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Old 02-04-2023, 10:49 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Pompano Beach, FL
Posts: 38
Year: 2000
Engine: Cummins 5.9
DC to DC Charger question

Greetings, my friends,

Mea culpa, I'm (mostly) a dunce when it comes to electricity. Nevertheless, I have been able to assemble a beautifully working solar system that includes six solar panels, a PV combiner box, two 300 ah lithium batteries and a Renogy 100 amp box that supplies power to my inverter, which has been supplying power to all the outlets in my skoolie. However, in my zeal to put all this together (and after reading one of your posts), I also bought an Orion DC to DC charger to keep power up so I can run my air conditioner/heating unit. This is the charger:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0851TPKV7/

So, I take it I should run wires from the alternator (on the Cummins 5.9 L diesel) to the charger, but then should I run the two charging wires (from the DC to DC box) directly to the batteries? It doesn't seem that this would harm the Renogy box, right? Or, am I missing something? I don't want to fry all this work by doing something dumb(er).

Many thanks to all you wonderful souls who have helped me over the last 1.5 years putting this 28' Blue Bird TC 2000 ("The Jazz Buzz") skoolie together!

Your fan,
Jim

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Old 02-06-2023, 12:24 PM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Pompano Beach, FL
Posts: 38
Year: 2000
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Okay, should have read up on the posts. Seems pretty obvious that the leads should go straight to the batteries, but I hope that it's okay for lithium batteries.
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Old 02-06-2023, 01:14 PM   #3
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Suburbs of Winterset, OH
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Chassis: FS65
Engine: Mercedes 6.4L
Rated Cap: just the 2 of us
The Renogy DC/DC charger I bought can be used on Lithium batteries.
You have to set the tiny switches on the end of the charger to the appropriate positions.
(I haven't installed my unit yet.) I plan to draw power to the unit not from the alternator but directly from the battery which is a good 7 maybe 8 feet closer. I'll still connect the ignition sensor so that the bus batteries aren't accidentally drained off.

Also, If you have a power converter with a charger built in, you will have to set that for lithium as well.
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Old 02-07-2023, 08:32 AM   #4
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Northern California (Sacramento)
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: El Dorado Fiberglass
Chassis: Ford E450
Engine: V10 Gas
Quote:
Originally Posted by jch511 View Post
Greetings, my friends,

Mea culpa, I'm (mostly) a dunce when it comes to electricity. Nevertheless, I have been able to assemble a beautifully working solar system that includes six solar panels, a PV combiner box, two 300 ah lithium batteries and a Renogy 100 amp box that supplies power to my inverter, which has been supplying power to all the outlets in my skoolie. However, in my zeal to put all this together (and after reading one of your posts), I also bought an Orion DC to DC charger to keep power up so I can run my air conditioner/heating unit. This is the charger:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0851TPKV7/

So, I take it I should run wires from the alternator (on the Cummins 5.9 L diesel) to the charger, but then should I run the two charging wires (from the DC to DC box) directly to the batteries? It doesn't seem that this would harm the Renogy box, right? Or, am I missing something? I don't want to fry all this work by doing something dumb(er).

Many thanks to all you wonderful souls who have helped me over the last 1.5 years putting this 28' Blue Bird TC 2000 ("The Jazz Buzz") skoolie together!

Your fan,
Jim
The DCDC charger will appear to the solar charge controller like just another battery providing power, so it can be connected anywhere on the DC circuit as long as the wiring can handle the current.

I haven't installed mine yet-but I'll connect it to the bus bars the battery is connected to, and not directly to the battery. I don't think it makes a difference as long as the shunt is between it and the battery.

My plan is to put the ignition wire on a switch near the driver's seat, so I can turn it on when I'm actually on the highway or trucking down the road and have control over the load to the alternator.

If you have LiFePo the other reason to want control over it is you can't adjust the charge configuration other than to set the dip switches for Lithium Ion. I have a super little Noco battery charger that similarly just lets you set it for 'Lithium' mode but actually stays in float mode-a no-no for those batteries.

When I get to installing my DCDC charger I'll check to see how it operates at full charge, but I'm prepared to be disappointed.

Needless to say I have the Noco on a switch.
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Old 02-07-2023, 09:19 AM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Pompano Beach, FL
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Year: 2000
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rucker View Post
The DCDC charger will appear to the solar charge controller like just another battery providing power, so it can be connected anywhere on the DC circuit as long as the wiring can handle the current.

I haven't installed mine yet-but I'll connect it to the bus bars the battery is connected to, and not directly to the battery. I don't think it makes a difference as long as the shunt is between it and the battery.

My plan is to put the ignition wire on a switch near the driver's seat, so I can turn it on when I'm actually on the highway or trucking down the road and have control over the load to the alternator.

If you have LiFePo the other reason to want control over it is you can't adjust the charge configuration other than to set the dip switches for Lithium Ion. I have a super little Noco battery charger that similarly just lets you set it for 'Lithium' mode but actually stays in float mode-a no-no for those batteries.

When I get to installing my DCDC charger I'll check to see how it operates at full charge, but I'm prepared to be disappointed.

Needless to say I have the Noco on a switch.
THANK YOU SO MUCH! I have a bus bar for all my connects, and I should have thought of that, so thank you! It probably wouldn't hurt for me to connect with the company, too. That is really nice to know about the charge controller just treating it as another battery source. Also a great idea about installing a switch at the dash to help control the load on the alternator. I also have a Noco and will look into that. I'm going to read over (again) all the documentation with your suggestions in mind.

THANKS!

Cheers,
Jim
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Old 02-11-2023, 04:51 PM   #6
Bus Nut
 
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Location: New Orleans
Posts: 634
Year: 2001
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarnYardCamp View Post
The Renogy DC/DC charger I bought can be used on Lithium batteries.
You have to set the tiny switches on the end of the charger to the appropriate positions.
(I haven't installed my unit yet.) I plan to draw power to the unit not from the alternator but directly from the battery which is a good 7 maybe 8 feet closer. I'll still connect the ignition sensor so that the bus batteries aren't accidentally drained off.

Also, If you have a power converter with a charger built in, you will have to set that for lithium as well.
Renogy Dc -Dc charger is the best thing I bought for my bus. You will love it.

And there is no need to switch off my solar panels bc my Renogy controller sees that current connected and goes into maintain/pause mode.

Today is grey cold drizzle/rain and I’m down the road making power. Sweet!

Oh, my wife’s driving 😃
☮️Dave
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Old 02-13-2023, 09:33 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Pompano Beach, FL
Posts: 38
Year: 2000
Engine: Cummins 5.9
DC to DC Charger

Alas, my bus is still st the shop getting some Blue Bird parts installed.

I don't have a Renogy DC to DC charger, but the Orion one I have says it will work on Lithium batterie, too. So I'm guessing I can do as suggested and just attach to a bridge, but I do see that a toggle switch to turn it off and on might be handy (necessary?). I hope the Renogy charge controller does in fact see the Orion as just another power source, but I admit I'm a little confused.
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Old 02-14-2023, 06:31 AM   #8
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 634
Year: 2001
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jch511 View Post
Alas, my bus is still st the shop getting some Blue Bird parts installed.

I don't have a Renogy DC to DC charger, but the Orion one I have says it will work on Lithium batterie, too. So I'm guessing I can do as suggested and just attach to a bridge, but I do see that a toggle switch to turn it off and on might be handy (necessary?). I hope the Renogy charge controller does in fact see the Orion as just another power source, but I admit I'm a little confused.
Your charge controller will see plenty of amps just like your batteries are full, and standby until it is needed. My renogy dc-dc unit is wired to the ignition switch so it is only “on” with the engine running. I looked up yours on Amazon and the description says:

“The unit can be monitored and programmed via Bluetooth and can be remotely controlled via a remote on/off switch and has an engine running detection mechanism”.

So you should be good to go. The key here is that your dcdc doesn’t stay on all of the time. If two battery banks stay connected with the bus turned off, they will try to equalize and both will run down.
“engine running detection” sounds good to me!

☮️Dave
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Old 02-14-2023, 07:28 AM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Pompano Beach, FL
Posts: 38
Year: 2000
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meathead View Post
Your charge controller will see plenty of amps just like your batteries are full, and standby until it is needed. My renogy dc-dc unit is wired to the ignition switch so it is only “on” with the engine running. I looked up yours on Amazon and the description says:

“The unit can be monitored and programmed via Bluetooth and can be remotely controlled via a remote on/off switch and has an engine running detection mechanism”.

So you should be good to go. The key here is that your dcdc doesn’t stay on all of the time. If two battery banks stay connected with the bus turned off, they will try to equalize and both will run down.
“engine running detection” sounds good to me!

☮️Dave
Oh, man, I missed that! (How could I have done that!) Thank you so much!

The bus is at the mechanic's, but as soon as it comes back I will try to implement that.

Thanks again!

Cheers,
Jim
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