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Old 05-25-2019, 07:45 PM   #1
shedventure
 
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Default Solar / Battery Bank newbie questions

Hi all -

I am trying to wrap my head around electrical systems and it's all a bit overwhelming so I'm hoping so more experienced/Knowledgable people here might be able to assist me!

I'm finally in the process of buying a van and trying to start ordering items for my conversion I know I want to install a combo solar/alternator charged system. I will be running a fridge, powering small electronics, charging a laptop, led lights, running a roof fan (or 2) frequently for my dog, sink pump, and occasionally a tankless water heater.

Friends have given me a refurbished Xantrax Powerwatt SW 2000 inverter (specs HERE) and now I am trying to decide on batteries/solar panels. I'd love input on the following:


1) What size battery bank would hold the most charge working off this inverter? Any recommended batteries?


2) Looking at a 300 or 400 watt Renogy solar kit would the additional 100 watts be worth it on the system I am trying to make? Any alternative solar panels recommended over this kit? Likely I'll have a lot of stretches of 3-5 days without much driving so I will rely a lot on solar.



I will be buying an isolator to charge off the alternator, and would like to have a shore power connection as well, any suggestions for these parts or system diagrams that can charge off of all 3 (alternator/solar/shore power).



Any parts in this system I'm missing? Fuses etc? Thanks so very much for helping me out, I'm completely clueless!!!
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Old 05-25-2019, 08:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: Solar / Battery Bank newbie questions

Are you thinking a fuel-fired instant HWS? Or tied into the engine block, the only electricity used is maybe the spark and pump moving the water around?

Or one where the electric element is doing the (very) heavy lifting, actually heating the water?
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Old 05-25-2019, 08:40 PM   #3
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Default Re: Solar / Battery Bank newbie questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
Are you thinking a fuel-fired instant HWS? Or tied into the engine block, the only electricity used is maybe the spark and pump moving the water around?

Or one where the electric element is doing the (very) heavy lifting, actually heating the water?
I'm leaning towards a propane heating system for the van so the HWS would also run off that
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Old 05-25-2019, 09:42 PM   #4
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Default Re: Solar / Battery Bank newbie questions

You might do well to order the MB wiring (at least) for the auxiliary battery ... that will get stuff like an isolation relay (and the ECM/alternator's programming that you'll be using one) squared away.

Otherwise, make sure your build will have the EK1 option ... up until now it's been pretty much a "US-standard" 'option', but it doesn't hurt to check ... it provides a fused D+ ('alternator running') terminal which tells you when to pull in the isolation relay.

--dick
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Old 05-25-2019, 09:59 PM   #5
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Default Re: Solar / Battery Bank newbie questions

Gas or diesel?

Either way, a hydronic burner same fuel as your engine, tied into the engine block, for both living space heat and HWS is ideal.

Sit in comfort in arctic ambients without carting huge gas bottles around.

But yes, some electric needs to circulate the water, feed fans
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Old 05-25-2019, 10:03 PM   #6
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Default Re: Solar / Battery Bank newbie questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
Are you thinking a fuel-fired instant HWS? Or tied into the engine block, the only electricity used is maybe the spark and pump moving the water around?

Or one where the electric element is doing the (very) heavy lifting, actually heating the water?
What does HWS stand for?
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Old 05-25-2019, 10:08 PM   #7
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Default Re: Solar / Battery Bank newbie questions

tankless water heater = instant

hot water service
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Old 05-25-2019, 10:54 PM   #8
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Default Re: Solar / Battery Bank newbie questions

dupe

Last edited by john61ct; 05-26-2019 at 12:28 AM.
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Old 05-25-2019, 10:55 PM   #9
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Default Re: Solar / Battery Bank newbie questions

https://www.google.com/search?q=hws+meaning

Top result, bingo
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Old 05-26-2019, 08:36 AM   #10
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Default Re: Solar / Battery Bank newbie questions

I found this video very helpful in order to calculate power needs



Up until 3:30 he's answering viewer comments on a previous video in case you want to skip forward
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