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Old 09-28-2016, 09:41 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by harryn View Post
Mike, did you determine if one air conditioner at night is sufficient for your cooling needs, or are you very likely to need two of them at night?
"My generator has run both AC units and more during recent usage.

The generator shows 46 amps being supplied on my powerline."
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Old 09-28-2016, 10:24 AM   #16
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Concept

a) System always thinks that it is connected to the grid
- When stationary and power is available, the RV will be plugged into the 240 VAC / 50 amp service, either at your home or traveling.
- When either mobile or stationary but no plug in power is available, the same 240 VAC / 50 amp plug will be connected to a pair of 4KW magnum inverters. (same brand that is in your MH now, just 2 each of a bigger model).
- These units will be paired to make an approximate 8 KW service (actually slightly more) plus they have some surge capability beyond that for motor starting.

This will provide to the MH the exact same functionality regardless of where you are with no wiring change to the main MH. There is slightly less power available than a full 240 VAC / 50 amp service, but it is pretty close.

It also provides a place to plug in an external 240 VAC load, such as a home for back up power or to run a cabin for instance.
When traveling and or not stationary, does my 50 amp plug then stay tied into the 8k system? With hotter temps outside and traveling, the generator is normally run to help run AC to help keep the MH cool. If so, then the generator is then set to Auto run to monitor and charge the batteries? And which bank of batteries/inverter does the generator now monitor?

How long will this 8k connection last using 1 AC unit/2 AC units before the generator is needed to start charging again?

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Generator- This is the one area where there is a change
- Rather than being used to run the RV when off grid, the generator will be used exclusively to charge the battery bank / feed the inverters.
- The generator will be able to auto start like before based on the battery bank SOC and of course a switch over-ride for no-generator hours
- This change will make it much easier to deal with the fact that the shore power cord is 240 VAC and the generator is 120 VAC. It avoids changing any wiring in the main MH.
- It also makes the "kit" more universal

If your generator were not as new, it would make sense to consider to replace it with one that is specifically designed for battery bank charging, but it is fine as is, just a few more parts.

As you would expect, the generator has to make up for the power drawn from the battery bank when it is turned off at night, plus what is used during "on hours". I don't expect it will get a lot of rest during an August vacation in Houston.
The existing 2k watt inverter and the two new 4k inverters would be charged by the generator but the generator is now not an option to run the MH power needs? If this is correct, unless I was plugged into a 50amp service, I would be solely be dependent on my existing and new inverter/batteries to power the entire MH system?


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c)
Battery Bank size
- It probably makes the most sense to do a 12 battery system
- We typically build them in banks of 4 in a heavy duty enclosure. The enclosures / battery boxes can be stacked or you can stack things on top of them as desired
- Each 4 battery box + some associated controls will weigh about 200 lbs.
- When off - grid, you can choose how you want to use the available power, 1 or 2 air conditioners (or 3 if you buy a larger RV) or other items in the MH.

To a first order estimate, it will take up about 20 % of the space in your storage box, but you can put things on top of and around it.

Total weight is about 800 lbs.
I would be very concerned about the loss of storage and the added weight since I will be also towing trailers and/or vehicles in the future as well.

In addition, I'm assuming you would be able to provide:

1.Reference's from past installations.
2.Installation drawings for records and verification.
3.Warrantee/Guarantee covering expectations of installed unit and equipment.

It's definitely an intriguing concept for full-timers that prefer boondocking/drycamping/off the grid or whatever you want to call it.

And for my consideration and many other watching this thread, what is your estimated cost to achieve such an install?
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Old 09-28-2016, 11:41 AM   #17
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Hi, the moderator has correctly pointed out that my comments, while helpful, have gone too far into the "commercial" realm. As a result, some of them have been removed.

I apologize for stepping too far over the line on this and am carefully reading the rules and asking some more questions to avoid doing this again.

Since my comments have strayed into the "commercial" area, I am looking into signing up as a vendor to help avoid this in the future.

Thank you for understanding.

Harry
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Old 09-28-2016, 12:18 PM   #18
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Hi Mike,

Such a system can be built, operated, and supported by a clever person, an electrician, or technician with drawings. In some ways, a washing machine is more complex. If you were to build it yourself, of course you would make drawings for it, as would anyone that you hire.

I don't want to stray into the commercial realm any further with regard to your other questions, but no one buys anything without a warranty.
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Old 09-28-2016, 12:32 PM   #19
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Operationally, think of this type of system like a bathtub.

- The tub is like the battery bank.
- The drain is like the pair of inverters feeding your 50 amp / 240 VAC MH system.
- The faucet is like the (generator + battery charger) feeding the battery bank / bathtub

1) If it were me, I would fill up the battery bank (tub) at home before I left if possible.

2) As you are driving around, run the (generator + battery charger) / faucet the same way that you do now to power the RV and keep the battery bank relatively full. This will keep the batteries (bath tub) as full as possible. The charger will manage the battery needs.

3) Run the A/C in the RV or whatever you like in the RV while under way or stationary. The battery controller will turn the generator "on / off" as needed. This is a controller dedicated to these specific batteries, not the existing MH unit.

I am still looking at all of the class A type loads, but my initial calculation is that as long as the generator is running, and you start with a fully charged battery bank, I don't think it will ever go empty. Again, I am still looking at some aspects of the MH.

- If you are planning to be plugged in at the destination, then you can allow the battery charge to go lower and just plug in at the destination.
- If you are planning to be "off grid" and have "no generator hours", then you would use a setting that tends to keep the batteries at max charge. (the bath tub full)

Again, this is generic to the concept outlined.
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Old 09-28-2016, 12:54 PM   #20
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When things go wrong.

This is a very valid concern, as no matter what, things fail, and Murphy has insured that they always fail at the worst time. Given this, what precautions are in the design concept that help reduce the impact?

1) Redundant battery banks
- There are three, individual battery banks, usually each would have their own breakers and protection
- An RV like yours could operate "nearly normally" on two of them, and in a reduced mode (one air conditioner) on one bank if pushed.
- You would not want to operate on one bank for a long period of time, but over the course of a week long vacation, no problem
- Each battery bank, as described in this concept, is good for nominally 4 "air conditioner hours", so if you are down to one bank, it will only power 1 air conditioning unit for 4 hours before it is depleted.

2) Redundant Inverters in this concept
- Similarly to the battery bank, there are two inverters, operating in parallel
- If one inverter were to fail, the second one can easily support one air conditioner and some additional load (such as lights, TV)
- One inverter would most likely not support both air conditioners and the other RV loads.

3) Complete system bypass
- Suppose the whole thing went down, but your generator still works.
- The thing to do would be to switch it all back so that the RV operates as if it back to the original configuration, run on the generator.

This could be done one of two ways:
- Add in some bypass breakers / transfer switches into the system. Certainly possible but would take up more space.
- Use power cords with twist lock plugs and a trained user with a drawing on how to switch these plugs from one socket to another.

If it were up to me, I would use the twist lock plugs and cords method, a print mounted to the panel, and a light in the compartment so I could see what I was doing. It is hard to say what my wife would do - she thinks that I am nuts for being so interested in this whole area.
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Old 09-28-2016, 01:41 PM   #21
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Weight
- Valid concern
- If you were to build such a system with high quality, lead acid batteries, it would weigh about 2800 lbs and certainly consume the entire pass through space, perhaps more.
- Using high quality, LiFe batteries, the system weight is approx. 800 lbs.
- There are higher performance batteries on the market, but these have the highest safety / lowest risk of any Li based chemistry.
- As an example, Li-Co batteries are used on some aircraft, but there have been fires, and the only way that this setup is possible is that the ground crew checks then after each flight - and is prepared to swap them out regularly. At one time, they swapped them out - every flight.
- A good LiFe battery, COMBINED with an intrinsically built in safety system, has been shown to withstand a bullet fired through it. Nothing else does that.

- One way to reduce the "total RV loaded weight" would be to replace the 4 each existing, size 31 batteries with one LiFe battery. The existing batteries weight 60 lbs each x 4 = 240 lbs and could be replaced with one LiFe of similar weight.

Space
- Yes, well, not sure what to say.
- You could do like I do, and put the batteries into special boxes designed so that things can be stacked on top of each other. (example pelican cases)
- At least this solves the challenge of floor space being taken up, and wires taking up the vertical space.
- It is also possible that there might be space in some of the other compartments inside or outside of the RV.
- There is no question that putting in a battery bank capable of running air conditioning involves some end use trade offs.

- I have looked around quite a bit and could not find a better solution than LiFe batteries, as least from a technical perspective. Cost wise, they are of course much more than lead based batteries.
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Old 09-28-2016, 03:21 PM   #22
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There is a potentially lower cost option for you for the times that you would be in an RV park with "no generator allowed" hours.

There are some companies out there that take diesel based generators and turn them into propane powered units. They also add in a substantial amount of insulation and engineered noise abatement panels. The reason that they started with diesel engines is that those tend to be very high quality iron castings, which is good for sound dampening compared to normal cast aluminum engines.

I don't remember the names, but I ran across them when I was originally searching for air conditioning options.

Some of those units are VERY quiet, but tended to come in sizes more like 10 - 25KW. If I needed quiet power in that size range, I would look very closely tt that approach.
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Old 09-28-2016, 07:05 PM   #23
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Well, gives us all something to think about.

The morale of the story Is batteries in a nutshell.
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Old 09-29-2016, 08:01 AM   #24
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Your generator weighs nearly 300 lbs and takes up a storage bay. If you were willing to add in a heavy duty, auxiliary alternator to the main engine, you could remove the generator.

Combined with replacing the 200 lbs saved from replacing the 4 house batteries, that is 500 lbs of the 800 lbs that the auxiliary power system would weigh, so it would be like carrying the weight of 2 adults more in your current RV. That is what is done on class B units, as they don't have the GVWR to add a generator and any battery power.

The downside, is that your main engine would be running more, possibly 1 hour out of every 4 while stationary to keep the battery bank charged. Some setups allow for the main engine to be auto restarted, some do not.

I am not sure how noisy your main engine is compared to a generator, but usually they are a lot quieter.

Is it correct that you have an F53 chassis with a Triton V10 and 6.8 liter?

Harry
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Old 10-02-2016, 11:44 PM   #25
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How long will this 8k connection last using 1 AC unit/2 AC units before the generator is needed to start charging again?
Hi, I realized that my answer on this might not have been clear.

Each "pack" of 4 batteries will run one air conditioner for 4 hours.

With 3 "packs", then 3 x 4 = 12 hours.

If you have 2 air conditioners running, it is 12 / 2 = 6 hours.

With 3 air conditioners running, it is 12 / 3 = 4 hours.

If you could get through the night one on air conditioner, then a 2 battery pack system would be:

2 x 4 = 8 hours on one air conditioner.

These numbers are approximate, but they are a lot closer than people telling you that two car batteries can run your air conditioner all night. Testing on your particular situation is the best way to know for sure.
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Old 10-04-2016, 04:54 PM   #26
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Just for the record, I am passing on this install.
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Old 10-07-2016, 09:15 PM   #27
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My question is, am I just out of luck running any air during quiet times (normally 10-6) when not hooked up to either power or running my generator? Am I missing something?

Am I wrong in thinking that when boondocking on BLM or USFS land a good distance from others that there are no quiet hours? I understand that is the case in camps and MH parks but the OP was asking about boondocking.
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Old 10-08-2016, 03:09 PM   #28
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I think I know the answer

In the LTVA areas that BLM manages quiet hours are listed as 10pm-6am.
Outside an LTVA and away from all other campers I wouldn't worry about it.

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