Author Topic: What have you done for your Rig lately.  (Read 202813 times)

JFanaselle

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Re: What have you done for your Rig lately.
« Reply #1740 on: July 09, 2019, 10:38:26 AM »
Center console fridge mod = the coolest mod I've ever seen! (no pun intended... it's just awesome!)

RBduffer

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Re: What have you done for your Rig lately.
« Reply #1741 on: July 09, 2019, 12:15:26 PM »
A Center console fridge is like a hooker on speed dial.  Some things, shouldn't be that convenient ::)

BTW, I like all of your electrical choices, and common sense wiring.  Well done Sparky
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steve c

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Re: What have you done for your Rig lately.
« Reply #1742 on: July 09, 2019, 05:12:03 PM »
A Center console fridge is like a hooker on speed dial.  Some things, shouldn't be that convenient ::)

BTW, I like all of your electrical choices, and common sense wiring.  Well done Sparky

I'm going to skip the first part, all though my Bang has been extra cold lately.

As for the wiring, Jordan and I have talked about how to do it for months.  Finally settled on what we feel is a good way to do it.
Wiring was all done by Jordan while I stood there and asked him annoying questions.  And, occasionally handed him stuff. 
Steve - KK6OFL

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G.B.H.

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Re: What have you done for your Rig lately.
« Reply #1743 on: July 09, 2019, 08:37:36 PM »
That is absolutely awesome!

Been working on my power and future fridge set up. I might steal some ideas from you. About to purchase the fridge. What size dometic is that and are you happy with the size? I've been debating different sizes for awhile now. The CFX-40 is currently in the lead.
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steve c

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Re: What have you done for your Rig lately.
« Reply #1744 on: July 09, 2019, 11:32:08 PM »
*caveats

If you're going to put the fridge in the same position as mine, rear 40% seat folded down and on top, any of the major brand 60L to 65L will fit. 
*shameless plug for my build thread*  If you look at my build thread, I started with a 43L edgestar, then went to a 65L edgestar, then went to the 60L Dometic.  I guess I'm a fridge whore?  Never laid it out like that before.

Regarding the actual fridge you choose - in the 60L size bracket, I would definitely go with a single zone deal.  My dometic is kind of a bastard child, beta on the public sort of situation.  It is marketed as "dual zone" but the dual sones are represented by a removable wall.  I only ever use it, after much trial and error over many trips as a fridge.  Just yank the "wall" out and it's a reasonable fridge.
My questions about the shit performance of my "dual zone" fridge at MRV and Expo West by high level dometic people was, yeah, that fridge sucks, but we learned a lot while doing it.  Luckily, I bought it used from a guy who has more money than he knew what to do with and sold it to me for a song. 

At 75L+ , you can start talking about dual zone, dual compressor units.  These are freaking awesome, but also huge. 

If you're going to get fancy with your fridge mounting and build a low pro platform where the 40% rear split is, be prepared to lose rearwards mobility of the front passengers seat.  Jordan has a 40L edgestar, which is one of the stubbier, taller units in the field and it definitely limits the rear mobility of the front seat.  If the only person that sits there is your 5'5" gf, then you're golden.  But, if your buddy is 6'3" then it's going to be a jockey box knee interface situation. 

You didn't ask, but I'll prognosticate anyways.

Powering your fridge.
Couple of situations here.
1.  I only power my fridge when I'm on trips.
2.  I want my fridge to be on all the time, even when I'm at work.

Situation 1.
If you haven't already, replace your stock battery with a high quality, agm battery.  I first replaced mine with an Odyssey group 31 which all though awesome, is too race car to be hooked up to our alternators.  Our alternators are "smart" which means they won't give the Odyssey the 14.8v it wants to fully charge and be happy. 
What I did, when my Odyssey group 31m died was went to Batteries Plus and bought an X2Power 27F battery.
It offers most of the features of the Odyssey, but doesn't require the fancy charging.
And, when I say fancy charging, I mean once a week, you plug the Odyssey into a specially designed charger to top it off. 
Even doing that might not be enough as evidenced by my dead Odyssey and warranty replacement.
ANYWAYS, if you put a GOOD agm battery in as your only battery for starting and running your fridge while camping, you're going to need an additional power source. 
I would suggest buying a minimum 100w all in one solar set up from a company like Renogy.
If possible, spec it with an MPPT controller instead of a PWM.
If you are electrically handy, I would suggest buying a solar panel, wire and controller separately and putting the kit together yourself.
Jordan has his solar MPPT solar controller mounted under the hood so when we get to camp, he just plugs in the panels. 
The MPPT controllers will typically let you specify the voltage you want the controller to ramp to before it charges your batteries.
I would suggest buying a pre-made, 20-30' cable to extend the usable distance of your solar panels. Sometimes when you park up, you will be in shade for most of the day.
Again, you can build these to taste and for probably cheaper if you are at all savvy. 

Situation 2
The answer is obvious - I am running my fridges all the time.
The obvious answer, to me - a big freaking agm battery, solar and a dc to dc charger.
Due to my Odyssey warranty situation, I based my system on that, but if it was a fresh field I would strongly consider lithium batteries.
Lithium batteries bring in a whole new level of sophistication, but I'm fairly certain the price to function equation is getting closer to favorable. 
There are a couple of giant F's in lithiums favor.  #1 Price.  #2 Price again, but for supporting mods.  The price for controllers and dc to dc chargers for those are high. 
Lithium batteries offer almost twice the amp hours that agm do, however they are about twice the cost.  (for laymen that can not navigate cryptic ebay or ally express listings)  Somebody like Jordan will pioneer this route for us, but until he does, the dumb agm is the way to go. 

So, that's probably more than you wanted, but I felt like typing, lol
Steve - KK6OFL

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G.B.H.

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Re: What have you done for your Rig lately.
« Reply #1745 on: July 10, 2019, 07:17:38 AM »
Steve,

Thanks for the reply. Way more than I asked for but exactly what I needed.

I'm going to start with the fridge in the same spot as you have yours then look into putting it on a slide in the back. I already built myself drawers so I need to see how well it fits. Modify the drawers or keep it behind the passenger seat. My girlfriend is fairly tall but my wife is only 5' 1" and she's the only one who usually goes on trips with me  :P. Mostlly I'm by myself. Except for beer I don't usually have that much that needs to be cold. I'm leaning toward smaller fridge and then if I need more just add the old cooler and ice.

I just ordered the Dometic PLB-40 Lithium battery. Doing the math it is only ~$100-$200 more when adding up the extras. It's solar ready and can be charged by the cigarette lighter sockets. Measured the power drop to the rear socket and it's not bad at all. Should run the fridge for close to two days without recharge.

I already have solar. A portable Zamp 80 watt. I mounted the plug to the front bumper and plug it in when I camp. Running the panel to the best sunny spot. With the new lithium I will have to change to an anderson and plug directly into it. I'm hoping this can extend the fridge running by another day without driving.

Long term, I would like to run the fridge all the time. That means bigger solar and a way to mount it to the roof. How did you run the solar wiring to the roof? I always worry about leaks when doing something like this.

Thanks for the excellent reply.

G.B.H. 

*caveats

If you're going to put the fridge in the same position as mine, rear 40% seat folded down and on top, any of the major brand 60L to 65L will fit. 
*shameless plug for my build thread*  If you look at my build thread, I started with a 43L edgestar, then went to a 65L edgestar, then went to the 60L Dometic.  I guess I'm a fridge whore?  Never laid it out like that before.

Regarding the actual fridge you choose - in the 60L size bracket, I would definitely go with a single zone deal.  My dometic is kind of a bastard child, beta on the public sort of situation.  It is marketed as "dual zone" but the dual sones are represented by a removable wall.  I only ever use it, after much trial and error over many trips as a fridge.  Just yank the "wall" out and it's a reasonable fridge.
My questions about the shit performance of my "dual zone" fridge at MRV and Expo West by high level dometic people was, yeah, that fridge sucks, but we learned a lot while doing it.  Luckily, I bought it used from a guy who has more money than he knew what to do with and sold it to me for a song. 

At 75L+ , you can start talking about dual zone, dual compressor units.  These are freaking awesome, but also huge. 

If you're going to get fancy with your fridge mounting and build a low pro platform where the 40% rear split is, be prepared to lose rearwards mobility of the front passengers seat.  Jordan has a 40L edgestar, which is one of the stubbier, taller units in the field and it definitely limits the rear mobility of the front seat.  If the only person that sits there is your 5'5" gf, then you're golden.  But, if your buddy is 6'3" then it's going to be a jockey box knee interface situation. 

You didn't ask, but I'll prognosticate anyways.

Powering your fridge.
Couple of situations here.
1.  I only power my fridge when I'm on trips.
2.  I want my fridge to be on all the time, even when I'm at work.

Situation 1.
If you haven't already, replace your stock battery with a high quality, agm battery.  I first replaced mine with an Odyssey group 31 which all though awesome, is too race car to be hooked up to our alternators.  Our alternators are "smart" which means they won't give the Odyssey the 14.8v it wants to fully charge and be happy. 
What I did, when my Odyssey group 31m died was went to Batteries Plus and bought an X2Power 27F battery.
It offers most of the features of the Odyssey, but doesn't require the fancy charging.
And, when I say fancy charging, I mean once a week, you plug the Odyssey into a specially designed charger to top it off. 
Even doing that might not be enough as evidenced by my dead Odyssey and warranty replacement.
ANYWAYS, if you put a GOOD agm battery in as your only battery for starting and running your fridge while camping, you're going to need an additional power source. 
I would suggest buying a minimum 100w all in one solar set up from a company like Renogy.
If possible, spec it with an MPPT controller instead of a PWM.
If you are electrically handy, I would suggest buying a solar panel, wire and controller separately and putting the kit together yourself.
Jordan has his solar MPPT solar controller mounted under the hood so when we get to camp, he just plugs in the panels. 
The MPPT controllers will typically let you specify the voltage you want the controller to ramp to before it charges your batteries.
I would suggest buying a pre-made, 20-30' cable to extend the usable distance of your solar panels. Sometimes when you park up, you will be in shade for most of the day.
Again, you can build these to taste and for probably cheaper if you are at all savvy. 

Situation 2
The answer is obvious - I am running my fridges all the time.
The obvious answer, to me - a big freaking agm battery, solar and a dc to dc charger.
Due to my Odyssey warranty situation, I based my system on that, but if it was a fresh field I would strongly consider lithium batteries.
Lithium batteries bring in a whole new level of sophistication, but I'm fairly certain the price to function equation is getting closer to favorable. 
There are a couple of giant F's in lithiums favor.  #1 Price.  #2 Price again, but for supporting mods.  The price for controllers and dc to dc chargers for those are high. 
Lithium batteries offer almost twice the amp hours that agm do, however they are about twice the cost.  (for laymen that can not navigate cryptic ebay or ally express listings)  Somebody like Jordan will pioneer this route for us, but until he does, the dumb agm is the way to go. 

So, that's probably more than you wanted, but I felt like typing, lol.
[/quote]
G.B.H.

x4dblduty

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Re: What have you done for your Rig lately.
« Reply #1746 on: July 13, 2019, 07:12:56 AM »
Finally my Hefty alum is up! Quality product, all mounts lined up, fog lights and winch easily attached. Took about 4 hrs with a buddy to install. I do have to adjust it a little more, small bracket gets in the way of the fogs not allowing the bumper to be pushed up another inch. Also need to find a suitable mount for the Warn controller, ideas?

FYI, this bumper is fitted ahead of the steel Shrock radiator skid I already have, mated perfectly.

G.B.H.

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Re: What have you done for your Rig lately.
« Reply #1747 on: July 13, 2019, 10:56:06 PM »
Looks good! I love mine.
G.B.H.

nworker

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Re: What have you done for your Rig lately.
« Reply #1748 on: August 04, 2019, 08:27:38 AM »

Our alternators are "smart" which means they won't give the Odyssey the 14.8v it wants to fully charge and be happy... my Odyssey group 31m died... you're going to need an additional power source. 

I would suggest buying a minimum 100w all in one solar set up from a company like Renogy.


I went through the same learning experience with Odyssey. I performed the 2nd battery hack to power my refer and it just didn't work and in the process ate up my Odyssey. Back to the drawing board. I have installed a 100Ah LiFePO in the trunk space.

The core of my design is the prismatic LiFePO batteries.

Here is one 100Ah cell: 


I ordered these from China. They cost $64 per cell plus shipping and tariffs for a total of $85 each. Total cost on the batteries ~$340 for 100Ah of glory!

https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/Prismatic-3-2V-100Ah-LiFePO4-Battery_60797938533.html?spm=a2700.wholesale.pronpeci14.6.239c21e47DFk0C

The overall wiring from the back to the front: 


The top picture is the cabling from the battery to the DC/DC converter. The second drawing shows the interconnection in the rear storage tray itself.



First the BMS, which I got off ebay:
  .
Cost ~$35

For the charger, I chose the Renology 40A DC/DC Battery Charger:
  .
Cost ~ $210

For the MPPT solar charger, I chose the Victron MPPT 75/10 with blue tooth charge controller:
 
Cost ~ $125

All pretty simple really. The challenge is all the bloody wiring required. I used jumper cables for the #4 and #6 wires running from the engine compartment back to the rear storage tray and from the rear storage tray back to the front cabin as they are less expensive than buying the wire itself. I have eight left over battery clamps.

Installation

Now the hard part, which isn’t trivial by any account. Compared to moving the Power Steering pump, fabricating a new battery tray, and the various brackets needed putting the battery in the rear storage tray is a piece of cake. Couldn’t be simpler! The items that stopped the project were usually wire or connectors.

Luckily, I leveraged the work done for the original 2nd battery installation. All wiring under the dash and in the back would need to be powered from the 2nd battery in the rear storage tray. A PIA, but not insurmountable.

I have the wire cutters, strippers, terminations, wire crimpers, and other tools. The consumables were mostly the terminals, wire ties, and silicon sealant.

Take out the rear tray.
 

I took the rear tray and put it on a table to layout the parts and get them all situated in the tray.
 

3M VHB tape is used to hold the batteries together and, once the bus bars are installed, hold the batteries to the rear storage tray.
 

The wonderful news is the rear storage tray is heavy plastic which is a perfect electrical insulator. The battery terminals are place on the outside to prevent anything from inadvertently hitting them. The next time I do this I will move the batteries a bit further from the back to facilitate removing the bolts on the battery tops.
 
 

The Renogy DC/DC charger had bolt holes, so it was bolted to the rear storage tray.
 

The tray is removable so the wires must be disconnectable. Anderson powerpole connectors are used to handle the large current running through the wires. The fuse from the front 2nd battery was used to protect the battery from any shorts. The closer to the battery the better! The BMS was wired and taped to the front of the rear storage tray.
 

I didn’t install the MPPT charge controller at this time, but now is the right time to get it installed.
An access hole was cut in the body of the car to allow the cables to go from the outside to the inside. This could be cleaner holes and grommets for each cable. I chose to cut a big hole, clean up the edges, paint them to prevent rust, line the edges with door trim, and, later, use flex tape and silicon calking to seal and protect the opening.
 
 

The rear power distribution, four relays, the 400W inverter, and the compressor is in the passenger wheel well. The challenge is to get the cable into that space.
Turns out if you remove the Drafter duct, there is direct access to the wall to drill through to the underside. That is tricky. The hardest part is getting access to cut or drill holes!
 
 

For the solar cables, they are run from the rear storage tray to the passenger step. First drill the holes in the rear step.
 

Next drill holes for the cables to go from the step over to the other side and into the rear storage tray:
 

This part of the body is triple thick sheet metal. Spray the edges to prevent rust. I don’t have gromets to protect the cable and the edges are sharp! Taking thick vinyl tubing, cutting, rolling, and sliding it in worked just fine to protect the cable. Those are not coming out:
 

The cable from the main battery back to the rear storage tray is protected by a fuse, runs down the wheel well/firewall, along the frame, and into the rear storage tray:
 
 
 
 

The cable from the rear storage tray to the cabin runs up the frame, along the wheel well, and into the cabin just below the glovebox and high up on the carpet. Two grommets protect the cable from the sharp edges of the metal body.
 

To protect the cables from chafing on the sharp metal, door protector molding is installed around the hole, flex tape taped to the underside, and generous amounts of silicon calking is applied.
 
 

Configuring the DC/DC converter wasn’t as easy as I had hoped. The manual has a misprint on page 22. The final configuration after giving Renogy a call was:
S1 – OFF
S2 – ON
S3 – ON
S4 – ON
S5 – OFF

The charge parameters are the ideal absorption voltage of 14.6V and the float voltage at 13.5V. One difference from Lead Acid and Lithium Ion is Lithium Ion does not require a float voltage and really doesn’t like them Setting the float voltage lower than the nominal voltage prevents the batteries from being ‘trickle’ charged which is why the DC/DC charger must be designed with Lithium Ion in mind.

To make charging as easy as possible, I installed a Bioenno 10 A AC/DC LiFePO4 charger:



Then I ordered and installed an AC plug port:



Here is the finished AC charger port installation.



Now I have the ability to charge from the alternator, solar panels, and AC. Sweet...

The next idea is to mount my flexible solar panels on top of my Roof Top Tent. Waiting for the white Flex Seal now.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2019, 01:47:17 PM by nworker »

0317

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Re: What have you done for your Rig lately.
« Reply #1749 on: August 04, 2019, 09:16:37 AM »
Man! This write up should be in its own thread, so it’s not lost. Great Job
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Re: What have you done for your Rig lately.
« Reply #1750 on: August 04, 2019, 08:11:42 PM »
That is one of the most impressive things I've seen in a long time. You had me at 100ah and then you finished with shore power. Awesome!
G.B.H.

nworker

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Re: What have you done for your Rig lately.
« Reply #1751 on: August 04, 2019, 08:51:45 PM »
That is one of the most impressive things I've seen in a long time. You had me at 100ah and then you finished with shore power. Awesome!

Thanks!

JFanaselle

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Re: What have you done for your Rig lately.
« Reply #1752 on: August 05, 2019, 03:25:59 PM »
Amazing job! Such a well thought-out system. I do have a couple of questions, hopefully you can clarify. I am not in any way criticizing your setup. I'm just trying to learn more, as I don't really have experience with lithium batteries and may ultimately want to migrate to a system like this (it's such an outstanding use of the rear storage space!).

My first question is related to charging and discharging: I don't have much knowledge of LiFePo batteries, but I've heard a lot of horror stories about LiPo batteries, and have even seen first hand many fires caused by them (mostly remote controlled car batteries or motorcycle batteries that people are charging unobserved in their garages, which ultimately overcharge and start on fire). But a quick Google search seems to indicate that these are not the same technology and not nearly as prone to fires, but they still suffer from some of the same disadvantages as other lithium batteries. My question is: is there some kind of protection system in place to prevent the cells from over-charging or discharging too much? From what I am reading, they seem to be pretty sensitive to discharging below 2.5v, or charging above 3.5v, which seems like a very small range to work within. I would imagine the DC to DC charger handles the over-charging piece, but what about discharging too low? Does that damage the cells and make then unusable?

Which leads me to the second question: how is the power distributed from this aux setup to your accessories? I presume, since you are running the DC to DC charger, that the batteries themselves are completely isolated from the vehicle's main 12V circuit? If so, does that mean you can't ground any of the accessories connected to this circuit to the vehicle's body? Sorry if that sounds like a dumb question, but I've never really understood how a completely isolated aux power circuit works within a vehicle setup, as it's different than simply adding a separate battery and using a solenoid to make sure they run in parallel while the vehicle is on (and therefore both charge from the alternator), but are isolated when the car is off. I have a lot of lights and other accessories set up to run while the vehicle is either on or off, and I'm trying to determine if that means I'd have to re-run a lot of my wiring to this new setup if I go with something like this.

Final question: how durable are the LiFePo batteries? Can they handle the abuse of off-roading (especially washboard roads) like the AGM stuff can? If so, these seem like an amazing solution for many automotive applications! I've gotten very lucky and gotten great service out of my little 37 amp hour Optima yellow top that I use as my second battery, but it's definitely not going to last forever, and I would LOVE to upgrade to something with this kind of capacity.

nworker

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Re: What have you done for your Rig lately.
« Reply #1753 on: August 05, 2019, 07:07:32 PM »
is there some kind of protection system in place to prevent the cells from over-charging or discharging too much? From what I am reading, they seem to be pretty sensitive to discharging below 2.5v, or charging above 3.5v, which seems like a very small range to work within. I would imagine the DC to DC charger handles the over-charging piece, but what about discharging too low? Does that damage the cells and make then unusable?

Note I am using Lithium Iron Phosphate cells, which are the most stable and well suited to this application. I wouldn't want to burn down the rig!

Yes, that is the job of the Battery Management System (BMS) which performs several functions: Undervoltage, overvoltage, overcurrent, temperature, and cell balancing

how is the power distributed from this aux setup to your accessories?

There is a great deal of discussion on RV sites regarding grounding. The most common approach is to use the chassis for the ground. Yes the house battery shares the same ground. My son, who has strong opinions, thinks there should be a second ground system for accessories. This means two wires to everything powered by the house battery. From what I read, this is technically the best approach, but practically a pain in the ass. I have chosen to use the chassis ground.

how durable are the LiFePo batteries?

6000 cylces
5year Warranty
Lifespan 15years

Compared to Lead Acid (LA) LiFePO are an order of magnitude more durable. Where LA shines is dumping huge current which is perfect for starting. Where LiFePO shines are applications where the battery is discharged deeply and recharged on a regular basis. This is why LiFePo are perfect for electric powered cars!

I hope that helps. There are some really great resources online, as one would expect. These are two I found very helpful:




JFanaselle

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Re: What have you done for your Rig lately.
« Reply #1754 on: August 05, 2019, 11:25:56 PM »
Awesome stuff. Thanks for the info, and for the videos!