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haywoodphotomaccom 06-04-2012 01:12 PM

Re: Van Build about to start....
Installed two Sanyo double sided solar panels for a total of 460 watts. Working great so far. Installed a TriStar controller to handle the juice from the solar panels and a Xantrex Inverter/Charger.

billwilson 06-04-2012 02:31 PM

Re: Van Build about to start....

how many batteries?
how many amp hours each?

have you gone to LED only or will be?


my WHOLE rig now draws less
than ONE puck light did........

haywoodphotomaccom 06-04-2012 02:44 PM

Re: Van Build about to start....
Hey BW,

One Lifeline 210 AH battery right now. Thinking about a second one but testing the single setup first. Don't want to add the extra weight if I can avoid it. Installing the battery temperature sensor and Voltage Sense wires today. Should squeeze a little extra out of everything.

The panels together produce 60-70 volts. Had to go with a higher rater controller.

On average the fridge pulls about 1amp. The inverter pulls 1amp just sitting.

The 4 day Flagstaff Expo we had plenty of power on trip.

Going LED where possible.

Working on the shower setup next.

haywoodphotomaccom 06-12-2012 11:39 AM

Re: Van Build about to start....
FWIW.Random info about the van.

Been using the SPOT device as much as possible on trips to test it in as many conditions as possible. The wife used in hiking a few weeks ago for two days in the mountains. Asked her to send as many messages as possible in various locations and conditions. All messages sent were received within a few minutes of sending. Feeling good about the product so far.

Been having issue with our Isotherm 130ASU fridge not being cold enough or to cold. Installed a small computer fan inside and now I had to turn the controller way down to stop everything from freezing.

Gnarvan 06-13-2012 12:49 PM

Re: Van Build about to start....

When you decided to add the extra batteries to your van did you look into mounting them on the frame rail on the passenger side of the van? I'm thinking about adding batteries to my van and am trying to find the best place to mount them. I hadn't considered the location you put yours. That may be where I end up putting mine. The only drawback I can see is the length of run from the alternator charging system. I like the hinged system you came up with. It sure would make battery maintenance easier.

You are going to paint all that bare metal aren't you?

haywoodphotomaccom 06-13-2012 01:16 PM

Re: Van Build about to start....
We looked at every square inch under the van and decided to put the weight as close to the rear axle as possible. We moved the air compressor and tank on each side in the back to make space for the battery.

Ran a hose size wire to the alternator to limit voltage drop.

Will be painting all metal under there. May be putting another battery so been holding off to do it at once.

Putting a great water tank where the spare is for the shower and sink water.

carringb 06-13-2012 10:49 PM

Re: Van Build about to start....
One downside of aft-axle batteries is then there's no space for an aft-axle 2nd fuel tank.

I don't think charging from the alternator is an issue there. I have no problem charging trailer batteries uses the stock trailer connector.

haywoodphotomaccom 06-14-2012 07:22 AM

Re: Van Build about to start....
Considered the extra tank behind the axle idea but for us the 46g that we have installed will be enough for our needs. Saw a van the other day that had customs tank in every square inch of space under the van. Owner was not around to ask how many gallons he had. Like to know.

I am no expert on wiring (Dad did all of it) and we probably went overkill on it with my setup. Installed the TriStar Solar controller with monitor and Xantrex inverter with charger/remote meter and all extra sensor wires. Temp sensor on the battery and extra Voltage sensor wire on the batt terminal. I have meters to watch meters now which I enjoy looking at. Putting them in the visor.

Don't quote me on this (Trying to recall what pops said) but I believe installing the larger wire from the alternator to the house battery brought the charge voltage up to near perfect/peak voltage for the battery.

I frequently look through the data logs on the controllers/monitors and things appear to be at or near peak so far.

Also been having a good time installing inline Astro flight meters to measure current etc on each of the things in the van to check/monitor true energy use per 24hrs.

Shower install project is next.

Good times....

haywoodphotomaccom 06-21-2012 08:24 AM

Re: Van Build about to start....
The rig hard at work. Packing up from a photo shoot with Schubach Aviation photographing the interiors and exteriors of their fleet. The van is really working great as my office.

BroncoHauler 06-21-2012 08:30 AM

Re: Van Build about to start....
A 4x4 van as a business expense (tax write-off). One of the best options you ever installed.


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