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Category: Upgrades

This category will focus on upgrades and modifications we have made to our rig.

Solar and Battery Upgrades

Solar and Battery Upgrades

As we plan to do a fair amount of boondocking, we wanted to install a solar array and upgrade the battery bank. The rig came to us “Solar Ready” which simply means there are wires pre-run to an entry gland on the roof with MC-4 connectors for connecting a single 100W panel. In addition there is a small GoPower PWM solar charge controller preinstalled along side the step well. Thor provided 4 6V lead acid golf cart batteries that I believe were rated for 200Ah in their series+parallel 12V configuration. Being lead acid, we could only use 50% of that capacity without damaging the batteries. In the weeks leading up to this project we clocked nearly 24hrs of genset runtime just to maintain the batteries. Our plan is to remove the lead acid batteries and replace with 6 100Ah Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO) batteries from Battleborn. That will give us a full 600Ah of useable capacity while also saving some weight and maintenance headaches. Here is what we are installing:

  • 6 100Ah 12V Battleborn batteries wired in parallel. (600AH Total useable)
  • 6 160W Renogy Solar Panels wired 3 pairs in parallel (960W total)
  • 1 Victron MPPT 150/85 Solar Charge Controller
  • 2 Victron Multiplus 12/3000/120-50 120V Inverter/Chargers wired in Split phase 180ยบ
  • 1 Victron BMV-712 Smart Battery Monitor
  • 1 Victron Color Control GX
  • 1 Precision Circuits LiFePO4 Battery Isolation Manager
  • 1 Precision Circuits Battery Guard

All of the above connected via Victron VE Direct bus and/or VE Net wireless bluetooth network.

I removed the stock lead acid golf cart batteries from the drivers side battery bay and cleaned up that compartment a bit. That space still holds the pump for our leveling jacks, the propane distribution manifold and the breakers for the house systems, generator and jacks. With the batteries removed, there is ample room for a tote with our septic hoses and accessories. This is a good place for such things as this bay is open to the outside air. Also installed here is the ventilation fan and filter for the new battery and electronics bay located behind the back panel of this bay on the camp side.

The new Battleborn battery bank is located above the frame rails in a space accessible from the forward camp side compartment. That space is ideal as it will center the battery weight and is the perfect size and shape to hold the batteries. I made up a plywood base covered it with some outdoor carpet and added some aluminum angle stock to keep the batteries positioned on the base.

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