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Old 01-23-2023, 08:46 PM   #1
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Name: skip
Trailer: Bigfoot
Boca Raton
Posts: 35
transfer switch?

Bigfoot 21, 5-100 watt solar panels (Renogy), Renogy 40 controller, 2 SOK 100 amp lithium batteries, Renogy 2000 invertor, lots of 8 guage wire and fittings. Oh and cheap labor, me.
So there are the details and now my question. The invertor says not to wire the 110 into my panel but I want to provide power to most of my 110 appliances without extension cords to trip over. I know that in a house, generators need a transfer switch to separate the power sources. I found a 12v transfer switch from WFCO. Is that what I need to install? I have shut off switches for both the batteries and the solar panels but would not like to deal with that all the time plus, if I forget just once, it could be costly, and maybe exciting.
I'm putting the invertor in a cabinet next to the batteries. I found a 12v thermostat and 44 cfm fan along with 2 "vents" that I'll rig in that cabinet.



"Indecision is the key to flexibility." I've switched the battery, controller and invertor 3 times now, but thankfully haven't connected any wires yet.
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Old 01-23-2023, 10:33 PM   #2
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Name: John
Trailer: Escape 21C sold Bigfoot on order
Ohio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariaandskip View Post
Bigfoot 21, 5-100 watt solar panels (Renogy), Renogy 40 controller, 2 SOK 100 amp lithium batteries, Renogy 2000 invertor, lots of 8 guage wire and fittings. Oh and cheap labor, me.
So there are the details and now my question. The invertor says not to wire the 110 into my panel but I want to provide power to most of my 110 appliances without extension cords to trip over. I know that in a house, generators need a transfer switch to separate the power sources. I found a 12v transfer switch from WFCO. Is that what I need to install? I have shut off switches for both the batteries and the solar panels but would not like to deal with that all the time plus, if I forget just once, it could be costly, and maybe exciting.
I'm putting the invertor in a cabinet next to the batteries. I found a 12v thermostat and 44 cfm fan along with 2 "vents" that I'll rig in that cabinet.



"Indecision is the key to flexibility." I've switched the battery, controller and invertor 3 times now, but thankfully haven't connected any wires yet.
First the inverter to the battery bank should be 2/0 cable for it effectively work well. Second Id recommend the progressive dynamics transfer switch over the wfco. Third Id pick the circuits you want on the inverter, for example the outlet feeding the microwave and all the outlets you want hot and put in a subpanel that feeds a 20 amp breaker back in the main ac panel , Id leave out the ac and hot water ac feed and maybe the refrig ac feed. The subpanel loops through the inverter and transfer switch. When you have shore the main panel powers the sub panel, when on inverter the subpanel feeds the outlets.

Fourth , none of this is hard, but its lethal power ac or dc, make sure your fused correctly on the dc inverter side with a proper fuse and have a cutoff switch, I like the Blue Seas.

Lots of examples out there, but a proper electrician is always wise, I did all my dc work and had my electrical guy wire up the ac side, he was quicker.

Good luck, by the way progressive dynamics has great support.
Ymmv
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Old 01-24-2023, 03:32 PM   #3
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in addition to the transfer switch, you'll need another circuit breaker box/panel for the loads that will be run off the inverter..

shore power AC cord -> existing main breaker box that powers your DC converter, air conditioner if any, 3-way fridge AC, etc.

main box ------v
inverter -> transfer switch -> aux breaker box

Move all the loads you want to run on the inverter over to this aux box.
The DC converter, 3-way fridge, and the A/C should be left on the original/main circuit breaker box.
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Old 01-24-2023, 08:50 PM   #4
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Name: skip
Trailer: Bigfoot
Boca Raton
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I think both Johns and I are on the same page although there are other ways to achieve what I want to do, so.....
Leave the shore power feed the existing panel
Leave the breakers for the water heater, AC, Frig, & converter connected
Remove breakers and wires for general outlets and micro wave
Install 20 amp breaker in existing panel and lead wire to transfer switch
Wire from inverter goes to transfer switch, through shutoff switch
From transfer switch, wire goes to sub panel
Install new breakers in the sub panel. This feeds the circuits that were removed from the main panel.

How does that sound? I would welcome other opinions on this.
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Old 01-24-2023, 09:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariaandskip View Post
I think both Johns and I are on the same page although there are other ways to achieve what I want to do, so.....
Leave the shore power feed the existing panel
Leave the breakers for the water heater, AC, Frig, & converter connected
Remove breakers and wires for general outlets and micro wave
Install 20 amp breaker in existing panel and lead wire to transfer switch
Wire from inverter goes to transfer switch, through shutoff switch
From transfer switch, wire goes to sub panel
Install new breakers in the sub panel. This feeds the circuits that were removed from the main panel.

How does that sound? I would welcome other opinions on this.
that sounds like exactly what I was describing.

not sure an AC shutoff switch is needed though... if the inverter is off, there's no power on its outputs. the transfer switch will always prefer the shore power, and only swap over to the inverter output if the shore power is off. My inverter has a separate little remote control panel with a small DC switch and LED that turns it on.




(my inverter only feeds this red outlet).
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Old 01-24-2023, 10:47 PM   #6
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Name: Perry
Trailer: 2016 Bigfoot 25RQ
Lanesboro, Minnesota, between Whalan and Fountain
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariaandskip View Post
….and now my question. The invertor says not to wire the 110 into my panel but I want to provide power to most of my 110 appliances without extension cords to trip over. I know that in a house, generators need a transfer switch to separate the power sources. I found a 12v transfer switch from WFCO. Is that what I need to install? I have shut off switches for both the batteries and the solar panels but would not like to deal with that all the time plus, if I forget just once, it could be costly, and maybe exciting.
I'm putting the invertor in a cabinet next to the batteries. I found a 12v thermostat and 44 cfm fan along with 2 "vents" that I'll rig in that cabinet
Personally, I don’t like WFCO products. Our WCFO charger in our Escape 5.0 decided to charge our AGM batteries at 20.3 volts and fried them. I found others who had the same issue. I have more faith in Progressive Dynamics products, but there are other good transfer switches out there besides PD.

Questions:
What year is your camper?
Do you have the Progressive Dynamics charger that Bigfoot now installs?
Do you have an absorption or compressor fridge?
What size inverter do you plan to install?

__________________________________________________ ____


We prefer to use the KISS philosophy.

Whole house is the easiest to wire. Just place your transfer switch at the input side between the input from the campground post and the Bigfoot distribution box. The inverter goes into the inverter entrance of the distribution box. Easy Peazy. No extra boxes to add and no wires to move.

We plan on installing a Progressive Dynamics 2200 watt inverter. Our main uses will be a toaster, microwave, and hair dryer. Down the road we may need a CPAC. I installed a 1500 watt inverter in our Escape 5.0 and it worked great for toast, but it was only for one outlet in the kitchen. We now want whole house ac and feel 2000 watts is a minimum.

Whole house? If you don’t want to use the microwave when on inverter just don’t. If you don’t want to run the water heater on the inverter, don’t turn on the existing Bigfoot switch. We rarely run our water heater on ac, so both the breaker and the switch are off. If you don’t want to run the fridge on the inverters ac power merely install a on/off switch on the fridge/dinette wall.

Once we installed 270 ah’s of SiO2 batteries we never needed the WFCO charger and it was disconnected for the last 250 nights of camping with about 2/3’s boondocking. When we added the 1500 watt inverter we also added 300 watts on the roof giving us 465 theoretical watts. You have 500 watts! We used the toaster all the time and always were full by 11am unless it was a few rainy days, but that’s when the 270 useable battery ah’s come in handy. We always had at least 190 ah’s available, and most days the full 270 ah’s. In other words, you shouldn’t need a charger with 500 watts on your roof.

There’s too much obsession about charging. We found we didn’t need a DC-DC charger, and most who have one don’t either. If we ever need an ac charger when camping we’ll just plug in our Victron 30a Blue Smart charger, but doubt that will happen much, but it’s small and isn’t in the way. If you have the Progressive Dynamics charger that Bigfoot has been known to install you can buy a PD Charge Wizzard to charge lithium for the rare times you’ll need it, if you need it. Again, you have 500 watts on your roof?

We just purchased two 100 ah SOK lithium batteries and are running just fine with 160 watts on the roof and a 100 watt portable, both on Victron charge controllers. This May I’ll be adding two, 200 watt 24v panels going to our existing Victron 100/50 controller, with the 160 watt panel to our Victron 100/20 controller, and add a 2200 watt inverter. With 560 watts on our roof we’ll be just fine, however if we ever need the portable it will be on the GoPower PWM controller that came with our 25RQ (but is now disconnected in favor of the 100/50). You can’t have too much solar on the roof.

We’ll see how this winter goes with just 200 ah’s of lithium. We may buy a third SOK if we feel 200 ah’s are not enough.

I do agree with Oldwave’s First, Second, and Fourth suggestions. His Third suggestion is optional, but for me not needed. YMMV.

If you want the exercise, have the extra time and money to add a sub panel and move wiring that really doesn’t need to be moved, go right ahead. OTOH, you can do whole house and employ the KISS approach.

Food for thought,

Perry
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2016 Bigfoot 25RQ - 2019 Ford F-150, 3.5 V6 Ecoboost,

Previous Eggs -2018 Escape 5.0 TA, 2001 Scamp 16' Side Bath, 2007 Casita 17' Spirit basic, no bath, water or tanks, 2003 Bigfoot 25B25RQ, that we regreted selling
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Old 01-25-2023, 10:29 PM   #7
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Name: John
Trailer: Escape 21C sold Bigfoot on order
Ohio
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Actually what Perry says is what I will do, I’ll be using the victron multiplus and manage my own load shedding. This will be a simple install as Bigfoot wired it for me. The only other advantage to the sub panel is to remove multiple circuits on one breaker. I did this with my Escape. I’m on the fence for the 2000 watt or 3000 watt multiplus. The PD inverter is much cheaper and has a transfer switch. However the multiplus removes a separate converter and puts the charger next to the batteries, this frees up another breaker for the separation of circuits. Truthfully I haven’t mapped out the breaker circuit ratio yet. I’m still crossing the country home from pickup in Oregon.
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