DEEP CYCLE BATTERIES and BUSH POWER

Nightjar

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Ridge Runner said:
I did get the polarity back the right way but they would never hold any voltage longer than 3 or 4 days, :N:

Have mentioned this in another post somewhere.
We have never bought batteries for our bush camp, we visit a local battery recycler with our multi metre and buy so called "dead batteries" for $5.00, take then home and jump start them.
We have probably had about 95% success rate.
One battery, a ZZ70 that was used for starting our 3KVA diesel generator lasted for 8 years. Not a bad $5.00 investment.
 
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Thats a good deal, It's nigh on impossible to get a deal like that here, I don't know why but every time I bought another vehicle I have had to replace the battery within a week, My deep cycle batteries are the only ones that have gone the distance, 8.( 8.(
 

condor22

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I'm back :) Had a couple of months prospecting and bush camping with my new caravan. The setup is much different than my previous caravan, so thought an update might be of interest to those considering off grid with a similar setup.

Briefly the previous van - primarily a 130AH AGM, 3 way fridge on LPG, diesel heater and 200W of solar.

In comparison, the new van - OEM was fitted with a 100AH AGM, 12VDC compressor fridge (110lt) and what I believe to be a 160W panel on roof. Both vans had/have 2 x 4.5kg LPG bottles in the front boot.

The biggest two differences I noticed was, a 4.5kg bottle lasted 10 days with the 3 way fridge, keeping in mind I used the Honda to power the hot water system. I now get around 7 weeks from a bottle, its use being similar for cooking, but now every second day to heat the hot water system.

The second was in battery power use, which I will detail in further posts, as the fridge use is on top of other "normal" use.

more.......
 

Simmo

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Looking forward to your reports mate!
 

condor22

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I should note that I previously mention the new van OEM setup, which have significant modifications I've done and more to go. The OEM battery management system is a Projecta PM300 which is a 240VAC 30A, 50V max 30A MPPT and VSR DC charger. It also displays water level, temp, time, state of charge (SOC) etc etc.

I gave the dealer the AGM from the new van and removed the LiFePo4 from the old one. Easiest way to note mods, is a list.

1. Batteries - 2 x Pylontech LiFePo4 100AH for a 200AH bank.
2. PMSHUNT for me to add other loads. (It matches the PM300 and all power going in or out through it is added to the SOC calculation.
3. 6 x Fuse block for additions. (through the PMSHUNT)
4. Webasto diesel heater. (I would have preferred an Erbersopacher (Dometic), but I believe the 2 companies have parted ways and their supply is problematic.)

more...
 

condor22

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At this point a comparison of power use;

My average daily use in the old van was 35-37AH, running lights, TV for 3-4 hours, or Laptop and the heater for around 15 hrs. Not included are minimum pump use and phone charging.

The new van constantly gave me a morning SOC of 75-78% = approx 50AH. Given it is winter, the fridge used approx 14AH more than my previous vans total.

However, that 14AH is not a correct usage as during the day, solar was powering it. The big realisation was that the 160W panel is not replacing my daily use, it is only keeping the fridge going.

On a bright sunny winters day, I got maybe 10AH (5%) of replacement. On an average day I hovered at morning SOC at 4pm and on a crappy rainy day, went down further.

Conclusion, I need a s**t load more solar. :)
 
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I'm back :) Had a couple of months prospecting and bush camping with my new caravan. The setup is much different than my previous caravan, so thought an update might be of interest to those considering off grid with a similar setup.

Briefly the previous van - primarily a 130AH AGM, 3 way fridge on LPG, diesel heater and 200W of solar.

In comparison, the new van - OEM was fitted with a 100AH AGM, 12VDC compressor fridge (110lt) and what I believe to be a 160W panel on roof. Both vans had/have 2 x 4.5kg LPG bottles in the front boot.

The biggest two differences I noticed was, a 4.5kg bottle lasted 10 days with the 3 way fridge, keeping in mind I used the Honda to power the hot water system. I now get around 7 weeks from a bottle, its use being similar for cooking, but now every second day to heat the hot water system.

The second was in battery power use, which I will detail in further posts, as the fridge use is on top of other "normal" use.

more.......
Glad to have you back,

, did you take any pics of the setup while you were away, If you have time it would be nice to have a little sneak peak,

EDIT you beat me too it.

My brother is using 2x 260w to charge 3 huge SoGens from about 50% over here with the Sun he gets which ain't much so you might want to go with a pair of 200s +/-.
👍
 
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condor22

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Forgot to mention the big plus of lithium, after pulling 50AH from 200 total, the batteries were still running at 13.2V. Most mornings the AGM was nearer 12.3 no load.

There are limitations to my solar add on, it's a pop top and a small van and as there is also an aircon up there, heavy enough. So it will be portable panel plug in and staged to gauge improvement. First will be 200W added to the roof 160W and switchable so I can gauge input from the roof, input from the add on and total from both.

I'm looking at the Hardkorr HD solar mat 200W as it folds to a size I can travel with and using the existing PM300 MPPT. If I need more, then I will get a 2nd and probably go series through a Victron 100/30 MPPT. I also need to replace the VSR DC-DC as it is not multi stage and I'm hopefully getting the new car, after a 12 month wait, in a couple of weeks. So a dedicated DC-DC in the van will be the way to go.

A flat panel on the roof is approx 75-80% as efficient compared to an angled panel. It may drag down the add on, which will be angled.
 

Diginit

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A flat panel on the roof is approx 75-80% as efficient compared to an angled panel. It may drag down the add on, which will be angled.
That would probably be about correct at midday but drop to about 40% in early and latter parts of the day you will find. Personally the loss of harvest of a roof mount compared to a moveable panel I won't even use roof mount. Plus you can't park up in the shade which loads fridges even more.
 
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With the right input power Lithium batteries are rocketships when it comes to charging, All of my SoGens came with under powered chargers except the Dometic PLB40's which is must be why they cost more than the others,

The huge PowerOak / Bluetti AC200P comes with a 500w charger yet their 2400wh and the 1800wh and the 1500wh EB series came with 220w chargers yet all 3 can use the 500w charger and fully charge within 3 to 5 hours, At 75% SOC all 3 can be fully charged in under an Hour,

Their smaller 500wh models come with a 90w charger and takes 6 to 7 hours to charge so I used the EB 180's 220w charger and got it charged in about 5 and a half hours but it won't charge any faster because the input is capped at 122w.

The reason the Dometic PLB40 is expensive is because it has so many features that the other companies are only just starting to fit, Out of all my SoGens every time I go camping I always grab the PLB's because they done every thing right, And they have more 12v power output.
 
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At this point a comparison of power use;

My average daily use in the old van was 35-37AH, running lights, TV for 3-4 hours, or Laptop and the heater for around 15 hrs. Not included are minimum pump use and phone charging.

The new van constantly gave me a morning SOC of 75-78% = approx 50AH. Given it is winter, the fridge used approx 14AH more than my previous vans total.

However, that 14AH is not a correct usage as during the day, solar was powering it. The big realisation was that the 160W panel is not replacing my daily use, it is only keeping the fridge going.

On a bright sunny winters day, I got maybe 10AH (5%) of replacement. On an average day I hovered at morning SOC at 4pm and on a crappy rainy day, went down further.

Conclusion, I need a s**t load more solar. :)
Rule of thumb with solar, figure out your daily usage, supply batteries to suit, then enough solar to supply twice what your batteries loose
 
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Rule of thumb with solar, figure out your daily usage, supply batteries to suit, then enough solar to supply twice what your batteries loose
I have eight 300 amp panels flat on the roof, four 300ah deep cycle batteries. Every thing in my van is " household" ie frig, micro, two tvs, VAST TV receiver, LED lights, computers IPad chargers and a pressure pump for water and in the back room have stick, mig, tig welders, assorted grinders drop saw ... well you get the idea ... I can go four days of crappy weather before I have to kick the 6.2 kva genny on. The way it is set up the "shore power" comes in and goes through the inverter where it checks the state of the batteries and charges them while allowing 240 throughput. The only change I would make is to maybe go to lithium batteries for better recovery and a lot less weight. Currently the batteries weigh 72kg each.
 
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Rule of thumb with solar, figure out your daily usage, supply batteries to suit, then enough solar to supply twice what your batteries loose
Condor is a bit of a Wizard when it comes to this stuff, Being a New Caravan it will take him a while to get it the way he wants just like the last one he had fitted with AGM batteries now he's playing with Lithium It's back to School for Him,

With Lithium Batteries a person needs to work In Wh not Amps, and at a guess I'd say he needs either 2x 150w or 2x 200w panels which will give him about 2400wh over 6 hours or 187.5Ah on a good day, Having vents and Aircon on the roof will limit the space and add weight which don't always work with a pop top roof, which is why he said about folding panels, I found some that are 300w which I am looking at getting because In Series I can boost the Volts and the Watts while keeping the Amps it the upper limit on average day.
 

condor22

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You got it RR. The aim of the posts is to note what I'm doing and how to achieve my end result for others considering extra solar. As I mentioned, my 1st add on will be one x 200W to see what happens with charging my daily use. I am fairly sure that will need doubling, but I'm staging it so I don't buy extra gear that isn't needed.

Today's job was to reroute the existing panel on the roof through a double pole circuit breaker. a. it's the only circuit protection, as the OEM PM300 has a fuse in the unit only. and, b. I can now isolate the panel.

I also fitted an external plug, with plenty of cable to wire up under the bed, for additional panel/s. Wiring on the OEM is all 8AWG, which is what all the rewire/extra cable gauge is, to keep it consistent as well as reduce any voltage drop. I thought I had 2 terminal posts to connect it all, but discovered only one. Given it's Sunday tomorrow and less shops open, I may need to wait till next week to finish off the connections. Then it's expense, i.e. new panels and probably a Victron. As I mentioned, I can test one extra 200W with the existing panel through the PM300. If I need a 2nd 200W, then definitely need the Victron 100/30. :)
 

condor22

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Rewire is complete. I don't have the new panel yet, but I do have a Drivetech 120W blanket which I put on the windscreen to approximate the correct angle. Conditions were a weak sun and some haze. I noted the input at 5.9amps, which is pretty close to its maximum. The on roof was disconnected via the circuit breaker as the van is under a carport and not in direct sun. Hoping to pick up the 200W tomorrow.
 
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I just had a few days out in the scrub over here, I ran the PLB and the small Dometic fridge, Temps were around 27/28*c it got in the early 30's in the Van, I left home around 20:30 on friday night and got back at around 03:35 Monday morning, By Sunday Lunch time the PLB was now reading 41% from powering the fridge since Friday at 20:30, Today was very cloudy and using an Ecoworthy 120w folding panel I couldn't get any higher than 81.6w for a very short time but due to the clouds I couldn't get any more than around 30w constant so it took for ever to charge, I am going to buy 2x 200w folding panels so I can run them in series doubling the Voltage but keep the Amps at 10 to 11 Ah, although the PLB did really well I think on a bad day the 2x 200w are going to give me 80 to 120w, which will charge the PLB at it's normal rate of charge and on good days I can just hook up one of them to the PLB and 2 of them when charging the Bluetti EB180, ( 1800Wh ) I have also bought a Honking great charger for it from Bluetti plus the Car Charge Enhancer from Bluetti,

The Idea behind buying the Big Charger is because the standard supplied charger that comes with the EB180 puts out around 216 to 220w and can take 9 to 10 hours to charge it but the new Bluetti Charger will do it in 3 to 4 hours So I can Charge the EB180 via a small 1000w Genny in fact I can charge all 4 SoGens from a 1000w Genny and not have the Genny running all day, 👍
 

condor22

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Went to Snowies today, got 2 x 150W panels. Chose them as it was $260 cheaper than 2 x 200W, smaller footprint and less weight, therefore easier to travel with. 150W Hardkorr heavy duty solar mats. If I parallel them with the roof that will give me 460W total.

I kind of figured that on crappy rainy days like today was here, no amount of solar was gonna be enough :) (Within in the limits of portability).

My main reason for using Amps and Amp hours, is because the BMS in the van gives the battery voltage and the load/charge value in amps. To convert that to watts requires some brain work and hey, I'm a lazy bugger, so why bother lol.

Hopefully when I've made up the Anderson splitter and the rain stops, I can get an idea of power harvest.
 
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Went to Snowies today, got 2 x 150W panels. Chose them as it was $260 cheaper than 2 x 200W, smaller footprint and less weight, therefore easier to travel with. 150W Hardkorr heavy duty solar mats. If I parallel them with the roof that will give me 460W total.

I kind of figured that on crappy rainy days like today was here, no amount of solar was gonna be enough :) (Within in the limits of portability).

My main reason for using Amps and Amp hours, is because the BMS in the van gives the battery voltage and the load/charge value in amps. To convert that to watts requires some brain work and hey, I'm a lazy bugger, so why bother lol.

Hopefully when I've made up the Anderson splitter and the rain stops, I can get an idea of power harvest.
I got 6 x 150w panels still in their boxes and thought about hinging 2 together to make one portable unit using Stainless Hinges but even 150w panels are not light when paired up so I gave that Idea away,

Also this weekend I gave my Brother my 3x 115Ah Deep Cycle Batteries and a brand new Victron 100/20 Smart Solar "Bluetooth model" MPPT controller, Plus all the leads to link the batteries, Now if only I could get rid of these 6 panels,

Folding panels are a lot lighter and easier to live with, These Solid panels weigh 12-15kgs each where as folding panels weigh around 3 to 5kgs,

Another good thing to come out of this weekend was on Saturday I worked out the Ultimate way to get your panels set right So yesterday I put it to the test and it worked, And even though it was very cloudy I managed to keep my panels charging the SoGen until the Sun went down. 👌
 

Nightjar

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RR I read you're having a heat wave in Pommy Land, didn't think lack of sun would be a problem?
BTW, can you send a bit of sun down under, sick to death of this winter?
Keep reassuring myself that the planet is warming and that EV vehicle push will be doomed by 2025 due to lack of coal fired power to charge them, so all should be good soon. 🤣
 
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RR I read you're having a heat wave in Pommy Land, didn't think lack of sun would be a problem?
BTW, can you send a bit of sun down under, sick to death of this winter?
Keep reassuring myself that the planet is warming and that EV vehicle push will be doomed by 2025 due to lack of coal fired power to charge them, so all should be good soon. 🤣
Yeah it was warm this weekend not hot, only got to 27/28*, I couldn't get much solar yesterday and today my Brother was maxing out his panels with a bit to spare,

It's been dry enough to kill a blue dog, Last week I only had one day that was below 32-33*c, In the Van this weekend it was cool because I have 6mm thick blinds on the windows backed with 3mm double sided foil coated bubble wrap So they reflect the heat and cold out but the side pointing inwards reflects the heat within the van back inside and I put a double layer in the huge Glass roof panel so even though it did get warm outside it was pretty cool inside, Not only does it have factory Blacked out windows I have all the blinds and the foil stuff doing it's job, So In winter it reflects the cold back out and it does the same with the Sun in summer, 👍
 
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