This client came to us equipped with a Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station, a Zamp 100W solar panel, and a 30A Zamp charge controller. Her primary use for the Yeti 400 Power Station was to power her CPAP machine, which she was able to do for about 2 nights before it needed to be recharged. She used the Zamp solar system to power her refrigerator, but 100W wasn’t enough to keep up with the refrigerator’s power needs. We upgraded her solar system to 260W using a Zamp 170W panel, and a Zamp 90W panel, which we bolted together using two angle aluminum bars. We installed a conveniently placed outlet for her CPAP machine, which is now powered directly from her house batteries, along with her refrigerator. Now she has a solar power system that meets her energy usage needs without the worry of charging the Yeti 400, or her food getting warm.
This client asked us to install as much solar power as possible on the roof of their Winnebago View. The space was pretty limited, but we managed to install three Zamp Solar 170W solar panels, providing a total of 510W of solar power. Ideally, we would recommend a 400Ah battery bank with this system to provide enough power to manage their frequent microwave and hair dryer use. Due to space constraints there was only enough room for a 300Ah battery bank, which we placed underneath their top step. Due to the height of the LifeLine AGM batteries we had to modify the lid to the compartment housing the batteries so that the battery terminals were not going to be touching a metal lid. With this accomplished, they are able to use their microwave and hair dryer, they will just want to monitor their power usage to ensure they are not draining their batteries more quickly than they would like.
This client was looking for something small and relatively inexpensive to keep his batteries charged and in good health. To accomplish his goal, we installed 360W of solar charging power along with a 25A Blue Sky charge controller. He’ll also be able to use the added solar power to help run some light DC loads.
Some clients bring us rigs with very little work done in terms of making the van a viable place to live. An empty rig gives us plenty of options when it comes to strategizing the placement of our equipment, but we also want to make sure that our clients have some flexibility as they make changes. We completed this installation knowing that when the client ultimately builds out their rig they may need to move our equipment. This van was set up so that the client can relocate the components we installed (if needed) without much of a headache.
The pictures in this post show the steps we had to take in order to upgrade this client’s battery bank from two 12V wet cell batteries connected in parallel (150Ah) to their new battery bank comprised of two 6V Lifeline AGM GPL 6CT batteries (300Ah) connected in series. The battery bay was too small to accommodate the new AGMs without modifying the bay lid. A plasma cutter was used to remove most of the metal top of the battery bay so that the battery terminals would not touch the metal lid. Now there is just enough room for the new the batteries to fit, thus doubling their battery capacity as a result.
1x SF180 Solar Panel Kit
1x Roof Combiner Box
1x SunRunner Victron MPPT 25A Charge Controller Core
2x AGM GPL 6CTs 300Ah Batteries
This client requested to have a portable panel installed along with an additional 300W of solar power on their roof. We provided a 120W portable panel from @zampsolar, and we installed a portable panel plug on their bumper for easy access. All they have to do is plug the panel in, put it a sunny area, and it will produce solar power. In the event they are parked in a shaded area they still have a way to harness the power of the sun.
Space can be an issue for some of our clients who want as much solar power as possible, but don’t have much room. The available space on this roof was very limited, and we concluded that our standard solar panels would not provide the best fit for this client. Our friends @zampsolar provided these slim 80W solar panels that fit perfectly on the sides of this client’s air conditioner. Zamp Solar also offers some awesome portable solar panels that are designed and built right here in the United States.
This client wanted to be able to run his microwave, and he wanted all of his AC outlets to be functional when dry camping. The existing battery bank was not large enough to power the loads he was planning on running. It’s recommended that when running a heavy AC load (like a microwave) you want to have at least a 300Ah to 400Ah battery bank. We doubled the size of his battery bank (from 220Ah to 440Ah), installed a solar charging system and an inverter, which should give him the power he needs to be comfortable while dry camping.
This client is a collector of Lazy Daze RV's. This is the 3rd solar and mobile power system we have installed for him. He told us his next Lazy Daze will be for his retirement, and he’ll bring it in to us for one final AM Solar system installation. We hope he’s enjoying a few “lazy days” while dry camping, and using a little solar power to run some of his light DC loads.
Roger, a full time RVer and AM Solar Partner, just proved how you can get seven years out of AGM batteries if you take good care of them with quality chargers. Last weekend he replaced his four Lifeline GPL-6CT (6V 300Ah AGM) batteries with a new batch. He has a custom battery tray made by our neighbor (Commercial Metals) for his rig, a 2005 R-Vision Trail-Lite 235S B+ (24'), that enables him to slide out the majority of his 400+lb system with a forklift. This clever design makes system maintenance much easier (assuming he has access to a forklift).
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.
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.
This client needed a small solar charging system for DC loads and battery maintenance with a battery monitor to help them regulate energy consumption. What they got was a solar panel kit consisting of two of our SF100 solar panels connected in parallel with our roof mount combiner box. To reduce DC line losses, heavy 6ga wire was routed from the combiner box to the MPPT charge controller and then to the battery bank. Between the most negative battery and all negative connections, we installed a shunt to measure current. The shunt and the charge controller communicate with the Blue Sky IPN Pro monitor to give full system status with Amp-hour precision.
Roadtreks and other van conversions make up a large percentage of the RV install side of our business. The client got a 300W solar charging system which can feed about 75Ah/day onto the 220Ah AGM battery bank via a Blue Sky MPPT charge controller. To keep the starter battery topped off, we also included a Trik-L-Start, which lets a small amount of current flow from the house battery bank.
This customer wanted a simple solar charging system added to their rig. They were very familiar with Bogart Engineering equipment and opted for the Tri-Metric 2030A, rather than the Blue Sky IPN PRO Remote.
The curved roof lead us to use a variety of lengths of L-feet to keep the panels level. The four 160W panels max out the 40A charge controller and provide plenty of current to the 300Ah battery bank inside the reinforced bay. The addition of a Trik-L-Start allows the starter battery to be safely charged by the house battery bank.