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ghaag 10-17-2018 09:49 AM

My Lithium/Solar Upgrade is Complete
 
9 Attachment(s)
My Lithium/Solar upgrade is complete so I thought I would post some pictures in case it might be helpful to someone else thinking about this. I did not do this myself, but spent a bunch of time with the guys that did, my primary takeaway is that I was glad I did not try doing this myself.

AirMiles 10-17-2018 12:03 PM

That installation looks like artwork to me. It’s a shame to hide it.

Let us know how it performs after you get to use it. You are going to enjoy your solar powered Airstream. I have the same four solar panels with the same Victron 100/30 controller and continue to be impressed by their performance. I’m sitting under an overcast sky with nearly complete tree canopy as I type and am getting up to 80 Watts of solar and 6 Amps at the battery.

ghaag 10-17-2018 12:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AirMiles (Post 2169240)
That installation looks like artwork to me. Itís a shame to hide it.

Let us know how it performs after you get to use it. You are going to enjoy your solar powered Airstream. I have the same four solar panels and Victron 100/30 and continue to be impressed by their performance.

Thanks! Job was complete last Wednesday and we left Friday to dry camp for 4 days at Cades Cove Campground in Great Smoky Mountain NP. The first 2 days, we ran microwave a couple times per day maybe 5 minutes total each day otherwise everything else dc usage but made no special effort to conserve. The system would draw down into the mid 80's on remaining power in the morning and the solar had it back to 100% by dark. The last 2 days we ran the Dometic Blizzard NXT 15,000 BTU on FAN ONLY for 10 hours Sunday night and 9 hours Monday night, everything else roughly the same usage. I ran the generator (Honda 2,000) for 3.5 hours Monday and left Tuesday morning with 51% Battery life remaining. The system worked flawlessly!

AirMiles 10-17-2018 12:36 PM

Is Cades Cove is a shady place? I know most of the campgrounds in the smokies are shady. I spent some time in the area earlier this summer. Today I’m at Jeff Busby Campground on the Natchez Trace Parkway. That’s near your home. You May know the shade conditions here. Very little open sky to be found. But still my batteries should be fairly well charged by nightfall.

HiHoAgRV 10-17-2018 12:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AirMiles (Post 2169248)
Is Cades Cove is a shady place? I know most of the campgrounds in the smokies are shady. I spent some time in the area earlier this summer. Today Iím at Jeff Busby Campground on the Natchez Trace Parkway. Thatís near your home. You May know the shade conditions here. Very little open sky to be found. But still my batteries should be fairly well charged by nightfall.



We camped last weekend at Rocky Springs further south on the trace. We snagged a sunny site and managed to keep the old batteries charged. I'm installing a lithium this week and we may head to Jeff Busby Saturday.

My setup is nowhere near as nice as the op's! It does look like Art!

ghaag 10-17-2018 12:56 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by AirMiles (Post 2169248)
Is Cades Cove is a shady place? I know most of the campgrounds in the smokies are shady. I spent some time in the area earlier this summer. Today Iím at Jeff Busby Campground on the Natchez Trace Parkway. Thatís near your home. You May know the shade conditions here. Very little open sky to be found. But still my batteries should be fairly well charged by nightfall.

I love driving the Natchez Trace, but I have never stayed there, how do you like your campground?

I would say our site was around 50% tree covered. Here's a picture of our site, although its hard to tell from the picture.

AirMiles 10-17-2018 12:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HiHoAgRV (Post 2169255)
We camped last weekend at Rocky Springs further south on the trace. We snagged a sunny site and managed to keep the old batteries charged. I'm installing a lithium this week and we may head to Jeff Busby Saturday.

My setup is nowhere near as nice as the op's! It does look like Art!

Iíll probably be at Jeff Busby through the weekend so Iíll be watching for you. Iím in the last campsite and there will be room next to me. We can have a solar system race!😊😊😊

HiHoAgRV 10-17-2018 01:01 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Question. What is the component just to the right of the fuse?

AirMiles 10-17-2018 01:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ghaag (Post 2169256)
I love driving the Natchez Trace, but I have never stayed there, how do you like your campground?

I would say our site was around 50% tree covered. Here's a picture of our site, although its hard to tell from the picture.

This is a great campground. Tree canopy looks similar to your picture. Swing over here this weekend and weíll have a mini-rally on the Trace.

ghaag 10-17-2018 01:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AirMiles (Post 2169257)
Iíll probably be at Jeff Busby through the weekend so Iíll be watching for you. Iím in the last campsite and there will be room next to me. We can have a solar system race!😊😊😊

I would love to be there, unfortunately, I will be in a HOTEL in Louisville, KY.

ghaag 10-17-2018 01:14 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by HiHoAgRV (Post 2169259)
Question. What is the component just to the right of the fuse?

Are you referring to the Lynx Distributor? If so, I believe it monitors the condition/status of the fuses.

wulfraat 10-17-2018 01:17 PM

Very nice - very similar to my install. You are going to enjoy the 600ah and having full residential power whenever, wherever you like.

Who did the work? Looks like AM Soar....

Did they located the equipment in the front or rear of the trailer? (just curious)

ghaag 10-17-2018 02:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wulfraat (Post 2169269)
Very nice - very similar to my install. You are going to enjoy the 600ah and having full residential power whenever, wherever you like.

Who did the work? Looks like AM Soar....

Did they located the equipment in the front or rear of the trailer? (just curious)

Gateway Engineering did the work for me. We located the equipment in the front bedroom, and I used this as an opportunity to convert from a queen bed to twins.

HiHoAgRV 10-17-2018 04:32 PM

My Lithium/Solar Upgrade is Complete
 
1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by ghaag (Post 2169267)
Are you referring to the Lynx Distributor? If so, I believe it monitors the condition/status of the fuses.



Not that. I am thinking it's your shunt, all of mine are dumb and don't have 12V+ going to them. Yours must be one of them smart 'un's

Very nice install.

I just installed my BB 100ah battery and Boondocker charger. $1,100 worth of stuff and it only took 1:30. Kind of a fast, expensive weight loss program.

As soon as I powered it up, the Trimetric went straight to 40amps charging, climbed to 14.5 volts then idled back to 1 amp. All in about 2 minutes. Now THATS what I wanted!

ghaag 10-17-2018 04:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HiHoAgRV (Post 2169353)
Not that. I am thinking it's your shunt, all of mine are dumb and don't have 12V+ going to them. Yours must be one of them smart 'un's

Very nice install.

I just installed my BB 100ah battery and Boondocker charger. $1,100 worth of stuff and it only took 1:30. Kind of a fast, expensive weight loss program.

As soon as I powered it up, the Trimetric went straight to 40amps charging, climbed to 14.5 volts then idled back to 1 amp. All in about 2 minutes. Now THATS what I wanted!



Thatís great!

JohnTF 10-18-2018 12:35 PM

Yes it is a shunt , but does not necessarily smart , it just allow high current to pass and still have low current sense connection .

mythbuster88 10-19-2018 11:41 PM

Really nice upgrade.

SilverHouseDreams 10-20-2018 10:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HiHoAgRV (Post 2169353)
Not that. I am thinking it's your shunt, all of mine are dumb and don't have 12V+ going to them. Yours must be one of them smart 'un's

Very nice install.

I just installed my BB 100ah battery and Boondocker charger. $1,100 worth of stuff and it only took 1:30. Kind of a fast, expensive weight loss program.

As soon as I powered it up, the Trimetric went straight to 40amps charging, climbed to 14.5 volts then idled back to 1 amp. All in about 2 minutes. Now THATS what I wanted!



Victron BMV feeds the positive into a connector on the shunt so you only have to run the one wire to the display panel, rather than having to find a fused DC+ where the panel ends up. It was a good assumption that positive is readily available where the shunt is, rather than expecting it where the display is ;)

ShannonDavis 10-24-2018 09:19 AM

Can I ask a round about cost not counting the remodel of the bedroom?

ride2k 10-24-2018 09:54 AM

Who did your install? I had Marvin Braun, Precision Solar in Casa Grande Az do mine In February of this year. It’s like sprouting wings metaphorically speaking as you gain so much freedom without sacrificing quality of living. Enjoy. ��

jcooper0 10-24-2018 10:17 AM

Wwbsite
 
Can you post the Web URL for Gateway Engineering?

Rpatrick16 10-24-2018 10:25 AM

Very nice install....what should one expect to pay for a system like that?

fastrob 10-24-2018 10:40 AM

Southeners Don't Need Battery Warmer, Mostly
 
Know a fellow with a $50,000 solar system he did himself.
Likes to show off how much e- he gets on cloudy days with his smmart phone.
After doing a bunch of research, I concluded like the op that Lithium was the way to go.
Talking with this engineer friend, asking about what kind of batteries he had, wet mat, I asked his opinion of lithium.
He said they burn in a horrible way.
We do know that you do not want to throw a charge into them at a below operating temperature.
Pretty sophisticated charge controller.
My question, are the batteries under your bed or the wife's?

eheffa 10-24-2018 12:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fastrob (Post 2171873)
Know a fellow with a $50,000 solar system he did himself.
Likes to show off how much e- he gets on cloudy days with his smmart phone.
After doing a bunch of research, I concluded like the op that Lithium was the way to go.
Talking with this engineer friend, asking about what kind of batteries he had, wet mat, I asked his opinion of lithium.
He said they burn in a horrible way.
We do know that you do not want to throw a charge into them at a below operating temperature.
Pretty sophisticated charge controller.
My question, are the batteries under your bed or the wife's?


LiPO4 batteries do not burn. Your friend is misinformed.


-evan

gregwall 10-24-2018 01:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ghaag (Post 2169163)
My Lithium/Solar upgrade is complete so I thought I would post some pictures in case it might be helpful to someone else thinking about this. I did not do this myself, but spent a bunch of time with the guys that did, my primary takeaway is that I was glad I did not try doing this myself.

Beautiful work on a great system. You are going to love it. I have had a 400AH similar system for almost two years.

graysailor 10-24-2018 02:03 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Just about done with mine.Attachment 326191

MojoRisen 10-24-2018 02:34 PM

Wow
 
And to think that if it got hot I always went to a higher elevation. I still don't have AC in my 63, but I also have Lithium, 7.6 cubic upright 12v dc fridge/freezer and a 160 watt portable solar. No generator though.



Very nice.

ghaag 10-24-2018 08:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by graysailor (Post 2171954)
Just about done with mine.Attachment 326191



Looking great, let me know how it works for you.

ghaag 10-24-2018 08:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mythbuster88 (Post 2170191)
Really nice upgrade.



Thank you!

ghaag 10-24-2018 08:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ShannonDavis (Post 2171829)
Can I ask a round about cost not counting the remodel of the bedroom?



I spent about 15k on order from AM Solar and about the same on labor and a few misc parts (I.e. soft start for ac).

ghaag 10-24-2018 08:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jcooper0 (Post 2171858)
Can you post the Web URL for Gateway Engineering?



https://www.gatewayengineering.us/

Dwight Gary is the owner

ghaag 10-24-2018 08:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gregwall (Post 2171952)
Beautiful work on a great system. You are going to love it. I have had a 400AH similar system for almost two years.



Thank you!

wulfraat 10-24-2018 10:20 PM

My Lithium/Solar Upgrade is Complete
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ghaag (Post 2172058)
I spent about 15k on order from AM Solar and about the same on labor and a few misc parts (I.e. soft start for ac).



Mine was similar cost. Donít forget to file your IRS form F5695 to get your 30% tax credit back for the install when you file your FY2018 taxes [emoji4]

gblackburn 10-25-2018 05:56 AM

Your installation looks great.
What happens if your inverter fails?
Is there any way to bypass the inverter to be on shore power?
I ask this because this actually happened to a friend of mine on a trip to Alaska this summer.

pdavitt 10-25-2018 07:39 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by gblackburn (Post 2172116)
Your installation looks great.
What happens if your inverter fails?
Is there any way to bypass the inverter to be on shore power?
I ask this because this actually happened to a friend of mine on a trip to Alaska this summer.


Yes there is. Below is a excerpt from a schematic showing the AC wiring/components. It can be accomplished by wiring in a Source/Selector breaker pair with a lockout so only one AC source (Inverter or Shore Power) is used to power the AC Loads. The 62A Source Selector switch is user to select between Generator or Shore Power. The Toggle Source select breaker pair is used to select the Inverter or External AC Source for the loads. Below is a URL to the Toggle Source Selector breaker:
https://www.bluesea.com/products/806...or_120V_AC_50A




Pat

JanMark 10-27-2018 09:36 AM

The Million Dollar Question
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ghaag (Post 2169163)
My Lithium/Solar upgrade is complete so I thought I would post some pictures in case it might be helpful to someone else thinking about this. I did not do this myself, but spent a bunch of time with the guys that did, my primary takeaway is that I was glad I did not try doing this myself.


Might you be willing to give a ballpark figure on the total cost here? Also, how much do you think you gained over using two six volt batteries and the same solar setup?!? Thanks!

ghaag 10-28-2018 04:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wulfraat (Post 2172090)
Mine was similar cost. Donít forget to file your IRS form F5695 to get your 30% tax credit back for the install when you file your FY2018 taxes [emoji4]



Thank you for the reminder!

ghaag 10-28-2018 04:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JanMark (Post 2172825)
Might you be willing to give a ballpark figure on the total cost here? Also, how much do you think you gained over using two six volt batteries and the same solar setup?!? Thanks!


I spent about 30k, but I did a few things extra. Not sure how to give you a comparison on what you asked about, since I had no solar before this. My goal was to be able to dry camp for 4 or 5 days, use microwave some and use ac enough to cool camper down after hot day and not have to run generator. However, I did convert one of my Honda 2000 generators to propane and I carry that along just in case.

fran&frank 10-28-2018 07:34 AM

Very nice install. Thanks for showing how your system can bypass the inverter to use shore power directly because I have been considering this option for my system.

Rocinante 10-28-2018 08:24 AM

My Lithium/Solar Upgrade is Complete
 
We put in a similar system at AM Solar. Labor was roughly half the cost. The overall installation, parts and all, was roughly $20+K. This was March/April of 2018, so parts prices (especially for panels) have probably gone up since then.
  • 400 AH Victron LiFePO battery bank (2 x 200 AH batteries)
  • 650 watts of solar (6 x 100, 1 x 50) because thatís the most we could fit up there
  • 3000 watt Victron hybrid inverter / charger
  • Victron MPPT 100/50 solar controller
  • Victron BMV-712 Smart
  • Victron CCGX Color Monitor
  • Victron multi-control panel for the inverter
  • Victron BMS for the batteries
  • While they were in there, we had them add a line from the power center to the fridge, because if our Demonic ammonia-based fridge dies we will yank it and replace it with a Vitrifrigo. A Vitrifrigo will pull more DC power to run the compressor, so we needed a heavier gauge wire to support that demand when the time comes.
  • Incredibly neat wiring job with big red switches that let us turn off elements of the system for service or for winter storage, and labels on everything. The wiring job is beautiful, with big fat juicy cables throughout and gorgeous control boards. (It puts Airstream's original rats' nest of "good enough" wiring to absolute shame.)
Stuff we yanked out of the trailer:
  • The original WFCO 1000 watt inverter.
  • The charger that used to live in the power center.
  • The flooded Group 27 batteries that used to live on the tongue. Now we store chocks and Lynx Blox in there.
With this system we were able to camp for a week at Yosemite with no hookups, mostly in the shade, and still come out with batteries at nearly 50 percent. Power demands were fairly low, as nighttime temps were cool but not frigid.

We can also driveway surf with only 15-amp shore power and still run the AC without popping our hostís breaker. To achieve this, the inverter assists from batteries while AC runs. The batteries recharge via solar. Between demand cycles, the batteries also recharge from shore power when AC isnít actively cooling the trailer. The batteries catch up completely again by early in the evening once things have cooled down a bit because sunshine is no longer blasting the trailer.

Just for fun we now travel with the fridge running on AC power instead of propane. When we arrive at camp after a reasonable day of traveling, depending on the amount of sun we get and on outside temps, our batteries are usually at 85-95% because of solar input and charging from the truck. If we know we'll have hookups when we stop, this is a no-brainer. We'd rather run the fridge on solar power than burn propane. [emoji6]

We still have the propane-fired Honda EU2000i we bought before making this upgrade, though we've not needed it since the upgrade. So, that's something we'll leave behind once we have a sticks / bricks location to store it.

Hope that's helpful!

waninae39 10-28-2018 08:52 AM

i have similar equipment but BB lion batteries

i ran the air con off AC2 and all other Ac off AC1 from the mutiplus

that way the air con does not run when on battery alone

Rocinante 10-28-2018 01:13 PM

We could run our AC entirely off our batteries for maybe an hour or two, but it would be silly to do so. [emoji6]

wulfraat 10-28-2018 09:45 PM

My Lithium/Solar Upgrade is Complete
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rocinante (Post 2173240)
We could run our AC entirely off our batteries for maybe an hour or two, but it would be silly to do so. [emoji6]



I run my AC off batts when we stop for lunch, etc, while transferring from one location to another... itís nice to rest in a cool trailer [emoji4]

68 Overlander 10-28-2018 10:42 PM

Very nice install ghaag and others. Airstream has started using Expion 360 LifePO4 batteries and their kits are for sale at many Airstream dealers now and I believe in Jackson Center. Curious if anybody had bought their system. It's similar to the Victron at less than half the cost. We are trying to decide whether to carry Victron or the new Expion 360. Regardless which route we go, professional installation will be available in the Southeast.

wulfraat 10-28-2018 11:15 PM

My Lithium/Solar Upgrade is Complete
 
If you are looking for a ďdrop inĒ lithium battery bank with ~200ah- Iíd look at battleborn. They are about 1/2 the cost (thereabouts) as the Expion and certainly seem to have a good reputation and good customer support per other posts on the forum.

68 Overlander 10-28-2018 11:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wulfraat (Post 2173458)
If you are looking for a “drop in” lithium battery bank with ~200ah- I’d look at battleborn. They are about 1/2 the cost (thereabouts) as the Expion and certainly seem to have a good reputation and good customer support per other posts on the forum.

Expion is about $200 more ($1150 ish) but are 120 AH instead of 100 and come in a smaller group 24 case. The group 27 case of the BB is larger but might not be a big deal to some. Airstreams aren't exactly known for extra real estate as we know. What we are mainly focused on is the external serviceable BMS, extra amp hours and battery monitor that shows everything on one screen.
We are being told there is dead space in the BB case and if true, not a show stopper just a cost saving measure. We will have the answer soon and it might be BB, or another. They certainly hit the market at the right time and rallied the bandwagon. Nothing bad to say about BB, we all know they originate in the same place and labeled/marketed differently.

ghaag 10-29-2018 06:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wulfraat (Post 2173440)
I run my AC off batts when we stop for lunch, etc, while transferring from one location to another... itís nice to rest in a cool trailer [emoji4]



wulfraat we enjoy doing the same

ghaag 10-29-2018 06:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 68 Overlander (Post 2173451)
Very nice install ghaag and others. Airstream has started using Expion 360 LifePO4 batteries and their kits are for sale at many Airstream dealers now and I believe in Jackson Center. Curious if anybody had bought their system. It's similar to the Victron at less than half the cost. We are trying to decide whether to carry Victron or the new Expion 360. Regardless which route we go, professional installation will be available in the Southeast.



68 Overlander, I am not sure about airstreams new system, I am not familiar with it. I went with the victron system because I heard such good things about its reliability, I think with systems as complex as this I think thatís an important component.

Rocinante 10-29-2018 04:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wulfraat (Post 2173440)
I run my AC off batts when we stop for lunch, etc, while transferring from one location to another... itís nice to rest in a cool trailer [emoji4]


If you have shore power at your destination this can indeed be nice, but if weíll dry-camping, we like to arrive with batteries as charged as possible. So, sometimes yes, sometimes no. ;)

68 Overlander 10-29-2018 09:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ghaag (Post 2173512)
68 Overlander, I am not sure about airstreams new system, I am not familiar with it. I went with the victron system because I heard such good things about its reliability, I think with systems as complex as this I think that’s an important component.

It probably is a great system. Airstream is looking for that happy medium. Many new Airstream owners like them.

eheffa 10-30-2018 06:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ghaag (Post 2173512)
68 Overlander, I am not sure about airstreams new system, I am not familiar with it. I went with the victron system because I heard such good things about its reliability, I think with systems as complex as this I think thatís an important component.


ghaag - I'm sure your system is far more carefully designed and assembled. Your installation is a thing of beauty.



By contrast, the quality of the A/S factory wiring installation is simply awful. The original assembly is shocking: Pull off a panel and witness a rat's nest of wire along with construction debris and scraps of leftover trimmings. It simply isn't in the same league at all...


https://eheffa.zenfolio.com/img/s/v-2/p578924983-3.jpg


-evan

Rocinante 10-30-2018 06:22 AM

My Lithium/Solar Upgrade is Complete
 
Exactly right. This is the kind of mess I referred to in my post above. Airstream factory-installed wiring is unprofessional, messy, needlessly confusing, un-maintainable, and borderline dangerous.

waninae39 10-30-2018 07:48 AM

these are the recommended parameters for Battle Born Lion batteries

Bulk: 14.5
Float 13.6
Absorb 0.5
equalize < 14.6 for 100AH


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