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Discussion Starter #1
Posted these in my build thread, but thought I'd cross post here for more traffic:
Any one out there use the Arkpak (http://www.arkportablepower.com/page...t-the-arkpak)? Seems like that would really simplify the installation. Might still need the relay between the main battery and the house battery to eliminate draining the main.

So next up is the wiring. Going to follow the dual battery model with solar and inverter eventually. So very basic question, what size/type of wiring do I need? Just one AC circuit, would 14/2 romex suffice? What about for the 12v circuits? Fridge/cooler, small propane furnace and lights are going to be about it.

Thanks in advance.
 

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VS,

If you're planning on a 15 amp AC outlet. 14/2 is fine. I would think about putting it in a flexible wiring tube to better protect the wire from sharp edges, rubbing. 12/2 would be good for a 20 amp circuit. In your house, bedrooms, dinig rooms, living rooms use a 15A circuit, the kitchen uses a 20A circuit (or two)

I would really like one of the ARK units, but at $400 plus a $200 AGM battery, that money could easily provide for a good isolator (instead of the 12v to 12v module they sell) a battery box and a nice battery (or two)

See this post http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=39274 for a nice under the seat install. Slamit did a nice job AND documented it well.

My plan is to put my AGM battery directly behind the drivers seat. Nice and close to all the important wires!

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks. I'm going to put the battery right behind the seat as well, under a bench seat. I'll have a 30" x16" box for all the electronics.

Can you explain what you mean by "a good isolator (instead of the 12v to 12v module they sell)"? My main attraction to the ArkPak is that it seems to eliminate the need for a lot of the extra regulators, but I won't go that route if they're an inferior solution. Hate doing things twice.
 

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Thanks. I'm going to put the battery right behind the seat as well, under a bench seat. I'll have a 30" x16" box for all the electronics.

Can you explain what you mean by "a good isolator (instead of the 12v to 12v module they sell)"? My main attraction to the ArkPak is that it seems to eliminate the need for a lot of the extra regulators, but I won't go that route if they're an inferior solution. Hate doing things twice.
If you're building the "electronics box", I would try to install an AGM battery in it, instead of putting the Arkpak in it.... it would save some $$$by not putting a "box in a box."

The 12v to 12v charger they sell is a very SLLLOOOOOWWW rate charger, like a trickle charger. The unit that Slamit used (see his pictures) sells for about $60 and will charge a 12V battery directly from the alternator, like the van battery. Charge rate would be a lot faster than the 12to12 unit (I don't think it's inferior, just a very slow way to keep the battery charged).

IMHO, of course,
Ed
 

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I use the Arkpak. I liked the idea of having the unit be portable If I ever needed it to be. Another positive is the software that monitors the battery. It has the ability to get the most out of each battery.

I use it to power an engel fridge, two led lights, a maxxfan, and a computer. I use a combination of the 12v alternator charger and a 180w solar panel when I am stationary.
 

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Geeze these things ([ame]http://www.amazon.com/Tekonsha-7000-Terminal-Battery-Isolator/dp/B0002UHVYQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1425355534&sr=8-1&keywords=RV+battery+isolator+solenoid[/ame]) have been used in RVs for years. I don't get why I would want to spend more than $16? Flame me but golf cart batteries are rugged cheap, powerful, can take discharge, and take charging from the alternator or your cheapest converter well, they work cold or hot, can be vented easily, use standard hold downs, and did I mention..... they are cheap. For less than $200 your battery system is done. Connect it to a couple of hundred watts of solar through a controller and a $100 RV converter/power center and move on.
 

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The golf cart setup works great and there are most definitely pros to going that route!

You are paying for convince, a battery management system, and portability with the ArkPak. It really just boils down to what you looking for out of your setup.
 

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Geeze these things (http://www.amazon.com/Tekonsha-7000-Terminal-Battery-Isolator/dp/B0002UHVYQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1425355534&sr=8-1&keywords=RV+battery+isolator+solenoid) have been used in RVs for years. I don't get why I would want to spend more than $16? Flame me but golf cart batteries are rugged cheap, powerful, can take discharge, and take charging from the alternator or your cheapest converter well, they work cold or hot, can be vented easily, use standard hold downs, and did I mention..... they are cheap. For less than $200 your battery system is done. Connect it to a couple of hundred watts of solar through a controller and a $100 RV converter/power center and move on.
I agree, but...

I'd like to know the current rating on that model. I would buy one with 200A capacity to be sure.

I like the wet cell batteries but they should be vented and I didn't want to drill a hole in the side of my van!

My plan is to use AGM. Mountable in any direction, charging via alternator (and a top off every now and then with an AGM charger), no venting required.

Just my 2 cents!
Ed
 

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I guess my point is not just to be cheap but that proven technologies have been developed over years of use by hundreds of thousands of small RV users. If you have never had an AGM battery, don't have a dedicated charger, or worse yet go to LiIon or Li polymer or another technology you are testing the waters. Others with experience will have good service if they really understand the specialized requirements of these newer electrical systems. Most of us will add solar which is not interfaced to those batteries in such a simple way. Flooded Pb-acid has its drawbacks as it is heaver than Lithium, produces Hydrogen gasses when charged unlike AGM, and may need topping up. But those things are trivial next to having a dead $500 set of Optimus AGM in a year because you don't know how to charge them or over drain them.
By going a cheaper proven route I can put money into the things that matter such as a diesel Espar (Eberspacher) heater, solar panels, powered vent fan, windows, quality cabinets and hardware and TRAVEL which is the point.
 

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I agree, but...

I'd like to know the current rating on that model. I would buy one with 200A capacity to be sure.
I like the wet cell batteries but they should be vented and I didn't want to drill a hole in the side of my van!
My plan is to use AGM. Mountable in any direction, charging via alternator (and a top off every now and then with an AGM charger), no venting required.

Just my 2 cents!
Ed
AGM is a great choice and I support that.... follow the manufacturers recommendations and buy an MPPT solar controller that has a setting for them. Lots of people get only a couple of years life from them and most don't abuse them. I know several friends with that experience some got warrantee help. The trade off is cost and you decide based on your situation.
There are vent systems (and auto fill) systems for golf cart batteries that would require only a 1/2 inch hole for the vent line for the pair of 200 amp hr. 6 volts (in series) so no enclosure is needed. Google is your friend here.
I am not sure about the current rating question. The solenoid can handle all the output from your alternator. I usually fuse it at the vehicle battery for 50 amps and never had that breaker trip. Flooded Pb-acid batteries are usually limited to about 50% drawdown, 10% of rated capacity in amp hr capacity charging rate (in amps) so 20amps charging for the 200 amp hour set. Did I answer it?
 

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The other big advantage to an AGM (at least the lifeline) is that they can take a huge charge current relative to a flooded lead acid. This might allow you to charge it from the alternator, and eliminate the need for solar. That's my plan anyway, but I may eventually add solar too. The bulk charge voltage is similar to a flooded, the float charge voltage is lower, so I'll have to open the relay when it's charged. I'll let you know how it works when I get it put together. You can also discharge them to 20% many, many times without killing it.
RD's plan is tried and true, nothing wrong with that.
 

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I guess my point is not just to be cheap but that proven technologies have been developed over years of use by hundreds of thousands of small RV users. If you have never had an AGM battery, don't have a dedicated charger, or worse yet go to LiIon or Li polymer or another technology you are testing the waters. Others with experience will have good service if they really understand the specialized requirements of these newer electrical systems. Most of us will add solar which is not interfaced to those batteries in such a simple way. Flooded Pb-acid has its drawbacks as it is heaver than Lithium, produces Hydrogen gasses when charged unlike AGM, and may need topping up. But those things are trivial next to having a dead $500 set of Optimus AGM in a year because you don't know how to charge them or over drain them.
By going a cheaper proven route I can put money into the things that matter such as a diesel Espar (Eberspacher) heater, solar panels, powered vent fan, windows, quality cabinets and hardware and TRAVEL which is the point.

This is where having an ArkPak really helps. It has a program that monitors the battery and automatically manages charging cycles.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Moto-San, if I understand correctly, the ArkPak will eliminate the need for any additional battery management devices, either from the alternator or from a Solar panel?

When you connected the ArkPak to your auxiliary wiring (DC or AC circuits), how did that work? Does the AP have terminals that you connect to, or just AC and DC outlets?

Thanks, appreciate the help.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
To rephrase a bit, the ArkPak would replace the following:

Battery relay from alternator
Inverter
Solar charging relay
Battery Monitor

Seems like that's good value.
 

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I think the 130 AH limit is a bit small for my use but this sort of device is becoming the go to standard for camping. Not necessarily in an RV where the loads can be large but with the car/tent/suv crowd. It looks fine for what they show, a 1.5 CU FT ultra efficient chest refrigerator, no heaters, no constant load. I calculated my possible use and I really feel 200AH battery (or a bit more) and 50% drawdown leaves me with enough but just enough. Realizing that they use batteries like we all might have, the drawdown and recharge is limited by the battery. In terms of relying on one device to charge, monitor, invert, and regulate, and connect seems like a nice simplification but I hate to not have redundancy 2000 miles from home and days from a dealer or even a place to ship and receive an exchange. I encourage you to try it out, report back and see if it meets your need. I expect to see more of these.
 

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I think the 130 AH limit is a bit small for my use but this sort of device is becoming the go to standard for camping. Not necessarily in an RV where the loads can be large but with the car/tent/suv crowd. It looks fine for what they show, a 1.5 CU FT ultra efficient chest refrigerator, no heaters, no constant load. I calculated my possible use and I really feel 200AH battery (or a bit more) and 50% drawdown leaves me with enough but just enough. Realizing that they use batteries like we all might have, the drawdown and recharge is limited by the battery. In terms of relying on one device to charge, monitor, invert, and regulate, and connect seems like a nice simplification but I hate to not have redundancy 2000 miles from home and days from a dealer or even a place to ship and receive an exchange. I encourage you to try it out, report back and see if it meets your need. I expect to see more of these.
I agree. Great for a weekend truck camper with minimal loads but has definite limits. Please do a proper ah calculation for all of your equipment that requires even a little bit of power.

For my RV conversion I have 600w solar, 2000w pure sine inverter, and 480ah battery.
 

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The ArkPak does not need any other battery management systems. It has one 1,50 A anderson output, two 12v outlets, one usb pot, and one 110 vac output paired to an 150 w inverter. If you are connecting a solar panel you will need a controller.

It works great for my application, but I do not use much power. 180w solar panel and the alternator charge keeps things topped off fine. You could chain it to the cars battery or use it as a stand alone unit.
 
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