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Old 06-16-2022, 07:36 AM   #1
Winnebagel
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Location: Manitoba, Canada
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Lithium & Inverter Installation on a 2100BH

I finally got around to starting the lithium install on my 2100BH, and I thought I'd make a dedicated thread to the process, in case anybody might benefit from it.


Here's the battery & inverter combination I ended up with:
  • Renogy 200Ah LiFePo4 Battery w/ Bluetooth
    • After much consideration, I landed on a single 200Ah Renogy battery. They seem to get a mixed bag of reviews online, but I thought I'd start here and see how it goes. My next choice will likely be from Volthium
  • Xantrex Freedom XC 2000W Inverter Charger
    • I work at a motorhome manufacturer, and we've had a lot of success with these inverters. 2000W will be ample for me, and will even be enough to run my A/C if I want
Now to determine the location of the new hardward. Here's my pros/cons list between mounting locations:


Mounting in rear
Pros
  • Conditioned space
  • Easy to access inverter from inside
  • Close to shore power entry
  • Only need to run 12V wiring to the studs at the front of the trailer
Cons
  • Uses up a fairly valuable storage area
  • Fan noise from inverter could be annoying
  • Removes weight from the tongue





Mounting in front pass-through
Pros
  • Seems to be what everybody else does
  • Helps keep a bit more weight on the tongue
Cons
  • Requires running two 120V cables from this location to the distribution panel/converter
  • Access door limits wall mount space (front of pass through is curved and the wall facing the interior has a door)
  • Fan is under the primary bed which may be noisy
After much consideration, we decided to mount the inverter and battery in the rear storage compartment, under the bottom bunks. The adjacent location to the shore power entry simplifies things.


I got the inverter and battery installed, and drew up a preliminary wiring plan. See attached image.


The basic idea is that I'll take advantage of the inverter pass-through anytime I'm connected to shore power. I'll cut the shore power wire near where it enters the coach, then add a junction box. This junction will flow through the inverter, then back into the junction and onward to the distribution panel. I'll disconnected the converter as it will no longer be required.


On the wall roughly behind the battery disconnection location, there is a void that passes under the slideout box – this is where I plan to run the 12V DC lines up to the front of the trailer. I'll connect those to the stud where the existing battery is connected to.


That about sums it up! I'll post some follow ups with progress as I continue to work on it. If you see any holes in my plan, please feel free to chime in!
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Old 06-16-2022, 02:42 PM   #2
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Some good ideas and well thought through Jwiebe.
You could possibly run into issues with dc voltage drop due to the lengthy dc wire run.
To limit loss, you may want to consider running a single heavy gauge wire, like maybe 1/0 to the front and connect it to a bus bar where all your loads can be connected. Maybe not. Just noodling.
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Old 06-16-2022, 03:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marine359 View Post
Some good ideas and well thought through Jwiebe.
You could possibly run into issues with dc voltage drop due to the lengthy dc wire run.
To limit loss, you may want to consider running a single heavy gauge wire, like maybe 1/0 to the front and connect it to a bus bar where all your loads can be connected. Maybe not. Just noodling.
Great thought. The existing DC run is 4AWG, I was planning to bump it up to 2AWG. The 4AWG will remain from the front bus bar to the distribution panel. I think the 2 gauge supply will help compensate for the longer supply run.
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Old 06-22-2022, 08:57 PM   #4
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Thought I’d post a progress photo.

Got the DC wiring run to the tongue, 2/0 cables have been created and are ready to install, and the 120V cabling is ready. Excuse the mess, I’ll button it up once I start terminating the ends.
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Old 07-04-2022, 03:48 PM   #5
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Pretty much got the installation finalized last week. Waiting for some split tubing so I can clean up the wire and will add a photo or two once it's cleaned up.

I took the trailer out for the Canada Day long weekend, and everything exceeded expectations. Left home with 100%, and returned with about 65% state of charge.

Took a few screenshots of the reasonably decent Renogy app. The primary DC load is our 12V Dometic compressor fridge. The Renogy reported about a 6A draw on the battery on "performance" mode, with the cooling power set to 80% and the freezer on "max". When I set the fridge to "eco" the app gave me an estimated time remaining of about a week, but I didn't find the cooling power to be adequate

We have a 100W solar panel, which helps offset the fridge power draw during the day but generally not enough to offset the load of the fridge.

Unfortunately, I was unable to run the air conditioning off of the 2000W Xantrex inverter. I get an error code E03 which is power overload. The fan comes on but once the compressor tries to kick in, it overloads. I'll likely install a soft start to attempt to make it work. My goal is not to have a long runtime (as I know a 200Ah setup will not provide on) but merely make it work. Does anybody else have the GE air conditioning? Seems that most folks with MM have the Dometic but somehow I got saddled with the GE.
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Old 07-04-2022, 06:35 PM   #6
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The Xantrex will run our Dometic Brisk II A/C , which we have equipped with an Easy Start. This is not a good thing. On two occasions, when packing up to leave after running the A/C on generator or SP, I have forgotten to turn off the A/C. Upon arrival at our destination, our LiFePo4 was dead. Bounced right back, but I’m sure It didn’t take more than 30 minutes to fully discharge the battery, and leave us with no refrigeration, and unable to operate the tongue jack. Maybe I need to start taking Prevagen.
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Old 07-04-2022, 07:04 PM   #7
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A 2000w inverter is not really all that adequate for running an RV AC unit. Even with an Easy Start installed you are really maxing out the inverter. With 400-amp hours of LiPo you'll do better with 2800 or more watts from the inverter.
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Old 07-04-2022, 07:32 PM   #8
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Again, not a question of “should I”, but more a question of “can I”.
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Old 07-04-2022, 09:54 PM   #9
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Again, not a question of “should I”, but more a question of “can I”.
No. Not likely. The 2000w rating of your inverter is more like a best case maximum that is not something you’ll commonly experience. And you need more watts than that to run your A/C.

Yes, you can add a soft start to your A/C and might be able to run it some, a little, perhaps.

Just as if you bought a 2000w portable generator… you might get it to work but you really need ~2,500w or more to run the A/C.
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Old 07-13-2022, 09:26 PM   #10
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Just finished installing the MicroAir easy start - works like a charm. As I said - not because I should, but because I can. Renogy app estimates about an hour of use running the A/C which is what I expected.
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Old 08-09-2022, 08:52 AM   #11
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Here's the final install. Everything has been working really well, did a few more tests with the air conditioning, and I can get two solid hours of runtime from the battery.

We're heading out on a 6,000km, 3-week trip in a few days, so I'm looking forward to a full exhaustive test. We will have very little electrical service, so we'll be relying on our generator and the single solar panel (this will barely offset the fridge consumption, but at least it's something).

Next energy system upgrades on the list are a new solar controller (Renogy or Victron) with a sidewall port for suitcase solar. I don't think I want to add new roof panels. The suitcase option also allows me to bring the panels along if/when I buy a new trailer. I might also put a second 200aH Renogy battery beside this one if I find my current capacity to be limiting.
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Old 08-09-2022, 09:02 AM   #12
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Looks good! I have two of those Renogy 200ah batteries and so far they’ve been great.

I am surprised that your A/C will run off of your 2000w inverter. I haven’t wired my system to run the A/C because I seriously doubt my Magnum 2000w inverter could do it. Besides, I can run both A/Cs at the push of the generator start button.
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