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Old 06-22-2011, 06:50 PM   #169
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mello mike

You really should consider upgrading to two Size 27 AGMs, at the very least.
Thank you - yea, I need to figure out how to cram a couple of group 27s into the battery box, it doesnt look possible without some significant mods. Additional
AGMs could go into a sealed battery box, under the bed and vented to outside, but I am not ready to go to that length as yet.

I probably did over-build the system, but I was surprised that I did end up using 38' of the 4 ga. cable, so from a transmission loss standpoint, I'm glad I went with the 4 ga. And, knowing i'll rarely get rated power out of the panels, due to flat mount, shady spts, etc the 3 panels I think are not tremendous overkill for the 160 A-Hrs of battery I now have. And less so after a battery upgrade.....
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Old 06-23-2011, 12:29 AM   #170
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steverino View Post
Thank you - yea, I need to figure out how to cram a couple of group 27s into the battery box, it doesnt look possible without some significant mods. Additional
AGMs could go into a sealed battery box, under the bed and vented to outside, but I am not ready to go to that length as yet.

I probably did over-build the system, but I was surprised that I did end up using 38' of the 4 ga. cable, so from a transmission loss standpoint, I'm glad I went with the 4 ga. And, knowing i'll rarely get rated power out of the panels, due to flat mount, shady spts, etc the 3 panels I think are not tremendous overkill for the 160 A-Hrs of battery I now have. And less so after a battery upgrade.....
A pair of group 27s should fit right into the existing battery box on the tongue of the trailer with little to no modifications. You have to remove the bottom plastic formed tray and perhaps lengthen the threaded rod (maybe not) but dimensionally they should fit. I have done several like this (newer Airstreams) and they worked out fine.

You will have to increase the height of the tongue box if using group 4 golf cart batteries by 1-1/2" with an aluminum spacer all around and remount the cover on the new spacer bar.
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Old 06-23-2011, 07:48 AM   #171
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Hi everyone. We recently bought a '95 30' Excella that has three solar panels on the roof (and a third battery mounted behind the propane tanks). There's also a large inverter that'll run everything but the A/C. Obviously the original owner boondocked a lot with it!

My main question is: Is there any way to tell what wattage the panels are? You can see two of them here and the third one here.

Second: When I go to replace the batteries sooner or later (they're 3+ years old now, but I think they're starting to die), I'm thinking we probably shouldn't bother replacing the third one, since we rarely, if ever, boondock. Is that a bad idea?
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Old 06-23-2011, 10:34 AM   #172
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Those panels look a lot like mine (check out my blog to see if you agree). I have two Sunwize solar panels each rated for 95 watts. So it would be pretty safe to say they are at least 90 watt panels and might be as high as 100 watts each.

As for the batteries, two will be plenty if you have no intention on doing any boondocking.
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:20 AM   #173
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Quote:
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I have joined the AM Solar group. A month or so ago our dealer installed system failed. I thought it might be the controller. The company appeared to have gone bankrupt, so the warranty was worthless.

The dealer installed the original panel by screwing the feet into the roof, but there is tape available so strong (and very expensive) that you no longer have to pierce the roof. The dealer did not use the prewired #10 wire that goes up through the fridge vent, but used #10 wire, drilled another hole into the roof, and snaked it into the fridge compartment. How could the dealer not know Airstream had prewired? Our previous experiences with the Denver dealer were bad and this was no surprise to me. Lew filled all the holes with much sealant and then rains came, having held off until then.

Gene

Hi Gene,

Nice to know you had all that fixed properly. It sounds like a significant upgrade & to have the Lewster do it - what could be better?

The fact that your dealer failed to utilize the #10 pre-wire only reinforces the idea that in order to have a custom job done properly, you need to do it yourself or get a real expert with an interest in that area to do the work.

Enjoy your boondocking.

-evan
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:28 AM   #174
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster

A pair of group 27s should fit right into the existing battery box on the tongue of the trailer with little to no modifications. .
Thanks for the info. I'll check it again, but the dimension of the opening of the box was 11.75", wheras the length of the AGM Grp27, according to their website, is 13.09". Overall length of the box is 13 7/8", so perhaps by grinding down that flange at the top of the box may yield enough room to drop the batteries in...

As the storage locker door opens immediately over the battery box, precludes adding height to the box to accommodate golf cart batteries, so i'll be staying 12V.

Thanks for the advice!

Steve
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:30 AM   #175
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steverino View Post
Thank you - yea, I need to figure out how to cram a couple of group 27s into the battery box, it doesnt look possible without some significant mods. Additional
AGMs could go into a sealed battery box, under the bed and vented to outside, but I am not ready to go to that length as yet.

...
Hi Steve,

It doesn't take too much to increase the height of the battery box. I did post a log of my modification earlier in this thread.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f448...t-62608-2.html

One can then accommodate the taller 6V golf cart style batteries. The only thing I would do differently is keep the hinge on the forward side of the box instead of reversing it like I did.

Although I have not yet had any trouble running out of power, in more shady camping spots, I have noted that it is not getting fully recharged until late afternoon. (This has been in Summertime, so shoulder season & shade would probably be marginal in terms of daily recovery.) Lewster was right, I should have gone with the AGM batteries to get the most reserve and benefit out of the system.

When these GC batteries are done I will get AGM's next time.

-evan
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:33 AM   #176
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Originally Posted by steverino View Post

As the storage locker door opens immediately over the battery box, precludes adding height to the box to accommodate golf cart batteries, so i'll be staying 12V.


Steve
Oh. That complicates things then. I guess you might have to go for the interior installation of AGM's for more capacity.

-evan
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Old 06-23-2011, 09:35 PM   #177
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster View Post
A pair of group 27s should fit right into the existing battery box on the tongue of the trailer with little to no modifications.

Ahh I found a drawing which shows the actual dimensions of the AGM group 27's, and see how with a little mod the batteries should drop into the existing box. The actual battery body size is 1" less than the published spec, due to the "ears" to which the carry strap attaches. A slight reduction of the flange at the top of the box, and a bit of maneuvering of the batteries, should get them into the box. Thanks Lew for the info.

My main problem right now is the idea of throwing away a pair of perfectly serviceable Group 24 flooded cells, they are only about 15 months old. However, if I find that they can't cut it in any way, or otherwise start losing capacity, they're history!

I found it cool that AMSolar programmed a custom charging profile into the TriStar MPPT for AGM's. I changed back to a pre-programmed profile for the wet cells, but can easily flip it back to the custom profile once I procure AGMs.

Steve
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Old 06-24-2011, 08:27 PM   #178
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I just got Series 27 Lifelines into the Series 24 battery box. The batteries are too long for the box, so I had to remove the cover by drilling out the 3 rivets and then cutting back the lip the hinge sits on by about 3/16 to 1/4". Not really having the best in tools for this, I used a cutting wheel on a drill to cut a groove in the lip and then break it off with a vise grip. Then smooth it a bit with a file.

That is not enough. The Lifelines come with a carrying thing attached to plastic connections on each end. They have to be cut off. A utility knife will do the job. Even without them, there are plastic things on top of the battery you can use to carry the battery and ease it into the box. You have to remove the plastic tray at the bottom of the box since it doesn't fit the Series 27 batteries.

The giant wingnut that holds down the batteries will bend the plastic parts on top of the battery, so I took some pieces of 1/4" plywood to spread the strain and locked them down.

There was some rust on the bottom of the box, so I scraped it, cleaned it and then spray painted it.

The batteries are in, it was nearly 90˚ and I am whipped. Tomorrow I attach the new converter and attach the batteries and we are in the 21st Century.

Gene
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Old 06-25-2011, 05:44 AM   #179
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Gene,

'yer POV has changed a bit over the last few Season's A-what?
I 'member when 'ya 'kind'a made lite of us 'dockers. Sounds like 'your haven sum funz now.

I knew those Lew-phot's were make believe.
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Old 06-25-2011, 09:43 AM   #180
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Bob, getting around to posting photos has not be a priority after working on the trailer in the blazing southwest sun, but photos of Lew may disappear like those of Kokopelli I took years ago; only the camera knows for sure. Only time will tell.

There is a place for boondocking and that place does not come all that often. Blame my wife who seems to favor KOA's. I could still sleep in a tent, but I'd be alone….

One other thing about the batteries—the positive terminal has larger bolts on top of the terminals for the cables between the batteries than the wingnut connecters on the OEM batteries. The OEM cable's lugs are too small. My choices are to cut the end of the lug so it will fit and bolt it down, or get bigger lugs and either attach them to the OEM cable or make a new cable. Cutting and opening the lug slightly probably will work just as well, but looks sloppy and if the bolt loosens could cause a problems if the cable comes off.

I have to see if I need lugs for the converter—the Iota has a plug, so I have to cut the plug off and attach to however the 120 v. power comes to the converter. I took off the face plate yesterday and then the bolts that hold the converter in. I didn't take it out yet. This means a 2nd trip to the auto parts store or the hardware store—15 miles each way. I have to decide whose very high prices I want to deal with today.

Yesterday I was doing three projects at once—stop one when I needed something from the store and start another until I had to stop…. Some of the belly pan rivets have worn through the paper thin sheet metal and I am replacing them with screws and washers—actually one wore through and two were never installed. More evidence of Airstream "workmanship".

Gene
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Old 06-25-2011, 10:19 AM   #181
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Gene,

Where is the converter located on the Safari? I take it you don't have a convenient outlet nearby. Couldn't you bring the female to the male? Never know when another outlet may be needed.
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Old 06-25-2011, 10:26 AM   #182
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The original converter is under the front bed in it's own little cubicle and is hard-wired into the circuit breaker/ fuse panel. There are no other outlets under the bed area, but since the original was hard wired directly to the ground and neutral bus bars and it's 20 amp breaker, it will be easier to remove the plug, strip the wires and retrace the steps for the new one.

There will also be sufficient room for the new IOTA as Gene will be removing the old converter as well, leaving the face frame to be able to re-attach the integrated vent panel and fuse/breaker access door.
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