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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all.

I've been reading and reading and now I'm slightly less dull than I was before. And my head is spinning and I still feel stupid.

I'm going to need a/c and I don't want holes in my van. Reading brought me to the most efficient portable a/c, 12k btu with dual hoses and a variable speed compressor. Runs off the Honda 2000eu, startup and all.

Here:
https://www.practicalpreppers.com/a...units/climax-v12-portable-ac-unit-detail-view

With 2 agm Lifeline GPL-L16T wired in series to fuel the beast.

Here:
https://batteryguys.com/products/li...=cpc&utm_source=googlepla&variant=32270665156

And I thought I wanted solar for everything above, until my reading made me realize I have a potent 220 amp alternator that, because I drive a lot and sit around little, will probably suit me better. Except I'm not clear on the details of using my alternator to charge the batteries above but I think I need this Sterling Battery-to-Battery Charger 12V-12V 120 Amp Input with a bunch of little gadgets in-between to make sure it all works as it should.

Here:

And of course a converter of some sort to plug the beast into, or whatever that thing is called that everything plugs into.

Any thoughts? Will it work? Is there a better way to proceed? I know, I know, a rooftop a/c is already designed for just this scenario. But maybe for my particular case this will work better...
 

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You don’t need the DC to DC. Instal a simple solenoid in the positive wire from the starter battery to the coach battery and put a switch in the activation terminal for it. 80-100 amp one will work. Before solar these did the job in RVs for 50 years and believe it or not they still will. They work perfectly in the situation you want to charge the batteries every time you start the van. The switch lets you avoid that if you need to. Wait for all the spenders on here to tell you how to get this done for hundreds of dollars. LOL

See: [ame]https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001HC6UJ0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1[/ame]
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks RD.

It's good to know that I've got a $15 option in place of a $565 option.

All things being equal, it's a simple decision. But I don't know if both options are equal. As I don't expect other people to do my homework (although assistance is appreciated), I emailed Sterling Power and asked. In particular, will that charger charge the agm batteries under the preferred 3 stage cycle and then stop the charging once the batteries are fully charged?

Can the simple solenoid charging option potentially harm the agm's by over or undercharging them? And does that charger correct for that situation?

My last vehicle was a minivan. It worked for my needs for the most part. At that not-too-far-behind stage in my life, I was perusing the cheaprvliving website. Now that I'm here, we're definitely in another tax bracket. But we're still the poor folk alongside plenty of other condo-on-wheels out there.
 

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I must be one of the spenders, so I'll suggest the Wirthco Battery Doctor 150A

Not hundreds... just $57



Although the Wirthco has nothing to do with charging rates, AGM, etc., I use my Wirthco with (2) 100Ah AGM batteries...no solar, just charges off alternator via van battery (or with charger on shore power).

All the big spenders will jump in and suggest hundred of dollars in solar!!! >:D>:D>:D
 

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Ed knows what he is doing and this will work of course. The van has AGM already, the engineers know how to charge it. Your coach battery will be a larger battery so the only issue is the mismatch and that should not be serious. BD does give you some lights to make you feel better about spending the extra few bucks. I would still install an interrupt switch so you are not charging the coach battery when you are not camping or using the AC. BD won’t charge the coach battery unless they see enough voltage on the starter battery side I believe. There are times that might be good and part of the reason I suggested the switch in the solenoid’s activation circuit.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
> The van has AGM already, the engineers know how to charge it. <

I had no idea!

That changes things of course. I'm curious to see what reply I get from Sterling Battery to help them potentially close a sale, but that certainly eases my own mind that the $15/$57 option is completely sufficient and up to the task.

A thousand thanks!

And any other thoughts on anything else posted above...
 

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Do Solar, cut the roof, get over your phobias, relax, we are all ignorant about some subjects. Stupid is a different thing and you don’t have that problem.
BTW that 220 amp alternator puts out current based on the internal resistance of the battery being charged. As lead acid batteries get full they have higher resistance so the rate of charge goes down. The programming of the voltage regulator sees the voltage and also moves to a lower current. For an empty battery it will do great but take longer than you might think it should. Solar is the slow and steady (wins the race) solution and their controllers can match your battery type well.
 

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Yes, I put a switch on the small ground wire that allows me to NOT charge the aux batteries if I so choose.

The BD also has a few status lights, and has a button that lets you jump start the van battery from the aux batteries if you want.

Jealous of all the solar users out there... just doesn't work for me because: 1) park under carport = no sun... 2) I look for shady spots in campgrounds, I prefer cooler to battery charging... 3) most places we have stayed have shore power available... 4) if we stay in a non-Ac camping area (state parks), it's usually just 1 or 2 nights and my 2 batteries power everything we use with amps to spare!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
>...get over your phobias...<

The only thing I want to avoid until I have no further choice in the matter is a roof a/c.

To my way of thinking, once a fullsize van has a roof a/c (and the associated rooftop hole), it is now a dedicated camper. Most of the other "modifications" can more or less be undone. Should the situation ever develop where I, or we, would want to sell our van and move on, a roof a/c would discourage the prospective buyers looking for a work vehicle.

I've had my van maybe 3 weeks now. I don't know what the future holds, but throwing whatever stuff I need into it for the task at hand, versus converting it into a dedicated camper van, is much more to my preference at this point in time. Thus that particular portable a/c should prove a godsend if it works as advertised. My bed is a hammock (finally figured out out to stay warm in it), my a/c will be portable, and I will do my best to ensure the battery bank and solar panels are easily removed. "Here's your workvan sir. It's a good 'un."
 
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Hi,

You could replace the roof AC with a roof vent or roof fan when you sell -- its the same 14 inch hole.
I'd think just about anyone could use a roof vent or fan.

Those are killer batteries you are getting!

Gary
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hi Gary.

I hadn't thought of that; I didn't know the a/c hole is the same size as a vent fan.

Fact is I'm just too new and ignorant to all the different options available. Researching the options, I initially ended up exploring lithium and ended up at the single biggest size I could find for a click and pay option. That turned out to be this one here, a 300ah lithium battery for $2,700. That price hurt, especially since I think there's other gizmos that go along with it that continue jacking up the price. So then I ended up looking into the best possible non-lithium option and ended up where I did. I'm partial to the price difference. Neither are cheap, but we're just not in a cheap arena to begin with. Having a eurovan/camper is a few steps above having food on the table and a roof over your head. But considerably lower than having a private jet, so there's room to grow yet.

Lithium here: I think I've moved on from this possibility
http://www.lifebluebattery.com/orde...attery/300ah-lifeblue-lithium-rv-battery.html
 

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I hear you on the price issue and I tend towards the “frugal” end of the spectrum. That being said I bought high quality solar panels, an MPPT tracer controller, an Espar heater and a Norcold refrigerator. All had cheaper alternatives but not significantly cheaper. Those decisions should be easy to make. I wanted to use part of our modest retirement budget to travel, camp, complete some home projects, and not worry where the property taxes were coming from. My criteria for making those decisions is straightforward. Can the function be met by simpler technology? Does the cost difference result in significantly better performance, longevity or reliability AND do we need the extra? Buying diesel was the biggest single expense. My cost was $3400 difference and the payoff will come earlier than I expected, well before 100K miles. The extra performance and improved drivability of the diesel van was even more of a factor and has been way more value than I had imagined. Can something like Lithium batteries pass this test? BTW my 230 A-H battery set was $166 and no little extra electronics unless you call the $15 solenoid extra. If only the lithium batteries met the test I would have found a way.
 
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Discussion Starter #14
I'm going to need a heater and I'm partial to the espar because of the automatic altitude adjustment option it has. But, since I'll be going with a substantial battery bank to feed an a/c unit, I'm curious to try the 1,500 watt over-the-counter $50 infrared heater jobbie thing I already have and see how that works out. Just for smiles and giggles.
 
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