hilld's slow roll build

hilld

Well-known member

johnplyler

Active member
Here is the spec sheet for my panel, max current and short circuit current is less than 10A. Keep in mind that if you put a giant breaker in there, you probably need to have wiring to support that as breakers protect the wiring. A 60A breaker would require AWG 6 or perhaps even AWG 4 wire.

I really don't have a clue! I doesn't make sense to me either. All I am interested in is will it work??? This is my first. Nate builds these and apparently they work, I really don't know. Keep me in the loop. I just got my panels today and will be figuring out how to test them. I ordered the Sunpower Maxeon panels and paid extra for them. The package doesn't say Maxeon, but the output Amps says 6.0, so maybe they are right??

My next project is figuring out how to place and wire the two contractor I hear we need to go with the Nations alternator and controller.
 

hilld

Well-known member
The electrical stuff comes pretty easy to me, I used to repair large generator sets in the Army many, many moons ago and have also worked as an automobile tech specializing in electrical work. Just solar is new to me, but electricity is electricity no matter how it is generated.

So you must have around 300W panels then, since you said panels, I am assuming you are doing 2 of them.

What issues do you have with the alternator and controller? It is pretty straight forward. Now running the actual wires from the alternator to the back of the van was sort of a pain as those 2/0 and 2 other wires were a tight fit in some of the frame rail holes. Just make sure you make sure the wires don't chafe and cause a short, use plenty of hard plastic protective tubing.
 

johnplyler

Active member
I have five 110 watt panels with the Victron 100/50 MPPT. I got the flex panels. I plan to mount them on 1/2" aluminum frames and the stack of them will only be about 4 inches thick in my garage. The plan is to park in the best spot (shade with view) and put the panels 50 feet out in the sun. With the legs on the frames, I can track the sun during the day.

With a 400A battery, I hope I never have to use them, but I plan to use the Houghton A/C for the warmer trips that pulls 14 amps, so I will need the 2200 watt Honda generator running at least part of the night or shore power.

I am still collecting the hardware to make all this happen. Once I get into the actual build I will try to post some pictures like you have.
 

johnplyler

Active member
It has been a while since I posted and updated this thread, but that doesn't mean there hasn't been progress.

I did post in another thread on page 12 - https://sprinter-source.com/forums/index.php?threads/89088/page-12 - some of the challenges I had with the alternator installation and documented some of my basic electrical install.

I will try to summarize the changes here, but many of the details are in the other thread.

The Nations 280A (N62 option bracket version) is installed, wired and working. I chose to run both 2/0 positive and ground from the alternator to the Wakespeed regulator mounted in the back of the van. I wired everything using weatherpack connectors at all junctions and used cable glands for everything except the temperature sensor as that had a factory connector on it and wouldn't fit through a cable gland and to make matters worse, I didn't account for that when drilling all the holes. Ooops.

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I also ran a round 10/3 marine cable through the rear quarter panel area using a factory location (it exits near the rear hitch) for the shore power connector. Temporarily ty-rap'ed the cable for now until I can make the bracket and my smart plug arrives (like everything else - back ordered)

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johnplyler

Active member
I had one more connection to make in order for the house system to come to life. Ok, more than that as the inverter doesn't have any A/C connections yet, but to make sure the alternator, batteries, etc work. I still had to hookup up the D+ terminal under the drivers seat that tells the WakeSpeed the engine is running.

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First startup, and time to do some checking of the systems. No fire nor sparks, that is a good sign.

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Now that the basic electrical system is FINALLY installed, time to focus on finishing the L-track install. I hadn't finished the passenger side tracks other than the adventure wagon V2 bed kit. About 1/2 day and it was done.

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I am not seeing your two contractors in your electrical layout??? I hear I need them, but I can not find the paper work that explains it!
 

johnplyler

Active member
It has been a while since I posted and updated this thread, but that doesn't mean there hasn't been progress.

I did post in another thread on page 12 - https://sprinter-source.com/forums/index.php?threads/89088/page-12 - some of the challenges I had with the alternator installation and documented some of my basic electrical install.

I will try to summarize the changes here, but many of the details are in the other thread.

The Nations 280A (N62 option bracket version) is installed, wired and working. I chose to run both 2/0 positive and ground from the alternator to the Wakespeed regulator mounted in the back of the van. I wired everything using weatherpack connectors at all junctions and used cable glands for everything except the temperature sensor as that had a factory connector on it and wouldn't fit through a cable gland and to make matters worse, I didn't account for that when drilling all the holes. Ooops.

View attachment 181851

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View attachment 181853

View attachment 181854

I also ran a round 10/3 marine cable through the rear quarter panel area using a factory location (it exits near the rear hitch) for the shore power connector. Temporarily ty-rap'ed the cable for now until I can make the bracket and my smart plug arrives (like everything else - back ordered)

View attachment 181855
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hilld

Well-known member
From all the research I have done, there are some issues with the twistlocks arcing over time and causing the wires to burn. @GeorgeRa recommended that I use the SmartPlug, so that is what I purchased, just haven't installed it yet....soooooo many things to do and so little time.
 

hilld

Well-known member
Today's plan was to work on the electrical distribution, but since my water tank showed up on Friday, that was this weekends project. Fit the water tank and pump and build a cage for it. Getting ready to go on a trip on Wed for a week, but not camping. Here is some progress making the cage for the water tank.

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Tubing used for this was 1" square just like the electrical cage, but the wall thickness was 0.095, so just under 1/8" cold rolled steel.

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Starting to come together

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Love the welding table with lots of 5/8" holes for clamps to hold everything in place

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hilld

Well-known member
Almost done

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Attaches to the L-Track on the floor and walls, also welded large tabs / plates to cradle the tank.

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All installed with a test fit. Removed cage and tank so I can paint the cage, but not until after the trip. Need the cargo space instead.

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johnplyler

Active member
Not contractors, contactors. There's tons of info out there. You can look at my schematic posted in my thread, hilld's schematic, or the REC BMS user manual.
Ok, got your drawing in my hands. Looks like the 2/0 from the alternator go to one contactor, then to battery. The other contactor is between the DC panel and battery. The red control wires on each contactor go to the BMS and the blacks go to ground. Right??
Thanks
 

hilld

Well-known member
Almost forgot to post these. The electrical cages were painted in my garage paintbooth. Just taped some plastic up along objects in the garage and went to town with some spray paint. Got a serious headache along the way, even with the garage door wide open.

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The no runs is false advertising..... :rolleyes:

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Painted and a temporary install in the van. This was right before starting on the cage for the fresh water tank, previously posted already.

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hilld

Well-known member
Some more updates to report. I did meet with Al from Wakespeed at his house / shop on the island. What a lovely guy to talk to. He showed me some of the cool stuff they are working on, replaced the case on my regulator as some screws were stripped (not by me), updated the firmware, tweaked a couple of settings, talked lots of shop and then testing the regulator in the van. Even gave me a couple of pointers and sold me a temp sensor for the battery that was not included from Nations.

I showed him the sprinter wiring and he mentioned that the most frequent question from Sprinter owners is where to hook up the brown (engine running lead). Showed him and provided him with a picture for them to give to current and future customers. Worthwhile the several hours. :dance:

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The inside of my regulator (before case swap, it is now white).

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hilld

Well-known member
So, what has happened in the past couple of weeks? Another trip to the island to have some peace and quiet to work on the van and of course house project.

Also managed to finish the rest of the Thinsulate after running some wires and boy, the road noise when driving is quite a bit lower, and I only had 2 sections to finish, but it certainly makes a difference.

Time to run some wiring and of course after I got some of the panels installed, I realized that I have forgotten some wires. I guess practice makes perfect. Before the wiring, I had cut and test fit several times to 2 main ceiling panels (1/4" Baltic Birch). Also installed some rivnuts to hold the panels in place, 3 rivnuts per rib in the van.

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Used M6 Torx bolts (from McMaster-Carr) to keep the Torx look in the van to hold up the panels.

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Still have to install the plastic trim panel against the headliner, forgot to bring that with me. Ooops.

Ok, now some wiring. Due to me having installed the L-Track ceiling support brackets I purchased from Esplori I had to drill knockout holes in them. Experimented with a couple of different knockout bushings and the blue ones suck, but I didn't have enough of the black ones, so that is why you see a mixture. Now that I am back in town, I will be visiting Platt and pickup more of the black bushings.

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hilld

Well-known member
All the wiring is done using marine grade cable (tinned copper) and I am using Wago automotive connectors for the 12V lighting connections.

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Added a bit of conduit where the wires pass through factory holes

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Of course I said that I was also working on house projects, after some brush clearing, time to burn. Last day I am allowed to burn until October, so better get going.

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hilld

Well-known member
In a previous post, I showed one of the ceiling panels installed, now time to make some holes for lights and fan.

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Quick test fit and pull the wires out of the holes.

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Repeat for the second panel. I did attach a 1.5" cleat to the backside of the front panel (only 2 panels) to hold the second panel in place and line it up for attaching it. It also makes for a better connection as I screwed the second panel the cleat as well. The baltic birch is actually very attractive with the fine layers. Wood will be finished in the near future with some clear Spar Urethane.
 

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