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Old 03-16-2017, 04:22 PM   #341
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The current television has a really poor viewing angle and highly off angle viewing nearly inverts the colors.
Ah. Well, a new cable won't fix that, so I guess it's look straight at it or don't look at all.
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Old 03-16-2017, 07:43 PM   #342
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Ditto

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The current television has a really poor viewing angle and highly off angle viewing nearly inverts the colors.
LB3,
I must have the same low end unit that you guys have. You described my TV perfectly. The DVD player in the OEM Toshiba TV/DVD player quit working (which had a great picture) so I did not want to reward Toshiba for selling faulty products by purchasing another one of their TVs. I really miss the Toshiba's good picture. I guess it was one of those "cut off your nose to spite your face" situations.
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Old 03-16-2017, 08:31 PM   #343
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composite to the TV will always be crap
next is svideo
then vga

DVI/HDMI will give the best picture
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Old 03-17-2017, 08:13 AM   #344
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I am nearing the end of my project to convert my 2016 Airstream Interstate to lithium and solar. I am awaiting the arrival of my 4th lithium battery and I have to rearrange things on the roof again to add a fourth solar panel. Would you all prefer me to start a new thread or post my project on this thread?
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Old 03-17-2017, 09:27 AM   #345
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You're welcome to discuss your lithium install here. I wanted to wait until our install was complete to do a write up but last spring but when Amirm mentioned that he was looking into installing lithium batteries, I thought it would be useful to crowd source solutions to some of our common issues.

I had already started collecting the various components and was a bit ahead of him at the time. He finished his install much quicker than we did but I found this thread useful for sharing info on BMSs and their limitations, what inverters were best suited for the install and how to best charge off the alternator now that the charging voltages were different.

After a couple more weeks of shaking things out and subsequent bug fixes, we'll post a final schematic and call this phase of our project complete. But I'm sure I'll come back to update the thread with lessons learned.
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Old 03-17-2017, 03:47 PM   #346
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I thought I'd give LB_3 a small heart attack by subjecting the Interstate to almost 24 hours of on-the-beach conditions. What better test of a new electrical system than to be subjected to driving on-shore winds and salt spray?


Seriously, the winds were so high that the burner on the SMEV blew out because I'd left the Fantastic open.

Anyway, the main thing I learned is not to forget to manually switch our 3-way fridge over to gas if the inverter is running after dark, because that thing will be a proper electricity pig if it gets access to it. The system has potential to save us propane, which is perhaps our biggest off-grid rate-limiter, but only if the fridge is electrically powered while the sun is up and shining strongly. Forgetting to make the switchover before the sun gets too low could bring about an undesirable battery result, depending on prevailing conditions.

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Old 03-17-2017, 06:10 PM   #347
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GREAT shot!!!!
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Old 04-10-2017, 07:19 AM   #348
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Not much of an update here and definitely not the full schematic I'm hoping to finish after tax season and my licensing exam. But reading all the threads about electrical and battery woes is pointing to one of the benefits of the solar BMS we're using. Chiefly, the fact it has seperate charging and load circuits.

This makes turning off nearly all the loads as simple as a single switch throw. Before if we cut the relay to the house battery, we had no charging and the battery would run down in about a week due to the vampire loads. Likewise if we left the battery switch on and we (or our stowage neighbors) tripped the GFCI on our shore power, we would see the batteries run down even quicker. This was a constant source of anxiety.

And then there was the time we left the pump on with an empty tank. It didn't run so long as the water lines remained pressurized so we didn't notice our configuration error when we stowed the van. But once enough water leaked back through the pump, it wouldn't stop running. When we checked on the van 48 hours later we found the pump running and alarms sounding. The pump would pull the battery current down enough to put the charger into bulk charging mode and this higher voltage was cooking our AGM and the propane detector was going off due to the small amount of hydrogen entering the vehicle.

The Solar BMS never turns off and draws about 0.025A which would take over a year to draw down the batteriy if that were the only load. Unfortunately I still have a vampire load of about .075A which means that we're seeing a 1% drop in battery state of charge per day which gives us about 3 months of offline storage.

It may not be a full year of anxiety killing bliss, but it's much nicer than having to hassle with plugging into shore power and constantly worrying about wether we completed the full pre-storage checklist properly.
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Old 04-10-2017, 07:50 AM   #349
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Forget April in Paris. April in Houston can be one of life's finer experiences (I was thinking about Mcrider traveling around this part of Texas this past weekend - wow - the weather doesn't get any better than what we've been having). LB_3 is studying many hours per day, and so we haven't been going on any trips, but I've been outside every possible minute either working on the Interstate or working on our landscaping maintenance.

Anyway, knock wood, our electrical system chugs along consistently and predictably. I'm hoping to take the rig for a few more local trips to test both it and my bicycle's capabilities now that I have the closet mods finished - if I have to do taxes, I might as well have an ocean view. Or a forest view. LB_3 and I do all of our own accounting - I used to have a CPA but I found it left us too dissociated from a true perception of finances, so now I don't even have a bookkeeper. But filing a tax return with a small business is a crap-ton of work.
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Old 04-11-2017, 07:39 PM   #350
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Yea. It was a great weekend. Weather was perfect in Cat Spring Fri night. After the training ride tried out Mill Creek Park (COE). It was nice (3/5). We drove through Martin Dies State Park and it looks a lot more interesting for a mid-week trip.

I can not leave well enough alone. Came home and bought a Victron Controller with Bluetooth to do the next mod on my Solar set up so I can take better advantage of the 300 Watts on-top. Not as slick as Lithium, but so far so good.
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Old 04-12-2017, 05:30 AM   #351
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Yea. It was a great weekend. Weather was perfect in Cat Spring Fri night. After the training ride tried out Mill Creek Park (COE). It was nice (3/5). We drove through Martin Dies State Park and it looks a lot more interesting for a mid-week trip.

I can not leave well enough alone. Came home and bought a Victron Controller with Bluetooth to do the next mod on my Solar set up so I can take better advantage of the 300 Watts on-top. Not as slick as Lithium, but so far so good.
Series or parallel??
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Old 04-12-2017, 05:49 AM   #352
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Just south of Martin Dies, there's the USACOE Sandy Creek Park. I've actually spent more time there than in Martin Dies (blog post). Martin Dies does not have many hiking trails but would be great if we had a transportable kayak, which we do not yet.
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Old 04-12-2017, 07:00 PM   #353
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Just south of Martin Dies, there's the USACOE Sandy Creek Park. I've actually spent more time there than in Martin Dies (blog post). Martin Dies does not have many hiking trails but would be great if we had a transportable kayak, which we do not yet.
How about a couple of inflatable paddle boards???
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Old 04-12-2017, 08:00 PM   #354
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Series or parallel??
Ah Obi Wan . . . interesting question that you should have good advice on. The Victron will not start until PV Voltage is Battery+5V or more. What it doesn't state is if that is OC voltage or not. Parallel may not be enough to start it, so I was considering series. It will of course start the Victron controller and less line loss as I will be using the stock PV wiring to the Victron.

How is that for an answer and what would you do?

My new toy
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Old 04-12-2017, 09:16 PM   #355
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Ah Obi Wan . . . interesting question that you should have good advice on. The Victron will not start until PV Voltage is Battery+5V or more. What it doesn't state is if that is OC voltage or not. Parallel may not be enough to start it, so I was considering series. It will of course start the Victron controller and less line loss as I will be using the stock PV wiring to the Victron.

How is that for an answer and what would you do?

My new toy

Since you kids are all playing with your new toys, what are you setting your FLOAT voltage to? The default on most of these MPPT controllers (including the Victron) for AGMs is 13.8v, but that seems too high for our Lifeline batteries, which appear to want a FLOAT voltage in the 13.1 - 13.4v range. Are you all just rolling with the default or creating a custom setting?
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Old 04-13-2017, 12:10 AM   #356
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Here are Lifeline's recommended float voltages:

You're welcome to keep this reference as I don't need it anymore. :-)
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Old 04-13-2017, 05:46 AM   #357
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Ah Obi Wan . . . interesting question that you should have good advice on. The Victron will not start until PV Voltage is Battery+5V or more. What it doesn't state is if that is OC voltage or not. Parallel may not be enough to start it, so I was considering series. It will of course start the Victron controller and less line loss as I will be using the stock PV wiring to the Victron.

How is that for an answer and what would you do?

My new toy
In your case, I would make two series strings of 2 panels each. This will give you 2 strings at 40VDC+ O/C and guarantee tha the Blue Solar will always function (unless you are in very dark environments! ).

If you only have 3 panels, then string em all up and you will get 60VDC+ O/C. Still well within the 100VDC operating range.



And for FlyFisher's post after yours............ Victron's 7 presets are not spot-on for Lifelines but #7 is perfect for their lithiums. Remember that they also make other types of batteries and have arranged their pre-sets for many of their requirements.

The Victron Connect app allows you to manually set your voltages. For Lifelines, I set the Bulk/Absorb at 14.2VDC and the float at 13.2VDC. Absorb time varies with battery bank size, but 1.5 hours is usually sufficient up to a 300 Ah battery bank. The Blue Solar has an internal temp sensor to adjust as necessary for ambient temperatures.
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Old 04-13-2017, 12:14 PM   #358
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And for FlyFisher's post after yours............ Victron's 7 presets are not spot-on for Lifelines but #7 is perfect for their lithiums. Remember that they also make other types of batteries and have arranged their pre-sets for many of their requirements.

The Victron Connect app allows you to manually set your voltages. For Lifelines, I set the Bulk/Absorb at 14.2VDC and the float at 13.2VDC. Absorb time varies with battery bank size, but 1.5 hours is usually sufficient up to a 300 Ah battery bank. The Blue Solar has an internal temp sensor to adjust as necessary for ambient temperatures.
Thanks Lew. That makes more sense. 13.8v for the 77* set point seemed a bit too high for our batts (regardless of temp compensation values) given the chart posted by LB_3 (thanks for posting that by the way). I think I'll go with 13.4v due to the BIM wanting to see 13.3v at the house batts in order to connect the chassis battery and thereby keep it happy as well. Also I'm debating NOT using the temp sensor for this very reason (I'm not using the Victron [more on that and reasons why in another post] so I can opt to not use temp compensated values) as I don't want the controller to lower the FLOAT voltage and have the BIM disconnect the chassis batt from the solar. Living in NorCal I don't think this will be an issue as our ambient temps are pretty modest (we don't see a lot of really hot temps), but we'll see how it goes.
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Old 04-13-2017, 07:27 PM   #359
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Amirm has mentioned a couple of times about solar not being optimally suitable for his area, especially given the superabundance of tree canopy in the northwest.

I was curious about this factor but not curious enough to stick around and actually measure in minutes the amount of sunlight that our panels received today - the dog and I struck out on the trails and had some fun instead.

But I measured the subtend and I don't think it exceeds 20 degrees in this location. In other words, of the 180 degree horizon to horizon possibility, only about 20 degrees of that consisted of a peep-hole of open sky through which direct sun could be received. The rest was obscured by the tree canopy which produced full shade or, at best, heavy dappling.

Even with that, our lithiums went from 91% to 100% during the time we were on the trails. I wish I'd run them down even further, just to see what they COULD have received, maximum, under these conditions.

The brutal southern sun lives up to its reputation, I guess.

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Old 04-13-2017, 07:54 PM   #360
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While direct sunlight is the best, indirect lighting in the shade will still be beneficial. I saw charging on mine on heavy, cloudy days albeit not very much.
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