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Old 02-08-2020, 01:41 PM   #1
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Adding inverter & Lithium batteries

Our 2015 ERA 170X (bought used in fall 2017) did not come with solar or an inverter so I’m adding stuff as money and time allows. I added a couple (2x100w) ground mounted solar panels and MPPT charge controller last year, they worked good for a long trips last year. I got a descent inverter/charger off craigslist for $5 (5000w xantrex 458- guy didn’t know what he had). I wired it all in mostly using existing wires. We have 2x100amp AGM batteries that were in it when we got it but fairly new at that time. Everything works to a point. We can run the Convection/Microwave but it hums more then when on shore power. We can not run the small Keurig coffee maker. It shuts the inverter down, under voltage I think. The biggest problem is the wire gauge used in the ERA. The largest battery wires are 6ga. And they run from behind rear wheels up to the passenger seat pedestal and back to the electrical area under the rear seat just behind the microwave. Everything is in that space(ATS, Inv/Charger, AC & DC fuses...) Under the front passenger seat are two relays, one for coach disconnect and one for tying the coach and chassis batteries together for starting if you happen to kill the starter battery. I have all of the diagrams from Winnebago and I’m pretty good with electrical stuff having wire houses and messed with electronics off and on. I know when you flip the switch for battery disconnect it opens the circuit in the coach batteries so you don’t drain them when parked. I also understand the Boost switch closes a circuit between the two batteries kinda like jumping the chassis battery from the coach. The part I haven’t figured exactly is the function of either of these in charging the coach batteries when driving and where the power comes from to activate the relay. I thought I had an issue last year with charging so I took the seat off to test the voltages at these points with a DVOM. I could hear one of them click (I just don’t remember which now). When it clicked the voltage went up to charging level to send amps to the Coach batteries. I don’t want to disturb this process if possible. For now I want to add 2x100w panels on the roof now (I have purchased and have mounts ready to go) then I want to swap out the AGMs for Battleborns to get a little more amps for the boondocking we plan on doing. The biggest issue is the 6ga wires. The inverter is modified sine wave so I want to replace it eventually but for now it works fine for everything except coffee. For a 2000w inverter (Keurig needs 1250w) I want to get, we need 2/0 wires. I can’t just add 2/0 wires from the battery to the inverter without compromising the existing functions of charging, shutoff, etc. For now we just run the generator to make coffee but sometimes that’s not an option if the place says no generators. Any body have a solution? Anyone added an inverter larger then a few 100 watts to an ERA 170X and how did you wire it?

Wow that was a lot longer then I thought it was going to be. Thanks for reading it all. [mod edit] .
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Old 02-08-2020, 01:59 PM   #2
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I am also thinking of doing the same to my 2015 170X

Please keep the board up to date... I'lll like to know your solution.
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Old 02-10-2020, 09:12 PM   #3
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Follow up

Attached is my sketch of existing and planned wiring. Im going to send it to Battleborn and see what they suggest. Maybe someone will have a solution here.
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Old 02-13-2020, 05:09 AM   #4
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You might consider leaving the AGM batteries/house/chassis side setup and replace the generator with Lithium battery/3000w Inverter configuration, that way you don't have to rewire lots of stuff. You can hook into the Auto transfer switch and use this new Lithium/3000w inverter as you did the generator. You can add 200w of solar and a dedicated controller just for the Lithiums and add a DC to DC charger to give you as much as 40a charging from the alternator when the engine is running. If you add a MicroAir Easy Start to the air conditioner you will be able to run the entire coach from the 3000w Inverter. My experience is with Victron components, in particular the Victron 3000w Multiplus Inverter and Smart Solar Controllers. It takes 200ah of Lithium batteries to run the coach with AC for 1 hour. You decide how many ah of batteries you need or start with 200ah and add more batteries as money and need support expansion.
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Old 02-13-2020, 07:04 AM   #5
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PDF version of diagram

PDF version of diagram. I sent it to Battleborn, no word yet. Thanks for responses. I know I need larger cables the question is how to run them and what else do I need to do. If I just connect them directly (inverter to battery) that bypasses the 6ga wiring to the front and the coach battery disconnect/charge features. I think I would at the least I would have to add some additional relays to disconnect the battery at the inverter. Maybe I just rely on the battery select switch to manually disconect. No, I do not want to turn off the humidifier, change out the microwave or switch to a french press.
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Old 02-13-2020, 08:42 AM   #6
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I’m not done reading this, but first I’d look at this:

http://www.xantrex.com/documents/Inv...edom%20458.pdf

It shows the 458 provides 2000w continuous. A microwave is typically 1500w and a coffee maker isn’t far behind. Kureg machines might be more.

So if you have anything else running, you are close to maxing out your inverter, and with the battery cables you mentioned, it’s struggling to get power from your battery bank, which is also under-sized.

Lithium’s will help some, and probably your best bet given space limitations. One advantage to lithium’s (and AGMs) is that you can mount them anyway you want to you can maximize your battery space.

I don’t see why you can’t just run your 2/0 cables from your battery bank straight to your inverter. It only pulls power when the inverter is on, it won’t affect your start battery because that’s isolated, the batteries will still charge when the engine is running, and the inverter has its own controls so you wouldn’t need a separate battery shut off for it.

Your coach battery disconnect is for 12v stuff only and it will still work as designed.

You don’t need a disconnect on your inverter because it only pulls power from the batteries when you are using 110v and a small parasitic load when the inverter is on but idle. So turning off he inverter stops any draw from it on the batteries.

What am I missing here?
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:15 AM   #7
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Update on 458

I think I made a typo originally but this is a different 458. It is from 2006 and the model# is 81-3030-12. It’s 3000w and also a charger. Thats why I can’t really isolate it ver easily. I don’t think I need 3000w as I stated above I only want to run the Microwave (1500w) OR the Keurig Mini (1250w) no other AC loads relevant so a new 2000w PSW inverter should work fine If I can figure how to wire it. I could keep it separate from the rest and just put the micro and one outlet on it and maybe put a switch to flip back to regular AC setup when on shore power. I want to keep it simple so the wife and anyone else can use it in the future if we sell it down the road. I plan on replacing this monster inverter with a smaller PSW as soon as possible. There is a definite hum in the micro and on the TV (12v) when on shore power. I think its from the inverter charging the batteries with the ModSW working. If we want to watch a movie we just unplug from the shore power while watching then plug it back in afterwards. I could put a switch for this but again it’s just more complicated. There has to be a simple solution. I’m hoping a PSW inverter would eliminate the hum issue.
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:22 AM   #8
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The wire size is killing you.

Also, going to lithium will require a DC to DC charger to regulate charging from the alternator. The solar controller will also have to be lithium friendly as well as the shore power charger. Solar is likely just a setting, the shore charger may or may not.

I have a small solar system, 150 watts, that suits us just fine. Our daily amp hour load is an average of 20. We just figure on using the genny for the microwave or toaster oven. I'm not in the position to want to spend $2-8000 just to run those two appliances once in while off of the battery.

As an aside, have you looked into doing pour over coffee, at least when not hooked up or restricted? Not as messy as a french press(BTDT) and once you get the hang of it, it just gets to be part of the morning ritual. I liked doing it that way enough to also do pour over at home. Also, check out Aeropress(sp?).

I do understand the importance of coffee versus allowed genny running times.

You may want to visit theClass B forum. There are a few threads there from folks that have done what you propose to do. A poster over there, rowiebowie is the most recent, though not on a Sprinter.

https://www.classbforum.com/forums/f...rade-9752.html
(dunno if this is allowed ^)
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jpetzrick View Post
I could keep it separate from the rest and just put the micro and one outlet on it and maybe put a switch to flip back to regular AC setup when on shore power. I want to keep it simple so the wife and anyone else can use it in the future if we sell it down the road.

I could put a switch for this but again it’s just more complicated. There has to be a simple solution. I’m hoping a PSW inverter would eliminate the hum issue.
Your AC out from your inverter should just run directly to your transfer switch. Just like your generator. So all your AC loads will run off your inverter with no special circuits or switches. Your inverter will know when you are plugged in to shore power or in the generator and go to charge mode as necessary.
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Old 02-17-2020, 03:37 PM   #10
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Chulux K-Cup coffee maker

We have a 2016 View with the Xantrex 1200 W inverterr, and had the same issue making K-Cup coffee. Instead of upgrading the inverter, we bought a Chulux mini K-Cuo coffee maker that only draws 1000W. $40 on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/CHULUX-Single...s%2C202&sr=8-8

It's also nice and compact, so it stays on the counter all the time. The only drawback is it's SLOW ( but really not muck slower than our big Keurig) And needs to be hand filled one cup at a time.
We tried the Keurig Mini, but it died the 2nd cup - terrible reviews because of terrible quality control.
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Old 02-18-2020, 09:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jpetzrick View Post
I posted this in the Sprinter section because its a Sprinter problem but I got no good replys so I thought I would try here.

Our 2015 ERA 170X (bought used in fall 2017) did not come with solar or an inverter so I’m adding stuff as money and time allows. I added a couple (2x100w) ground mounted solar panels and MPPT charge controller last year, they worked good for a long trips last year. I got a descent inverter/charger off craigslist for $5 (5000w xantrex 458- guy didn’t know what he had). I wired it all in mostly using existing wires. We have 2x100amp AGM batteries that were in it when we got it but fairly new at that time. Everything works to a point. We can run the Convection/Microwave but it hums more then when on shore power. We can not run the small Keurig coffee maker. It shuts the inverter down, under voltage I think. The biggest problem is the wire gauge used in the ERA. The largest battery wires are 6ga. And they run from behind rear wheels up to the passenger seat pedestal and back to the electrical area under the rear seat just behind the microwave. Everything is in that space(ATS, Inv/Charger, AC & DC fuses...) Under the front passenger seat are two relays, one for coach disconnect and one for tying the coach and chassis batteries together for starting if you happen to kill the starter battery. I have all of the diagrams from Winnebago and I’m pretty good with electrical stuff having wire houses and messed with electronics off and on. I know when you flip the switch for battery disconnect it opens the circuit in the coach batteries so you don’t drain them when parked. I also understand the Boost switch closes a circuit between the two batteries kinda like jumping the chassis battery from the coach. The part I haven’t figured exactly is the function of either of these in charging the coach batteries when driving and where the power comes from to activate the relay. I thought I had an issue last year with charging so I took the seat off to test the voltages at these points with a DVOM. I could hear one of them click (I just don’t remember which now). When it clicked the voltage went up to charging level to send amps to the Coach batteries. I don’t want to disturb this process if possible. For now I want to add 2x100w panels on the roof now (I have purchased and have mounts ready to go) then I want to swap out the AGMs for Battleborns to get a little more amps for the boondocking we plan on doing. The biggest issue is the 6ga wires. The inverter is modified sine wave so I want to replace it eventually but for now it works fine for everything except coffee. For a 2000w inverter (Keurig needs 1250w) I want to get, we need 2/0 wires. I can’t just add 2/0 wires from the battery to the inverter without compromising the existing functions of charging, shutoff, etc. For now we just run the generator to make coffee but sometimes that’s not an option if the place says no generators. Any body have a solution? Anyone added an inverter larger then a few 100 watts to an ERA 170X and how did you wire it? Diagram attached. I'm sending it to Battleborn to see what they suggest.

So far we have just 3 season camped, so the temperature thing with lithium is a non issue. Main reason for lithium is more overall usable amps (+/- 200 vs +/- 100). I have a CPAP machine for sleeping that uses 50-60A overnight. It runs on 12v so that helps. That’s another reason I went with extra solar panels to charge faster on cloudy days. I don’t have a lot of room to spare as this is a class b. There is some room by right side wheel well but anything there would need to be custom built to fit in seat box and around wheel well. Under the couch/bed in rear is open but we usually have that full of tools, hoses, wires... I’ve studied this for over a year now and I think I have the parts I need but I just don’t know how to wire in the inverter.

PDF version of diagram attached. I sent it to Battleborn, no word yet. Thanks for responses. I know I need larger cables the question is how to run them and what else do I need to do. If I just connect them directly (inverter to battery) that bypasses the 6ga wiring to the front and the coach battery disconnect/charge features. I think I would at the least I would have to add some additional relays to disconnect the battery at the inverter. Maybe I just rely on the battery select switch to manually disconect. No, I do not want to turn off the humidifier, change out the microwave or switch to a french press.

Wow that was a lot longer then I thought it was going to be. Thanks for reading it all. Anyone wants the old xantrex 458 (it has 1x30 amp in and 2X20 amp out) let me know I will let you know when I have enough money to take it out.
The function is to allow the alternator to charge both batteries while driving. The relay is activated with the Ignition Switch
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Old 02-18-2020, 10:52 PM   #12
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The Xantrex 458 is a MSW (modified sine wave) inverter. The microwave likely sounds different due to this. The Keurig may not play well with MSW.

The charger may not work well with lithium batteries. If it has a gel battery setting, you may find it ok with Lithium. Check the battery parms vs the profiles in the charger.

I had a differing older xantrex. It would not charge lithium properly. It would partially bulk to a point, and then just move to float.
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Old 02-20-2020, 11:33 PM   #13
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You mentioned CPAP and 50-60 AH. If, or when, you can tolerate turning the humidifier and hose heater off, you can cut that power draw to a much lower level. Eight hours on mine is less than 5 AH with humidity and hose heater off.

I find humidity and hose heater don't work very well when in the highly variable climate inside an RV in any event so turning them off also saves frustration.
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Old 02-28-2020, 11:03 AM   #14
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You might use this chart to determine your cable needs:

http://assets.bluesea.com/files/reso...on_chartlg.jpg

If you plan to run a typical (high power) 15 amp AC load, then this is (15Ax120V) 1800 W from the inverter. Modified sine wave inverters are typically 80% efficient, thus you will need 2160 watts of 12 V power. This is 180 amps of DC. If "long", then that is indeed a big gauge wire, and that will need to be routed. You may consider simply adding another smaller (less expensive) wire in parallel, just be sure the total square inches are the same as the required larger wire.

Note that the passenger side (parallel) battery is only providing 1/2 of the total current used, thus 90 amps with the previous example. Choose wire accordingly.

Note also that modern pure sine wave inverters are 95-98% efficient. Read "smaller DC cables will be needed".

I agree that just changing to a pure sine inverter may help your problems. Or perhaps there was a problem with the "deal" that you purchased. Perhaps you can borrow a pure sine inverter from a friend for a quick test? Size accordingly to your needs, otherwise you will just need to add bigger cables.

My wife and I both use Respironics CPAP machines. Before our Navion RV, we did a lot of boondocking in our 4WD pickup. We found that a fully charged Goal Zero 400 W Yeti power station would run both our machines (with no humidifier running) for three days. You can add solar panels for charging. The 100 W panel would provide a full charge within 3 hours of full sunlight.

You can also build your own "Yeti-like" portable power station. I found numerous projects, with great instructions, on YouTube "after' I purchased ours. Thankfully we had plenty of REI purchase credits, so our Yeti and 100 W portable solar panel was "free".

Just some ideas!
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