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zoti Mon Aug 31, 2020 3:25 pm

I started my Aux battery install. Planning to get almost all of in under the rear seat.

Got 2 x 100AH AGM batteries.
Victron 100/20 Charge controller witt BT
100Watt solar panel

Charge controller, isolator and fuses installed on the side of the compartments.



Wired up. Still need to wire to the main car battery. Going to run a cable to the point where the battery connects to the starter.



Panel for the USB and 12V outlet along with a small Volt display and a switch,.



Finished panel.


PDXWesty Mon Aug 31, 2020 3:58 pm

Nice clean work! I'm sure you have researched this, but just connecting your batteries to the alternator for charging will not be sufficient. In fact, I wouldn't connect them at all to the alternator. I would use a shore charger to keep the batteries fully charged before any trip. AGM have a different charge voltage and profile from flooded wet cell and your alternator may not even put out high enough voltage to fully charge these. Many of us have prematurely killed AGM batteries in our vans because of this.

Keep going and keep posting pictures!

zoti Mon Aug 31, 2020 4:01 pm

Iím going to have solar as well.

The batteries will be connected via an isolator to the main car battery and alternator. My main car battery is also an AGM battery.

I didnít know it can cause damage.

puchfinnland Mon Aug 31, 2020 5:12 pm

Impressive Work! I see you wired the batteries correctly! positive on one, Neg on the other.

Be sure your solenoid is "Continuous duty" rated.

Make sure to properly secure the batteries w a strap

Adding a 20A AC charger really helps when camping in the shade for several days, I have a dual output charger , NOCO is pretty good and nice size

zoti Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:10 pm

puchfinnland wrote: Impressive Work! I see you wired the batteries correctly! positive on one, Neg on the other.

Be sure your solenoid is "Continuous duty" rated.

Make sure to properly secure the batteries w a strap

Adding a 20A AC charger really helps when camping in the shade for several days, I have a dual output charger , NOCO is pretty good and nice size

I have a trickle charger. I think it can do 6A. Was planing to use that when I need to charge. I'm also installing the solar panel in the cargo rack but it will be removable so I can position it in the sun while parking in the shade.

jlrftype7 Tue Sep 01, 2020 9:04 am

zoti wrote: puchfinnland wrote: Impressive Work! I see you wired the batteries correctly! positive on one, Neg on the other.

Be sure your solenoid is "Continuous duty" rated.

Make sure to properly secure the batteries w a strap

Adding a 20A AC charger really helps when camping in the shade for several days, I have a dual output charger , NOCO is pretty good and nice size

I have a trickle charger. I think it can do 6A. Was planing to use that when I need to charge. I'm also installing the solar panel in the cargo rack but it will be removable so I can position it in the sun while parking in the shade.

Make sure your charger has a Mode Setting for AGM batteries. If you had the way more expensive chargers from Midtronics and others, and watched their display while charging a AGM battery, you'd see what puchfinnland was alluding to. The amperage and voltage rate with the fully automatic chargers that work well with AGM batteries run a very different approach to AGMs versus older flood cell batteries.
With little chargers that don't have a fancy display to show all the parameters as they're happening, you're not aware of what's going on in the charging time , unless you have a meter on the battery and maybe an amp meter hooked up as well.

So, you don't have to go fancy or expensive, but don't rely on an older charger that doesn't have any setting for AGM batteries to charge them. It's worth getting a charger that has multiple mode settings for different batteries, even if it's less than a 20 amp charger.
At work, I can charge AGMs with a 10 amp max charger that has 3 different type battery settings, but it doesn't hold a candle to our rolling upright chargers from Midtronics.

zoti Tue Sep 01, 2020 5:45 pm

jlrftype7 wrote: zoti wrote: puchfinnland wrote: Impressive Work! I see you wired the batteries correctly! positive on one, Neg on the other.

Be sure your solenoid is "Continuous duty" rated.

Make sure to properly secure the batteries w a strap

Adding a 20A AC charger really helps when camping in the shade for several days, I have a dual output charger , NOCO is pretty good and nice size

I have a trickle charger. I think it can do 6A. Was planing to use that when I need to charge. I'm also installing the solar panel in the cargo rack but it will be removable so I can position it in the sun while parking in the shade.

Make sure your charger has a Mode Setting for AGM batteries. If you had the way more expensive chargers from Midtronics and others, and watched their display while charging a AGM battery, you'd see what puchfinnland was alluding to. The amperage and voltage rate with the fully automatic chargers that work well with AGM batteries run a very different approach to AGMs versus older flood cell batteries.
With little chargers that don't have a fancy display to show all the parameters as they're happening, you're not aware of what's going on in the charging time , unless you have a meter on the battery and maybe an amp meter hooked up as well.

So, you don't have to go fancy or expensive, but don't rely on an older charger that doesn't have any setting for AGM batteries to charge them. It's worth getting a charger that has multiple mode settings for different batteries, even if it's less than a 20 amp charger.
At work, I can charge AGMs with a 10 amp max charger that has 3 different type battery settings, but it doesn't hold a candle to our rolling upright chargers from Midtronics.

this is what I got. I'm not fully familiar with all the settings yet.


erste Tue Sep 01, 2020 6:09 pm

Another random tip - you want a fuse between the panels and the charge controller. MC4 Inline Fuse Holder

I only mention this because in all of the research I did when piecing together my solar setup it never came up.

nice start! The Blueseas charge controller app is really well done. Youíre going to have fun with it.

Zeitgeist 13 Tue Sep 01, 2020 6:30 pm

As mentioned, that isolator relay looks like a lawn mower starter solenoid. The plastic body on those is known to get soft and cause the unit to fail under continuous duty. I would step up to the classic Ford starter solenoid, which has a metal body. These were used in the Winnebago Eurovan campers, give good service life, and are easily found when on the road.

shagginwagon83 Tue Sep 01, 2020 6:44 pm

erste wrote: The Blueseas Victron charge controller app is really well done.

zoti Tue Sep 01, 2020 7:34 pm

erste wrote: Another random tip - you want a fuse between the panels and the charge controller. MC4 Inline Fuse Holder

I only mention this because in all of the research I did when piecing together my solar setup it never came up.

nice start! The Blueseas charge controller app is really well done. Youíre going to have fun with it.

Yes. Iím planning to put a fuse between the panel and controller.

zoti Tue Sep 01, 2020 7:49 pm

Zeitgeist 13 wrote: As mentioned, that isolator relay looks like a lawn mower starter solenoid. The plastic body on those is known to get soft and cause the unit to fail under continuous duty. I would step up to the classic Ford starter solenoid, which has a metal body. These were used in the Winnebago Eurovan campers, give good service life, and are easily found when on the road.

This is the isolator.

Stinger SGP38 80-AMP Battery Isolator and Relay,BLACK https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001HC6UJ0/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_0FWtFbVHQNPD4

jimf909 Tue Sep 01, 2020 8:35 pm

erste wrote: Another random tip - you want a fuse between the panels and the charge controller. MC4 Inline Fuse Holder

I only mention this because in all of the research I did when piecing together my solar setup it never came up.



Thanks. I was not aware of this.This will be easy to add.

Zeitgeist 13 Tue Sep 01, 2020 8:37 pm

Interesting, it looks almost identical to the lawnmower relay I have that melted when I used a cut off wheel to shorten the posts. Good luck

zoti Tue Sep 01, 2020 9:42 pm

Zeitgeist 13 wrote: Interesting, it looks almost identical to the lawnmower relay I have that melted when I used a cut off wheel to shorten the posts. Good luck

Iím not following on the whole lawn mower / relay / cut off wheel story.

This relay is rated at 80amp.

Zeitgeist 13 Tue Sep 01, 2020 9:49 pm

I suspect you're ok, but the overall design appears to be based on the much weaker lawnmower starter solenoids, hence my concern. Pardon the diversion. Carry on.

zoti Tue Sep 01, 2020 10:51 pm

What would be the best way to connect the load to the system?

I will have:

12v fridge
USB / 12v lighter panel
LED lights
MaxxAir fan

Should I connect all of then to the load output on the charge controller?

Should I connect the heavy loads (fridge and fan) directly to the battery?

Everything directly to the battery?

zoti Wed Sep 02, 2020 11:46 pm

First load consumer installed. 12V lighter socket, 2 USB plugs and a volt display.


zoti Sat Sep 05, 2020 8:21 pm

Made some changes by replacing the fuse panel with one with a main bus for thr consumers and used the other panel for a fuse for the solar panel and a fuse for the charge controller itself.

Tested the panel and it is working. Tomorrow I will rest in full sun.

I also converted the shore water connection to a solar panel input.








shagginwagon83 Sun Sep 06, 2020 9:18 am

Really great work.

Your sticky pads are going to give up (eventually). I'd consider some screw in type wire managements. These work great for me.

I don't really get what is going on with your fuse panels. I feel you're trying to utilize the 'load' feature of the victron unit? I personally don't use that feature on my victron unit.

It looks like you now have a blue seas fuse panel. But you have a wire running from the battery to one of the 'circuits' of the fuse panel. Doesn't that fuse panel have a stud? If you have the Blue Seas 5046 then that fuse panel can handle 100amps, 30 amps max per circuit.

If it was me I would run 8awg wire from the battery to 80 or 100 amp circuit breaker then 8awg wire to that fuse panel. 4awg is really overkill, but you could use it for the fuse block. I use this calculator to calculate wire size. For your solar controller I would disregard the 'load' feature and simply hook the controller up to the blue seas panel with a 30 amp fuse. I would take your other fuse panel and install it in another location in your van. I would install a 30 amp fuse on your blue seas and run an approriate size wire (8 or 10 awg - depending on length). Fuses on fuses on fuses :lol:

Quote: The Load Output is a feature available on some MPPT charge controllers to enable the user to control a load either manually or automatically using certain algorithms. It is very useful for certain applications such as street lighting. It's a feature popular in smaller DC-only systems such as RV and camping (glamping) setups. The loads can be switched on and off at will, but can also be used as a safeguard to disconnect the load under low battery or overload conditions.

Also, this is just personal rant. During college I spent 3-4 years repairing cell phones. I'd say on average once a week a person would come in with a swollen phone. The battery would be literally pushing the screen out of the phone. A battery replacement would fix it usually. We would ask the customer if they used a cheap gas station car charger and 95% of the time they would say yes. So always buy quality chargers because devices are expensive. Not saying yours is not good quality, but I feel like the blue seas nailed it with their 4.8amp dual usb charger with 1ma parasitic draw. . No switching it on/off. Lifetime warranty I believe too.



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