Solar and Electrical Diagram feedback please, Thanks - Ford Transit USA Forum
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post #1 of 52 (permalink) Old 04-11-2019, 11:47:PM Thread Starter
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Solar and Electrical Diagram feedback please, Thanks

So i've been putting off drawing up my solar/electric diagram because its so over whelming. I read all I could find and then finally bit the bullet tried to decide what I need. I used faroutride's diagram as a starting point and modified just a little bit.

I've already purchased 2 Battle Born 100 lifepo batteries and the sterling b2b charger, just wanted to get some feedback on the other changes I made before buying the rest of the components.

Other changes I made from their diagram were
swapping out the solar panels for the flexible I plan on buying
Using a inverter/charger instead of buying them separately.

I appreciate any feedback and input on anything I missed, or messed up or may be able to do more efficiently.

I'll be full time soon and my van will be my home and office so I want to get this right.
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post #2 of 52 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 10:46:AM
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I've read a number of accounts on the flexible panels being fragile and deteriorating quickly, for what it's worth. Your victron solar charge controller could have a blue tooth adapter for monitoring, would negate the need for the separate monitoring device off the shunt. Again for what it's worth, if I were doing panels over again I would opt for a single 300+ watt 24v panel over my twin 180w 12v panels in parallel.

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post #3 of 52 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 11:13:AM Thread Starter
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Thanks @whoam for the reply. I was leaning toward flexible panels since I don't want to (buy or) build a rack to hold the regular panels yet.

I believe the victron does have BT monitoring. I'll read up on it. Thanks for the input this is exactly the type of feed back i need.

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post #4 of 52 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 12:06:PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YogaMan View Post
Thanks @whoam for the reply. I was leaning toward flexible panels since I don't want to (buy or) build a rack to hold the regular panels yet.

I believe the victron does have BT monitoring. I'll read up on it. Thanks for the input this is exactly the type of feed back i need.
You do not need to build a rack:

https://www.ortontransit.info/solar-system

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post #5 of 52 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 01:16:PM
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I am not sure if it matters or not, but your system components are a little bit out of balance with each other.

I like the BB batteries, but when they say "100 amps max" they really mean it. Unlike an AGM battery that is "rated" for 100 amps and you can sort of bang overload onto it - that isn't what BB means at all. I happen to know this from first hand experience working with a customer on a project. (he spec'd it out fairly well, I helped with the safety / implementation)

Your system design should assume that the typical load will be ~ 50% of max rated load - so around 50 amps per battery, both on the charge and discharge.

The fuse or breaker is likely to be a thermal breaker, so it will pass higher currents and should also be well under the 100 amp rating - so 60-70 amp range to deal with surge draw.

Just as an example, when we build our "drop in" systems for an application like yours, we wire the batteries 2S for a 24 volt pack, and then use a 24 volt inverter - and not an AIMs, that is for sure. Much better performance.

If you have loads that will require 1500+ watts, then it is going to take 4 of those BBs. I have a system like that under build for a customer right now. I know, kind of a price shock but it is reality.

An example is the photo in my profile. The battery pack is the larger case in back and the bulk of the electronics are in the smaller front case. The front case is the size of a 27 inch suit case if that helps with visualization. That particular unit is going into a promaster.

Some experience with auxiliary power

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post #6 of 52 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 04:17:PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by harryn View Post
I am not sure if it matters or not, but your system components are a little bit out of balance with each other.

I like the BB batteries, but when they say "100 amps max" they really mean it. Unlike an AGM battery that is "rated" for 100 amps and you can sort of bang overload onto it - that isn't what BB means at all. I happen to know this from first hand experience working with a customer on a project. (he spec'd it out fairly well, I helped with the safety / implementation)

Your system design should assume that the typical load will be ~ 50% of max rated load - so around 50 amps per battery, both on the charge and discharge.

The fuse or breaker is likely to be a thermal breaker, so it will pass higher currents and should also be well under the 100 amp rating - so 60-70 amp range to deal with surge draw.

Just as an example, when we build our "drop in" systems for an application like yours, we wire the batteries 2S for a 24 volt pack, and then use a 24 volt inverter - and not an AIMs, that is for sure. Much better performance.

If you have loads that will require 1500+ watts, then it is going to take 4 of those BBs. I have a system like that under build for a customer right now. I know, kind of a price shock but it is reality.

An example is the photo in my profile. The battery pack is the larger case in back and the bulk of the electronics are in the smaller front case. The front case is the size of a 27 inch suit case if that helps with visualization. That particular unit is going into a promaster.

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.

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post #7 of 52 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 04:20:PM Thread Starter
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You do not need to build a rack:

https://www.ortontransit.info/solar-system
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.

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post #8 of 52 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 04:30:PM
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Thanks @whoam for the reply. I was leaning toward flexible panels since I don't want to (buy or) build a rack to hold the regular panels yet.

I believe the victron does have BT monitoring. I'll read up on it. Thanks for the input this is exactly the type of feed back i need.
There is built in bluetooth in the charge controller, but it will not give you the battery life. You need the shunt and monitor (also bluetooth) to monitor battery life rather than just power from solar. You can marge the the charge controller and battery monitor together in the Victron ap. I have the same setup.

Also, you will want to make sure all these components play well with LifePo batteries. I do not know too much about them, but there was a thread with basic LifePo info recently. This diagram was really meant for a drop in AGM battery.

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post #9 of 52 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 04:50:PM
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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.

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post #10 of 52 (permalink) Old 04-12-2019, 05:32:PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by EllieInTransit View Post
There is built in bluetooth in the charge controller, but it will not give you the battery life. You need the shunt and monitor (also bluetooth) to monitor battery life rather than just power from solar. You can marge the the charge controller and battery monitor together in the Victron ap. I have the same setup.

Also, you will want to make sure all these components play well with LifePo batteries. I do not know too much about them, but there was a thread with basic LifePo info recently. This diagram was really meant for a drop in AGM battery.
Thanks for the reply and info on the monitor. I'm looking into the components and if they play well with the batteries I already have now.

This is what makes this stuff so confusing. so many variables.

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