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Discussion Starter #1
Swivels ordered for the seats.
Insulation package ordered (we plan on adding a layer to the panels ordered, that we can do inside where it's warm).
Bed-rug VanTred ordered.
Windows ordered from Motion Windows--thanks again for that recommendation.
Next up to get en route to us is our electrical system.

I've never done anything electrical, not even changed a wall plug; luckily the better-half's brother in law is a licensed electrican
who can plug everthing up after we run all the wires.

So please help if you have time to fill in my shopping list.

There is no big AirCon unit in our build so no generator nor massive inverter needed, however the she-boss will use a blow dryer on occasion
and we'll both be using laptops. So the first decision is to go sine wave (pure) with the inverter.
We'll charge batteries two ways. From the alternator while driving and plugged into 110v AC at parks/campgrounds. So my inverter should also
be a charger correct? And to further the inverter-charger wish list it seems like it needs to be a charge controller as well.
So please recommend a 2000watt inverter-charger than can monitor the charge on the batteries to prevent overcharge AND that brings up
a question. On the yellow top Optimas shouldn't we also be able to keep them from completely discharging? Say have a limit at 30% discharge
then they shut off?? How is this possible.

Battery choice-
We like the Optima D31a. We'll get two of them if you guys think this is a good choice.
We'll be running 2 FantasticFans at night while sleeping (one drawing in, the other pushing out), this should be the longest draw of any electrical
appliance we'll be using. At times charging cell phones and camera batteries and a couple of hours each night powering the laptop.
Happily our refrigeration/freezing will be met with Arctic Coolers.
We will in the future most likely add the Webasto heater (under the passenger seat) that uses gasoline IF MsNomer's build goes well :) This year
heating won't be an issue because it will be warm by the time we get 50% of our build done :(

So our electrical system will be basic compared to many.
When you open the sliding door and look straight at the wall behind the driver's seat will be a cabinet. Inside will
be the inverter-charger, the yellow top Optimas, an AC box a DC box.

We plan to have 6 AC outlets-
foot of bed for mattress pad heater
inside left of sliding door
left inside rear door
3 inside cabinet (lower cabinet all electrical connections/inverter/batteries) for microwave/coffee pot/ power strip for camera battery chargers

DC runs.
LCD lights above head of bed
Inside slider door opening
Above pedestal table

Now a question about the 'house' auxiliary batteries. I know they can be used to start the vehicle if that battery is dead but I need to know what to tell the
electrician.

Thanks as always for your experience and thoughts.
Robert
 

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There are much better battery options than the Optima which is a combo deep cycle starter battery which isn't ideal. A large AGM battery like a Universal Power 4D or Lifeline 4D would be a better choice for less money. 200 amp hours in one battery vs. just 75 amp hours per battery for the Optima.

For jumping the starter battery use an automatic charging relay with a manual combiner setting. Bluesea makes a nice one.

I like my Aims Power 2000 watt inverter/charger. Also has a 30 amp automatic transfer switch for when you're on shore power.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
 

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Inverter/charger... Can I share what I WISH I could get?

Magnum MSH3012M. This is a sine wave 'hybrid' that will allow a smaller 1600w inverter generator like a Honda Eu2000 to start up loads that it normally couldn't by dipping into the battery to get the extra power, or conversely if the sun hits the solar panels the inverter will reduce the external AC input current proportionately. This unit has an adjustable low-battery cut off (12.2V is the highest selectable) if* you have their remote panel; the remote panel also gives control over adjustment of charging stage voltages. 3-year warranty. $1700 from _here_.

^^ I'll probably settle for a lot less inverter, and most likely used off of eBay or Craigslist.. :::sigh:::

Optimas... I'd say were designed a bunch of years ago to carry in/out of the boonies on foot to rescue/recover a vehicle, back when sealed batteries were a rarity. Just not enough power per dollar when there are so many other good options for equal/less money. Their biggest dual-purpose battery is 60 pounds, 75 amp-hours at 20 hour rate and $250 from Amazon. (_specs_). The same 60~65 pounds yet with 100AH/20H rating in a sealed AGM from Sams Club or Costco will cost $180. If we go with an electric wheelchair type SLA that 100Ah can be delivered for $145.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well my list gets narrower and narrower :) Already gotten approval for the AIMs mentioned above by the she-boss :)
I'm still looking for a part/piece you guys will know where if it exist.
When we pull into a campground/park/or at home and want to top off the batteries with 'shore' power I need to connect the shore power to the RV.
Since we're only going to be a 110v build I can carry a simple extension cord. I plug it into the power source of the campground but what to I plug it into
on the exterior of the Promaster?
AND, what linkage inside the Promaster from that connection to the inverter-charger.
Maybe just a weather-proof AC outlet like at Lowes or Home Depot?
What if I don't want yet another hole in the side of the PM, anyone put something like this under the body? I know you'd have to reach down for the connection.

My plan as usual is to have all the stuff on hand when we had the PM over to the brother in law for the electrical sub-build.

While I'm begging for info, which DC lights should I place around the inside of the PM? Anyone have a preference of manufacturer?
 

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We used an all-weather extension cord (make sure it can handle the heat). Inlet is on the back bumper.



Lights--just make sure they are LED and the color temp you want (warm vs cool). Many are native 12v with converter you just cut off.

If you don't include a fridge, you will be missing one of the greatest joys of vanning.

Edit: For the fridge to continue running when you leave it for a week, and to properly charge AGM batteries, you need solar. Read my threads and you will see how I was drug kicking and screaming to this notion. Too complicated, didn't like the looks on top of the van, solar doesn't work in the shade we prefer, etc. You name an excuse, I made it. KOV and RD finally talked some sense into me and it was a hard sell.

With solar, we have 3 ways to charge the battery, and they can all play nice together. Most of the time, solar is all we need. If it's cloudy/shady and we have shore power, the AC charger does the charging. If it's cloudy/shady in the boonies, we run the van. However, for a proper charge, AGM's require a higher voltage than the van alternator can supply. Therefore, we try not to rely solely on the alternator for more than a week or so at a stretch.

Make sure you have a quality meter that shows amps used and percent discharged. It's as important as your fuel gauge.

Be aware that an electrician who focuses on stick-and-brick may not understand the charging profile required for AGM, and there's not just one AGM profile. It varies by brand. We don't actually know whether the chemistry is different or whether the manufacturers just have different opinions, but it makes sense to use the profile my manufacturer recommends. So buy a battery whose charging profile is readily available either from a website or tech support.

Oh, BTW, there's a 30% tax CREDIT for solar expenses.
 

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MsNomer (and OP),
My van has an AGM as the factory installed starting battery so the van does know how to charge it and the alternator must be able to provide all the voltage it needs. Also for a reformed non-solar person you have become quite the evangelist, that is a great thing, congratulations! You are also so right about the Refrigerator (with freezer too please!)
Tell your electrician to review his wire size chart, calculate the current draw, don’t rely on his experience, stranded wire for everything, 12 volts is dangerous, fuse both ends of battery to battery connections, single wire runs and common grounds to the chassis are ok, black or brown for grounds and red for +. Oh and don’t chassis ground or ground the 110 feed from the shore power anywhere!!!! All these things are different than house wiring!
There is much to recommend FLA batteries BTW. Research.
 

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Hi,
We use a Triplite inverter/charger in our conversion. The nice thing about these is that they handle the switch over to shore power automatically. When you plug into shore power, the charger part charges the battery (its a full 3 stage charger that can be set for AGM's) and it hooks up the AC loads to shore power. When off shore power, it turns the inverter on to power AC loads (or you can tell it not to do that by selecting charge only mode). Full info at the link below, and they do sell a larger model which is probably what you would need.

Like the others, I think the Optima batteries are a poor choice.

Taking a quick look at the loads you mention:
Laptops 40 watts * 2 hours/day * 2 people= 160 watt-hrs/day
Fantastic fan 20 watts * 2 fans * 2 hrs/day = 80 watt-hrs/day
Hair dryer 600 watts * 0.1 hr = 60 watt-hrs/day
Lights 3 LEDs at 3.5 w 12 watts * 4 hrs = 50 watt-hrs/day
mattress pad heater - not sure 15 watts * 8 hrs = 120 watt-hrs /day
coffee pot 800 watts * 0.3 hrs = 240 watt-hrs
Furnace fan? 25 watts * 6 hours? = 150 watt-hrs/day
CO detector, water pump, camera chargers ... 100 watt-hrs/day?


Total 960 watt-hrs per day --

This translates to (960 watt-hrs/day ) / (12.5 volts) = 78 amp-hrs per day
Maybe about 10% more, since mose of your loads are AC and will run off the inverter, which is only about 90% efficient.

So, if these loads are reasonable, and you discharge your batteries to 50%, you would want something like 150 amp-hrs of battery capacity (or more).
I think its OK to discharge batteries to 80% at least part of the the time, but on the other hand you probably have loads you have not thought about yet. On the other, other hand, you could look at whether some of-- the loads are worth it -- like the electric coffee pot -- maybe just make coffee on the stove?


Using an efficient electric fridge would add about another 50 amp-hrs per day --I'd at least plan for this.

A pair of the golf cart size 6 volt batteries at 220 amp-hrs would likely do the trick?

Solar is very nice to have -- I'd at least make provisions in the system for adding solar.

The link with details on the TripLite and the rest of our electrical system:
http://www.buildagreenrv.com/our-co...y-camper-van-conversion-electrical-and-solar/

Gary
 

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There are much better battery options than the Optima which is a combo deep cycle starter battery which isn't ideal. A large AGM battery like a Universal Power 4D or Lifeline 4D would be a better choice for less money. 200 amp hours in one battery vs. just 75 amp hours per battery for the Optima.

For jumping the starter battery use an automatic charging relay with a manual combiner setting. Bluesea makes a nice one.

I like my Aims Power 2000 watt inverter/charger. Also has a 30 amp automatic transfer switch for when you're on shore power.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
I'm going to jump in here since I'm in the process of putting together my electric/solar setup.

Nexus, did you compare the Aims to the Tripp Lite APS 1250 ? Found here!

Just wondering about the quality (the power difference aside)

Thanks
 

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Don't get Tripp'd up by 'Modified Sine' of that APS 1250... think square waveform vs. smooth sinusoidal, the 'pure-sine' equates to house grid power and happy appliances.

The Aims model with the 'LF' Low Frequency controls is a good utility power source, but will not have the adjustment for saving the bottom 20/30% of battery from discharge (as you had mentioned) -- "The Low battery voltage trip point can be customized from a defaulted value of 10VDC to 10.5VDC thru SW1 on the DIP switch."
 

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equipment designed to work on AC will usually be more happy, last longer and be more efficient with a true sine wave compared to modified sine. Loss of efficiency is the best case scenario. If you plan to use delicate electronics worst case is fried electronics. Microwave ovens are even less efficient and may overheat/burn up. My day job is delicate electronics. I looked at a "modified sine" UPS thinking how bad could it be... It's scary.. seriously.. instant reversals, spikes, mass mayhem. I returned it and spent a few more $$ for a pure sine. Output was more clean and beautiful than the main line power.
 

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Ahhhh, I didn't catch that the aims was pure sine.

It's not that much more expensive than the Tripp

Thanks for the info
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thank you every one for great responses. We're early in the electrical stuff acquistion.
So yes Google is my friend but can anyone link to the 2000w inverter-charger that is Sine Wave, can auto-switch to shore AND has a cuttoff so I don't
completely drain the batteries. I would appreciate it very much.
Noted on the coffee. That is what our backpack stove is for---canister and very fast.
Gary I bet your model is? MsNomer, yours?
Thanks for the tips on solar. Where I live (temperate rain forest) it is cloud/gloom/rain/snow/fog/sleet 300+ days a year. Yes would work when we do have Sun
but at least I'll ask the electrician to provision for a later add; best I'm willing to concede at this point.
 

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Thank you every one for great responses. We're early in the electrical stuff acquistion.
So yes Google is my friend but can anyone link to the 2000w inverter-charger that is Sine Wave, can auto-switch to shore AND has a cuttoff so I don't
completely drain the batteries. I would appreciate it very much.
Noted on the coffee. That is what our backpack stove is for---canister and very fast.
Gary I bet your model is? MsNomer, yours?
Thanks for the tips on solar. Where I live (temperate rain forest) it is cloud/gloom/rain/snow/fog/sleet 300+ days a year. Yes would work when we do have Sun
but at least I'll ask the electrician to provision for a later add; best I'm willing to concede at this point.
Hi,
Mine is the Tripplite APS 1250 -- its a modified sine wave, and not a pure sine wave. We don't run a lot of AC loads, but nothing we have tried has had a problem with the Triplite output. There modified sine wave inverters vary in how closely the approximate a sine wave and I think that Triplite does a good job. I have two of the Triplite inverter/chargers and both have been solid and reliable. And, Triplite answers the phone if you have a technical question.

To be honest, we use AC so little that if I were doing the whole thing over, I'd probably try to have not inverter at all and just do everything on 12 VDC.

Gary
 

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My inverter is a Raptor 1500W MSW. The separate charger is a NOCO. No automatic switch. We use AC almost every day for the 700W MW (uses just under 1000W), and the 800W water boiler. We are often without shore power, so inverter gets exercised.

Your lament about the cloudy weather sounds just like me a year ago.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yes I live in cloudland/gloomville for a lot of the year, but it is always green and/or green and white depending on snow....really a gorgeous area upper east TN.

Now back to inverter-chargers. Something tells me all the hopeful requirements I'm looking for don't exist in one unit.
Gary I understand the desire to go all 12 VDC, would be nice but the laptops have to be run. If/when your're bored see why here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/medicineman4040/
It's our passion/hobby....we travel all over the world shooting; and at night we process to see our day's results. So when in the camper we want to do the same.

I'll keep studying, again if any discover a unit that is-
2000w
True sine wave
combo charger-inverter
has battery monitoring to cut them off at a certain level
ac-auto switching
Please let me know!

Robert
 

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Really impressive stuff. As Pathetic as my photos and processing are I do it with a Nikon and process on my MacBookPro and I have a 12 volt adapter for it which works well. Aren’t there powerful laptops and 12 volt adapters for them? I also charge my Nikon’s battery off a USB outlet from 12 volts. I guess I could convince myself that I’d be a better photographer if I had 120 volt/sine wave but we know I won’t be. Thanks for the URL it’s great work!
 

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Search on Amazon for 2000W pure sine inverter/charger:

Xantrex Freedom HFS 2000 Inverter Charger Pure Sine Wave 2000W - 55 Amp - 12V. A trusted brand used by many on forum. Does it all and then some. Other cheaper brands available too.

Freedom HFS 2000 Inverter/Charger Pure Sine Wave 2000W - 55 Amp - 12VTrue sine wave 120 VAC inverter/charger with built-in transfer switch. Designed for recreational and commercial applications.The Freedom HFS is equipped with quick-connect AC terminals, ignition control capability and programmable smart battery management logic. The quick-connect AC terminal on both AC input and output enables incredibly easy installation. The ignition control feature minimizes unintended battery drain. The new Freedom HFS is designed for cold harsh winter environment with temperature performance down to -20C.The Freedom HFS Inverter/Charger features true sine wave output and is designed to operate sensitive electronics like entertainment systems and appliances in boats, RV's and commercial trucks. The Freedom HFS is available in two models: 1000 watts with a 55-amp charger and a 2000 watts with a 55-amp charger.Product Features:Input Voltage: 12VAC Output: GFCI and/or Hardwire2000 watts continuous AC power Powerful fast charging 55 amp, 12 Vdc multi-stage charger 2X continuous power surge for demanding loads Cold temperature performance down to - 20C for the harsh winter environments Quality, reliability and safety that meets stringent CSA and UL458 with marine supplement standard Configurable Ignition control that helps to minimize battery drain Dead battery charging down to 0 Vdc Quick connect AC terminal block for fast and reliable installation Detachable remote panel for convenient system status monitoringProtection Features:programmable Smart Battery Management logic to facilitate extended battery use & life. Overload, over temperature, under/over voltage protection
 
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