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Old 08-25-2020, 01:45 PM   #1
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Modifications to Olive, a 5.0

We have made a lot of modifications to the 5.0 we had delivered this past June. Once I'm through with all of them, I will post links and make a video in case anyone else is looking at going in the same direction. Many of the post on this site have made it easier for me and I wish to reciprocate. The A/C is finished and all work is annotated in this thread: https://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f...t-8249-24.html

The spare tire was moved as per Jim's instructions on the cargo box: https://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f...box-12420.html

I replaced just about the entire electrical system and it is working well, but will not post until the solar panels are installed. This is all part of a 975 watt solar install.
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Old 08-25-2020, 01:49 PM   #2
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We had the factory not install the table as I knew I wanted to reconfigure the dinette area. I ended up having to replace all countertops so they would match the new ones. The hardest part was the glue Escape used to seal the edge against the back wall and partition. What a pain. I haven't built the drawers yet as we are using Olive this weekend. My daughter sewed the cushions as her last duty before heading off to college.

I used the Lagun table system and can raise the table to store over the dinette cabinet. In the third picture, the table makes an excellent extension to the kitchen area. We have a portable induction stove that goes where the factory stove would have gone. We had them delete that and the vent. You can also see that we added a backsplash and changed the sink.
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Old 08-25-2020, 01:53 PM   #3
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If you run into us while camping, come say hi. Our Olive is unique and you can find it via the graphics my daughter also painted for me before leaving. I retired after 25 yrs from Navy Special Operations, so that will help explain the why. Hahaha. Painting ones camper may not be for everyone, but it was right for me.
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Old 08-25-2020, 05:12 PM   #4
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Nice mods. You win "most counter space ever"!
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Old 09-27-2020, 05:20 PM   #5
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First 325W panel out of three is finally mounted. Drilling through the roof to bolt it on was nerve racking, but she is firmly attached.
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Old 09-27-2020, 06:53 PM   #6
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Nicely done, you're definitely making it your own.

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Old 09-27-2020, 07:16 PM   #7
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First 325W panel out of three is finally mounted. Drilling through the roof to bolt it on was nerve racking, but she is firmly attached.
Make and model of your panel, please!

Would also love to know the rest of the solar components plans (controller, monitor, inverter, charger, batteries, etc). Did you elect any of ETI's solar options, or work instead from a 'clean slate'?

Definitely making your 5.0 yours, and looking good
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Old 09-27-2020, 07:34 PM   #8
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Make and model of your panel, please!

Would also love to know the rest of the solar components plans (controller, monitor, inverter, charger, batteries, etc). Did you elect any of ETI's solar options, or work instead from a 'clean slate'?

Definitely making your 5.0 yours, and looking good
Post #12 of this thread shows his plans:
https://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f...tml#post342089

Not that I’m closely following this project or anything...
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Old 09-29-2020, 08:47 AM   #9
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Hi jphil23462 - I've now reviewed all of your posts relating to solar mods and beg some education about your approach as I'm 'on the learning curve' about RV solar.

Would you explain the reasons / pros / cons behind a series/parallel 24V battery storage array (as opposed to parallel-only 12V array)?

I found your mention of the AIMS (PICOGLF30W24V120VR) Inverter / Charger / Transfer Switch you are using - thanks for that. Also mention of a MPPT 150V-60A Controller. Would you post make/model info for that and the other major components in your planned system? I ask because finding and reading mfr manuals on components often helps me understand more about systems in general / overall.

Thanks for sharing your project - definitely subscribed to follow and learn!

Alan E.
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Old 09-30-2020, 11:21 AM   #10
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I am working out a few kinks. Once I have everything up and running to insure I'm not putting out bad info, I'll post everything. The panels I'm using are Canadian Solar CS1H-325MS.



Nominal Max Power (Pmax): 325W
Opt. Operating Voltage (Vmp): 36V
Opt. Operating Current (Imp): 9.10A
Open Circuit Voltage (Voc): 43.5V
Short Circuit Current (Isc): 9.58A


Module Efficiency: 19.27%
Operating Temp: -40 deg C to +85 deg C


Two reasons for putting panels in parallel configuration. I am running a 24V system. Operating / Open voltage must be higher than the batteries to actually charge them. I am good without having to put them in series. Also, the wire size can be smaller, so 10 AWG is good with this system (as preinstalled from Escape). If I put them in series, the system would be pushing 108V & 9.1A.



System in parallel config: 975W = 36V & 27A


The second reason is that should one panel be obscured, I still get max power from the others.



Once all is installed and working, I will update on real world performance including whether it can run my mini-split A/C system.
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Old 09-30-2020, 11:45 AM   #11
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I am working out a few kinks. Once I have everything up and running to insure I'm not putting out bad info, I'll post everything.
Understandable and appreciated - Thanks!
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I am running a 24V system.
That's the part that I'm curious about the why and wherefore ..... what's the reason / pros / cons of a 24V system (in contrast to a 12V system)? Is it strictly a matter of working within the ampacity of wire gauges pre-installed by ETI?

Your patience with the nimrod questions is greatly appreciated!
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Old 10-06-2020, 03:55 PM   #12
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Watts are the same regardless of whether 12V or 24V. But yes, 24V allows smaller wires as the amps are not as high. Every wiring calculator I have used for solar allows me to get away with the 10 AWG installed by ETI for the panel configuration I have in parallel. The only penalty is a small and negligible inefficiency in the 24V to 12V convertor. Time will tell. The 12V items have no issues in current setup.
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Old 10-06-2020, 04:07 PM   #13
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Had an issue I needed to solve and it is complete. So here are two pictures of the electrical system to support the solar and A/C upgrades. I'll also attach the wiring diagram I made for myself, as that might help visualize all components. You cannot see the 24V to 12V convertor as it sits beneath the battery disconnect switch. Also, the solar panels are not connected to the system even though I have the solar charge controller hooked up. I will disconnect the solar charge controller to battery wire before connecting the solar panels. I made plexiglass covers for the battery disconnect and battery boxes that are not attached for the picture.
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Old 10-06-2020, 04:33 PM   #14
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I find this very interesting!! Thank you for posting it.

If you have time, I think it would be useful to provide the model numbers you have used for each component, and whether it was part of the basic ETI build. If you've already done this in a prior post which I missed, my apologies.

Centex has already asked about the 24V decision. One of the many LiFePo links pointed to from this forum talks about the internal BMS in each battery sometimes getting out of sync when wired in series and shutting down charging or discharging circuits at voltage limits. Do your batteries not have the BMS and leave that up to your solar charge controller?

The only path to charge the batteries from shore power seems to go through the inverter. Does the inverter work in reverse to do that, or do you rely exclusively on solar? I assume the former.

Looking forward to hearing your real-world measurements and experience.

Thanks again for providing this information.
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Old 10-06-2020, 05:02 PM   #15
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.... it is complete. So here are two pictures of the electrical system to support the solar and A/C upgrades. I'll also attach the wiring diagram I made for myself, as that might help visualize all components.
Thanks so much for sharing - much appreciated!

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If you have time, I think it would be useful to provide the model numbers you have used for each component, and whether it was part of the basic ETI build.
Yes, a recap listing all the component detailss in this single thread would be most appreciated!

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The only path to charge the batteries from shore power seems to go through the inverter. Does the inverter work in reverse to do that, or do you rely exclusively on solar?
In this case a single physical component provides the functions of "Charger/Converter (120VAC>24VDC)" and "Inverter (24VDC>120VAC)" and Auto Transfer Switching. That's the AIMS 3000w 24v. Model # PICOGLF30W24V120VR mentioned in another thread, but it's DC iinput/output is 24VDC.

When Shore Power is present it charges the 24VDC battery array and provides 12VDC for 'house devices' (via the 24VDC>12VDC step-down device) from that source; when shore power is not present it automatically switches to provide 12VDC for 'house devices' (via the 24VDC>12VDC step-down device) and 120VAC from the batteries.

Yeah, there's a few complexities introduced by the 24VDC-based system, hopefully worth the trade-off to use the ETI installed pre-wiring.

I appreciate what jphil23462 has done, it's a very powerful and versatile system IMO; but if starting from scratch before ordering a trailer with this end-goal in mind, I might choose to just opt-out of all ETI solar options completely including pre-wiring and DIY the entire 'solar system' on a parallel-wired 12VDC storage basis. Maybe "6-of-1 / half-dozen-of-the-other", I'm not sure, but it's shared info like in this thread that helps one understand the possibilities and multiple ways the challenge can be approached.
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Old 10-06-2020, 05:17 PM   #16
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Since the factory installs ceiling wood bracing for the solar installation option, I'm curious as to how you are attaching your after market panels, particularly inside reinforcement?
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Old 10-06-2020, 05:22 PM   #17
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I am attaching two pictures that helped me to understand the direction of current flow and what was working. In the first picture, I am not attached to shore power so the inverter is providing power to the AC breaker box. All 12V items work fine as they are fed from the batteries (via a 24V to 12V converter. In the second picture, I am plugged into shore power and the charger is sending power to the batteries which in turn powers the 12V items.

I apologize but I can't remember where I got these pictures to give due credit. They are on the Internet somewhere.
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Old 10-06-2020, 05:26 PM   #18
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I was not able to line up the holes with the factory strip of wood but just added my own piece to give a larger distribution of load against the fiberglass. I am using high strength tape along with the bolts and wood.
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Old 10-06-2020, 05:30 PM   #19
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Since the factory installs ceiling wood bracing for the solar installation option, I'm curious as to how you are attaching your after market panels, particularly inside reinforcement?
Noting that as long as the mounting points fall within the overhead storage cabinets it's quite possible to 'unobtrusively' expose the shell inside and outside to install DIY load-spreading reinforcement for PV panels.

Where there's a will there's a way and it doesn't have to compromise the structure or the aesthetics / storage functionality if well-considered and executed.
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Old 10-06-2020, 05:38 PM   #20
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To answer the question on batteries: I had to top off each battery to 14.4V and then connected them in parallel and ensured they were all balanced at 14.4V. I then was able to connect each pair in series and connect the two pairs in parallel to create a 24V 200AH battery setup.

Batteries are Battle Born and can be purchased from the manufacturer or Amazon.
To charge the batteries up, I used the following charger: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
To understand how to use it for best results, I referenced this video:


Bus bar was made using the technique given in this video:
https://www.explorist.life/how-to-wire-a-busbar/

24V to 12V Converter
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Inverter Charger
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Solar Charge Controller
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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