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Old 04-10-2018, 03:06 AM   #1
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Closet shelving/drawers, magnetic fridge, and POWER

When we first ordered the trailer, we planned on actually hanging stuff in the "closet". After a few trips, we decided we needed more pantry space but could fit all the clothes in the cabinets above the bed. We found the Elfa basket rack from Container store fit pretty well, but still had some room to bounce around. I initially shoved some foam in there to brace it, but eventually decided to make a bit of a brace for it. I cut a couple slots in a piece of plywood, then glued another piece on top. In retrospect, I probably should have added some cutouts on the bottom board to reduce the weight and used a thinner piece of plywood for the top to keep the weight down.

We wanted to be able to stick stuff to the fridge door, but that didn't work too well with the wooden facade. We got a couple of thin sheets of stainless steel and replaced the wooden trim pieces in the door, and now we can stick fridge magnets to it . Yet more weight, but not as much as you might expect - they're a bit thinner than the wooden inserts.

Last but not least.. power. We're planning on full-timing with the dog, and I'll be working from the road, so being able to run a computer or leave the dog in the trailer with climate control on for a couple hours is pretty important. I basically had as much battery, solar, and inverter crammed into it as physically possible. 2x180W panels from AMSolar (no room for more ), 500Ah of ReLion batteries, MPPT controller, and a Victron Multiplus inverter.

I was hoping to fit more solar, but any more than one front and one rear panel would end up shaded by the vents and A/C.

Originally I was going to go all-in on Victron with the batteries, but the installer convinced me to go ReLion. The batteries themselves cost a bit more, but the installation is much simpler so in the end they're quite a bit cheaper.

The Victron inverter's pretty need. The "hybrid" mode especially. You basically set a target amperage to draw from shore power, and it adjusts how much it charges or discharges the batteries accordingly. This way I can do stuff like run a 50' extension cord to a 20A outlet, set the limiter to 8A or so, and still run the A/C as long as it cycles on and off.
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Old 04-10-2018, 07:56 AM   #2
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Wow, nice setup.
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Old 04-10-2018, 08:24 AM   #3
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I have seen a similar professional installation so I have a comparison, quite the WOW factor you have. It seems that the materials the professionals have, along with the skill set, makes for such a nice result.

I was interested in seeing the low charge rate (absorption) of 14.6 on the lithium ion batteries. So much easier to achieve that compared to the recommended 15.3 that Interstate wants for their dual six volt flooded batteries. Also the use of three batteries is interesting.

Thank you for sharing.
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Old 04-10-2018, 09:43 AM   #4
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Love the solar/Relion setup and professional install.
My buddy just got a Tesla S module that is rated close to your setup and is assembling the Victron parts and solar to put it all together. It will be a fun project to watch.
Very nice rig you have there.
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:24 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fudge_brownie View Post
I was interested in seeing the low charge rate (absorption) of 14.6 on the lithium ion batteries. So much easier to achieve that compared to the recommended 15.3 that Interstate wants for their dual six volt flooded batteries. Also the use of three batteries is interesting.
I believe it is five batteries based on the model shown and his total Ah's of 500. They weigh only 30# each based on the specs I found so 150# total in batteries. Not bad considering two Interstate 6V's weigh 124# and only get you 225Ah's (with only ~50% usable). Lithium batteries can discharge further (say 80%) so only 25# more gets you about 3.5x the usable Ah's. You also get no voltage sag and full capacity at high current with lithium. Impressive, but the dollars per Ah are still very high. I love to dream of the day when costs come down and we all have systems like this standard. Probably not any time soon.
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:36 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Defenestrator View Post
Last but not least.. power. We're planning on full-timing with the dog, and I'll be working from the road, so being able to run a computer or leave the dog in the trailer with climate control on for a couple hours is pretty important. I basically had as much battery, solar, and inverter crammed into it as physically possible. 2x180W panels from AMSolar (no room for more ), 500Ah of ReLion batteries, MPPT controller, and a Victron Multiplus inverter.
Defenestrator: Very nice installation. That is some serious bank to install a system like that. Care to share the total installed cost?
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:42 AM   #7
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Yep, 5x100. There were some issues with supply/stock when I had the installer add batteries 4 and 5, so the last two are Royal rather than Relion. It seems to be the exact same battery with a different sticker/color. Identical specs and casing.

You came up with the same weight numbers I did - an extra 25lbs, but mounted a few feet closer to the axles so probably around the same total increase in tongue weight.

Dollars per Ah are definitely high. Especially since I didn't have the time/equipment to self-install. In my case it was worth it since it enables working from the road, but for a weekend trailer it would be really hard to justify.
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:56 AM   #8
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Dollars per Ah are definitely high. Especially since I didn't have the time/equipment to self-install. In my case it was worth it since it enables working from the road, but for a weekend trailer it would be really hard to justify.
Ignore my last post. Enough said.

Please keep us updated on how the system works. If fully charged it appears you could get at least a few hours from your A/C off the battery bank if needed.
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Old 04-10-2018, 11:30 AM   #9
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I'm OK with sharing the cost. I started typing up that last post before seeing yours. Around $15K total installed, probably 60% parts and 40% labor. Getting it done someplace further from San Francisco would probably have saved on the cost, though installers tend to be pretty booked-up these days with the RV boom. In this case I ended up having go pretty far towards the "money" side of the "time vs money" tradeoff.

Unfortunately, LiFePo4 batteries haven't seen the same cost/capacity improvements that other Lithium-based chemistries like NMC have. I'm pretty wary of having those in my small flammable living space, though, since they have a rather more.. energetic.. failure mode compared to LiFePo4. Tesla's active temperature management and isolation systems probably help a lot there, but it's still not the same as a system that doesn't catch fire in the first place.

The Victron system is pretty neat - bluetooth interfaces on the battery meter and solar charge controller. It's pretty nice to be able to check charge state while rolling down the road. The Multiplus can be "talked to" as well, but it requires a network cable. I think it's been a bit longer since it was updated. I wish I could control the hybrid mode and limit via an app and not need the switch panel mounted in the dinette footwell. I'll probably set up some sort of Raspberry Pi based system to track historical charge state and make it (and temperature) remotely accessible.
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Old 04-10-2018, 01:26 PM   #10
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I'm OK with sharing the cost. I started typing up that last post before seeing yours. Around $15K total installed, probably 60% parts and 40% labor. Getting it done someplace further from San Francisco would probably have saved on the cost, though installers tend to be pretty booked-up these days with the RV boom. In this case I ended up having go pretty far towards the "money" side of the "time vs money" trade off.
Thanks for sharing. My guess was in the ballpark. I can see the retail on the batteries alone is over $6k.
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