Airstream

5/21/18 – 2016 Airstream International Serenity, 28’

These clients like to travel around the country with the goal of avoiding hot weather.  They are headed for Alaska for the next several months, and on their way, they stopped by to have solar power installed to offset some of their electrical usage.  We installed 400W of solar power on their roof, and the majority of their system control components were installed under their bed.  This Airstream came with a Zamp portable solar panel plug, which they wanted to be integrated into the solar system we installed.  We set up this system with expansion in mind, so if they find that 400W isn’t enough to offset their light DC loads, they have the option of using a portable panel, and/or they could choose to install up to another 200W on their roof. 

Equipment Added:  4x SP100 Solar Panel Kits 1x Roof Combiner Box 1x SunRunner Victron MPPT 50A Charge Controller Core 1x Victron BMV-712 Smart Battery Monitor 1x Phoenix 30A Charger

Equipment Added:
4x SP100 Solar Panel Kits
1x Roof Combiner Box
1x SunRunner Victron MPPT 50A Charge Controller Core
1x Victron BMV-712 Smart Battery Monitor
1x Phoenix 30A Charger

400W Solar Array

400W Solar Array

Victron Charge Controller

Victron Charge Controller

8/4/17 – 2018 Airstream Classic, 33’

This is the most solar power we have ever installed on an Airstream.  Our client will be able to run their residential refrigerator and even an air conditioner for a few hours at a time.  This is the gold standard for an Airstream power system upgrade and the artistry and technical know-how demonstrated on this job are why AM Solar is typically booked out four months in advance.

Equipment Added:  9x SP100 Solar Panel Kits 1x 600Ah Signature Lithium Battery Bank 1x SunRunner Victron MPPT 85A Charge Controller Core 1x 3000VA Victron MultiPlus Inverter/Charger Kit 1x Roof Combiner Box

Equipment Added:
9x SP100 Solar Panel Kits
1x 600Ah Signature Lithium Battery Bank
1x SunRunner Victron MPPT 85A Charge Controller Core
1x 3000VA Victron MultiPlus Inverter/Charger Kit
1x Roof Combiner Box

Lithium batteries and Inverter

Lithium batteries and Inverter

BMS

BMS

7/31/17 – 2017 Airstream Grand Tour, 24’

Smaller RVs, like this Airstream Grand Tour, can provide some challenges when it comes to finding enough room to install all the necessary components without taking up too much of our client’s storage space. For this client, we were able to install the vast majority of their system underneath their couch (not the solar panels though), minimizing the footprint of the system.  The Battery Management System we installed is removable, which can make upgrading much easier.

Equipment Installed:  4x SP100 Solar Panel Kits 1x SunRunner Victron MPPT 30A Charge Controller Core 1x 360Ah Signature Lithium Battery Bank 1x Victron MultiPlus 12/2000 Inverter/Charger Kit 1x Victron Digital MultiControl Remote Monitor

Equipment Installed:
4x SP100 Solar Panel Kits
1x SunRunner Victron MPPT 30A Charge Controller Core
1x 360Ah Signature Lithium Battery Bank
1x Victron MultiPlus 12/2000 Inverter/Charger Kit
1x Victron Digital MultiControl Remote Monitor

4x 90Ah lithium batteries and a 2000VA inverter

4x 90Ah lithium batteries and a 2000VA inverter

System BMS and circuit protection

System BMS and circuit protection

4/27/2017 - 2016 Airstream Interstate, 33’

This client had us add onto an existing setup consisting of a 2512iXL charge controller core and a set of AGMS.  He now has a much more powerful solar charger and a 3000VA inverter capable of running a wide range of loads including a microwave and a coffee maker.  The Bluetooth smart dongle allows monitoring of the system to take place wirelessly, with a smart phone.

Equipment Added:  4x SP100 Panel Kits 1x Victron Multiplus 3000VA Inverter kit 2x 6V 300Ah AGM 6CT Batteries 1x Victron MPPT 100/15 Charge Controller Core 1x Bluetooth Smart Dongle 1x Portable plugs

Equipment Added:
4x SP100 Panel Kits
1x Victron Multiplus 3000VA Inverter kit
2x 6V 300Ah AGM 6CT Batteries
1x Victron MPPT 100/15 Charge Controller Core
1x Bluetooth Smart Dongle
1x Portable plugs

AGM Batteries, Bluetooth Dongle, Victron Charge Controller

AGM Batteries, Bluetooth Dongle, Victron Charge Controller

System Monitors

System Monitors

Victron Multiplus 3000VA Inverter System

Victron Multiplus 3000VA Inverter System

 

 

4/25/2017 – 2014 Airstream Flying Cloud, 30'

AM Solar installs a wide range of power equipment on RVs which gives us the flexibility to customize our systems to match a wide variety of customer preferences.  For example, this customer was familiar with the Bogart Engineering PWM charge controller interface and wanted it on his Airstream.  We were able to accommodate, and set him up with 400W of solar on an SC-2030 charge controller.

Equipment Added:   1x SP100 Solar Panel Kit 3x SF100 Solar Panel Kits 1x Roof C-Box 1x Bogart Solar Charger SC-2030

Equipment Added:
1x SP100 Solar Panel Kit
3x SF100 Solar Panel Kits
1x Roof C-Box
1x Bogart Solar Charger SC-2030

Planning panel layout

Planning panel layout

Bogart Charge Controller

Bogart Charge Controller

Inverter

Inverter

4/19/2017 2017 Airstream Classic 31'

The narrow dimensions of our SP100 solar panels make them ideal for the curved roofs of Airstreams.  Our adjustable mounting feet allow clients choose if they want the panels mounted level or following the contours of the roof.  We replaced the Airstream factory charger with a Progressive Dynamics PD9260 for more gentle treatment of the batteries, which increases their lifespan.  At 600W, this is one of the largest solar arrays we have installed on an Airstream.

Equipment Added:  6x SP100 Solar Panel Kits 1x Roof C-Box 1x Sun Runner Signature MPPT 40A System Core 1x Progressive Dynamics PD9260 Charger

Equipment Added:
6x SP100 Solar Panel Kits
1x Roof C-Box
1x Sun Runner Signature MPPT 40A System Core
1x Progressive Dynamics PD9260 Charger

600W of solar panels

600W of solar panels

System monitor

System monitor

Blue Sky 3024iL charge controller

Blue Sky 3024iL charge controller

3/29/17 - 2016 Airstream Interstate Grand Tour, 25.5'

This tech savvy client wanted a solar charging system with a battery monitor, and they wanted to be able to communicate with all of it over Bluetooth with a smart phone.  The 300W of solar panels will generate approximately 900Wh or 75Ah of energy per day.

Equipment Added:   3x SP100 Solar Panel Kits 1x Roof C-Box 1x SunRunner Victron MPPT 30A System Core 1x Victron BMV-702 Battery Monitor 2x Victron BlueTooth Smart Dongles 1x 15.5" Tilt Bar Set

Equipment Added:
3x SP100 Solar Panel Kits
1x Roof C-Box
1x SunRunner Victron MPPT 30A System Core
1x Victron BMV-702 Battery Monitor
2x Victron BlueTooth Smart Dongles
1x 15.5" Tilt Bar Set

Inverter and battery monitor

Inverter and battery monitor

300W from AM Solar plus the original 100W flexible panel

300W from AM Solar plus the original 100W flexible panel

Charge controller

Charge controller

1/12/2017 - 2016 Airstream 26U, 26'

This Airsteam owner had one of our Essential Lithium battery banks installed with a battery monitor, 2000W inverter and 500W of roof mounted solar panels.  Because lithium batteries are damaged when charged at temperatures below freezing, we included one of our cold charge automatic disconnect kits.  Along with the roof mounted solar, we included a 120W Zamp folding panel on its own Victron MPPT charge controller.

Equipment added:  5x SP100 Solar Panels 1x Roof C-Box 1x SunRunner Victron MPPT 50A System Core 1x Victron Color Control GX Monitor 1x 300Ah Victron Essential Lithium Battery Bank 1x Victron Essential Cold Charge Disconnect 1x BMV-702 Battery Monitor 1x Victron MultiPlus 12/2000 Inverter 1x Zamp 120 Panel Folding w/ Case 1x Victron BlueSolar 100/15 Charge Controller

Equipment added:
5x SP100 Solar Panels
1x Roof C-Box
1x SunRunner Victron MPPT 50A System Core
1x Victron Color Control GX Monitor
1x 300Ah Victron Essential Lithium Battery Bank
1x Victron Essential Cold Charge Disconnect
1x BMV-702 Battery Monitor
1x Victron MultiPlus 12/2000 Inverter
1x Zamp 120 Panel Folding w/ Case
1x Victron BlueSolar 100/15 Charge Controller

300Ah Lithium Battery

300Ah Lithium Battery

Solar Charge Controller

Solar Charge Controller

2000VA Inverter

2000VA Inverter

2/10/2017 - 2016 Airstream Flying Cloud FB, 25'

This client came to us with an existing 400W solar charging system using flexible panels (which we discourage due to reliability issues) and an additional 120W folding panel.  We replaced the original roof wiring because one of the four panels had stopped functioning, added two SP100 solar panels and upgraded the charge controller.  We also replaced the PWM charge controller on the folding panel and added a Victron MPPT charge controller with Bluetooth monitoring.  Next, we added a 600Ah Signature lithium battery bank and a 3000W inverter, which all fit tightly under the bed.  This is one of our most elaborate installs.
 

Equipment Added:  1x  600Ah Signature Lithium Battery Bank w/o Color Control Monitor 1x  Victron Multiplus 3000VA Inverter/Charger 2x  SP100 Solar Panel Kits 1x  Roof Mount Combiner Box 1x  Victron 100|45 charge controller 1x  Victron 100|15 charge controller 1x  Victron Bluetooth dongle

Equipment Added:
1x  600Ah Signature Lithium Battery Bank w/o Color Control Monitor
1x  Victron Multiplus 3000VA Inverter/Charger
2x  SP100 Solar Panel Kits
1x  Roof Mount Combiner Box
1x  Victron 100|45 charge controller
1x  Victron 100|15 charge controller
1x  Victron Bluetooth dongle

Lithium BMS components

Lithium BMS components

Charge Controller

Charge Controller

3000VA inverter and three 200Ah lithium batteries under the bed

3000VA inverter and three 200Ah lithium batteries under the bed

11/30/2016 - 2011 Airstream International, 28'

Our SP100 solar panels are ideal for the curved roofs on Airstream installations because of their compact footprint.  This client ended up with a 300W solar charger and two new AGM batteries.

Equipment Added:  3x SP100 Solar Panels 1x Roof C-Box 1x SunRunner Victron MPPT 30A System Core 1x Victron MPPT Control System Monitor 2x AGM GPL24 12V 80Ah Batteries

Equipment Added:
3x SP100 Solar Panels
1x Roof C-Box
1x SunRunner Victron MPPT 30A System Core
1x Victron MPPT Control System Monitor
2x AGM GPL24 12V 80Ah Batteries

300W Solar Charging System

300W Solar Charging System

System Monitor

System Monitor

Solar Charge Controller

Solar Charge Controller

2/01/2017 - 2016 Airstream Flying Cloud 26U

Airstream systems are a substantial portion of our business.  This customer got 400W of roof mount solar and a 160W folding panel from our friends at Zamp Solar. Another common upgrade for Airstreams is to replace the charger with a Progressive Dynamics PD4655.

Equipment Added:  4x SP100 Solar panels 1x Roof C-Box 1x SunRunner Signature MPPT 40A system core 1x Zamp 160W Portable Panel with built in charge controller and portable case 1x PD4655 Charger Replacement/Upgrade

Equipment Added:
4x SP100 Solar panels
1x Roof C-Box
1x SunRunner Signature MPPT 40A system core
1x Zamp 160W Portable Panel with built in charge controller and portable case
1x PD4655 Charger Replacement/Upgrade

Blue Sky 3024IL charge controller being connected

Blue Sky 3024IL charge controller being connected

Blue Sky IPN Pro system monitor

Blue Sky IPN Pro system monitor

The system is installed in this cabinet.

The system is installed in this cabinet.

10/12/16 – 2015 Airstream Flying Cloud 25FB, 25'

A client brought in his 2015 Airstream with the following request of AM Solar:
Design an off-the-grid power system (for dry camping and boon-docking) that “runs itself” and requires as little maintenance and oversight as possible both when the trailer is being used and when it is stored.
Specifics:

  • Trailer is used for six weeks in the summer, often in shaded campgrounds, 95% of the time without electrical hookups. Stays range from 3-5 nights before moving to next location. Trailer is also used during the other three seasons typically for three-night stays.
  • Client has monitored his power usage in the trailer for the last year and a half and concluded that 40-50amp hours is the typical 24 hour energy usage.
  • Client doesn’t want to have to bring the batteries to a full charge after each use. Due to not utilizing campgrounds with electrical hook-ups, staying in shaded areas, and often driving short distances between destinations, there is often not enough time to fully recharge batteries via solar and vehicle alternator, especially in the off-season.
  • When sun is available, the client wants to utilize every watt possible from their panels to recharge the batteries as they often only travel 2-4 hours before stopping at their next destination. 
  • Client wants an option to add additional battery capacity and/or solar panels if desired for future energy needs.


To accomplish the above client goals we spec’d one of our Lithium Battery Systems, solar panels, solar charger, and battery charger.

  • Because the customer has light AC loads, we chose a 200Ah Essential Lithium Battery system. This will comfortably give them the five nights of camping desired with almost no solar panel input if they are camping under trees in the winter. If the client desires greater battery capacity in the future, this system can be expanded easily with an additional 200Ah bringing the total to 400Ah. Additionally, unlike lead-acid battery based systems, the lithium battery does not need to be recharged to 100% after each use.
  • Due to the potential for tree cover, we chose 400W of solar panels to give the client ample solar charging capacity.
  • We chose a 50A charger to maximize all available power (solar and vehicle alternator) to recharge the batteries as quickly as possible.
  • We chose a three-stage battery charger so that the client can leave the trailer plugged in when stored without having to be concerned about the batteries being charged correctly.
Equipment Added:  4x SP100W Panels 1x Roof C-Box 2x 15.5" Tilt Bar Sets 1x SunRunner Victron MPPT 30A 1x Victron MPPT Control 1x 200Ah Essential Battery Bank 1x Phoenix Charger 12/50 1x Phoenix Charger Control/Monitor

Equipment Added:
4x SP100W Panels
1x Roof C-Box
2x 15.5" Tilt Bar Sets
1x SunRunner Victron MPPT 30A
1x Victron MPPT Control
1x 200Ah Essential Battery Bank
1x Phoenix Charger 12/50
1x Phoenix Charger Control/Monitor

Because the BMS on the Essential system acts on the negative side of the batteries (ground control), the negative (or chassis) from the tow vehicle with the alternator is at a slightly different voltage than the negative output of the lithium system. This creates a design challenge since shorting the negative output of the lithium system to the tow vehicle chassis would damage the BMS.  

In a van conversion or coach, the issue of having two different negatives is easily resolved by routing the output of the lithium battery through the Orion 12/12 DC converter.  The negative output of the Orion converter can then be tied to the chassis and all positives for the DC loads get re-routed to the positive output of the Orion.  If the total DC load is more than 30A, multiple Orion converters can be connected in parallel.  Inverters, or anything else that can have their negative isolated from the chassis will just connect directly to the output of the lithium battery system without going through the Orion converter.

In trailers, the issue of having two different negatives is solved differently.  In this situation, the Orion converter goes on the input side of the lithium system, thus isolating the trailer from the tow vehicle’s chassis.  When this is done, the Orion converter has to be modified so it’s output voltage is 14.2V instead of the factory 12.0V.  This is accomplished by carefully tuning a potentiometer inside the converter that is accessible when the cooling fan is removed.  This design will limit alternator charging current to 30A, but it will protect the BMS from having it’s input and output short circuited.

Victron Orion 12/12 Converter customized to 14.2V output and connected on the input to the lithium battery system

Victron Orion 12/12 Converter customized to 14.2V output and connected on the input to the lithium battery system

200Ah Lithium Battery and Solar Charge Controller

200Ah Lithium Battery and Solar Charge Controller

Essential Lithium BMS and Battery Monitor

Essential Lithium BMS and Battery Monitor

Charge Controller and Battery Monitor Displays

Charge Controller and Battery Monitor Displays

Installation Video

7/8/2016 - 2015 Airstream Flying Cloud 20'

We installed a 300W solar panel system with an MPPT charge controller and a 300Ah AMS Generation 1 Lithium Battery System.  In order to install the battery bank and access the existing inverter we had to very carefully remove the bed and then put it back once everything was connected.

Equipment Added:  3x  SP100 solar panels  1x  Roof C-Box  1x  SunRunner Signature MPPT 25A system core  1x 300Ah Lithium Battery Bank

Equipment Added:
3x SP100 solar panels
1x Roof C-Box
1x SunRunner Signature MPPT 25A system core
1x 300Ah Lithium Battery Bank

Blue Sky 2512iX-HV MPPT Charge Controller and AMS Lithium BMS

Blue Sky 2512iX-HV MPPT Charge Controller and AMS Lithium BMS

Blue Sky IPN Pro Remote Monitor

Blue Sky IPN Pro Remote Monitor

AMS Generation 1, 300Ah Lithium Battery Bank

AMS Generation 1, 300Ah Lithium Battery Bank

6/21/2016 - 2015 Airstream Flying Cloud, 27'

This customer came to us with a price ceiling and asked that we give them the most power possible for their budget goal.  Upon inspecting the trailer, we found that their batteries were completely dead.  We replaced them with a pair of low cost Interstate Flooded batteries and added two 100W panels to the roof with a 25A SunRunner Signature MPPT core.  The system can easily be expanded with the addition of two more 100W panels when the customer is ready.

Equipment Added: 2x  SF100 Solar Panels  1x  SunRunner Signature MPPT 25A System Core  1x  Roof Box  2x SRM24 Interstate Batteries

Equipment Added:
2x SF100 Solar Panels
1x SunRunner Signature MPPT 25A System Core
1x Roof Box
2x SRM24 Interstate Batteries

Sometimes with Airstreams, when solar panels are installed near the front of the rig, we double up the "L" feet on the leading edge of the panels to make more tape gripping surface area and reinforce the mounts.

Sometimes with Airstreams, when solar panels are installed near the front of the rig, we double up the "L" feet on the leading edge of the panels to make more tape gripping surface area and reinforce the mounts.

200W of solar panels, expandable up to 400W

200W of solar panels, expandable up to 400W

Interstate Flooded Batteries

Interstate Flooded Batteries

6/17/2016 - 1995 Airstream Classic, 30'

This rig came to us with two functioning 65W panels and a low-end charge controller.  They wanted more power.  We added two of our 100W solar panels and combined them all in a roof mount c-box.  Instead of penetrating the roof under the c-box, we routed the cables down the refrigerator vent.  Because of the two different panel types, with different voltages, we went with a PWM replacement charge controller and added a battery monitor.  (MPPT controllers don’t do well with mixed panels).  We also added a USB outlet for portable device charging.

Equipment Added: 2x   SF100 Panels  1x  Roof C-Box  1x  Bogart Solar Charger (SC2030)  1x  Tri-Metric 2030A and Harness Kit  1x  Mini On/Off Switch  1x 30A DC Circuit Breaker 1x 12V/USB Outlet   

Equipment Added:
2x  SF100 Panels
1x Roof C-Box
1x Bogart Solar Charger (SC2030)
1x Tri-Metric 2030A and Harness Kit
1x Mini On/Off Switch
1x 30A DC Circuit Breaker
1x 12V/USB Outlet

 

Combiner box detail: The cables on the bottom are for the two 100W panels installed by AM Solar. The cables on the left were for the existing panels. The two cables out the top are the + & - going down the refrigerator vent to the charge controller.

Combiner box detail:
The cables on the bottom are for the two 100W panels installed by AM Solar.
The cables on the left were for the existing panels.
The two cables out the top are the + & - going down the refrigerator vent to the charge controller.

Trimetric Battery Monitor

Trimetric Battery Monitor

Bogart Charge controller with Master ON/OFF switch

Bogart Charge controller with Master ON/OFF switch