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Electrical isn't my strong suit, but I've been researching, researching, researching. My goal is pretty simple (outlined in the diagram). I'm geared toward a 12v system supported by a 200ah battery bank, the service battery and some solar. I'd like an inverter in there for a couple of hardwired AC outlets and the ability to run a small appliance if needed (primarily a coffee maker). I also have shore power in the mix with a charger, not a charger/inverter combo unit (man, those are spendy).

This has a ways to go with all the bits and pieces (mainly fuses, breakers, transfers, etc.). But, I have a few burning questions that I'm struggling to find info on:
  • If and when I hook up to shore power (which will likely be rare), what components do I need in addition to the ones shown to avoid charging my batteries from more than one source? Do I just install a main switch from the solar feed and turn it off prior to hooking up to shore?

  • Where should the line to the inverter be drawn in the diagram, and what components are needed along that line?

  • Sorry, one more... If I go the CTEK D250SE route, I wouldn't need to run a 12v branch to the ProMaster's OEM fuse panel because the ProMaster doesn't have a smart alternator, right? Some people appear to do that so there is ignition detection, but my thought is the CTEK will do its thing by just connecting straight to the service battery.
I hope the diagram is helpful. If your wisdom would direct me a different way, by all means, let me know what that looks like.

Cheers,
 

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Charging from multiple sources shouldn't be an issue as long as you don't exceed the maximum charge for your batteries usually .5c for LiFePo4, so 100 amps for a 200ah battery bank. But a switch between the solar panels and the charge controller could be handy anyways since most charge controllers don't want you to have the panels connected without the battery being connected.

The inverter just needs to be connected to the battery bank, plus it should have a ground wire that you connect to the van chassis for the AC side. Also a fuse or breaker on positive side wouldn't hurt. You'll need to research the appropriate guage of wire, a 2000w inverter on a 12v system will draw a lot of current don't be afraid to over do it here.

Most people use bus bars for the positive and negative terminals of their battery bank so they can connect and disconnect different components individually. The bus bar and it's cabling will need to be able to handle the inverter plus your other DC loads. A switch or breaker between the terminals and the busbars will make it easy to safely work on your system or just shut it down for whatever reason.

I would recommend one of these Kisea Dc to DC/solar charge controllers. DMT-1250 - Kisae Technology

They are fully programmable and will allow you to install a single ~300w solar panel. The CTEK is a little under powered for 200ah battery bank.
 

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2018 2500 159-HR
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I second the DMT-1250 or a DMT-1230, especially after reading some peoples' issues with the Renogy (which also needs an ignition input). I've built out a system with two Battle Born 100 Ah batteries charging through the DMT-1250 with just with the alternator (for now no solar), and am using an AIMS Power 1200W switching inverter which picks up the shore AC power regardless if it's connected to DC or not.

Previously I didn't have an AC charger, but I did have a 340W 12v DC power supply with a shore power relay connected to my two DC fuse boxes (fore and aft). After consulting with Battle Born and reading this article, my PowerMax PM3-45LK arrives in 4 days. This should simplify my current Rube Goldberg wiring scheme, supplying the DC loads and/or charging the batteries when on shore AC power.

Considering my use cases, we do short stays after relatively long drives, so I assumed the alternator charging was sufficient. In reality I am still doing lots of tinkering and frequently sleep in the van in my driveway (to avoid either heat or noise - I'm an early riser but my family isn't), so the AC charger seems a worthwhile investment.

Also I picked up a 12v DC laptop charger for $25 from Amazon. It gets good ratings but I haven't used it yet. (I figured DC-DC charging should be more efficient; not sure how quickly a 12v supply will charge an 18v laptop, but we'll see).
 

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Hi,
I would suggest that you consider replacing the inverter and the PD converter with an inverter/charger.
The Inverter/Charger will automatically sense whether or not you are on shore power and it will automatically supply your AC outlets from either shore power or your inverter. It will also charge your house battery when on shore power. When you go from inverter power to shore power, its important from a safety point of view to change the point where the neutral wire is bonded to the ground wire from at the inverter back to the campground power pedestal -- the Inverter/Charger will do this automatically. It also simplifies the wiring.
Go to Amazon and search for inverter/charger - there are lots of them.

Your next step should probably be to do a detailed wiring diagram that shows all the wires, wire gages, fuses, ... This will let people comment in more detail on your plan.

Your loads are relatively light -- they could be handled with a couple of golf cart batteries for a couple hundred dollars rather than the $2K for the Battle Borns. I mention this particularly because you mention you are not to comfortable with electrical systems -- its pretty common for people new to RV electrical systems to total their first set of batteries through some kind of user error. This is less painful with $200 worth of batteries than $2000 :) But, the two Battleborns will work fine if you decide to go that way.

Gary
 

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Hi,
I would suggest that you consider replacing the inverter and the PD converter with an inverter/charger.
The Inverter/Charger will automatically sense whether or not you are on shore power and it will automatically supply your AC outlets from either shore power or your inverter. It will also charge your house battery when on shore power. When you go from inverter power to shore power, its important from a safety point of view to change the point where the neutral wire is bonded to the ground wire from at the inverter back to the campground power pedestal -- the Inverter/Charger will do this automatically. It also simplifies the wiring.
Go to Amazon and search for inverter/charger - there are lots of them.

Your next step should probably be to do a detailed wiring diagram that shows all the wires, wire gages, fuses, ... This will let people comment in more detail on your plan.

Your loads are relatively light -- they could be handled with a couple of golf cart batteries for a couple hundred dollars rather than the $2K for the Battle Borns. I mention this particularly because you mention you are not to comfortable with electrical systems -- its pretty common for people new to RV electrical systems to total their first set of batteries through some kind of user error. This is less painful with $200 worth of batteries than $2000 :) But, the two Battleborns will work fine if you decide to go that way.

Gary
I agree with Gary here, and have similar opinions.

Also, with FLA or AGM you can charge directly from the PM starter battery / PM alternator without a B2B charger.

Lithium needs “special” charge equipment. I’m not against lithium, if there is a need for them then there is a need (I just do not need them @ this point). I have Rolls 2-6volt 250Ahrs AGMs.

Battery manufacturers offer a warranty if you do not abuse the batteries. Abuse them & no warranty (depreciated warranty or not). Most batteries that die an early death (within the warranty period) are abused or mismanaged somehow.

When I looked into lithium the cost was astronomical (2018), and the warranty was not any longer. That was very telling for me & made my choice easier.

Best bank for buck is FLA. Go lithium if you have special needs I suppose.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Wow, thanks everyone. Hadn't logged in for a bit and it was great to see all the input.

I've made a few changes:
  • Going with an inverter/charger (Xantrex Freedom XC 2000). Good feedback here on the forum.
  • Landed on a 170ah battery. Found a sale, doubled it with a promo, and couldn't pass it up. This is after Renogy first mailed me TWO 200ah lead acid batteries instead of a couple 100ah lithium batteries.
  • Hoping to now land everything in a 30amp distribution panel from Progressive Dynamics.
Regarding the Renogy DC-DC/MPPT, it won't need an ignition line in this setup because the Promaster has a dumb alternator - so I've read. I think I'm going to hold onto it and see how it works out. Worst feedback is when the terminals sheer when approaching torque spec. I'll have to be extra careful. But, I got it through Lowe's so a return will be easy if I have issues.

I'll upload my revised schematic soon which now has wire sizes, lengths and breaker/fuse details. I'm about 80% through running the wires, about to start 'framing.'

Cheers!
 

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2018 2500 159-HR
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Had a chance to use it yet? I keep learning as time goes on and will deflower my (v3) electrical build out this weekend, but share your Renogy DC-DC experiences when you can. One change to my v3 is having front and rear DC distribution panels (and adding rear audio), and wish I'd considered that early on. v1 plan was everything behind the driver seat and no AC, but adding shore power for DC and having a few AC asks from my wife instantiated v2. Oh well... next van will be perfect! ;-)
 

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Had a chance to use it yet? I keep learning as time goes on and will deflower my (v3) electrical build out this weekend, but share your Renogy DC-DC experiences when you can. One change to my v3 is having front and rear DC distribution panels (and adding rear audio), and wish I'd considered that early on. v1 plan was everything behind the driver seat and no AC, but adding shore power for DC and having a few AC asks from my wife instantiated v2. Oh well... next van will be perfect! ;-)
Hey. Have not unfortunately. So many things are on backorder that my timeline is much longer than I originally thought. I'm hoping to have the guts of the wiring going in a month or two.

The next van will always be a little more perfect :) Before I start my next van, I'm going to start a company that makes custom wall and ceiling panels for ProMaster camper builds. Figuring out how to cover all the curves and ribs in this thing in an aesthetically pleasing way has been my least favorite part (by far).

Edit: Figuring that out while trying to maximize every 1/2 inch of space horizontally and vertically has been tough. Doing the framing further out than I did would have helped, but I wasn't willing to sacrifice the space.
 

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69066

Almost done, and seems to be working fine. Next up is a battery monitor and an AC line to the driver side dashboard with an AC lamp or resistor/LED combo to give me a gentle reminder not to drive away without unplugging shore power from the rear bumper.

For v3 I added bus bars as recommended above, wired an outlet for shore power since the power supply has a plug, and wired a plug onto the inverter for AC in. Battery switches isolate DC entirely, as well as decouple the DMT-1250 from the alternator. I used 2 AWG to supply the bars and 4 AWG elsewhere (1200W invertor), and yes, those cheap fuse/breakers for the PS DC output and invertor DC input (may be sorry). Pictured is the "aft" DC fuse block as I also added a "fore" block hidden under the driver B-pillar trim. There is flexi conduit running through that wheel well behind the wall trim into the D-pillar.

I just ordered a DC clamp ammeter that I need to isolate a parasitic draw in my car and will use it here to double-check my math, so to speak.

Totally agree about the wall panels and will share my approach to filling in the front section - I am trying to maximize space and modularity as this is more a 'weekender' and surf van than boondocking camper.
 

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Looking good, like the form factor of the Battle Born.
 

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Looking good, like the form factor of the Battle Born.
I believe they offer two form factors, but these are what diyvan.com had, who had the best prices I could find and conveniently were in Hood River, OR, where I was at the time.
 
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