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Old 07-31-2021, 06:40 AM   #1
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Very Large Power Station for A/C

My wife & I currently own RV #4 (2017 Forester Class C) and will most likely be upgrading to RV #5 in 1-3 years. The Forester is nice, but it's an absolute power hog. I have to physically disconnect the battery cables when in storage or the two group 27 batteries will completely discharge in about a week WITH the 12 V switch off. The onboard generator is loud and shakes the whole rig so we avoid using it.



I've been watching a lot (OK, way too many) videos on "solar generator" or lithium power stations on Hobotech, Next Exit, etc. on Youtube. The big ones now include a 30 A RV outlet on them. The thought of just plugging the whole RV into a big ol' battery is very attractive. Having a few hours of A/C use would be super awesome.



My Progressive Dynamics converter does not have a way to disconnect its charger without disconnecting all the 12 V circuits (water pump, furnace, TV, lights, etc.).


Has anyone found a clever way around a Progressive Dynamic's charger so the power station isn't just charging the onboard batteries?


Yes, I've looked into solar, lithium, and hybrid inverters extensively. We just don't want to invest thousands into a rig that we're going to have short term.


Thanks!
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Old 07-31-2021, 07:41 AM   #2
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Are you sure you cannot simply turn off the 120v circuit breaker that powers your progressive dynamics converter?
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Old 07-31-2021, 07:47 AM   #3
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mbutts-

Unplug the converter, turn off the circuit breaker that feeds it (if it is on its own CB, which it normally isn't) or otherwise disconnect it from 120V. The house batteries should power the 12V loads, and then they will need to be recharged.

How do you plan to recharge the "big" battery box without a generator? If solar, how many square feet of panels are required, and how many hours to fully charge? How much sun do you get where you travel? Where will you store the battery box? Important questions to answer.
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Old 07-31-2021, 08:10 AM   #4
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On our '06 Dynasty, though a totally different coach, the inverter and the refrigerator were on the battery-side of the disconnect. There were plusses and minuses to that. I moved the inverter to the switched side, though. We had to be sure to turn off the refrigerator, though. Also, we found a fairly high draw from the safety alarms (CO and Propane) that were also on the un-switched side.

Our coach now is an Entegra Esteem Class "C", and I'm still trying to ferret out those sorts of things to know how the new one is really configured. They are all different, for sure!

If you are talking about having one of those power stations at your home for hooking up there, you could probably do that. If you want it with you on the road, you really are probably looking at a significant storage and weight issue. Lithium is much lighter, but if you want to have enough to run air conditioning and such, you are going to need a lot of bulk in your battery installation. Example: If your AC draws 12 amps on AC, that's going to draw roughly 120 amps on a battery. If you have 500 amp-hours of battery, that's going to give you no more than 4 hours of AC. And the reality is that a bank's full amp-hour rating can not be delivered in a short time. To get that performance the draw is going to have to be a fraction of what you are talking about.

IMHO, your best bet is to determine what is causing the draw on your batteries with the 12 volt disconnect OFF and correct it, either with a wiring change or a check-list item for when you store it. Unfortunately running air conditioners really does require you to either run your "galloping Gertie" or plugging into shore power. I'd put my energy into finding out why your batteries are going down so quickly. I'm pretty sure that is a problem you can correct.
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Old 07-31-2021, 08:24 AM   #5
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"... but it's an absolute power hog. I have to physically disconnect the battery cables when in storage or the two group 27 batteries will completely discharge in about a week WITH the 12 V switch off. ..."

This is normal for most RV's. My 20 foot TT last 2 or 3 weeks without disconnecting. Many owners install a battery disconnect switch next to the battery for easy disconnecting.

“… I've been watching a lot (OK, way too many) videos on "solar generator" or lithium power stations on Hobotech, Next Exit, etc. on Youtube. The big ones now include a 30 A RV outlet on them. The thought of just plugging the whole RV into a big ol' battery is very attractive. Having a few hours of A/C use would be super awesome. …”

You already have a battery bank in your RV. It may not be a lithium battery system. You can install an “inverter” with a transfer switch that will do what you want. They come in different capacities. You probably need a 2000 watt inverter with a 400 amp hour lead acid battery bank.

I have a 1000 watt inverter with a 200 amp hour lead acid battery bank. It runs a CPAP machine and computer chargers just fine. It was cheap to install in my 20 foot trailer. It powers two separate outlets in the trailer. It does not need a transfer switch. It does not have the capacity to run a microwave or other heating devices.

There are different systems available. The best are “inverter/chargers” that would replace your existing charger. They have a built in transfer switch that switches 120 volt outlets to the inverter and disconnects the charger function. They would power your existing 120 volt outlets including your microwave. There are lots of solutions.

Progressive Dynamics may have a drop in conversion package for your existing charger.

Recharging the batteries using solar is a whole different issue. Even solar powered lithium “generator” systems would need substantial solar systems depending on how much power you consume each day.

I wish you good luck and happy trails ahead!
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Old 07-31-2021, 09:32 AM   #6
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Those Lithium Power Banks that have a 30A connector are not really designed to handle. 30A load for long, if at all. They are meant to power lights, TV and 12V DC needs of Fridge, Water Heater etc.
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Old 07-31-2021, 05:20 PM   #7
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Everyone, thanks for the replies! Here's some more info:


Are you sure you cannot simply turn off the 120v circuit breaker that powers your progressive dynamics converter? I called Progressive and told them what I'd like to do. I was told pulling the fuse for the charger also kills all 12 V output.

l1v3fr33ord1 I'll have to pop over to the storage lot to see if there's a simple way without surgery that allows me to disconnect the converter from the 120 V. I would use the next campsite to charge the battery box. I have no confidence that portable panels would have enough oomph (unless I set up a couple thousand dollars' worth) to charge the pack.


K7JV I found another Youtuber (Love Your RV) and he ran his 13,500 BTU A/C for a bit over an hour with a Bluetti 200 box so my dream of just plugging into a $1,200 box o' air conditioner energy is not gonna happen. Apparently, my limit is somewhere below spending $1,200 for an hour of cooled air.



Persistent Since the motorhome power system is more complex than a TT, I have some barriers to swapping to lithium: tiny battery space, need to replace the battery isolator to handle lithium, need to upgrade the alternator to handle lithium, and the rat's nest of undocumented wiring throughout the coach to install an inverter, etc.


I guess I'll set this project back on the shelf. To get what I want, I need a big battery bank, solar to charge it, and an inverter. I'll take care of that on the next RV.


Thanks again for the ideas!
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Old 07-31-2021, 05:23 PM   #8
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Elwood,
Sorry I missed replying earlier. Finding the specs on these power banks is difficult. I think I saw the 30 A outlet and was suckered into thinking this would be just as good as plugging into utility power.
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Old 07-31-2021, 05:29 PM   #9
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Converter doesn't have DC Fuse on discharge side.......it does have Reverse Polarity Fuses
Pulling those will stop ALL DC...nothing from converter/nothing from battery either to DC Fuse Dist Panel

Converter 120VAC is from a circuit breaker....problem is MANY times it is piggy backed with a circuit breaker for another circuit.
Converter if stand alone plugs into an outlet...turn CB off for receptacles...no converter (or unplug if easy to access....LOL)

Battery Disconnect rarely kills ALL DC .....parasitic draw from LP Detector, Radio/Stereo, antenna booster etc
Small gauge wire connected to Battery POS
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Old 08-01-2021, 06:03 AM   #10
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My post above may be confusing. I will try to summarize.

You can install an inverter with a transfer switch in the RV, possibly a Progressive Dynamics add-on. Use the existing RV battery bank.

It would work the same as a battery powered portable generator. The battery powered generator has an inverter and a battery bank. It would not have a transfer switch that would turn the charger off. You would have to remember to turn the charger circuit breaker "off" when you connect to the generator.
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Old 08-01-2021, 06:49 AM   #11
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Just switch the battery disconnect to off.

With it off, the converter will power the lights, pumps, ....... but not charge the battery.

Is it the most effecent way, no but it saves your expensive battery box from running down as fast.

Best way to conserve energy is to force the fridge/ water heater to run on gas, while plugged in to shore power.
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Old 08-02-2021, 10:04 AM   #12
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Lots of posts with interesting info:


Old-Biscuit: I'm not following your train of thought. Physically disconnecting the converter requires lifting the bed (which annoyingly does not have a way to attach lift arms) and some minor surgery.


Persistent: Thanks for clarifying. I'm still stuck with my two FLA 88 A/hr batteries so I have less than half the energy of the battery-in-a-box and I'd need a pretty beefy inverter to run the A/C.


Twinboat: My 12 V "disconnect" switch turns off the water pump, power to the fridge & water heater control boards, water pump, furnace, slides motors, and all lights. Man, it would be great if it worked like you described!



I'm convinced that there's no easy & low cost way to just plug my rig into one of those devices. I'll stick with using the generator and keep my $1,500 for use on RV #5.


Thanks again for your thoughts!
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