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Victron Color GX and MPPT 100/50 controller install


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Finished the install today. I have to say AmSolar may not be the cheapest but they sure put together a nice package that includes all the little things and have great customer service that includes a great wealth of information on their website. I was so happy to see 467 watts flowing into the batteries via the color screen and the online VRM portal. Now if only  I could power up the AC without gen/shore power. I have a pretty nice Samlex hybrid inverter/charger/transfer switch that has been in a box for a couple of years now. I thought about trying to install it but will probably just wait and use Victron's version so everything plays nice and then the last big cost factor... Lithium. Solar is so much fun!!!

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- Mike


Nashville, TN


2018 Elite II - Spirit of Adventure Hull #308  - Toyota Tundra 


 

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Wow!  You sure have been busy.  Once again a very nice installation.  You should’ve let us know you were going down this rabbit hole, I would have bought some Victron and Zamp stock.

 

Mike

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Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL   LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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A couple of comments:

 

First, if you eventually go with LFP batteries, like the Battleborns, it's going to be extremely tight in your battery box with all of that cabling.  And connections to those batteries are awkward, to say the least.  You might consider moving your shunt into the hull space and maybe adding a bus bar or combiner post for your positives.  That would limit your connections in the box to a single positive and negative, plus temp and voltage sensors for your monitor and multi, which can be wrapped together, so just 3 cables total.  That's what I've got, and it's still tight enough that I have to guide the cables in place when I move the batteries to make sure that they don't bind or kink.

 

Second, I worry that your solar charge controller is going to run hot in that space.  It's a small area with no circulation and you've got a hot stereo in there as well.  You're also going to get a good bit of heat from the sun on the hull in there.  Minimum, I think I'd get a remote temp sensor, since otherwise your charge controller is going to assume that the temperature in that compartment is the temperature of your batteries and so is going to miscalculate its compensation by a good bit. (I'm actually surprised that AM Solar didn't include that in the package - it's a $40 add on that's a no brainer, imo, for the Smart Solar series). I know that's where Oliver puts theirs, but that doesn't make it right, plus you've got more solar now and so a much bigger/hotter, not to mention smarter, controller.

 

Then finally, wherever you end up with your controller, I'd add some strain relief to those cables, and generally tidy up, wrap, and tie everything down as best you can.  I think one of the biggest potential dangers in any trailer, especially for those of us who are on gravel roads a lot, is fire from a positive cable that's come loose and starts to spark on something, or wears off its insulation from constant rubbing.

 

By the way, I didn't realize it when we were talking about it earlier, but Victron does make a plate for both the CCGX and for the CCGX and BMV combined.

 

 

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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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@Overland, thanks for the comments. I thought seriously about replacing the controller up top with a Blue Seas HD ON/Off switch and placing the new smart solar controller down below-plenty of room. Still might do it (the reason I used a wood board for install -easy to change setup- no holes in pantry wall) party because of reasons you listed.

I am happy with the install though because due to the double hull (air insulation) and the nice R16 insulation throughout, the cubby does not get hot per se, although their is not much ventilation( but neither is there below)

Also, running a cat-5 cable proved to be difficult the first time - didn’t want to do it again until I had to for the Multiplus. Speaking of the Multiplus, this is where I am still thinking - where to place it? Pics/comments on that? As far as the shunt and battery storage room. I am seriously thinking about a custom build with BMS that allows for much more room in the compartment or foregoing the pull-tray completely - since the LFP’s weigh so much less. Any suggestions, always welcomed. Also, if I understand your comment correctly, the battery temp is wired directory from the battery bank to the BMS and then transmitted to Color GX. All this is part of what I truly love about the TT customization. Oh, I did look at the Victron double face plate- it did not look like It would have worked in this application. It’s not just a faceplate but rather a faceplate that connects to a box. Not enough room. I did use double sided tape to install my FP so it should be easy to change if find something better, etc. Regards,

- Mike


Nashville, TN


2018 Elite II - Spirit of Adventure Hull #308  - Toyota Tundra 


 

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I put my MultiPlus in the dinette seat by the bath. It fits well there on its back with plenty of air space around and even a bit left over for something else if needed. I’ll take a pic for you. Actually I just got done pretty much rewiring everything to fix things I didn’t like from when I first did it, plus to take advantage of the extra space I have since I took out the sewer line. So I’ll take some pics of it all and maybe post them in my Snowball thread.

 

I actually ran a lot of wiring through the pantry - I stuck it in the front corner and it’s out of sight and out of the way. Probably wouldn’t want to run the heavier solar cables in there though.

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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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About the battery temp sensor - are you certain that info will make its way back to the charge controller?  I’ve wondered if it did, and it would make sense that the CCGX would work that way, but I’ve never found any confirmation in the manuals or Victron’s website. Maybe I’ve just missed it or just not looking in the right place. I’ve had the same question about the voltage sensor on the MultiPlus and whether it shared that info with the charge controller and BMS.

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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What about replacing Xantrex inverter with a Victron Phoenix 12/3000 inverter (same as in Multiplus) but without the charger. Then replace the charger part ($180) of the Progressive Dynamics Mighty Mini for Lithium specific batteries. So when you are plugged into to gen/shore power not that much as far as AC data via panel but easier install with all the benefits on the DC side.  Thoughts? Or just do the Multiplus and essentially bypass the PD charger.

- Mike


Nashville, TN


2018 Elite II - Spirit of Adventure Hull #308  - Toyota Tundra 


 

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Do either of you have good measures for the max dimensions of the battery tray? IE how much room do I have to play with? Trying to see how many of the 200A smart batteries will fit at 237mm x 321mm x 152mm

 

I was also looking at separates, but the multiplus also gives you the ATS and power assist. I'd be interested to hear which performs better with voltage sag on AC or a generator struggling to keep up.  It'd appear that having a separate charger and inverter would allow you to charge the batteries using the charger with lower AC voltage, and using the inverter to provide clean/proper AC voltage to the rest of the trailer (ie air conditioner).  Only downside here looks to be efficiency.  The Power Assist would work if you needed to plug into a 15A socket with correct voltage.

2019 LE2 #529.   Standard Floorplan.

2020 GMC Sierra 2500 Duramax

 

 

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Mike, the only difference in the installation would be not running the 30A cable to the Multi and back, which isn't difficult.  To bypass the charger, all you do is remove the charger module.  So I think you'd just be paying more for a less capable system.

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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Do either of you have good measures for the max dimensions of the battery tray? IE how much room do I have to play with? Trying to see how many of the 200A smart batteries will fit at 237mm x 321mm x 152mm

 

I was also looking at separates, but the multiplus also gives you the ATS and power assist. I’d be interested to hear which performs better with voltage sag on AC or a generator struggling to keep up.

 

14" x 21" - to get four, you have to stand them on end.  And yes, it's a PITA to wire them up that way.

 

The power assist on the Multi is seamless.  I use it all the time at home since all I have is a 20A connection.  I limit the Multi to 15A and let the batteries make up the rest if I run the A/C.

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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Do either of you have good measures for the max dimensions of the battery tray? IE how much room do I have to play with? Trying to see how many of the 200A smart batteries will fit at 237mm x 321mm x 152mm

 

I was also looking at separates, but the multiplus also gives you the ATS and power assist. I’d be interested to hear which performs better with voltage sag on AC or a generator struggling to keep up.

14″ x 21″

 

The power assist on the Multi is seamless. I use it all the time at home since all I have is a 20A connection. I limit the Multi to 15A and let the batteries make up the rest if I run the A/C.

 

 

Looks like three of them would fit fairly easily, assuming I can get the rest of the electronics to fit somewhere.  Now I just need to figure out how to get them on my carryon as it looks like no one in the US has them...

2019 LE2 #529.   Standard Floorplan.

2020 GMC Sierra 2500 Duramax

 

 

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Victron's revised 200ah/12.8v battery.  22kg (48.5 lbs) and 6x12.7 inches.  3x should be roughly 18x12.7 inches and 145 lbs (vs 272 for the stockers).

2019 LE2 #529.   Standard Floorplan.

2020 GMC Sierra 2500 Duramax

 

 

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Assuming 50% useable capacity on the T105 and 90% on the LiFePO4 it's a difference of 2.76kWh vs 6.9 (with three).  Victron doesn't recommend the on end installation, but that would bring it up to 9.2 KWh and still less weight...  Why didn't I pay for the T105 upgrade? :)

 

 

2019 LE2 #529.   Standard Floorplan.

2020 GMC Sierra 2500 Duramax

 

 

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I think the new 200Ah  will come to the states soon which should get 600Ah fairly easily and 800Ah if you want to live life outside the manual.  The allure off the new Victron ones is much less weight than most competitors and also just having all the detailed cell by cell stats in Victron Connect.  There's also the option of giving up the basement (or at least around half of its height) for 8 batteries and 18kWh of useable (90% of rated) power.  That'd be enough to run the AC for a while...  Then use the old battery tray for storing doodads on your "new" slide out storage system.  Bonus is the basement is more insulated than the tray for winter.

2019 LE2 #529.   Standard Floorplan.

2020 GMC Sierra 2500 Duramax

 

 

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I'd be careful about the basement since that's a lot of weight in the rear which will affect stability.  I'd like to find a way to line them up in the hull space between the dinette and street side bed but I haven't given enough thought to it to figure out how to secure them.  But it would be a perfect spot.

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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I figure generator on the front and all of my wife's stuff in the front closet would overcome the weight difference and bring balance - especially with the longer arm on the tongue and closet than the basement. But we will probably have enough capacity with 7.6kWh in the regular battery location. I'd look at more when battery prices come down further.  I'll know when I finally get mine and start getting some usage/duty cycle numbers.

2019 LE2 #529.   Standard Floorplan.

2020 GMC Sierra 2500 Duramax

 

 

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It’s more about the yaw inertia than balancing front to back. The more weight you have at the ends, the worse the stability will be. Better to keep as much weight centered over the wheels as can be done within reason.

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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2 of these would fit in the tray with room to spare:

 

https://www.lifebluebattery.com/rv-boat-lithium-ion-batteries/200ah-lithium-battery.html

 

For a little more, same thing but smaller with built in heater for cold protection:

 

https://www.lifebluebattery.com/rv-boat-low-temperature-lithium-ion-batteries/200ah-lithium-low-temperature.html

 

Handy comparison chart:

 

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- Mike


Nashville, TN


2018 Elite II - Spirit of Adventure Hull #308  - Toyota Tundra 


 

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The chart doesn’t capture the new 200Ah battery:

 

Dimensions allow 3 with spacers for cooling/heating in our battery tray

Weight 48lbs

Orientation does limit capacity

 

Recommended 200A Max 400a Current (7,680W recommended/ 15,360W max) with 3x batteries

everything else is the same except

 

My local European dealer has them for under $1800/ea. But then I have to get them back to the US and probably can’t claim the tax credit or warranty :)

 

The only way I’ve seen better densities (Wh/m3 and Wh/kg) is either a hand-rolled pack, or upgrading voltages and needing a DC converter and taking the 5-15% of efficiency each way there, but gaining additional wattage performance.

2019 LE2 #529.   Standard Floorplan.

2020 GMC Sierra 2500 Duramax

 

 

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