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Old 04-01-2013, 08:04 PM   #151
General Disarray
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Default Re: Best way to charge house batteries: Solar or Alternator

Thanks Dave. Sounds like a great system.

1) where do these 255ah battery arrays come from? At what $$?

2) are there 200+ watts of panels to be had, to my door for $200? Can seem to combine search words in google that can get me to the bottom of this ??

3) what exactly do I need to charge the battery off the factory alternator as a backup for cloudy days? A solenoid and cable? What exactly?

My fantasy is to get the supplies together at a good low cost, and drop the whole thing off with someone who can wire it all up for me. I don't want to pay the mark up that our local solar dude putts on his parts after investigating for myself. His 75w panels are $150 for chrissakes! Now that I know better, I don't want to deal with him at all.
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:47 PM   #152
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Default Re: Best way to charge house batteries: Solar or Alternator

1.The 255 amp-hr is the 8D AGM battery that I have.

2. Search for 24 volt nominal solar panels to find a panel around 200 watts. Hopefully you have added up your loads so they are compatible with the size of the inverter and solar panel. I priced the 240 watt solar panel at $237.60 to be picked up locally. Generally panels larger than 135 watts can not be shipped UPS so finding a local source can save freight costs on the larger panels.

3. There are several ways to charge the battery from the Sprinter that have been described to you. If you do not understand, then try to find someone in your area who can help.
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Old 04-01-2013, 09:18 PM   #153
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Default Re: Best way to charge house batteries: Solar or Alternator

This is just my observation of this thread - you could save money to assure quality deployment of the electrical conversion by going to know-how folks. This thread is active for the last 6 months and it seems it is still steep learning curve for you. From the distance this thread is a little like driving on a roundabout from the "European Vacation". Perhaps someone can help you to evaluate your expected load including getting correct data from the fridge and design and build your conversion with local resources.

You can save money on components but null these savings once a know-how installation person will need different items. A wrong PV panel can set you off by hundreds.

Good luck,

George.

Last edited by GeorgeRa; 04-02-2013 at 12:38 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 04-02-2013, 08:12 AM   #154
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Default Re: Best way to charge house batteries: Solar or Alternator

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This thread is active for the last 6 months and it seems it is still steep learning curve for you. From the distance this thread is a little like driving on a roundabout from the "European Vacation".
Well, frankly your "observation" is a bit dismissive and unnecessarily condescending. Actually the the thread is 6 months old, but there is a four month gap of dormancy between Dec and March; I resurrected it a month ago to ask for more details. I started this thread not knowing anything about either method, and I think my last few posts demonstrate I have a pretty good grasp on the various options for charging batteries. At this point I'm wondering where folks are getting their AGM's at good prices, and a few minor things. But for the most part Ive learned a lot with this thread, and am incredibly grateful for all the contributions; save one or two unproductive ones

Last edited by General Disarray; 04-02-2013 at 08:15 AM.
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Old 12-29-2013, 07:09 AM   #155
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Default Re: Best way to charge house batteries: Solar or Alternator

Wow, I made it thru this entire thread and learned a lot... I often use the principle that when there are more than one way to do things, and in the lack of compelling research that shows one way is significantly better, then the prudent decision would be to take the easiest and cheapest route. At this time, still awaiting the arrival of a '14 4 cylinder Sprinter, and having pretty much the same needs as the OP, I am planning on an aux battery / relay as supplied by the dealer (I didn't order it, so it will have to be after delivery add-on, which hopefully the dealer will do)... I don't understand electricity but I trust MB does. Thank you all for helping me make a decision.
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Old 03-31-2016, 08:01 PM   #156
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Default Re: Best way to charge house batteries: Solar or Alternator

I am considering a similar plan. Boats often use dual alternators, or have selector switches to switch from onboard genset power to alternative 110v. National Alternator makes a dual alternator kit with MB parts that allows you to add an additional alternator (MB offers this on Sprinters from the factory). Its, not cheap, with the v regulator its close to $2 K for the parts, then you need a selector switch, probably a set of relays to control the alternative power sources, and of course labor. I suspect you'd be in for about $3500. The kit offers a 200 Amp second alternator, so assuming you run load at a max of 75% that is 150 amps continuous load @ 12 volts. Since we know that Volts x Amps = Watts we can figure that at 12 v X 150 amps is 1800 watts. divide by 10 to convert 12 v to 120 v and you have an approx 15 amp circuit, should be more than enough to drive the AC on low, probably high speed. The original alternator would keep the batteries charged, and run the fridge. Just don't use the microwave and AC at the same time. Outfits that build ambulances or the like can probably do the work. The trick is you don't want to butcher the existing electrical system, that's why I'd use the additional alternator and inverter, basically creating a parallel system that you select between.

http://www.nationsstarteralternator....-dak-270xp.htm
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Old 03-31-2016, 08:43 PM   #157
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Default Re: Best way to charge house batteries: Solar or Alternator

Quote:
Originally Posted by rrm View Post
I am considering a similar plan. Boats often use dual alternators, or have selector switches to switch from onboard genset power to alternative 110v. National Alternator makes a dual alternator kit with MB parts that allows you to add an additional alternator (MB offers this on Sprinters from the factory). Its, not cheap, with the v regulator its close to $2 K for the parts, then you need a selector switch, probably a set of relays to control the alternative power sources, and of course labor. I suspect you'd be in for about $3500. The kit offers a 200 Amp second alternator, so assuming you run load at a max of 75% that is 150 amps continuous load @ 12 volts. Since we know that Volts x Amps = Watts we can figure that at 12 v X 150 amps is 1800 watts. divide by 10 to convert 12 v to 120 v and you have an approx 15 amp circuit, should be more than enough to drive the AC on low, probably high speed. The original alternator would keep the batteries charged, and run the fridge. Just don't use the microwave and AC at the same time. Outfits that build ambulances or the like can probably do the work. The trick is you don't want to butcher the existing electrical system, that's why I'd use the additional alternator and inverter, basically creating a parallel system that you select between.
I installed a Nations Alternator system, more or less as you describe:

http://sprinter-source.com/forum/sho...ons#post394758

These kits are rated at 270 Amps, not 200. They produce 200 amps at idle, and they really do deliver this. My system does not interact with the Sprinter charging system in any way. There is no need for any selector switches or relays--the Balmar (which BTW is a true, programmable 3-stage charger, not just a regulator) takes care of everything. You can wire the alternator output directly to the house bank. All you need is fuses. Installation is pretty much bolt-on. There is no way it would cost you $3500, unless you are including the inverter.

My system can run the A/C without skipping a beat. It will also bulk-charge my 440a/h battery in about an hour's driving.
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Old 04-04-2016, 04:49 PM   #158
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Default Re: Best way to charge house batteries: Solar or Alternator

In case it is interesting, Suniva makes very decent panels in the 200 and 300 watt (nameplate) range. Even made in the US.

A friend of mine suggested that it might be better to make the panels removable, so a person can park in the shade, and put the panels in sunny areas.
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