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Old 05-21-2022, 06:06 AM   #1
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Class C battery bank location

I would like to DIY a solar and lithium setup in my 2019 E-450 Forest River 2850 Class C and step one is determining location of lithium battery bank and probably inverter, other components. Ideally it would be inside RV for temperature control and security.

I am interested in feedback from anyone that has already done this on a Class C, especially with layout similar to mine, or Class C's in general.

Plan is starting with 400ah (100ah x4) batteries without internal heating but would also like to keep option open for expanding battery bank. I know other battery configurations are available but I'm planning on going with Chins LifePo (my budget) and would rather risk a 100ah to failure than a 200ah failure somewhere down the road.

The only inside location I have identified as potential is rear bedroom closet (12" wide x 26" deep by 30" high) on drivers side. I can probably fit four (and more) Group 27 batteries as well as inverter, solar controllers, etc. It is also located right behind this closet in exterior storage area.

I currently don't see why this isn't an ideal spot but just looking for opinions and alternative location options inside or if everyone is doing this in outside storage (requiring heated batteries as I'll sometimes encountering freezing weather). If outside, where are folks locating? My rig has large side-to-side back storage which is probably the only exterior storage size large enough to keep all components together.

Many thanks, I'm sure I'll be reaching out more. Please forgive my neophyte inexperience, all DIYers start somewhere . Regardless, safe travels and happy trails to everyone.
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Old 05-22-2022, 06:07 AM   #2
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I understand your goal but want to offer a word of caution. To relocate your battery bank, you'll need to re-route all of the electrical cables from your existing banks location to the new location. That will be quite a job. It will also be pretty expensive considering the current price of copper wire. Why not just use your existing banks location and install lithium cells that are form-fit. Yes, you might want to get heated cells but that doesn't add significantly to the overall cost of the project. Swap out your current cells with lithium cells of equal or greater capacity.

You may want to upgrade the connection between your chassis and coach batteries. And, your current charger / converter may need upgrading or replacing. A good lithium capable battery monitor is also a must. One of the bluetooth capable models would be a good choice. You'll really enjoy the lithium upgrade. You'll be moving a lot of current around so keep those wire sizes LARGE and install a good, high amperage charging system.

Good luck with your project.
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Old 05-22-2022, 11:10 AM   #3
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I have a Class C, just not the same one as you. I have a J lounge dinette and put everything in there.
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Old 05-23-2022, 03:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
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I have a Class C, just not the same one as you. I have a J lounge dinette and put everything in there.
Thanks for idea and pic. I did explore under dinette (mine is split, not not J or U shape). I could maybe fit four batteries on one side and Multiplus on other side. Will give that some thought. Curious, what is at top of your picture with vents?
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Old 05-24-2022, 07:19 AM   #5
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Quote:
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Curious, what is at top of your picture with vents?
Note the silver flexible tubes. They are heat ducts. I suspect it is his furnace.
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Old 05-24-2022, 09:27 AM   #6
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Thanks for idea and pic. I did explore under dinette (mine is split, not not J or U shape). I could maybe fit four batteries on one side and Multiplus on other side. Will give that some thought. Curious, what is at top of your picture with vents?
The big metal box at the top is my furnace. The vent grate is there to vent the whole area.
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Old 05-25-2022, 08:59 PM   #7
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This is my lead-acid to lithium swap, two Renogy 100ah smart batteries. I now have double the available capacity and half the weight. We have 360 watts of solar.
I dry camped in my driveway, running the 12vdc refrigerator for 3 days and never ran below 45% state-of-charge.
I highly recommend a battery with dedicated li monitor, reporting Amps charge & discharge rates,,etc.
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Old 05-26-2022, 06:54 PM   #8
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so your layout...



Batteries under step.

You can fit 2 there... there is also a battery management system. you may have to adapt..

Not sure if you have room across under slide.. etc..

Batteries should stay close to OEM location as all tie in points are there..

Dropping the solar lines down can be creative.. closet, fridge area ..then add controller...
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Old 05-26-2022, 08:29 PM   #9
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+1 on the dinette option. Split dinette seats, I fit 2 of the big 8D 200aH batteries plus 2000w inverter, controller, switches/fuses/buss bars/wires, under the front seat. It was tight. Nice central location for tying in to the rest of the electrical system. Centers the battery weight nicely.
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Old 05-26-2022, 09:26 PM   #10
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I mounted my lifepo4 battery under the dinette seating as well. Mounted the DC-DC charger in the steps where the lead acid batteries used to be.
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Old 05-27-2022, 08:10 AM   #11
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Lots of good feedback, thanks to all!

Greatly appreciative of all the feedback from those who traveled this path before me. Thanks for your time and thoughts.
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Old 05-27-2022, 04:53 PM   #12
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I decided to install Lifeline two GPL-4CT 6v AGM Deep Cycle Batteries wired in series for 12v under the step. The batteries were able to fit without modification and give me 220Ah. I keep the batteries charged with three Zamp 170 Watt Solar Panels with a Victron MPPT 100/30 Charge Controller.
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Old 05-28-2022, 04:22 AM   #13
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I decided to install Lifeline two GPL-4CT 6v AGM Deep Cycle Batteries wired in series for 12v under the step. The batteries were able to fit without modification and give me 220Ah. I keep the batteries charged with three Zamp 170 Watt Solar Panels with a Victron MPPT 100/30 Charge Controller.
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Nice and easy retrofit.. Extremely similar to my set up.. I have 4 100 watt and added a 3rd 105AH to a adjacent compartment with an upgraded inverter..

Using it now on a few trips I cut my genny use to 1/3 when no AC is required.
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