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On Sunday or is it happening today too? Can you give me specifics? Thanks.

@BeWhereUR, come to the Petaluma gathering tomorrow and talk to lots of people. There are a few people attending who are genuine experts in conversion. NOT me for sure.
 

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Re: AC and engine idling. Some light research suggests that idling would take (very roughly) 0.6 litres of gas per hour. Where I live, that's less than $1 CAD (less than $1 USD) per hour. For the way I use the PM (I don't live in it), from a cost-only point of view, I might use engine idling and the stock AC when it gets unbearably hot. (There would be other issues though, environmental concerns, wear and tear on the engine, more frequent oil changes needed, etc.)
 
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We went the (mostly) simplest route.



Goal Zero Yeti 1000 (lithium) under the bed, near where the solar power enters at backup camera housing. We had a 20% off coupon from REI, so we saved a couple hundred bucks on it.






A marine switch panel up on the counter between bed and sink (ignore the labels).





Ikea LED strips over the counter and over the bed, switched from the switch panel.




I've got a cheap fuse panel mounted in the rear near the Yeti for the 12-volt stuff, with one circuit running up to the switch panel and a separate running to the Dometic fridge. For AC (the shocky kind, not the cool kind), I've got an outlet strip mounted above the Yeti (on that 2x3) and might mount another near the counter area now that my wife has discovered it's got enough juice to toast pop-tarts.


Most of my wiring runs in the upper-most channel on the driver's side, but the fridge line and a second AC line are run under the bed.



Things are mostly buttoned-up at this point and almost ready for several coats of poly.





Still have some places to cover. Need to figure out a few storage things, put rails on the bed and such as well as figure out where I can park the bluetooth speakers, but we're at a point where we can travel in it.


As per the subject of placement of electrical stuff, I am at this point really happy with the all-in-one Goal Zero unit. They did all the cipherin' to make sure it all works together, and it does. We've been running our power tools off of it while we work on the van (except for the DeWalt sliding miter saw, which draws too much current at startup), and the solar has kept up. I know that there are better configurations that yield more bang-for-the-buck, but I simply lack the time, expertise and ultimately motivation to assemble a system from scratch. The Yeti 1000 is absolutely idiot-proof and I was able to start using it straight out of the box.


John
 

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Very nice, scarysharkface. You may want to cut some slats (gaps) into your bed platform plywood. I've read that humans sweat a lot while sleeping and the moisture needs a way out, even down below the mattress. The ratio of gap-to-support is as much as 50%(!) I've repurposed an old commercial bed frame (queen frame that I cut down into a twin size) and their designers literally used the full 50% ratio. No comfort issues with the big gaps.
 
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Very nice, scarysharkface. You may want to cut some slats (gaps) into your bed platform plywood. I've read that humans sweat a lot while sleeping and the moisture needs a way out, even down below the mattress. The ratio of gap-to-support is as much as 50%(!) I've repurposed an old commercial bed frame (queen frame that I cut down into a twin size) and their designers literally used the full 50% ratio. No comfort issues with the big gaps.

Cutting gaps is a great idea. Now that we're mostly through putting all of our weight directly on the plywood, we can do that.

We bought a Zinus 6 inch gel-infused green tea memory foam mattress for it.

So close to being ready to travel and very excited about it!!!

Back to the electrical, even though shore power alone would take a metric year to recharge the Yeti, we're also carrying an extension cord or two just in case we're parked somewhere near power and want to get things topped-off more quickly than solar alone.

Thanks for the feedback, and for the excellent information in general on this site. You folks create good content.


John
 

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scarysharkface

Can you actually run a 12 volt refrigerator at the 12.1 volts on the meter?

Usually those and the diesel / gas heaters require 12.5 volts to run. That is why the systems we build hold a constant 13 volts.
 

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scarysharkface

Can you actually run a 12 volt refrigerator at the 12.1 volts on the meter?

Usually those and the diesel / gas heaters require 12.5 volts to run. That is why the systems we build hold a constant 13 volts.

Yes, it runs just fine. I did need to go into the configuration via the wireless app and set the battery protection feature to low.

Fridge is a Dometic CFX 40W.

John
 

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scarysharkface

Can you actually run a 12 volt refrigerator at the 12.1 volts on the meter?

Usually those and the diesel / gas heaters require 12.5 volts to run. That is why the systems we build hold a constant 13 volts.
Harry, could you explain this? Are these numbers specific to Lithium?
 

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The nominal 12 volt refrigerators and espar heaters have a low voltage disconnect (LVD)

There are two reasons for this that I know of:
- They don't want to risk depleting the battery, especially if it is on the starter battery
- If the voltage is too low, the electronics will not work properly

Typically, the set point is between 12 and 12.5 volts (at the appliance)

Things that can make this annoying:
- In a 12 volt system, it isn't uncommon for the voltage to sag when running an inverter, and it can drop below the LV cut off, shutting off the appliance. This can lead to lost food, no heat, and other fun stuff.
- In colder weather, the battery voltage will sag just due to temperature effects. Just when you need the heat - it won't turn on.
- There is always some voltage loss from the battery to the appliance. With Li the battery voltage / discharge curve is a bit flatter, but with AGM based versions of those units, at 70 ish % SOC, and just a little bit of imperfection, the voltage at the appliance can trip the LVD.

There are quite a few reports on forums and youtube about some models tripping the LVD. The refrigerator companies might have lowered the number to stop getting so many complaints from yeti users.

My solution was to run the internal battery voltage at 24 volts and use a 24 - 13 volt converter maintain a rock solid output. Obviously that also gives the end user other advantages as well due to the better performance in general at 24 volts.
 

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Back to the electrical, even though shore power alone would take a metric year to recharge the Yeti, we're also carrying an extension cord or two just in case we're parked somewhere near power and want to get things topped-off more quickly than solar alone.
If you are impatient and want faster charging, you could buy the MPPT add on module and use it to charge much faster than the standard 60W charger. Some discussion of other options in the comments
Looks like there should be a higher power AC charger coming shortly which should be simpler.
 

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If you are impatient and want faster charging, you could buy the MPPT add on module and use it to charge much faster than the standard 60W charger. Some discussion of other options in the comments https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXKUGWiETMM
Looks like there should be a higher power AC charger coming shortly which should be simpler.
Back home from our shakedown cruise. Our use case was typically to run the fridge 24/7, toast pop-tarts in the morning and run the lights inside at bedtime. Really we didn't tax the system at all, and generally nature had the Yeti topped-off by 10 am or so on sunny days and by late in the day on rainy/cloudy/snowy days (there were more of those than I would consider optimal). I may consider running a wire at some point if we start actually cooking in the van.

I'll assemble a trip report with lots of pictures as time allows.

John
 

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Hey Scarysharkface, curious to see how your yeti 1000 setup is holding up. Just got my PM and starting my conversion in the coming weeks. Looking at going the yeti 1000 route for power. Looking at having a dometic fridge, a few small LED's, Maxxair fan, charge electronics (phone, laptop, camera etc) and looking for experiences running similar setups. Would greatly appreciate any insights or advice you may have to share!

Back home from our shakedown cruise. Our use case was typically to run the fridge 24/7, toast pop-tarts in the morning and run the lights inside at bedtime. Really we didn't tax the system at all, and generally nature had the Yeti topped-off by 10 am or so on sunny days and by late in the day on rainy/cloudy/snowy days (there were more of those than I would consider optimal). I may consider running a wire at some point if we start actually cooking in the van.

I'll assemble a trip report with lots of pictures as time allows.

John
 

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Hey Scarysharkface, curious to see how your yeti 1000 setup is holding up.
Bump.
@scarysharkface Interested in ongoing results also. Looking at putting together a very similar setup in the next month or so.
@Belinda19PM did you get your similar system setup? happy to swap info and insight if you're also still in design mode on a Yeti based power system.
 
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