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Old 07-07-2021, 08:38 AM   #1
Winnie-Wise
 
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Solar/Lithium For Micro Minnie

Hi, I am considering either a 2306BHS or 2100BHS. My main purpose for doing a really good Solar/Li battery upgrade is for being off grid staying on BLM grounds etc.
The reason for a bunk house model for a solo is the extra room in the bunk area. I would remove the bottom bunk completely and probably elevate the top bunk to leave just enough room for shorter totes etc.
I am looking at having a 4 or 6 Battleborn battery bank or 2 of their new 270AH batteries. Probably a Victron Multiplus 3000 inverter/charger, 500-700 Watts in panels top side with a 100 Watt portable on ground to chase the sun.
I am thinking of adding a wall in the bunk area where I removed a bunk and raised the top bunk for mounting the Multiplus, charge controller, fuses, shut offs etc. I will also add a hard wired EMS surge protector inside the area.

I am thinking this would make a great area to have a "electrical room" also I think I would be in great position for running the wires to the main fuse box. My only concern is using the existing "solar ready" port on top which comes into the front pass through. I'm concerned about possible power loss with the distance I would be running the wire back from the panels to the charge controller in the bunk area. Would I be better off to have the charge controller in the front and run the wire back to the batteries and breaker panel or would I just be better off to make a new solar panel wire port above the bunk area for shorter runs of wire inside?
Ideas and thoughts on my plans? Suggestions?
I'm trying to keep the tongue weight to the 12-15% range, my tow veh. has a lower CCC so I need to be careful. I think I can add weight to the tongue if needed with water in the fresh tank and I will be using a WDH/anti sway in case I am heavier on the tongue regardless.
Thanks all!
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Old 07-07-2021, 03:35 PM   #2
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If you keep your total panels to an even number, you can wire them series/parallel for four or series/series/parallel for six.

Your controller has to be an MPPT with a high enough input voltage rating to deal with the higher voltage. The higher voltage reduces the input amperage so you should be fine with the typical 10 gauge prewiring.

David
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Old 07-07-2021, 04:53 PM   #3
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You are an experienced RVer, so it's not like you don't know your options. But, when I put this together I come up about $5000 - $6000 for parts.

I get it that LiPo batteries are the way to go. And, solar is great "free" energy from the Sun. And Victron Multiplus is a very capable inverter.

Everything is perfectly spec'd. BUT!

Couldn't you purchase a Honda 3000w electric start generator to live in the bed of your TV and 2-Group 31 AGM batteries and achieve 95% of your goals with 30% of the cost?

Obviously, one of your goals is to boondock without the noise of a generator. And, my suggestion leaves that idea out of the equation. But you are going to be boondocking and you're still going to need a generator of some sort with your plan... so why complicate things with a "solar homestead" kind of idea?

If you want to do it because it's neat and the cost is not an issue for you then go for it. But it seems kind of like overkill for a small TT.
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Old 07-07-2021, 04:59 PM   #4
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If you keep your total panels to an even number, you can wire them series/parallel for four or series/series/parallel for six.
David
Never thought about that....Thank You! Just not sure how much real estate there will be for panels on top is why I was thinking three. Now hopefully four 150 Watt panels will fit.
Thanks again David
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Old 07-07-2021, 06:46 PM   #5
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You are an experienced RVer, so it's not like you don't know your options. But, when I put this together I come up about $5000 - $6000 for parts.

I get it that LiPo batteries are the way to go. And, solar is great "free" energy from the Sun. And Victron Multiplus is a very capable inverter.

Everything is perfectly spec'd. BUT!

Couldn't you purchase a Honda 3000w electric start generator to live in the bed of your TV and 2-Group 31 AGM batteries and achieve 95% of your goals with 30% of the cost?

Obviously, one of your goals is to boondock without the noise of a generator. And, my suggestion leaves that idea out of the equation. But you are going to be boondocking and you're still going to need a generator of some sort with your plan... so why complicate things with a "solar homestead" kind of idea?

If you want to do it because it's neat and the cost is not an issue for you then go for it. But it seems kind of like overkill for a small TT.
Thanks for your thoughts creativepart.The idea of "free energy" really doesn't play into it for me. It's more about the freedom. I will be more or less full timing off grid one way or another. The Li's in the long run are cheaper than AGM's plus they recharge quicker, less weight per battery.
I want to be able to run the A.C. for a hour or so safely as I will travel with my best friend...Golden Retriever. I want to make sure she is safe when I run to a store etc etc. I can go wherever I want to park, I will have plenty of power. I already have a Champion 2500 Watt dual fuel inverter which will go along for extended rainy periods.
Now is also a great time for a system purchase and install. The Senate extended the Federal Solar Tax Deduction. It stands at 26%, that's a pretty nice reduction on the bottom line for a system. I have also seen something that possibly my home State is also doing a $2K incentive for solar, I need to check that more though.
Solar and the process just intrigues the heck out of me. My engineer middle son is all about solar and other alternative energy sources. He enjoys camping.......which leads to the underlying reason for all this. I am a 5 year stroke survivor, last year I had a major heart attack (widowmaker) which I survived but required three stints. This is my 1st new camper and last. I started work at 12, usually had two if not three jobs to support my family, had one new car in my life.....time for a real treat.....with the health issues I have, I'm on my bucket list. It's down to now or never. My kids all have great jobs, make the big bucks and have told me not to worry about leaving anything behind. I was smart enough though to keep my 401K's fed during my work life. Always paid myself first.
I know when I'm done with it, it will stay in the family and be enjoyed. That's priceless
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Old 07-07-2021, 07:24 PM   #6
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After that last post, Iíd say just pick a trailer and get going already!
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Old 07-08-2021, 07:13 AM   #7
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If you are trying to setup for being off the grid, the first thing I'd wonder is what exactly you plan to use 120v AC for. The cost and complication of an inverter and huge LiPo battery setup might not be justified by just running the air conditioning for an hour. If that's all it is, then run a generator for that one hour per day and get the trailer cool as a side-effect of topping off the batteries.

So that maybe leaves the microwave, coffee maker, and tv. A 12v tv can be found for cheap, or could use a tiny portable inverter when used. We chose to get rid of it . Coffee could be made while you run the generator, or get a coffee press or similar. We use a Wearever flow through maker (whatever it's called) that we found at an antique shop...and it works perfectly. The microwave would be a tough one to solve and it'll certainly chew into your batteries.

I do fully understand the engineering aspect of this. You really are planning on enhancing your rig as a hobby. Nothing wrong with that. Hobbies cost money. That's just how it is!
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Old 07-08-2021, 07:17 AM   #8
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BTW, I just assumed you'd get an absorption refrigerator for this scenario. If you want to go 12v electric only fridge, then talk to @Marine359 who has been tackling the use of this fridge with LiPo batteries off grid. Sounds like it's going good and just has some overhead you need to account for in your battery bank.
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Old 07-08-2021, 10:09 AM   #9
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Waiting it out in Ocracoke Outer Banks until Elsa passes through. At Ocracoke NPS campground. No hookups. Now getting some real world experience with my new portable solar panel. Until now, our measured consumption for the 12v compressor fridge was something less than 40ah/day. Now we’ve been sitting in mid 80s F with 80% humidity. The fridge is burning up close to 50ah/day under these circumstances. It’s using more amps from the battery than the solar panel can replace. Our Lensunsolar 110w foldable can deliver about 80watts through the Victron 75/15 mppt at high noon for a couple of hours, and 55-65 watts until 6pm. Maybe the panel would give us enough, but when we take an excursion, I put it in the truck, as I don’t trust that it wouldn’t walk away if we left it. We probably could have gone 3 days, but today with no sun, I fired up the Champion 2500 on lp to top off from 34% to 100% took about 90 minutes. So bottom line is that in higher temperatures, with the compressor fridge, one 110w panel is not enough to boondock for more than 3 days. It’s uncomfortably hot in he 2108ds, so dw and I agreed our next upgrade will be an easy start.
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Old 07-08-2021, 10:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinglett View Post
BTW, I just assumed you'd get an absorption refrigerator for this scenario. If you want to go 12v electric only fridge, then talk to @Marine359 who has been tackling the use of this fridge with LiPo batteries off grid. Sounds like it's going good and just has some overhead you need to account for in your battery bank.
For boondocking with 12 compressor fridge, recommend 200ah LiFePo4, high amperage charger like Xantrex, Solar: 100w portable plus 100-200w on the roof, and generator for your backup.
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Old 07-08-2021, 10:26 AM   #11
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Waiting it out in Ocracoke Outer Banks until Elsa passes through.
Jim, sorry to hear about your current challenges. It has indeed been hot and humid. I'm at Cedar Point campground also waiting it out. On my way to Outer Banks (Oregon Inlet) on Saturday.
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Old 07-08-2021, 11:26 AM   #12
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Part of the adventure of rving Rock.
No problems really, just getting used to and adapting to the limitations of our new setup.
Ranger stopped by to advise ferry service suspended until tomorrow. But winds here not expected to exceed 40mph.
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Old 07-08-2021, 04:23 PM   #13
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I do fully understand the engineering aspect of this. You really are planning on enhancing your rig as a hobby. Nothing wrong with that. Hobbies cost money. That's just how it is![/QUOTE]

Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions Todd. One thing I have learned about RVing already....none of it makes financial sense. For what a tow vehicle cost to buy and operate compared to a electric or hybrid vehicle is huge. Youngest son bought a new electric Chrysler van that go's 32 miles w/out a charge and gets a estimated 82 MPG combined gas/electric. After his $7,500 tax credit he has a new van from the dealer for right at $25K. Then figure the price of a new quality camper at $25K-$35K, man, that buys a lot of hotel room nights. But, that's not my idea of fun.
My primary 120V AC use will be a 12V compressor fridge, A.C. as needed....which I like the idea on hot days when traveling to turning it on 1/2 hr before stopping for the evening or running two fantastic fans in place of the A.C. Heat is one of my most difficult challenges.....it's really hard on me. I intend to spend the hotter weather in medium elevations to keep in a daily 75-low 80's range. When it gets above that or in the heat of the day I will pretty well be inside which doesn't bother me. I love the internet, reading, studying, old movies, etc (when internet is available)The other energy users will be T.V., the convection microwave since they took the ovens out of micro minnies. I am also going to check about putting a stove/oven in though or as a last resort a large counter top toaster/roaster/convection oven. Either one of those would be a large energy draw. I'm also considering one of the compact electric apartment size comb. clothes washer/dryers to keep out of laundromats. I would rather have one battery too much than one battery short.
I am looking forward to setting up the little energy room in the bunk area. I can do most of the placement of components and the basic wiring. Putting the panels on the roof and the major wiring, hard wired EMS I'll have to leave to a professional just for my own peace of mind.
I figure I just as well spend it rather than letting a nursing home getting it someday
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Old 07-08-2021, 04:53 PM   #14
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but today with no sun, I fired up the Champion 2500 on lp to top off from 34% to 100% took about 90 minutes. So bottom line is that in higher temperatures, with the compressor fridge, one 110w panel is not enough to boondock for more than 3 days. Itís uncomfortably hot in he 2108ds, so dw and I agreed our next upgrade will be an easy start.
So you must be getting a full 80A out of your Xantrex? Did you end up installing that unit right next to your battery bank?

I went the PD4555LIV route for the charger upgrade, but it doesn't push much over 30A over those 6ga wires :(. After my last trip I finally gave my generator (Honda EU2200i) a test drive powering the charger and it was practically idling in ECO mode since this is only about 450W. Our last trip was a full 4 days (92 hours or so) and we used up 66% of my 200AH bank. That was nice, and since we were only 100mi or so from home I didn't bother to bring the generator. So a 2nd upgrade of the charger isn't yet in the plan, but good to know the Xantrex is working like this.

BTW, I did install a MicroAir EasyStart and it is working fine with my 13.5k Btu A/C. I got the bluetooth version which doesn't really provide much extra data. The bluetooth goes off when the A/C cycles off. It was super easy to install, in particular because the online video showed the exact same A/C unit so very little thinking was involved Unlike the charger scenario, the A/C really gives the genny a workout. It isn't quiet at all. But I figure if it gets bad enough, I'll pull out the generator to chill it down before quiet hours start. Just giving @Ret.LEO more things to add to the list!
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Old 07-08-2021, 05:02 PM   #15
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For boondocking with 12 compressor fridge, recommend 200ah LiFePo4, high amperage charger like Xantrex, Solar: 100w portable plus 100-200w on the roof, and generator for your backup.
Good info Jim, thank you.
I'm planning on 500 to 700 in panels on the roof with another 100 portable on the ground (could be upped though)
I'm looking at 400 to 600 in Battleborns or trying out a pair of their new 270's.
I also already have a Champion 2500 dual fuel inverter/gen. The Easy Start I just consider mandatory.
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Old 07-08-2021, 05:42 PM   #16
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I have programmed my Xantrex for 80 amps.. but my champion can only deliver 790 watts on propane. That’s about 65 amps. Probably could do close to 80 on gasoline, but I don’t want to use any gasoline in the Champion. One of the great benefits of LiFePo4 is the ability to charge at higher amperage. This dramatically reduces generator run time. Good to hear your easy start works as planned, and the install was easy. So, we’ll likely install one next month. LEO going big on solar may never need to run a generator, but where will you put all the panels?
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Old 07-08-2021, 05:47 PM   #17
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So you must be getting a full 80A out of your Xantrex? Did you end up installing that unit right next to your battery bank?
Xantrex installed right next to battery through a disconnect using 1/0 wire. Very low resistance but hard to bend it, so it took a few tries to get the spacing right to fit the short wire length. Install photos on my album.
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Old 07-09-2021, 10:20 AM   #18
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I have programmed my Xantrex for 80 amps.. but my champion can only deliver 790 watts on propane. Thatís about 65 amps.
I assume you mean 790 watt draw max from the Xantrex (as opposed to what the gen can really do for running your A/C for example). That's way better than the pathetic 450-ish watts my PD will draw.

There may be an interesting tradeoff here. Can you actually control how much your Xantrex will draw? I'd be curious what you think about the tradeoff of generator noise vs. duration it takes to charge. My Honda runs real super quiet when only asked to produce 450 watts. At this point I'm not sure what would be best if I'm camping near tent-campers. Running during the day would be essential, of course, but it's not clear to me if fast/noisy beats slow/quiet. The ability to control the charger's max amp output may be an interesting knob to have.
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Old 07-09-2021, 11:23 AM   #19
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I should have said draw. When the Xantrex is on, as mine was, it has other chores to tend to besides charging. I think champion max output is 1800 watts on propane, meaning it can produce [email protected] but itís also putting out some 120vac. So the xantrex automatically balances loads. Gen pretty quiet running in eco mode. Iím happy with 90 minutes to 100SOC
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Old 07-09-2021, 11:25 AM   #20
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Yah
I think you can control the Xantrex max draw in the BT app. But I haven’t figured it out yet. Maybe never will
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