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Old 02-11-2020, 08:08 AM   #1
Treesner
 
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Default best video guide for electrical/battery setup

I really need to replace the goal zero 400 in my van but it's been hard diving into the electrical madness that I see. Do you guys have any favorite guides (preferably video) that walks through the process. there's quite a few out there just hard to figure out which one to go with.

I'll be powering a:
dometic fridge
led lights
fantastic van
2kw diesel heater
Mac laptop
GoPro
iphone
maybe some makita battery chargers?

I used this calculator from faroutride to come up with
power usage: 59Ah
inverter 600w
battery bank: 200w
solar: 175w
solar charger 75|15
alternator 30a
shore 30a

Does this seem good or is it worth upgrading some things?

It generated a list of all the items it says I need which came out to 41 pieces for $2200 ( I already have solar panels)
they dont have a video but do have a pdf guide


also found this am solar parts list + installation guide
and theres a video series on it for their high end kit


I already have two renege 100w panels but they'er setup with he plug to the goal zero so will need to add some more things
Attached Files
File Type: pdf DIY Van Electrical Calculator & Maker | FarOutRide.pdf (185.4 KB, 20 views)

Last edited by Treesner; 02-11-2020 at 06:42 PM.
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Old 02-11-2020, 08:34 AM   #2
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Default Re: best video guide for electrical/battery setup

I like faroutride and have enjoyed reading their guides. Here are a few tips for your solar setup based on my setup's experience:
https://sprinter-source.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=75431

Consider what your usage pattern will be and whether you'd like to be able to upgrade / add more stuff in the future. For example, do you think you might like to add a microwave in the future? Will you be using the system full time or on weekends? Boondocking for days or driving every day?

The most expensive items in my setup are the ~$1000 x 2 LiFePO4 batteries. The AGM alternative is cheaper but comes with a number of tradeoffs (less usable capacity without degradation of battery life, weight) - other stuff adds up but item by item it'll be much cheaper than the batteries.

Measure the battery capacity and usage numbers in Amp Hours or Watt Hours.

Learn about wire sizing and voltage drop. Oversize your wires when in doubt as they are cheap and will save you later headaches.

Take it one step at a time and ask specific questions on the forum. There are lots of helpful and knowledgeable folks here who would be happy to guide you in the right direction

The first step I would recommend is to draw yourself a rough diagram of how the various components would fit together and fill in the details as you learn about them.
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Old 02-11-2020, 10:29 AM   #3
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Default Re: best video guide for electrical/battery setup

Great advice from SeattleNewbie.

A couple of things from my own experience.

I was completely unaware of voltage drop but was lucky to discover it when my Dometic CFX was struggling. Lucky because it was the first piece of wiring I did which meant that I took the decision to go two or even three sizes thicker than I was planning to need with all the rest of the wiring. The extra cost was not that much but it means that I can add things or move things without having to strip the cladding away to run new wiring in the future.

My own power demands sound like they are similar to yours so I'll throw a couple of ideas at you...

I personally think that planning for expansion is always a good thing if your budget allows you to as it's often much cheaper in the long run and it saves doing the same job twice.

I started off with a single 150W solar panel but installed a 20W MPPT controller in case I wanted to add a second solar panel. While one panel was OK for summer use I found that in the UK winters a second panel means that I can get two to three days without needing to drive to charge the batteries.

That's also partly due to a personal choice not to install shore power. I'd like to be self sufficient and I'd also like to keep everything 12v.

Everything 12v is really nice. It keeps things simple. You can buy cables to charge your MacBook (make sure you get the correct power rating) directly from a cigarette lighter socket. You can also buy 12v chargers for Makita batteries (I haven't bought one yet, but I've looked into it)

This means you don't need an inverter. You don't need to have different circuits for different voltages. You don't need shore power. It's also more efficient. Converting 12v to 110v on your inverter only to convert it back again to 5v (or whatever the MacBook actually uses) means you're losing power twice.

Am I still going to put an inverter in? I'm so undecided on this. I can see that it could be really useful for those 'unforeseen' needs - except that I can't think for the life of me what I could possibly need that I don't already have covered by my 12v system.

Best videos?

The one's I found most helpful were the ones by Greg Virgoe



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Last edited by sparkplug; 02-11-2020 at 10:38 AM.
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Old 02-11-2020, 01:19 PM   #4
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Default Re: best video guide for electrical/battery setup

I have wrote a bit about this before. Here is some reading. I think a pair of GC2 batteries, 200W of solar, and an alternator (DC-DC if used in the winter) charger would be a good base system. You will need to get some feedback on proper wire crimping, fusing, etc. But its doable if you are handy.

https://sprinter-source.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=58448
https://sprinter-source.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=71319
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Old 02-11-2020, 02:26 PM   #5
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Default Re: best video guide for electrical/battery setup

Your location in Santa Cruz and the overcast conditions mean that your need for panels is about 2x what is required in other areas such as AZ.

Similarly, the battery bank ideally needs to be about 400 amp-hrs instead of 200.

Your experience with a goal zero nominal 12 volt lead battery system has also demonstrated that it isn't reliable to use this as a basis for making sure that the heater and fridge will consistently work directly from the battery pack.

Of course I am always going to recommend a 24 volt approach and then convert to 12 volt using a converter to make the 12 volt appliances more reliable.

If you aren't willing to go down that path, consider to plug a 120 vac to 12 volt DC converter into the inverter and power the fridge and heater that way.

I have customers in San Francisco and Berkeley full time living in vans and it is just a tough environment to get enough power each day with out over doing it.

For a solar charge controller, consider to use the bogart pwm controller. Getting very good results in SF.

I have a 1x1 system demo unit here with a similar setup, but only 160 amp-hrs of battery pack. it is the size of a full size suit case. If you want to try it for a few weeks and see what you think I can loan it to you. I don't care if you ultimately buy it or not. You can try it out and write on the forum openly about your experience with it - good or bad. I can tell you already though that it will only keep up if you have more panel capacity, otherwise you won't be satisfied. With ~2 x the solar panel capacity it will work fine for what you are describing.
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Last edited by HarryN; 02-11-2020 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 02-11-2020, 06:25 PM   #6
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Default Re: best video guide for electrical/battery setup

There are a ton of electrical videos on youtube. Some are better than others.
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Old 02-11-2020, 10:54 PM   #7
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Default Re: best video guide for electrical/battery setup

I love how organized his board is


my friend followed that am solar guide/kit spent the most time laying out where everything goes on the bored he screwed all the things too. his looked way less pretty and organized than this haha
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Old 02-11-2020, 10:59 PM   #8
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Default Re: best video guide for electrical/battery setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleNewbie View Post
I like faroutride and have enjoyed reading their guides. Here are a few tips for your solar setup based on my setup's experience:
https://sprinter-source.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=75431

Consider what your usage pattern will be and whether you'd like to be able to upgrade / add more stuff in the future. For example, do you think you might like to add a microwave in the future? Will you be using the system full time or on weekends? Boondocking for days or driving every day?

The most expensive items in my setup are the ~$1000 x 2 LiFePO4 batteries. The AGM alternative is cheaper but comes with a number of tradeoffs (less usable capacity without degradation of battery life, weight) - other stuff adds up but item by item it'll be much cheaper than the batteries.

Measure the battery capacity and usage numbers in Amp Hours or Watt Hours.

Learn about wire sizing and voltage drop. Oversize your wires when in doubt as they are cheap and will save you later headaches.

Take it one step at a time and ask specific questions on the forum. There are lots of helpful and knowledgeable folks here who would be happy to guide you in the right direction

The first step I would recommend is to draw yourself a rough diagram of how the various components would fit together and fill in the details as you learn about them.
thank you, could you take this list and update it to what you ended up using or more so wish you needed up using? that would be helpful to see how it changed

Quote:
I'd like to power the following in the van every day, and be able to survive one cloudy day without shore power:
- LED Lights ~10 ah
- Laptop, phone, etc chargers ~10 ah (AC)
- Dometic CFX 65W Powered Cooler: ~10-15 ah
- MaxxFan Deluxe 7500: ~12-15 ah
- Water Pump and other minor loads: ~5 ah
- Bosch Electric Mini-Tank Water Heater Tronic 3000: ~50 ah? (AC)
--> total = 105 ah

I'd like to install the following:

- 2 x 100 ah BattleBorn LiFePO4 batteries, (in parallel: 12v 200ah)
- 3 x 100 watt 12 Volt Renogy Monocrystalline Solar Panels (in series)
- Renogy 3000W Pure Sine Wave Inverter Charger
- Rover Li 40 Amp MPPT Solar Charge Controller
- Some battery monitor: I haven't picked one yet
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