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"Starlink-Mobile" Project Proof of Concept...


MAX Burner

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So, since D works from home and spends quite a bit of time on Zoom, Teams, etc., we decided to get into a Starlink-Mobile kit. The kit will allow her to work from Casa Blanca with Starlink's scorching fast internet connectivity and allow us to travel more often.  Today we played around with a proof of concept for using Starlink in our Oliver - there are literally dozens of YouTube vids and deep rabbit holes for ideas of how to integrate Starlink with RVs.

Here's how we'll be lugging is around:

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We're using a 12-gallon plastic Husky tote with custom-fit travel pieces from Etsy to keep components from bouncing around when towing.  Its a neat and tidy mobile kit.

Next, we didn't want to use the Starlink-supplied "quad stand" so we modified the top of our E-Z Flag Pole to accommodate the "Dishy" mount that would normally be inserted into the stand.

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We inserted an adapter (a 3D print from Etsy) into the top of the E-Z pole so the Dishy just snaps inside.  By drilling-out the upper mostIMG_0441.HEIC flag connector with a step-bit, we're still able to fly the colors.

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We used the exterior curbside AC outlet for the Starlink router power connection.  With the inverter energized, it took about 10 minutes for Starlink to connect to its satellite.  Energy consumption varies between 60 and 80 watts according to our Victron Smart Shunt via the Cerbo GX.

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The solar modules are generating about 180watts at today's low sun angle, which more than makes up for the inverter/Starlink consumption.

We'll likely put a through-hull connection using a modified waterproof Furrion capped connection (same one OTT uses for the satellite coax connection).  The standard supplied cable is 75' and needs to be shortened anyway - so we'll do that when we install the modified Furrion.

More later...

Screenshot 2023-11-26 at 10.39.17.png

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Art, Diane, Oscar & Magnus (double-Aaarrf!)

  • 2022 TUNDRA w/Airlift Load Lifter 5000 kit/2017 LE II; Hull #226 "Casablanca", 12VDC Starlink kit, 3x Battle Borns; Victron Cerbo GX, SmartShunt, MPPT Solar Controller, & DC-DC Charger; HAM call-sign:  W0ABX
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Art:

Great effort. Down the road June likely will need the same set-up.  Some questions:

  • How do you raise the mast?
  • What kind of speed does the system generally provide in "city" and while "remote"?
  • Any wag on the equipment and accessories cost (not counting your time which is priceless of course?).
  • About what does the monthly cost run?

Thanks

GJ

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TV:  2019 F-150 SuperCrew Lariat, 3.5L EcoBoost, Max Tow, FX-4, Rear Locker      OLLIE:  2018 OE2 Hull 342, Twin Bed.    OLLIE DYI’s:  BB LiFePO4's, Victron 712 Smart, 350 Amp Master Switch, Houghton 3400, Victron Orion DC - DC, 3000-Watt Renogy Inverter, P.D. 60-amp Converter, Frig Dual Exhaust Fans, Kitchen Drawer Straps.    TV DYI’s:  2 5/16" Anderson System, Timken Bearings, Nitto recon’s, Firestone Rear Air Bags, Bilstein 5100’s, Mud Flaps & Weather Tech all.

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1 hour ago, Geronimo John said:

Art:

Great effort. Down the road June likely will need the same set-up.  Some questions:

  • How do you raise the mast?
  • What kind of speed does the system generally provide in "city" and while "remote"?
  • Any wag on the equipment and accessories cost (not counting your time which is priceless of course?).
  • About what does the monthly cost run?

Thanks

GJ

Hey, GJ!  Thanks, brother...  It's a work in progress for sure.  Regarding your questions:

1. The E-Z Pole mast is designed with 4 nested aluminum sections with "twist-to-lock" fittings in each.  To unlock, it takes about a 1/4 turn clockwise.  Push the top section up first, lock, then 2nd, and 3rd.  The pix show the mast at about 2/3 max height, FYI.  The mast configuration gives us more use options - for example, we can use the quad-stand at the house should we lose our Xfinity/Comcast service.

2. I measured the speeds today in on the apron at 225mbs download; 28mbs upload.  Basically faster than our Xfinity service.  However, we've learned through some of the previously mentioned rabbit holes, that speeds vary depending on location.  In some highly dense populated areas speeds can be slower, as Starlink "chokes down" speeds - same goes with remote locations.  A subscriber can pay extra for guaranteed higher speeds.  We've decided to try the basic plan for the time being.

3. The basic Starlink Mobile kit is $600.  The Husky tote was $28 at Walmart.  The custom fit packaging pieces were $50 from Etsy.  The Esty pole adapter cost $15.  We're planning to modify the kit (router) from AC to 12vDC.  Switching to 12vDC drops power consumption by approximately 18%, FYI.  I've already purchased the component parts to make the DC conversion for about $125.  Parts needed are a PoI injector, 12-48vDC converter, and a standalone router.  Easy peasy.

4. The Starlink Mobile monthly service is $150 - but, service is set up as "pay by the drink".  If you're not planning to travel during a particular month, or your rig is in storage mode, you can access you account online and deactivate service.  Only the "Mobile" option allows this feature, the "Residential" plan does not.

Hope all is well on your side - best regards to June...  Cheers!

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Art, Diane, Oscar & Magnus (double-Aaarrf!)

  • 2022 TUNDRA w/Airlift Load Lifter 5000 kit/2017 LE II; Hull #226 "Casablanca", 12VDC Starlink kit, 3x Battle Borns; Victron Cerbo GX, SmartShunt, MPPT Solar Controller, & DC-DC Charger; HAM call-sign:  W0ABX
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@MAX Burner, I have nothing to add to the conversation from a technical standpoint,  but I do have serious envy of those clear deep blue skies in your photos. So beautiful!

 

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400 watts solar. DC compressor fridge. No inverter. 2 x 105 ah agm batteries .  Life is good.


        
 

 

 

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14 hours ago, SeaDawg said:

I do have serious envy of those clear deep blue skies in your photos. So beautiful!

Thank you.  Wall-to-Wall sunshine yesterday in the low 50's after a day of snowing on Saturday...  Cheers!

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Art, Diane, Oscar & Magnus (double-Aaarrf!)

  • 2022 TUNDRA w/Airlift Load Lifter 5000 kit/2017 LE II; Hull #226 "Casablanca", 12VDC Starlink kit, 3x Battle Borns; Victron Cerbo GX, SmartShunt, MPPT Solar Controller, & DC-DC Charger; HAM call-sign:  W0ABX
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@MAX Burner nice work on the initial set up as we are considering SL mobile. My only concern is your SL dish mounted on the top of the flagpole. I suppose in high winds you can lower the dish for a more rigid pole mount. Is it really stable enough to handle a sudden wind gust?  I am thinking about an aluminum awning bracket mount.
Thoughts?

A pretty decent review of Starlink Mobile’s pros and cons. 
 

Patriot🇺🇸

 

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2020 OLEII - Hull #634 aka-  “XPLOR” 

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Love the flag pole mount concept, we have a similar pole configuration. How is the coax routed up the pole? Just wonder if the flag will get caught up in the wire. 

I was considering the same type of mount only for a shortwave/GMRS base antenna setup. 

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Totally get y'all's concerns.

The key requirement for us was to get the Dishy off the ground and still be able to use it without the OTT.  The EZ Pole and mount is robust - 4 nested aluminum tubes.  High wind conditions would require striking the colors, lowering the dish to the 6.5-foot position and thus keeping it off the ground. FYI, in snowy conditions, the user can select the snow melt mode (more energy) via the SL app to keep accumulation at check and maintain high signal strength.

There are flat mounts available for SL that we've studied - but once its flat-mounted on the roof, you're committed to that application - we wanted flexibility to use SL if we were tent camping, for example.  

As noted, we're also interested in a 12vDC conversion and shortening the proprietary CAT6 SL cable to save a bit of energy - but that's down the line.  We want to log some more trips in the current mode first so we're better able to make an informed decision on what best meets our needs.

Guys....  Beware, there are some scary rabbit holes one could fall into when researching the RV-applicable mods for SL kits...  Many hours spent crawling through these tunnels. HA!  

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Art, Diane, Oscar & Magnus (double-Aaarrf!)

  • 2022 TUNDRA w/Airlift Load Lifter 5000 kit/2017 LE II; Hull #226 "Casablanca", 12VDC Starlink kit, 3x Battle Borns; Victron Cerbo GX, SmartShunt, MPPT Solar Controller, & DC-DC Charger; HAM call-sign:  W0ABX
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On 11/26/2023 at 3:26 PM, MAX Burner said:

Switching to 12vDC drops power consumption by approximately 18%

Sounds like a great approach but I think you are being conservative on the 18% figure, if you don't turn on the inverter (very inefficient) and just use battery, you will save much more. The inverter uses about 1.5 to 2x what you would calculate for the normal ac load so there is a significant savings there.

BL

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One of our own has a WeBoost mast mounted on suction cup kayak rollers on the back of his Oliver. You can see Steve's description about 16+ minutes into this video:

 

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Good stuff and thanks for sharing! We have Starlink at home in northern MN and it works awesome! Our OTT is put away for the winter but we were planning on getting the mobile Starlink for next summer as I also do a lot of work on the road. Thanks again!

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  • 2 months later...

STARLINK 12vDC Conversion UPDATE:

After our 2-week Quartzsite trip which put us in 3 campsite locations on BLM LTVAs, it was clear that our Starlink system needed a more permanent install in Casa Blanca.  Setting-up/stowing 3 times became a minor PITA.  We discussed "how" we wanted to use Starlink and it basically came down to:

1. Maintaining the flexibility of using Starlink with or without our Oliver, such as a back-up to our residential system.  Essentially, we still wanted to use the 120vAC option when not camping.  Some applications suggest flat-mounting the antenna on the RV roof - this is a permanent option and not for our lifestyle;

2. Making Oliver Starlink operations 12vDC-based and not 120vAC which is the Starlink standard.  Power consumption is estimated to be 18 to 25% less using 12vDC rather than using the inverter to energize the Starlink.

Spent the last couple days rigging up 12vDC-based "proof of concept" set-up.  Using the solar port on the battery hatch for the power source, the test set-up included:

1. A Boondocker.ie sourced "Dual Dishy DC-DC power supply/PoE injector" circuit board ($88, direct from Boondocker.ie);

2. Power supply/PoE injector circuit board box (3D-print file downloaded free, $25 to print box locally)

2. GL.iNet GL-MT3000 (Beryl AX) Pocket-Sized Wi-Fi 6 travel router ($109, Amazon);

3. Acridine 12vDC to 5vDC converter ($12.99, Amazon);

4. LOCHSOEL RJ45 Interface Waterproof Socket Connector, ($17,99, Amazon);

5. Sabra Technologies Shielded rj45 cat6 connectors , ($19.99, Amazon)

FULL DISCLOSURE:  If cutting a Startlink cable or drilling hull penetrations makes you lose sleep at night, this mod may not be for you.

Preparing the 12vDC-based components for the test set-up:

Screenshot2024-01-31at8_27_46AM.thumb.png.0514f5e939201462c8a6877c5255ad54.png

Testing the concept of the 12VDC conversion before running power wires and Cat6 cables inside the camper:

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Description of components in above pic:

1. Upper left:  The Starlink "Dishy" satellite antenna.  Starlink uses proprietary terminal connectors on either end of the provided shielded 50-foot Cat 6 communications cable.  The antenna end is designed to be compatible with the "leg" by being inserted into the tube of the antenna leg.  The antenna end connector stays with the 12v conversion - the router end of the cable is not needed for the 12v application.  The router connector is removed (cut) 3' from the router end.  It will be used later when the cable is fit with a RJ45 shielded connector for the optional 120vAC residential set-up;

2. Lower left:  Red Husky box configured inside to stow Starlink gear.  The original Starlink 120vAC router and power cord - not used in the 12vDC conversion is on top of the Husky box;

3. On table:  Black box (3-D print) housing the Boondocker circuit board, travel router (gray box with antennas "up"), 12vDC to 5vDC converter (small black box to left of router);

4. Power cord from SAE plug on battery hatch (solar connector);

5. Power toggle switch w/green "on" LED (not visible), ($11.99, AutoZone);

6. All connection power wires are 12AWG stranded automobile grade.

Prior to firing up the test, the travel router needed to be configured - standard drill.  

Energizing the test set-up yielded blazing fast internet speed (screenshot taken right from the Starlink app):

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Notwithstanding changing out the original router with the travel router and adding the Boondocker circuit board, the Starlink app behaves as normal - completely transparent as the major components are housed in the antenna and not in the factory stock router.

After cycling the test set-up "on/off" several times with power toggle switch, the Starlink connected each time with 2 or 3 minutes.

Confident that the 12v system will perform as planned after testing, we prepared the Cat 6 cable hull penetration.  Using the existing DC-to-DC charger (1/0 cables) Blue Seas clam hull penetration, a 1/4" hole was drilled into the rubber weather seal adjacent to the pos/neg 1/0 cables in the clam to accommodate the Starlink cable.  This hull penetration is located adjacent to where the 7-pin cable comes through from inside the vanity sink cabinet.

After feeding the Cat 6 through the clam into the vanity cabinet, prepared the penetration in the "dog house" adjacent to the flag pole mount.

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"Weatherproof" RJ45 socket through the Dog House shell.

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The weatherproof socket as well as all RJ45 connectors were tested for continuity with our cable tester:

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Each Starlink cable end (except for antenna end) needs an RJ45 shielded connector...

Screenshot2024-01-31at8_54_42AM.thumb.png.11f4b18241e4528d67effc2dd0036a23.png

The above connector runs from the inside "dog house" connector under the LPG bottles through the clam hull penetration into the vanity cabinet.

We decided to mount the Starlink kit inside the closet on the inner bulkhead.  Wanting to have a dedicated power run, 12AWG red/black stranded wires run from the main positive bus under the aft dinette seat (red) and from the SmartShunt (black)  then they run under the dinette table and forward seat, under the toilet into the vanity cabinet.

Drilled a hole just above the 2" black ABS plumbing vent pipe from within the vanity cabinet into the closet.  Routed the 12AWG power wires and Cat 6 cable from above the plumbing vent inside the vanity into the closet then up and through the lower and upper closet shelves.

Today, components will be mounted on the closet bulkhead, power connections will be made, another RJ45 connector fitted to the Boondocker end of the Starlink cable, then test final install later this afternoon.

More to come....

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Art, Diane, Oscar & Magnus (double-Aaarrf!)

  • 2022 TUNDRA w/Airlift Load Lifter 5000 kit/2017 LE II; Hull #226 "Casablanca", 12VDC Starlink kit, 3x Battle Borns; Victron Cerbo GX, SmartShunt, MPPT Solar Controller, & DC-DC Charger; HAM call-sign:  W0ABX
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On 11/27/2023 at 7:08 AM, Patriot said:

Is it really stable enough to handle a sudden wind gust?  I am thinking about an aluminum awning bracket mount.
Thoughts?

Apologies, @Patriot, for the delayed response.  

Regarding the EZ-Pole with Dishy mounted during high wind conditions - could be an issue if extended to the entire 24-foot max height.  The Dishy antenna is not a huge sail by any stretch - in fact, it's quite sleek and aerodynamic in a tilted position.  We experienced high wind conditions in Quartzsite last week, the pole height was lowered to the 6.5-foot lowest setting, no issues - the down/up internet speed remained constant during the windy conditions.  Our thoughts regarding the Dishy pole placement was simply to get it off the ground and out of the way.  The height of the Dishy doesn't improve or speed up internet signals, but it could be beneficial in avoiding obstacles.  In sustained high winds, we'd likely opt to place the Dishy on the quad pod in a protected area such as the truck bed.

If you and your lovely bride aren't concerned about having a dedicated SL kit for "XPLOR", our recommendation for y'all would be to modify the antenna such that it could be flat mounted on its roof.  Roof real estate being a premium, the antenna dimensions are 12" x 20.25", so depending on your roof configuration, there should be a clean install location up there.   FYI, there is a downloadable file available to have a low-profile plastic housing 3D-printed to encapsulate the antenna and its internal components.  They're doing this all over the Ukraine and SL antenna shells are literally cast aside along the roadways!

However, some may not have the stomach to "not-so-surgically" separate the antenna from its shell - after all, it is a $600 piece of kit that would no longer be under warrantee by Elon.

Our's should be rigged-up by this afternoon and tested - so there will be more to share later on...

Cheers, brother!

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Art, Diane, Oscar & Magnus (double-Aaarrf!)

  • 2022 TUNDRA w/Airlift Load Lifter 5000 kit/2017 LE II; Hull #226 "Casablanca", 12VDC Starlink kit, 3x Battle Borns; Victron Cerbo GX, SmartShunt, MPPT Solar Controller, & DC-DC Charger; HAM call-sign:  W0ABX
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3 hours ago, MAX Burner said:

Apologies, @Patriot, for the delayed response.  

Regarding the EZ-Pole with Dishy mounted during high wind conditions - could be an issue if extended to the entire 24-foot max height.  The Dishy antenna is not a huge sail by any stretch - in fact, it's quite sleek and aerodynamic in a tilted position.  We experienced high wind conditions in Quartzsite last week, the pole height was lowered to the 6.5-foot lowest setting, no issues - the down/up internet speed remained constant during the windy conditions.  Our thoughts regarding the Dishy pole placement was simply to get it off the ground and out of the way.  The height of the Dishy doesn't improve or speed up internet signals, but it could be beneficial in avoiding obstacles.  In sustained high winds, we'd likely opt to place the Dishy on the quad pod in a protected area such as the truck bed.

If you and your lovely bride aren't concerned about having a dedicated SL kit for "XPLOR", our recommendation for y'all would be to modify the antenna such that it could be flat mounted on its roof.  Roof real estate being a premium, the antenna dimensions are 12" x 20.25", so depending on your roof configuration, there should be a clean install location up there.   FYI, there is a downloadable file available to have a low-profile plastic housing 3D-printed to encapsulate the antenna and its internal components.  They're doing this all over the Ukraine and SL antenna shells are literally cast aside along the roadways!

However, some may not have the stomach to "not-so-surgically" separate the antenna from its shell - after all, it is a $600 piece of kit that would no longer be under warrantee by Elon.

Our's should be rigged-up by this afternoon and tested - so there will be more to share later on...

Cheers, brother!

Awesome feed back and report on your install. All very helpful should we decide to move forward with SL. I am looking forward to your further updates. I like your idea of a lower profile on really windy days. And no apologies, I felt sure you wanted a little more field experience before posting up.
Great mod and thanks Max Burner! 

Patriot🇺🇸

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2020 OLEII - Hull #634 aka-  “XPLOR” 

2021 F350 6.7 liter Diesel Lariat Ultimate Tremor aka- Beast

 

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STARLINK 12vDC Conversion UPDATE #2:

While after 5+ hours of "final install" steps, we're about 90% complete.  Todays efforts include the following:

1. Power Switch:  Determine SL power switch location, drill 1/2" hole in bulkhead, pull supply, ground, and load wires.  Connect switch.  Green LED illuminated indicates that SL kit is energized:

Screenshot2024-01-31at4_19_31PM.thumb.png.4e5b24fc64b6ad75acd7673b4403ae50.png

2. Prepare "Closet-end" ethernet cable with an RJ45 shielded connector.  Test the continuity of the ethernet cable from the Dog House connection to the Duely circuit board inside the closet with remote tester:

Screenshot2024-01-31at4_42_39PM.thumb.png.2135defce8a512e331a881e027625af8.png

Above pic show the rolling continuity test between Dog House and (below) closet end:

Screenshot2024-01-31at4_21_58PM.thumb.png.53e090d8f7d693c6a604dd6a8c96320e.png

3. Mount Components:  Roughly mounted components in general area of need with blue painter's tape.  Final locations of component will be adjusted slightly for best wire runs.  Planning to use a strong double-sided "carpet-type" tape for final install:

Screenshot2024-01-31at4_20_49PM.thumb.png.55a4c170046e0bda4fcec2b3b1bddd3e.png

(L to R) Components are 12 to 5vDC power converter which supplies power to mini router, next is the back of the power switch, then the mini-router - power cord and SL ethernet cable visible on bottom of unit, finally - the workhorse of the mod... the "Duely Dishy 12vDC to 48vDC power supply and Power over Ethernet (PoE) injector.  Visible on the Duely is the red LED "ON" light, the mini router cable on top and below, the SL Dishy ethernet cable from the antenna atop the EZ-Pole:

Screenshot2024-01-31at8_54_59AM.thumb.png.d8e297c8206a614e5e592ca0066e9bf6.png

4. Prepare the power supply wires:  Turned main battery bank switch to "OFF" which is located inside battery compartment.  Connected positive (red) 12AWG stranded to main bus from battery bank below aft dinette seat/pantry area. "Anderson-clipped" an inline 10amp fuse (recommended by Boondocker.oi) as close to the bus as practical.  Connected negative (black) 12AWG to the main negative bus which feeds into the Victron SmartShunt.  After double-checking SL power switch LED "OFF", turned main battery switch to "ON".

5. Energize the SL Kit:  Ever watchful for the release of the magic smoke from black boxes, selected the "ON" position of the SL power switch.  Got the green LED to illuminate - good sign.  Peeked inside the closet - no smoke, another good sign.  Opened the SL app and followed the connect procedures - exactly like with the 120vAC router configuration.  The system behaves in the same manner with the 12vDC mod.  Waited a few minutes for the system to go through its satellite connection protocol.  Selected "Casa Blanca Starlink Kit" on the iPhone, Settings, Wi-Fi, which was programmed into the router yesterday during the test set-up drill.  Ran the speed test and got 209up/12.5down - good sign, yet again.

6. Check energy consumption:  The CERBO S GX registers our baseline (no systems in the OTT on) background/phantom wattage consumption at 8w.  With the SL energized and connected and all other systems "off" the energy consumption registered 52w.  So, that's indicating that the SL kit is pulling 44w.  This is lower than we thought as during CERBO readings with the 120vAC/Inverter tests averaged about 70w, that's about a 37% decrease in energy using the 12vDC configuration.  Not bad - another good sign.

Screenshot2024-01-31at4_20_10PM.thumb.png.f309f7f2122d01c2e3647c57edac7fe2.png

FULL DISCLOSURE:  Today's plan was to have the components full mounted and system tested, frankly, I ran out of gas - the components in the closet will still be there tomorrow when they get permanently fixed to the bulkhead.  Oh well, it's time for a cold one, friends!

Cheers...

 

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  • 2022 TUNDRA w/Airlift Load Lifter 5000 kit/2017 LE II; Hull #226 "Casablanca", 12VDC Starlink kit, 3x Battle Borns; Victron Cerbo GX, SmartShunt, MPPT Solar Controller, & DC-DC Charger; HAM call-sign:  W0ABX
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Starlink 12vDV Conversion - Final Update:

Project completed.  Decided to mount the components with white heavy duty Velcro.  Tidied-up cable runs, all good. In fact, sitting in the OTT now connected to Casablanca Wi-Fi Starlink Kit” as I peck out this post on my mobile.  Some pix that may be of interest of the final config:

IMG_1036.thumb.jpeg.7a3d955ccb9c95706d978749ec52f561.jpeg
 

IMG_1037.thumb.jpeg.48a562e06c71f44a1f24d3309f5caefe.jpeg

 

IMG_1038.thumb.jpeg.c36fb3b48219b20cde0e88d859c846f5.jpeg

Internet speeds have varied this afternoon anywhere between 135 to 260mbs down and 6 - 23mbs up, FYI.  That’s just a function of this location and the Starlink System. 
 

Cheers, All!

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Art, Diane, Oscar & Magnus (double-Aaarrf!)

  • 2022 TUNDRA w/Airlift Load Lifter 5000 kit/2017 LE II; Hull #226 "Casablanca", 12VDC Starlink kit, 3x Battle Borns; Victron Cerbo GX, SmartShunt, MPPT Solar Controller, & DC-DC Charger; HAM call-sign:  W0ABX
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