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Old 08-06-2011, 09:30 AM   #1
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a/c charging set up

those of you that homebuilt (or modified smb) your rigs, what was your choice of A/C charging method/equipment for the house battery bank?

my setup will have solar (solar world 245w panel with mppt) and a/c charging capabilities.

100% boondocking build with access to a/c power 5 days per week for about 8-12 hrs per day while at work. during which, my small 12v cooler and fantastic fan should be the only constant load (i plan on having all outlets switched to kill any phantom loads). after work, batteries will be used as i will be "unplugged" and usage will increase of course.

most devices will be 12v but i will have 120v outlets for a few things that i will use regularly (nothing with a big draw).

i doubt i will have trouble keeping the batteries charged well given these circumstances so i have a simple system in mind. i wont be touching the vehicles electrical system at all.

im interested in the IOTA 30a charger with the IQ4 Module attached to a retractable cord reel, say 25' of cable at the most (still working on correct wire size), with an external door for the plug end (i could use a suggestion on that actually...id like it to be stealthy).

ill have a disconnect switch (or maybe a selector switch ??) so that only one charging source will be active to the battery bank. i could use some advice on that as well. a selector switch seems to be a better idea than a disconnect.

any comments on the Iota charger? other brand recommendations? install suggestions? i know boondocking full time and camping dont always have the same requirements but i find the info here to be very helpful.
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Old 08-06-2011, 12:00 PM   #2
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Re: a/c charging set up

I like the Intellipower 4000. It is an all-in-one 120v distribution with main, 12v converter/charger, and 12v distribution panel which is about the most compact way to do this. It is set up so you can wire in a main 12v disconnect as well. It does need a cabinet to go around it. They also make bigger ones.

I don't have solar so this unit doesn't address solar. There may be additional switches required, or another unit that automatically switches from solar to shore power.

For a stealthy shore power connection, how about a cord hanging out of the hood? It would look like a block heater connection... I'm thinking a cord reel access door will be very un-stealthy. Most have a separate extension cord that is manually coiled up between uses.

http://www.progressivedyn.com/all_in_one_pd4000.html

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Old 08-17-2011, 09:10 PM   #3
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Re: a/c charging set up

i checked out their site and all their products. seems like a very convenient way to wire everything and since i am still learning somewhat, i picked up on "reverse battery protection" and a few other things.

im not sure the way i planned on wiring the 12v side will provide this protection. i planned on wiring a blue sea 5026 fuse block direct to my battery bank with runs from the 5026 to my 12v outlet locations (with switched 12v outlets so i can turn things off totally). there would be an inline fuse between the 5026 and battery bank. my plan also called for an iota charger by itself and a small ac panel providing two circuits (4 outlets total) wired off my inverter. is there anything inherently wrong with this setup?

are all the other features of the intelli-power units or other converter/charger units necessary?

i was never concerned with being able to use ac or dc devices while plugged into shore power so i tended to ignore the converter/chargers all together. i wont be in the van when i plug in as i will be at work and plugging in was only to fully charge the batteries after discharging the bank beyond the capacity of the solar panel to keep them up.
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Old 08-17-2011, 09:18 PM   #4
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Re: a/c charging set up

my stealthy idea was to find a 25' cord reel and reverse the plugs (since i cant seem to find one that way) and mount it in engine compartment with the business end plug passed through the grill in some fashion (sort of like what you mention). it would just look like an engine block heater dongle yes.

so when i arrive at work i can just walk to the front of the vehicle and pull the plug to the outlet and plug in.

not sure i have the room under the hood to do this. maybe behind the bumper or something.

the other end of the reel would be wired all the way back through the van to the charger.

the 45amp iota charger pulls 11 amps and the 30amp pulls 7.3 amps so i would think a 12 or 10 g cord inside the reel would be adequate.

how does that sound?
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Old 08-18-2011, 08:23 AM   #5
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Re: a/c charging set up

The little plastic ends that are orange and yellow and have a screw to separate the pieces are great. Just chop off your ends and use a set of those (Home Depot/Lowes). Many of my garage extension cords have these as I buy them by the handful so the cords can be planarian.

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Old 08-18-2011, 01:38 PM   #6
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Re: a/c charging set up

Quote:
Wiki: Planarian is the common name given to many non-parasitic flatworms of Turbellaria class.
You've done lost me there.
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Old 08-18-2011, 06:45 PM   #7
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Re: a/c charging set up

Quote:
Originally Posted by jage
The little plastic ends that are orange and yellow and have a screw to separate the pieces are great. Just chop off your ends and use a set of those (Home Depot/Lowes). Many of my garage extension cords have these as I buy them by the handful so the cords can be planarian.

right there with ya...ill probably use a few to connect inverter to ac panel if it lacks as hardwire lugs
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Old 08-25-2011, 07:15 PM   #8
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Re: a/c charging set up

Quote:
Originally Posted by WVvan
You've done lost me there.
See further down in the Wiki, is Jage referring to this?
Quote:
Wiki: Some planarians exhibit an extraordinary ability to regenerate lost body parts.
... or possibly this?
Quote:
Wiki: Planaria are hermaphrodites, possessing both testicles and ovaries.


Brent
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Old 08-26-2011, 12:14 AM   #9
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Re: a/c charging set up

Quote:
Originally Posted by cygvan
... i planned on wiring a blue sea 5026 fuse block direct to my battery bank with runs from the 5026 to my 12v outlet locations (with switched 12v outlets so i can turn things off totally). there would be an inline fuse between the 5026 and battery bank. my plan also called for an iota charger by itself and a small ac panel providing two circuits (4 outlets total) wired off my inverter. is there anything inherently wrong with this setup?

are all the other features of the intelli-power units or other converter/charger units necessary?
I didn't think the 'other features' of the intellipower were neccesary. We will mainly be plugged in when occaisionally camping at RV parks, so we do like the converter feature.

Mainly, though, it is simply the space savings and ease of maintenance. A small 120v breaker panel alone is almost the size of the entire intellipower unit. The 12v fuses will be inside a panel, and all the connections and wiring will be contained in the enclosure.
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