Free 7 Day Trial RV GPS App RV Trip Planner Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Free 7 Day Trial ×
 


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 04-05-2020, 10:00 AM   #1
C_B
 
2014 Interstate Ext. Coach
Lebanon , IL
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 13
2016 Lounge EXT Lithium Journey

Hello all,
I think this is my first post, but I have been reading a lot. To sum it up, we bought the van at the beginning of Feb and just now finishing up my mods at the beginning of April.
Goals:
- Ditch the lead acid, add capacity
- Run AC on battery to leave the dogs inside while we go to dinner or are away for a couple hours at a time.
- Run the microwave while underway
- Warmer weather also required using the rooftop AC while underway
- Make LB_3 and Lew proud with the install
- Conserve interior space

These goals led to some sub-goals
- Ditch the obnoxious generator
- Need some way of charging
- Solar is not an option because of the lack of roof real estate
- Install Nation's dual alternator
- Ditch the terrible underslung battery brackets

Basics of the system:
Several Valence 138ah Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries
Victron 3000w inverter/charger
Victron BMV712 monitor
VenusOS/Raspberry Pi Victron monitoring and control

Removed Magnum inverter/charger, generator, and stock fuse/breaker box

I was able to squeeze the Victron under the left side seat where the original fuse/breaker box sat. I fabb'ed up a new push button AC circuit breaker panel with a 12 place DC fuse holder. All the cabling sits above the wheelwell where the Magnum used to sit.

I tried to keep the batteries in the same location, underslung, but I have too many concerns with the integrity of the sheetmetal mounting the factory used. I may revisit this later, but for now, I, sadly, placed 2x batteries under the right side of the sofa. That space was underutilized anyway. I can still fit my tote of power cable and water hose in the same space. I would like to add more batteries, but that will come later. Perhaps I will build a rack that can install where the generator lived. In the meantime, keeping the batteries inside will help prevent charging them frozen until I can figure out a better solution.

I installed the Nation's 3 belt alternator system, but unfortunately, it does not seem to be outputting enough power to keep up with the 123 amps required for the rooftop AC Compressor. It is able to supply 71 amps and 51.x comes from the battery. Unacceptable for a 280amp rated alternator. I am currently troubleshooting this issue. I have 0/1 cable from the + of the alternator going back to the Pos bus bar and double 0/1 going from the bus to the battery and to the inverter. Also upgraded a 1 awg ground strap from the alternator case to the frame (made no difference before vs after).

Rewired the fridge and electric water heater to operate off AC-2 pass through of the inverter so that it is only powered with shore power

Removed the solenoid so now the house and chassis systems are completely separate.

Initially, I tried to just relocate the fuse/breaker box above, but with the seat installed, this proved pointless.

The flex solar panel is still there, but not hooked up to anything. I despise the Atkinson charge controller with its 4 mins on and 4 mins off routine. The voltage isn't high enough for the lithiums, anyway. I actually ordered a Victron charge controller, but returned it since I should be able to make more power in an hour with the alternator than I ever could for several days with solar.

I was able to reuse the comm cables (RJ45 and RJ11) from the Magnum and the Atkinson that ran from the wheel well to the upper cabinet in order to use with the head units for the BMV712 and for the Victron VE.Bus to USB converter that goes to the Raspberry Pi running VenusOS. I was on the waiting list for the new Cerbo GX and the Touch Control, but quickly realized that they were charging me over $200 for the touch screen that I bought on eBay for less than $40. The Raspberry Pi has been a learning curve, but I have enjoyed making it work. I am in a little bit of uncharted territory since the Venus was designed for the Pi 2 and 3, but all I could get locally was a Pi 4. I am happy with it and saving > $600 by doing so. Once we are able to leave the house again, I'll set up the Kenwood to read the status webpage of the Raspberry Pi so I can see what it is doing while I am driving down the road.

As it sits now: 276 AH lithium and the ability to run the roof top AC and the microwave from the battery with minimal impact to storage space. Goal accomplished. My wife won't even know things changed.

Near Future:
I bought 8 Valence batteries. 6 were installed in our Class A and that left me with 2 extra for the AS. The Class A is up for sale so I removed those 6. I discovered that I have one battery with 2 failed cells - but the other 2 are still good. That leaves me with 5 more batteries that I can install in the AS, maybe with a battery cart/tray that will bolt up where the generator was connected through a few 175amp Anderson connectors.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Photo Apr 03, 1 41 32 PM.jpg
Views:	70
Size:	346.8 KB
ID:	364923   Click image for larger version

Name:	Photo Apr 04, 4 22 22 PM.jpg
Views:	66
Size:	257.1 KB
ID:	364924  

Click image for larger version

Name:	Photo Apr 03, 1 41 19 PM.jpg
Views:	67
Size:	425.4 KB
ID:	364925  
Chris Blank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2020, 10:27 AM   #2
Rivet Master
 
rowiebowie's Avatar
 
2012 Avenue Coach
Corpus Christi , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 1,620
Welcome to the forum Chris!

Nice job and great first post. Always hard to fit components in the small confines of a class b.

Just a few questions on your install (maybe I missed them):

- Do you have enough ventilation for the Inverter/Charger?
- What gauge wire did you use (looks a little small) however runs look short?
- Have you considered temperature of lithium batteries if you eventually place more in the old outside compartment?
- Did I read that you've wired your fridge to only run on shore power? I guess you mean to have the inverter on at all times?


Finally, just know you'll have very limited run time for a/c on just the two batteries in your initial install.
rowiebowie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2020, 11:10 AM   #3
C_B
 
2014 Interstate Ext. Coach
Lebanon , IL
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 13
- Do you have enough ventilation for the Inverter/Charger?

I took the top (now right side) cover off to allow for airflow. Air can flow from the rear vents on the left through the inverter and up through the top of the cabinet. I don't anticipate heat issues, but if there are, they could easily be solved with a small fan to force cooler air inside the cabinet. The inverter already has a fan on it.

- What gauge wire did you use (looks a little small) however runs look short?

Doubled 0/1 Awg on the Pos and Neg as directed by the Victron install manual.

- Have you considered temperature of lithium batteries if you eventually place more in the old outside compartment?

Yes, that is primarily why I decided to place them inside for the time being. I can conservatively get about an hour of AC use per battery so I thought about a summer battery cart or tray to add on as a module. Maybe even a hitch battery carrier is one of the options for those times when I need the extra capacity.

- Did I read that you've wired your fridge to only run on shore power? I guess you mean to have the inverter on at all times?

No sense in running the 2-way fridge off inverted 120v when it can run just fine on 12v and then run off shore power when plugged in. The Victron has a pass through circuit so that the inverter does not power those loads but allows the shore power to pass through and power them. Just like there's no sense in heating the water with inverted power, but there is a benefit of saving LP when plugged in.

I have had several Class A's, so we are used to certain conveniences. Having AC power is one of those.
Chris Blank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2020, 11:19 AM   #4
Rivet Master
 
Boxster1971's Avatar

 
2013 Interstate Coach
Fulton , Maryland
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 3,481
Nice work - certainly a big project.

FYI- the limits of the Nations second alternator to run the roof top A/C was identified by Advanced RV four years ago. That is why they developed a large Delco alternator installation for the Sprinter V-6 diesel. It is detailed in this YouTube video.

https://youtu.be/XANYxoEF_HY
__________________
- - Mike
--------------------------
2013 Airstream Interstate Lounge EXT
Boxster1971 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2020, 03:21 PM   #5
Rivet Master
 
rowiebowie's Avatar
 
2012 Avenue Coach
Corpus Christi , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 1,620
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Blank View Post
I have had several Class A's, so we are used to certain conveniences. Having AC power is one of those.
Looks like you thought of everything. I just know how Airstream likes to cover everything behind panels. I too had to remove some for ventilation during my lithium upgrade.

I like the idea of a "Summer Pack" of additional lithium batteries. Since you already have them, it will just take an inventive solution to make it a practical swap in and out of your old battery compartment or generator box. You've certainly taken out much more weight than any extra lithiums will come close to adding.

Let us know how it goes.
rowiebowie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2020, 04:59 PM   #6
4 Rivet Member
 
Teamaron's Avatar
 
Currently Looking...
2014 Interstate Ext. Coach
Boca Raton , Florida
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 355
Would love to do this but not that tech savy.

Can you share appt. cost?

Where would one go to get this work done?
Teamaron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2020, 05:58 PM   #7
Rivet Master
 
rowiebowie's Avatar
 
2012 Avenue Coach
Corpus Christi , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 1,620
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teamaron View Post
Would love to do this but not that tech savy.

Can you share appt. cost?

Where would one go to get this work done?
Unfortunately, the cost is great and cannot be justified. But then, that could be said about much of rv life. My cost was nearly $2800, and that is doing my upgrade to a modest 200Ah, cheaper components, and my own labor.

My upgrade started out as a modest desire to run the 700W microwave (that actually pulls about 1200 watts) without being plugged in or starting the generator. I also wanted to get rid of 150 year old lead-acid technology and double my usable amp hours so we could boondock more than one night. Modest goals I thought.

All parts of my project are Renogy. Mainly because the Renogy's were the only products that fit the space I had available (and their prices are right).

Summary:

Inverter/charger - Replaced the old 750 Tripplite with the Renogy 3000W Pure Sine Wave Lithium Compatible R-INVT-PCL1-30111S-BC. Currently on sale for $719 (free shipping https://www.renogy.com/3000w-12v-pur...w-lcd-display/). It happened to just fit the long and fairly skinny space I had available. Overkill for now, but I wanted the 3000W in case of future upgrades.

Truly an easy plug & play replacement for the Tripplite. It is easily programmed from it's top LCD screen. Charger rates can be set in 5A increments up to 75A. A comparable Victron will run you about $1300. A respected product, but at nearly twice the cost.

2 x 100Ah Lithium Batteries - Besides being on sale for $719 at the time I purchased, Renogy had the only true Group 27 sized batteries I found (actually slightly smaller). Battleborns, besides being more expensive, simply wouldn't fit externally or internally in my application. I ended up installing the Renogy's inside, next to the inverter, by re-purposing a small storage compartment. Misc. 4/0 cables, ANL fuses, etc. were another $150.

DC-DC Charger - At the time, Renogy offered 20A ($129) and 40A ($179) models. I chose the 40A since I figured the 20 wasn't enough and the 40 would still not over-tax my engine alternator. I effectively isolates the lithiums from the lead-acid engine battery bypassing the old Isolator to which the Ignition switch was wired and running a new ground to the chassis.

State of Charge Monitor/Shunt - To track the lithium charge levels, I purchased the Renogy 500A Monitor for $99. Comes with it's own shunt which is wired to the negative cables. It handles 500 amps and can be programmed for up to 9999 amp hours of battery, so again, I won't have to replace it if I add future battery capacity.

Unexpected Discoveries during install:
While the install when pretty much as expected and there was no smoke or fires, moving the batteries inside and disconnecting from the chassis battery resulted in the following unwanted, but necessary changes.

1) The engine battery no longer charges when plugged in. It still charges from the alternator and I routed my meager solar to it keeps my engine battery charged while sitting for extended periods.

2) One of the major reasons for the upgrade was to run the microwave from the inverter. But I soon realized the plug behind the microwave is not on the inverter curcuit. So I temporarily ran an extension cord behind the cabinets to the a wall outlet connected to the inverter. A permanent fix will have to wait.

I love how fast the batteries charge with the new system. We don't plan to run the inverter except to use power-hungry appliances like the Microwave for brief periods.
rowiebowie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2020, 06:51 PM   #8
C_B
 
2014 Interstate Ext. Coach
Lebanon , IL
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teamaron View Post
Would love to do this but not that tech savy.

Can you share appt. cost?

Where would one go to get this work done?
Well, I'm in Biloxi until about August.

I'm military - an aircraft fabricator turned cyber nerd. I need to have these types of projects to get me along.

I didn't buy everything at once, but general costs are:

Inverter: -$1100
BMV712 -$180
Cableling -$100
Raspberry Pi -$56
Touch screen -$39
batteries -$300/ea
Nation's alternator $1900
Sold generator and magnum +$1000
----
Rough Total is just under $3000.
I still have some odds and ends that I can try to sell in order to recup some more costs. Obviously, doesn't include labor

We got a good deal on the van to begin with, so I justify the cost by figuring it in as part of the purchase price.... in my head anyway.
Chris Blank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2020, 04:39 AM   #9
4 Rivet Member
 
Teamaron's Avatar
 
Currently Looking...
2014 Interstate Ext. Coach
Boca Raton , Florida
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 355
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Blank View Post
Well, I'm in Biloxi until about August.



I'm military - an aircraft fabricator turned cyber nerd. I need to have these types of projects to get me along.



I didn't buy everything at once, but general costs are:



Inverter: -$1100

BMV712 -$180

Cableling -$100

Raspberry Pi -$56

Touch screen -$39

batteries -$300/ea

Nation's alternator $1900

Sold generator and magnum +$1000

----

Rough Total is just under $3000.

I still have some odds and ends that I can try to sell in order to recup some more costs. Obviously, doesn't include labor



We got a good deal on the van to begin with, so I justify the cost by figuring it in as part of the purchase price.... in my head anyway.


Hi Chris

Does this mean your done in south Florida area in august? And can do on our interstate?
Thanks
Kurt
Teamaron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2020, 06:05 AM   #10
C_B
 
2014 Interstate Ext. Coach
Lebanon , IL
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teamaron View Post
Hi Chris

Does this mean your done in south Florida area in august? And can do on our interstate?
Thanks
Kurt
Not quite... I won't find out where we are moving to until the end of June... yes, about 30 days notice for us to prep for a move - it's great
Chris Blank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2020, 07:11 AM   #11
C_B
 
2014 Interstate Ext. Coach
Lebanon , IL
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 13
Kurt,
Send me a PM and I can try to help you through your project.
Chris Blank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2020, 10:31 PM   #12
Rivet Master
 
2006 22' Interstate
League City , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 695
Quote:
- Make LB_3 and Lew proud with the install
Sorry I missed this thread earlier. I don’t get on the forums much right now. Work has just been too busy this past year.

Thanks for the complement. I’m not a pro like Lew but given how much I value my free time, I try not to waste it doing crappy work. I also try to learn something new with each project wether it’s welding, water jetting, phosphate coatings, etc...

If you’re reading my thread, I would advise starting at the end or reading all the way through since some of the stuff at the beginning is wrong and not corrected until dozens or even hundreds of posts later if at all. It’s really unfortunate that the mods don’t allow edits after the first 30 minutes.

Oh, and more pics are always nice.

Edit to add that I’m quite jealous of your ability to add a second alternator. That’s not a very viable option on out T1N.
LB_3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2020, 08:56 AM   #13
Rivet Master
 
2006 22' Interstate
League City , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 695
Btw, once you get the Pi4 up and running, satisfactorily, you may want to consider selling kits. There is quite a bit of capability in those devices but as you noted, the learning curve is a bit steeper than most DIYers are willing/able to achieve.

You may be saving $600 but you’re also creating some intellectual property that may serve the needs of this niche market.
LB_3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2020, 06:14 AM   #14
C_B
 
2014 Interstate Ext. Coach
Lebanon , IL
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 13
I have the RPi4 up and running with a 5" touch screen. The official screen is a 7" that will support dimming and turning the screen off. Currently, the 5" screen does not do that, however it does not take up much power anyway.

I'm willing to put together some kits, but need to know what people need or where they get stuck when they try to do it themselves.
Chris Blank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2020, 07:36 AM   #15
1 Rivet Member
 
2019 Tommy Bahama Interstate
St Paul , Minnesota
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 8
Chris,

In your rework of the electrical system did you make all the outlets live through the invertor when boondocking? If so how big of a wiring job to accomplish that piece.

thx
Lach
lachness is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2020, 07:50 AM   #16
C_B
 
2014 Interstate Ext. Coach
Lebanon , IL
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 13
Yes, all outlets are live through the inverter. I removed the original fuse/circuit panel and made my own. Since the replacement inverter has a built in transfer switch, you can wire it inline with the shore power inlet. It just takes a little bit of studying the AC wiring diagram.
Chris Blank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2020, 10:56 AM   #17
3 Rivet Member
 
Currently Looking...
2016 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Traverse City , Michigan
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 143
Chris,

Assuming all of the electrical system is calibrated for lithium, are the Valence batteries able to plug and play? Looking at the Muller site online they appear to have connectors and not posts. I also was curious if any additional items need to be purchased from Muller to allow these to function properly.

Thank you,
David
Heckler56 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2020, 10:13 PM   #18
4 Rivet Member
 
Hawk-ination's Avatar
 
2014 Interstate Ext. Coach
Cedar Rapids , Iowa
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 358
Really interesting post and project. Thank you for sharing. Been looking at alternatives to upgrading although this project would be beyond my capabilities! Please let us know when you’ve completed your goals.
Hawk-ination is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2020, 07:03 AM   #19
C_B
 
2014 Interstate Ext. Coach
Lebanon , IL
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 13
David,
Nothing is really plug and play. The new batteries are completely separate from the chassis system and have their own alternator. The Victron equipment and the alternator has to have the correct voltage settings for whatever specific battery you install. Some of the default settings will work, but it will work better if you customize it for your specific batteries. The valence batteries have bolt type terminals that work with 5/16" ring lugs. The connectors that you might see are to get diagnostic data from the battery to see things like state of charge, number of discharge cycles, temps, and individual cell voltages.
Chris Blank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2020, 01:35 PM   #20
3 Rivet Member
 
Currently Looking...
2016 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Traverse City , Michigan
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Blank View Post
David,
Nothing is really plug and play. The new batteries are completely separate from the chassis system and have their own alternator. The Victron equipment and the alternator has to have the correct voltage settings for whatever specific battery you install. Some of the default settings will work, but it will work better if you customize it for your specific batteries. The valence batteries have bolt type terminals that work with 5/16" ring lugs. The connectors that you might see are to get diagnostic data from the battery to see things like state of charge, number of discharge cycles, temps, and individual cell voltages.
Chris,
Thank you. Would I need to buy the battery diagnostic equipment from Muller or would Victron or Trimetric products achieve normal soc & temp readings? I would expect the discharge & cell voltages would require their proprietary diagnostics.
David
Heckler56 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
Our Journey Begins - 2018 AI TB Lounge wachuko Sprinter and B-van Forum 1801 06-05-2021 04:40 PM
235/85/16 tires on 2016 AI Lounge EXT 4x4 mdf Sprinter and B-van Forum 17 12-29-2016 02:08 PM
2016 Interstate Lounge EXT from 2014 model MILATV Sprinter and B-van Forum 66 12-14-2015 06:03 PM
Towing boat with 2016 Ext Lounge Harleydeal Sprinter and B-van Forum 8 09-27-2015 12:51 AM
Crisis - What Color Interior - 2016 Lounge EXT jtrichel Sprinter and B-van Forum 30 06-06-2015 05:43 PM


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.



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:49 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.