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Old 07-28-2020, 11:02 AM   #1
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Advice needed for alternator charging of lithium batteries for solar install

I am investigating installing solar on my Ventana. I have read several articles stating that a DC to DC device is required to protect the alternator for charging lithium batteries. For those that have already installed solar on your diesel pusher is this required and if so what did you install? As always, appreciate your feedback.
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Old 07-28-2020, 12:36 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by 24thrd View Post
I am investigating installing solar on my Ventana. I have read several articles stating that a DC to DC device is required to protect the alternator for charging lithium batteries. For those that have already installed solar on your diesel pusher is this required and if so what did you install? As always, appreciate your feedback.
https://www.mygreenoutdoors.com/vict...hDfSWh1RSj6P7T

Works well. Prevents overloading alternator.
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Foretravel tag axle 40 ft. 500 hp/1550 ft/lbs ism 1455 watts on the roof. 600 a/h's lithium down below.
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Old 07-28-2020, 12:50 PM   #3
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You already have a BIM (battery isolation manager) in your coach that handles the interaction between the house batteries and the chassis batteries / alternator, so you just need to upgrade that BIM for lithium. Since we have the same year and model coach, I will assume the BIM you have now is Precision Circuits part no: 00-10021-000 like mine. I replaced that with with Precision Circuits part no: 00-10041-260. It's a drop-in replacement, i.e. same wiring.
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Old 07-29-2020, 12:01 AM   #4
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I installed the LI-BIM and didn't like that it is on for 15 min and off for 20 min. I bought a blue tooth clamp on ammeter and checked the alternator output many times while running one AC off the batteries while driving. I never saw more than 86a from the alternator. My solar did the rest. With no AC it averaged 35a. I ended up putting a latching relay on the boost switch so the alt. can charge the house batteries when I want it to. Added a LED so I don't forget house and chassis batteries are connected.
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Old 07-29-2020, 04:51 AM   #5
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I installed the LI-BIM and didn't like that it is on for 15 min and off for 20 min. I bought a blue tooth clamp on ammeter and checked the alternator output many times while running one AC off the batteries while driving. I never saw more than 86a from the alternator. My solar did the rest. With no AC it averaged 35a. I ended up putting a latching relay on the boost switch so the alt. can charge the house batteries when I want it to. Added a LED so I don't forget house and chassis batteries are connected.
Did the latching relay improve the amp output to the lithium and are you monitoring your alternator temps ?

I ask because when I charged a large battery bank, I installed a 3 stage regulator to control the alternator.
When the battery bank was low, the alternator would overheat. The regulator came with an optional temp sensor that would cut back output to save the alternator.
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Old 07-29-2020, 08:51 AM   #6
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Did the latching relay improve the amp output to the lithium and are you monitoring your alternator temps ?

I ask because when I charged a large battery bank, I installed a 3 stage regulator to control the alternator.
When the battery bank was low, the alternator would overheat. The regulator came with an optional temp sensor that would cut back output to save the alternator.
The latching relay eliminated the 20 minutes off and my batteries are close to 100% when I stop driving. If I start driving with low batteries I let the LI-BIM do it's job. I have not checked the temp of the alternator. I didn't think running at 30% would overheat it, I could be wrong. Thanks for pointing that out. I will look for a wireless temp sensor and check the temp. Sure I could use it for many other things.
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Old 07-29-2020, 10:20 AM   #7
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The latching relay eliminated the 20 minutes off and my batteries are close to 100% when I stop driving. If I start driving with low batteries I let the LI-BIM do it's job. I have not checked the temp of the alternator. I didn't think running at 30% would overheat it, I could be wrong. Thanks for pointing that out. I will look for a wireless temp sensor and check the temp. Sure I could use it for many other things.
I took a similar route, but used my "boost/combine" relay to charge house batteries off alternator. Did not use an amprobe to measure actual current to batteries, but did use a ir gun on alternator to check temp. At engine idle with 50% SOC on house batteries, alternator case quickly went to 250 F., would probably cool down at higher speed because alternator turning faster, but did not want to be dependant on engine speed for charging. My coach did not come with a BIM so just went with a dc-dc charger, but maintained the boost switch, so I can charge house batteries if necessary at higher engine speeds, but be protected at lower speeds.
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Old 07-29-2020, 11:31 PM   #8
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Forgot my bluetooth multimeter has a temp probe. I'll set it up when I leave in a few days.
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Old 08-01-2020, 07:53 PM   #9
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Keeping tabs on this one as I would like to move to lithiums in the next year or so and want to know the best way to handle the replacement of the BIM when I make the move. I also want to be able to use the AC while driving while using the solar the help with the load.

Other threads have indicated that even with the solar, the load on the alternator is sill a bit high when running the AC.
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Old 08-01-2020, 10:12 PM   #10
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Keeping tabs on this one as I would like to move to lithiums in the next year or so and want to know the best way to handle the replacement of the BIM when I make the move. I also want to be able to use the AC while driving while using the solar the help with the load.

Other threads have indicated that even with the solar, the load on the alternator is sill a bit high when running the AC.
You are right, one ac can pull 150-160 amps out of batteries. Need to research the difference between BIM's and DC-DC chargers and make up your mind, I went with the DC-DC charger so I did not overload the alternator. If you have a good shunt type battery monitor, will make the decision easier.
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Old 08-02-2020, 10:03 AM   #11
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The point of the BIM shutting off for 20 minutes is to let the alternator cool. If you are driving for hours, it is a total non issue. Your Lithium batteries will charge up so fast, you will never have a problem. We love ours.
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Old 08-02-2020, 06:56 PM   #12
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The point of the BIM shutting off for 20 minutes is to let the alternator cool. If you are driving for hours, it is a total non issue. Your Lithium batteries will charge up so fast, you will never have a problem. We love ours.
Normally true...but when you are running the roof AC off the inverter, it will make the alternator work harder...even with the solar and lithium batteries.
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Old 08-02-2020, 10:11 PM   #13
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Normally true...but when you are running the roof AC off the inverter, it will make the alternator work harder...even with the solar and lithium batteries.
Agree, even with my 1455 watts on the roof, my alternator tries to push 70+ amps into my batteries when running roof ac.
70 amps plus the chassis load, BIM will heat it up pretty quick even with the cool down time. Like the regulated voltage and current flow with dc-dc chargers.
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Old 08-07-2020, 11:10 PM   #14
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I finally did a temperature test of the alternator. I duct taped the temp probe to the alternator case and recorded for 8 hours. My 1400 ah of lithiums were at 23% and I let the BIM take controll for 1.5 hours. Temp went up to 185f and stayed there. I stopped and let it idle for 20 minutes and the temp went to 212f. I started driving, hit the latching relay on boost switch for 4 hours and the temp went to 215f. I pulled over and the batteries were 100%. I turned on one AC for the last 2 hours and the temp went to 217f. I drove from Crater Lake,OR to central CA in pretty cool weather, about 85 to 90 outside. With 85a load (about 30%) being the most I have seen with one AC running and 217 deg I am comfortable letting the alternator charge the batteries. So far my system has worked better than I thought.
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