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This is my first attempt at rigging up a van electrical system. I'm running two 100W solar panels to a CTEK D250SA/Smartpass system. I have the 180AMP alternator and 95AMP starter battery. Via solar and alternator I'll be charging a 200AH MightyMax SLA AGM battery (monitored with the CTEK Battery Sense) to power a variety of DC loads (with room for expansion, extra lights, charging station, etc) and 1500W Vertamax PSW inverter. This system is modeled similarly to Hein's transit rig and hopefully he can chime in here.

Wiring diagram attached as pdf.

Thanks in advance!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You have, of course, omitted the ability to charge from 'shore power'. Even if you're not planning extensive use of shore power, we question whether this omission might be a mistake in the long run.
Hi Winston, thank you for the feedback. I may add shore power to the system in the future, however, most of my camping destinations do not have hook ups.

I am mostly curious if my choice of fuses, breakers, and wire gauges are appropriate for the components I've selected. For instance, in the D250SA/Smartpass manual it is suggested to have a 300AMP fuse between the Smartpass and battery. However, the max charging rate of the CTEK system is 140AMPS. That will be running just less than a foot from the CTEK system to a positive bus on a 2AWG wire- which according to the Blue Sea Systems charts requires about a 130AMP fuse. Also, I have a 150AMP fuse next protecting a short 2AWG wire from the AGM battery... but on that same wire I put a 100AMP circuit breaker as additional protection that doubles as a switch to cut off power to/from that battery for servicing etc. Could I get away with just a single 150AMP circuit breaker next to the battery?

Perhaps I'm over-thinking all this. Thanks to all for taking the time to read all my thoughts and questions. I appreciate any feedback.

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I'm with Winston on this one.

A shore power converter/charger will come in handy. I have a 45A unit (about $125) that is installed next to my (2) AGM batteries. Before a trip, we often pre-load the fridge, and it's great to be able to run it for a few days ahead.

On the road, you may do an overnighter at a friend's or in a CG with power. Nice to be able to top off the batteries overnight. I don't have solar, but a few rainy days might eliminate the charging options there. The alternator charging works well, but I like a solid AC charger to supplement the charging when an outlet is available.

No fancy 120V wiring required. Just run an outside plug to an inside outlet. O the inside, use that outlet to plug the charger in. The inside shore power outlet may come in handy every now and then too!

Worth considering....
 

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I'm going with a solid meh on the shore power. With 200W of solar and alternator charging, my 300Ah battery bank has never been under 90%. I have a charger and a shore power plug, but never mounted it or hooked it up.

I also didn't bother with all the circuit breakers and fuses for a positive bus. Just have a shunt where all the grounds/negatives are plugged into, so my charge controller can read everything, and the positives are just hooked up to the battery bank. The Inverter has it's own fuse and the DC block has it's own fuses.

My diagram: https://goo.gl/2GK5Qa. I pulled that fuse between the positive and the inverter, and I have everything 12V DC grounded into a ground bus into the shunt as well
 

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trhoppe, I must have missed something in your explanation.
My concern is that any wire needs to be protected by a fuse appropriate to its alowable load. If the blue Sea chart say the wire will carry 14 amps and you have a short to ground somewhere along the wire, what protects the wire from heating up and starting a fire?
To handle the shore power that I too seldom use I looked for a solution that would do several things for me and was inexpensive. I did not worry about it being big enough to charge my batteries all of a sudden but over time. I ended up with a WFCO converter, they have been around a long time and have 120V beakers, conversion and feed for the 12 volt appliances, proper grounding, charging for several battery types, and fuses for the 12 volt lines. All for $90 bucks on a warehouse deal.
This seems to be overlooked by many here- probably because it is not high tech enough for anyone who can’t remember Dwight Eisenhower’s retirement speech.
[ame]https://www.amazon.com/WFCO-WF8725P-Brown-Power-Center/dp/B004A32ODE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1510179008&sr=8-2&keywords=wfco+30+amp+rv+power+converter[/ame]
 

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Dwight is an Ike. Retirement is a state of mind where when you get up in the morning YOU decide what you will slave away at all day.

Geez do I have to teach you everything?
 

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This is my first attempt at rigging up a van electrical system. I'm running two 100W solar panels to a CTEK D250SA/Smartpass system. I have the 180AMP alternator and 95AMP starter battery. Via solar and alternator I'll be charging a 200AH MightyMax SLA AGM battery (monitored with the CTEK Battery Sense) to power a variety of DC loads (with room for expansion, extra lights, charging station, etc) and 1500W Vertamax PSW inverter. This system is modeled similarly to Hein's transit rig and hopefully he can chime in here.

Wiring diagram attached as pdf.

Thanks in advance!
If it's not a personal question..how much (approx) did this set-up cost?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm with Winston on this one.

A shore power converter/charger will come in handy. I have a 45A unit (about $125) that is installed next to my (2) AGM batteries. Before a trip, we often pre-load the fridge, and it's great to be able to run it for a few days ahead.

On the road, you may do an overnighter at a friend's or in a CG with power. Nice to be able to top off the batteries overnight. I don't have solar, but a few rainy days might eliminate the charging options there. The alternator charging works well, but I like a solid AC charger to supplement the charging when an outlet is available.

No fancy 120V wiring required. Just run an outside plug to an inside outlet. O the inside, use that outlet to plug the charger in. The inside shore power outlet may come in handy every now and then too!

Worth considering....
Hi Proeddie,

Thanks for your input. While topping off the batteries at a friends house or an RV site would definitely be convenient, I simply do not anticipate encountering those opportunities enough to justify installing a shore power system (most of my friends live in vans, and I camp in mostly national forest areas or backcountry environments, and space is a premium commodity in my 118). I do value your guys' opinions and if I start requiring the need for shore power, I will be sure to look to everyone for your experienced guidance.

I am, however, most concerned with protecting the system I have designed by choosing the appropriate wiring and fuses and placement of those fuses/breakers. If anyone can see any major flaws or opportunities to increase the efficiency of the system I have designed (without adding shore power) please let me know. Thanks again!
 

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trhoppe, I must have missed something in your explanation.
My concern is that any wire needs to be protected by a fuse appropriate to its alowable load. If the blue Sea chart say the wire will carry 14 amps and you have a short to ground somewhere along the wire, what protects the wire from heating up and starting a fire?
All my runs are super short, as the batteries are directly next to the inverter, fuse box, etc so it would be LONGER to run wire to a circuit breaker than for example to my inverter. The inverter already has fusing on it. Same with the DC fuse box. The run from my battery positive to the DC fuse box is 8". I guess I could put a fuse halfway through that, but there is no need. The DC box has fuses already.

I DO have breakers from where the power comes in from the alternator, as that's a run that's outside of the electrical box. Everything coming OUT of the box is fused or has a breaker.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'm going with a solid meh on the shore power. With 200W of solar and alternator charging, my 300Ah battery bank has never been under 90%. I have a charger and a shore power plug, but never mounted it or hooked it up.

I also didn't bother with all the circuit breakers and fuses for a positive bus. Just have a shunt where all the grounds/negatives are plugged into, so my charge controller can read everything, and the positives are just hooked up to the battery bank. The Inverter has it's own fuse and the DC block has it's own fuses.

My diagram: https://goo.gl/2GK5Qa. I pulled that fuse between the positive and the inverter, and I have everything 12V DC grounded into a ground bus into the shunt as well

Hi Trhoppe,

Thanks for your reply. Your wiring system is impressive and I appreciate how straight forward it is. I hope my system will turn out similarly. I am however, concerned about protecting the wires and have been basing my wire size and fuse selection off the blue sea chart found here: https://www.bluesea.com/articles/1441

According to that article, the 2AWG wire you have running from your battery bank to your inverter should be protected with a 125AMP-175AMP fuse (if using bundled wires). Is there a reason you chose a 200AMP fuse over the suggested fuses? I do not mean to suggest that your system is dangerous, I just am learning all this stuff and perhaps I'm being overly cautious as I do not have any personal experience yet. Also, have you ever had the need to "disconnect" your DC block or inverter for servicing items, and if so what did you do? I chose to put circuit breakers between the positive bus and my inverter and DC block (150AMP and 40AMP respectively) for protection AND to act as a switch if I need to "disconnect" the items for servicing. Do you guys think this is a suitable method or am I missing something or over complicating the system.

Thanks again for all your feedback.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
trhoppe, I must have missed something in your explanation.
My concern is that any wire needs to be protected by a fuse appropriate to its alowable load. If the blue Sea chart say the wire will carry 14 amps and you have a short to ground somewhere along the wire, what protects the wire from heating up and starting a fire?
To handle the shore power that I too seldom use I looked for a solution that would do several things for me and was inexpensive. I did not worry about it being big enough to charge my batteries all of a sudden but over time. I ended up with a WFCO converter, they have been around a long time and have 120V beakers, conversion and feed for the 12 volt appliances, proper grounding, charging for several battery types, and fuses for the 12 volt lines. All for $90 bucks on a warehouse deal.
This seems to be overlooked by many here- probably because it is not high tech enough for anyone who can’t remember Dwight Eisenhower’s retirement speech.
https://www.amazon.com/WFCO-WF8725P...r=8-2&keywords=wfco+30+amp+rv+power+converter
Hi RDinNHandAZ,

Thanks for the link and suggestion for the converter. I am on the same page about protecting wires and sizing fuses/breakers accordingly. I do not presently plan on incorporating shore power or a converter, but if that need arises I will keep your suggestion in mind. In the mean time, do you see an problems or opportunities in my present system?

Thanks again for your input.
 

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If it's not a personal question..how much (approx) did this set-up cost?
Hi DCGH,

I paid approximately 500 for the CTEKD250SA/Smartpass, 300 for the solar panels, 370 for the battery, 250 for the inverter, 40 for CTEK battery sense, 40 for the blue sea fuse block totaling about 1500. I still anticipate another 300-500 for switches/breakers/fuses, wiring, wiring/crimping tools, materials for the battery box/housing, etc. I budgeted 2000 for the full electrical setup... it's going to be close. :nerd:
 

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Hi DCGH,

I paid approximately 500 for the CTEKD250SA/Smartpass, 300 for the solar panels, 370 for the battery, 250 for the inverter, 40 for CTEK battery sense, 40 for the blue sea fuse block totaling about 1500. I still anticipate another 300-500 for switches/breakers/fuses, wiring, wiring/crimping tools, materials for the battery box/housing, etc. I budgeted 2000 for the full electrical setup... it's going to be close. :nerd:
Awesome Info thanks, now I just need to convert it to Canadian and start crying :)
 

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I have posted a system for $500 that does it all several times. I’d save the $1500 and blow it camping down on the Baja at bars and beaches this winter. But either way its gonna get spent! Yours will be great!
 

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I have posted a system for $500 that does it all several times. I’d save the $1500 and blow it camping down on the Baja at bars and beaches this winter. But either way its gonna get spent! Yours will be great!
Do you have a link for that RD as the time in Baja sounds really good!! :)
 

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I’ll post it up as a new thread in the builds section and then it can be found easier.
 
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