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Old 06-27-2022, 07:37 PM   #1
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Victron Orion-Tr Smart Isolated 12/12-18 or 12/12-30 with 160 amp alternator?

My TV alternator is rated at 160amp. Stock alternator from Chrysler.

Just finished my wiring in the AS and TV for the charger and think I'm safe to go with the 30 amp Orion but thought I'd get other opinions. Not running anything crazy in the truck besides the usual. No extra high current accessories really besides aftermarket HID headlights and foglights and added GPS and other small electronic accessories in the interior. A/C will likely take the most draw when we have that running in tow.

Not sure of the math used to calculate draw but I would think I'm in safe range to not tax the alternator for risk of burning it out.

If I have to go to the 18 amp unit no issues but rather pump as much juice as I can into the 2 x 100 ah Battleborn Lithiums while we are towing.

I have 6awg wire ran with 50 amp fuses on AS battery end and TV house batt so can handle the current.

Appreciate the feedback.
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Old 06-27-2022, 08:19 PM   #2
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I'd suggest doing the math to see what your max load is without the addition of the Orion. Those headlights, fog lights, your a/c blower, and all the other computers & electronics might be pulling more than you think.

I just recently installed the 18-amp version, and it actually pulls more than 18 amps from the TV, especially when the TV senses its battery is charged and drops the output voltage on the alternator. Lower voltage means increased amperage is necessary for the Orion to make 18 amps at 14.6 volts to charge the lithium batteries. Before installing mine I had read that the actual draw on the TV could be as high as mid-20s to power the Orion 18.
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Old 06-27-2022, 08:51 PM   #3
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I'd suggest doing the math to see what your max load is without the addition of the Orion. Those headlights, fog lights, your a/c blower, and all the other computers & electronics might be pulling more than you think.

I just recently installed the 18-amp version, and it actually pulls more than 18 amps from the TV, especially when the TV senses its battery is charged and drops the output voltage on the alternator. Lower voltage means increased amperage is necessary for the Orion to make 18 amps at 14.6 volts to charge the lithium batteries. Before installing mine I had read that the actual draw on the TV could be as high as mid-20s to power the Orion 18.

Thank you for the feedback. What's the spec on your alternator however?

Rule of thumb according to Renogy (yes I know it not Victron) but the law of amps and voltage is same across the board. They recommend a 40amp model in the 160 to 180amp alternator range. Using another formula I found is you want to apply 60% of your current alternator capacity to figure head room. That's 90 amps of use in my case which leaves room for 70 amps in accessories. I'm not using this much in accessories I can tell you that plus only going to a 30 amp dc model.
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Old 06-28-2022, 04:45 AM   #4
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Thank you for the feedback. What's the spec on your alternator however?

Rule of thumb according to Renogy (yes I know it not Victron) but the law of amps and voltage is same across the board. They recommend a 40amp model in the 160 to 180amp alternator range. Using another formula I found is you want to apply 60% of your current alternator capacity to figure head room. That's 90 amps of use in my case which leaves room for 70 amps in accessories. I'm not using this much in accessories I can tell you that plus only going to a 30 amp dc model.
My alternator is 124 amps. Even though yours has larger capacity, I still think you should run the math to make sure you're not pushing the alternator towards the max of its capacity.
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Old 06-28-2022, 08:00 AM   #5
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My alternator is 124 amps. Even though yours has larger capacity, I still think you should run the math to make sure you're not pushing the alternator towards the max of its capacity.
No brainer in your case. Definitely couldn't go with the 30amp unit. I'm relatively confident I'm fine but picked up a clamp on meter to check what my alternator is pushing out under load with all lights on, a/c unit, radio, and hooked in electronics. I figured someone here could confirm who has a 160 amp alternator but I'll do my further due diligence.
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Old 06-28-2022, 08:23 AM   #6
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Iím running the stock Chrysler alternator and a victron 12-12 30 (non-isolated). Everything works really well. Just finished a trip to California in 105 temps and it performed beautifully.

I did have to add an additional wire path though. The stock wiring was limited to about 4 amps. The system would turn on, ramp up the current which would drop the voltage which then caused the system to drop out. Lather-rinse-repeat ad nauseam.

I added a 6 gauge circuit terminating in a 50/75A Anderson plug next to the 7-way and disconnected the 7-way charge circuit inside the airstream power distribution box.

Since the victron has a low voltage disconnect, a battery isolator is technically not required, but I added one anyway along with a 50A breaker. Click image for larger version

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Old 06-28-2022, 08:42 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Ephraim View Post
Iím running the stock Chrysler alternator and a victron 12-12 30 (non-isolated). Everything works really well. Just finished a trip to California in 105 temps and it performed beautifully.

I did have to add an additional wire path though. The stock wiring was limited to about 4 amps. The system would turn on, ramp up the current which would drop the voltage which then caused the system to drop out. Lather-rinse-repeat ad nauseam.

I added a 6 gauge circuit terminating in a 50/75A Anderson plug next to the 7-way and disconnected the 7-way charge circuit inside the airstream power distribution box.

Since the victron has a low voltage disconnect, a battery isolator is technically not required, but I added one anyway along with a 50A breaker. Attachment 418484Attachment 418485Attachment 418486
Awesome! Yeah running alternate 6awg wire is a must. The thin wire in the 7way can't handle it. I'm running the isolated version because want the power seperated. First thing I did was remove the black charge wire of the 7 way in the 12v Airstream DC panel.

Just to reconfirm, your alternator is rated at 160amps?
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Old 06-28-2022, 09:04 AM   #8
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Awesome! Yeah running alternate 6awg wire is a must. The thin wire in the 7way can't handle it. I'm running the isolated version because want the power seperated. First thing I did was remove the black charge wire of the 7 way in the 12v Airstream DC panel.



Just to reconfirm, your alternator is rated at 160amps?


Yes. Itís a 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 5.7 Hemi
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Old 06-28-2022, 09:12 AM   #9
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Yes. Itís a 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 5.7 Hemi
Thank you. I got the same motor in my 2008 Aspen too. Love it.
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Old 06-28-2022, 09:15 AM   #10
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I've got the same setup running from TV battery to rear bumper - 6 ga wire with a 50-amp breaker at the battery end and an Andersen connecter mounted on the bumper next to the 7-wire. Not as difficult to accomplish as it sounds, but it did take a few hours.
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Old 06-28-2022, 09:21 AM   #11
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It comes down to wire size and total length from the alternator to the Orion and or Orion to Airstream battery.
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Old 06-28-2022, 09:58 AM   #12
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Consider the wire size from the front of the truck to the seven way plug at the back. If lucky, it might be 12 Ga but more likely 14 Ga. The former is rated 20 amps the the later is rated 14 amps. Also check wire size in the pigtail. Those are the current constraints.

We went with the 12/12-18 unit.
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Old 06-28-2022, 12:33 PM   #13
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Please read the story of installation of 12/12 30 Victron DC-DC Charger on Tundra TV. I had to solve several unexpected problems.

I have been using the system for several months now. It allows me to run refrigerator on AC while driving if batteries are close to full or to charge batteries if somewhat depleted. I recommend 4 AWG and not using truck chassis for ground. Truck alternator is rated at 170 AMP. Everything is working well.

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f44...er-232448.html
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Old 06-28-2022, 02:41 PM   #14
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I would suggest that your alternator is on the small size. I have rigged a similar setup 225A alternator, 30A dc/dc charger, 2ga COPPER wire + & -, thru a 50A solid fuse near battery, Anderson plugs at rear bumper. Never carried a generator again.
Burning out your alternator is a very expensive risk to take.
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Old 06-28-2022, 11:39 PM   #15
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I would suggest that your alternator is on the small size. I have rigged a similar setup 225A alternator, 30A dc/dc charger, 2ga COPPER wire + & -, thru a 50A solid fuse near battery, Anderson plugs at rear bumper. Never carried a generator again.
Burning out your alternator is a very expensive risk to take.
Gulliver - Small side? And you are concluding this how? If you have a 225amp alternator you could have went higher than a 30amp dc to dc charger. The math doesn't lie unless you are running some serious power hungry accessories.
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Old 06-28-2022, 11:49 PM   #16
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Please read the story of installation of 12/12 30 Victron DC-DC Charger on Tundra TV. I had to solve several unexpected problems.

I have been using the system for several months now. It allows me to run refrigerator on AC while driving if batteries are close to full or to charge batteries if somewhat depleted. I recommend 4 AWG and not using truck chassis for ground. Truck alternator is rated at 170 AMP. Everything is working well.

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f44...er-232448.html
I think you went about the means of the installation the wrong way. Just my opinion.

You don't ground to the chassis and you definitely should not have tried to run the setup through the 7 way wiring. I had laid out in my original post my install so no need to repeat. I am on a totally different install than you. What you performed is also not how the Victron instructions and diagrams advise you to install so you quite honestly caused yourself the grief unnecessarily. You also went over the top with the 60amp fuses and 4awg wire. Those wouldn't be needed for a 30 amp charger. Meant for the higher amperage models.

I am pretty set and am a technical individual. I just finished a large upgrade in solar panels and added a 2nd 2000watt inverter so all my outlets are now powered for dry camping. I have a clip on volt meter and the 30 amp Victron DC to DC charger arriving tomorrow and will check the amps to put myself at ease but I am already confident the 160 amp alternator will workout fine.
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Old 06-29-2022, 01:32 AM   #17
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I think you went about the means of the installation the wrong way. Just my opinion.

You don't ground to the chassis and you definitely should not have tried to run the setup through the 7 way wiring. I had laid out in my original post my install so no need to repeat. I am on a totally different install than you. What you performed is also not how the Victron instructions and diagrams advise you to install so you quite honestly caused yourself the grief unnecessarily. You also went over the top with the 60amp fuses and 4awg wire. Those wouldn't be needed for a 30 amp charger. Meant for the higher amperage models.

I am pretty set and am a technical individual. I just finished a large upgrade in solar panels and added a 2nd 2000watt inverter so all my outlets are now powered for dry camping. I have a clip on volt meter and the 30 amp Victron DC to DC charger arriving tomorrow and will check the amps to put myself at ease but I am already confident the 160 amp alternator will workout fine.
Excepting those ridiculous multi-thousand watt audio setups, there is only one real power hog of the alternator current - the initial recharge of the starting battery. A 160A alternator has more than enough power to run 30A back to the Airstream. You might have to wait 1 or 2 min longer for you starting battery to reach full charge but that isn't really a concern. Ham radio operators have been doing this for a long time - except they don't limit the charge current to 30A. The secondary batteries will take whatever the Alternator can give.

I suppose if you have an emergency vehicle that is loaded with Electronics, you might have an issue with power draw, but the 30A load the Victron places on the alternator isn't even noticeable in any practical way. 10 years ago, the 160A was considered a high output model.
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Old 06-29-2022, 04:46 PM   #18
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Well I just installed the Victron 30amp unit. Works great.

Checked amp level in the truck with everything powered on at idle. Max registered was only 75 amps so even under the 60% utilization range that I read to use as a target point based on the spec of the alternator.

With the DC charger active in full bulk charge mode the amperage shot to a max 95 amps on the alternator. So I never even got into triple digits.

The power on/off safety voltage ranges of the charger work very well based on the sensed input voltage from the TV. Very impressive piece of hardware.
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