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Old 10-12-2021, 09:35 AM   #1
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2013 30' Flying Cloud
San Antonio , Texas
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Another Solar Install with Lithium

Hi folks,

I just wanted to share my new solar install on my 2013 Flying Cloud Bunk. I researched using flexible panels and in the end decided to go with 2kW (8x210W panels and 2x160W panels) of monocrystalline glass panels due to efficiency and roof insulation. I used 4x20' rails of aluminum strut channel mounted along the roof and then mounted the panels to that using angle aluminum. I had to raise 3 of the panels an extra 1.6" off the rails to clear the refrigerator vent and other random vents. Overall I think a pretty good install. I will update this post with some details that can help others in the future. Here is the iCloud photo album. I'll add some more photos as I go.

The lithium battery setup was 4x12V BattleBorn batteries in series to make a 48VDC battery bank.
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2013 30' Flying Cloud Bunkhouse, 16" Sendel Wheels, Michelin 235 75R16, 2kW Monocrystalline solar panels, 4.8kW BattleBorn lithium 48V bank
2007 Dodge Ram 2500, 4wd, 6 spd manual, long bed, exhaust brake, air bags
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Old 10-12-2021, 10:24 AM   #2
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Hi

With a 48V battery, what did you do about the break away setup?

Bob
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Old 10-12-2021, 12:06 PM   #3
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Hi Bob,

I have a 12VDC 30 amp transformer so a 48VDC bud for energy transfer. And a 12VDC bus for all the appliances.

I’ll get a picture soon to put up.
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2013 30' Flying Cloud Bunkhouse, 16" Sendel Wheels, Michelin 235 75R16, 2kW Monocrystalline solar panels, 4.8kW BattleBorn lithium 48V bank
2007 Dodge Ram 2500, 4wd, 6 spd manual, long bed, exhaust brake, air bags
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Old 10-13-2021, 07:54 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VinnieG View Post
Hi Bob,

I have a 12VDC 30 amp transformer so a 48VDC bud for energy transfer. And a 12VDC bus for all the appliances.

I’ll get a picture soon to put up.
Hi

The DC/DC converter to get to 12V is one way to do it. I'm not sure if it is legit in all 50 states. A small 12V battery stashed somewhere ( enough AH to close the brakes for 15 minutes) is indeed legit. You see a lot of small trailers running this way.

Why might there be issues? Who knows, it's way more complex than a "normal" setup. You might get in a tangle over switches / fuses / breakers or some other minor item.

Bob
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Old 10-13-2021, 06:11 PM   #5
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Hmm, I’m not sure I’m understanding the issue.

Here is my thinking on it: The battery bank is 4.8 kWH which should be sufficient to provide 12VDC at 400 amps for 1 hour or 100 amps for 4 hours minus any efficiency loss which going from high voltage to lower voltage isn’t as big of a problem. Additionally the transformer will provide a much more stable voltage than a 12VDC lead acid battery. 48VDC is a setup I have seen with larger full off grid RV setups that are trying to run a residential fridge and multiple air conditioners. 48VDC is very common in the marine industry and transformers are used to run 24VDC and 12VDC bilge pumps so transformers commonly take care of emergency functions. For fuses they deal in amperage and almost all are rated for 48VDC setups so as long as they are sized for the source, wire type and gauge, and consumer then they should be fine.

I do agree that is is a more complex setup. But it isn’t that much more complex. Just voltage step downs. Higher voltage for transfer and large loads and lower voltage or 120 VAC for appliances. The big benefit to going with a 48VDC is the inverter-charger can support huge loads of 10kW surge and 5kW continuous for the same price as a 5kW surge and 3kW 12VDC inverter-charger.
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2013 30' Flying Cloud Bunkhouse, 16" Sendel Wheels, Michelin 235 75R16, 2kW Monocrystalline solar panels, 4.8kW BattleBorn lithium 48V bank
2007 Dodge Ram 2500, 4wd, 6 spd manual, long bed, exhaust brake, air bags
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Old 10-13-2021, 06:39 PM   #6
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Breakaway Switch

I just tested the breakaway switch to see what the power draw is and my DC loads went from 12W to 200W so about 16 amps at 12VDC which is a lot more that I expected.
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Old 10-14-2021, 05:04 AM   #7
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Vinnie, can you share what device in particular you installed for your DCDC converter?
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Old 10-14-2021, 07:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VinnieG View Post
I just tested the breakaway switch to see what the power draw is and my DC loads went from 12W to 200W so about 16 amps at 12VDC which is a lot more that I expected.
Hi

The risk is that there is some rule somewhere about "direct to the battery". I'm not a lawyer so this is just a guess. I do know that some safety related gear *is* spec'd that way in this or that rule / law / regulation / recommendation.

My understanding is that the breakaway has to run for 15 minutes on whatever power source it's hooked to. Your 16A would mean a 4 amp hour battery (if it was happy with a 4C discharge rate ... which is highly unlikely. Even a 16AH SLA isn't going to be very large.

Another "interesting" situation:

If the breakaway switch triggers while the 7 pin is still plugged in, you are feeding the truck with whatever power the break away uses. Again a reason for a small "throw away" power source. The most likely case would be while hooking up / unhooking the trailer.

Bob
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Old 10-14-2021, 09:05 PM   #9
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Hi bbandeddie, I’m using a Victron 48/12 30 amp converter: Victron Energy Orion-Tr IP43 48/12-Volt 30 amp 360-Watt DC-DC Converter, Isolated https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DQ5H3T2...ing=UTF8&psc=1
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2013 30' Flying Cloud Bunkhouse, 16" Sendel Wheels, Michelin 235 75R16, 2kW Monocrystalline solar panels, 4.8kW BattleBorn lithium 48V bank
2007 Dodge Ram 2500, 4wd, 6 spd manual, long bed, exhaust brake, air bags
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Old 10-14-2021, 09:07 PM   #10
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Hmm, direct to battery is a good point. I’m gonna search around the internet to see if I can find the rules a bit. To be honest the last thing I thought about was the breakaway switch.
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2013 30' Flying Cloud Bunkhouse, 16" Sendel Wheels, Michelin 235 75R16, 2kW Monocrystalline solar panels, 4.8kW BattleBorn lithium 48V bank
2007 Dodge Ram 2500, 4wd, 6 spd manual, long bed, exhaust brake, air bags
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Old 10-15-2021, 08:02 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by VinnieG View Post
Hmm, direct to battery is a good point. Iím gonna search around the internet to see if I can find the rules a bit. To be honest the last thing I thought about was the breakaway switch.
Hi

I did a quick look and found roughly a billion drawings showing how to wire a switch to a battery. I found nothing rational about any rules. They all *assumed* you just had a battery ....

Bob
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Old 10-16-2021, 07:55 AM   #12
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Hmm, interesting. I’ll likely leave it wired as is then unless an inspection report says it need to be changed.
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2013 30' Flying Cloud Bunkhouse, 16" Sendel Wheels, Michelin 235 75R16, 2kW Monocrystalline solar panels, 4.8kW BattleBorn lithium 48V bank
2007 Dodge Ram 2500, 4wd, 6 spd manual, long bed, exhaust brake, air bags
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Old 10-16-2021, 09:56 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by VinnieG View Post
Hmm, interesting. Iíll likely leave it wired as is then unless an inspection report says it need to be changed.
Hi

I doubt an inspection would ever catch it. The risk is mainly that you have a breakaway, there is damage, and the legal eagles swoop in after the fact.

Bob
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Old 10-17-2021, 08:22 PM   #14
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Yeah, a breakaway would really suck.
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2013 30' Flying Cloud Bunkhouse, 16" Sendel Wheels, Michelin 235 75R16, 2kW Monocrystalline solar panels, 4.8kW BattleBorn lithium 48V bank
2007 Dodge Ram 2500, 4wd, 6 spd manual, long bed, exhaust brake, air bags
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Old Yesterday, 05:21 AM   #15
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Any chance we can get you to post a schematic of your system? I am designing mine, although only 1.2kw and have been going back and forth regarding 12v and 24v storage. Didn't even consider 48v. Would love to see the models numbers of all your components.

Really nice build by the way - Mark
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