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Thanks to all to have contributed. Once again I find myself with more questions than answers, the joys of learning all the various van systems!

The goal in my head is to have 110 power available when the truck is running and also have my house system completely isolated from the van system. House battery charges when running, also by solar in the future.

Truck, it sounds like the Sterling will get it done if I also add an inverter. The next question is how do I wire it all up? I don't have the upfitter switches, the only real source of power that I know of is the 3 power points on the drivers seat.
One way you can do it without the Sterling:

http://www.ortontransit.info/electric.php
 

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My vehicle inverter limits the draw on the alternator because I do not directly connect the house battery to the vehicle battery. There are three possible loads on the 1000 watt vehicle powered inverter. I can power the 50 amp house battery charger (about 700 watts) or the shower water heater (625 watts) or the rear electric air heater(750 watts). So maximum load on alternator would be 750 watts/.89% inverter eff. = 843 watts. My Transit shows 14.47 volts with the engine running. The inverter is only used with the engine running. 848/14.47 = 58.26 amps for maximum load on alternator from the inverter.

I have the optional 220 amp HD alternator instead of the standard 150 amp alternator. That leads me to believe that I have at least 70 amps not used by the Transit systems plus whatever excess the 150 amp alternator has over what the Transit uses.

The house electrical system is isolated from the vehicle electrical system. The house system is not grounded to the chassis. Two wires to every load. The system would work the same if it was removed from the van.

Please correct me if I am missing something. I am not an expert on electrical.
Sounds about right. I modeled most of my design based off of yours. I just opted to use the Sterling B2B instead of the Samlex 1000w inverter because to me it is less expensive and less wiring, space, heat, and more efficient (in my head theory anyway) I'll let y'all know how it goes these next two weeks! My house system is also isolated from the van system. The Sterling B2B isolates it. I also have to wires to every load.
 

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Thanks to all to have contributed. Once again I find myself with more questions than answers, the joys of learning all the various van systems!

The goal in my head is to have 110 power available when the truck is running and also have my house system completely isolated from the van system. House battery charges when running, also by solar in the future.

Truck, it sounds like the Sterling will get it done if I also add an inverter. The next question is how do I wire it all up? I don't have the upfitter switches, the only real source of power that I know of is the 3 power points on the drivers seat.
It does sound like Sterling will get it done. I am totally impressed with the product so far. Very high quality.

It's very simple to wire, you don't need the switches. The Sterling automatically turns on at your present voltage input or 13.3v automatically. It doesn't need big wires either since it automatically adjusts the amperage to account for voltage drop and temperature. Read the manual...

Orton's version of 2 inverters is also a great option especially if you already have two inverters. But the Sterling is more efficient in every aspect to do what I see as the exact same thing. I am not aware of any downside, yet.
 

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Orton's version of 2 inverters is also a great option especially if you already have two inverters. But the Sterling is more efficient in every aspect to do what I see as the exact same thing. I am not aware of any downside, yet.
The only advantage I see is the vehicle inverter can be installed to automatically provide 120 volt power to the house duplex plugs when engine starts or to making a cheap warm water heater or air heating. I never run the house inverter unless I need 120 volt power because it used too much power if left on idling without a load.

What did your Sterling cost to install including the Sterling unit and whatever it takes to install it? The 1000 watt vehicle powered inverter cost about $650 to install with everything needed. Curious what the cost difference is. The Sterling is more efficient but I do not think I could calculate a difference in MPG caused by the vehicle powered inverter inefficiency.

Both methods work and are preferred to a ACR relay that does not charge the house battery properly.
 

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The only advantage I see is the vehicle inverter can be installed to automatically provide 120 volt power to the house duplex plugs when engine starts or to making a cheap warm water heater or air heating. I never run the house inverter unless I need 120 volt power because it used too much power if left on idling without a load.

What did your Sterling cost to install including the Sterling unit and whatever it takes to install it? The 1000 watt vehicle powered inverter cost about $650 to install with everything needed. Curious what the cost difference is. The Sterling is more efficient but I do not think I could calculate a difference in MPG caused by the vehicle powered inverter inefficiency.

Both methods work and are preferred to a ACR relay that does not charge the house battery properly.
The Sterling was $278 shipped from Bay Marine. It requires 10 ga wire that I already have lying around.

Having the inverter come on automatically when you start the van is one perk. But for me, I don't mind reaching over and pushing the button on the remote for my MMS1012 which of course is an extra cost (the ME50 remote for the magnum inverter is like almost $200 if I recall)

We can all agree for sure that an ACR relay is not a viable charging system *unless you want to replace your house batteries 2x as often*
 

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Further digging did turn up that quote on the Sterling page for the BB1230. FEATURES: Item 4

I think that it meant the unit would not deplete the battery, and it will use excess current available from the alternator when the engine is running.

Will the Sterling BB1230 also charge the vehicle battery from the house system if it detects a need?

Edit: A little more digging answered this. No, is the answer.

However, Truck's MMS1012 has a three-stage charger that could be connected to charge the Vehicle battery from the House system if necessary. Probably wouldn't want to leave this connected all the time as it might create a feedback loop between the Magnum and Sterling systems trying to manage the charging duties in each direction. At least this combo offers some redundancy in being able to charge both ways.
 

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We have the Sterling BBW1260 in our Sprinter. It has an ignition trigger that can be used. I have that wired through a switch so the unit can be off even when engine is running. It's actually a SPDT-center off so I can also run the charger in automatic (volt sense) mode. This could be done on the Transit as it does not have regenerative braking. (not on my 2016 anyway)

more info and photos: https://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=27822&page=92

In the Sprinter, we also have Ctek maintenance charger for the chassis battery and a Magnum inverter/charger for the house system. They charge the batteries independently while connected to shore power. If the Sterling is left in Auto mode then it will try to draw power from the chassis battery trickle charger to charge the house system while on shore power. (because the voltage is high enough to make Sterling think the alternator is spinning) That could overload the trickle charger causing it to go into a 50% duty cycle. That's why we have it set to Ignition or Off. (don't use auto) The system works well and will limit current to the alternator under all conditions. - regardless of load or SOC of the house batteries. We have the Sterling connected directly to the alternator so we avoid all OEM cables with that load.

If the OP has a 150A alternator with single CCP (60A max) then it will be possible to overload that (pop the 60A fuse) with a 1000 watt inverter. Available power is 60A DC at(times) 12V so(equals) 720 watts.

He can easily use the inverter to power a 30A AC to DC charger for the house battery. (30A @ 12V = 360watts) He won't be able to run the crock pot (unless under ~300watts) simultaneously. That's why Dave is using a multi-position switch to isolate his loads. So only one can be active at a time.

The CCP can be by-passed by going to directly to the battery with the inverter connected through a larger than 60A overload protection device. But then it will be possible to draw in excess of 60A from the vehicle system. Ford provides and designed the CCP to prevent that.
 

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I have a Magnum MMS1012 that is a inverter/charger/transfer switch in one housing. Also have a 1000 watt pure sine inverter powered by the three 60 amp driver seat terminals. Vehicle powered inverter powers the Magnum charger. No need for a Sterling.

The system has one selector switch to select real shore power or "shore power" from the vehicle powered inverter. The second selector switch directs the power to the Magnum or the 625 watt shower water heater or the rear mounted 750 watt electric heater.
I would think that you could power the charger of the Magnum mms1012 by plugging it's 110 volt power cord into the Magnums invertor 110 volt outlet ,, i dont see why you wouldn't be able to plug it into itself
 

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@Hein
what do you think about this combo?
stock 150 amp alternator
720 watt invertor
45 amp AC to DC charger
 

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I have a similar situation. I have a diesel with two start batteries and the 150 amp alternator. I have, (but not yet installed) a Sterling 1260 and two 100 amp hour lithium batteries. I had a fellow check the draw when running just the engine. It was about 40 amps (I posted this once before when the numbers were fresh in my mind, little hazy now) then with lights, wipers, radio and air, it was another 40 plus amps, a total of something like 84 amps. Since you shouldn't run over about two thirds capacity of the alternator, the Sterling 1230 would be a safer bet, but I wanted to be able to charge my batteries with only a couple hours of running, since the 1260 charges twice as fast and the lithium batteries can handle that. I'm thinking I'll put in a switch for 1260 and run it when little else is on. I also checked on changing the alternator, according to the local parts man at the dealership, all parts, wiring, belts etc are identical, so the 210 amp alternator is a bolt on item and the OEM alternator is available online for about $270.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Hmmm. I do have the kit to add the other two CCP, is that a way to get more amps or am I limited by the alternator output? Should I consider a smaller inverter, I don't really need 1000w, just landed there as a size that worked for future use.

Option B is I live without 110, not the end of the world for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
If my alternator is too weak to power a 1000w inverter I could be happy with a 12v only system. I could live with that I think. I could install a true shore power connection and have ac power only parked.

What parts do I need for the ac system? I was thinking 2 or 3 outlets with usb ports built in as well as a small breaker panel. I have a 1000w Honda generator, I could use that as well. I want to build a shut off into the house system, a master switch. It would be great to be able to jump start the van off house power too.
 

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Orton's version of 2 inverters is also a great option especially if you already have two inverters. But the Sterling is more efficient in every aspect to do what I see as the exact same thing. I am not aware of any downside, yet.
There is another way to have a less expensive system. Have one inverter that has a selector switch that selects either the house battery or the vehicle 12 volt system to power the inverter. This would require a independent 3 stage charger.

Lower cost than either the two inverter system or the Sterling and you would still get the correct 3 stage charging for the house battery.
 

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There is another way to have a less expensive system. Have one inverter that has a selector switch that selects either the house battery or the vehicle 12 volt system to power the inverter. This would require a independent 3 stage charger.

Lower cost than either the two inverter system or the Sterling and you would still get the correct 3 stage charging for the house battery.
Which inverter has that capability? Wish I had known about it before... I looked and didn't see any inverters that chargers from a DC input.

They all seem to require AC to do the charging.

That setup is still a lot of big fat wiring. In my setup I only need a few fat cables.
 

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Which inverter has that capability? Wish I had known about it before... I looked and didn't see any inverters that chargers from a DC input.

They all seem to require AC to do the charging.

That setup is still a lot of big fat wiring. In my setup I only need a few fat cables.
All inverters require a 12 volt DC supply. The inverter would be a pure sine only inverter. No charger. The input would have a selector switch to choose either the house battery or the vehicle battery for the 12 volts. The output would have a selector switch to choose where you want the 120 volt AC power to go. One of the choices would be to a free standing charger only that has the 3 stage charging ability. There could be another selector switch to the charger that selects 120 volt power from shore power or from the vehicle powered inverter.

This configuration is not what I have but is a possibility. Have seen a couple conversions using the design. Very few but it looks like a good way to have a lot of flexibility at low cost.

One advantage to converting DC power to AC with a vehicle powered inverter is the elimination of the heavy 12 volt cables required. Not as much of a problem if the house battery is located close to the Sterling. With my vehicle powered inverter located behind the driver seat the cord running from the vehicle inverter to the house inverter/charger/transfer switch is 14/3. My house Magnum inverter/charger/transfer switch is located above the left rear wheel and the house 8D battery is located just in front of the left rear wheel well. Both under the left side bench seat.
 

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All inverters require a 12 volt DC supply. The inverter would be a pure sine only inverter. No charger. The input would have a selector switch to choose either the house battery or the vehicle battery for the 12 volts. The output would have a selector switch to choose where you want the 120 volt AC power to go. One of the choices would be to a free standing charger only that has the 3 stage charging ability. There could be another selector switch to the charger that selects 120 volt power from shore power or from the vehicle powered inverter.

This configuration is not what I have but is a possibility. Have seen a couple conversions using the design. Very few but it looks like a good way to have a lot of flexibility at low cost.

One advantage to converting DC power to AC with a vehicle powered inverter is the elimination of the heavy 12 volt cables required. Not as much of a problem if the house battery is located close to the Sterling. With my vehicle powered inverter located behind the driver seat the cord running from the vehicle inverter to the house inverter/charger/transfer switch is 14/3. My house Magnum inverter/charger/transfer switch is located above the left rear wheel and the house 8D battery is located just in front of the left rear wheel well. Both under the left side bench seat.

Oh ok now I'm with you. I missed the part of van batteries > Inverter > Stand alone AC to DC charger

That is a great option that I overlooked.

The Sterling doesn't require thick cables either and can do long runs, so that part at least is nice.
 

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I've done a little real world testing with my 2000 watt pure sine wave inverter/charger and the base 150A alternator. In a very simple sense, the way a battery charges is that you apply a voltage of X, where X depends on the type of battery, the temperature, etc. and current begins flowing into the battery. How much current flows depends on the voltage, temperature, battery charge state, current available and the presence of any current limiting devices between the battery and the source of the current. If the source of the current is your alternator, then the max available current depends on RPMs.

The chassis doesn't actually use that much current when running, so, for the sake of example, you can assume that most of your Transit's 150A alternator output (at high RPM) is available for your application. However, just after the van cranks up and for the next 10-15 minutes, the chassis battery needs to be charged and that will take away from your available current. Based on my real-world testing, the 85AH stock battery can accept about 60A @ 12V. That also gives you some idea of how much current your house battery can accept - if it is 100AH @12V, I'd say it could take up to 60A. Let's say you have a 30A battery-to-battery charger. That device will limit the current to 30A. So, though your battery might be able to accept 60A (or more for larger systems) for charging, your b2b charger will limiting it. This is not necessarily a bad thing - maybe you would prefer to save those amps for your house system (or rooftop A/C in my case) or making sure your chassis battery gets charged (if you make a lot of short trips, for example) rather than charging your house batteries as quickly as possible.

I've never seen my 85AH house battery take more than 60A @12V and I don't use a b2b charger, so that gives you some idea of the maximum possible for an 85AH AGM battery. With the rooftop A/C running and my house battery charging (typical upon startup), I've seen up to 225A @12V. However, some of those amps are probably coming from the batteries since the alternator can only supply a max of 150A @12V and a good bit less at idle/high idle. With both batteries charged, at high idle, I can run the rooftop A/C on max, but it is right on the edge of the invterter's low voltage warning. The rooftop A/C is rated for 1550 watts, so I'd say with the stock 150A alternator, you have about 1500 watts available at high idle, depending on the state of your battery charge. You can get more watts by increasing the RPMs. See the Ford BEMM for alternator output curves.

At far as b2b chargers go (or inverter powered chargers), compared to connecting your house battery to your alternator with a relay, they may make your batteries charge more completely and/or make your batteries last longer. It is hard to say how much benefit you will receive without a lot of real world testing. But you can be sure that a 30A b2b charger will, for better or worse, limit the current into your house batteries for charging.
 

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The Sterling doesn't require thick cables either and can do long runs, so that part at least is nice.
Why doesn't the Sterling require large cables? If it is moving 12 volt DC from the Sterling to the house battery wouldn't that require large cables sized for the current and distance?
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Thanks for chiming in PJ. You are running an automatic charge relay for your setup.

Is this a feasible idea?

Run a 1000w inverter off the 3 ccp points on the drivers seat. This way I always have 110 when the van is running. From the inverter I can run a 30a or so battery charger, which charges my house battery. Am I missing something here?

In addition I will add a true shore power setup to use either a generator or hookup.
 

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Thanks for chiming in PJ. You are running an automatic charge relay for your setup.

Is this a feasible idea?

Run a 1000w inverter off the 3 ccp points on the drivers seat. This way I always have 110 when the van is running. From the inverter I can run a 30a or so battery charger, which charges my house battery. Am I missing something here?

In addition I will add a true shore power setup to use either a generator or hookup.
IDK if "automatic" is what I would use to describe my relay. It is just a $30 (now $50) relay that is rated for switched load of 200A @12V. For the 12V signal to activate the relay, I attached a wire to the "ignition" pin you can read about the in Ford BEMM.

You can look up the specs for your inverter, but 1000 watts is 83A @ 12V, so you'll have to use two of your CCP 60A connections to draw the full 83A. If you have a 120V 12V battery charger that outputs 30A, it will draw roughly 360 watts, so that should be fine and you could get away with only 1 CCP connection if you were willing to limit your use of your inverter to about 720 watts. Inverters aren't perfectly efficient, so this math is approximate. When rating inverters, you also to be aware of how they are rated - is that 1000 watts peak or continuous. For example, my inverter is 2000 watts peak continuous and up to 6000 watts for up to 20 seconds.

If you plan to eventually hook up to shore power, you might want to look into what is currently called an inverter/charger. Most of these units also include an integrated shore power transfer switch, giving you 3 functions in 1 device and saving you from having to physically plug and unplug things in to make the switch from inverter power to shore power.

Unless you need some serious electrical power, and, assuming you don't have a diesel model, you might want to consider using the vehicle's alternator as your generator. Even if you had to buy the 250A alternator from Ford to upgrade a base 150A alternator, it would still probably be cheaper than a 3000 watt portable generator and it will definitely be a lot quieter and easier to carry. Depending on what year your Transit is, there are signal wires you can access that will allow you to raise your RPMs at idle to get the alternator up to peak output.
 
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