no need to use the Air Conditioner.

At night the Trailer cools down into the 50's, and... maybe upper 30's to 40's. Bring several sleeping bags for those evenings. Eliminates the power hungry furnance fan.

Only shower during special occasions. Like going home, or when you, the spouse or both are being a bit... frisky, that evening. Who needs a water pump drawing power for water pressure... unless, of course, you have those options to consider?

During the day, the trailer warms up into the 70's. Open windows that are manual. Extend the Zip Dee that requires no engineering degree to operate, yet.

You do not have to be an Electrical Engineer, Electric Power Plant supervisor, nor have to know anything but... add fuel only when needed. Start only when needed. Camouflage the generator, if necessary... add a National Rifle Association sticker, or best applied to the Airstream and Generator.

Anyone disagree? If you do. You will not be on Santa's Christmas list for, guess what... a Generator. You will get a 1,000 lumen flashlight and a light that attaches to your head to read at night... in your tow vehicle. You... never cross Santa.
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