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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm getting ready to install my electrical system and I would appreciate your input and guidance.

Here is my plan:

Objective
- Charge from Solar, Alternator, Shore Power, no air conditioner, no generator

Consumption
- DC: Fridge, MaxxAir Fan, Water Pump, Diesel Heater, LEDs, Various Charging Ports
- AC: Microwave, Induction Cooktop, 2 AC outlets

Components (already purchased)
- 315W Poly Solar Panel
- Midnite Solar The Kid MPPT 30A Controller
- 280aH AGM Deep Cycle Battery
- Kisae Pure Sine Wave 2000W Inverter Charger
- PPD5000 AC/DC Power Control Panel
- Marinco 15A Shore Power

Still to purchase:
- Fuses, breakers, cables, wire

I have attached a schematic which will look familiar as it's basically a copy of Gary's.

My asks:

Does the layout make sense?

I've numbered the fuses and breakers and would appreciate feedback on what I should use in these places. Brand, amperage, whatever.

One more thing. I know the Midnite Solar Controller has a monitor built-in, but do I need an additional battery monitor?

What gauge wire should I use in various sections.

Thanks very much.
 

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2014, 138WB, High Roof, Gas, SW MT
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Hi Shaun,
Looks like a nice setup.

The Midnight Solar charge controller will tell you what the solar charge is doing (how many charge watts and amps its producing etc), but it won't give you the charge status of the battery (that is what percentage of juice is left). You can add something like a TriMetric (as MS has) or a Victron (as i just put in) -- this would give you how many amp-hrs have been used since it was fully charged and gives the State of Charge as a percentage of full charge. Its certainly not something that is a must, but after one trip, I can say its nice info to have. Either of these require putting in shunt in the negative lead from the battery -- if you are thinking you might want to add the battery monitor at some point, I'd try to allow room for the shunt -- my Victron install was a bit awkward as I had not allowed space for the shunt.

(1) You don't really need a breaker in the line from the solar panel as it can only produce about 25 amps, and your wires will likely be large enough to handle this with no problem (like 10 gage minimum). I did not use a breaker in my equivalent line, but it does no harm to have one (other than adding another potential failure point).

(2) You do want a breaker in this line, and it should be as close the the house battery as possible. This protects the wire from a short to ground between the house battery and the house battery. It also provides a handy way to turn off the solar charging. 30 amps seems good to me -- the wire should be at least #10 .

(3) This is probably a good place to go by what the inverter manual says and go by that. If the inverter is producing the full 2000 watts, the current in the wire would be about (2000 watts) / (12.5 volts * 0.9 efic) = 178 amps (where 0.9 is a guess at inverter efficiency). So, if the manual does not give better advice, I'd size the wire for about 180 amps and fuse it for the same. If the wire from inverter to house battery is long, then you also want to check the voltage drop and may want a larger wire.

(4) You want to add up all your DC loads (and any extras you might want to add later) and then pick a wire and breaker at (4) that is good for this or more. You don't have to do this super carefully as you can always go a bit large on the size for the wire and breaker and be safe. You won't likely have all the DC loads on at the same time anyway.

(5) and (6) What I did was find out what the manufacturer recommends as the maximum current you should charge the batteries at and pick a wire and fuse/breaker size a bit above this. This way if this breaker opens, you know that you are charging your battery at too high a rate and shortening its life -- if this is the case (unlikely), then you would have to figure out a way to reduce the charge current (like adding resistance).

Even for AGMs, the recommended charge current is usually not more that 0.2C, or 0.2*280 = 56 amps in your case, but this is worth a call to the manufacturer to see what they say.

Each of the two breakers/fuses should be as close to its respective battery as is feasible. I used one of the Mega Fuses that is basically connected right to the van battery terminal on the van battery side.

I don't know on the Isolator. Mine is a simple relay type that needs the wire you show that goes to a 12 volt source that is on only when the ignition is on. It has worked fine, and its simple. I went back to the tail light area to find a wire that was only hot when the ignition was on.

Others like the Battery Doctor (not sure I got that name right).
And, others use a Voltage Sensing Relay (VSR) isolator -- this senses when the van battery goes above a voltage that indicates that the motor is running, and connects the two batteries together then -- this eliminates the need to find a source of 12 volts that is on with the ignition.

You might also want to add a shutoff switch in the line from the van battery to the house battery as you will probably find that the solar alone will provide all the charging you need, and you can turn off the charging from the alternator (which may not be perfect for your AGM house battery). If the breaker on the house battery end is in a convenient place, you could use it as the shutoff switch.

Gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Gary, thank you so much for taking the time to write this detailed reply. I hope others will be able to use it as I will. I will take your advice and size the breakers and fuses as you've suggested and cross reference it with my solar guy. I'm sure I will have some more questions as I dig in to the details and start sourcing fuses, breakers, wires, etc.

Please keep the feedback coming.
 

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Shaun, after much debating with myself, I finally bought a Blue Sea ML-ACR for my isolator. It helped that it just dropped $40 on Amazon.com. I like the high amp capacity and the remote to force connect/disconnect. In addition to a fuse, I'm installing a battery disconnect switch on the house bank, and another (smaller) disconnect switch between the solar panels and the solar controller. Probably no fuse there, just a kill switch. That way I can quickly cut power at all the sources, in case I need to work on something (or something starts smoking). I'm also installing a 30A shore connection for max flexibility down the road (pun intended). Check the input tolerance on your inverter charger.

I also have the PD5000 AC-DC panel on order! But I'm still wondering what all it can do for me on the AC side. The instructions for my inverter charger shows a main panel and a sub-panel. The shore connection runs through the main breaker on the main panel, which also feeds the inverter and other (optional) shore-powered branch circuit(s). The inverter feeds the sub-panel, which feeds inverter-powered branch circuits. It sounds like without separate shore-powered circuit(s), you have to run the inverter to get AC even when plugged into shore power. Will the PD5000 cover all those bases?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I like the idea of the extra shutoff between the panel and controller, I may do this to. Regarding your question about the shore power and the PD5000, I'm not really qualified to answer that. Maybe Gary will chime in, as he has the same panel.

Steve you must be getting excited about the arrival of the van, I can just imagine a garage filled with stuff for your build. I can't wait for the weather to improve here in Toronto, can't really do the roof top stuff I want to do yet.

Shaun
 

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Steve you must be getting excited about the arrival of the van, I can just imagine a garage filled with stuff for your build.
Yep, I find myself thinking about it all the time ....when I should be working (or sleeping). The build date, March 31, is just a week away now. Should have it late April (fingers crossed).
 

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You are missing a shunt and all the grounds going through it and a Whiz Bang Jr. You're going to want that to not only have a great status on your batteries, but also know what's using how much power exactly.

The KID has fuses for the solar panels, so you don't need extra stuff there.

Here's my wiring "diagram" which is pretty much the same as your setup, but with the shunt added. I did end up having a ground from the DC panel to the shunt so I can monitor all that power usage too.

 

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2014, 138WB, High Roof, Gas, SW MT
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Shaun, after much debating with myself, I finally bought a Blue Sea ML-ACR for my isolator. It helped that it just dropped $40 on Amazon.com. I like the high amp capacity and the remote to force connect/disconnect. In addition to a fuse, I'm installing a battery disconnect switch on the house bank, and another (smaller) disconnect switch between the solar panels and the solar controller. Probably no fuse there, just a kill switch. That way I can quickly cut power at all the sources, in case I need to work on something (or something starts smoking). I'm also installing a 30A shore connection for max flexibility down the road (pun intended). Check the input tolerance on your inverter charger.

I also have the PD5000 AC-DC panel on order! But I'm still wondering what all it can do for me on the AC side. The instructions for my inverter charger shows a main panel and a sub-panel. The shore connection runs through the main breaker on the main panel, which also feeds the inverter and other (optional) shore-powered branch circuit(s). The inverter feeds the sub-panel, which feeds inverter-powered branch circuits. It sounds like without separate shore-powered circuit(s), you have to run the inverter to get AC even when plugged into shore power. Will the PD5000 cover all those bases?

Hi,
The wiring diagram on this page that is labeled "AC distribution" shows how my inverter/charger is wired in: http://www.buildagreenrv.com/our-co...y-camper-van-conversion-electrical-and-solar/
In the diagram, the part marked "AC Distribution Panel" is just the AC half of the PD5000.

It works fine and the inverter/charger automatically handles the switchover from shore power to no shore power.

Do you have a link to the user manual for you inverter/charger?

Gary

Gary
 

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Hi, The wiring diagram on this page that is labeled "AC distribution" shows how my inverter/charger is wired in: http://www.buildagreenrv.com/our-conversion/promaster-diy-camper-van-conversion-electrical-and-solar/ In the diagram, the part marked "AC Distribution Panel" is just the AC half of the PD5000. It works fine and the inverter/charger automatically handles the switchover from shore power to no shore power. Do you have a link to the user manual for you inverter/charger? Gary
http://gpelectric.com/products/inverter-charger-ic-series
Thanks, Gary. I think I figured it out. I am pretty sure my inverter/charger works just like yours. But their numerous diagrams showing a big main panel and small sub panel had me confused. I think their big "main panel" is actually just a single breaker on the shore power feed to the inverter/charger. The PD5000 will act as the "sub panel" and power all the AC loads. The inverter/charger will provide it with AC power from shore, inverter, or both (split) depending on the situation. Am I back on track now?
 

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http://gpelectric.com/products/inverter-charger-ic-series
Thanks, Gary. I think I figured it out. I am pretty sure my inverter/charger works just like yours. But their numerous diagrams showing a big main panel and small sub panel had me confused. I think their big "main panel" is actually just a single breaker on the shore power feed to the inverter/charger. The PD5000 will act as the "sub panel" and power all the AC loads. The inverter/charger will provide it with AC power from shore, inverter, or both (split) depending on the situation. Am I back on track now?
Hi Steve,
That sounds right to me.

Looks like a really nice unit.

Gary
 
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