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Posts posted by RnA

  1. 3 minutes ago, mjrendon said:

    What are the real life advantages of switching to series? 

    For RVs, I don't know of any advantage other than when using long cable runs with portable panels.  The higher voltage output lets you use a higher gage wire for the same power transmission.  With a portable panel you have the option to move the panels and keep them in the sun.  The disadvantage is that when in series, if one of the panels gets shaded your pretty much done for output.  MPPT controllers help, but they can only do so much.

    When the panels are paralleled, shading of one panel will not effect the other panel and you will be down to half power, but at least something.  This may not be an issue for some that camp in sites open to the sky however much of my camping has some shade.  Sometimes one panel is shaded in the morning while the other panel gets sun and vice versa in the afternoon.  With the panels in series, I wouldn't get anything.

    • Like 2
  2. 5 hours ago, John E Davies said:

    BUT I was hoping to not drill any extra holes through the outer hull; 

    Why not use the Furion 10amp exterior connector straight from the solar panel?  Are you planning on going beyond 100watts?  If you use that connector could then locate the controller under the aft dinette seat.  My setup has wires from the outside Zamp connector direct to the batteries (through a 10amp in-line fuse).  You could install the controller between the port and the fuse. 


    When using the extension cord you need to be careful of powering the male plug from either batteries or solar panels.  If male is at the panel end with an adapter (with an inline fuse) to the panels I think ( but you need to check on your specific charge controller) the charge controller should have diodes to prevent current flowing back out to the panels (this is done to keep your batteries from discharging back into the panels at night).  With the extension cord male end at the other end, you risk damage your panels with an accidental short of the plug.  Your idea of using only the ground and neutral is a good one to keep from putting 120 ac into your controller.  Just make sure the ground is 10awg also.  A Furion connector to male  plug would complete the trailer side. 

  3. agm batteries still have a potential to vent hydrogen, particularly if overcharged.

    here’s a good link with an explanation of the rvia position:  


    “The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association’s Low-Voltage similarly requires venting for all battery locations, whether or not batteries are actually installed, and prohibits installation of other potentially spark-producing equipment in the same compartment (e.g. inverters, charge controllers, disconnect switches):.....”

    regarding Li, i wouldn’t want any electronics (fire potential) co-located.

  4. it will work better with the controller close to the batteries.  i would not locate it in the battery compartment though.  a pulse type controller will pulse the output to match the the voltage needs of the battery.  the duty cycle of the pulses will be driven by the amount of current and voltage on the input.  thus as the voltage and the current, drops the frequency of the pulses spread over time.  there is probably some minimum input voltage dependent on the specific controller where it all falls off a cliff and the controller won’t output.  i think 14.9 volt input would be more than enough though.

    obtw.  an mppt controller will give the voltage output your batteries need but drop the current giving a more constant current flow not pulses of energy to the battery.

    make sure you fuse the lines.

    give a try.  you can always make cord shorter if need be.


    • Thanks 1
  5. 50 ft of 10 gage copper wire

    for 17.7 volt output of the panels, 4.7 amp you'll loose 0.47 volts, 2.65%

    for 14.3 volt output of the charge controller, 5.8 amp you'll loose 0.58 volts, 4.75%

    there will also be some minor losses through each of the connections.

    voltage drop calculator at the link below:


    not sure if this  calculator is for solid or stranded wire, you should get slightly less drop with stranded as the current tends to flows on the outer surface of the conductor and the stranded has more surface area.




    • Like 1
  6. John,

    Consider the life time cost of a bank with higher capacity.  This will of course be more money in the short term, but the batteries should last longer because they will be discharged less than a smaller bank. 

    As an example; using your battery specification chart above:

    400 ah bank  discharged to 80%  = 320 ah for a life of 2500 cycles

    Using 320 ah of a 600 ah bank = 53%  for life of ~5000 cycles.  So by increasing your cost by 50%, you get 100% more life out of your batteries.

    Either way, that's a lot of cycles.   Assuming you got through 5000 cycles, the lifetime cost of three 200 ah batteries would be cheaper than two 200 ah batteries.  This is very simplified and I'm sure there are other factors.   Something to consider on whatever bank you build, it seems to be better to size for lower depth of discharge.  This has certainly been my experience in sizing lead acid banks.

    • Thanks 1
  7. We used a similar but not as elaborate setup with our previous TV.  Two 80 Watt panels on Thule load bars on the truck cap.  Since we camp under trees a lot, it was nice to be able to park the truck in the open to recharge.  We are looking to do the same with the GMC 2500. 

    We used a 30 gal Valterra tank for water.  8x16x60 size from the tanks at the link below.  The tank was rectangular so it took up minimal space at the front of the truck bed.


    RV and Truck 2009_1.jpg

    • Thanks 1
  8. From past posts, it looks like you may have bought 183?  If so, it should have the Xantrex inverter.  Some of this has already been suggested but I've added some photos.  These come from 365 but it should be close to what you have.  Your issue may be as simple as put the ON/OFF switch to the ON position.  Don't worry, we've all done it.  If it's that, then hopefully these trouble shooting tips will help someone else.  If it's more than that, here are some additional things to look at.

    1.)   Check that the inverter is turned on at remote (green light in "Inverter Power Control Close-up_ON" photo).  If the green light will not turn on, proceed to step 3.

    2.)  Check the power indicator at the bottom/back of the inverter.  The indicator should be green and the red led should cycle to show voltage in (see photo "Inverter Control and Power Display").  If power comes on, proceed to step 4.

    3.)  Turn on inverter at inverter by pressing the green power button next to the LED display (noted above). 

    -  If power comes on, re-seat the "phone" cable just above the LED display.  This is the cable to the remote power switch in step 1.  Proceed to step 2. 

    -  If inverter did not turn on, it may have failed or is not getting power.  Proceed to step 5.

    4.) Check the GFCI outlet on the back of the inverter located under the port side bed (twin models) or port aft dinette seat (standard models).  Check that the GFCI is not tripped. (See photos "Inverter Power Outlet_GFCI"). Check power at the outlet by plugging something in.    (See "Inverter Power Check")  If power is good at the inverter, make sure the 120 volt plug is fully seated and re-seat the plug at the inverter as it feeds other outlets in the trailer. 

    5.) If you can measure voltage, check for 12 vdc at the inverter.  If voltage is good, I would suspect the inverter.  If no voltage, trace back to batteries.  This will include the large ANC fuse under the forward side dinette (see photo "ANC Inverter Fuse).  Be care, these cable can draw a lot of power (see photo "ANC Inverter Fuse" top of photo, fuse block connected to large red cables).  Check positive voltage both sides of fuse.

    Let us know how you make out.

    For the moderators, maybe a section on trouble shooting tips?

    - Randy


    Inverter Location.jpg

    Inverter Power Outlet_GFCI.jpg

    Inverter Power Contro Close-up_ON.jpg

    Inverter Power Control Location.jpg


    Inverter Power Check.jpg

    ANC Inverter Fuse.jpg

    Inverter Control and Power Display.jpg


    • Thanks 2
  9. The Alarm that comes with the Oliver is a combination Smoke and CO detector.  If you switch it out to a Smoke only you give up that detector's ability to detect CO.  There is a CO detection capability on the LP detector though.  Two downsides I see for CO detection with the LP detector are: 1.) the location is optimized for propane detection (heavier than air) and 2.) the power is from the 12 volt of the trailer without battery backup.  I think it is best to keep both CO detection capabilities.  If you switch to a Smoke detector only, you should add another CO detector that has a separate battery from the trailer and is in a better location than the LP/CO detector.

    Another thought to keep in mind.  The Smoke detector sensor for the Smoke and CO detector is for Smoke (smoldering type fires).  That detector is a photo optic detector that determines when large smoke particles block the light passing through the sensor.  Another type of Fire sensor is the Ionization detector which detects particles from fast burning fires much quicker than a the sensor of a smoke detector will.  I think it is best to use both types in your trailer and your house.

    For those with older units, the maximum life of a detector is 10years.  In some cases it is less.  I've seen CO detectors with shorter lives as recommended by the manufacturer.  With the environment our units live in it would probably be better to change out more often.

    - Randy

    • Thanks 1
    • Like 2
  10. Change smoke/ CO detector batteries and test detector.

    Check egress window function.  Re familiarize yourself with operation, best with eyes closed for nighttime egress.

    Check torque on all recommended bolts.

    Check/ replace batteries in fan and TV remotes as well as any other battery powered items.  I like to replace seasonally to protect against battery leaks.

    My approach.  Put 1/4 cup bleach mixed in 6 or 7 gallons of water.  I do this with my portable water jug.  Draw through boon docking feed then repeat with another 1/4 cup bleach mixed with water.  I then put a little bleach and water in the jugs and the fresh water hoses and sanitize them while I'm at it.  Fill remainder of tank and run through all of the lines.  I usually let sit overnight.  I think it should be at least 12 hours though.  Drain and flush all lines until clear of bleach.  If you have a septic at home I wouldn't drain the bleach into the septic.  You also will need to be careful of the deodorizer you use.  I like John's method of letting the chlorinated water slosh around some.

    Clean water pump screen. 

    Get underneath and visually inspect all of the welds for cracks. 

    Check tires for uneven wear, cracking and pressure.




    • Thanks 4
    Another solution is to add a couple of 3/8″ stainless Quick Links to the truck safety chain eyes, and then attach your chains to them. These are rated for a working load of 3,600 lbs and won’t rust.



    Be aware that two 3,600# will not meet the laws of all 50 states.   Some states require each safety cable or chain to be rated to the Gross Weight of the trailer.


    RVIA provides THIS table of individual state laws for safety chains/cables.


    For instance MA and NH.  Besides the US you need to consider requirements of the Canadian Provinces and Mexico if traveling there.


    I just go with the full rating for each cable/fitting figuring I should be covered.


    - Randy



    • Thanks 1
  12. KountryKamper, that sure is a good looking truck!!! Color, topper, the whole package. Going to sell my 2015 Tundra Limited and get one of those trucks. The desire is simply too great.





    You won't regret it.  I initially towed the Ollie with a Tundra 5.7.  The 2500HD Duramax is a beast and tows SO much better than the Tundra.  It's not just the huge power increase but better braking and much better in the mountains going both up and down switch backs.  No more tail wagging the dog,  the dog's in charge now!


    - Randy

  13. Randy


    Post pictures if you install the banks exhaust.






    Sure thing.  I have sent some questions into Banks Power to better understand the differences (power increases, fuel economy, exhaust discharge temperatures and exit flow field) of the 4 inch versus 5 inch Monster Exhausts.  I plan to order one of those unless a better recommendation comes up.  Then I've just got to get the courage up to cut through my tailpipe!


    - Randy

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