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Old 10-08-2021, 11:45 AM   #1
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Power systems- Batteries, solar, B2B Chargers, etc!

Surprised there's not one of these in this forum already!

Everyone can comment on their style of camping (specific to ORV and that they were designed to be a little more off-grid) and what they have for power banks/etc.

I will start-

Coming from a home built Promaster camper van that had a 255Ah lifeline AGM and 300 watts of solar. Power was used for multiple fans, a fridge, lights, and charging devices. I also had a sterling 60A smart battery to battery charger that would charge the house battery while driving. We tended to not spend more than a few days in one spot.

I don't remember a whole lot of the tons of time I spent in researching the electrical system in that rig but I know that once it was built I never saw the battery go under 90%. That's including 2 weeks time spent in the Pacific Northwest where it rained every day.

I'm not sure of the battery tray size on my 23DBS (Can anyone help me out here?). The dealership is trying to sell me on battleborns which I believe there is room for two. I'm fairly sold on lithium this time around just for the ability to drop to a 10% state of charge vs the AGM. So possibly two 100Ah battleborn lithiums, along with 370w of solar. Although I would love to be able to put a couple larger style batteries (BCI style) so I could fit a couple 170Ah's.


I would like to add a smart B2B charger for use while driving since my truck has a 400amp alternator setup. Can anyone share their setup? I would feel a little more comfortable with closer to 400Ah batteries but I tend to go overkill with everything and as you all know they aren't cheap. Power use will generally be the same plus TV/entertainment, furnace, awning, maybe the microwave rarely. I also have a knock off 2200w Honda style generator that I will have but not use unless necessary. We will most likely never plug in, or spend more than 4-5 days in one spot. Only in the western US with tons of sun. I also have the option to upgrade to one more 170w panel although that's pricey if sticking with Zamp too.
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Old 10-08-2021, 12:36 PM   #2
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On my 23DBS I think the standard battery tray can hold a pair of Group 31. For sure Group 27. I currently have a pair of Trojan T-125 GC2. There is an optional Off-Grid battery rack that will hold 4 - GC2's. I have a parts request into my dealer for the current cost of that option as I consider additional modifications I may want to make. If you go to the product page for the 23DBS and select the "Options" link you can see what the largery battery tray looks like. For now the way we dry camp the T-125's are more than sufficient as we tend to be rather frugal with the power.

I have made some other power system changes. Being a 2019 model mine had the WFCO converter/charger which I'm not a fan of. I swapped that out for a Progressive Dynamics PD4655 that includes a jumper for lithium support if I decide to go that route in the future.

For solar I currently have a 200 watt home-built portable using the Zamp side-port. When folded the unit fits perfectly in the front pass through and takes up very little room. I have a Victron Energy 100/20 MPPT controller with lithium support for that and 30 feet of 10 gauge cable. I'm using Renogy 100 watt panels wired in series. The controller sits right by the Zamp port and not out at the panels.

I have also installed a Victron Energy Orion-TR Smart 12/12-30 Isolated DC-DC charger with lithium support in the space between the current battery box and the propane tanks. On the truck side I ran a 2 gauge positive lead from the battery to an Anderson powerpole connector mounted at the rear. The negative lead is a short one from the Anderson connector to the frame. On the 23DBS side the maximum wire size for the Orion-TR is 6 gauge so that is what was used for the second umbilical. It works great and quickly recharges things after overnights at rest areas, etc. on longer trips. In a pinch it's not bad to just idle the truck rather than the 2kw Champion generator.

Longer term I think the lithium route is likely where I'll go. I'm just not in a hurry as there is no real imperative for that right now and I have been trying hard not to tear things up too much. I will probably include some solar on the roof as well, but again, I have no real need for that right now and since often times we are camping in more heavily treed areas the portable does a better job since it can easily be positioned where needed. With the DC-DC charger I don't need solar on the roof for travel days.
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Old 10-08-2021, 04:12 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info about the battery tray. I reached out to the dealer to see if they will work any deal with a battery tray that will fit x3 Battleborn 100Ah lithiums. Buy once cry once I guess... I like the idea of not worrying about the electrical system. I also plan on installing a 60A sterling waterproof B2B smart charger in the same location you mentioned. We had one of these in our van and it worked flawlessly. I doubt we will even need to add a 3rd panel on the roof with this setup. The only other parts of the system I could see swapping are the solar controller (to a Victron MPPT) and adding a Victron battery monitor. I really like their bluetooth options as we had both in the van as well.
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Old 10-08-2021, 04:24 PM   #4
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I should have mentioned I do have a VE BMV-712 installed. It's a little more expensive than the SmartShunt but I've read where a number of folks have had issues with the Bluetooth range on the Smartshunt. I have both the shunt and the display installed in small weatherproof boxes on each end of the dual GC2 battery box. With the Bluetooth connectivity no need to go to the hassle of trying to thread the signal cable back into the trailer somehow. Also, at least when I bought mine, the battery temperature sensor was optional so make sure that is included if you want/need it.
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Old 10-08-2021, 04:36 PM   #5
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Nick, think about putting the Batttleborns inside, under the bed. Routing is pretty easy - you should be able to get from the junction box to the under-bed pretty easily.

The advantage is you donít have to worry about battery temperature, or about those expensive batteries walking off. Plus you have more room for different battery configurations.
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Old 10-08-2021, 04:38 PM   #6
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Why do you need a dc/dc charger if you install solar? Your solar panels will provide sufficient amperage to fully charge your batteries while driving. And, since you’re getting LiFePo4, they can absorb all the amperage the panels produce. And, unless you think you can install it yourself, the wiring and loom from alternator to a waterproof connector on the bumper is quite expensive to pay somebody to do it. I know some people swear by dc/dc chargers, but with the advent of pre-wired solar and cheap panels, I question the need for them anymore.
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Old 10-08-2021, 05:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marine359 View Post
Why do you need a dc/dc charger if you install solar? Your solar panels will provide sufficient amperage to fully charge your batteries while driving. And, since youíre getting LiFePo4, they can absorb all the amperage the panels produce. And, unless you think you can install it yourself, the wiring and loom from alternator to a waterproof connector on the bumper is quite expensive to pay somebody to do it. I know some people swear by dc/dc chargers, but with the advent of pre-wired solar and cheap panels, I question the need for them anymore.
They might or they might not. Our most recent trip we took both driving days were in poor weather - heavy dark cloud cover and rain off and on most of the drive. Given that we encounter this type of weather more frequently when we are camping early or late season, which we are leaning towards doing more and more now, the DC-DC charger was a better initial investment than rooftop solar. Not sure about other trucks but running the 2 gauge wire in split loom on my F-250 wasn't too much of a chore. Granted, not everybody wants to do that themselves, but if you are inclined to do so it's not that difficult.
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Old 10-08-2021, 08:46 PM   #8
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I have a 22FQS but I believe the battery area is the same. I have 3 BattleBorn 100 amp batteries in the optional tray. They fit perfectly with their heating pads (for below freezing charging) in this box (4 battery version) which fits perfectly in the trayís tabs.

https://www.fisheriessupply.com/dyno...-box-4-version
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Old 10-08-2021, 11:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marine359 View Post
Why do you need a dc/dc charger if you install solar? Your solar panels will provide sufficient amperage to fully charge your batteries while driving. And, since youíre getting LiFePo4, they can absorb all the amperage the panels produce. And, unless you think you can install it yourself, the wiring and loom from alternator to a waterproof connector on the bumper is quite expensive to pay somebody to do it. I know some people swear by dc/dc chargers, but with the advent of pre-wired solar and cheap panels, I question the need for them anymore.
I would do it all myself, I built out my van with the same components. The Sterling B2B while not completely necessary charges the batteries extremely fast and itís relatively inexpensive. I have enough leftover wire to make it work in my truck. Good for multiple days with poor weather and charges significantly faster than a 2200w generator. The install is easy, probably 2-3 hours tops.
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Old 10-09-2021, 07:43 AM   #10
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I am always looking for a faster way to charge batteries. What rate of charging your lithium batteries do you get with the Sterling B2B?

I am getting about 75 amps with a Victron Multiplus 12/3000/120-50 and Honda EU2000. There are some rate of charge settings in the device that may let me charge faster, but I donít completely understand the yet.
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Old 10-09-2021, 08:28 AM   #11
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I would do it all myself, I built out my van with the same components. The Sterling B2B while not completely necessary charges the batteries extremely fast and itís relatively inexpensive. I have enough leftover wire to make it work in my truck. Good for multiple days with poor weather and charges significantly faster than a 2200w generator. The install is easy, probably 2-3 hours tops.
Makes perfect sense if you can DIY, and agreed that it works when thereís no sun. I had actually bought a Victron dc/dc charger and returned it due to tHe complexity of wiring my small truck. A shop wanted to charge me $400 for the job. That kinda money can buy a second solar cc and two panels, and DIY much easier. Chose solar because we tend to boondock for 3 or more days in one place.

BTW. BattleBorns are like Honda generators. Best you can buy, but twice the price of other American made options with good BMS. Good luck on your install. Sounds youíll have a killer setup.
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Old 10-10-2021, 08:44 AM   #12
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Irene Iron Travels over on YT just purchased a 22FQS and installed three 270Ah Battle Born GameChanger batteries under the bed. Should be a great resource once they dive into the details of the installation.
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Old 10-10-2021, 08:51 AM   #13
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For solar I currently have a 200 watt home-built portable using the Zamp side-port. When folded the unit fits perfectly in the front pass through and takes up very little room. I have a Victron Energy 100/20 MPPT controller with lithium support for that and 30 feet of 10 gauge cable. I'm using Renogy 100 watt panels wired in series. The controller sits right by the Zamp port and not out at the panels.
I'm thinking I want to go lithium out of the chute and ease into solar as we learn about our off-grid power requirements. Do you stow your portable panel when you leave your site for a few hours and, if so, do you find it to be an inconvenience? It's the only possible negative I can think of when it comes to portable solar.
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Old 10-10-2021, 08:59 AM   #14
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Adventurous Way on YouTube also put Lithium batteries (Battleborn) in a smaller ORV. They posted in YT and on their web site some very detailed descriptions of what they did and why they did it. They write very clearly, and I found their information to be very helpful.
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