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Author Topic: electrical power for roadtrip  (Read 5693 times)

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carraghn

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electrical power for roadtrip
« on: May 18, 2008, 10:03:16 AM »
I'm getting myself set up for a long road trip in my 77 westy. I want to upgrade my electricals so the bus is more liveable longterm. I want to occasionally be able to run a computer, small tv or dvd, and possibly a low wattage microwave, etc. Looking for advice

I'm thinking of a couple of options

1. installing a 2nd battery inside and hooking it up to the alternator. Then installing a 1500 watt inverter

2. installing an inverter on to my main battery (doesn't  this run the risk of not being able to start the bus ?)

3. Getting a Duracell powerpack with 600 watt inverter and plugging it into every Denny's and Starbucks I stop at on the way ?

Thoughts ? suggestions ? experiences
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by carraghn »

beebrew

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Electrical power for a roadtrip
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2008, 08:42:25 PM »
I would go for a second battery wired with a relay to isolate it from the main battery while the engine is off. A deep cycle battery will be the most forgiving if you discharge it greatly. You could also add a 110v powered charger so you can replenish it while hooked in at camping sites. Someone on Ebay usually has a second battery relay kit listed in a "westfalia" search.  Then you can run your inverter with no worries. I would size the inverter to exceed the max demand, but not by a huge amount. For example, do not buy an inverter rated for 1500 watts if you only need 250 watts. It  would be inefficient, and cause your battery to wear down sooner.  What ever you do put a safety fuse rated for the gauge wire you need. If you plan multiple circuits, a nice 12 volt fuse box is available from West Marine. It is much nicer that the ones sold in automotive supply stores. I went with a marine diode type battery isolator. It is has advantages, but the cost, and complications to do it correctly are generally considered to much work for most people.
Best of luck,
Guy Kennedy
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by beebrew »

St.Bus

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« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2008, 12:27:11 PM »
i have bought myself a solar panel and charge controller, i have yet to get the 2nd battery ...but this way i can have my inverter independent of the main battery so i know it will always start in the morning, also you can use a solar panel and both batteries in series.

heres a link
http://www.thesolarpowerstore.com/se1200.html
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by St.Bus »
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Westair

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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2008, 02:34:20 AM »
I would definitely go for second battery- VW already provided area for it.
It can be isolated from starting battery and should be a deep cycle.
You can run all your "add ons" through it and it can be installed to charge through an inverter when you are hooked up to mains power in parks etc.


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« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Westair »

obnoxiousblue

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« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2009, 01:10:30 PM »
Ive been looking for a solar system like the one above. I saw that GoWesty has one, but in typical GW fashion its absurdly expensive. Id like to get a set of panels, and a charge controller, mount it on the roof, and be able to charge the batteries, as well as provide 110 power for my laptop, cell phone a small radio and what not. Do you think that a solar panel can do that? I dont understand much of the whole wattage when it comes to it, so be gentle lol. Any ideas?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by obnoxiousblue »

beebrew

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electrical power for roadtrip
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2009, 07:33:47 AM »
Although my second battery works well, it does not have the capacity I need for my 12V fridge during several night stays. Thus,I am adding a solar panel with the install nearly identical to Frank Condelli's. http://www.frankcondelli.com/solar.htm  The project is mid stream right now. I bought my used panel on Ebay to save some money. I also found 6 AWG marine cable for the install much cheaper on Ebay.  My battery is a yellow top deep cycle Optima, which I am not impresses with. The batter will charge from the alternator when driving, same as before. I would like to hear other peoples experience with different batterys.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by beebrew »

alain riaud

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Re: electrical power for roadtrip
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2009, 02:27:04 AM »
Quote from: "beebrew"
Although my second battery works well, it does not have the capacity I need for my 12V fridge during several night stays. Thus,I am adding a solar panel with the install nearly identical to Frank Condelli's. http://www.frankcondelli.com/solar.htm  The project is mid stream right now. I bought my used panel on Ebay to save some money. I also found 6 AWG marine cable for the install much cheaper on Ebay.  My battery is a yellow top deep cycle Optima, which I am not impresses with. The batter will charge from the alternator when driving, same as before. I would like to hear other peoples experience with different batterys.


I don't own a Bay any longer. Right now my van is a diesel Vanagon.
The solutions are the same, anyway.

I use a deep cycle 85Ah battery, Banner brand, it may be european only, installed under the driver's seat.

I use a CTEK 7A intelligent charger (swedish). it loads the battery in one night and can be left plugged (floating).
While driving , the battery is loaded by the alternator, in parallel with the starting battery, through salvaged copper jumper cable and an isolating automotive relay controlled by the fuel valve wire.

The battery is protected against deep discharge by an undervoltage relay which disconnects the system when voltage goes below 10.4 volts. Usually the DC/AC converters have this protection built in.

The fridge is the most power ungry device. I use a 30 liters compression fridge with a Sawafuji Swing Motor , very quiet.

Sometimes I use a laptop through a 150W converter, it takes three hours to empty the battery.

I'm afraid you cannot use a microwave oven with such a weak system, too hungry.

My experience is, I can stay 1.5 day camping with the fridge and lamps only , in european climate.

Forgive my english, I try hard to improve it.

Alain
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by alain riaud »

beebrew

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« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2009, 06:47:33 PM »
I completed my "Frank Condelli" Solar panel install. It is awesome.
It is a great way to extend the stays without a power cord to plug in. The one thing that changes it the need to camp in the open to get sunshine when possible.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by beebrew »

greggholmes

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« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2010, 11:35:22 PM »
I like a small quiet generator.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by greggholmes »


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