Three 280 watt solar panels on Casita 13 - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV

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Old 06-07-2019, 08:38 PM   #41
Junior Member
Name: Brandon
Trailer: Shopping/custom
Posts: 12
Charge controller

In another video Prowse cites battery university, saying the longest lifespan of lifepo4 results from charging at 40C (or less?), which I guess would be 96A for 240AH? Something to consider if on shore power or when aiming a bigger solar array at the sun.

And a charge profile cycling near the middle between 20-80%, can result in up to 14,000 cycles or so. The voltage is so stable with lifepo4 that it’s hard to tune in the middle. But I think 20-80 is doable and you have tons of juice so won’t need 100% very often.

The Route Del Sol electric truck has an interesting rack, pretty flimsy tho.

Wind is a challenge. When I worked with the SRP guy who installed trackers, there is always an anemometer to table-top the tracker if the wind comes up So the horizontal profile when deployed is better but I would close it if there is a wind forecast

One weakness of lifepo4 is they can be damaged if charged below freezing. Will Prowse mentioned the cheaper Epever charge controller has a temp sensor and can be prevented from damaging the battery.

Not usually a problem in Florida but it is a TRAVEL trailer :-)

At 9:00 minutes, Prowse shows an inexpensive charge controller with low temperature disconnect for charging. A feature to check for on your charge controller.


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Old 06-09-2019, 06:43 PM   #42
Name: Bill
Trailer: Casita
Posts: 71
So I got the cable routing figured out for the panels. I was pretty worried about this initially, but after sitting down and thinking a little bit, I came out with a very simple solution. I originally was thinking pullys and bungees ect... Nope

I got some marine grade thin strand wire that is much more flexible and joined it to the PV cable right at the edge of the solar panel and left myself 5ft whips. I then covered the wires with a nylon sheath I bought off Amazon to protect them. I secured the cables to the frame of the solar panel so it couldn't pull in or out and also to the half way point (between closed and open) on the roof rack. I also made a little bracket that I bolted to the edge of the panel where the cable rubs to help guide it and give it a smooth snag free surface to go over. Now the panels move in and out and I'm not getting any hang ups at all...Supper easy for once!

On a side note, when both panels are open, it measure just shy of 11ft across. Barley fits in the room.

And yes I'm working inside my house. My wife wants to kill me lol. The heat and humidity are unbearable right now. It was 90F and 80+% rh today....gross

As far as cold weather goes, I will probably add a heater on a thermostat for the batteries at some point. But I can't even remember the last time it got into the 30's around here.


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Old 10-10-2019, 06:00 PM   #43
Name: Bill
Trailer: Casita
Posts: 71
So far, not a whole lot new going on with the solar system. I did however have to add two BMS controllers for the two banks of batteries.

I was doing some discharging and charging testing and saw some things I didn't like. While monitoring the two little screens that tell me individual voltages of the batteries, there are individual cells that are being discharged too far and/or are overcharged during charging.

This was really only happening at the extreme lows and highs of the voltage ranges but I still did not want to potentially hurt my investment in these batteries somehow. These made a huge difference in keeping the banks of batteries balanced during discharging and charging. I bought the BMS units from the electric car parts company. Here is a link to them.

I also have the locations for them in the camper pretty well set. I will have a 4" fan venting both compartments that is tied to a thermostat on the battery and in the inverter compartment. Once the compartment reaches a set temperature, the fan will turn on and draw cabin air into the space to cool it off.

I will have more pictures of all this coming up once I actually do it lol.
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Old 10-12-2019, 05:36 PM   #44
Name: Bill
Trailer: Casita
Posts: 71
Got to do a little work on the camper today.

Today I tried to take on the cooling system for the electronics. I built a little box the holds a super quiet computer fan and attached two 90 3" duct pieces to it so I could run flex ducting all the way to where I needed it, on the other side of the camper.

I will hook the fan up to a thermostat that will monitor the temperature of the front hatch. When it reaches a temperature (that I haven't decided on yet) , it will turn the fan on and pull air from the cabin into the front compartment, and take the hot air and dump it outside. I'm sure it will take a little playing with the thermostat to figure out what temp the fan runs no more than it has to.

I also ran the main wires for the camper, hooked up the inverter to the land plug in power source, ran the main 12v lines for the camper to the area where I'm going to put the fuse panel, and installed some lights under the counter top that are a pretty cool accent.

For the lights I used these little LED strip lights that have three LEDs per strip. I used a router to route out a groove under the counter top so that the lights are recessed up under there. The lights have blue tape over them untill the glue dries, but I couldn't wait to see what it looked like.
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Old 10-14-2019, 09:24 PM   #45
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Trail Cruiser
Posts: 535
Looks great!
I replaced the corrugated flex ducting from my furnace in my unit with smooth walled metal ducting. Significant increase in air flow.

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