Could use some help with a Battery Bank/Solar setup for a food truck

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Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,241 admin
    Golf cart batteries are cheap because they are high volume and used many different places... The "solar batteries" are typically the same as "deep cycle batteries", sometimes optimized to use less water (there are always downsides when you make an "improvement"), and have a larger reservoir above the plates, withstand partial cycling over a few days vs the discharge/100% recharge a forklift/floor buffer at the end of the shift, etc.

    A hydrometer measure the "specific gravity" of the battery electrolyte. Pure water is 1.000 and a fully charge lead acid battery is 1.265 or so (1.265 x heavier/denser than pure water). For flooded cell lead acid batteries, a hydrometer is the "gold standard" for understanding the state of charge of each battery cell.

    Sealed/AGM batteries are still lead acid, but the user cannot access the electrolyte (sealed) or for an AGM (and GEL) battery, the electrolyte is not accessible (in a glass mat for AGM, or converted to a GEL for gel batteries). In some ways, these are better batteries (cleaner to operate, don't need to check water levels, can supply higher surge current). But, for a new user, not being able to measure specific gravity is a real handicap to understand how charged the battery is. Also AGM batteries tend to cost about 2x as much and last no longer, and sometimes less, than an equal quality flooded cell battery.

    A "current clamp meter" is a very fast (and safe) way to measure the current flow through any single wire. To measure current, you normally "cut the wire" and connect it to your current meter, or put a shunt in, and measure the voltage drop across the shunt.

    You can take a current clamp meter and simply clip it around the wire (no stripping insulation, no electrical connections) and measure the electric current flow directly. HOWEVER, to measure DC current you need a Current Clamp Meter that can measure DC current.

    A "typical" current clamp meters can only measure AC current--it is how a transformer works--the changing current flow couples magnetically. A DC current clamp has to have a Hall effect Transistor that can measure DC (and AC) magnetic fields.

    But Hall Effect Transistors are not "stable"--And have to be "re-zeroed" every few minutes to give accurate DC current measurements. For Shunt Based Battery Monitors--They use a "shunt" (precision power resistor)... For 200 amps gives 0.100 volt drop (V=I*R; I=V/R).

    For debugging DC power systems--Having a meter that you can just "clip" across a wire and measure how much current is flowing can give you a lot of information. For example, if you have three parallel strings of batteries--You can clip onto each battery string and make sure that is carrying its share of the charging/discharging current.

    You can have Maintenance Free flooded cell batteries--Automotive starting batteries are "maintenance free flooded cell". Draw back is that they do not deep cycle as well (car batteries last best when only cycled 15% discharge (to 85% state of charge).

    Regarding 50% discharge max... That is something we "aim for" in our designs. It will give you a longer battery life... But realistically, if your battery bank is 2x larger to minimize "too deep" of cycling, and it last ~2.2x longer--It is not always a simple economic choice. For many (most?) off grid folks, they would rather pay 2x more money up front for a bank to last 2x longer (less often debugging and replacing batteries).

    For your system... There are two battery parameters to look at. One is cycling... Say a battery will last 2,000x 25% discharge, 1,000 cycles 50% discharge and 500x @ 80% discharge.

    Say you go out 6 months of the year on weekends. That is ~26 weekends or ~52 off grid cycles per year. If the batteries will "age out" in 5 years, and they will cycle out in 500 cycles / 52 cycles per year = 9.6 years... So in this (made up) example your batteries will "age out" before they cycle out. So--To never go below 50% may not be a worth while design goal for your application--However, if you have a good day (long hours, lots of paying customers), having a larger battery bank to carry out through the end of the day (rather than shutting down early)--May be worth that "larger" battery bank.

    When working with your uncle--Make sure he is "conservative" when sizing the wire (larger AWG, shorter runs). When charging your battery bank (10% of 600 AH bank is 60 amps) -- You want to run 1.25x larger wire+breakers (i.e., 60 amps * 1.25 NEC derating = 75 amps ~ 80 amp wiring+breaker). Many (non industrial/off grid power designs) assume that current flow is much less than "rated current". When working with batteries, they can take that 60 amps for 4+ hours and overheat the DC wiring (and AC wiring to charger) pretty easily.

    The NEC tables are much more conservative than Marine/Automotive current ratings--Use NEC ratings+1.25x derating--And you will be happier.

    https://lugsdirect.com/WireCurrentAmpacitiesNEC-Table-301-16.htm
    http://www.boatus.com/boattech/articles/choosing-cables-and-terminals.asp (table 3)

    Look at 14 AWG, NEC assumes 15 amps maximum (really 20 amps, but for some reason, they derate to 15 amps max and even derate by 1/1.25 or 12 amps continuous). Marine says 30-35 amps max is OK. Make your choices--But conservative/rugged (at least for your first installation) is a good place to start. (you send a couple of service persons out 1+ hour to vend, and get a phone call that the shaver is not turning on--Not a good start to your day).

    And, I would suggest circuit breakers over fuses. Don't have to carry spare fuses and tools to change.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,241 admin
    Jay,

    What size panels are you looking at? (4x 140 Watt panels, or something else?). Where, roughly, are the areas you will work (trying to get hours of sun). Would you tilt the panels towards the sun, especially during winter, or would they be flat to the roof?

    Winter is popular for shaved ice?

    Solar panels only work well for sunny days... Winter in many locations (low sun in sky, cloudy weather), may not even be worth mounting panels on the truck. Because you have to work every day, sun or no sun, in the shade of a building or tree--Solar panels + MPPT controller may not be the best investment (put money in battery bank, recharging from AC or truck alternator, etc.).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,194 ✭✭✭✭
    Problem with slanting panels is that he will have to park where they tell him to park. I very seriously doubt that it is worthwhile.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • paradiceparadice Registered Users Posts: 20 ✭✭
    mike95490 said:
    What are the chances you can add a cold plate freezer to the truck Fridge to reduce battery demand ?
    Interesting thought.  I have done some research on adding cold plates to a refrigerator but have not come up with anything so far.  I do know that if I buy a Nelson Cold Plate Freezer they can convert it to a Cold Plate Refrigerator.  The problem with that is they start at about 4k and go up front here and it would be a reach in freezer/refrigerator.  Not great for storage or organization like you would want with bottles drinks/sodas/ext..
  • paradiceparadice Registered Users Posts: 20 ✭✭
    edited November 2016 #36
    Bill-

    Thanks for all the information!  I read your most multiple times just to make sure I understood everything.

    I spent the majority of the day over at my uncles shop.  The rear door finally came in for the truck so I was welding out a frame for it and getting it in place.  Didn't finish everything but should have it finished up in the next couple days.  I had printed out this conversation for my Uncle and gave it to him while I was there.  I appreciate the advice and we will certainly listen to it.  Apparently his neighbor was a home electrical inspector for 20plus years and is gonna help him wire everything up.  I would imagine between the two of them I will be in good hands.  

    With everyones advice I finally decided to roll with the cheaper Sams Club batteries.  It's hard to argue with the price and I would hate to destroy $1500 in batteries if I made a mistake. They are charging me $18 core charge for each batter so my total is around $655 for all he batteries.. Add in the $45 for a membership and I am still at 700.  Its really hard to argue with that math.  If I could get them to last me 3 years without me screwing them up I would be ecstatic.  At that point I would know all the ins and outs of powering my equipment and could make a much better educated decision if I wanted to drop some more bones.

    When I build the battery box for these I know I will vent them to the side of the truck but do they need like an internal fan to pull the air out or will simple vent suffice?

    Unfortunately shaved ice is not a hit in the winter time thats why we convert to Hot Chocolate and Liege Waffles.  I have a completely different system to produce the product for those items.  

    To be honest the solar panels were more for me to play with.  I don't expect them to help me with the batteries much but if I put them in there are certain events that will allow me to participate because I am "Partially Solar Powered".  Ive also always wanted to get into them and I thought this would be a cool reason to try.  As of right now I was just looking at the ones from Amazon.  I linked to them in my very first post.  They will lay flat on the top of the truck and I agree with softdown that I am sure I will never have a say on where I park when I do events.. lol

    There is a question that I keep forgetting to ask.

    Are all AH ratings created equal?  So for example the batteries at Sams are 225AH's.  Lets assume the Trojan T105's were also 225AH's.

    Not from a life expectancy standpoint because I am sure the Trojans would prevail but simply from the standpoint of providing the power like advertised.  Would I get the same 225ah from he Sams batteries as the Trojans?

    Also Mike had linked to an article that explains why batteries wired in Series is Better than batteries wired in Parallel.  The link was broken he sent over.  Does anyone else have that link?  I would like to learn about it.

    Thank everyone.  I will post some pics of my progress as I go if anyone is interested.  Should be a fun buildout.

    Thanks Again!

    Jay
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,241 admin
    edited November 2016 #37
    Different ways to parallel connect batteries and how to do it "right":

    http://www.smartgauge.co.uk/batt_con.html

    More or less, when new, the batteries (cheap/expensive) batteries will perform similarly. They are, after all, Lead+sulfuric acid.

    The differences relate (usually) to aging life, water usage, cycle life, self discharge, "vibration resistance", etc.

    Also, many times, costs relate to warranty too (better warranty and company that honors their warranty having higher costs). And they tend to be a bit more careful about their production line processes (at least one can hope).

    Pay 2x as much for a battery that lasts 2x longer... May not be the best business/economics choice. But don't feel too bad--Lead Acid batteries are very recyclable.

    http://batterycouncil.org/?page=battery_recycling

    Lead batteries are the environmental success story of our time. More than 99% of all battery lead is recycled. Compared to 55% of aluminum soft drink and beer cans, 45% of newspapers, 26% of glass bottles and 26% of tires, lead-acid batteries top the list of the most highly recycled consumer product.

    The lead battery gains its environmental edge from its closed-loop life cycle. The typical new lead battery contains 60 to 80 percent recycled lead and plastic. When a spent battery is collected, it is sent to a permitted recycler where, under strict environmental regulations, the lead and plastic are reclaimed and sent to a new battery manufacturer. The recycling cycle goes on indefinitely. That means the lead and plastic in the lead-acid battery in your car, truck, boat or motorcycle have been - and will continue to be -- recycled many, many times. This makes lead battery disposal extremely successful from both environmental and cost perspectives.

    Or, at least so they want us to believe. o:)

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • paradiceparadice Registered Users Posts: 20 ✭✭
    Gotcha-

    So I read the article you linked too and then went on the hunt to find a battery diagram that would work for me while keeping my batteries as balanced as possible.  Let me know what you think please.  Link below.

    Also the very last line of the article said that the battery chargers are always connected to the same place as the loads.  That would using the diagram below that the positive lead of the charger connects to the positive lead on the battery at the top and the negative lead of the charger connects to the negative lead of the battery on the bottom correct?

    https://d3axvdqkyu09xk.cloudfront.net/attachments/6battery-connections-seriesparallel-gif.11647

    Thank you for your explanation on the battery AH's.  

    I have about 3-4 months before I NEED the batteries for my truck but I think I'm going to go ahead and get them so I can get everything hooked up in my garage and see how it all runs.  The garage in the winter time is not heated is that going to be bad for them?

    Hope everyone is safe out there tonight.

    Thanks as always for everything

    Jay
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,194 ✭✭✭✭
    The cooler the battery, the longer it lasts. Down to approx.  -120F or so...as memory serves. Try to avoid storing in conditions exceeding 95F... or so. I have even advocated partial burial of outdoor batteries to keep them cooler.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,292 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Cable attachments:
    I believe in placing the inverter cable so it contacts the most meat of the battery post (not threads or nut).  The inverter is where the most power goes, and you want the best connection for it,  Then you stack the charger cable on top, and then washers and nuts,  I also use copper grease, which is likely overkill, but if it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing,
    https://www.mcmaster.com/#electrical-contact-grease

    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • paradiceparadice Registered Users Posts: 20 ✭✭
    Hey Guys-

    I have been studying up on inverters and I am struggling a bit understanding the reasons behind the swing in price.  I completely understand the difference between Pure/True sine and Modified Sine but beyond that I am struggling.

    I have found 2000 watt pure sine wave inverters for as low as $350.00 with pretty solid reviews..

    http://www.donrowe.com/Xantrex-806-1220-PROwatt-SW-2000-p/806-1220.htm

    However the inverters BB linked to were close to $1600.  Now I noticed that his were inverter chargers but you could always buy chargers and monitoring systems separately.

    I would love to have someone help me understand what I am really getting for the price if I went with a $1600 unit vs say the one I posted above.  

    Thank you guys again for the help.

    Thanks

    Jay
  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 2,912 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Think of it like an automobile, there are many to choose from, they all have four wheels and get you to where you're going, some have all the bells and whistles others are base models, some are reliable others are junk. Depending on ones budget, you compromise on what it is you really need, price and warranty is often a reasonable indication of quality, but not always. Reviews on the internet are, IMO, not the best source, as anyone can write a review, reviews from off grid  users here would reflect actual experience over time. My personal experience has been with Samlex, Cotek and a cheap store branded no name Chineese model, none have programmable setpoints such as low voltage shutdown, but are fixed, the Cotek has a sleep mode which is the only option the others don't have. Both the Samlex and Cotek seem to be far superior to the cheap model but neither are top of the line nor the cheapest, my choice was based on budget.The cheap one is a backup, it works but overheats when on low load and at 40 degrees celsius ambient and makes noises the others don't.

    The  Xantrex may well be a good middle of the road unit, I'm sure others here will have had experience with them and can offer their opinions, personally I have none, hope those who have, will. 


    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
    Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
  • Marc KurthMarc Kurth Solar Expert Posts: 451 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2016 #43
    My experience is that Cotek and Samlex are not even in the same league as Xantrex.

    Other people will have different opinions. My opinion is based on working on/around 40-60 projects per year with a wide variety of products under a huge variety of conditions. Xantrex/Schneider, Magnum and Outback tend to be the products that I see - that just keep going year after year under a wide variety of field conditions. I would not spend my own money on the cheapie units like Cotek, Samlex and the others like them out there and I guide my customers away from them too.

    There may be other good units that I don't see, but Cotek had a 45% failure on one project with 17 units and Samlex lost 4 out of 16 units still under warranty. These were just two projects of many, many more - including in my own shop. Does that mean that they are garbage? Nope - it's a matter of what your time and energy are worth! Sometimes it is better to bite the bullet and buy wisely. Other times, buy low and replace more often is a good plan.

    It just depends.......

    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,241 admin
    And while I link to product (frequently for the high end with all of the bells and whistles--So you can see what is "possible"), I usually avoid giving recommendations--I am not in the business and do not have an off grid system--Plus, I can buy a new Lexus and it would break down driving out of the dealership. :#

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,194 ✭✭✭✭
    BB. said:
    And while I link to product (frequently for the high end with all of the bells and whistles--So you can see what is "possible"), I usually avoid giving recommendations--I am not in the business and do not have an off grid system--Plus, I can buy a new Lexus and it would break down driving out of the dealership. :#

    -Bill
    Point being that you can buy a new Lexus. I bought a '93 GMC and am replacing the seats with Ford seats. They were out of a similar truck and the front bolt measurements are the same. Nonetheless.....Ford seats, I used to drive a Ford.

    Bonus: Paid $200 for the stuff inside the 14' box. Found two pretty large boxes of Honeywell breathing mask filters worth about $8/set. Maybe $600-$700 worth....maybe a lot more. We all seem to have a unique skill. Mine is finding large bargains.....meaning large stuff at irresistible prices.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,241 admin
    I don't buy Lexi (Lexises?). I have many old vehicles in my past too... And currently driving all 15+ old cars (knock on wood, decent cars with good maintenance have yet to leave my on the side of the road--Last one was a 1970 GMC with a plastic timing chain gear that left me stranded in San Francisco ~40 years ago).

    And I am on my second solar array (first was replaced by vendor when 1/2 the panels went bad, and my 2nd array appears to be also eligible for 100% replacement due to court settlement over design flaws) and my 3rd GT inverter (first was working but replaced by "more reliable" unit, which then failed within a year, replaced with old "new in box" inverter that is still running today).

    Quite a bit of stuff going on for "free energy".

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,241 admin
    And to answer a question another member just sent me...

    Please, anyone that has experience/opinions/and such with equipment on the forum--Feel free to let us know your thoughts about the hardware and processes.

    I am just speaking for myself--I am (was?) and engineer and type about my recommendations and experiences in the general. I do not have much experience with specific solar hardware--I am simply not in the solar business (and do not work for NAWS, our host) and do not have the experience to make knowledgeable reviews about the hardware.

    I do use the feedback that many folks have made here when making suggestions/links for further study. If you (anyone) has questions or sees something that does make sense--Please ask. Somebody here will probably have some good information.

    Take care,
    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • paradiceparadice Registered Users Posts: 20 ✭✭
    Thank you everyone for all your advice and sorry I don't respond back immediately sometimes.  I read everyones posts multiple times and then do research to further dive into anything I don't understand.  TBH I have learned more about this entire process than I ever even thought existed... lol. and I still am amateurish at best.  I am however moving forward and I got the batteries we spoke about from Sams Club.  I purchased 6 of them for right under 700 including the core charges.  Thanks to everyones advice that got me this far.

    I currently have a line on a New In Box Magnum 2812 ( http://www.wholesalesolar.com/2928121/magnum-energy/inverters/magnum-energy-ms2812-inverter ) for $1100.  It's a bigger inverter than I need however if everything checks out its a pretty solid deal and hard to pass up.  I have read that you shouldn't have an inverter thats not properly matched to your battery bank but I am not sure how I would know that particularly.  I do know that it is more inverter than I need at the moment, however you never know what the future may hold.
    Any advice here would be appreciated.

    My very next step is to get these batteries wired up and on a charger to maintain them while I am finishing up this truck build.  This brings me to making my own cables or purchasing.  What size cable should I make to connect these batteries?  Currently I believe they should be 2/0.  I know the inverter manual (because I read a good bit of it) tells you what kinds of cable to run to and from the inverter but I can worry about that once I am ready to cross that bridge.  Right now I just want to wire all these batteries up and get them on a charger. Do you guys have any recommendation on cable size and places you have bought good quality cable to either make them your selves or perhaps completely made already??

    I am pretty flexible here.  Buying them already made would be great if there was a reputable place to do that.  I am going to keep the inverter pretty close (within 5 foot or so) from the batteries on the truck.

    Lastly- Anyone who has any advice on how I should go about building this battery box would be more than welcome.  I am currently watching some videos and starting to get the hang of it.

    Advice is always appreciated and everyone who helps out will get a free shaved ice or ice cream when I am all done :-). You will just have to drive to Maryland to redeem!  

    Thanks All !!

    Jay
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,292 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Size the inverter DC cables to meet the wattage of your expected starting load.   If you skimp on the cables, and you have a high starting surge, you get some very high amps on the DC so the inverter can provide the large AC surge,  if thin cables choke it out, the inverter starves for voltage and can go into low battery shutdown.
    Crimping the large cables needs a hydraulic tool in the 10-20 ton pressure range, (no, the dies on the harbor freight tool have random numbers on them and they won't fit big cables)
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,194 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2016 #50
    I think 2/0 welding cables would be more than enough.....bigger is almost always better with battery cables. You do not require enough cables to justify making your own since that requires specialty tools.

    I just bought the gear to make pro quality battery cables since I am going to do cabin installs....with luck. Our host sells cables of various lengths and sizes.

    Very good idea to use a fuse or circuit breaker on the batteries and the panels.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • paradiceparadice Registered Users Posts: 20 ✭✭
    Ok cool guys.  Thank you.

    So it looks under 1000 continuous watts 2/0 cables should be good.  I am currently reading the manual on the inverter/charger and its giving a bunch of direction as well.  

    does anyone have an experience with he battery voltage monitors that come with these units?  Almost 200 buck.. Is that worth it or should I just learn to manually check them on a regular basis?

    https://www.solar-electric.com/magnum-energy-battery-monitor-kit.html?gclid=COK4q7G1y9ACFQhLDQodtzwMsw

    Appreciate the advice and direction.  Still absorbing everything.  

    Thanks

    Jay  
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,241 admin
    The Battery Monitors can be nice... But remember that they can drift. Given that your plan is to fully recharge at the end of every day or so--They should be fine for your needs.

    The use of the battery monitor is to help ensure that you don't kill your battery bank. Using a Hydrometer and a "pilot cell" (just checking one cell) for a few trips will tell you enough about how you are managing the battery bank. And keep you from murdering your bank (over discharging, under charging, etc.). It is a couple hundred dollars verses $700 to replace the bank.

    If you have other folks running the truck while you are not there... Do you think you can tell them to call you if they see 50% on the meter? And when plugging in, that they check the meter to ensure charging is taking place, and the battery bank is full before they take off the next morning?

    A decent DC volt meter may be good enough to for you (or a full time crew) to monitor the battery bank day to day (i.e., >13.5 volts is charging; less than ~11.5 volts under load is getting time to pack up/shutdown.

    https://www.solar-electric.com/bogart-engineering-tm-2030-rv-battery-monitor.html plus shunt

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • cupcakecupcake Solar Expert Posts: 254 ✭✭✭
    edited November 2016 #53
    paradice said:
    Hey Guys-

    I have been studying up on inverters and I am struggling a bit understanding the reasons behind the swing in price.  I completely understand the difference between Pure/True sine and Modified Sine but beyond that I am struggling.

    I have found 2000 watt pure sine wave inverters for as low as $350.00 with pretty solid reviews..

    http://www.donrowe.com/Xantrex-806-1220-PROwatt-SW-2000-p/806-1220.htm

    However the inverters BB linked to were close to $1600.  Now I noticed that his were inverter chargers but you could always buy chargers and monitoring systems separately.

    I would love to have someone help me understand what I am really getting for the price if I went with a $1600 unit vs say the one I posted above.  

    Thank you guys again for the help.

    Thanks

    Jay


    As the saying goes "YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR".... GO with a SAMLEX 2000watt inverter, which is about $650 versus the $350 Xantrex you posted... Look for "Made in Taiwan" (like Samlex and Morningstar) - Taiwan is like the new 'made in Japan'... you can tell the quality right out of the box..and this is reflected in price...

    Now you get what you pay for, but you will always have botique products that are OVER-priced... and few people who buy this stiff will not admit that it's overpriced due to their own shame in being fooled....law of diminishing returns... kinda like when car people buy $3,000 coilover suspension kits that are no better than a $600 kit... like all things, use your intellgence before you choose...

    :)





    ~1.5Kw PV in parallel
    Morningstar MPPT-60 controllers (2) in parallel
    3 Trojan tr-1275's in parallel 450ah total
    Samlex 2,000 watt 12-volt inverter hardwired


  • paradiceparadice Registered Users Posts: 20 ✭✭
    BB thanks for the link and the knowledge I appreciate it. I will check that volt meter out.

    Cupcake- I notice you have a Samlex 2000 watt inverter.  May I ask how its working for you overall and what you successfully power with it?  Also that inverter doesn't have a built in charger correct?  What do you use to charge the battery bank in that case... the solar panels?

    Thanks for taking the time.

    Jay
  • paradiceparadice Registered Users Posts: 20 ✭✭
    Hey All-

    Hope all is going well!  I have a question regarding the wiring of the inverter.

    I ended up getting a pretty good deal on a Samlex 2212 with the remote included.  

    Manual link is below if anyone is interested.  Page 58 has the mobile application wiring diagram I am referring to below.

    http://www.midnitesolar.com/pdfs/EVO_Manual.pdf

    I am installing a 30AMP service intet for my shore connection.

    The manual shows the power from the service inlet going to a 120v shore input panel board.  Is that just a breaker box?

    From there I go to the inverter and then to my rv ac distribution panel.  I think I am leaning towards the below distribution panel because it offers both AC/DC breakers/fuses in 1 unit.  If anyone has any experience with another one I am all ears.  

    http://rvpowerpartsplus.net/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=4&products_id=340&zenid=786c3fe41e299a8dec25d53b577b3389

    I also need a 350amp fuse fuse for my battery does anyone have any recommendations on that?

    I am going to make some cables as my uncle has the tools I need to crimp everything.  Looks like the internet is divided on Crimping only or crimping or soldering.  Any thoughts?  

    In my application I don't need tinned correct ?  Regular copper wire and connecters should be sufficient?  I am considering ordering this:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/TEMCo-3-0-Gauge-AWG-Welding-Lead-Car-Battery-Cable-Copper-Wire-MADE-IN-USA-/282122197332?var=581084473412&hash=item41afcb1954:m:mFgC9cHMQCRNKJzk9Z03NiA

    Thanks for your help and advice.

    Much Appreciated.

    Jay


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