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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is anyone interested in an ArkPak battery case with inverter for your house battery? In addition to the ArkPak, you need to add an AGM battery (up to 100 amp hour Group 31). There are terminals on the ArkPak to connect to your starting battery and alternator to be charged while you are driving. It also allows for solar cell charging.

You can plug your 12 volt devices and 110 volt appliances into the power unit. This battery pack will meet most people's needs for power on a weekend getaway.

I really see the potential in this product, so I am considering becoming a dealer. I need to buy two units to get started, and I am ready for mine. How about you? Let me know if you are interested in one for your van, and I can drop ship an ArkPak to your location!

ArkPak Portable Power Generator Review

https://youtu.be/uH4RXeH8b8Q
 

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Not to bust anyone's bubble but there are lots better and cheaper ways to accomplish this. The ArkPak makes it simple but...
 

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Is anyone interested in an ArkPak battery case with inverter for your house battery? In addition to the ArkPak, you need to add an AGM battery (up to 100 amp hour Group 31). There are terminals on the ArkPak to connect to your starting battery and alternator to be charged while you are driving. It also allows for solar cell charging.

You can plug your 12 volt devices and 110 volt appliances into the power unit. This battery pack will meet most people's needs for power on a weekend getaway.

I really see the potential in this product, so I am considering becoming a dealer. I need to buy two units to get started, and I am ready for mine. How about you? Let me know if you are interested in one for your van, and I can drop ship an ArkPak to your location!

ArkPak Portable Power Generator Review

https://youtu.be/uH4RXeH8b8Q

It does seem to take a lot of the hassle out of battery power in a van, but Amazon says that this only has a 6 amp charger. A 100 AH battery discharged to 50% would take at least 10 hours to charge. Some AGMs have a recommended minimum charging of 0.2C (eg a 100AH Concorde would need 20 amps)


What battery are you planning to use?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You can charge up your AGM battery faster via the Anderson plug on the ArkPak - it bypasses the smart charging system. Charging this way, it is recommended to use a VSR (Voltage Sensitive Relay) because the Anderson plug if left on too long will over-charge your brand new battery. The VSR will protect your battery from being overcharged.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Simple and cheap is what most will meet most weekend warriors weekend power needs with the ArkPak ($400 retail plus whatever AGM battery that you put in). If I lived in the van (I don't), I could understand building a power system. If you ask a van conversion or RV center to do it for you, they will charge $2500 or more for a house battery system that can be charged by the alternator, and use shore power. I like the prices I am looking at for the ArkPak plus a battery way better!
 

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$400 plus a battery in NOT cheap! Simple perhaps, but as I said before, you can get a lot more for a lot less by building your own system. It's not rocket science and well documented instructions have been posted here and all over the web.
 

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Whoa! boys you are both right. I will use a key activated solenoid, an MPPT solar controller, and carry an AGM charger and inverter, all very cheap, old school and reliable. Others will benefit from the Arkpack as a plug and play unit, no electrical knowledge needed and can be set out when the van is not a home. Lastly I can see having the conversion folks do both the work and thinking for you and paying for their time and expertise. Lets agree that any of these get the job done and time and money spent is our own business. Having lots of time and little money I have my choice made.... I'm going with KOV's idea
 

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From the FAQ you need a qualified auto electrician to hook up a dual battery system which would be the vsr, fuses and proper gauge wire. If you want to add solar charge to this you would need a what kind of electrician.
Here's a cheaper and simple alternative, battery included, of course to add dual battery and solar you would still need a pro if your not up to it.
http://www.tripplite.com/line-inter...-extended-run-accepts-batteries~OMNIVS1500XL/


Simple and cheap is what most will meet most weekend warriors weekend power needs with the ArkPak ($400 retail plus whatever AGM battery that you put in). If I lived in the van (I don't), I could understand building a power system. If you ask a van conversion or RV center to do it for you, they will charge $2500 or more for a house battery system that can be charged by the alternator, and use shore power. I like the prices I am looking at for the ArkPak plus a battery way better!
 

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You can charge up your AGM battery faster via the Anderson plug on the ArkPak - it bypasses the smart charging system. Charging this way, it is recommended to use a VSR (Voltage Sensitive Relay) because the Anderson plug if left on too long will over-charge your brand new battery. The VSR will protect your battery from being overcharged.
Hi,
I'm not seeing how the VSR would protect the house battery from overcharging?

My understanding is that the VSR is just a relay that closes at about 13.7 volts and opens at about 12.7 volts, so its closed when the van engine is running and open when the engine is off. Don't see how this would protect from overcharging?

http://www.jgtech.com/pdf/VSR_instructions.pdf

Gary
 

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From the FAQ you need a qualified auto electrician to hook up a dual battery system which would be the vsr, fuses and proper gauge wire. If you want to add solar charge to this you would need a what kind of electrician.
Here's a cheaper and simple alternative, battery included, of course to add dual battery and solar you would still need a pro if your not up to it.
http://www.tripplite.com/line-inter...-extended-run-accepts-batteries~OMNIVS1500XL/
I would suggest there are many here (and on the Sprinter site) that have done this with no problems at all. To suggest you need a qualified auto electrician or pro to do any of this is, to be kind, unnecessary! I have done everything in my conversion myself from the electrical, including solar, building the cabinets, installing plumbing, insulation and on and on. If you are even a little bit handy there is nothing difficult about doing any of these mods yourself. Of course, if someone can't even figure out how to change their own oil or inflate their tires to the proper psi they should get "professional help":crying:

When I was planning my conversion last Summer I had no thought of adding solar panels to it much less how or even where to start. After reading how everyone else here had done it themselves I decided to give it a try this Spring and thanks to everyone here who has has posted their solar experiences, I was able to do mine with a minimum of problems and a lot of success! It works just as I had hoped and planned and was actually quite simple as adding a second house battery is.
 

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First an open mind and common sense.(yes I am guilty of being hard headed at times).

I knew nothing about solar power a year and a half ago. And how to hook it up to extra battery's and such.
Now I am running the system with no problems what so ever. It is easy.

Thanks to everyone that posted there set ups and how to. This is what helped me:).
 

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Hi,
I'm not seeing how the VSR would protect the house battery from overcharging?

My understanding is that the VSR is just a relay that closes at about 13.7 volts and opens at about 12.7 volts, so its closed when the van engine is running and open when the engine is off. Don't see how this would protect from overcharging?

http://www.jgtech.com/pdf/VSR_instructions.pdf

Gary

I'm no electrical expert, but I believe batteries require charge voltages to be higher then the voltage of the battery. If the voltage is limited below that of the battery then no current will be moving into the battery from the charging source, hence no further charging/overcharging.
 

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I'm no electrical expert, but I believe batteries require charge voltages to be higher then the voltage of the battery. If the voltage is limited below that of the battery then no current will be moving into the battery from the charging source, hence no further charging/overcharging.
Correct. All the relay really does is disconnect the house battery from the starting battery when the voltage drops to a predetermined value (12.8 volts in this case) so the house battery doesn't drain the starting battery. It connects them together (that's why some are also called Combiner relays) when the voltage from the alternator reaches 13.7 volts. Some may disconnect the house battery when the voltage reaches another predetermined value (over 14.5 volts for example) to prevent overcharging but I doubt that is the case with all of these relays. A simple manually operated on/off switch will accomplish the same thing (if you remember to use it). I've used both methods and while the automatic relay is the easiest and safest way to make sure they connect/disconnect a manual switch can work just as well.
 

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There are circuits in the alternator that are designed to keep the van battery from overcharging. These regulators, in the alternator, control how much charge voltage goes to the van battery.

When a VSR or relay, or simple switch puts the house battery in parallel with the van battery, the alternator recognizes a battery in need of charging (as in.. the combination of the van and house battery) and it provides charging voltage and current, until the battery(s) are both up the the preset voltage that the alternator wants to see. Then the alternator just maintains a charge at the preset voltage.

So, when the van is running, the VSR notes that the alternator voltage to the van battery is above the lower limit and connects the aux battery. If you turn the key off, the aux battery is disconnected to keep the 12V accessories connected to the aux battery from dragging down the van battery.

Most VSRs do not control overcharging, the alternator circuitry does.

Solar cells, on the other hand, do not have regulators in the panels, so a charge regulator is needed to keep from overcharging.

Ed
 

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There are circuits in the alternator that are designed to keep the van battery from overcharging. These regulators, in the alternator, control how much charge voltage goes to the van battery.

When a VSR or relay, or simple switch puts the house battery in parallel with the van battery, the alternator recognizes a battery in need of charging (as in.. the combination of the van and house battery) and it provides charging voltage and current, until the battery(s) are both up the the preset voltage that the alternator wants to see. Then the alternator just maintains a charge at the preset voltage.

So, when the van is running, the VSR notes that the alternator voltage to the van battery is above the lower limit and connects the aux battery. If you turn the key off, the aux battery is disconnected to keep the 12V accessories connected to the aux battery from dragging down the van battery.

Most VSRs do not control overcharging, the alternator circuitry does.

Solar cells, on the other hand, do not have regulators in the panels, so a charge regulator is needed to keep from overcharging.

Ed
Hi,
That all seems right to me. -- although I think the VSR does not turn on until the upper (13.7) volts is reached.

The thing I've been wondering about is if the van battery is a flooded lead acid (FLA) battery and the house battery is an AGM. The AGM wants a different charging voltage and finish voltage than the FLA -- I wonder if the difference is enough to damage or reduce the life of the AGM? That is, can you charge an FLA van battery and an AGM house battery off the van alternator with acceptable results?

The built in 120VAC ArkPak charger can be set for either FLA or AGM. They also sell an optional charger that plugs into a 12 volt socket on the car and charges the ArkPak battery -- not clear to me if this has different charging logic for AGM and FLA?

Gary
 

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Correct Gary.

I have AGM batteries for the house and LA for starting, etc. I charged the AGM off the alternator this winter (when they needed it and before installing the solar) but I tried to keep the switch off unless they really dropped low. I do have a dedicated AGM charger thats only works when plugged into the grid now and the solar charger is set to AGM so I should be ok. I did charge the AGM's off the alternator for a few months, continually. with no observable harm but only time will tell and it's not recommended as you point out.
 

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Correct Gary.

I have AGM batteries for the house and LA for starting, etc. I charged the AGM off the alternator this winter (when they needed it and before installing the solar) but I tried to keep the switch off unless they really dropped low. I do have a dedicated AGM charger thats only works when plugged into the grid now and the solar charger is set to AGM so I should be ok. I did charge the AGM's off the alternator for a few months, continually. with no observable harm but only time will tell and it's not recommended as you point out.
So you had a manual switch wired directly from alternator to your AGM? Please explain this setup as I am planning something similar to charge my LiFePO4 battery from the alternator. I can't use a VSR or isolator like most use.
 

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So you had a manual switch wired directly from alternator to your AGM? Please explain this setup as I am planning something similar to charge my LiFePO4 battery from the alternator. I can't use a VSR or isolator like most use.
Sort off. I have a manual switch before the solenoid switch so I can shut it down totally. I do think you can buy a combo switch that will do the same thing but I already had solenoid switch installed so just added a manual one before it. here's a photo of the set up

 

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Sort off. I have a manual switch before the solenoid switch so I can shut it down totally. I do think you can buy a combo switch that will do the same thing but I already had solenoid switch installed so just added a manual one before it. here's a photo of the set up

Got it. If you already had the ACR in what situations did you need to turn the switch off?
 
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