So, I'm just about to dive into the necessary replacement of the now unreliable 30 year old Onan Emerald 3 6.5k generator in my 1990 345LE . The challenge is that the bay/compartment for this is only 24.5" length, and the new Onan 6.5k QG is 34" long, so the install will involve a lot of adjusting and fabrication. Possible indeed. Just takes time and money to fit it in.
But, I've been thinking about a completely different option, which might be viable now, and I'd love the Airstream community's
thoughts on this...
So, market forces related to electric vehicles are bring the costs of lithium batteries down and efficiency up. For instance I bought a group 27 'deep cycle' lithium battery for close to $1300 3 years ago from Nex Gen, and now the same equivalent is $875. And it's fair to assume this trend will continue. Expect costs to halve again and to halve again over the next 5 years.
So what I have started to explore is whether a large lithium battery bank plus a high capacity inverter charger is viable now to run ALL my energy needs. I could install today 2400 amp hours of lithium batteries with 1000w of solar to charge it (I would use the now un-used generator bay to fit extra batteries, and use a couple of other internal spots (ie under the sofa) to add the rest - noting that the new generation of Battle Born or similar batteries can be safely mounted in any position, and have no maintenance, and last 10-12 years.
So the big questions would be how to charge this sizable battery bank without a gennie, in addition to the solar? And how would I deal with the AC?
Well there is a massive power gas engine available (grin) so I could beef up the stock alternator to say a 255 amp or more and beef up all the DC wiring from that to the battery bank, so I could run the chassis engine and charge at idle while parked. And of course I could plug in to shore power whenever that's an option.
If I think about how the coach is currently wired, I would replace as many things as possible that currently need 120v with 12v
equivalents - all the lighting, replace the refrigerator with a 12v/propane option, obviously keep the inverter to run the microwave and the tv/theater system and the wife's hair curlers (!)
But the big energy hogs are the original stock AC units. These wouldn't run even on this big system longer than a few hours. But there are 12v
AC roof top options such as these https://www.webasto-comfort.com/en-u...rconditioning/
and there are other domestic 12v
AC systems for off grid living. Another option I have thinking about is installing something like this for the main AC - uses about 900w to run - https://www.hotspotenergy.com/solar-...ot-ACDC12C.pdf
- the outside unit could be mounted in the rear bay with careful airflow, and the inside unit mounted on the inside wall in the middle of the coach.
Or there are other new 120v much more efficient RV AC units available now, such as this https://www.recpro.com/rv-air-condit...ote-non-ducted
Anyone else here thought this through?
Best to all, and glad to be back!