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303RLS Lithium - Converter - DC DC Charger Upgrade

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  • 303RLS Lithium - Converter - DC DC Charger Upgrade

    Moderator Note: This was originally posted in https://gdrvowners.com/forum/operati...connect-doesnt but thought it was worthy of it's own thread. Hope the OP agrees! -Howard


    It appears that Al and Diane {he is referencing the OP of the other thread} had their initial question answered. However this seemed like an appropriate spot to add my recent upgrade because I know EXACTLY where those wires to the disconnect switch originate and terminate and that allows someone with the same concern the ability to figure out what to do with them; if anything. I post this to aid any other newbies considering what is going on in their rig somewhere down the line and learn from what I discovered in this project.

    I know this because from Monday to Wednesday this week I spent rewiring and installing two lithium battery replacements for the single OEM lead acid, a Victron Battery Monitor, upgraded converter charger, DC DC charger and a true, full power, cutoff switch.

    Before I continue, I just wanted to add that I have only been RV'ing for one year and knew almost nothing about DC electrical systems prior to this year. So...I am not an expert by any means. I do have a lifetime of projects and experiences that helped in my research...but no formal knowledge. Before I started this I did not even know how to read a multi-meter! I gained what little I know now by hours of discussions with others who have done such projects before, posts to this forum and lots of YouTube videos. Having said all of that I am certain in my explanation below I am going to misuse some terms so please keep that in mind. Also...if someone who looks at this and has a suggestion for improvement...I AM ALL EARS! Of course, if something is in error...also let me know!

    We had two main goals with this project:
    1. be able to pull off the road without any services just in case we broke down, everything was full, the RV park lost power etc...and be able to operate the critical items in the rig (water pump, stove, lights, refrigerator, water heater, heater...etc for at least a day. No way was our single lead acid battery going to let us do that.
    2. Not have our battery drain down due to parasitic drain while stored in the storage lot. Yes...that OEM battery switch allowed parasitic drain to kill our battery in just a few days. (maybe there is some sort of other problem causing more parasitic drain that normal but our battery would die within a week of just sitting there).

    So with those two modest goals I purchased two Lion Safari 105 amp hour lithium batteries, a Victron 712 BMS, a Renogy 20amp DC DC charger, a full disconnect battery switch, circuit breakers, a lithium compatible replacement 60amp Power Dynamics Converter and all of the associated wire, lugs, shrink tubing, buses, crimper etc etc etc.

    I allowed two days to complete...and it took me every minute of three (sunup to sundown)...and everything is working just as advertised!

    I will not go through step by step like I have seen in some upgrade posts but rather just post the pictures, explain the markups and if anyone has any questions or comments...please...please...please...reach out to me! I have lots to learn still...and this is just the tip. We eventually want to add EasyStarts to the AC's, a Converter/Inverter and possibly solar. I left room for the converter inverter and a third battery in my initial construction.

    For the pictures... The first one is the finished project....and the second one was taken at the beginning of the deconstruct and is of the OEM positive bus. Here are the explanations of the markups. I used the same colors in each photo for comparison.

    Yellow circles = Positive and Negative Battery leads

    Green circles = These go to the OEM battery disconnect switch. (both connectors are taped off) The red positive wire was connected to the very first (left most lower post in the OEM bus) and the black wire returned from the disconnect switch to the lower, right most post on the OEM bus. These are the two wires shown in Al and Diane's picture at the back of the disconnect switch. They route to the right, rear, lower corner of the compartment, run underneath the compartment floor (concealed by the coroplast) and emerge at the left, rear, lower corner of the compartment. I did not visually confirm this but did a continuity test for each wire confirming that. I also left them in place, taped off, tied off...(just in case) everything is working fine so they evidently are single wire runs with no other connections. If you follow the current flow...it goes from the positive side of the battery to the upper right post of the bus, through a 50 amp fuse down to the post directly below, through the red wire to the OEM disconnect switch. Then the switch either connects or disconnects the current to the black wire that goes from the battery switch back to the positive bus but on the isolated 30amp fuse on the extreme right side of the OEM bus. The DC panel was attached to this post also (blue circle) as is the wine colored wire off of the top post. This fuse, as mentioned, is isolated from the remainder of the OEM bus as you can see from the copper plate that extends all the way across the top of the fuses with the exception of the final post. So...when the battery switch is on...all wires are energized. When off...the only part of the bus disconnected are the isolated posts and 50 amp fuse on the extreme right of the bus. All of the wires attached to the rest of the bus are always energized; disconnect switch on or off...does not matter. The main DC fuse panel and whatever that wine colored wire on top goes to are what are deenergized with the switch off. Whew...long explanation right?

    Blue circles = OEM DC fuse panel wire now wired into a complete DC negative bus (then to ground) instead of collectively grounded to the chassis as is how it was wired from the factory.

    Pink rectangle = continually connected circuits running from the copper bus bar, through separate fuses to wire posts at the bottom. By the way...the order of those fuses are (from left to right) 50amp, 50amp, 30amp, 15amp, 30amp and (isolated) 30amp. In retrospect that all makes sense because all other circuits are protected via the main DC panel fuses. The five wires connected to the fuses downstream of the copper bus plate are thusly protected via the bus fuses. I reused the OEM bus to ensure continued protection for those circuits. I just jumped the new positive bus to the OEM bus (light blue circle) for practicality sake. I was able to identify some of the circuits but not all. I do not know what the black, unfused wire attached to the top left post serves. The first (empty post) held the positive wire to the battery disconnect switch). The second post (red wire) serves the levelling system. The third wire (pinkish red) served the TV positive charge. The fourth (orange) wire is unknown. The fifth (red) wire powered the 30amp relay (outlined in orange in both photos - more about this next). And finally there was the last isolated posts which, as already discussed, held the return wire from the OEM battery disconnect switch and the Main DC fuse panel wire. Above it is the wine colored wire on the last top post. Not sure where this goes but after tracing the wire back to the wire bundles deep inside the coach...it runs up a wire chase to the ceiling so I am thinking it either goes to AC's or the Wineguard antenna? It is fused for 30amp which seems a lot for the antenna.

    Orange shapes = 30 amp relay switch that ultimately powered two purple wires (cleaned up the confusing colors in the rewired version) but since there are two of them from the relay switch...brakes???

    So that is our project. As for the discussion of what do you want powered when...my input is that FOR US...we will always have the battery switch on when travelling and parked while using the trailer. The only time it goes off is when we are securing the trailer for storage. Because of the disconnect's design and location for install, it cannot be accidently bumped or moved. As for the smoke alarms and CO monitor...the smoke alarms were battery only (not hardwired - and cheap at that). I upgraded them to better models with internal 10 year batteries. The CO monitor was a parasitic drain...I replaced it with a higher end, 10 year battery monitor.

    Again...any questions, concerns, comments are welcome. I hope this helps out someone as much as other posts helped me out.


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    Last edited by howson; 04-01-2022, 03:28 PM.
    Alan and Julie Hartford
    2021 Reflection 5th Wheel 303RLS
    2015 F-350 SW Crew Cab 4x4 King Ranch

  • #2
    WickedJulesTikiAl

    Very impressive given where you started from (didn't even know how to use a multimeter!).

    I do have a few suggestions / concerns if that's OK?

    First--minor terminology quibble. I'm going to reference the use of the word "fuse" from this sentence (and shown in the picture below): Pink rectangle = continually connected circuits running from the copper bus bar, through separate fuses to wire posts at the bottom. By the way...the order of those fuses are (from left to right) 50amp, 50amp, 30amp, 15amp, 30amp and (isolated) 30amp.

    These are self-resetting circuit breakers, not fuses.

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    Perhaps not critical at this juncture, but if you add an inverter this should be a ANL style fuse. You're obviously good at research so you'll find a plethora of data on this topic.

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    The main concern I have is the unprotected positive terminals. If something should inadvertently touch something metallic that is connected to the frame and one of those positives it is not going to be a good day. Please take measures to ensure that cannot happen.

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    I'm a shadetree guy, too, so please take these suggestions as an attempt to be helpful and not as criticism. It's a really clean install!

    Howard
    Last edited by howson; 04-01-2022, 03:39 PM.
    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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    • #3
      Very nice install, You will be more than happy with the results of having the battery bank hold up for more than a few days, we got almost 4 days from our setup which is very similar to what you have done.

      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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      • #4
        Originally posted by howson View Post
        I'm a shadetree guy, too, so please take these suggestions as an attempt to be helpful and not as criticism. It's a really clean install!
        Outstanding suggestions and clarifications! Any ideas on how to protect those positive terminals?
        Last edited by howson; 04-01-2022, 05:13 PM. Reason: Trimmed quote...
        Alan and Julie Hartford
        2021 Reflection 5th Wheel 303RLS
        2015 F-350 SW Crew Cab 4x4 King Ranch

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        • #5
          Originally posted by WickedJulesTikiAl View Post

          Outstanding suggestions and clarifications! Any ideas on how to protect those positive terminals?
          Alan,
          One option is a battery terminal boot (like what's on your tow vehicle's battery most likely). Below is just a sampling--there's a LOT of choices online from a lot of different vendors.

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          Some type of divider from the rest of the bay to all the wiring would work, too. Anything that's secure, light, and will "engineer" out the possibility of an accidental short.
          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


          • #6
            WickedJulesTikiAl PVC pipe or caps. Drill holes through the pipe so you can access the bolts, then run the wire through the pipe. You could also turn the batteries such that the positive terminal is against the wall to assist in keeping it back out of harms way.
            Joseph
            Tow
            Vehicle: 2018 GMC K2500 Denali Diesel
            Coach: 303RLS Delivered March 5, 2021
            South of Houston Texas

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