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Old 09-17-2019, 11:12 PM   #1
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Lithium power center installed

Lithium compatible power center/converter installed.

I spent most of yesterday identifying & tagging various wires and taking apart the wire bundle going into the power center. Today I disconnected the old, modified the hole in the dinette seat and connected the new. I have everything connected & functioning as it came from the factory with a few 12 volt enhancements; 120 volt mods will be later.

The new power center, a Progressive Dynamics PD4560LIK, has the Lithium Iron Phosphate charging parameters and additional 12v & 120v circuit capacity. It does not have a 240 volt interleaved buss but takes a 240 volt style main breaker to feed 2 unique (not interleaved) 120 volt busses - essentially allowing it to be configured to replace the sub-panel that ETI put in or to use a 50 amp service. Tho I have breakers in place the top buss is not currently used.

The new unit did require changing the hole dimensions in the dinette seat. I cut an additional couple inches for height and filled in about the same in width. I don't have any panel material to cover the filled area but the mount for the Lagun table should cover it.

I found 2 of the 12 volt circuits (lights & outlets both) split into 2 wires each but both wires on the same fuse. When I installed these in the new unit I separated them to be on individual fuses, effectively allowing more potential total draw.

The subpanel put in by ETI is similar. Only 2 breakers but a total of 5 wires coming out (2 on one, 3 on the other). To me, this is a real good way to blow breakers - esp with 15 amp breakers & wire. I've already done it with my electric heater and making dinner. I have 7 breakers available on the top buss. If I move the 5 from the subpanel and add the 2 new ones that I want then my new power center will be full. I'll probably just move the microwave to the 2nd buss and leave the general outlets in the subpanel so I have some future expansion. But, I'll put double breakers in the subpanel so each of the 4 remaining wires will be on a separate breaker, providing for less chance of blowing a breaker (keeping in mind the size of the main & subpanel feed breakers).

Next I rearrange stuff under the rear dinette seating and start installing my major 12 volt changes (installing & connecting the "boards" I've previously posted pics of). Once that is done I'll be prepared to install the display/controls above the fridge and on/off switches near the entry. Then I may have the time to install the A/V stuff that is filling the upper entry cabinet and the rest of my mods.
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Old 09-18-2019, 05:17 AM   #2
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Tom,
I asked for and received a 12x12 spare piece of panel for future changes.Perhaps you can pick up a piece at the factory.
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Old 09-18-2019, 10:31 AM   #3
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Tom,
I asked for and received a 12x12 spare piece of panel for future changes.Perhaps you can pick up a piece at the factory.
I do have the unused microwave cabinet door and there will be the piece I cut out over the fridge so I can fill it -but later.
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Old 09-19-2019, 12:18 AM   #4
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Electric boards in place

The first pic is my version of additional support for the Lagun table mount (looking straight down). It also happens to be the support framework for holding the boards I put together to support my electrical changes - as shown in the second pic.

I did not know exactly what size of space would be available for my Lagun/electrical-board support but only minor changes were needed for the Lagun support part to fit. I initially thought I might need to use my support to replace the center seat support but it fit by taking it apart and reassembing in place (it did not fit as a drop-in when assembled).

To the left in the pics is my custom battery "box". I currently have 2 batteries and the empty space is for a third. All three batteries go thru their own fuse & on-off switch before joining together at a buss. The buss is fused and then goes to the input of my boards.

These boards support my move of the displays above the fridge and remote switches by the entry. As such, since they are not much use until those mods are ready, they are not connected to anything yet and I'll move on to working on those two items next. Then I'll connect it all together.
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Old 09-19-2019, 12:53 AM   #5
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Tom,
I asked for and received a 12x12 spare piece of panel for future changes.Perhaps you can pick up a piece at the factory.


Another fairly big piece of paneling that can be salvaged is the fridge front, if you replace it with something else, eg dry erase board, sheet of galvanized metal (magnetic, handy for fridge magnets), chalkboard painted substrate, favorite poster or blown up photo, etc.
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Old 09-19-2019, 07:48 AM   #6
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Another fairly big piece of paneling that can be salvaged is the fridge front, if you replace it with something else, eg dry erase board, sheet of galvanized metal (magnetic, handy for fridge magnets), chalkboard painted substrate, favorite poster or blown up photo, etc.
I still have half a sheet in storage should I ever need it, but am done most work that would need all that.
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Old 09-19-2019, 09:51 PM   #7
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Entry switches installed

The first pic shows the cabinet wall next to the entry with the switches and key/mail holder installed. 6 of the 8 switch positions are filled:
1. Battery cutoff; has a sliding cover to protect the setting (no light)
2. Empty
3. Power to future subwoofer (orange light when on)
4. Tank heaters (one switch will operate multiple relays) (red light)
5. AV equipment power source: utility or small inverter (blue light)
6. Power switch for small inverter (red light)
7. Empty
8. Water heater electric (I'll put a relay in the power line) (blue light)

I still need to put some trim around the switches and do something to repair the damage from ETI using glue instead of staples on the cross support.

The second pic shows the back side of the switches board. The 12 volt power from my previously run #2 wire will terminate here to power the switches and my A/V equipment (switcher, amp for center speaker, powered sub woofer). This board contains the RJ45 breakout to switches and power connections.

The third pic shows the connection plates I put under a false floor in the cabinet. The first one is the termination point for the 4 tv-style connectors in the front "entry box" that I had ETI install. The second is an hdmi + coax connector that will terminate with a matching plate at the tv location. The third is for the speakers and contains connectors for front, rear, center & subwoofer. Finally, there is a surface-mount duplex 120v outlet plus usb charging port. This is the outlet that the small inverter can power and is for my satellite receiver and cell phone amplifier. The space is 6" tall so things like my xm radio, cell amp & weather radio should fit fine even after the wiring is in place.

Next I tackle the displays going above the fridge. Since I can not see the space I'll be using this might take a couple of days to open up and design/build something to hold the displays for battery, inverter, ems & maybe solar but I think my new solar controller uses blue tooth.

Sorry for the sideways portrait pics. If an admin can fix them and tell me how I can do it (besides only take landscape pics) I'd appreciate it. I would have retaken them but my current upload speed sucks.
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Old 09-20-2019, 09:48 PM   #8
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Displays above the fridge installed

Not connected but at least in place. Finish work such as a smoked plexy door will be later.

The 1st pic shows the 3 remotes above the fridge: ems, battery, inverter. My new solar controller uses bluetooth to display info on my phone. Not my ideal but it will do. If I switch to a controller that includes a remote there is adequate space above the fridge for another.

2nd & 3rd pics show the way I'm installing them so that they will be recessed and have the faces at about the same point. The feet & shim material are scraps. Tho the feet sit on top of the fridge they are actually just to maintain the height when screwing the angle brackets into the frame material. The wires coming out the back of the Trimetric unit terminate with an rj45 breakout board. The connections at the shunt (on one of my previously made electrical boards) also terminates in a breakout board. I'll use lan wire between the two breakout boards just like I have for the switches at the entry and the relays on one of my boards.

The 4th pic is a look at the space above the fridge, showing the dreaded heat leak that has been discussed previously. The baffle, and thus the insulation, does not quite meet the fridge top all the way across. Easy to fix now that I have an access hole (after I run the wires for the displays).

To make the hole I first drilled a few small holes to determine that my desired centerline was clear. Then I used a 2" hole saw to make a hole large enough to actually investigate thru. I could see the frame member right above the fridge and discovered a second, higher one (it is the frame member for the cupboard door hinges above the microwave space). The space between wasn't exactly as much as I was planning on but my largest display would barely fit. I then cut out the intervening panel for the width I needed. I added vertical framing at each end and am able to mount the displays set back about an inch, while waiting to make a hinged plexy door.

Note: it did not hurt my advance planning that Karl took me back into the factory building during orientation (workers' lunch time) to get a personal look at the still exposed areas involved with my mods.
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Old 09-20-2019, 09:54 PM   #9
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How do you plan on sealing that space from the refer compartment?
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Old 09-20-2019, 10:08 PM   #10
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How do you plan on sealing that space from the refer compartment?
The existing baffle and insulation at the rear (apparently a recent addition by ETI) may be able to be moved down to where it should be or extended (from the outside). Otherwise, complete it from inside. Simplistically, lay something like cardboard on the top of the back of the fridge and use some of the expanding foam I have left to fill the gap (and then go outside & remove the excess that probably showed up).
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Old 09-21-2019, 06:48 AM   #11
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So you have access to the rear refer top from outside in the 5.0 model? Did not know that. Should be able to make repairs easy.
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Old 09-21-2019, 09:37 AM   #12
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So you have access to the rear refer top from outside in the 5.0 model? Did not know that. Should be able to make repairs easy.
Sorry - I don't know that it is accessable from the side wall area or just the roof vent, and have not checked. It may not be possible from the side - I was making an assumption based on light showing thru the crack and experience with other rigs. That light could have just been from thin skin, not easy access. Or light from the roof vent.

When I was addressing the possibility of ETI putting in wiring for a fan in the rear space the suggestion by Reace was to use a vent top that includes a built-in solar fan. Therefore, access to the baffle from the rear may need to be from the roof.
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Old 09-22-2019, 10:24 AM   #13
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Tom (and others)- I have some questions:

- Is the existing WFCO distribution panel not compatible with lithium batteries? If so, I managed to miss this detail in the lithium battery installation stories that I've read so far.

- I assume you are using the exisiting wiring from the old batteries to your power distribution panel and inverter (if it exists). I also assume that the gauge of this wire from your battery bus would not be affected by the addition of a third battery. Are these assumptions correct? Thanks.
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Old 09-22-2019, 10:54 AM   #14
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Tom (and others)- I have some questions:

- Is the existing WFCO distribution panel not compatible with lithium batteries? If so, I managed to miss this detail in the lithium battery installation stories that I've read so far.

- I assume you are using the exisiting wiring from the old batteries to your power distribution panel and inverter (if it exists). I also assume that the gauge of this wire from your battery bus would not be affected by the addition of a third battery. Are these assumptions correct? Thanks.
On paper (specifications), the WFCO converter is compatible, but in reality it never seems to get out of the float mode. Unless it gets into the bulk or absorption modes, it will not fully charge a lithium battery (needs more than 13.6 float voltage).

Most lithium converters go from bulk at 14.4V until the battery reaches around 98%, then float at around 13.6V.

If the wire gauge was chosen for the output of the converter, unless you change to a higher current converter, the wire size should be correct. You will find that lithium batteries draw the full output of the converter until nearly full, so if the current wire size is minimal, you might want to consider upsizing...

Of course if you add an inverter (or increase its size) appropriate sized wire between the inverter & battery would be necessary.
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Old 09-22-2019, 11:23 AM   #15
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Thanks, Jon. Given that my intended use is mostly without hookups and relying upon solar panels, I'll keep the WFCO panel for the time being.
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Old 09-22-2019, 08:06 PM   #16
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Tom (and others)- I have some questions:
.
.
.
Since I have 2 Lithium batteries and am allowing for one more, I wanted the best treatment from the converter/charger that I could get. The WFCO not routinely doing a complete charge for the needed voltage prompted me to get an actual Lithium charging section. For about $50us over the cost of just the charging section I found a complete Lithium compatible power center that had a bunch more features that will be handy.

Since I am a heavy electrical user for my kitchen when on shore power I wanted more circuit capacity than the WFCO and subpanel provides. And after discovering that the subpanel had 5 wires on 2 breakers (not necessarily bad) but used only 15 amp breakers, even for the microwave plus another wire, I was really glad that my new power center provides for additional circuits. Sure, I have to be aware of my total draw but by using more circuits I'll be less likely to plug two high draw items into different outlets that happen to be on the same 15 amp breaker.

As far as wire size goes, 60 amp charging vs the WFCO 55 is basically the same. And the number of batteries does not affect it - the draw does. From the beginning I felt that both the inverter & solar controller provided by ETI would be inadequate for me, thus I'm replacing both with larger capacity units - and the wire, fuses, etc.

Actually, the electrical boards that I made and now installed (but not connected) has the battery, converter, solar, inverter, etc connections & wire from the battery bank. For example, ETI installed separate wires to the battery for the converter and inverter. I'll have a single (large) connection from the battery bank to my boards. That goes thru fuse, battery cutoff relay and then to the various distribution points. The devices will connect to my boards with appropriate sized wire (actually oversized). My new battery cutoff relay will be wired to cut off everything except solar (which has its own manual switch if needed). I have not decided yet if I'll leave the propane detector active or subject to my master switch (I have switched & unswitched connection points on my boards).

Except for putting in dual breakers in the subpanel (5 "circuits" on 4 breakers instead of on 2) and the new power center I have not introduced anything new at this point - I'm just installing new stuff that is not connected yet. Once I am no longer traveling/living in the rv then I'll start connecting things into the system.

The attached pic is the only indication I have right now for the charging output of my new power center - a usb charging adapter with voltage display plugged into a 12v outlet & showing 14.6 volts.
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Old 09-22-2019, 08:37 PM   #17
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Thanks Tom. That is all very interesting, and educational.
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Old 09-22-2019, 08:41 PM   #18
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Does anyone know of a reference to calculate the proper wire gauge for a connection from a battery to (for instance) an inverter, given power draw of the inverter and length of the wire?
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Old 09-22-2019, 09:16 PM   #19
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Does anyone know of a reference to calculate the proper wire gauge for a connection from a battery to (for instance) an inverter, given power draw of the inverter and length of the wire?
I initially used online charts & online calculators and then I found the Blue Sea Systems app called "Circuit Wizard". It is oriented towards the marine industry but I figure that is close enough to rv use and might even provide more safety.
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