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Old 09-15-2016, 08:20 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by rallypanam View Post
Jeff is of the old school. Probably still doesn't trust fuel injection, wireless internet, or radial tires. Heck, he barely believes in cell phones!
Very old school actually, but hey, I have all of the above, but I do miss my flip phone. As for the danger of gasoline, it's been around since what, the late 1800's?, but when was the last recall due to exploding gas tanks, the Ford Pinto in the 70's? For you youngsters, getting rear-ended in a Pinto was likely to result in a car-bbq, but since then we have learned how to reduce the risk, but it took perhaps 80 years to get to where we rarely hear of exploding gas tanks in car fires. Lythium batteries on the other hand are very new and the learning curve has been quite steep. My Iphone got hot enough the other day that it blew open my Lifeproof case and ruined it while charging. It didn't explode or catch fire, but it did get pretty hot. I applaud early adoptors, I just don't want to be one of them, hell I wish I still had Windows XP. Anyway, I look forward to hearing how it all works out,.......................
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Old 11-06-2016, 08:57 AM   #62
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Just to update this thread a bit - we toured the Fresno facility with Brian (who is outstanding) and the details they had on the lithium setup were a bit thin. The Fresno facility just hasn't had the chance to really vet the suppliers and test the setup enough. It sounds like over the winter is when they're going to really spear head the project and start solidifying plans on which setup to go with and how they're going to design the system.

We'll be pushing for either Lithionics or Victron for the component supplier for our van. Both companies make everything needed (controllers, monitors, etc) and that is something important to me. Victron has been around a long time and is commonly found on bigger overland setups. And most importantly, both have their own controllers that also feature built-in cutoffs for low-temp. This is something we'll need as high-alpine winters will be a common trip for us.

We'll have the 2nd alternator designated for lithium, will be using the 2800w inverter, and we'll have a single solar panel mounted up front width-wise in front of the fantastic fan. The solar panel is there purely to keep the battery topped in the summer so the fridge can remain on. Batteries will be mounted inside the van for protection and climate control. Everything else about the wiring will remain the same.
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Old 11-06-2016, 09:29 AM   #63
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It sounds like SMB is proceeding with an abundence of caution, a good thing in my book. As the technology ages, it can only get better and better, I look forward to seeing SMB's design. Once this is all worked out, I suspect lots of us will switch over to lithium technology, but personally, I have never been an early adoptor. Thanks for blazing the way......

Meanwhile, you said:The solar panel is there purely to keep the battery topped in the summer so the fridge can remain on.

How many watt's will this panel be? Will it be enough to fully support the fridge in summer, or will it just lengthen the time between recharges with the engine?
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Old 11-06-2016, 10:41 AM   #64
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They are - but it's not due to safety, as you eluded to in a another post. It's purely due to a vastly different process with new parts suppliers, and new fabrication methods. This is the same vetting process they take whether it's new cabinet materials or a new roof rack. One of the issues they're working around is that the RVIA standards for mounting batteries inside are based on lead acid batteries. You don't need to vent a lithium battery like you do a lead acid. If they get this wrong, the costs associated with it are substantial. They did the exact same vetting process with the D5 heating system given the departure from a propane furnace, and the costs involved.

Because a lithium battery can take 400A charge continuously to 100%, we don't need solar to maintain the battery charge. Our second alternator will easily do that. From my research, the 280 amp alternator will produce about 150 amps at idle. Around 230 amps at high idle, effectively. With a 300Ah battery, I estimate we'd get about 6-7 days of charge from the battery to run the fridge. Even if a 100W panel could extend that a few days, that would be more than enough for us as we won't be gone more than 10 days.

We're also considering not having solar at all, and just using that money to buy a slightly larger battery. We really need the roof space for gear. But, SMB suggested having it installed purely for resale value. A 400AH lithium at 85% discharge is equivalent to a 680AH AGM bank at 50% discharge. I think when you combine the massive charge a lithium can take up to 100%, and the weight/space you gain, I just don't see a reason for going with solar unless you are boon docking for a really long time. I may have to make a separate post to solicit feedback on this.
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Old 11-06-2016, 06:29 PM   #65
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[QUOTE= I think when you combine the massive charge a lithium can take up to 100%, and the weight/space you gain, I just don't see a reason for going with solar unless you are boon docking for a really long time. I may have to make a separate post to solicit feedback on this.[/QUOTE]

About the only reason I can think of you would want solar is if you wanted to reduce / eliminate engine run time. If you don't mind hearing the engine run, you should be fine..................
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Old 11-07-2016, 07:53 AM   #66
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I can see one use case where solar might make sense - that is the case where you will be boondocking for an extended time, and you plan on using very little power so solar will keep up. Very little power means "LED lights, maybe blowers on a propane or diesel heater, and water pump", not "coffee maker, microwave, A/C" - if you need an inverter to run it, it's out. Then, you may be able to make enough power from solar to not have to run your engine to charge.

But, even in that case: you can idle your engine for about 30 minutes and make as much power as solar would all day.
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Old 11-07-2016, 08:52 AM   #67
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For your stated use, solar seems unnecessary "during use" where you are moving every couple of days as stated. I can't say I would be so comfortable on a 10 day backpack trip having my rig start up and run on its own for an hour or two unattended. It may get more attention than wanted. Perhaps an anti theft device that will not allow driving? Our Ravelvo would not work with an AGS setup.

One of the big benefits from our solar set up is the battery maintenance when the van is sitting parked in front of the house for a month when not in use. We leave the freezer on all the time. Almost never have the shore power plugged in.

It is probably in one of your posts, but what is going on the roof?
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Old 12-12-2016, 06:58 PM   #68
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We've decided to talk to our friends in the marine world who have vastly more experience with lithium than SMB or RVers in general. After 10 years of offshore sailing and two major overhauls of our boat electrical system, despite the extra expense, lithium is where we're going. If SMB does not have a robust design and component selection when they are ready to start the build, we've decided to have the lithium side designed and spec'd by a marine electronics specialist. If there is still any doubt about the SMB side of the install, we'll have the lithium side of our electronics installed by the marine people.
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