Solar and Electrical Diagram feedback please, Thanks - Page 2 - Ford Transit USA Forum
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post #11 of 56 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 05:44:PM Thread Starter
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Really hard to answer this without knowing your total electrical draw each day. Have you added up all of your loads and calculated daily consumption?

Then you need to document your charging sources. You say you plan on charging by driving. Will you be driving for several hours every day? That would allow you to have a smaller battery bank. Or one hour every three days? That would require a larger battery bank.

Regarding the flexible panels, nothing wrong with them if you don’t mind dragging them out of your van and leaning them up somewhere during the day. Are you OK with that? Or were you planning on gluing them to the roof? If you were planning on gluing to the roof, they will have a much shorter life expectancy due to high heat and no airflow. There are a few folks on the forum that have done this, have not heard back on premature failure though.
Thanks for the input. My electrical needs are pretty small. powering the 12v fridge and lights mostly. The occasional charge on a laptop, or using a monitor a few hours if on big project, or an instapot once or twice a week for 30-45 mins at a time and even that I could do without or only run when I'm on shore power.

As far as charging my van is my daily driver and I usually average an hour or more a day driving. While I vandwell locally I have places I can plug in as well. I was thinking I may put them on top eventually or keep them portable and eventually add hard panels on the roof.

I already have the batteries and the sterling B2B. I just want to make sure i'm not going to short anything out, kill myself, and have a little power when I need it.

This is why people say F it and buy a yeti. So confusing and so many variables.

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post #12 of 56 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 06:28:PM
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I was convinced that I'd go with flexible panels, but before I bought I did some more research and the reviews just don't say much good about them. People are getting a year out of them and then having to replace. I love the idea of them, but its more work and cost to keep replacing them than to just go with a regular panel.

I went with 2 x 170w panels and one 100amp lithium battery and don't regret it.
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post #13 of 56 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 08:11:PM
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You're not sure if it matters? Hmmm OK.

Everything after that just confused me more. So what would be your recommendation? I just need a system that will power my 12 v stuff and run an external monitor occasionally and charge my laptop, Maybe run an instapot for 30 mins once a week. I'm not trying to power an AC unit or anything. Just want to make sure I have power when I need it. You also said not AIMS but no recommendation.

Thanks for the feedback, I guess i'm not sure what to do with it.
I worked most of my career in the semiconductor industry, and there is a tendency for people with that background to be a bit overly blunt. As a result, I try really hard to gently make suggestions on internet forums vs really saying full throttle what I want to say. As a result, I just try to help people to avoid making gross errors on DIY projects.

Most people who purchase a 2 kW inverter really plan to use 2 kW - which frankly is just the equivalent of 1 outlet in a home, so we aren't talking about all that much power, the "2000 watts" just seems like a big number because of all of the zeros. It is sort of like calling a $20 bill "2000 cents" and visualizing a big pile of pennies on the table. It still takes 2 of them to fill the gas tank.

So my first suggestion is that if you use that combination of battery pack, fuses, and inverter, the following will happen within 90 days:
- It will be tempting to plug in a bigger resistive load (example a frying pan or toaster) because it should work - and it will
- At some point you will plug in a tool with a motor and it won't work quite right but probably well enough to ignore
- Some early morning you will not be quite awake and plug in two appliances. Assuming that the AIMs inverter hasn't failed by that point due to their inherent nature, the load will blow out the BMS protection on those 2 each x $1000 batteries and you will be having a bad day.

That is the day that I am trying to help you avoid with my gentle suggestions.

I have a small business with my 21 year old son building "pre-built" electrical systems for conversion vans. We install them and we ship them to people to install themselves.

Yes I read data sheets in great detail and really test the components before building them into our systems. Some items that we though would work well - didn't, but at least they failed on the bench vs in a customer's van.

For someone that really enjoys this kind of stuff, a DIY system is very rewarding. For people that don't really enjoy this sort of thing as either an over the top hobby or don't have the time, perhaps you might consider to hire someone locally to help you.

Some experience with auxiliary power
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post #14 of 56 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 08:20:PM
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I always suggest to people that they try to find someone local to help them with their electrical system if they really don't like digging into the details. The part that makes it doubly difficult to figure out is that many companies - especially chinese inverter companies - really really stretch the truth.

If you cannot find someone local to help you, we can ship to you a system that is built with all of the necessary parts assembled to work out of the box and tested. It can use your existing 2 BB batteries and even allow adding in 2 more for when you decide that they are needed. Installing the batteries is just as easy as changing batteries in a car.

It will run all of the items that you have mentioned plus more. A word of warning - especially with Li based batteries they need to be protected both mechanically and thermally, and I somewhat over build to make sure that this happens. Some people think that I over do it and I am fine with that idea.

You don't need to buy from us to obtain a good system. Feel free though to look at instagram / wirlnet for some ideas that are proven. Proven just means that we already did a ton of reading and made the mistakes so that you don't have to.

Some experience with auxiliary power

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post #15 of 56 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 08:42:PM
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Thanks, Good info. Thanks for sharing. I was just looking for the easiest way to mount a little solar since I think most of my recharging will be done by driving with the b2b.
I approached the problem by making the solar install the primary method of charging. Then I have a backup method of charging if the weather conditions force its use. Maybe a couple of times a year I need to use the backup method of charging.

I have the normal gadget charging requirements, a 85 liter refrigerator, LED lights, "600 watt microwave and a water pump. In my climate the lowest SOC I have ever seen is 83% with the single 255 amp-he battery and the single 300 watt solar panel. Cook with 1 # reusable propane bottles.

Instead of a DC to DC charger I have a vehicle powered inverter to provide "shore power" with the engine running. The vehicle powered inverter can be used to power the shore power charger or heat shower water or power an air heater or charge my electric bike.

2015 high roof 148" WB 3.5 Ecoboost 3.31 LS rear cargo.

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post #16 of 56 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 11:33:PM Thread Starter
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I always suggest to people that they try to find someone local to help them with their electrical system if they really don't like digging into the details. The part that makes it doubly difficult to figure out is that many companies - especially chinese inverter companies - really really stretch the truth.

If you cannot find someone local to help you, we can ship to you a system that is built with all of the necessary parts assembled to work out of the box and tested. It can use your existing 2 BB batteries and even allow adding in 2 more for when you decide that they are needed. Installing the batteries is just as easy as changing batteries in a car.

It will run all of the items that you have mentioned plus more. A word of warning - especially with Li based batteries they need to be protected both mechanically and thermally, and I somewhat over build to make sure that this happens. Some people think that I over do it and I am fine with that idea.

You don't need to buy from us to obtain a good system. Feel free though to look at instagram / wirlnet for some ideas that are proven. Proven just means that we already did a ton of reading and made the mistakes so that you don't have to.
Thanks. Iíve looked around a little in the Austin area but havenít found anyone. My brother in law is a wire it, build it, Ham Radio, electrical engineer kinda guy so I was going to get him to help me put it all together. Appreacite the advice on places to look for proven ideas. I thought that was what I was doing by using faroutrideís tutorial and template. They seem to be running the same system as Iím proposing with the exception of the different battery type Iím using. From what Iíve read the lithium batteries should work with the sterling B2B charger I already have and I think Iíve read on here and Reddit people using them successfully.

Just curious whatís the price range on a drop in system based on what you think Iím trying to accomplish built around the batteries I already own? Do you have a website I can check out?

Iím not trying to replace the full on demand house system in my van. I understand I canít run a blender, microwave and convection plate at the same time. Iím just looking to occasionally charge a lap top, use a monitor for a while, and keep my couple 12v appliances running.

Thanks again for the info. I want to do it well, and I want to do it right, it just seems like thereís a bunch of right ways and it does all get very confusing Real quick thatís why Iím looking input.

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post #17 of 56 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 11:45:PM Thread Starter
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I approached the problem by making the solar install the primary method of charging. Then I have a backup method of charging if the weather conditions force its use. Maybe a couple of times a year I need to use the backup method of charging.

I have the normal gadget charging requirements, a 85 liter refrigerator, LED lights, "600 watt microwave and a water pump. In my climate the lowest SOC I have ever seen is 83% with the single 255 amp-he battery and the single 300 watt solar panel. Cook with 1 # reusable propane bottles.

Instead of a DC to DC charger I have a vehicle powered inverter to provide "shore power" with the engine running. The vehicle powered inverter can be used to power the shore power charger or heat shower water or power an air heater or charge my electric bike.
Thanks for the input. Iím not opposed to that method. I need to check out your website in greater detail. Maybe it would help me Learn more about how the DC to DC charger is different from the vehicle powered inverter to shore power charger set up that you describe.

I plan on cooking with propane as well. I feel like my expectations arenít too grand and I just want to build it the right way around the batteries I have. It all makes my head spin. Thanks for the input. Iíll keep reading and asking questions.

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post #18 of 56 (permalink) Old 04-13-2019, 12:58:AM
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Your application seems similar to mine as far as power requirements. No steady high loads, but capacity to run a single high load every now and then. For me, those are either an Instapot, an induction cooktop, or, an on demand water heater. Each only for short periods of time.

As @harryn pointed out, it would be unwise to ever run more than one of those loads at once. I've installed a two-way switch on the galley outlet to remove power from it when I'm heating water to further reduce the chance of overloading the inverter. It is wired to provide power to the outlet or the water heater, never both.

Take a look at the build thread and see if you get any ideas. Let me know if I can answer any questions about my choices. If you would like to take a look at anything in particular I'm about as far from Austin as you, only East, and I get into Austin every now and then.

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post #19 of 56 (permalink) Old 04-13-2019, 09:22:AM
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how the DC to DC charger is different from the vehicle powered inverter to shore power charger set up that you describe.
If I understand the DC to DC charger correctly, the charger converts vehicle 12 volt power to AC and then converts that power to DC and outputs the proper DC charge profile for the house battery design. If that is wrong I would like to be corrected by someone more knowledgeable. That happens in one box.

The vehicle powered inverter and shore power charger combination functions the same but in two boxes. The advantage that I see in the two box design is you have access to the 120 volt AC power for uses other than just charging.

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post #20 of 56 (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 08:43:PM
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Thanks. I’ve looked around a little in the Austin area but haven’t found anyone. My brother in law is a wire it, build it, Ham Radio, electrical engineer kinda guy so I was going to get him to help me put it all together. Appreacite the advice on places to look for proven ideas. I thought that was what I was doing by using faroutride’s tutorial and template. They seem to be running the same system as I’m proposing with the exception of the different battery type I’m using. From what I’ve read the lithium batteries should work with the sterling B2B charger I already have and I think I’ve read on here and Reddit people using them successfully.

Just curious what’s the price range on a drop in system based on what you think I’m trying to accomplish built around the batteries I already own? Do you have a website I can check out?

I’m not trying to replace the full on demand house system in my van. I understand I can’t run a blender, microwave and convection plate at the same time. I’m just looking to occasionally charge a lap top, use a monitor for a while, and keep my couple 12v appliances running.

Thanks again for the info. I want to do it well, and I want to do it right, it just seems like there’s a bunch of right ways and it does all get very confusing Real quick that’s why I’m looking input.
I am terrible with web sites but my wife has posted a few photos on instagram under "wirlnet". I need to work on that. Something like a 1x3 is pretty close to what you are needing. Could start with 2 batteries and upgrade to 4 as needed. I have racks full of parts so making changes is pretty easy. Rough numbers $4K.

Some experience with auxiliary power

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