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Old 11-16-2023, 10:33 AM   #1
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DC to DC success - but a few lingering questions

After reading many threads about the various problems some were having with installing or getting good results from their DC to DC charger installation, I was unsure how my install would go. I am happy to report that it was a textbook install, and results so far are great.

Installed a Victron 12/12 - 18 in my 27FBT. I did not add a separate wire (or wires) from the front of the truck and just used existing wiring from the 7 way in the trailer. I used all the app presets and didn't modify any settings. My Fluke meter and an amp clamp shows I'm getting a full 18 amps (18.2 actually) and engine shutdown detection works perfectly.

So that's all the good news.
My questions are:

1- How are people mounting these to the front wall? I've seen several photos of nice clean installs and these are mounted to the thin aluminum inner panel. Screws? Rivets? I would think screws would vibrate or pull out.

2- What battery setting should I use for my AGMs? I will be adding Lithium when I get all my ducks in a row (buying cables, ends, buss bars, decide on placement, etc.) so for now I'm using Interstate 34M-AGM batteries.

The app settings give several choices of batteries, but none are generic enough (or specific enough) to make it an obvious choice. The 1st is "Spiral cell AGM" which I think is an Optima style. The next 2 are Victron AGM batteries. Various others I've never heard of (PzS tubular plate?) and Lithium as the last choice.
I picked the 1st Victron battery as It has the lowest absorption voltage. Would that be the best choice?

So that's it. Sorry for the big long ramble but hopefully I hit all the points.

Thanks for any help you may have.
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Old 11-16-2023, 11:04 AM   #2
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You're probably fine with the generic setting....especially since it is an interim battery bank.

What TV do you have? If you have a smart alternator, I would suggest that utilizing the hard wire on/off command, rather than the engine shutdown detection and low voltage shutdown, will ensure the Orion supplies current consistently throughout your drive day.
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Old 11-16-2023, 11:30 AM   #3
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I have a 2024 Silverado so it does have a smart alternator. Yea, it was only a driveway test for about 5 min so it wasn't a full real world test.


I see there is an adjustment to Shutdown Voltage. Default voltage is 13.10. Has to be below that for 60 seconds to quit. I guess I can see what happens while towing a bit and play around.


Hoping also my 7 way connector stays cool and calm.
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Old 11-16-2023, 11:39 AM   #4
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I believe you will find that after a few hours driving, when the TV battery becomes saturated, that your alternator will drop to as low as 12.6v. Or turn completely off for awhile.
The problem with that is if you set the orion to a low voltage for shutdown, you will substantially drain the TV battery when parking with the umbilical plugged in.
I gave up on the settings, turned them off and installed the trigger wire to detect the running light circuit in the trailer. I always travel with park lights or fog lights on anyway, as my rear camera is turned on by that circuit as well.
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Old 11-16-2023, 12:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post

What TV do you have? If you have a smart alternator, I would suggest that utilizing the hard wire on/off command, rather than the engine shutdown detection and low voltage shutdown, will ensure the Orion supplies current consistently throughout your drive day.
In this case would it make sense to use a battery isolation solenoid and connect the input of the DC-DC charger to the output of the battery isolation solenoid? You could then connect the 7 way charge wire to both the solenoid coil trigger and the other (input) side of the solenoid making things fully automatic and skipping the Victron engine shutdown and LV shutdown.
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Old 11-16-2023, 12:18 PM   #6
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In this case would it make sense to use a battery isolation solenoid and connect the input of the DC-DC charger to the output of the battery isolation solenoid? You could then connect the 7 way charge wire to both the solenoid coil trigger and the other (input) side of the solenoid making things fully automatic and skipping the Victron engine shutdown and LV shutdown.
I believe that would work if you didn't want to turn on your lights, although a bit more of a complex install.
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Old 11-16-2023, 01:47 PM   #7
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In this case would it make sense to use a battery isolation solenoid and connect the input of the DC-DC charger to the output of the battery isolation solenoid? You could then connect the 7 way charge wire to both the solenoid coil trigger and the other (input) side of the solenoid making things fully automatic and skipping the Victron engine shutdown and LV shutdown.
The + pin on my 7 way is hot all the time. If I'm reading your set up correctly, that would make the DC/DC stay on all the time. No?
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Old 11-16-2023, 02:02 PM   #8
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No, he's talking about installing an ignition controlled solenoid up near the TV battery so the charge line in the 7 pin would only be hot when the ignition is on.
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Old 11-16-2023, 02:07 PM   #9
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No, he's talking about installing an ignition controlled solenoid up near the TV battery so the charge line in the 7 pin would only be hot when the ignition is on.
Ah. Well that is a great idea.
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Old 11-16-2023, 02:08 PM   #10
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Wait... wouldn't that still be subject to battery voltage from the TV and still cause the charger to shut down under 13.1?
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Old 11-16-2023, 02:27 PM   #11
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Wait... wouldn't that still be subject to battery voltage from the TV and still cause the charger to shut down under 13.1?
It wouldn't change how your smart alternator reacts. I'm not sure if the smart alternator sees the trailer load though I can't see why it wouldn't, it's just another load on the system. Does anyone have the answer to that?
My thinking is that it would eliminate the need to remember to manually switch anything and it would allow you you bypass the low voltage shutdown of the Orien and let it do what it can as long as the engine is running.
My setup is different being a van chassis MH but I am going to leave my BIS in place and just use it to control power to the DC-DC. With the BIS in place there is no chance of a connection between the house and chassis, or in your case the TV, to worry about one the engine is shut down.
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Old 11-16-2023, 02:37 PM   #12
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It wouldn't change how your smart alternator reacts. I'm not sure if the smart alternator sees the trailer load though I can't see why it wouldn't, it's just another load on the system. Does anyone have the answer to that?
My thinking is that it would eliminate the need to remember to manually switch anything and it would allow you you bypass the low voltage shutdown of the Orien.
My setup is different being a van chassis MH but I am going to leave my BIS in place and just use it to control power to the DC-DC.
If the TV has fla AND the trailer has fla batts, then there would be no issue and the alternator would see the load as one big battery system. In that case, if you also had solar, it's controller would be set to the same voltage requirements for fla...and everyone is happy.
If you have agm or lithium, which both require a higher voltage to fully charge than the fla system in the TV, the alternator will not supplement solar for a full charge if you leave camp with substantially depleted trailer batts. If you have a large solar system...maybe you don't need the alternator charge...on a sunny day. The mission here is to take full advantage of both charging sources with 2 battery chemistry requirements.
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Old 11-17-2023, 10:33 AM   #13
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Any input on the best way to mount these items on the front wall?

Even the light weight filter for the A/C units on the 2023 and earlier units had trouble with screws into the thin aluminum. This controller and charger weigh a pound or so each (guessing).

I also need to mount my solar charge controller as AS decided to just wire it up and leaving laying loose amongst the wiring.
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Old 11-17-2023, 10:53 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Any input on the best way to mount these items on the front wall?

Even the light weight filter for the A/C units on the 2023 and earlier units had trouble with screws into the thin aluminum. This controller and charger weigh a pound or so each (guessing).

I also need to mount my solar charge controller as AS decided to just wire it up and leaving laying loose amongst the wiring.
Just me but I wouldn't put a hole in the aluminum unless it's the last resort. Fortunately, AS mounted our solar controller to the floor. When I added a second controller for the external panels I mounted it to the panel separating the side compartment under the curbside twin bed. With the DC-DC charger you can consult the Victron installation instructions, but I don't think it puts out too much heat. I mounted ours to the other side of the separator. With your larger trailer YMMV.
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Old 11-17-2023, 12:38 PM   #15
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It gets pretty toasty. I only ran it ~10 min in the driveway and it was pretty warm. I wouldn't say hot at that point but...
Manual states to mount on a non-flammable surface so that may indicate how much heat it could generate.
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Old 11-17-2023, 01:05 PM   #16
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It gets pretty toasty. I only ran it ~10 min in the driveway and it was pretty warm. I wouldn't say hot at that point but...
Manual states to mount on a non-flammable surface so that may indicate how much heat it could generate.
I know they say that, but at its hottest, I can hold my hand on the heat sinks indefinitely. So that means it is less than 130*F or so. Wood combusts at...what...451*F? I mount to wood. No scorch marks or anything after years.
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Old 11-17-2023, 02:24 PM   #17
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Mine is mounted to the interior skin using #12 stainless sheet metal screws. They hold plenty tight.
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Old 11-17-2023, 03:03 PM   #18
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Awesome. Good to know on both counts wherever I decide to mount it.
Thanks!
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Old 11-17-2023, 04:42 PM   #19
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Maybe not relevant but Victron just came out with a new Smart Buck-Boost 50A non-isolated DCDC Charger 12/12-50. I'm excited since it might mean my long personal nightmare is over trying to get a DC-DC charger working with my 15A fused charge line on the Audi Q7 since it is fully configurable and I can limit the input current. Anyways, I came across this in the manual but maybe it only applies to this charger:

Quote:
With limited cooling or extreme ambient temperature, the charger can become hot (especially the bottom plate). Due to internal
temperature control, the bottom plate will never get warmer than 90 įC; this is no problem for the charger. Make sure that the
mounting surface can withstand this temperature.
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Old 11-18-2023, 06:09 AM   #20
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Maybe not relevant but Victron just came out with a new Smart Buck-Boost 50A non-isolated DCDC Charger 12/12-50. I'm excited since it might mean my long personal nightmare is over trying to get a DC-DC charger working with my 15A fused charge line on the Audi Q7 since it is fully configurable and I can limit the input current. Anyways, I came across this in the manual but maybe it only applies to this charger:
So, that's 194*F. Just lay your hand on it, or hit it with a temp gun, when it is working hard (delivering a lot of current for an hour or so). If you can't keep your hand on the heat sink, use your discretion as to changing location or mounting material, I have mouse fur on my walls, so is that better than wood? My charging components are under the front couch in/on the electrical center with no top on the box. So pretty good ventilation.

My son's camper has all its components in enclosed compartment with two 3" X3" vents on a side wall. If I feel his compartment is getting too hot, I'll install a thermostatically controlled muffin fan for exhaust.
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