BT240/12volt elec layout - long winded, i hope it helps someone

Submitted: Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:39
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Hello to one and all, I thought I would put on paper the final result of my BT electric wandering/decisions. This will be boring for some and interesting for others - so read on at you peril ! Technology is constantly changing & improving, and it's difficult to keep up with these changes. How many of us have bought what we thought was the latest/ best only to find when we got home that it was old technology, promoted simply because it was stocked ......."they now use this and do it that way". Frustrating at the least. I have ventured along the path that I have - as stated before, due to my nature......I am constantly looking of ways to improve what already exists. Some might argue that I should accept what is available. My answer to that is that if everyone did this then you would still be vanning in a caravan built from plywood, using candles / torches, with block ice. I am happy to take this plunge into the new "untested" area, for myself, an offshoot of this is that Bt owners may benefit The success of these tests may well see the equipment options list change, or at least expand. "We will never go forward if we only dwell on yesterdays achievements." At the outset I had some goals ; To utilise all power sources to their full potential, save weight where possible, streamline van electric layout, and make the transition from home to van with minimum changes. So this is what I have done: The 5 x 225amp/hr Lifeline Concorde AGM batteries from Solar Online, are located beneath the cafe style lounge, as is the inverter/charger unit. This has been done to reduce cable lengths required, hopefully improving performance ( less voltage drop) and saving on weight - with the shorter cable runs. I chose Xantraxs 2200watt inverter / charger. mainly due to the battery charger side of this combined unit being capable of 100amps output. The use of a 100amp battery charger ( 3 stage with AGM selection) is necessary given the recent info of my batteries- Concorde lifeline batts have no limit to the bulk portion ( majority ) of charge. So I see little point in trickling in 20 - 30 - 40 amps/hr when I can pump in 100, and the batts will take 3,4 -5 ? times more. The second reason is that the inverter charger unit is a "power sharing" one. This was the second reason for it's purchase - if the A/C runs at 1800watts then the inverter would be programmed to begin assisting the generator once the AC power demand exceeds the preset gen threshold- i.e. ;1,000 watts from Honda 1 kva, so the balance of 800 watts for the A/C would come out of the batts - which is acceptable to me. The inverter is also able to reduce the battery chargers required input to suit available generator amps . For example - A standard 50amp battery charger requires a generator that can produce 50 amps ( + inverter losses of AC to DC, usually 15-25%) - it's an all or nothing approach. So the 83amps of the Honda 1 kva ( less battery charger losses 15- ? % ) Probably wont "trigger" the battery charger.- and the 2kva is overkill - but in this situation, the only solution. The charger part in this Inverter/charger unit is programmable and can be set to any figure .... 10 amps 12 - right up to the chargers max of 100amps. I like many of you dislike the thought of both buying and then lugging around a 2kva generator - with this system I don't have to. I save on gen cost / weight and hassles of carting around the larger 2kva generator. Now I should have the room to stick the smaller generator on a box on the front. I have used a Xantrex C40 regulator as it has the Pulse width Modulation technology, and was the cheapest to buy, which still offered the 3 stage charging. This basic unit was chosen as I needed to install a dedicated battery monitor with shunt. This battery monitor was necessary so that the power from the vehicles alternator into the system, would be included via the shunt I will install a Zena 200amp alternator with an external 3 stage regulator ( again with AGM selection ). The regulator is capable of providing 100amps @ 2,000 rpm (vehicle cruise speed - 80kph) The cable to the van is 35mm with a 10mm voltage sensor wire. The voltage sensor wire from the alternators 3 stage regulator will sense the voltage at the vans batteries and send the volts down the 35mm cable. The voltage drop in the 35mm cable will be compensated for by this 10 mm sensor wire, so the vans batteries will receive the correct voltage. The 35mm cable will join the van via a 175amp Anderson plug, with a second 50amp Anderson plug containing the Voltage sensor wire and a solenoid power wire. The solenoid power wire is necessary so that when the van is not connected, the regulator does not keep looking for the non - existent van batteries. Disconnecting the van at the rear dual Anderson plugs will instruct the solenoid to sense the closer un- compensated vehicle batteries, and charge them accordingly. In brief: the maximum recommended discharge of this battery bank is %50 or 500a/hrs I can replace the 500amps via the cars alternator in 5hrs ( without counting the solar input whilst driving) - so realistically probably closer to 4hrs Should I ever have to stay in a caravan park I would recharge all batts again within 5hrs The Honda 1kva will charge the batts in approx 6hrs - again without counting solar input, so probably around 5hrs. All these charge times are similar - around the 5hr mark. This is the worst case scenario - i.e. having drained 500amps, which is allot of power to have used. In real terms I expect to only ever discharge the batts to 20- 30 % of capacity making for a very , very long life expectancy, and naturally a brief 2-3 hr recharge time. This system is not revolutionary - all the parts already exists, it just needs someone to have a desire to put them all together.........I had that desire. I hope this helps someone - or at least gives you an option that you may not have previously had. I will give more real time feed back on the systems working operation after I pick up the van, after the Sydney show. Cracker
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Reply By: Noosa Fox - Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:44

Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:44
Cracker, If you don't already own a 1kva Honda,could I suggest that you borrow one first and test your theory with the A/C as we know that the 2 Kva will run the A/C but the 1 kva MAY throw out on the overload switch before your 800watts from inverter cuts in, and the whole theory may be no go. I am no expert on this, these are just my thoughts of what may happen. Personally having just purchased the 2kva Honda myself, I wouldn't even consider the 1Kva. I know that there have been lots of discussions on Battery Chargers, but in reality 98% of the time our van runs perfectly on 3 solar panels with a bit of charge from tow vehicle while on the move via 6mm wire only. 2kva Honda is only as a 2% back up and for A/C when in bush in very hot weather. Good luck with your plans. Brian
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AnswerID: 561422

Reply By: Cracker - Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:45

Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:45
Thanks fellas that was good ....haven't laughed that much in a long time. I understand your comments is alot of power reserve, for very good reasons. The batttery bank 1-2, 4 or in my case 5 Is done because battery lifespan is a direct result of the depth of the discharge. I will be living in the van for the next 2-3......4 ? years. So may cycle the batterys anywhere from 724 times (2 years ) to over a 1,000 for the period. a)having learned that battery life is a direct result of discharge depth. b)Not to add new battery to exisitng bank c)Realistically people use more power. So I decided to err on the side of too large( hey ...I've been steve'd ) The penalty extra weight- as to the $ $375 each .....
AnswerID: 561423

Reply By: Cracker - Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:46

Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:46
I must amend some spec's ......typo error, - the Concorde lifeline batts are not 225a/hrs. They are 120a/hrs. Here is the spec's from the site: So I don't get in trouble.................Jay

Range: Lifeline
Type: Sealed AGM
Model: GPL27
Voltage: 12V
Capacity @ 20hr Rate: 100Ah
Capacity @ 100hr Rate: 120Ah
Dimensions: 333L x 172W x 235H mm
Weight: 29.5 kg
An added advantage of these batts is they have a drilled and tapped M8 & M10 hole in the - and + posts so that its a piece of cake to link multiple batts together. It is even possible - ( I don't know if practical ) to link the batts with a piece of flat solid copper bar.............just another thought I had. Cracker
AnswerID: 561424

Reply By: Deleted User - Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:47

Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:47
Cracker, Hahahahahahahaha !!! Now ! ..... I'm laughing with ya ... not at ya !!! You can also see the comedy with a 725amp difference a typo makes. (using the 20hr rate as most do) I see you've coined the term to be Steve'd !! As I take that to mean you come away from BTI with more in your BT than what you intended ....WE"VE ALL BEEN Steve'd mate !!!! [Smile] Also,because the typo was so massive sending most Self-Appointed Experts - Meaning Well into a spin ....your turn to shout the bar pal !!!! [wrongBiasBowlGrin] Regards Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
AnswerID: 561425

Reply By: Cracker - Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:48

Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:48
As I own a Toyota..."shout the bar" Ahhhhh Bugger ! Cracker
AnswerID: 561426

Reply By: Cracker - Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:49

Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:49
Sorry turist, but with the downgrade in amps, I reckon that will knacker the search light idea...........and I was so looking forward to crankin it up too.......bugger ! Cracker
AnswerID: 561427

Reply By: Deleted User - Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:50

Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:50
Sorry. I choked. I know when I'm in the presence of Divine Inspiration. It takes a couple of days to recover from an epiphany like that. However, I'm feeling a little restored to realise that the cafe style lounge didn't have to cover the entire floor space of the middle of the van (to take the five 225AHr Beheomoths going full width between the wheel arches - to save cable weight, no less!!!). Although accepting the need for massive cable to carry 200 Amps from alternator to the battery bank (worthy of a submarine), I'm now questioning my first assumption on cable spec. Given the power-station-like specs of the first set-up, I thought OF COURSE, you need twin 35mm diameter cable. It will also do away with the need for a Weight Distribution Hitch (those cables would be stiff enough all on their own!). "Good thinking!", I thought. Unfortunately, I'm now persuaded that you probably mean humble 'ole 35 and 10mm squared cables. Pretty disapointing really - I was looking forward to seeing that original rig. It would have been something, eh? Wistfully yours Griff
AnswerID: 561428

Reply By: Deleted User - Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:51

Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:51
Wasnt the left chassis rail in the BT the earth and the right hand chassis rail the positive ???? Same in Cruiser ???? [RubberAT35wink] Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
AnswerID: 561429

Reply By: Cracker - Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:52

Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:52
NO Anthony, get it correct ..........its the RIGHT rail that' the earth & the left is the pos- ..........god I dunno TO Griff, the reference to cable size, is always mm2. (By me anyway), I have found that this is the only way to properly measure cable - by the copper it contains. If you just give the diameter - then you include the plastic cover it can vary from very thin - to 50% of the diameter. Griff re the - "to save cable length comment" ........there are those ( and it was offered to me ) who have the batts under the cafe/seating and the inverter under the bed - making for very long cable runs. And before they jump in .........Yes I'm sure these systems function - but how efficently. I had to make some concessions to achieve the compactness of my setup. I suppose time will tell, if I have gone the right way. Like "Ned" said ........"Such is life" Cracker
AnswerID: 561430

Reply By: Deleted User - Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:53

Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:53
Cracker, I dont believe you've gone the wrong way ...maybe a little over-engineered or maybe just a bit of overkill (nuffin wrong with that either in my opinion) but not the wrong way !!! Regards Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
AnswerID: 561431

Reply By: Cracker - Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:54

Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:54
I'll let you know, Anthony - if I have to much power, or too short a re-charge time. The way it's looking it may not even happen ......... Bt have informed me that they are not prepared to put the Inverter/charger unit in my Bushtracker van....oops sorry "custom built van". I thought the vans were called Bushtracker not Custom. Cracker
AnswerID: 561432

Reply By: Luvntravln - Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:55

Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:55
Cracker, are you going to take delivery without the charger/inverter and then install it after delivery? tgintl/jay
AnswerID: 561433

Reply By: Cracker - Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:56

Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:56
Hi Jay, .........yeah it would appear that this is my only option. I have spoken to Xantrex and will have it fitted by one of their guys, either in Queensland or in Sydney. Depending on where the van ends up..................hey Steve ? I will speak with Steve on Monday to discuss the most amicable way of resolving this situation. Cracker
AnswerID: 561434

Reply By: Deleted User - Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:57

Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:57
Cracker Can you tell us the reason why BTI will not install the battery charger/inverter of your supply - is it because the equipment would be of your supply or because they feel the choice of equipment is unsuitable. Regards John
AnswerID: 561435

Reply By: Cracker - Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:58

Sunday, Mar 07, 2004 at 23:58
John, I have been advised by steve ( via Paul ) that the equipment that I want installed is ( in steves opinion ) unsuitable. Cracker
AnswerID: 561436

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