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Old 03-19-2019, 04:07 PM   #1
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New Lithium & Solar Upgrade

Just got back from a trip up north to AM Solar. I took the AI up to have them install 600 aH of lithium, 3000W inverter and add another 100W Zamp solar panel plus inumerable goodies that go along. Bank account is definitely lighter but they sure did a fantastic installation.

I told them my goals and basically we squeezed in the maximum that would fit without blocking the little flip down door / passageway (that's the cat's favorite hidey hole) and without taking up any of the rear storage. Other than that, under the seat was fair game.

I had to pay a little extra to have the inverter mounted on the water heater housing vs along side the batteries.

Interesting note, they did a quick test of the efficiency of the new 100W solar panel they installed vs the three factory ones. At the specific time of day the factory solar was producing 10-12 amps but the single Zamp panel they put on was producing 8 amps.

I recorded the full orientation they gave me of the system. It was pretty likely I would forget something, with all the new cutoffs and relays added. It has a lot more gory detail and much longer that I will share if anyone is interested.

I awkwardly made a short summary video to show you all the new system: https://youtu.be/j6hNHle_OYo
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Old 03-20-2019, 10:13 AM   #2
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Thanks for sharing. Looks like they did a great job.

Interesting to see they used the same solar panel brackets to support the battery together with their tie down straps.

I don't have the extended Interstate, so I have a bit less room. I wish the Victron Inverter/charger didn't take up so much space-space I don't have. I am not sure how they mounted it sideways as it is designed to hang from a bracket in the vertical position.
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Old 03-20-2019, 10:21 AM   #3
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Could you upload the orientation video?
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Old 03-20-2019, 10:27 AM   #4
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Here is the orientation video: https://youtu.be/XOHXli1iG2s

It is unedited so your mileage may vary
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Old 03-20-2019, 10:36 AM   #5
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Very nice video demonstrating running the air conditioner on battery power, showing the Victron displays with and without A/C running. This is the kind of information I find very useful and hope you will share in my Solar Show & Tell thread over in the Solar Power Forum. http://www.airforums.com/forums/f448/

Maybe you can describe your new system in the Solar Show & Tell thread and provide a link back to this thread for others to watch your videos?

Thanks for sharing the amazing results of your installation.
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Old 03-20-2019, 11:37 AM   #6
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Solar Install Drone Shot

Here is a drone shot of the solar. I apologize for the wiggly video -- it was quite windy and I've only flown this thing a few times.

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Old 03-21-2019, 02:16 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ChrisCow View Post
Here is the orientation video: https://youtu.be/XOHXli1iG2s

It is unedited so your mileage may vary
Very interesting how they did it.

I would ask them, however, what will protect the alternator from drawing too much current if the battery bank is fully discharged? The Victron ct-li won't. Maybe that's not a concern but I'd sure like to know why it would not be in their opinion because what I've read from others who have a lot more knowledge and experience than me, it certainly could be.

I also always have heard never to mix panels unless they have the same exact voltage characteristics, and I was surprised they didn't use an identical flex panel to keep them all the same. Maybe they do, but that would be very coincidental.

Both are something I would want to know if I had them do the install like yours.
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Old 03-22-2019, 06:20 PM   #8
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Thanks for posting the orientation video. It’s very good to see how they located everything
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Old 03-22-2019, 10:32 PM   #9
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Good stuff. Really cool to see the AC running off battery. Will be interested to learn more about how long you can run that and also running it while driving? That is a goal of mine because these things get hot in the south.

Did you remove the 2 AGMs underneath the van?
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Old 03-24-2019, 10:05 AM   #10
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Will be interested to learn more about how long you can run that and also running it while driving? Did you remove the 2 AGMs underneath the van?
I expect to be able to run the A/C for at least 3-4 hours cumulatively but I’ll come back to this thread in the future after I get some time with it and post an update. I’ve heard from others that they run the A/C while driving, even the generator!

Yes we removed the 2 AGMs underneath and they also gave me a medium sized box of other factory installed parts they removed, including the inverter.
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Old 04-21-2019, 01:35 PM   #11
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Battery solar upgrade New England

We have a 2016 AI Grand. Exploring an upgrade to batteries and solar as described in several threads here and looking for reliable service providers in the New England area. Would appreciate any suggestions or experience. Original Lifeline house battery is dead.
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Old 04-21-2019, 03:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmillerok1 View Post
Thanks for sharing. Looks like they did a great job.

Interesting to see they used the same solar panel brackets to support the battery together with their tie down straps.

I don't have the extended Interstate, so I have a bit less room. I wish the Victron Inverter/charger didn't take up so much space-space I don't have. I am not sure how they mounted it sideways as it is designed to hang from a bracket in the vertical position.
Hi

The Victron multi's are quite happy vertical on a wall, flat on a floor or horizontal against a wall. They work slightly better if you don't mount them vertically and pull off the (now un-needed) cap plate.

Bob
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Old 01-28-2020, 01:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisCow View Post
Just got back from a trip up north to AM Solar. I took the AI up to have them install 600 aH of lithium, 3000W inverter and add another 100W Zamp solar panel plus inumerable goodies that go along. Bank account is definitely lighter but they sure did a fantastic installation.

I told them my goals and basically we squeezed in the maximum that would fit without blocking the little flip down door / passageway (that's the cat's favorite hidey hole) and without taking up any of the rear storage. Other than that, under the seat was fair game.

I had to pay a little extra to have the inverter mounted on the water heater housing vs along side the batteries.

Interesting note, they did a quick test of the efficiency of the new 100W solar panel they installed vs the three factory ones. At the specific time of day the factory solar was producing 10-12 amps but the single Zamp panel they put on was producing 8 amps.

I recorded the full orientation they gave me of the system. It was pretty likely I would forget something, with all the new cutoffs and relays added. It has a lot more gory detail and much longer that I will share if anyone is interested.

I awkwardly made a short summary video to show you all the new system: https://youtu.be/j6hNHle_OYo
Chris - great info, would you mind sharing what this upgrade cost?
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Old 07-02-2020, 11:24 PM   #14
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Double Check My Solar Diagram?

Hi there I made a diagram of how i think the installation should processed for my new Zamp portable solar panels. I already upgraded my converter to the PD4655. I'll attach the image and you can comment and let me know if I'm screwing up. Thanks in advance!
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Old 07-03-2020, 01:19 PM   #15
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I would not cut any additional holes into my AI...already have the beginnings of some rust through at 2 factory cutouts!

Nice graphic work!
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Old 07-09-2020, 10:22 AM   #16
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Having an electric car, I’ve read a lot of stuff about lithium batteries not preferring a 100% state of charge... e.g., some electric car manufacturers have an option to charge to 80% in order to maintain battery health, an only charging to 100% right before a trip when you really need the range. Did the installer mention anything about battery degradation with keeping the batteries at 100% state of charge, or an option with the charge controller to set a max state of charge below 100%?
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Old 07-09-2020, 11:53 PM   #17
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Actually the manufacturer said the batteries ship at around 85% and that I should get them charged to 100% soon after receiving them to prevent capacity degradation.
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Old 07-10-2020, 06:54 AM   #18
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Actually the manufacturer said the batteries ship at around 85% and that I should get them charged to 100% soon after receiving them to prevent capacity degradation.


Weird. That makes zero sense based on everything I have ever read about lithium batteries. In fact, for long periods of storage, leaving them at 50% SOC is considered a best practice. With electric cars, all manufacturers use top and bottom end buffers that don’t allow a user to actually charge to true 100% or to discharge to true 0% (when a car is showing 100% charge the batteries are actually at, e.g., something like 96% and when showing 0% the batteries are at, e.g., something like 7%). Ideal operating range for lithium is between 20% and 80% SOC. One thing I have read is that when you have multiple cells, it is a best practice to occasionally fully charge to “balance” the cells, which is the only reason I can come up with for the manufacturer to advise charging to 100% after installing batteries.

From https://batteryuniversity.com/index...._ion_batteries : “Lithium-ion does not need to be fully charged; a partial charge is better.” “Consumer and most industrial Li-ion chargers charge the battery fully. They do not offer adjustable end-of-charge voltages that would prolong the service life of Li-ion by lowering the end charge voltage and accepting a shorter runtime. Device manufacturers fear that such an option would complicate the charger. Exceptions are electric vehicles and satellites that avoid full charge to achieve long service life.”
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Old 07-10-2020, 07:30 AM   #19
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Weird. That makes zero sense based on everything I have ever read about lithium batteries. In fact, for long periods of storage, leaving them at 50% SOC is considered a best practice. With electric cars, all manufacturers use top and bottom end buffers that don’t allow a user to actually charge to true 100% or to discharge to true 0% (when a car is showing 100% charge the batteries are actually at, e.g., something like 96% and when showing 0% the batteries are at, e.g., something like 7%). Ideal operating range for lithium is between 20% and 80% SOC. One thing I have read is that when you have multiple cells, it is a best practice to occasionally fully charge to “balance” the cells, which is the only reason I can come up with for the manufacturer to advise charging to 100% after installing batteries.

From https://batteryuniversity.com/index...._ion_batteries : “Lithium-ion does not need to be fully charged; a partial charge is better.” “Consumer and most industrial Li-ion chargers charge the battery fully. They do not offer adjustable end-of-charge voltages that would prolong the service life of Li-ion by lowering the end charge voltage and accepting a shorter runtime. Device manufacturers fear that such an option would complicate the charger. Exceptions are electric vehicles and satellites that avoid full charge to achieve long service life.”
Hi

The tangle here is that there are multiple *different* Lithium battery chemistries. They don't all like the same things or behave the same way. The chemistry in the RV batteries is quite happy at 100% and should be charged to that level. They need to have that happen to let the balancers in the BMS do their thing.

Unlike the example on the link, we do not directly charge the cells. The BMS is between us and the cells. Does the pack *really* have 120% of rated capacity and we only "see" 80% of that? Who knows ....

There *is* real world data on 5,000 cycle life (to the 80% capacity level) on these batteries being run this way. That's *way* past anything that a normal user will make it to.

Bob
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Old 07-22-2020, 11:09 PM   #20
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AI 19 TB --Interested in Anyone Upgrade to Lithium

I have a 2020 AI 19 TB and am very disappointed by the House Battery capacity (2 80 AHR AGM) and 1000W Converter. It also appears there is some type of drain with Master Electric switch off. Any ideas? Feels like it needs a Lithium Upgrade and a new inverter? Has anyone upgraded the AI 19 with Lithium and larger Converter? Interested in how you managed particularly space, battery and inverter locations?
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