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No. The vast majority of the system, case, wiring, inverter, batteries, etc are all USA made items.

I do appreciate that you are used to people using cheap electronics from China. If you knew me you would realize pretty fast that I am not going to do that.

Everything is brand name stuff, not cheap Chinese electronics.

I choose to not tell what brand the inverter is because it is very good, not because it is cheap. Trust me, it isn't. High end, made in US by a US owned firm.

If there is a US or North America (or EU) supplier with a rugged version of an offering, I will test it and try to design it in. My goal is to have a product with zero Chinese content but I have not yet succeeded.

The 120 vac charger we use is IOTA, which - while a US company, build them in China. I have tried to convince them to build some in the US and even offered to pay a premium but they wouldn't. I keep looking for a US version that will fit.

I did the engineering and design myself. Between me, one of my sons, and another part time helper, it is all assembled locally.

One of the three solar charge controllers is a german company brand made in China. The other 2 are US made.

The bulk of the system and wiring are designed for extended temperature operation, both on the high and low end.

As an example, the 10 awg wire inside is US made, mil spec, rated for (-55 C). We assemble this wire in house with panduit terminals and mil spec, adhesive lined heat shrink.

The heavier wire is US made, type S which is only rated for (-49 C), which is still much better than you will find in most any system out there. I don't have the equipment to properly terminate wire heavier than 10 awg, so I buy it with the lugs put on from a small US supplier in KY.
Most people here are proud of their inverter/battery choices and want to know what the next guy chose...

 

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Most people here are proud of their inverter/battery choices and want to know what the next guy chose...
Thank you, I am very proud of my selection as well. It required purchasing a number of inverters and testing them under various conditions to see which ones worked best for my particular approach. Not everyone has the same design parameters, so it is important for people to make their own final choices after considering their own needs, reading data sheets, watching youtube videos, and for more extreme use - testing several before finally deciding.

I try to help people on the forums in a variety of ways, such as suggesting possible ways to avoid potential catastrophe and potential methods to make make their systems more resource efficient. I can only make suggestions on a forum, as my voice is just one of many - which is a good thing. If someone wishes to have my more complete opinion on how an electrical system should be done, then of course they can buy one from me. The cost is less than they could buy and build an identical system themselves, but that doesn't mean that they could not build a different system for less.
 

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@harryn Do you have any pictures of the inside of your APU boxes?

It's fine if the labels are blacked out (I understand about concern that someone would copy your exact setups) I just want to see the how it is all put together!
 

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@harryn Do you have any pictures of the inside of your APU boxes?

It's fine if the labels are blacked out (I understand about concern that someone would copy your exact setups) I just want to see the how it is all put together!
Hello Mitch, There are some very amateur videos on youtube under my username - WirlNet.

I tend to hire college students to help me in this area - it is good for all of us since I don't really have any experience in this area.

Some of them were done by a student studying digital arts. Some were done by my son and one of his buddies. We are at the "very beginner / amateur entertainment" stage of video.

All of the systems are designed roughly similarly - into the heavy duty cases.

  • The 1x1 related items fit into the smaller case
  • The 1x3 items fit into the larger case
  • The 2x and 4 x series take 2 cases to hold it all.
My wife made an instagram account for us and a few photos are posted there as well.

The web site is under re-design.
 

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So... between the Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wirlnet/

And the Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyzGRVSVtfVmZ9pAeOsh1YQ

The closest I came to seeing the inside of one of the boxes was a 3d rendering of a grey box labeled "RE APU 2x2" being lowered into a 3d rendering of a black box:

The second closest was this instagram photo where I can see... One red wire and some yellow box lining! http://instagr.am/p/Bw7pQZHHR2j/
I appreciate the thought but there's really nothing on the innards there!
 

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@harryn
In the big rig semi trucker world they talk about 2 different kinds of APU,
They refer to the one with a small diesal engine as a APU and a all electric one with no motor they call a EAPU.
Anyways the truck drivers are always complaining about the all electric unit saying they don't like it because most of the time they have to plug it in to shore power to get it to work good.
Other then shore power I'm not sure where else the EAPU gets it power , might be a battery isolator , Idk.
Whatever else it's getting it's power from is disappointing alot of truck drivers.
I just bring this up because i'm trying to learn all of the details of them systems , your system and other stuff that's is out there.

Thanks.
130642
 

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@harryn
In the big rig semi trucker world they talk about 2 different kinds of APU,
They refer to the one with a small diesal engine as a APU and a all electric one with no motor they call a EAPU.
Anyways the truck drivers are always complaining about the all electric unit saying they don't like it because most of the time they have to plug it in to shore power to get it to work good.
Other then shore power I'm not sure where else the EAPU gets it power , might be a battery isolator , Idk.
Whatever else it's getting it's power from is disappointing alot of truck drivers.
I just bring this up because i'm trying to learn all of the details of them systems , your system and other stuff that's is out there.

Thanks. View attachment 130642
@harryn
In the big rig semi trucker world they talk about 2 different kinds of APU,
They refer to the one with a small diesal engine as a APU and a all electric one with no motor they call a EAPU.
Anyways the truck drivers are always complaining about the all electric unit saying they don't like it because most of the time they have to plug it in to shore power to get it to work good.
Other then shore power I'm not sure where else the EAPU gets it power , might be a battery isolator , Idk.
Whatever else it's getting it's power from is disappointing alot of truck drivers.
I just bring this up because i'm trying to learn all of the details of them systems , your system and other stuff that's is out there.

Thanks. View attachment 130642
The diesel engine driven APUs work pretty well. The engines are usually (IIRC) around 5-10 kW and provide plenty of power for heat, air conditioning, keep the main engine warm, charge up the starter batteries, etc.

The E APUs were sort of forced onto the trucking industry by the California EPA and eventually the Federal EPA. They didn't really care if they worked well or not. It isn't a surprise that the existing E APUs don't provide sufficient power. The people at the CA EPA just hate diesel and will do anything to make it go away.

The typical semi truck E APU has 4 size 31 AGM batteries, wired 2 S 2 P for 24 volts. Capacity wise that is ~ 24 volts x 250 amp-hrs = 6 kW-hrs total, nominal 3 kW-hrs @ 50% SOC.

Under heavy loads - like an air conditioner, an AGMs usable capacity drops ~ 50 %, so now we are down to ~ 1.5 kW-hrs real usable capacity.

The APU that I have in my work van is sort of similar - 4 x size 27s, so ~ (48 volts ) x (100 amp-hrs) = ~ 5 kW-hrs, and under heavy loads that is about (5)/4 so 1.2 kW-hrs usable. They are good quality lifelines, but not nuclear power so they have similar characteristics. The inverter is a 2 kW commercial one.

In a real world use, it takes ~ 1 kW average to run a typical RV air conditioner on a hot day. I tested this at an RV dealer on a Falcon toy hauler trailer with a 13K BTU a/c. Starting from hot inside on a 100 F day, the AGM system could cool it down and keep it very frosty for about an hour before cutting off for the inverter low voltage limit. Largely what the math calculation would predict.

Based on the math and on real life experience, I would expect that a system with 4 each, good quality size 31 AGMs would last about 1.5 hrs, and that is exactly what the truckers are all saying happens. In other words, the people selling these systems lied to the trucking company owners and the field guys are screwed. The truck drivers and mechanics try to work around this by going to lower SOC levels, which helps a little.

Charge times when plugged in are like any other AGM. Bulk charging even with a very powerful charger is rarely faster than C/2, so at least 2 hrs for bulk charging, and at least another 2 hrs for the finishing charge stages.

It isn't so easy to find chargers that can plug into a 120 vac outlet that are faster than 1 kW. I have one but it requires a 20 amp outlet. Go much higher and it starts to be a 3 phase powered unit like golf carts and aircraft use.

I spoke to Lifeline about the application and they are refusing to warrant their batteries if used in that application, because they also know how to do the math. They refer to this application as "battery destroyers".
 

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Someone will come along and dispute this with evidence, but for us, the minimum battery pack that we would use on a battery powered air conditioning application is ~ 3 kW-hrs usable capacity of LiFe. That is roughly 4 battle born batteries and will operate a typical RV / van 120 vac air conditioner for 3 - maybe 4 hrs. Even though the rated capacity is similar (100 amp-hrs @12 volts) LiFe batteries are much less affected by the load compared to an AGM. For a heavy draw application, that is a big advantage.

In order to go all night on batteries alone, it takes a pack roughly 2x that size, so 8 of those $1000 / each batteries.

The way that I suggest to people as an alternative is to set the vehicle up with 2 alternators, a fairly high idle rpm, and auto start capability. Install the smaller pack (4 batteries) and every 2 hrs have the vehicle high idle for 30 ish minutes. This does does two things:
  • Helps recharge the house batteries
  • The front a/c also helps cool down the cabin
30 minutes falls within some of the EPA guidelines for idle times so it sort of just squeaks in there.

You can run a larger pack - sufficient to run all night, but that has to be charged up sometime, so the engine running time will be similar.

The electric car companies are all working on methods to charge at 1 C, so back to full in 1 hr or faster. All of the ones that I have seen operating like this use liquid cooled battery packs to prevent over heating. Battle born and the other LiFe suppliers typically suggest C/2 or less, so charging up a 4 kW-hr pack is going to take ~ 2 hrs if it is really drained down.

It is a tough application and I have been playing with it a long time.
 

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The diesel engine driven APUs work pretty well. The engines are usually (IIRC) around 5-10 kW and provide plenty of power for heat, air conditioning, keep the main engine warm, charge up the starter batteries, etc.

The E APUs were sort of forced onto the trucking industry by the California EPA and eventually the Federal EPA. They didn't really care if they worked well or not. It isn't a surprise that the existing E APUs don't provide sufficient power.

The typical semi truck E APU has 4 size 31 AGM batteries, wired 2 S 2 P for 24 volts. Capacity wise that is ~ 24 volts x 250 amp-hrs = 6 kW-hrs total, nominal 3 kW-hrs @ 50% SOC.

Under heavy loads - like an air conditioner, an AGMs usable capacity drops ~ 50 %, so now we are down to ~ 1.5 kW-hrs real usable capacity.

The APU that I have in my work van is sort of similar - 4 x size 27s, so ~ (48 volts ) x (100 amp-hrs) = ~ 5 kW-hrs, and under heavy loads that is about (5)/4 so 1.2 kW-hrs usable. They are good quality lifelines, but not nuclear power so they have similar characteristics. The inverter is a 2 kW commercial one.

In a real world use, it takes ~ 1 kW average to run a typical RV air conditioner on a hot day. I tested this at an RV dealer on a Falcon toy hauler trailer with a 13K BTU a/c. Starting from hot inside on a 100 F day, the AGM system could cool it down and keep it very frosty for about an hour before cutting off for the inverter low voltage limit. Largely what the math calculation would predict.

Based on the math and on real life experience, I would expect that a system with 4 each, good quality size 31 AGMs would last about 1.5 hrs, and that is exactly what the truckers are all saying happens. In other words, the people selling these systems lied to the trucking company owners and the field guys are screwed.

I spoke to Lifeline about the application and they are refusing to warrant their batteries if used in that application, because they also know how to do the math. They refer to this application as "battery destroyers".
Not all of these battery operated truck air conditioning systems are inverter based, This one has a 12 volt compressor and is 8,000 Btu with 6 to 8 group 31 Agm batteries.

 

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Hi Mitch - you asked about the instagram info and youtube videos.

Thanks for taking the time to look.

The system that Reiss is working on in that photo is a 1x3, so 1 kW inverter and up to 4 batteries (size 27 AGM or battle borns). In that application, everything is inside of one case, but conceptually it is similar. Think of this 1x3 system construction as similar to the battery case of the 2x system in the video that you linked.

In the video, the liner is white, but it is yellow on the system Reiss is working on.

The label on this video has an error, but this is very close to the 1x3 that is shown.


The batteries go down into this liner / toy box area, which provides extra mechanical protection as well as some thermal insulation, just like in the video.

The electronics sit on a shelf that is the "top" of the liner / toy box.

The exact layout depends a bit on some of the other customer requests, such as where in the van it all will be mounted. Some people use the cases as the base of a bed going forward / back along one side, others want them loaded in front the back door - under the cross wise bed.

You know how it is, selling a product sometimes requires adjusting it to meet the end customer's detailed needs.

I hope that you aren't expecting me to publish a detailed bill of materials list, engineering layout, etc because this is a result of a lot of effort from multiple people. It would be unethical to post detailed photos of the insides. It isn't an "open source design". It is designed so that an end user can 100% replace any part on their own if they have the ability to look at the existing part that is inside and are comfortable changing the battery on a car.
 
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