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Discussion Starter #41
Personally, I'd just paint the frame black than limit my search and/or pay a premium. 2 cents ain't much. No charge.

Did that on the last two builds. Not that big of a deal, but being up there in the wind and bugs and rain and grit the paint tends to deteriorate relatively quickly.

If they start out powdercoated that's one less thing to touch up over time.

Totally vanity -- I get it. But if I'm walking across a parking lot the first thing I see is errant silver, and my brain won't let it go.
 

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Discussion Starter #42
Where? We have property on McCall we will eventually settle on. One of our coldest nights last year was on top of Badger Pass but the van stayed toasty inside!

We're in Garden Valley. We camped atop Banner Summit last winter at -2*f, and again on Grand Mesa at -14*f. Chilly getting up to pee (outside) but toasty sleeping/camping/cooking with the Espar.
 

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Discussion Starter #43
From a battery perspective, low draw appliances like a refrigerator are very different than a high draw device like an 1800 watt cook top. The battery that we use for van applications is a lifeline GPL-27 or 31XT to deal with this wide range of power draw. For a 2000 watt inverter, 4 of them would be appropriate. Trojan makes great batteries, but the classic deep discharge Trojan is designed to power your refrigerator, not your inverter.

The reason for 4 of them is that if you look at the discharge curves of these batteries, 500 watts / battery is a good place to operate them.

Thanks for sharing.

Is there any consensus about using 4 x 125ah batts vs. a coupla 400ah?

I don't know enough to disagree, I just haven't read of anyone else doing that and so it seemed worth asking.
 

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Individual battery weight plays a role for most people. 400ah sounds massive. They'll build character moving around. Smaller batteries can also be replaced individually, although it's best to keep the same age/wear on them (kinda like tires). After that, total bank size is total bank size functionality wise.
 

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These are all compelling questions, but they also seem worthy of their own, separate thread to keep from confusing/cluttering this one. Thanks.
OK, I’ll respect that opinion and stay out of this thread, but in fairness maybe you should have titled your thread differently. Do you even know what spitballing means in design? Obviously not.

In your first post you mention not knowing much about electrical, and asking for both pros and cons on ideas you didn’t really define or limit very much at all in any detail, yet when you got a reply that confirmed what you obviously wanted all along, you jumped all over it and rudely dismissed everyone else. That's just wrong.

I will agree with you that you’re good at digging holes for yourself, and it’s not in electrical design.

Wish you well with your project, however you proceed.
 

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Discussion Starter #46
Individual battery weight plays a role for most people. 400ah sounds massive. They'll build character moving around. Smaller batteries can also be replaced individually, although it's best to keep the same age/wear on them (kinda like tires). After that, total bank size is total bank size functionality wise.

Thanks for that.

Definitely heavy at ~120# apiece, but if planned for they should only need to be moved once every ~5 years. Right?!
 

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Discussion Starter #47
OK, I’ll respect that opinion and stay out of this thread, but in fairness maybe you should have titled your thread differently. Do you even know what spitballing means in design? Obviously not.

In your first post you mention not knowing much about electrical, and asking for both pros and cons on ideas you didn’t really define or limit very much at all in any detail, yet when you got a reply that confirmed what you obviously wanted all along, you jumped all over it and rudely dismissed everyone else. That's just wrong.

I will agree with you that you’re good at digging holes for yourself, and it’s not in electrical design.

Wish you well with your project, however you proceed.

Spitballing means I'm gonna throw out an idea, you bat it back at me, we see what sticks. You chose to turn it into something that wasn't even open for discussion.

I'm sorry that you opted to make it all about you, and then got butthurt when called out on it.

Good luck with that.
 

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As long as you're sold on placement, I don't see an issue. I would not want to move 120lb batteries for at least 2-4 years.

I always thought spitballs were those things, with the paper and the straw, that got me slapped as a kid. Turns out those are called spitwads. I can't imagine what the intelligence community thinks about my Google history...
 

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Harry, on your 48V (nominal) van builds, what solar and battery arrangements do you normally recommend? Do you use 48V panels in parallel or lower-voltage panels in series? What about PWM versus MPPT? Seems higher voltages should make PWM more efficient than at low voltages provided panels and batteries are matched correctly. Haven’t seen technical papers on this yet.

Lastly, what about batteries? Are you using 12V in series or have you used any 48V lithium batteries, either large ones alone or smaller in parallel?

Options for electrical system design are changing so quickly — almost daily — that it’s difficult to keep up with the latest.

I wrote up a response but in deference to the OP, decided that he is right to try to keep his thread clean of my ramblings.
 

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Discussion Starter #53
I wrote up a response but in deference to the OP, decided that he is right to try to keep his thread clean of my ramblings.
I appreciate and learn from all ramblings -- yours included. I also like to be able to click on topics that are of interest, and skip those that aren't. Which is why I try to keep my questions on topic in other people's posts.

Thanks for your help thus far.
 

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Thanks for that.

Definitely heavy at ~120# apiece, but if planned for they should only need to be moved once every ~5 years. Right?!
To some extent, again it is partly an ergonomic challenge. I am 61 so while I could easily move around large heavy objects when I was 20, it isn't quite as easy anymore.

4 each, size 27 batteries weighing in at ~ 60 lbs / each is about all I care to lift into a van and keep working on other stuff.

Less obvious in these builds is that it isn't always a perfect - load it in once and you are done. It isn't unusual for parts to go in - and then back out a few times to accommodate finishes, new ideas, suggestions from your wife....
 

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We agree that voltage is 'your friend'. But we wouldn't put them in series. We have three Kyocera 270 watt panels in parallel . . . they are 60 cell panels with an open circuit voltage even higher, 38 volts. We ran 'illumination' testing and discovered that 'shading' a very small percentage of a panel virtually shut the panel down. Running panels in parallel minimizes the negative consequences of shading . . . if one panel gets shaded (when in parallel), the remaining panels will operate normally. If in series, if any of the series panels are shaded, the entire series string is effectively shut-down.
The Typical Solar Day (series / parallel & higher voltage or more amps) reminds me of looking for the typical ICAO standard environment. In reality it just doesn’t exist.

I’m beginning to wonder if these van roof installs should be wired so a quick change could occur from parallel to series of vice versa to alter the system for the sunshine or lack of it?

I hope to get a permanent solar install & my cabin this year & I might leave enough “slack in the wires” & compatible quick connects to easily have series or parallel depending upon what mother nature provides.
 

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The Typical Solar Day (series / parallel & higher voltage or more amps) reminds me of looking for the typical ICAO standard environment. In reality it just doesn’t exist.

I’m beginning to wonder if these van roof installs should be wired so a quick change could occur from parallel to series of vice versa to alter the system for the sunshine or lack of it?

I hope to get a permanent solar install & my cabin this year & I might leave enough “slack in the wires” & compatible quick connects to easily have series or parallel depending upon what mother nature provides.
But one of the primary benefits of wiring in series is the ability to run smaller wires. If you are compatible with both you’ve wired for parallel and lost one of the main benefits already.
 

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But one of the primary benefits of wiring in series is the ability to run smaller wires. If you are compatible with both you’ve wired for parallel and lost one of the main benefits already.
yup, I agree (depends what one wants out of their system - ability to alter or smaller wires).

If one wanted the capability of both there are specs to meet & the larger wire would have to be calculated/used.

Just like the angle of the panel needs to be changed to maximize the [email protected] winter, spring, summer, & fall - a design that is going to be maximized needs “adjustability” built in (design stage).
 

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Upsizing wire isn't a bad thing, and it's going to be relatively small gauge wire in either case for the maximum size of installation space available. I could see some clever wiring allowing switch/relay to alternate series/parallel at will, or possibly even off a timer, photocell, or similar
 

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Discussion Starter #59
I’m beginning to wonder if these van roof installs should be wired so a quick change could occur from parallel to series of vice versa to alter the system for the sunshine or lack of it?

It's an interesting idea and one that I'm sure someone will do someday soon.

I'm building this van so that we can use it: explore the backcountry by bike, and boat, and foot, and then come back and collapse exhausted into it at the end of a day. I don't want to have to think about it much less work on it when 'out there'. So the design intent is to maximize utility while minimizing compromises, and then to live with what we end up with. I don't even want to make the bed, and thinking about/fiddling with my electrical setup is simply out of the question.

I realize that some would rather fiddle with/work on their vans instead. The process being more important than the end result. I get that, and I'm enjoying the process to some extent, but I really just want a finished product that I can hop into and use. To each their own.
 

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I'm bad at keeping things simple. Things like making the bed is way beyond my pay grade, but a parallel to series switch seems simple enough. It just adds a dpdt switch to the mix. A wiring diagram would be easy enough to locate since people do it for a variety of other things. I'm surprised it hasn't been done, or done regularly.

Again though, since you stated you're looking at a single panel, this really doesn't apply in your case. (Unless you'd REALLY like to complicate things and separate cells of the panel. That doesn't sound like unnecessary work whatsoever 😁)
 
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