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TheGrayOutdoors

Installing Solar, have questions about converter

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Hi all,

I'm going to be putting in 300 watts of solar with a dual 6 volt battery bank in my 18' Sunrader.  I will never have an air conditioner and plan on running the fridge only off of propane.  Do I need to hang on to my converter?  Could I potentially cut this out of the loop?  The only space in my sunrader that will fit two six volt batteries is where the original coach battery was, but it is almost impossible with the converter in there.  What are your thoughts?  Thanks

 

Rob

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linda s   

Kind of funny. Your group name is The Gray Outdoors but you counting on it never being gray outdoors. I would ever recommend you put all your chickens in one basket. If your buying high quality high, amp hour batteries there's no reason they can't charge from both sources, solar and converter.

Linda S

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Haha, Point taken.  Should I go ahead and upgrade the converter as well, Linda?  Almost all of the systems have been updated thus far.  

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linda s   

That I can't answer cause I have never upgraded mine. It works, it's never fried a battery, and most importantly I'm extremely cheap.

Linda S

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WME   

If you remove the converter you will be totally dependent on the solar. Even if your in a campground. Look at the newer converters, for a basic power system you would only need 20 amps or so. See if there is a smaller sized converter that will let you have 2 batteries and a converter in your available space. IF not see about a deck mount converter mounted some where and just run a power lead to the fuse block.

P.S. the only reason the "old" style converters boil batteries is lack maintenance. Keep the battery water levels up and they will be OK.

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Maineah   

Me I would upgrade. The older chargers can kill a battery if left on long term, a maintenance free battery is just that they are sealed. They also are poor quick chargers most were in the 3-10  amp charge rate where a 35 amp switching charger will provide a 35 amp charge and fold back as the battery charges and is easily integrated with a solar system. I can go almost indefinitely with 2 group 24 (160 amps) batteries and a 100 watt panel but I did go to great pains to reduce the battery loads I still watch TV run the water pump etc. I don't know what you intend to run but a pair of 6 volts will give you a lot of current probably twice what you really need. 

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Thanks for the response.  Maineah, I'm going full-time with this rig and plan on supporting 2 fantastic fans, led lights throughout the coach, an iMac computer, 2 iPhones, charging sony a6500 camera, charging go pro, charging kindles, charging bluetooth speaker, water pump, and possibly running a blender on occasion.  We will most likely be boon docking 90% of the time without hookups with stays of about 4 - 7 days in each location.  

 

Still overkill you think?

 

Thanks,

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linda s   
WME   

After you clarified things, what you want to do make some sense. I have 200AH of batteries and 200w of solar panel. I don't worry about power. By evening my batteries are 100%.

With 300 w of solar you will have some overhead in the power department for a cloudy day.

If all else fails just get a 15 amp car battery charger for use when your in a campground.

For heat if it becomes a problem look into Olympian Cat heaters. Like a Wave 3 or Wave 6  depending on what temps your expecting. They use no power.

http://www.camco.net/product/wave-3-catalytic-safety-heater-10319/

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Maineah   
10 hours ago, TheGrayOutdoors said:

Thanks for the response.  Maineah, I'm going full-time with this rig and plan on supporting 2 fantastic fans, led lights throughout the coach, an iMac computer, 2 iPhones, charging sony a6500 camera, charging go pro, charging kindles, charging bluetooth speaker, water pump, and possibly running a blender on occasion.  We will most likely be boon docking 90% of the time without hookups with stays of about 4 - 7 days in each location.  

 

Still overkill you think?

 

Thanks,

All of the little recharge stuff put together will not draw much current the fantastic fans are efficient but they can suck up some power at high speed I have one and my 100 watt panel will run the fan and charge the battery on low speed but not on high I have not tested the fan alone to see if the 100 watt would just run the fan. There is no reason not to have more than enough battery if you have the room and panels enough to charge them. 300 watts should do that. It sounds like your setup would be fine for what you want to do a lot of people have a romantic ideal that they can power the big screen a crockpot and run the AC with solar and a 4500 watt inverter and of course they can but not for very long! I still am a big advocate of a modern charging system very useful for times when you can plug in they are capable of running all of your stuff and charge the batteries at the same time.

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Okay, so I'm looking at:

 

300 watt solar panels------------Fuse--------->Blue Sky 3000i MPPT Charge Controller------------>(2) 6 volt Lifeline AGM batteries-------------->Converter/Charger Progressive Dynamics Inteli Power 4000                                                                                                                                                                 '----fuse-------->Inverter

 

Everything look good on this setup?  

 

My understanding is that the Progressive Dynamics unit will provide all of the breakers and fuses needed for the system going to all DC units.  Is that correct?

 

Lastly, There are various AC outlets in my Sunrader.  How do these work?  Only when plugged into shore power?

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WME   

I'm not sure how of this will post.

300w solar---Blue Sky controller--\

                                                       \

                                                          ---12v battery pack--fuse--inverter

                                                      /

120v Ac--Progressive 4000-----  /

AC outlets are powered by RV campsite 120v ac....UNLESS you wire in the inverter through a ATS (auto transfer switch)  some of the inverter's will have the ats built in. It will take thoughtful wiring to run the inverter to the AC outlets. You have to set it up so that the inverter output does not power up the progressive charger.

 

Edited by WME

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Maineah   
2 hours ago, TheGrayOutdoors said:

Okay, so I'm looking at:

 

300 watt solar panels------------Fuse--------->Blue Sky 3000i MPPT Charge Controller------------>(2) 6 volt Lifeline AGM batteries-------------->Converter/Charger Progressive Dynamics Inteli Power 4000                                                                                                                                                                 '----fuse-------->Inverter

 

Everything look good on this setup?  

 

My understanding is that the Progressive Dynamics unit will provide all of the breakers and fuses needed for the system going to all DC units.  Is that correct?

 

Lastly, There are various AC outlets in my Sunrader.  How do these work?  Only when plugged into shore power?

Yes only plugged in. The simple work around is a breaker for the converter/ charger an inverter then plug the camper cord into the inverter after turning the charger breaker off. If you don't there will be diminishing returns because the charger will try to charge the batteries when being powered by the inverter. Just place the inverter some where accessible to the power cord.

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All of this information is really appreciated.  I can't thank you enough.  I'm getting ready to start assembling everything as parts are arriving.  I spent all day yesterday just tracing wires to determine where they went in the vehicle.  Now I have to determine Polarity, because I don't trust anything the previous owners did with the electrical.  Anybody have any ideas how to determine polarity of devices in the RV?  I just figured I will go and look at all the devices and hope that they have indications on the back panels, I know the heater does.  I spent all of today reading up on electronics, but I'm a bit rusty.  I once assembled a kit guitar amplifier successfully, so I'm not a complete novice.   

 

Solar panels arrived today.  My wife sunbathing with them;)

DSC01877.jpg

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linda s   

Very simple to check polarity with a multimeter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoUHbf_bRxw

Your going to need one anyway. Mine was free at Harbor Freight and still works fine 5 years later. Even if you have to pay for it it's like $5.99.

Lots of info online to learn all the things it will help you with.

Linda S

 

 

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Maineah   

Buy the meter Linda suggested they work fine for simple stuff.

On 8/11/2017 at 11:13 PM, TheGrayOutdoors said:

All of this information is really appreciated.  I can't thank you enough.  I'm getting ready to start assembling everything as parts are arriving.  I spent all day yesterday just tracing wires to determine where they went in the vehicle.  Now I have to determine Polarity, because I don't trust anything the previous owners did with the electrical.  Anybody have any ideas how to determine polarity of devices in the RV?  I just figured I will go and look at all the devices and hope that they have indications on the back panels, I know the heater does.  I spent all of today reading up on electronics, but I'm a bit rusty.  I once assembled a kit guitar amplifier successfully, so I'm not a complete novice.   

 

Solar panels arrived today.  My wife sunbathing with them;)

DSC01877.jpg

I'll bet she is getting a charge out of that!

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