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I just got a great deal I will be able to get my lightly used (13k miles) LWB Promaster next Tues. I've developed a floor plan and intend to do most of the work myself (hopefully with some help from here). I'm a 66 yo retired, twice widowed woman with the urge to travel further before I can't. Suggestions are welcome. This will also be my primary vehicle. I had the upgraded alternator added so I can charge a lithium battery bank with solar and and good charger/inverter. I'd like to use the Battle Born Lithium batteries and am trying to figure out the rest of the system. I've owned previous campers, motor homes and trailers, just happen to be without the past 5 years as my second husband wasn't interested in that type of travel. Open to suggestions. I'm looking to wire, insulate and carpet the walls for a woman's motor home. No plumbing that has to be winterized. They've made great strides in that area with 12v /battery operated pumps and canisters and portable hot water == I have a Coleman portable hot water center. I intend to have lots of fun with this! Thanks
 

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Welcome. Like some others you seem to have committed to an expensive battery set without indicating why you need such a thing. What are your plans for needing the Lithium batteries and the bigger alternator?
 

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larger alternator so that I can charge both the van battery and house auxillary batteries. Getting the Lithium batteries because they don't off gas and they will be inside and there will be many times when I won't be able to access AC current and I'm not going to carry another generator.

I've been using campers, RVs and trailers since 1973. I don't feel that this is a mistake. I want to be able to use electric (AC) applicances and charge phones, laptops, etc Run induction cooking .... at will. The solar and the alternator charging the batteries will allow me the freedom to do that

Thanks for the concern.

Lithium batteries are expensive, 66% less weight, better ecologically, and safer for me.
 

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Thanks for your insight and your RV experience will help others here. As for any battery decision I like to know my loads and usage, estimate my solar and driving times and then specify a storage quantity and instantaneous load requirement. I doubt you need to spend the kind of money lithium costs but hey its your money. I don’t have the induction cooker but do all the charging and lots of other stuff with 200 amp hours of FLA, 200 watts of solar and the 220 amp alternator. I do have a 12 volt refrigerator and no genset and never plug in. There are others here that are solving the lithium equation so help is available. Induction cooktops often do require a lot of amperage and a $$$ sine wave inverter, although we have folks running them on AGM or FLA, and MSW.

https://u.osu.edu/2367group3/environmental-concerns/effects-of-mining-lithium/
http://www.kitco.com/ind/Albrecht/2014-12-16-How-Green-is-Lithium.html
 

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Jknapp, I think your logic is totally sound. The balance between economy and convenience is an individual decision. I started out rather low-end and have upgraded several components with more upgrades on the horizon. I am gradually learning what you already know, and you won't have wasted money and extra stuff to get rid of.

Although most of my travel is with my husband, I love to take solo trips. This van is paradise for one person. You are going to love it--and the building progress. Welcome.
 

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We're with you Jknapp. Many on this forum have designed for minimum amp-hour usage. And for them, lead-acid technology charged with comparatively modest solar panels meets their design objectives. That was not our approach.

Indeed, we might take the offensive and ask RD: "Why would you want to mess around with gas when you can 'kill two birds with one electric' stone?" Is it just cost? If price were not a factor, wouldn't you really prefer lithium with its undisputed capacity advantages?

In any event, once the decision to use certain high current appliances is reached, lithium and high capacity charging is practically a necessity. We still marvel whenever we fire-up the induction stove or the hot water pot at those 150 ampere current draws.

But it goes beyond those obvious high current appliances. We have chosen to operate our campervan as if we were at home. If we're going to have 110 volt appliances and have 110 volt outlets, then those outlets shall remain 'hot'. We do not have to ponder each time we plug a charger into the wall outlet, "is the inverter on?". It's always on. As is our internet antenna/modem, router, file server, and computer(s). Nor do we have to shop-around for "DC solutions" (e.g. DC televisions), we can use anything - - as long as it can be powered from 12v, USB, or 110vac.

Jknapp, lithium is an excellent choice for the traveling campervan person. Let us know if we can be of any assistance. You may find our 'build comments' commencing here: http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showpost.php?p=405113&postcount=50 of use.
 

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Winston is right of course in the sense that replicating the systems of a home makes lithium and sine wave inverter that is always on a necessary choice. In a sunny environment he can make more electrical power than I use in my home. In fact if he had a 220 volt inverter I could easily plug his van into my house and with a bit of running the van on cloudy days (to charge from his second alternator) I’d be able to cut the power company line. I have considered what this says about me. I can afford the systems he opted for, I just opted for something different.
We have cell, internet via our hotspot, gas to cook on (in both our homes and) in the van preferring to cook on it. We have heat via an Espar furnace, real comfort. Any comment that suggests otherwise is wrong. Buying 12 volt chargers and tv were not sacrifices either. But in the face of pushback on this issue why do I post?
My persistence on this topic (and a few others) is to make the option of a solar/inverter/battery/shore power/van interconnection system OPTION not default to many thousands of dollars for every new poster who signs on here. They may not want nor be able to spend those sums on what for many is a few weeks a year camper and most don’t need it.
I started a thread asking “How much Solar is Enough” and the posters one upped each other until you would think 600-800 watts was needed, is that true? When a new poster says “Lithium” there is a chorus of Yea, gotta have that- I got it too! No advice to "do a bit of planning or to build what you NEED". There are lots of resources here to do that and in a few cases the answer will be 600W/500 A-H Lithium/two alternators but most of the time the need is 200W/200A-H AGM/12 Volt. Why is that not suggested?
 

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It is fun to look at these things and as the price is so low for solar already more is easy to think about even if you don’t really need it. I expect Lithium (or the next great battery) will see significant drops as well as the need for it is so great. I am considering a home solar/battery solution as the solar is so cheap to be enticing. My latest bill from NHElectric Cooperative has $7.26 and the actual bill is $46. The difference is stuff like member service, connection service, some taxes, a rounding cost to aid the needy and such. I might cut the line and amortize the install cost using the $40 per month. At the interest rates I get on savings being part of a percent I could put about $9K into a system and 15 years (its lifetime) would pay it off.

On a van 600+- watts of solar is about the practical limit of real estate if you want a vent or two.
 

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See RD, there are more extreme solutions than ours:

"Super-users (lots of appliances and extended use) have gone way up – 1200-2000W (solar) and 800-1600AH (batteries) in some extreme cases. Obviously not for the faint-of-heart (or light-of-checkbook)."
Ha, ha- I almost linked to that two weeks ago but...;)
 
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