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Old 09-05-2020, 08:54 AM   #1
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2019 19' Flying Cloud
2006 16' International CCD
Front Range , CO
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 118
Starting Journey - Lithium Ion Upgrade for 2019 19FC

I have 2019 19FC. I would like to upgrade to Battleborns, or whatever will fit inside the stock exterior battery box. Since I have the 19FC interior, space is at a premium... the batteries would be remaining in the exterior box.

I've read through all the Solar threads and I am still a little confused.

I'd like to jump right over the 6v option into the Lithium Ion world.

Seems as if most folks are piecing their setups together by buying individual components.

I'm wondering if one of the vendors will provide a kit with 2 batteries that fit in the outside box, terminal adapters, and other components needed for a simple way to upgrade from the stock Airstream setup.

I will start calling around on Monday and post with my results for anyone else interested.
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Old 09-08-2020, 02:07 PM   #2
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2020 20' Bambi
Clayton , North Carolina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trailerpup View Post
I have 2019 19FC. I would like to upgrade to Battleborns, or whatever will fit inside the stock exterior battery box. Since I have the 19FC interior, space is at a premium... the batteries would be remaining in the exterior box.

I've read through all the Solar threads and I am still a little confused.

I'd like to jump right over the 6v option into the Lithium Ion world.

Seems as if most folks are piecing their setups together by buying individual components.

I'm wondering if one of the vendors will provide a kit with 2 batteries that fit in the outside box, terminal adapters, and other components needed for a simple way to upgrade from the stock Airstream setup.

I will start calling around on Monday and post with my results for anyone else interested.
Most folks seem to refernce AMSolar on these sort of conversions. It also seems they tend to be willing to advice whether or not you finally buy from them. Good PR for them I think.
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Old 09-08-2020, 02:48 PM   #3
K4TCJ

 
2009 27' FB Flying Cloud
2006 22' Parkway
Chiefland , Florida
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 28
The Battle Born batteries did not fit my front battery box. Seems Airstream designed the box for size #27 batteries and the Battle Born ones are size #31. Mine are mounted under the forward bed. These are well worth the money and their customer support is the best, 100%. Have 2 of the 100 amp 12 volt batteries. Also they only weigh 31 lbs. each. I converted my forward battery box to a storage box, no wasted space.
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Old 09-08-2020, 02:54 PM   #4
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2007 27' International CCD FB
San Diego , California
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Sounds like you're looking for a turn key solution. Lithium's are anything but. In my opinion, this may not be the right path.
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Old 09-08-2020, 04:50 PM   #5
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2019 26' Flying Cloud
Poulsbo , Washington
Join Date: Oct 2018
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Yes, AM Solar comes to mind, when you mention a "kit."

I have plans (someday) to add a couple of batteries, and will be using the stock battery box, as I don't anticipate camping below freezing, here in the PNW.

The AM Solar site indicates that two of the BB GC2 size batteries will fit in the battery box. (Rather than what BB refers to as G27, group 27 size).

I plan to give them a call when I'm ready to spend the money! I've heard nothing but good reports of their service.

Take a look at: https://amsolar.com/airstream-trailers
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Old 03-08-2021, 01:20 PM   #6
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2019 19' Flying Cloud
2006 16' International CCD
Front Range , CO
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Latest development. I have been gifted the following Zamp equipment by an admirer... I have money I have been saving, for a Victron set-up, to purchase anything else I need.

Expion360 VPR 4EVER Classic 100Ah Lithium Battery (Group 27) 2
Expion360 Lithium Battery Bus Bar Kit 1
30 Amp 5-Stage PWM Charge Controller 1
Remote Digital Display - ZS-RT1 x 1
Obsidian180 Watt Long Solar Panel Kit Airstream Curved Roof Feet (2 x 90) 1

My 2019 FC19 is supposed to have wiring pre-installed. Sounds like this may just be swapping/adding parts. Not sure what else I would need to round out my set up.

I will be posting photos and updates for others as I start installing.

Thanks.
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Old 03-10-2021, 08:21 AM   #7
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2018 19' Tommy Bahama
Rancho Santa Margarita , CA
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My 2018 19CB battery box is big enough for group 27, however, the lip for the lock and the hinge reduce the opening too much to get a group 27 in. My opening is just shy of 12". Group 27 is about 12.2"
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Old 03-11-2021, 05:34 PM   #8
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2018 19' Flying Cloud
Vienna , West Virginia
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trailerpup, I also have a similar 2018 19 ft cb and am looking to change out original flooded cell group 24 interstates. Looking at upgrading my original converter using a WFCO WF8950L2-MBA (amazon $220 +/-). As to Lithium batteries I am between using a single "heated" Battle Born 100 Amp hr (BB10012H-1 sold by Battle Born only I think) or a set of two group 24 size 75 amp hr. units from Lifeline (the only group 24 size lithium units I can find). Compared to the old Interstates, I suspect the single Battle Born would give me about the same usable power. I note that I can fit only one of the BB units, which look to be similar to group 27, in my original battery box.
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Old 03-11-2021, 06:02 PM   #9
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Broomfield , Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Carter;
My 2018 19CB battery box is big enough for group 27, however, the lip for the lock and the hinge reduce the opening too much to get a group 27 in. My opening is just shy of 12". Group 27 is about 12.2"

Drill out the rigors holding the hinge / cover. Cut out the center part of the lip. Drop in batts. Pull hinge / lid back on. There are photos of this kid of the forum. I stuffed group 27 in my 2008 battery box - was too shallow for 6v.
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Old 03-12-2021, 05:46 PM   #10
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2019 19' Flying Cloud
2006 16' International CCD
Front Range , CO
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Since the unexpected "factory solar system" landed in my lap my plan is to first install the Zamp stuff with the original batteries just like factory solar system would be.

Installing the Zamp (factory option?) equipment should be more straight forward than stupidly trying to tackle a whole system from scratch.

If I successfully install the Zamp stuff I can gain experience with the equipment/system and then I can learn my solar needs and ultimate system configuration (which will include the new batteries that I am receiving as part of the deal).

Some seem to think the group 27 batteries will fit in the box with/without modification. But, it looks like most of the advanced solar systems on this site are moving the batteries inside the coach...

While waiting for the major components of the Zamp system to arrive I went ahead and installed the remote display. The display was installed on the street-side wall above the sink (below the SeeLevel).

I removed the tank monitor and found the pre-existing cat5 cable (it was marked as "remote display unit). Drilled a 1/2" hole below the tank monitor and I used the adapter, that comes with the display unit, to hook it up. I used a small piece of VHB to attach the display to the wall. Cleaned up the factory wall cut, applied wire protection prior to installation of each monitor... total install time; 15 minutes.

This Zamp display is CLUNKY looking. Not sure, but it seems it has looked like the same unit they have had for at least the past 5 years. Same with their charge controllers. Weird that they haven't updated. It looks like the Zamp panels are highly regarded. Weird. In my mind I had always envisioned seeing the Victron display unit on the wall.

Took a cursory look at the "rat's nest" (located under the street-side dinette seat/water tank). I see a couple yellow wires, red/white wires and the other end of the display down in there. Will take a closer look for any "factory wires" existing to help my install as my parts start arriving.

I'm following the "pre-existing" solar wiring section of the 2019 Flying Cloud manual.

Thanks.
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Old 03-12-2021, 07:37 PM   #11
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2018 19' Tommy Bahama
Rancho Santa Margarita , CA
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The wiring under the seat in my 2018 Tommy Bahama 19CB is the biggest rats nest I've seen.... I would expect a $82k unit to be a bit more professionally done. I'm going to need to disconnect everything, open the DC box and untangle the wires and put into some reasonable order. Airstream should be embarrassed to put out work like that.
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Old 03-27-2021, 12:06 PM   #12
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2019 19' Flying Cloud
2006 16' International CCD
Front Range , CO
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The rest of my Zamp solar package windfall has arrived.

Again, I was planning on going full Victron/BB but unexpectedly came into this Zamp gear. I am going to install this gear myself and see if I can get it up and running.

As I learn more from the archives and subject matter experts here on the forum, and from actually working with the gear, I'll make future decisions on which direction to go (i.e. MPPT, blue tooth, etc.). Looks like Zamp is now coming out with their "Cinder" line of controllers...

Gear I now have...

2 - Zamp 90w Obsidian Solar Panels (w/Airstream mounting feet)
2 - Expion360 100Ah Lithium Battery (Group 27)
1 - Zamp 30amp 5 stage PWM Charge Controller
1 - Zamp Remote Display
1 - Zamp 180 Watt Portable Solar Suitcase
1 - Suitcase Extension Cable

I've ordered a WFCO LiOn Converter main board for the stock 8955 Power Center.

Next, it appears that I need to order some 10g Yellow and Green wire, 50amp Breaker and 10amp in-line fuse.

To start, I plan on installing the 2 solar panels in the next week or so. It looks like the 19 Flying Cloud roof will take 2 90w long panels on the curb side inboard of the awning, and will take a 3rd on the street side forward of the vent. I think I'll start with putting these 2 on the curb side and see how the system works out before adding another...

I have 5952 VHB and Silkaflex 221 White and plan to not use screws through the roof. I also have some 3m adhesive promoter, but I'm not sure I'll use it. Probably just scrub real good with a brush and Dawn detergent where the feet will go...

I was going to mount my Cell Booster antenna and run the coax down the vent pipe while I'm up on the roof...

I still have not found the yellow and green 10g factory solar wires anywhere around the buss bar box under the street side dinette seat in my 19FC. I need to find those before I go pluggin in the panels into the junction box I'm thinking...

Anyway, here I go...

I will update this thread as I go along.

Any constructive feedback, tips, admonishments are welcome!

Thanks.
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Old 03-27-2021, 12:18 PM   #13
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Naples , Florida
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trailerpup View Post
The rest of my Zamp solar package windfall has arrived.

Again, I was planning on going full Victron/BB but unexpectedly came into this Zamp gear. I am going to install this gear myself and see if I can get it up and running.

As I learn more from the archives and subject matter experts here on the forum, and from actually working with the gear, I'll make future decisions on which direction to go (i.e. MPPT, blue tooth, etc.). Looks like Zamp is now coming out with their "Cinder" line of controllers...

Gear I now have...

2 - Zamp 90w Obsidian Solar Panels (w/Airstream mounting feet)
2 - Expion360 100Ah Lithium Battery (Group 27)
1 - Zamp 30amp 5 stage PWM Charge Controller
1 - Zamp Remote Display
1 - Zamp 180 Watt Portable Solar Suitcase
1 - Suitcase Extension Cable

I've ordered a WFCO LiOn Converter main board for the stock 8955 Power Center.

Next, it appears that I need to order some 10g Yellow and Green wire, 50amp Breaker and 10amp in-line fuse.

To start, I plan on installing the 2 solar panels in the next week or so. It looks like the 19 Flying Cloud roof will take 2 90w long panels on the curb side inboard of the awning, and will take a 3rd on the street side forward of the vent. I think I'll start with putting these 2 on the curb side and see how the system works out before adding another...

I have 5952 VHB and Silkaflex 221 White and plan to not use screws through the roof. I also have some 3m adhesive promoter, but I'm not sure I'll use it. Probably just scrub real good with a brush and Dawn detergent where the feet will go...

I was going to mount my Cell Booster antenna and run the coax down the vent pipe while I'm up on the roof...

I still have not found the yellow and green 10g factory solar wires anywhere around the buss bar box under the street side dinette seat in my 19FC. I need to find those before I go pluggin in the panels into the junction box I'm thinking...

Anyway, here I go...

I will update this thread as I go along to help anybody that wants to see me try to do it.

Any constructive feedback, tips, admonishments are welcome!

Thanks.
Trailerpup,

If you are going to use adhesive on your panel(s), you should get AM Solar's mounting feet. They have 3 or 4 sizes so your panel(s) will mount flat. This is best for the solar display during the course of the day.

Also, I would use 3M VHB tape on the bottom of your feet and SikaFlex 221 to cover your feet and overlap them to the roof by at least 1/2" +. This will give you a good, strong bond within a few days and years of worry free solar power.
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Solar Tech Energy Systems, Inc.
Victron Solar Components and Inverters, Zamp Solar Panels, LiFeBlue and Battle Born Lithium Batteries, Lifeline AGM Batteries
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Old 03-27-2021, 12:34 PM   #14
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2019 19' Flying Cloud
2006 16' International CCD
Front Range , CO
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by JJWoodward View Post
...WFCO WF8950L2-MBA (amazon $220 +/-).
Yeah, That's the one I ordered (Amazon was 180-something). From what I've read, the stock unit will bring the new batteries up but not all the way to fully charged. Supposedly, it you have solar, the stock unit will bring the LiOn batteries up and and the solar can top them off. Or whatever?! I'm sure the Lewsters of the forum are LOL-ing. Anyway, I'm not going live until the new MBA is installed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JJWoodward View Post
...As to Lithium batteries I am between using a single "heated" Battle Born 100 Amp hr (BB10012H-1 sold by Battle Born only I think) or a set of two group 24 size 75 amp hr. units from Lifeline (the only group 24 size lithium units I can find). Compared to the old Interstates, I suspect the single Battle Born would give me about the same usable power. I note that I can fit only one of the BB units, which look to be similar to group 27, in my original battery box.
If I didn't get all this Zamp gear + batteries, I was going to go with 2 BB 6V size heated for the stock box. I haven't messed with trying to get both group 27's in the stock battery box. Over the winter I re-imagined my Flying Cloud interior and the dinette is now a "modified L couch" with tons of storage. So, I plan on installing my batteries under the couch inside. I was toying with the thought of installing a single battery, to begin with, in the battery box to get the system up and running. Then moving to transition the batteries to under the couch. Yeah, it would be the same as the stock dual batteries.. sorry for any keyboard damage Lewster.

I can see using the stock battery box to store my towing set up equipment/tools... once the batteries are inside the trailer.
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Old 03-27-2021, 12:36 PM   #15
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2019 19' Flying Cloud
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Front Range , CO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Carter View Post
My 2018 19CB battery box is big enough for group 27, however, the lip for the lock and the hinge reduce the opening too much to get a group 27 in. My opening is just shy of 12". Group 27 is about 12.2"
i read that you could maybe drill out the 3 rivets that hold the top cover on the box, install the group 27s, then re-rivet the top back on?

Also, saw a picture of 2 group 24 LiOns installed inside the stock box. They looked so small and sad in there. I think they were 65ah each.
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Old 03-27-2021, 12:41 PM   #16
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2019 19' Flying Cloud
2006 16' International CCD
Front Range , CO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K4TCJ View Post
The Battle Born batteries did not fit my front battery box. Seems Airstream designed the box for size #27 batteries and the Battle Born ones are size #31. Mine are mounted under the forward bed. These are well worth the money and their customer support is the best, 100%. Have 2 of the 100 amp 12 volt batteries. Also they only weigh 31 lbs. each. I converted my forward battery box to a storage box, no wasted space.
When I get a chance I'll see how close these batteries are to fitting the stock box.. The biggest splash with all this gear was how "slim" the Obsidian panels are and how light the batteries are. These batteries are so easy to move around. I will never be going back to the old heavy tech.
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Old 03-27-2021, 12:43 PM   #17
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2019 19' Flying Cloud
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wulfraat View Post
Drill out the rigors holding the hinge / cover. Cut out the center part of the lip. Drop in batts. Pull hinge / lid back on. There are photos of this kid of the forum. I stuffed group 27 in my 2008 battery box - was too shallow for 6v.
I'm trying to picture in my mind the "center part of the lip." The front edge of the box is rolled and would be a pain to modify. But it looked like the lid flap/hinge could be modified?
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Old 03-27-2021, 01:01 PM   #18
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2019 19' Flying Cloud
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster View Post
Trailerpup,

If you are going to use adhesive on your panel(s), you should get AM Solar's mounting feet. They have 3 or 4 sizes so your panel(s) will mount flat. This is best for the solar display during the course of the day.

Also, I would use 3M VHB tape on the bottom of your feet and SikaFlex 221 to cover your feet and overlap them to the roof by at least 1/2" +. This will give you a good, strong bond within a few days and years of worry free solar power.
Yeah, it was the AM Solar site that I was using to put together my Victron wish list. After lunch today i'll play around with the feet that Zamp sent and continue my learning. I will take your advice and follow up with AM. Looks like common feet with different sized risers. Thank your for the advice on the vhb/221 technique. This is the kind of information that keeps me coming back and continuing to contribute to the site. Thanks!!
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Old 03-27-2021, 01:04 PM   #19
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2019 19' Flying Cloud
2006 16' International CCD
Front Range , CO
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Carter View Post
The wiring under the seat in my 2018 Tommy Bahama 19CB is the biggest rats nest I've seen.... I would expect a $82k unit to be a bit more professionally done. I'm going to need to disconnect everything, open the DC box and untangle the wires and put into some reasonable order. Airstream should be embarrassed to put out work like that.
Yeah, a real mess down there. I'm holding off doing all that until I have all my parts, etc. ready to go. When I de-energize the trailer I have a few things to do in addition to the solar... PI EMS-HW30C, black 110 outlets, LiOn MBA, etc.
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Old 03-27-2021, 06:03 PM   #20
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2021 27' Globetrotter
Malibu , California
Join Date: Dec 2020
Posts: 82
Everyone is going to tell you something different; I have attached below the guide for Airstream dealerships and it gives you a basic upgrade explained step by step:
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