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Old 03-31-2017, 03:23 PM   #1
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Another successful solar and lithium job by the Lewster!

There probably aren't many folks on here who have never heard of lewster, and most of you have probably already read multiple glowing testimonials about his work and business ethic. And that's exactly why I chose him to do my solar and lithium install.

So add this one to the books, Lew has done it again. I am now equipped with a 600w/480ah solar and lithium system with an overhauled electrical system and bluetooth smart phone monitoring of the solar and battery, and it is awesome!

Lew is a master of his craft and did an amazing job. He returned my baby to me in pristine condition with an entirely new energy system, not to mention the extremely neat wiring job he did!

Since pick up, Lew has been there to answer questions, both in detail via email and quickly via text when I need him or want to know something.

I immediately did some boondocking after pickup and it was a great experience. The system was indeed costly, but in a few months I will be going full time with my family so it will be getting plenty of good use.

I am by no means a solar expert but am happy to answer any questions I can.
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Old 04-01-2017, 06:37 AM   #2
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Post some pictures!--Frank
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Old 04-01-2017, 09:57 AM   #3
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I have an appointment with him next week. I will be joining the Lewster Solar Club when he is done.

Since he can't let me pull up a couch and watch him work, and his shop is too far from home for us to go down and come back up, we're going to catch a cruise from Tampa to Cozumel via Key West so we can occupy ourselves.

And we won't have to find a camping spot in Key West; we can walk and tour and hopefully I won't have to knee-walk back to the ship from Duval Street!

Pat
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Old 05-15-2018, 12:57 PM   #4
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any idea how to reach the Lewster via phone or email ? i pm'd him on the forum
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Old 05-15-2018, 11:30 PM   #5
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Lew is currently outfitting my trailer in hood river. Pickup is Sunday. 600amp hours of lithium, 800watts of solar, hybrid inverter, full victron stack.

Looking forward to delivery!

Lew can be reached via email - just PM me and I’ll share his email address.
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Old 05-16-2018, 12:06 AM   #6
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Easier - Lew’s contact information can be found here:

https://amsolar.com/rv-solar-installers/
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Old 05-17-2018, 07:42 AM   #7
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So great to see these testimonials. We are another very satisfied new member of the LSC (Lewster Solar Club). We made our appointment well in advance and drove down to Naples from MA to drop off our 27’ Flying Cloud with Lew on Easter Sunday this year (yes, he came to meet us at the shop on Easter Sunday!). Working with Lew was a wonderful experience. He listened and asked questions before offering his recommendations for our needs, and in our case, even though we only went with 400 watts on the roof and AGM’s versus LI’s (for now!), Lew installed the cabling/wiring and infrastructure needed to add more panels and/or to upgrade to LI’s in the future. So, when he did the cabling/wiring upgrade, he installed a junction box that is all set up for more panels. He also installed the Victron 100/30 solar controller, the Victron BMV-712 Smart battery monitor and the Magnum MS-2012 inverter/charger with remote control. Lastly, he recommended what he called the “slow start” upgrade for the air conditioner, which quiets and prevents that big power surge at the start. The Airstream was ready on the day promised and we were in and out of there in no time after Lew patiently took the time to walk us through his work and the new system. Like others have said, he was very accessible when we had questions after leaving. Can’t say enough about how great the whole experience has been. After leaving Lew, we spent a month on the road, getting familiar with our new system. No problems. We love it. It was a costly upgrade, but worth every penny of it in our view. The more we see and better understand about the upgrade and the quality of the work, the more we appreciate Lew. We are dry camping in Maine at the moment. Our still-new solar upgrade has no problem keeping up with our needs and it has really improved the quality of our dry camping experience. We are very happy new members of this unique club. Thanks Lew!
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Old 05-17-2018, 09:30 AM   #8
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Thanks for all this info. I will definitely give him a call
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Old 06-29-2018, 01:50 PM   #9
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Very interested in this discussion

I am very interested in what everyone is doing with the Lithium/Solar system. I noticed the 600amp hours of lithium, 800watts of solar, hybrid inverter, full victron stack that wulfraat installed. I was curious if this allows you to operate some items, such as microwave, for short period of time without generator or shore power. I apologize if the answer should be obvious, I am completely outside my element here. If someone could point me in a direction on something to read on this to understand the possibilities here, I would really appreciate it.
Thanks in advance,
Greg
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Old 06-29-2018, 03:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghaag View Post
I am very interested in what everyone is doing with the Lithium/Solar system. I noticed the 600amp hours of lithium, 800watts of solar, hybrid inverter, full victron stack that wulfraat installed. I was curious if this allows you to operate some items, such as microwave, for short period of time without generator or shore power. I apologize if the answer should be obvious, I am completely outside my element here. If someone could point me in a direction on something to read on this to understand the possibilities here, I would really appreciate it.
Thanks in advance,
Greg
Hi

A typical modern AS has a microwave that is rated to pull 1300W. It's AS so who knows how typical that is. Always check the data on your specific model.

With a 100% efficient inverter and lithiums putting 13V into it, that would be 100A off the batteries. Nothing is ever perfect so reality will be a bit more current. There's loss in the wires and in the inverter.

Microwaves rarely run at full power for very long. If you cook something in one for 20 minutes, it probably is pulsing the power level up and down. You can boil a glass of water in a few minutes on full power.

Fifteen minutes of full power is a lot. A quarter hour at 100A would be 25AH. Lithium's are quite good at high(er) discharge rates. Lead Acid's can get into trouble that way. There no need to fiddle the numbers in this case. 25AH off of a 400 AH ( all usable AH ) bank is not a big deal. Even after you factor in the inefficiency, it's still not a lot.

Coffee makers are similar. They pull a lot to get things up to heat and then drop back keeping warm. How much for how long and drop back to where .... that all depends on make and model.

Hair dryers are a problem. They pretty much ramp up to full power and stay there the full time they are on. If all ten of you spend twenty minutes each drying their hair every morning .... that's a gotcha .... do you run out of water or electric first? ... who knows

Inverter ratings are a bit interesting. A "2000" inverter may be rated at 2,000 VA, 1600W power and 4,000W surge for 30 seconds. The one you care most about is the 1600W.

600W of solar will probably deliver 600W to your batteries. It may only do it at high noon in full sun. Park in the shade and 60 may be the high noon number. What you get with flat panels at 6 PM will always be less than the high noon / full sun number. Your batteries care about amp hours or watt hours. How long you get how much is what really matters.

If you are in the shade and 60W is your peak input, you might only get 400WH that day. 25AH at 13V is 325 WH. With a bit of inefficiency, that microwave run might have used all the energy your panels gave you for the day. In full sun, totally different impact .....

Bob
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Old 06-29-2018, 04:26 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

A typical modern AS has a microwave that is rated to pull 1300W. It's AS so who knows how typical that is. Always check the data on your specific model.

With a 100% efficient inverter and lithiums putting 13V into it, that would be 100A off the batteries. Nothing is ever perfect so reality will be a bit more current. There's loss in the wires and in the inverter.

Microwaves rarely run at full power for very long. If you cook something in one for 20 minutes, it probably is pulsing the power level up and down. You can boil a glass of water in a few minutes on full power.

Fifteen minutes of full power is a lot. A quarter hour at 100A would be 25AH. Lithium's are quite good at high(er) discharge rates. Lead Acid's can get into trouble that way. There no need to fiddle the numbers in this case. 25AH off of a 400 AH ( all usable AH ) bank is not a big deal. Even after you factor in the inefficiency, it's still not a lot.

Coffee makers are similar. They pull a lot to get things up to heat and then drop back keeping warm. How much for how long and drop back to where .... that all depends on make and model.

Hair dryers are a problem. They pretty much ramp up to full power and stay there the full time they are on. If all ten of you spend twenty minutes each drying their hair every morning .... that's a gotcha .... do you run out of water or electric first? ... who knows

Inverter ratings are a bit interesting. A "2000" inverter may be rated at 2,000 VA, 1600W power and 4,000W surge for 30 seconds. The one you care most about is the 1600W.

600W of solar will probably deliver 600W to your batteries. It may only do it at high noon in full sun. Park in the shade and 60 may be the high noon number. What you get with flat panels at 6 PM will always be less than the high noon / full sun number. Your batteries care about amp hours or watt hours. How long you get how much is what really matters.

If you are in the shade and 60W is your peak input, you might only get 400WH that day. 25AH at 13V is 325 WH. With a bit of inefficiency, that microwave run might have used all the energy your panels gave you for the day. In full sun, totally different impact .....

Bob
Bob, thank you so much for the detailed response!
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Old 06-29-2018, 05:56 PM   #12
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"Hair dryers are a problem."

Yup, that's generally true of any heat-producing device--they tend to be power hogs. But for what it's worth, I've been using this Andis hair dryer for quite a few years now in boondocking situations. On its low setting, it only draws 330 watts (about 30 amps, factoring in inverter losses), so five minutes of use add up to 2.5 amp-hours.

Now, obviously on that low setting it doesn't blow as hot or as hard as a 1,600 W hair dryer. (It does have a 1,600 W high setting, but I never use that.) But it does a pretty good job, considering. Caveats: I don't have a full head of hair, and I mostly travel in dry climates. Your mileage may vary.
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Old 06-29-2018, 10:31 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghaag View Post
I am very interested in what everyone is doing with the Lithium/Solar system. I noticed the 600amp hours of lithium, 800watts of solar, hybrid inverter, full victron stack that wulfraat installed. I was curious if this allows you to operate some items, such as microwave, for short period of time without generator or shore power. I apologize if the answer should be obvious, I am completely outside my element here. If someone could point me in a direction on something to read on this to understand the possibilities here, I would really appreciate it.

Thanks in advance,

Greg


I can run anything in the trailer at any time. This afternoon I pulled into Rocky Mountain National park for 5 days off grid. When I showed up I ran the air conditioner for a couple hours to cool off the trailer without the generator. Quiet cooling. We used the microwave to heat up some chicken and the ice maker was running on the trip up so sonic ice was ready for beverages after dinner

We don’t think about being plugged in or not anymore. Everything just works, all the time. There is a very large cost to enter into this type of system, but for us it was absolutely worth it.

Oh, and nobody else for miles has internet. Just us - ‘cause I have an LTE booster as well so we always have connectivity (which I need for my work - but is also convenient for airforums postings
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Old 06-30-2018, 07:01 AM   #14
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Hi

The benefit you get on any given day from solar depends a lot on how shady the campsite is and how heavy the cloud cover. In some parts of the country, shady campsites ( not to mention shady campers ) are the norm. An optimum setup for Vermont likely is a bit different than the best setup for Arizona. (yes, I know there are trees in Arizona .... there's also a number of hikes that *really* could use a bit of shade ... )

Bob
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Old 06-30-2018, 08:16 AM   #15
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I agree with Wulfraat and Bob. I have 700 W of Solar and 640Ah of lithium - All Victron - the AM solar signature configuration. I also have a 200W Zamp suitcase to plug in in parallel. When On the beach in San Diego I can run anything without worries - even one AC for a few hours mid-day. But in the woods (of AZ) I can do that for one day only and then I need to shuffle the Zamp throughout the day into the sun to get enough recharging.
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Old 06-30-2018, 09:31 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wulfraat View Post
I can run anything in the trailer at any time. This afternoon I pulled into Rocky Mountain National park for 5 days off grid. When I showed up I ran the air conditioner for a couple hours to cool off the trailer without the generator. Quiet cooling. We used the microwave to heat up some chicken and the ice maker was running on the trip up so sonic ice was ready for beverages after dinner

We don’t think about being plugged in or not anymore. Everything just works, all the time. There is a very large cost to enter into this type of system, but for us it was absolutely worth it.

Oh, and nobody else for miles has internet. Just us - ‘cause I have an LTE booster as well so we always have connectivity (which I need for my work - but is also convenient for airforums postings
Wulfraat,
That is so encouraging on what can be accomplished with this setup! I have two questions if you don't mind, first, could you clarify for me what a "full victron stack" is and second, is there anything you would do differently? Thanks for taking the time to respond!
Greg
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Old 06-30-2018, 10:10 AM   #17
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Not to step on Wulfraats response but for me the “full Victron stack” is Victron Batteries, BMS, Multplus 3000 inverter/charger, MPPT solar controller (85 Amp) Battery monitor, Color controller, multiples controller, Lynx combiner, and a few battery protects. All can be found at AM solar. I installed it myself and the biggest decision was going with a setup (AM solar called it their signature configuration) were the current was only limited by the multi- plus. Using a DC-dC converter limited the current to 200 amps- not enough to run the AC. The signature configuration doubles that current.
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Old 06-30-2018, 10:38 AM   #18
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Not to step on Wulfraats response but for me the “full Victron stack” is Victron Batteries, BMS, Multplus 3000 inverter/charger, MPPT solar controller (85 Amp) Battery monitor, Color controller, multiples controller, Lynx combiner, and a few battery protects. All can be found at AM solar. I installed it myself and the biggest decision was going with a setup (AM solar called it their signature configuration) were the current was only limited by the multi- plus. Using a DC-dC converter limited the current to 200 amps- not enough to run the AC. The signature configuration doubles that current.


Pete, thank you so much for the explanation!


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Old 07-15-2018, 10:04 PM   #19
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.. Oh, and nobody else for miles has internet. Just us - ‘cause I have an LTE booster as well so we always have connectivity (which I need for my work - but is also convenient for airforums postings
Greetings wulfraat, If I remember correctly you posted a thread about all of the electrical and electronic upgrades you were doing. I'm interested in much of the same. Would you please post a link here to your thread or PM me. Thanks
PS congrats vossom, I'm sure you'll love it.
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Old 07-15-2018, 10:06 PM   #20
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Voila!

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f539...um-182406.html
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