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  • #16
    Update picture as solar and DC-DC charging has been added, more space needed.
    Click image for larger version

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    Brian
    Brian & Michelle
    2018 Reflection 29RS Oct.2017 build date, EMS-HW50C , Lippert Remote
    2015 Chevy 3500HD CC LB Duramax , Reese Elite 18K

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    • #17
      Country Campers -- this thread was posted right after I started school so I lost track--nice install, Brian!
      Forum moderators are not GD employees--we are volunteers and owners presumably just like yourself. Unless specifically mentioned otherwise, we have nothing to gain should you choose to purchase a product or engage a service we discuss on this forum.

      2017 Ford F-350 DRW, '19 315RLTSPlus

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      • #18
        Country Campers

        Hey Brian

        Looks very neatly done. And it looks awefully similar to what I'm planning to build. I have some questions if you don't mind:
        1. Any chance you have a diagram of the setup? It's probably obvious just looking at the photo for someone who understands this stuff well, but I'm just learning.
        2. Did you need any special tools for the high-gauge wire? Crimpers and such?
        3. I've been trying to decide whether an inverter/charger is worth getting over a converter (mine does not explicitly support Lithium batteries). The cost difference isn't huge. Is there a reason you decided not to go with an inverter? Was it becase the wiring was easier, since you didn't need to fiddle with the 120V supply cable and the panel input wiring?
        4. Are all three of your chargers wired simply in parallel or did you need to add somthing to make sure they don't step on each other's toes?
        5. Did you need to rip a lot of paneling and isulation out to build this? How did you get to all the existing wiring you needed access to? Or is there no insulation at the top/side of that compartment? Is cold weather an issue where you live and when you use the rig?
        Thanks in advance.

        Andrew
        2021 Transcend 247BH

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        • #19
          Originally posted by AndrewSmith View Post
          Country Campers

          Hey Brian

          Looks very neatly done. And it looks awefully similar to what I'm planning to build. I have some questions if you don't mind:
          1. Any chance you have a diagram of the setup? It's probably obvious just looking at the photo for someone who understands this stuff well, but I'm just learning.
          2. Did you need any special tools for the high-gauge wire? Crimpers and such?
          3. I've been trying to decide whether an inverter/charger is worth getting over a converter (mine does not explicitly support Lithium batteries). The cost difference isn't huge. Is there a reason you decided not to go with an inverter? Was it becase the wiring was easier, since you didn't need to fiddle with the 120V supply cable and the panel input wiring?
          4. Are all three of your chargers wired simply in parallel or did you need to add somthing to make sure they don't step on each other's toes?
          5. Did you need to rip a lot of paneling and isulation out to build this? How did you get to all the existing wiring you needed access to? Or is there no insulation at the top/side of that compartment? Is cold weather an issue where you live and when you use the rig?
          Thanks in advance.

          Andrew
          I did not have a diagram and not very good at computer graphics to make one that would be suitable for posting.

          Here is the only "special" tool that I used, TEMCo Lug Crimper Tool TH0012-8 AWG - 0000 AWG(4/0) DIELESS Indent Electrical Battery Terminal Cable Wire 5 YEAR WARRANTY - - Amazon.com, there are plenty of other options available. All other tools I had, basic wire strippers and small crimper, I did buy a large gauge wire cutter at Harbor Freight.

          I did not go with an inverter/charger or even a Multiplus as I do not really have a need for that. We camp mostly with hook ups, at least electric, most of the time. This upgrade was just for the few times that we have no hook ups at all. If I was to go all out with more solar and bigger battery bank I would go with a Multiplus and the rest of the system but that is not our needs at this time.

          All three chargers, lithium converter/charger, solar controller, DC-DC , are wired into the positive on the battery bank. Both the solar controller and the DC-DC can be turned off if needed. I am guessing that the battery management system, BMS, will take care of the batteries if there is too much amperage coming from the chargers but mostly they will be turned off when not needed. When towing if the sun is high and bright I will let the solar do its thing, cloudy rainy day the DC-DC will take over. When camped with electric the converter/charger will provide the charging, unless there is a power outage.

          All the connections I needed for this was right in the same area. Having a fifth wheel the battery is in the front pass thru from the factory so this is where all of this was installed, the solar side would be better to discuss in that thread, Solar Install, Reflection 29RS Fifth Wheel - Grand Design Owners Forums (gdrvowners.com).

          We do camp in "cool" weather, and have had frost and snow once and a while. Cooler weather is easier to keep warm than it is to keep cool.

          Anything else you need let me know, hopefully I have answered these questions.

          Brian
          Brian & Michelle
          2018 Reflection 29RS Oct.2017 build date, EMS-HW50C , Lippert Remote
          2015 Chevy 3500HD CC LB Duramax , Reese Elite 18K

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          • #20
            Man, I thought I was getting the hang of it until you mentioned Multiplus and I went reading their documentation. Now I feel like a child again

            I'm sure I'll figure it all out eventually. Might be worth the bother to visit a local solar/rv dealer to get advice and buy some of the parts I need from them. I'd love to get at least a basic setup ready before april when we're planning a two-month mostly-off-grid trip.

            A fifth wheel explains why it looks so unfamiliar to me. On all my trailers the ceiling of the front compartment was covered flat, could not see any metal rails like your photo. There is one small box with some electrical stuff on it, maybe if I take that apart I'll find all the connections that I need.

            Thanks for sharing your experience!
            2021 Transcend 247BH

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            • #21
              AndrewSmith

              Andrew,

              The Multiplus is a whole nother beast that was just not the right fit for our usage at this time, maybe in the future a full blown solar install but not now. If you fill out your signature with the model and year of your RV there is more than likely someone here that will help you with routing of wires and where they placed their bits and pieces. The solar setp ups are "rabbit holes" that will suck you in and scramble your brain until you are not sure what you need or want to do. I just went with the basics as that is all that is needed at this time, just to get my feet wet so to speak.
              Plenty of help here just ask.

              Brian
              Brian & Michelle
              2018 Reflection 29RS Oct.2017 build date, EMS-HW50C , Lippert Remote
              2015 Chevy 3500HD CC LB Duramax , Reese Elite 18K

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by AndrewSmith View Post
                Country Campers

                Hey Brian

                Looks very neatly done. And it looks awefully similar to what I'm planning to build. I have some questions if you don't mind:
                1. Any chance you have a diagram of the setup? It's probably obvious just looking at the photo for someone who understands this stuff well, but I'm just learning.
                2. Did you need any special tools for the high-gauge wire? Crimpers and such?
                3. I've been trying to decide whether an inverter/charger is worth getting over a converter (mine does not explicitly support Lithium batteries). The cost difference isn't huge. Is there a reason you decided not to go with an inverter? Was it becase the wiring was easier, since you didn't need to fiddle with the 120V supply cable and the panel input wiring?
                4. Are all three of your chargers wired simply in parallel or did you need to add somthing to make sure they don't step on each other's toes?
                5. Did you need to rip a lot of paneling and isulation out to build this? How did you get to all the existing wiring you needed access to? Or is there no insulation at the top/side of that compartment? Is cold weather an issue where you live and when you use the rig?
                Thanks in advance.

                Andrew
                Andrew - I got this crimper set https://temcoindustrial.com/th0005-v...h-32-die-sets/ It creates hex crimps and goes down to 10AWG. Yes it is a bit more $$, but I have found it to be a huge help in other projects including cable crimps and ferrels. They do have good sales once in a while. I will warn you it is a heavy set, but very easy to use. This is also the place I got my welding and SO cable and some other stuff. Excellent prices, customer service and shipping costs - was free when I bought.

                Hope this helps
                Keith
                2018 Reflection 150 Series 220RK 5th wheel, SteadyFast system, Star White 2022 F350 King Ranch CC Long bed (HAL), B&W 25K OEM Companion

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                • #23
                  Country Campers Brian, and anyone else who cares to offer advice/suggestions, I'm finally having my lithium conversion taken care of early next week. Your picture (above) and comments here lead me to a couple of last-minute questions.

                  You wrote "Having a fifth wheel the battery is in the front pass thru from the factory, so this is where all of this was installed..." From a space saving context I'd love to get the lithium battery (SOK 206 Ah) installed behind the rear passthrough wall of our 5th wheel instead of in the front storage where the OEM batteries are currently located. I took a good look behind the wall today, and I'm not sure it can be done "easily." I'll ask my installer how much extra it's going to cost me to locate the battery there instead of the front compartment like you did.

                  Aside from ease of installation in the front compartment, was there any critical reason to leave the battery there instead of behind the passthrough wall? I didn't take a tape measure with me, but I'm guessing the battery and BMV 712 shut would be back about 5-7 feet of cable length from the MPPT controller if I succeed in having it moved.

                  I think I missed purchasing one component (Circuit Breaker) and using one of your pictures to hopefully make sense of my questions. (See below.)
                  • Top right - that's an On/Off switch from the solar panel(s), correct?
                  • Bottom middle - that's a master On/Off switch, correct? With the way you have that configured, the battery will still receive a charge from the solar panel even if the Master is in the Off position?
                  • Bottom left - and this is the piece I missed - that's a Circuit Breaker between the MPPT controller and the battery, correct? I need to run out and buy one.
                    • I'm assuming that the CB is an important component?
                    • AM Solar's diagram for that MPPT 100|30 controller shows a 40 Amp CB. Is that the correct one to purchase, or is the Amp size of the CB determined by how much solar is up on the roof? I have just the one 165 W panel with no plans for more in the near future (aka within this year, and possibly never.)
                    • The OEM wiring in our 5th wheels has the MPPT output connected to the bus bar, and then there's a separate cable from the bus bar to the battery. Is there an advantage to bypassing the bus bar and just wiring directly from the MPPT to the battery as you did?
                  All of the OEM wiring between the solar, battery, and Converter is 6 AWG (I'm pretty sure.) Is there a decent return on the investment if I have the installer replace all of that 6AWG with something larger?

                  Thanks!

                  Click image for larger version

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                  Mike and Rebecca
                  2022 Reflection 150 260RD
                  2001 Chev 2500 HD 8.1 liter 4x4

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                  • #24
                    Mike & Rebecca I know some have had luck installing under the stairs, it might require some reengineering of the space but it's a possibility. I know behind the wall I would not have had room.

                    As a general rule you want to locate your chargers (solar controller, converter, DC to DC etc) as close to your batteries as possible. Voltage loss is a big factor in DC, and less so on the supply side. I have a similar layout to Brian, and have all my charging sources right near the batteries.
                    Neil Citro
                    2018 Reflection 28bh
                    2019 F350 6.7L Long Bed Crew Cab

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                    • #25
                      Mike & Rebecca

                      Your picture with questions are correct. I chose the 30 amp breaker because the solar controller output is 30 amps.

                      As Neil has stated above it is better to keep all components in close proximity to each other. You can spread them out but the wiring should get bigger when doing this, the installer will have to determine what size wire to use for the distance, I am not sure of voltage drop at the distance that you may have and not sure if it will be significant or not.

                      Brian
                      Brian & Michelle
                      2018 Reflection 29RS Oct.2017 build date, EMS-HW50C , Lippert Remote
                      2015 Chevy 3500HD CC LB Duramax , Reese Elite 18K

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Mike & Rebecca

                        The youtube channel The Dry Campers might be of interest if you haven't seen it. They do big solar installs with all the bells and whistles on lots of Grand Designs and almost always in the location (behind rear passthrough/under the stairs) you are looking at. Granted these are usually on the bigger Solitudes, but IIRC, they did one on a 303 as well. It's definitely possible, just depends on the time and effort (and $$$) you want to invest. Not sure this directly answers your questions, but perhaps will give you some ideas.

                        Ken & Sandra
                        2021 303RLS | 2020 F350 Lariat 6.7L 4x4 SB SRW

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Country Campers View Post
                          Update picture as solar and DC-DC charging has been added, more space needed.
                          Click image for larger version

Name:	20220101_081628.jpg
Views:	380
Size:	85.6 KB
ID:	73375

                          Brian
                          Nice job - a lot better than what I did.
                          Keith
                          2018 Reflection 150 Series 220RK 5th wheel, SteadyFast system, Star White 2022 F350 King Ranch CC Long bed (HAL), B&W 25K OEM Companion

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Country Campers View Post
                            I chose the 30 amp breaker because the solar controller output is 30 amps.
                            Isn't the formula for selecting a breaker or fuse for a circuit the maximum nominal expected amperage x 1.25? In this case, wouldn't a 37.5A (or since that probably doesn't exist a 35A or even a 40A) breaker) be a better choice? I'd wonder about the potential for nuisance trips (due to the ratings of the controller and breaker being the same).

                            I doubt you'll have an issue anytime soon, Brian, with the limited number of panels being utilized at the moment. But if the output of a future configuration starts to push the controller to it's maximum capability up-sizing the breaker might be something to think about.

                            The assumption, of course, is that the size of the wire is sufficient for the maximum expected amperage load, too.
                            Forum moderators are not GD employees--we are volunteers and owners presumably just like yourself. Unless specifically mentioned otherwise, we have nothing to gain should you choose to purchase a product or engage a service we discuss on this forum.

                            2017 Ford F-350 DRW, '19 315RLTSPlus

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              howson

                              Howard,

                              Thanks for the formula, I thought there was one. I did have some success with actual sunshine yesterday and today, panels only produced about 18.5 amps so as you stated the breaker should hold for now and IF I install 2 more panels there will be a breaker upgrade.

                              Brian
                              Brian & Michelle
                              2018 Reflection 29RS Oct.2017 build date, EMS-HW50C , Lippert Remote
                              2015 Chevy 3500HD CC LB Duramax , Reese Elite 18K

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Updating this thread as well.

                                The batteries, solar, DC_DC chargre all played very well with each other and performed great during out last week trip, 8 days with no issues. I will soon be adding 2 more of the Lion Energy UT 1300 batteries so I will have 4 total. I am doing this for the possibility of an inverter in the future but mainly for extended stay time.

                                Brian
                                Brian & Michelle
                                2018 Reflection 29RS Oct.2017 build date, EMS-HW50C , Lippert Remote
                                2015 Chevy 3500HD CC LB Duramax , Reese Elite 18K

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