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Old 03-16-2016, 05:52 PM   #1
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Roo 19 Electrical

I thought I would start the thread on what I have changed to improve the 12v DC system on our Roo 19 so that it better suits OUR needs. I am placing all of the pictures in an album on the site so that anyone (including me) can easily find them.

DW has a cpap and we do not like being tied to hookups. Our state parks, which we love, do not allow generators and have very few electrical sites so we had long been relying on a good battery system that gets a bit of a daily boost from some small solar with our previous popup. When DW wanted to move up to the Roo it forced me to deal with ALL of the new phantom loads that this thing has! I knew it was pointless to try to talk her out of things like the electric awning, and my time was better spent figuring out how to deal with it instead. I thought camping was about simplicity

First I needed to take an inventory. Some of the extra power draws that we didn't have in the popup are...
  • new fridge needs power for controller, igniter AND to hold open the LP gas solenoid
  • refrigerator has a heater around door to prevent condensation build up
  • refirgerator has a light (this is a tiny draw if you can keep the kids out of it)
  • new water heater needs power for controller, igniter AND to hold open the LP gas solenoid
  • Radio - this also has a 'keep alive' draw when not in use
  • TV - this uses A/C only but everyone would like to use it from the inverter
  • Antenna Amplifier - don't forget to leave this turned on when not in use!
  • LP/CO detector - won't put a shutoff switch on it this time since we don't have 360 degree canvas
  • water pump - same draw but with toilet and shower we will probably use more. We will also use the pump to re-fill the tank with extra water at times from a portable tank/bladder.
  • tank heaters - ok let's be realistic... there is NO way you are going to run these off battery!!!
  • Built in USB charger
  • Furnace - same as in popup but we can't easily get to the reset switch on the new one to completely cut 12v to it when not in use
  • Vent fans and range hood - didn't have these before
  • Lights, lights EVERYWHERE... but YAY they are all LED!!!
One of the big things with the new camper is that DW wants it simple so that she feels that she can just hook up and go by herself if she wants. That meant no more of me keeping an eye on batteries with a meter and hydrometer. It was time to get serious and make things simple for her, yet give me the data I needed to make sure that things would "just work" when she needed them to. Time for a Trimetric!

With all of these new gadgets in the system I also wanted to protect them from outside electrical system issues when we do plug in somewhere. I always checked for proper wiring and voltage before I plugged in, but DW was not wanting to deal with that. I also was only checking at one point in time and had no way of protecting from changes that happened after I plugged in the cord. Time for an EMS as well.

I not only ordered up a Trimetric TM-2030 and shunt for monitoring but decided to get an SC-2030 to use as the charge controller for our solar (I'll get to that later). For the EMS I went with the EMS-HW30C. This way I could hardwire it so there was not something for her to deal with when pluging in, and there would also be a remote readout so if there was an error we could easily see what the codes were.



In this picture you can see where I mounted the remote for the EMS, the remote for my inverter (which has outlets built in), and the TM-2030.

In the popup we had a set of 6v golf cart flooded batteries in a custom, sealed box that I fabricated. On the new Roo DW said NO to cutting any holes for venting so I had to either mount the batteries outside, or spend the $$ for 'sealed' batteries. The combination of the fact that batteries installed on a tongue live a HARD life (hot, cold, damp, dry, etc.) and knowing that DW was not going to think to check the water level on them before taking off for a weekend, I decided that maybe AGM were our best bet if I could find some decent quality ones that we could afford. As it turned out Deka makes a very nice model that fits our needs and a regional farm store sells them house branded for a very reasonable price. I contacted East-Penn (Deka) to make sure they were the same specifications the their own and their MK-Solar brand... they were.

I did some measuring and found that I would be able to get two for sure, and possibly three if I needed that many under the dinette seat closest to the refigerator. This was important as under the fridge is the location of the factory electrical center and the crummy factory converter/charger. Another reason it was a good location is that the weight is almost right over top of the axles. Keeping as much weight as possible as close to the axles as possible is usually a good thing in trailers.

I knew that we would need at least two of the new batteries (210AH total) to meet our needs, so I purchased two and installed them along with the trimetric. I installed a two position battery cutoff (connects the batteries to the house, inverter, both, or none), a 150A catastrophe fuse, the shunt for the trimetric and larger cables to the distribution panel, ground bus bar and converter.

I informed DW that we should go camping at a site with hookups so that we can test how long our batteries will last... she replied that she had just won a stay at a nearby 'resort' style campground for two nights. That was perfect. We could test how long our batteries would last and if we ran them down to 50% we could charge back up and start counting amp hours again!
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Old 03-16-2016, 06:43 PM   #2
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...the story continues

When we went on our little test trip, I told DW to use electricity the way she planned to use it so that I could find out how much she was going to need. This meant that her and the girls even watched a couple of hours of TV using the inverter since we had cold wet evenings.

A synopsis of our 3 day/2 night trial run...
  • the batteries were at 54% when we were ready to hook up and leave
  • door heater on the fridge was on the whole time (no switch on ours)
  • water heater turned off at night
  • it was cool so there was 'some' furnace use at night
  • we did not shower in camper
  • we charged phones and used laptops for a several hours (I had to work )
  • I used the stereo instead of my usual portable SW radio
While we were not wasteful of electricity we were by no means restricted in our use for the weekend. The weather was perfect for making us run the furnace a bit to get some data for its use.

In the end DW decided that she would like to have a bit more storage without needed to set up solar or in case it was a rainy week, etc. so I added a third battery.
In this picture you can see the general layout of the compartment. Also note the piece of 3/8" ply that I used to make a place to mount things. The SC-2030 charge controller is in the top left of this picture.


Where the cables run from under the dinette seat to under the fridge...


Here you see how the inverter is mounted. It is just an inexpensive Peak brand, modified sine wave inverter that we already had. It will likely only ever get used for the TV and things like a laptop charger for guests and such.


Here you can see, from left to right, the battery switch, small fuse holder for trimetric dangling in front of large 150A catastrophe fuse, current shunt (installed on ground side), and the SC-2030 charge controller off to the far right.

The two large black wires comming off of the right side of the shunt... one goes directly to the DC distribution center where the converter connects and one goes to the DC ground bus bar. You can also see the temperature sensor for the SC-2030 laying on top of the batteries right where the middle and right battery meet. Note that I still need to do some cable management in this pic as well as the battery hold down brackets that I made are not installed.

This is the diagram that I made of the 'supply' portion of the 12v DC system...

(I used the open source program Dia to create the diagram. Drop me a note if you would like a copy of the file.)
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Old 03-16-2016, 08:15 PM   #3
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phantom loads and what's on that fuse?

I wanted to have an idea of how much the few phantom loads were drawing when the devices were not in use. The easiest place to test this is at the fuse panel but FR leaves a lot to be desired with their fuse labeling! I started by simply pulling fuses one at a time to see what went where. In this 'table' I have listed the fuse number, followed by the label that was on the panel, and then what is actually powered by that fuse.

# : Label : Devices
1 :
2 : Porch : porch light, sink light, awning, awning light, water heater, water pump
3 : Kitchen : dinette light, L/R light, L/R vent fan
4 : Bath : bath vent fan, bath light, entry area light, kitchen light, range hood
5 : Refer/Furn : firdge, furnace
6 : Living Room : LP/CO detector, tongue light
7 :
8 : TV Boost : TV antenna amp
9 : Radio : stereo, 12v socket and usb charger
10 : HHT : tank heaters
11 :

As you can see there is a WHOLE bunch of stuff on the bath fuse that isn't even near the bath, and what the heck does the tongue light and LP/CO detector have to do with living room? I don't know that I will take time to redistribute any of these but it will sure be nice now to know which fuse is causing the problem!

I did rearrange some of the circuits where it was easy to do so. The changes look like this...

# : Label : Devices
2 : Porch : porch light, tongue light, awning, awning light
3 : Kitchen : water heater, water pump, sink light
4 : Bath : bath vent fan, bath light, entry area light, kitchen light, range hood
5 : Refer/Furn : firdge, furnace
6 : Living Room : dinette light, L/R light, L/R vent fan
7 : Detector : LP/CO detector

Now that I knew where everything went I could test for the current draw of the devices, and where necessary get behind the device itself to isolate it...
  • Fridge and furnace together = 15mA - not worth digging deeper
  • LP/CO detector = 55-77mA
  • radio = 42mA - powered off
  • usb charger = 38mA - nothing plugged in
This tells me that the radio and usb charger are going to eat about 1Ah of battery capacity per 24 hours. Not the end of the world, but I might install some switches for them in the future.
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Old 03-16-2016, 10:59 PM   #4
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Great detective work Dragon-Roo in finding the Joule theives.
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Old 03-18-2016, 09:52 AM   #5
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Thanks for posting this. I just purchased the Trimetric charge contol and monitor.
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Old 03-18-2016, 10:28 AM   #6
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Really nice installation! I suggest that you mount the SC-2030 temperature sensor on a battery lug. That way it will really close to the battery temperature as conducted up by the lead plates. The SC-2030 will adjust its output to match the battery temperature. Be careful though, since with temperature compensation, if you have turned on the equalization, the voltage can sometimes go as high as 17 volts (with a current limit), depending on battery selected and in very cold temperatures. The batteries need that when it gets really cold (like in the frozen tundra of the northland.) There is a setting to bring that voltage down if you don't want your RV circuits and devices to see that high a voltage.

TM-2030 plus SC-2030 totally rocks. It is by far the most sophisticated system out there!

You may have to drill it out depending on your battery model.
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Old 03-18-2016, 10:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottBrownstein View Post
Really nice installation!
Thanks Scott! I am a function over form guy, so sometimes my stuff isn't the prettiest. It might have looked a bit more organized and not hurt performance if I would have made some of the cables a bit longer, but oh well... it's done for now.
Quote:
I suggest that you mount the SC-2030 temperature sensor on a battery lug. That way it will really close to the battery temperature as conducted up by the lead plates... You may have to drill it out depending on your battery model.
That is exactly why it was not mounted that way yet in this picture. These batteries have 3/8" terminals.
Quote:
The SC-2030 will adjust its output to match the battery temperature. Be careful though, since with temperature compensation, if you have turned on the equalization, the voltage can sometimes go as high as 17 volts (with a current limit), depending on battery selected and in very cold temperatures. The batteries need that when it gets really cold (like in the frozen tundra of the northland.) There is a setting to bring that voltage down if you don't want your RV circuits and devices to see that high a voltage.
I got the data sheets from Deka on the batteries so have already programed the max. voltage, voltage and times for various stages, turned off the equalization stage, AND entered in the temperature compensation value That said, one of the AGM type presets was pretty close.

Quote:
TM-2030 plus SC-2030 totally rocks. It is by far the most sophisticated system out there!
I wouldn't say it is as sophisticated as some of the better MPPT charge controllers but those are way more than needed on a small system of this size in my opinion.
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Old 03-18-2016, 11:01 AM   #8
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mnoland30... let me know if you need any help.
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Old 03-18-2016, 11:17 AM   #9
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Dragon-Roo

The combination of the TM and the SC is pretty unique. I especially like the ability to to remote voltage sensing through the TM, eliminating the voltage drop in the solar feeds to the batteries as well as the charge replacement capability that you get when it makes use of the TM data. The real problem that they run into is the inability to do a lot of setups from a panel that only has a few buttons.

I am interfacing a data logger to my system through the RJ-11 connector that will be able to compute a lot of things and it potentially be able to even tell me what the true capacity of the bank actually is, as well as confirm the performance of the alternator, converter, BCC and solar charge solutions. RVs have a lot more charge sources than most solar to battery to inverter stationary installations. Lots to monitor and lots to go wrong. Performance of everything in the system can be monitored and confirmed through log analysis.
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Old 03-18-2016, 11:45 AM   #10
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Those are the reasons I decided to go with the combination. That and the price is really pretty good on the SC-2030 and I was going to put in the TM-2030 anyway.

If we were full-timing and not just 'campers' I would definitely do the data logging! In fact I have thought about using it with an old laptop just to get some data on the solar availability here at the house. It won't matter that the battery is trashed on the laptop since it will be on a BIG one.

This would be a great use for the $5 rPi Zero IMO. You could use the GPIO for logging things like engine and generator run times, water pump run time, etc.
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