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Old 03-06-2020, 11:52 AM   #1
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RV solar / lithium installers in Seattle area

We're planning to do an upgrade to our 2013 FC 23FB to add Battleborn 100Ah batteries in the battery box, add a Victron BMV 712 and PD 4655LV. Since I haven't been able to find a company in the Seattle area to do the work I'll probably do it myself, but thought I'd check here to see if anyone here might have experience with a good RV solar installation specialist in the area. Thanks for any recommendations you might have!
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Old 03-06-2020, 01:15 PM   #2
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We're planning to do an upgrade to our 2013 FC 23FB to add Battleborn 100Ah batteries in the battery box, add a Victron BMV 712 and PD 4655LV. Since I haven't been able to find a company in the Seattle area to do the work I'll probably do it myself, but thought I'd check here to see if anyone here might have experience with a good RV solar installation specialist in the area. Thanks for any recommendations you might have!

You might want to contact t AM Solar in Springfield, OR and ask for a recommendation. They sell kits/materials to installers all over the country.

Or better yet drive down to Springfield and ask them to do it. I've traveled from California to Springfield with two of my trailers. Very satisfied with AM.
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Old 03-06-2020, 01:45 PM   #3
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Contact Lew Farber, "Lewster" on this forum. He works in Hood River spring-summer.

He did my full install three years ago and I am delighted.

Pat
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Old 03-06-2020, 08:59 PM   #4
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Contact Lew Farber, "Lewster" on this forum. He works in Hood River spring-summer.

He did my full install three years ago and I am delighted.

Pat


Lew is seriously ill. His son is taking over the business. He informed earlier this year that after working the West shop late May through June it will be closed and Naples become the year round base.
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Old 03-07-2020, 09:26 AM   #5
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Airstream Northwest did our lithium conversion but it wasn't battle born. I think if I had to do it again, I would do it myself. A little longer but you will learn a lot and also be better at maintenance
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Old 03-07-2020, 09:43 AM   #6
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We purchased our new Airstream from Airstream Adventures NW in Covington WA, and they installed a 300W Zamp solar panel system on the roof, and upgraded the factory batteries to LiFeP04. I don’t recall the exact brand name of the batteries at the moment, but they may be able to special order Battle Born if you prefer that brand. The system works great. They also offered to upgrade the inverter to a 2000 watt version, which we chose not to do yet, due to the cost (and all that would really allow us is to run the convection microwave oven or a hair dryer while unplugged). https://www.seattleairstream.com/
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Old 03-07-2020, 04:31 PM   #7
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We are in process of purchasing a 16RB Caravel from Adventures NW. We are moving to an Airstream from a T@B Outback for a bit of extra space. With that though comes the added draw of the 12v fridge. We are only very rarely (4 times in about 4 months on the road with the T@B) plugged in to shore power. We really dislike using a generator (though at this time we still have a Yamaha) and want to be able to rely solely on solar. We had heard of AM Solar and during the buying process talked with them as well as getting a quote from Adventures NW. I got a quote from both, from AM with them doing the install as well as just selling us the kit so we can DIY. The Adventures NW quote came back at nearly half of the cost for the DIY kit from AM with more than triple the solar, as well as Battle Born lithium batteries and a 3000w inverter (in case we decide to add more batteries at a later date). I had a really good conversation with Garret at AM, and with the support they offer have decided to go ahead and do the install ourselves. As we haven't completed the full project, can't speak to the end result, but I would suggest a quote from AM as well.
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Old 03-07-2020, 10:09 PM   #8
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AM Solar is terrific if the logistics work for you.
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Old 03-07-2020, 10:34 PM   #9
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Lew is seriously ill. His son is taking over the business. He informed earlier this year that after working the West shop late May through June it will be closed and Naples become the year round base.

Sad news about Lew. Prayers for a speedy recovery.

I never used him or met him, but this forum is dotted with many of his satisfied customers.
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Old 03-07-2020, 10:38 PM   #10
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After much research we have decided to go with AM solar for our Solar and Lithium upgrade. Make a trip out. We are bringing our AS from Northern Alberta to get the work done.
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Old 03-08-2020, 04:06 PM   #11
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I too am very sorry to hear about Lew. He did my job four years ago and everything is still performing perfectly. I hope he gets well quickly. Jon, who Lew trained on my job, sends the same get well wishes. With prayers for Lew.
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Old 03-08-2020, 04:35 PM   #12
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Sad news about Lew. Prayers for a speedy recovery.

I never used him or met him, but this forum is dotted with many of his satisfied customers.


What he said ditto.
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Old 03-08-2020, 05:17 PM   #13
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Hate to here this info about LEW. I hope for a speedy recovery. LEW has always been super supportive of the Forums and is an excellent source of accurate information. Get well soon LEW. Prayers for you and your family.
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Old 03-08-2020, 06:13 PM   #14
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One note of caution regarding the use of Lithium-ion batteries. Regardless of the chemistry whether it be Lithium Cobalt or Lithium Phosphate, Lithium batteries are intolerant of charging in extreme cold and any over voltage conditions. Lithium chemistry burns at 1800C and can not be extinguished, it burns much the same as Phosphorus, white hot. Fires destroy everything the eruption comes in contact with. If the heat doesn't get you, there is a good possibility that the out-gassing of the incident will suffocate you. NEver, never, never install Lithium storage batteries inside the living quarters or anywhere a Lithium fire blocks an egress. Lithium fires will burn straight through the floors of an RV.

Secondly, Lithium-batteries must have a Battery Management System (BMS) managing the units. BMSs protect batteries from over discharge, over chargin conditions as well as excesive low operating temperatures as well as excessive high temperatures.

I previously managed the manufacture of 100 Metric tons of Lithium Phosphate chemistry a month and used 2 million Lithium cells a month for the manufacture of Lithium EV battery systems. Lithium batteries are great for the intended applications as they offer twice the power storage capacity of lead acid, and are significantly lighter that lead acid. Still need more convincing, do some Google homework on the characteristics of Lithium.

Lastly, using Lithium batteries is not for the traditional mechanically minded. It is very unforgiving. Good luck.
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Old 03-09-2020, 10:28 AM   #15
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There are a number of different lithium chemistries. Most, if not all, lithium batteries designed for RV use are lithium iron phosphate and a very safe and stable. In addition, most have a sophisticated BMS that protects the battery against excessively high or low voltages, high currents, short circuits, and excessive heat or cold.

So, using Lithium batteries designed for RV use are fine for the traditional mechanically minded. In fact, they may be better for the traditional mechanically minded as once they are installed they are virtually maintenance free, unlike traditional lead acid batteries.
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Old 03-09-2020, 11:44 AM   #16
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One note of caution regarding the use of Lithium-ion batteries. Regardless of the chemistry whether it be Lithium Cobalt or Lithium Phosphate, Lithium batteries are intolerant of charging in extreme cold and any over voltage conditions. Lithium chemistry burns at 1800C and can not be extinguished, it burns much the same as Phosphorus, white hot. Fires destroy everything the eruption comes in contact with. If the heat doesn't get you, there is a good possibility that the out-gassing of the incident will suffocate you. NEver, never, never install Lithium storage batteries inside the living quarters or anywhere a Lithium fire blocks an egress. Lithium fires will burn straight through the floors of an RV.

Secondly, Lithium-batteries must have a Battery Management System (BMS) managing the units. BMSs protect batteries from over discharge, over chargin conditions as well as excesive low operating temperatures as well as excessive high temperatures.

I previously managed the manufacture of 100 Metric tons of Lithium Phosphate chemistry a month and used 2 million Lithium cells a month for the manufacture of Lithium EV battery systems. Lithium batteries are great for the intended applications as they offer twice the power storage capacity of lead acid, and are significantly lighter that lead acid. Still need more convincing, do some Google homework on the characteristics of Lithium.

Lastly, using Lithium batteries is not for the traditional mechanically minded. It is very unforgiving. Good luck.
I'm a bit on the confused side from your reply. Are you advising against using lithium for RV applications, oar are you just advising an abundance of caution?
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Old 03-09-2020, 12:02 PM   #17
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There are a number of different lithium chemistries. Most, if not all, lithium batteries designed for RV use are lithium iron phosphate and a very safe and stable. In addition, most have a sophisticated BMS that protects the battery against excessively high or low voltages, high currents, short circuits, and excessive heat or cold.

So, using Lithium batteries designed for RV use are fine for the traditional mechanically minded. In fact, they may be better for the traditional mechanically minded as once they are installed they are virtually maintenance free, unlike traditional lead acid batteries.

I heard the same as thewarden. In fact, the LiFePhosphate sacrifies same capacity for safety. There are many varieties of Lithium batteries out there and it seems the highest capacity versions are the least stable. Hence the selection of LiFePo with a BMS gaining acceptance for RV's.

Not downplaying T2Airstream's vast knowledge and experience, just thinking we'd have heard of more problems if LiFePo's were going runaway.
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Old 03-15-2020, 10:47 AM   #18
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Getting the thread back on track to help our friend here...Paul Harris owner of Heritage Electrical Group in Everett is doing a large Victron Lithium install on my yacht and does RVs as well.. other marine electricians go to him for advice. I think this last point speaks volumes.
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Old 03-17-2020, 10:44 AM   #19
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I used AMSolar in Springfield OR and they did a great job. Also, you can buy all the material from them and they will gladly advise you on a self install. It’s expensive but, to me, definitely worth it.
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Old 03-22-2020, 09:20 AM   #20
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I have a 23 FB and did my full install similar to what you want. I’m just over on the OP. Also did an install on 2 previous AS. PM if you need any help.
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