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Old 10-14-2017, 11:39 PM   #1
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Location: Austin, TX
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Electrical Systems help needed

Hello all! Finally quit the job to start full-time work on the bus. Spending lots of time trying to get technicals figured out. Still don't really understand the majority of the elctrical systems, but I'm slowly figuring it out by finding what exactly I'm needing to get power setup. Still leary about the actual installation process

Would a charge controller, and/or a battery monitor, be needed if I do not plan on setting up solar panels?

Trying to set the bus up for 30 Amp hook up and keep it very simple.
We'll be getting a generator as well. Haven't decided on quiet/expensive or loud/cheap
We're currently toying with the idea of not having an AC unit, so that really cuts back on our power usage.
We'll also spend a fair amount of time hooked up to shore power, with short stints of boondocking.
If budget permits later in the build process, we may like to get a small amount of solar going.
Electronics we'd be using: 2 fans, small TV, Xbox, Chest freezer, Charging small electronics, Juicer, toaster oven(maybe),

So far this is what I've got figured out as far as components go:
AIMS 3kW Pure Sine Wave Inverter
PowerMax PM3 55A Power Converter/Charger
Duracell SLIGC110 6V Deep Cycle RV 215AH
Go Power! TS-30 30A Auto Transfer Switch
PD5000 30A AC/DC Control Panel

Still have yet to figure out how fuses/breakers work, when they're needed, and where to use them.

Any and all help is greatly appreciated!!
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Old 10-15-2017, 01:05 AM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Doesnt that AIMS unit have a built in charger? Mine is the 3k inverter/charger. Dont need the Powermax charger OR the xfer switch as the inverter/charger has it built in. Also, you wont need the charge control until solar is added. You can add it then. To have an AC/ DC panel without charger built in I have Progressive PD5000

PD5000 30 Amp AC/DC Power Control Panel

Doug
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Old 10-15-2017, 03:14 AM   #3
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no charge controller or battery moniter needed. as the last poster mentioned they can be added later on. some converter chargers have simple built in battery level moniters although it seems your does not. make sure you read the manuals for these devices first. theyll tell you where to put the fuses and how high each should be rated. pay close attention to cable sizings between your pieces too. i just wired my system up yesterday. my inverter charger called for 2-0 cable. thats welding cable. usually welders will have a few damaged sections thatll be great for cutting into smaller pieces. thats how i got mine for free.

im guessing you've going to wire your distribution panel to the batteries for the dc side of things. be prepared to put in a round a 100 amp fuse or circuit breaker between them.

youll most likely need a 250-300 amp fuse or circuit breaker between your batteries and inverter.

and coming into your bus you may need a 30 amp breaker on your first point of entry. itll probably say on your converter charger.

are you going to end up running 1 or 2 ac panels?

i believe a 2 panel system might have a seperate panel with your shore power only items before it runs into the converter to charge your batteries and have a seperate panel run off of your inverter for whatevers plugged into that. if you do it this way you may not need a 3000 watt inverter.

and a 1 panel system could either run everything off of the inverter panel but it seems silly to plug in to convert your power to dc to charge your batteries then back to ac again after. i dunno if they make relays big enough for whole power panels but there might be some kind of switch or relay that will allow you to switch your panels incoming power from direct shore power or inverter power.

Ive been told to go with gel cell batteries if i can since they produce less hydrogen gas than standard batteries. of course i was told this after i bought 2 batteries. i have mine under my bench seat vented to the outside.

if youll be charging while driving youll possibly need a battery isolator aswell. theres a few wiring tidbits when it comes to those that were beyond my knowledge a month ago.


hope i made some sense...and please. correct me if im wrong or could do better. im basically self learned but with a mechanic and electrician friend i tried to conform to the canadian electrical codes.
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Old 10-15-2017, 03:17 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Defjr333 View Post
Doesnt that AIMS unit have a built in charger? Mine is the 3k inverter/charger. Dont need the Powermax charger OR the xfer switch as the inverter/charger has it built in. Also, you wont need the charge control until solar is added. You can add it then. To have an AC/ DC panel without charger built in I have Progressive PD5000

PD5000 30 Amp AC/DC Power Control Panel

Doug
Unfortunately, the inverter/chargers are slightly too steep for us right now. I was gonna go with this one PWRI300012120S, seems like it is decently priced for what you get.

Great! So I won't need the charge controller. But since the inverter doesn't have the charger or the transfer switch capability, I'll still need those, yeah? And I'll go ahead and assume I won't need the battery monitor either, as that's solar related?

Thanks for the help, Doug!!
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Old 10-15-2017, 06:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12equiem View Post
no charge controller or battery moniter needed. as the last poster mentioned they can be added later on. some converter chargers have simple built in battery level moniters although it seems your does not. make sure you read the manuals for these devices first. theyll tell you where to put the fuses and how high each should be rated. pay close attention to cable sizings between your pieces too. i just wired my system up yesterday. my inverter charger called for 2-0 cable. thats welding cable. usually welders will have a few damaged sections thatll be great for cutting into smaller pieces. thats how i got mine for free.

im guessing you've going to wire your distribution panel to the batteries for the dc side of things. be prepared to put in a round a 100 amp fuse or circuit breaker between them.

youll most likely need a 250-300 amp fuse or circuit breaker between your batteries and inverter.

and coming into your bus you may need a 30 amp breaker on your first point of entry. itll probably say on your converter charger.

are you going to end up running 1 or 2 ac panels?

i believe a 2 panel system might have a seperate panel with your shore power only items before it runs into the converter to charge your batteries and have a seperate panel run off of your inverter for whatevers plugged into that. if you do it this way you may not need a 3000 watt inverter.

and a 1 panel system could either run everything off of the inverter panel but it seems silly to plug in to convert your power to dc to charge your batteries then back to ac again after. i dunno if they make relays big enough for whole power panels but there might be some kind of switch or relay that will allow you to switch your panels incoming power from direct shore power or inverter power.

Ive been told to go with gel cell batteries if i can since they produce less hydrogen gas than standard batteries. of course i was told this after i bought 2 batteries. i have mine under my bench seat vented to the outside.

if youll be charging while driving youll possibly need a battery isolator aswell. theres a few wiring tidbits when it comes to those that were beyond my knowledge a month ago.


hope i made some sense...and please. correct me if im wrong or could do better. im basically self learned but with a mechanic and electrician friend i tried to conform to the canadian electrical codes.
Right on! I'll have to keep an eye out on CL for the welding wire.

To clarify on the panels, should I just go ahead and have separate panels for DC and AC? Would that simplify things?
I was planning to make a small sealed box, vented to the outside, for the small battery bank. I was aware of the different types of batteries (just went with the cheapest), but I didn't know that gels release less gases; that's great to know, thank you!

Charging the batteries while driving keeps slipping my mind. I've been on the lookout for a battery isolator, but still have yet to go and check out what the amperage is on the alternator. Seems something like that would be very useful to us.

Thank you for the help!!!
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Old 10-15-2017, 09:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldBlue View Post
Right on! I'll have to keep an eye out on CL for the welding wire.

To clarify on the panels, should I just go ahead and have separate panels for DC and AC? Would that simplify things?
I was planning to make a small sealed box, vented to the outside, for the small battery bank. I was aware of the different types of batteries (just went with the cheapest), but I didn't know that gels release less gases; that's great to know, thank you!

Charging the batteries while driving keeps slipping my mind. I've been on the lookout for a battery isolator, but still have yet to go and check out what the amperage is on the alternator. Seems something like that would be very useful to us.

Thank you for the help!!!
AGM and Gel batteries only release less gas if they are not over-charged. They have valves to release if they hit too high a pressure.

The problem with that is that the lost fluid cannot be replaced, and if they are abused they will not last as long as flooded cells.

It's a complicated subject typified by most RVs never charging the batteries to their full capacity. Read around on it because it will save you hundreds of dollars if you get it right.
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Old 10-15-2017, 10:29 PM   #7
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If you go with sealed AGM you need a smarter charger that has charge profiles specifically for them. A standard 12v battery charger will cook them quick. I'd avoid gel, they're even more finicky and easy to kill. If you have your box vented the the outside, you should be fine sticking with flooded deep cell batteries. They'll generally last longer and work better anyway as long as you maintain them.

I'd serious think about upgrading to the inverter/charger version of the Aims. Even if you had to drop back to 2000w and be a little more careful about what you run. It has the transfer function for shore/generator power and battery charger built in, and the 2000w inverter charger is only $189 more than the 3000w inverter on Amazon. You'd easily spend that much on a decent charger.


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Old 10-16-2017, 04:07 AM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
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thanks for the infor on batteries guys. Im like the OP. i bought cheaper deep cycle batteries. ill do more research when i buy my next two but ill probably do the same thing anyways. they gotta match afterall.

I have a box for AC which has a dual breaker in it wired to two seperate boxes. i dunno how many ac outlets you plan on running but 1 breakers good for 15 amps. i didnt really need a whole panel and i still have room for expansion. on the dc side i just used a little marine fuse block with an 80 amp circuit breaker run right off the batteries. its got 12 slots in it. 10 used and 2 spare for expansion or new gadgets.


Careful with the isolator though. my bus has a 150 amp alternator and i have a 200 amp isolator. dunno if thats standard or not. i have a friend whos a journeyman mechanic and a journeyman electrician. hes been a huge help and taught me something i didnt know. you cannot just take the lead off of the bus batteries and put it on the isolator. yes the isolator will be fine for charging but the cable from my alternator doesnt go direct to battery. it goes into another cable somewhere else on the bus which then ties into the battery lead. so when charging via alternator id be fine but when drawing power from the batteries to start this old diesel engine then it could very well draw over 200 amp and thus potentially fry my isolator. so we had to dig around under the hood and i have to run a new cable to the isolator from there and then to the two individual battery banks. keep that in mind when you're doing your wiring too.
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Old 10-16-2017, 04:09 AM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
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if i get some spare time ill try and draw up a wiring diagram based on the equipment you're looking at using if you dont already have one.
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Old 10-19-2017, 11:09 AM   #10
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I paid around $700 for my 3k/6k AIMS inverter/ charger with built in xfer switch. It was far cheaper than an inverter, a charger, and xfer switch purchased individually, not to mention the smalls needed to hook all together....more wire, fuses, connectors, etc. Here is the exact unit i got from wally world(had to be ordered)

https://www.walmart.com/ip/AIMS-Powe...arger/50754204

Doug
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