• Greg F
    265
    Hi All, Hope all is well with you!

    I thought I would document the new power system on our 5th wheel as I am starting from scratch. This will be a somewhat extended process waiting for parts, avoiding the heat and not in any hurry due to the virus lockdown.

    I started by removing the storage partitions in the basement to check access for installing a Hughes EMS and GoPower transfer switch. I found some unused space and decided to do the battery, inverter, chargers install in the basement rather than the front compartment. I should be able to house all my gear for solar etc. and increase the cargo bay at the same time! The basement is ducted for heat and should be better conditions for our lithium battery bank. This will also leave the front compartment available for large bulky stuff like shade canopies, tables, dead bodies etc..


    Here is what it looks like from the factory.
    pttzdhjue5xacxcr.jpg

    With the walls removed. Blue tape is where walls were.

    37bnw5z81y3rbkx6.jpg

    Approximate location of new walls to be installed. I removed the stock converter/charger as it won't be needed and relocated the 120v outlet out of the way.

    5sea3ahi5ozmeihx.jpg

    The area under the stairs made a great spot to install the Battery bank. I did need to remove a stair support leg but a plywood header will make this stronger than stock.I am going to reconfigure these cells for a 24v battery bank this time. That will make this a 300ah battery @24v

    nhb297knmud6g945.jpg

    That's all for now. I have more parts coming and will update this thread as progress continues.
  • Ray
    655
    Cool, thanks for posting. It must be nice to be able to start from scratch with a clean pallet sort of speak. :) Those rigs have a nice tall storage area.
  • jalandry47
    6
    Very nice! I look forward to the updates. What rig is this going into?
  • Greg F
    265
    Thank you!

    It is a Grand Design 2930RL
  • RVsolar
    312
    very nice CABL cells looks good!
  • Rush and Lola
    170
    That's a lot of AA batteries. Have fun and enjoy the solar.
  • Kevin Klein
    5
    Greg F love the pictures and the layout. I too have a 2930rl and just started full timing just 4 days ago. I am excited to see how much extra room there is in the belly storage. I will be installing solar as well as $$$$ permits. Q. Are you also on the GD 2930RL FB page? Would love to follow your progress.
  • Greg F
    265
    I am on the FB page. I may do a recap there at some point but will probably give the blow by blow info here.

    Congrats on full timing! Hopefully you aren't having a hard time finding places to stay right now.
  • Greg F
    265
    Thanks. These are (24) 3.2v/100ah cells. I had them arranged in a 12v/600ah bank in our last camper for about 3 years. I just did a load test on them and they are all still good for over rated capacity and the cell voltages were tight all the way down to the bottom. Pretty happy with the bang for the buck on these as well as their size and weight. They are even cheaper now. I contemplated building a larger battery but I think with increased solar input I will be fine. If not I can add a same size parallel bank latter. I am also going to try adding a BMS system to the bank. I had resisted in the past but I found a 24v/200ah unit that was affordable so what the hay.

    I am going to try a 24v 3p/8s battery arrangement this time with a 24v inverter. This should allow a little better wire efficiency and smaller more manageable cabling as well as improved dc-ac efficiency for the inverter. :nerd:
  • Kevin Klein
    5
    We are currently up east of Flagstaff Az in Walnut Canyon. Started our journey in Phx. Leaving tomorrow for a 2 week stay to get a fuel/tool box installed for better distance. Then hoping to make our way to SD for the summer. Will keep an eye on your posts. Thanks and safe travels to you.
  • Greg F
    265
    Might see you there. We are tentatively planning a trip to South Dakota this summer to look at properties in the Custer area. :)

    Please start a thread on the fuel tank and tool box. I am considering Titan under bed replacement as well as an in bed transfer tank with built in toolbox. I would be interested to see what you do!
  • Kevin Klein
    5
    gonna make it our domicile.
  • Greg F
    265
    I did the framing for the walls this morning. Blue tape was the old wall location. Excuse how rough it looks. These wall panels are just tacked in and will be covered with trunk liner carpet and mated to adjoining panels properly. It should look fairly stock when I am done. It looks like we picked up almost 6 square feet of additional floor space as well a nice wall to hang the solar components.

    The toilet drain pipe will limit how high we can stack in this corner but still some nice space underneath.



    gpmv2i7woodrgv8x.jpg
  • RVsolar
    312
    nice should have lots of room for gear.
  • Jetlag
    14
    I am going to reconfigure these cells for a 24v battery bank this time. That will make this a 300ah battery 24vGreg F
    Very nice setup. Wish i had that much room.

    We are tentatively planning a trip to South Dakota this summer to look at properties in the Custer area.Greg F
    We booked a spot at Crooked Creek Resort near Hill City but don't think we will be crossing the border in Aug.
  • Greg F
    265
    I found a tray that is almost the exact dimensions of out battery bank and installed it today. This will make maintenance much nicer. Still need to work on strapping things down and mounting the BMS unit but making some progress..

    2u0e7mskoavbw823.jpg
    kf4hahty14govd1d.jpg
  • Ray
    655
    Good job looking very slick! :starstruck:
  • Greg F
    265
    Most of the system below the roof is roughed in. I haven't wired up the inverter yet, waiting on a few more cables and lugs for the 24v > 12v converter as well.

    The solar panels I ordered were MIA, apparently destroyed in shipping. :gasp: Fortunately Amazon is crediting our account. I am thinking about trying these different panels. Has anyone had any experience with them? They are reasonably narrow so better distance from shading by air conditioner. They are also 24v which will help with cable efficiency. It appears they have 5 busbars which should make them better in shaded conditions.

    Newpowa 200 watt panel


    Here are a couple pictures of the almost complete basement. The battery compartment still needs to be trimmed out and the BMS/cables installed.

    wu59vamgemnch9d6.jpeg
    zebbisvfb2uefsxt.jpeg
  • Greg F
    265
    While waiting for the new solar panels I built a combiner box. I wanted something that could house circuit breakers as well as act as a combiner. These 4 strings will be over 100volts each so circuit protection seemed like a good idea.

    I saw and almost bought a product made by eco worthy but after watching a couple YouTube reviews and some reviews on amazon I decided to build one myself using an IP65 rated box. There is also a main breaker to protect the combined output cables located in the basement.

    Here is what I came up with. Nothing too glamorous but it should work well. I like that's is large and easy to work inside of it. Also room for adding on down the road or reconfiguring panel wiring.

    The entry point for the solar cables will be under a solar panel so the solar cables will pass through this box and on to an entry gland into the camper a short distance away.

    If anyone wants a parts list just let me know.

    khajstpvhilqqfs9.jpeg
  • Logan X
    100
    Thanks for keeping us updated Greg, I like seeing what you are doing. It looks good.
  • Greg F
    265
    Glad you are enjoying it!
  • Greg F
    265
    Finally got some solar panels to show up. The first panels I ordered turned into a bit of a nightmare. Amazon sent a notice that they had to be returned due to damage, then some of them showed up anyway indeed damaged. I rejected that shipment and back on the UPS truck they went. The packaging was pitiful. Zero insulating protection just thin cardboard directly against the panels.

    Now I am getting partial credits, they are treating the shipment as partial success even though nothing was accepted/delivered. Do not even consider Sonali brand solar panels! They aren't what is described in the ads and there is practically no way they can be shipped any distance without damage.

    rghx54t7hhkijygf.jpeg

    I ended up ordering Newpowa brand panels directly from Newpowa. They had excellent customer service, delivered on time, well packaged and in perfect condition. These are 200 watt 24v panels that fit nicely between the air conditioner and the edge of the RV. They are a little longer and narrower than other 200 watt panels I have looked at allowing them to sit farther away from the air conditioners and possible shading. All panels voltage tested correctly. I will probably test them individually for amperage before installing them on the roof just to make sure there isn't a dud in the bunch.

    In the past I have always run my panels 100% in parallel. On this build I am going to try a series/parallel configuration with 3 panels in series and then 4 in parallel. Combined with the higher voltage panels will give me roughly 100 volts at 24 amps allowing a little more efficiency of cabling and should allow the MPPT controller to better utilize lower light conditions. I can always reconfigure these down the road.

    p2t6vrv0rt7flf1w.jpeg

    Not sure when I will get to installing these. Our carport showed up and I would like to get the side drive back. You can also see I am behind on yard work. :grimace: If I had known how much work retirement would be I would have kept my day job. :wink: a29dd2x6uv3iue30.jpeg
  • Ray
    655
    Wow! That is some nasty looking shipping boxes. Jeessshh!
    Looks like you got lots of work there. Have fun. :)
    I hope the weather cooperates for ya.
  • RVsolar
    312
    take it one day at a time you well get it done.
  • Greg F
    265
    Thanks :)

    The main structure is up. I just need to add the metal roof and hopefully get to installing solar panels on the RV soon.

    u2urzx5fnevpf2il.jpeg

    Unfortunately we had to put our pup down on Friday so the last few days have been a mess. Our other dog isn't long for this world either fighting lymphoma.
    dr1oi35a5s7wst28.jpeg

    2020 hasn't turned out to be much of a year so far but we are hoping to get back on the road in July and salvage the second half. :up:
  • RVsolar
    312
    sorry for your lost .
    We know your feelings had to do the same
    a few years ago.
  • Ray
    655
    Unfortunately we had to put our pup down on Friday so the last few days have been a mess. Our other dog isn't long for this world either fighting lymphoma.Greg F

    Very sorry to hear. :(
  • Greg F
    265
    Everything is done now aside from the roof. I started up the inverter and ran everything through its paces. The inverter easily fires up one of the a/c units but yells at me when I try and start the second one. I think a soft start will fix this. To much inrush amperage.

    I charged the bank full with the inverter charger and ran a heavy load until the bank was down to 24v. The cells still produced over rated capacity. These CALB cells have been a great buy for us. Real workhorses.

    Also, new to me is this BMS for our battery bank. I purchased this 24v@200 amp unit from the same place I bought the batteries a couple years ago. Install was simple. I haven't tested it by attempting to overcharge the batteries or run them down far enough for it to disconnect. I think I will just trust that it will work. I bought this as a last resort safety net and not a management tool. I have noticed that is has balanced all the cells as far as my meter can verify.

    The rest of the walls have been carpeted and reassembled. Downstairs is complete!
    :)

    jle5uhm457v72c2o.jpeg
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    itmirplsfdfvpga0.jpeg
    j27rsjtrn6knze1e.jpeg
  • Ray
    655
    Well laid out and tidy. It can be hard to do with so much equipment and connections to deal with. Awesome job!
  • Greg F
    265
    Thanks! Coming from a truck camper the usable spaces seem enormous. I am thinking about installing a water filter system like the clear source along that back wall.
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