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Old 05-01-2018, 12:13 PM   #1
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2013 25' International
Boise , Idaho
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Solar, Lithium, Wireless and more - Thanks to many fine folks

Just wanted to say thanks to all of the fine folks who helped me through the process of making our 25' Intl into a fine boondocking machine. We had it out last weekend in a remote part of Idaho, the Owyhee Canyon. Here's a recent pic and some bullets on what I accomplished with help from so many here:


  • 4" Lift - Done at Boise Spring Works here in Boise, ID
  • 3 Battle Born 100Ah lithium batteries
  • Victron monitor, solar controller
  • 500 Watts of Solar on the roof (Renogy panels, AM Solar hardware)
  • Directional Yagi antenna, Cradlepoint IBR1100 router, LMR400F cable
  • Easy Start for AC
  • Roku + Polk speakers, 4.8A USB charger, etc
  • Probably more I can't remember!

Although the pic was taken in the clouds, I can assure you that the 500w panels made fine use of the 3 hours of good sun we had before I snapped this pic.

In particular, thanks to Troutboy, alan0, Larry9000, Trailbob, Rocinante, MoreExplore and everyone who has added to this amazing knowledge base. I was very intimidated when I began dreaming about this project but I got it done and learned a huge amount.
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Old 05-02-2018, 12:02 AM   #2
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Huntington Beach , California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afk314 View Post
Just wanted to say thanks to all of the fine folks who helped me through the process of making our 25' Intl into a fine boondocking machine. We had it out last weekend in a remote part of Idaho, the Owyhee Canyon. Here's a recent pic and some bullets on what I accomplished with help from so many here:


  • 4" Lift - Done at Boise Spring Works here in Boise, ID
  • 3 Battle Born 100Ah lithium batteries
  • Victron monitor, solar controller
  • 500 Watts of Solar on the roof (Renogy panels, AM Solar hardware)
  • Directional Yagi antenna, Cradlepoint IBR1100 router, LMR400F cable
  • Easy Start for AC
  • Roku + Polk speakers, 4.8A USB charger, etc
  • Probably more I can't remember!

Although the pic was taken in the clouds, I can assure you that the 500w panels made fine use of the 3 hours of good sun we had before I snapped this pic.

In particular, thanks to Troutboy, alan0, Larry9000, Trailbob, Rocinante, MoreExplore and everyone who has added to this amazing knowledge base. I was very intimidated when I began dreaming about this project but I got it done and learned a huge amount.
I have a similar setup, and anticipate installing battleborn batteries. What charger are you using?
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Old 05-02-2018, 12:13 AM   #3
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1975 31' Sovereign
Twin Falls , Idaho
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Originally Posted by Brav View Post
I have a similar setup, and anticipate installing battleborn batteries. What charger are you using?
I love Idaho!!! I have 200w on the top and two lead acid batts. Even on a fall sun with bats hitting 60% running furnace most of the night, 18 degrees, I hit 100% by noon and 3pm on cloudy days. I love solar and its a lot more efficient than the generator was. I dont need AC up in the mountains so other than that I have no need for a generator.
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Old 05-02-2018, 12:37 AM   #4
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Looks awesome, so glad your hard work is paying off so well!
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Old 05-02-2018, 07:40 AM   #5
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2013 25' International
Boise , Idaho
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Charger

The charger is the Progressive Dynamics PD4655LV. I've gone back and forth on whether to use it in lithium mode though since all it does is pump a constant 14.6 to the batteries whether they need it or not. I also have the "pendant" to push it into boost mode if I run it in its normal mode which allows me to tweak it a bit more to my liking.

In all honesty though, with 500w of rooftop solar I've needed to top off with AC exactly one time in 2 months.

-a
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Old 05-02-2018, 07:46 AM   #6
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With the 4 lift, does it ever feel like its going to topple over or anything odd? I have a 34ft and am trying to decide if I should go with a 3 or 4 lift.
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Old 05-02-2018, 07:53 AM   #7
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4"Lift

As others have said (mostly about 3" lifts), I've detected no difference. I have a post about the pain involved in doing this lift for this trailer (it involved making space for the lift by cutting both the FW and G/B tank covers) but now that everything is done I couldn't be happier with it. I got this trailer to boondock and every time I saw an incline or a rut, my heart would race. Now, I feel like I can pull this trailer to most reasonable destinations. If a high-clearance SOB can reach the spot, so can I. Even if the aerodynamics did influence handling by a little bit, this would still be worth it to me.

Totally and completely worth it. Would do it again in a heartbeat.

-Adam
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Old 05-02-2018, 09:40 AM   #8
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Warner Robins , Georgia
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Originally Posted by Brav View Post
I have a similar setup, and anticipate installing battleborn batteries. What charger are you using?
Would you please tell me more about your WiFi setup and post some photos of it?
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Old 05-02-2018, 11:22 AM   #9
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Huntington Beach , California
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Originally Posted by Caroyl View Post
Would you please tell me more about your WiFi setup and post some photos of it?
I don't have cell booster or wifi yet. Plan on installing WeBoost this month.

I have a 25FB:
Victron 100/50 MPPT,
Victron BMV 702
Solar - 400 watts of (crappy, flakey) flex panels which I believe one is bad, 2 are half power (to be swapped), Puts out 7-12 amps
3" lift - no noticable handling difference. Has definitely saved me in a few boondock spots
PD4655, which I will convert to the lithium version
Coming soon: Battleborn 100ah x2, to start

We aren't full time yet, but I have a 2 week trip from CA to Banff/Jasper in June I am prepping for.

IF you are still around Idaho in June, we may be crossing paths, Adam!
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Old 05-03-2018, 09:45 AM   #10
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2011 22' Sport
Portland , Oregon
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Originally Posted by afk314 View Post
The charger is the Progressive Dynamics PD4655LV. I've gone back and forth on whether to use it in lithium mode though since all it does is pump a constant 14.6 to the batteries whether they need it or not. I also have the "pendant" to push it into boost mode if I run it in its normal mode which allows me to tweak it a bit more to my liking.

In all honesty though, with 500w of rooftop solar I've needed to top off with AC exactly one time in 2 months.

-a
First, where was this photo taken?

Are you concerned about the "constant 14.6"? I wouldn't worry too much...3.65V per cell is within charge spec for LFP cells, in any other mode you will not leave shore power with 100% SOC, unless you take manual steps to force it into boost for some period before unplugging. My PD4655LV doesn't actually put out 14.6V that I've seen so far, only 14.45-14.5V. There are 4 ranks of cells in the battery, so 14.45/4 is 3.6125V per cell. If you do not charge above 3.6V per cell then the battery pack cannot balance the cells to make sure all of them reach 100% SOC.
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Old 05-03-2018, 10:25 AM   #11
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Answer

I see some questions, here are some answers..

1. The Wifi setup is build around a mobile router from Cradlepoint. In the initial post, I gave the wrong model, this is the IBR900. It is connected to a Wilson Yagi antenna that is connected to the old batwing tv antenna that was decommissioned for the new purpose. Cable is LMR400UF, a 12' cable minimizes loss. The installation relied on a Blue Sea Cable Clam to get the cable inside the outer skin (had to drill). Followed Rocinante's excellent pics and writings that can be found with a little searching here. I plan on working from the trailer a fair bit, so I did this bit quite right.

2. I think I overstated my concern about the 14.6V charge from the PD4655. SilverHouseDreams makes a fine argument why this might not be an issue at all. My preference is to hit the batteries with 14.4-14.6 until 100% SOC and then back off. That isn't what the 4655LV will do though. Really not sure if it matters, I just don't like the idea that much.

3. The pic is near the Succor Creek campsite outside of Homedale, ID in Eastern Oregon. 16 miles or so down the Succor Creek Highway dirt road. Washboards were minimal, I'd rate the road a 3/10 where 10/10 is the worst possible washboards. While getting into the campsite I was damn happy to have the lift though!

-Adam
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Old 05-03-2018, 10:34 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by afk314 View Post
2. I think I overstated my concern about the 14.6V charge from the PD4655. SilverHouseDreams makes a fine argument why this might not be an issue at all. My preference is to hit the batteries with 14.4-14.6 until 100% SOC and then back off. That isn't what the 4655LV will do though. Really not sure if it matters, I just don't like the idea that much.

3. The pic is near the Succor Creek campsite outside of Homedale, ID in Eastern Oregon. 16 miles or so down the Succor Creek Highway dirt road. Washboards were minimal, I'd rate the road a 3/10 where 10/10 is the worst possible washboards. While getting into the campsite I was damn happy to have the lift though!

-Adam
The issue with a system that "drops the voltage" with Lithium is that Lithium maintains its voltage profile much more flatly than does a Pb battery. So what happens is if you charge to 14.6V, and then the charger drops to 14.2V or something lower...the battery is still at a higher voltage. If the "float" voltage of the converter is too low, then all of the energy feeding your 12V devices will feed form the battery while the converter does nothing...until the voltage of the battery and the voltage of the converter match.

Even when the voltage does match, the lithium battery is so willing to give up current (with minimal voltage drop) so the converter may not switch to a "higher" voltage state for a while. So instead you are just cycling the battery between ~85% and 98% endlessly, which is likely to do more damage. Never actually achieving >3.6V per cell due to using a Pb charge profile is likely to cause more damage than leaving the batteries at the higher voltage.

Thanks for the location detail, it looked "like home". I grew up on southern ID, but now reside in Portland. I bought a 2" lift for our 22FB, I just need to find a way to get it installed "soon" so that we are ready for dispersed camping this summer/fall.
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Old 05-15-2018, 08:18 PM   #13
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AFK, any photos of your electrical install? Ill be installing the battleborns this weekend.
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:01 PM   #14
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Install Pics

Although I had planned on documenting the install, in the end I took very few pictures and haven't felt the need to write down much. The main reason I feel this way is that Airforums already has some tremendous install notes (troutboy's come to mind readily) and there isn't really that much variation when doing this work.

What was a huge hassle for me was dealing with my RB layout. In our 25' the electrical rats nest was under the dinette bench and spread all the way down the lounge. So, not only did we have to remove furniture to do this, we had to make a number of cuts in the lounge sections where they contacted the floor. I also had to cannibalize some cubby storage for the batteries. Here's a pic most-of-the-way through the install:



The install is typical in that it unites many Victron and Blue Sea components. The Battle Born's are sitting on battery trays that screw into the floor and lock the batteries down with little chance of failing. The Airforums member alano built me a custom diode solution to keep the lithium charge for passing to the TV. It is a simple solution, one I'm confident in (I like the math) and also one that is pretty easy to diagnose if it ever feels.

The switches, Victron monitor display and the solar breaker are mounted on a freestanding panel so that the dinette bench can be removed without having to disconnect anything. This consumed a lot of time because about 5 cuts had to be made on the bottom of the bench (interface with the floor) so that everything would fit snug, without cable rub, and without sacrificing stability.



This is how I access the switches now.

Overall I am incredibly happy with everything. I learned an enormous amount doing this work and now know my electrical system intimately which is nice, too.

-Adam
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:06 PM   #15
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Nicely done - I like your easy access panel! Might have to do something like that on my FB
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