RV Experience Sharing our experience about RVing

August 8, 2005

Electrical System

Filed under: Uncategorized — donwood49 @ 4:00 am

The electrical system is vital for powering the comforts of the mobile living space. It consists of the 12 volt DC and 120 volt AC system. The 12 volt system consists of a battery pack, and chargers. The AC system consists of a 30 amp cable to the shore power connection and inverters to generate AC power from the 12 volt batteries, and also a 5Kw generator. The batteries are charged either by the inverter or the solar panels.
Batteries:
Six AGM deep cycle batteries to replace to 2 wet cell trojan batteries. This should allow for up to two days of our heavy use without the need to run the generator. AGM Batteries are no maintenance low internal resistance batteries that are great for high current use and fast recharge, good for use with the inverter.

The 6 six volt AGM batteries are on the right.
Inverters:
A 2000 watt inverter, which includes a 100 amp charger, replaced the original converter charger and provides AC power to all outlets but not to the refrigerator nor the air conditioner.
There is also a small 7oo watt inverter in front of the large inverter which is always on and supplies power to the Motosat system, computers and the bedroom TV like a UPS.

The large inverter can be controlled by the remote panel inside the RV.
Autoformer:

The Hughes Autoformer was added to compensate for low voltage connections in campgrounds and at home. We haven’t had any damage due to low voltage or surges but have had circuit breakers trip due to the increased current under low voltage conditions. We got the Autoformer online from PPL’s RV Parts Superstore. Due to a fixed 30′ service cord on our RV, the autofromer was usually chained to the service pedestal or RV when we connected. Later, the autoformer was installed inside a compartment after shortening the service cable to 2′. There were concerns about overheating in the small compartment but a Hughes representative was asked about it and we were convinced it would be OK as long as space was maintained around it. It seems to handle the problem by providing a voltage boost when needed. We should have gotten it right away rather than waiting a year and a half.
Solar System:

I installed two 120 watt and two 80 watt Kyocera solar panels which provides a total of 400 watts of power. I used Unirac 990002 Tilt mounts that allow tilting the panel either to the left or right of the vehicle for maximum power output.

The SolarBoost 2000E MPPT charge controller provides up to 25 amps of charge current.
The cable from the roof to the electrical compartment came down beside the bathroom vent to minimize the wire length. I used #8 wire throughout except for #10 jumpers at the controller end to fit the terminal block on the charge controller.
Everything was obtained from Azsolar in Cambria, Ca. I went to Quartzsite, Az looking for the best price on a system but I found the best prices I could find there to be 25% higher than that offered at Azsolar.
The system should allow normal electrical use while dry camping (boondocking). The Motosat satellite system used for the Internet connection is a bit of an energy hog using about 10 amps for everything.
Battery Monitor Meter
Meter Panel
A Link 10 Choice battery monitor was installed (the round meter above) that is capable of moitoring the in and out to and from the battery and can keep a history as well as display a charge available amount. It is also capable of causing the generator to start as well. I can also hook it up to the computer to track usage.
The meter was installed in the pantry area where the other electrical controls and the existing inverter control panel are. It doesn’t look big, but it does a lot.
RV Link 10 Meter Shunt Electrical Compartment
The shunt (left picture above) was installed in the battery ground cable. It is used to measure the current.
The only adjustment that was needed was to set the battery capacity to match my system. There are many other adjustments that can be made but the default was good for my system.

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