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Old 06-10-2024, 08:09 PM   #21
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So I got a 300ah lithium battery and changed the solar charge controller over to lithium. I know my converter is not lithium compatible but figured the solar would top it off. Problem is I tested to see how long Iíd last on battery just running fridge in the driveway. Looked like Iíd make it about 4 days. These were also 4 days of very direct sun. Felt like I should make it a little longer. Anyways, I plugged in after my test and like I expected converter only charged battery to about 85%. Well its been plugged in for a couple of days of full sunlight and the battery shows about 97% during sunlight but once the sun goes down its back at 85%. Doesnít seem like battery is topping off at all. Is there any way to test if solar is actually getting to the battery?
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Old 06-10-2024, 09:37 PM   #22
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Have you added another 190w solar panel? A flat rooftop panel can only produce its max. amps at noon at this time of year with the sun directly overhead. That's why a portable panel that can be set at the optimum sun angle is useful all the time, not just when parked in shade.

In RMNP, you should have full days of sun, with the possibility of PM showers. Optimum sun angle for Boulder, CO (the closest I could get to RMNP) in June is 74 degrees from vertical and oriented due south.

So, a portable panel has a chance to far outperform your rooftop panel. A rule of thumb is to have twice the wattage of panels as the Ah of your batteries. So you may need 400w of panels for 200A of batteries or 600w for 300A. That's due to the inefficiency of flat rooftop panels. I have 450w for my 2-100A LiFePO4 batteries, but 100w of that is a single portable panel. It's amazing how many more amps I get when I optimize that portable panel's angle and orientation.

BTW, I have a blog on RV boondocking campsites in the Colorado mountains HERE. You might like to take a look at it before you leave home. I have lived, worked, and camped in Colorado for 60 years, so have been everywhere you will be multiple times. If you have questions, PM me.
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Old 06-10-2024, 09:41 PM   #23
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2023 rpod 190

Why not just run the fridge on propane? We just came home from 5 days using gas for the fridge batteries and solar for the lights and water pump. Had no issues, batteries never went below 75٪.
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Old 06-10-2024, 09:44 PM   #24
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Solar should be topping off your lithium to 14.2 volts, at least that is what my Victron info shows me. I have a Norcold 18 cf and the cooling fans run off the 12v.
See attachments for infoÖ
This matches my monitor infoÖ
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Old 06-10-2024, 09:58 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by EMace View Post
Hi all. I just bought a new to me 2022 Shamrock 233S. Been reading threads on here like crazy. We are leaving for a trip to Rocky Mountain NP in two weeks where we will be 4-5 nights without electric hookup. Currently we just have the one 190w solar panel, one 12v 85ah battery and the original solar charge controller. We do not plan to be very power hungry as we will be out most of the day hiking but want to mainly just be able to run the fridge for those 4-5 days as well as the water pump when we need it and minimal usage of lights. I tested the battery in the driveway from full charge at 8pm only running fridge and only made it about 18 hours before battery was about 20-25% (there was essentially 0 sun considering it was over night and heavy cloud cover the next day).

My question here is what upgrades might get me to last the lets say 4 days without shore power?

My first thought is upgrade to a 300ah LiFePO4 battery. If I only do this, is it a pretty much just swap out the batteries situation and changing the battery type on the solar charge controller?

Second thought is adding another solar panel. I know they are not a miracle energy source but again we are not power hungry and just looking to make it around 4 days running the fridge.

If I did just the battery upgrade or both would that get me those 4 days do you think? If I did one or both of those upgrades would I need to upgrade the solar charge controller and is that a pretty easy switch out as well ie just changing the panel in the wall?

Iím new to this and any help would be greatly appreciated!
A generator to charge the batteries would be the easiest solution, if where you will be camping allows it.

Also add another battery or 2 would help, but your solar will never charge 2 or 3 batteries even all day in sun.
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Old 06-10-2024, 10:04 PM   #26
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I opted to make my own solar "suitcase" with 2 - 100watt panels:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
A 40 amp Charge controller:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
I oversized the controller so I can add more panels in the future, if necessary.
Teamed those with 2 -100ah LiFePo4 batteries.
For transport, the panels can stand on their long side, in my side storage compartment. Batteries are installed under the bed, so warm and secure.
I have not stress tested the set up yet, but the solar panels will charge up my batteries very quickly and we are not power hungry users.
I opted for building the suitcase to save some money vs the pre-made options.
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Old 06-10-2024, 10:07 PM   #27
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Emace:
I would follow the recommendations by fanrgs. I have 400w of solar for 200a of batteries. Unlike fanrgs, I have my mounted on roof no portable. I havenít seen the need yetÖ

fanrgs:
Just left Central City area after 8 days beautiful. I will be in touch for future CO visitsÖ
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Old 06-10-2024, 10:09 PM   #28
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Why not just run the fridge on propane? We just came home from 5 days using gas for the fridge batteries and solar for the lights and water pump. Had no issues, batteries never went below 75٪.
I would if I had a propane fridge. Unfortunately it seems like a lot of new models are coming with 12v only fridges.
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Old 06-10-2024, 10:19 PM   #29
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For the benefit of readers who DO have an electric/propane fridge. I have found that a lithium battery is NOT essential to boondocking. I understand this fridge is an option for the 233S, but I assume replacement would be an eye-popping expense. and so I just recommend to others to go with this option in the first place. As others on this thread have said, you can easily go 4-5 nights boon-docking with two good lead batteries, using just the water pump and minimal use of the LED lights.
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Old 06-10-2024, 10:22 PM   #30
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The manufacturers are not designing the systems big enough for the 12v refrigs.
You have enough battery just need that extra solar to get you through…
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Old 06-10-2024, 10:27 PM   #31
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The manufacturers are not designing the systems big enough for the 12v refrigs.
You have enough battery just need that extra solar to get you through…
Could you take a look at my comment at the top of the second page here? I’m afraid the solar is not making it to my battery because it’s been plugged into shore power for at least 2 days of full sun and the battery doesn’t seem to be getting topped off. Any ideas of what could be wrong? Is this normal with only 1 190w panel? Any way to test if solar is getting to battery?
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Old 06-10-2024, 11:06 PM   #32
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Could you take a look at my comment at the top of the second page here? Iím afraid the solar is not making it to my battery because itís been plugged into shore power for at least 2 days of full sun and the battery doesnít seem to be getting topped off. Any ideas of what could be wrong? Is this normal with only 1 190w panel? Any way to test if solar is getting to battery?
Page numbers here are based on a user-selected option for number of posts on a page. Mine is set to 40... so I'm still on page 1. Please refer to your post by its post number.
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Old 06-10-2024, 11:29 PM   #33
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Old 06-11-2024, 06:14 AM   #34
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So I got a 300ah lithium battery and changed the solar charge controller over to lithium. I know my converter is not lithium compatible but figured the solar would top it off. Problem is I tested to see how long Iíd last on battery just running fridge in the driveway. Looked like Iíd make it about 4 days. These were also 4 days of very direct sun. Felt like I should make it a little longer. Anyways, I plugged in after my test and like I expected converter only charged battery to about 85%. Well its been plugged in for a couple of days of full sunlight and the battery shows about 97% during sunlight but once the sun goes down its back at 85%. Doesnít seem like battery is topping off at all. Is there any way to test if solar is actually getting to the battery?
Is your inverter turned off? An idle inverter will consume as much power as your 12V fridge, and your solar may simply not be keeping up with the demand.
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Old 06-11-2024, 06:38 AM   #35
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Is your inverter turned off? An idle inverter will consume as much power as your 12V fridge, and your solar may simply not be keeping up with the demand.
Yes, the inverter has been off.
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Old 06-11-2024, 07:06 AM   #36
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Yes, the inverter has been off.
You're going to need a shunt monitor to have better insight into what's happening. My 300Ah battery will easily run the 12V fridge for 4 or 5 days with no solar at all. Add minimal solar input during cloudy weather or camping in heavy shade and we're good indefinitely. With full sun your smaller solar should be enough.

You need a shunt to see just how much current is going into your battery and more importantly to see what the base current (parasitic current) of your system is when there's no solar.
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Old 06-11-2024, 08:40 AM   #37
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Reading back from the beginning of this thread... you've never stated which model of solar charge controller you have, nor which model of inverter.

Does your new battery have Bluetooth? I presume that's how you are knowing the SoC percentages. Will the BT tell you the charge current flowing into the battery? I would agree if you're keeping the converter online then it should be powering the fridge while the SCC is topping off the battery. How much current is the battery receiving in full sun, if you're able to see that?

The converter you have may also bring the Li battery to a full charge, if you repeatedly cycle the converter power. Resetting the converter will restart a bulk charge timer, and the WFCO bulk charge voltage for lead-acid is high enough to do the job for Li. This may help determine if you can get the battery to 100% for your testing - I'm not suggesting to live with always resetting the converter for normal shore power operation.
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Old 06-11-2024, 08:41 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by EMace View Post
So I got a 300ah lithium battery and changed the solar charge controller over to lithium. I know my converter is not lithium compatible but figured the solar would top it off. Problem is I tested to see how long I’d last on battery just running fridge in the driveway. Looked like I’d make it about 4 days. These were also 4 days of very direct sun. Felt like I should make it a little longer. Anyways, I plugged in after my test and like I expected converter only charged battery to about 85%. Well its been plugged in for a couple of days of full sunlight and the battery shows about 97% during sunlight but once the sun goes down its back at 85%. Doesn’t seem like battery is topping off at all. Is there any way to test if solar is actually getting to the battery?
what are you using to test /read the charge level?
Is your battery bluetooth or do you have a shunt.

Your Converter should get the battery to 100% given enough time.
measure the output of your converter with the BATTERY disconnected
it should read close to 23.8v

How much solar panels you got?
200w or less will only be a trickle charger
More solar will work much better

I have 200ah battery and 740w solar
battery is charged back up every day... by around 2pm

simple test would be to unplug shore power and watch the battery via bluetooth or shunt to see if it is getting charged and at what RATE
if you got fridge and other stuff ON during the charge... the "load" will slow down the charging
example.... 12v system
10 amp load panel producing 10 amps = nothing left for battery
7 amp load panel producing 10 amps = 3 amps for battery
0 amp load panel producing 20 amps = 20 amps going to battery

300ah battery heavily discharged to 10% and getting 20amps from solar will take 13 hours (2 days)

While camping... my 12v usage for fridge furnace and lights ,water pump (normal camping) was about 20-25% of battery... so each day the solar would top it up because it is NOT trying to charge a heavily depleted battery
The extra battery is for "reserve capacity" for rainy days

For extended rainy days..... be prepared to use a small generator or to a 120v power source (Mooch dock from a garage)

you need to know your systems sizes otherwise you will be guessing and experimenting a lot.
Power you use each night say 440w? has to be replaced within about 5-6 hours good charging window.

440w / 5hrs = 88w per hour 100w panel laying flat would not work (realistically)
200w panel would be OK
400w of panels would be max for a standard 30amp controller
so I would go with 400w as this will pretty much make it worry free and can accommodate some days/nights of higher usage
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Old 06-11-2024, 09:03 AM   #39
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The first commenter mentioned also needing to change the power converter to work with LiFePO. I figured out how to change the inverter over but canít figure if I need to do the converter or if itís auto? It is the WFCO wf-8955pec OEM part thatís standard in the 2022 Shamrock 233s. Any idea if I need to do anything with that?
The on-board "converter" will only charge your battery when you're on shore or generator power. Follow the folks who recommend upgrading to the "-AD" versions of your converter (aka power center) which are capable of fully charging a LiFePO4 battery. Consider a "drop-in" replacement model which will essentially "upgrade" your current model. It will simplify the job rather than having to make modifications to your trailer to account for a different model with different dimensions which will require more customization. I'd also consider increasing the "Amps" of the replacement model will provide to allow a quicker charge rate on your newer higher capacity batteries.
Your solar charge controller (SCC) also needs to be LiFePO4 capable to fully charge your replacement battery quickly to full charge. Also carefully consider the Amps a replacement SCC will provide. Remember the basic equation watts=volts * amps to get in the correct ballpark. So, basically, a 100 watt, 12v solar panel will generate about 8 amps (100 watts /12 v = 8.3 amps). If you have full sunlight on the panel (facing the sun directly, not laying flat on your trailer roof) it will produce 8 amp-hours of power per hour . If you have a 100 amp-hour battery it will take at least 12 hours to fully recharge your battery that has been totally discharged. That is sort of a baseline to consider. The gotchas are:
  • you won't get full power all day
  • probably plan on 4-6 hours of "sun power" per day if you move and position your panels to follow the sun
  • clouds, trees, buildings, mountains between you and the sun
My suggestion is get more panels. I have 400 watts flat on the roof and 200 watts of moveable panels on a 30' cable.
Get a solar controller which will utilize the full output of your solar panels (In my case, 600watts / 12v ==> 50 amp SCC minimum). Also getting the MPPT type of SCC (not PWM) will be a more efficient producer of charge power.
Also, I don't know if anyone referenced the "amp-hour" capacity rating of Lead Acid (LA) batteries vs LiFePO4 batteries. Lead acid batteries should never be drained below 50% of their power capacity (voltage should never go below 12v) otherwise the LA battery will be damaged permanently. A LiFePO4 battery can essentially be drained to 0% of its capacity (the battery's on board Battery Management System should protect you here).
So, a 100 amp-hour LiFePO4 battery has the same effective power storage capacity as a 200 amp-hour (100 amp-hour available) LA battery.

Carefully consider your choice of campsites. My choices of campgrounds in Glacier NP a few years ago of Apgar and Many Glacier yielded beautiful campsites, but zip for sun for solar charging. I carry a 2000 Watt generator that I needed to use to recharge my batteries. Consider the value of the food in you refrigerator for this investment.
I think RV manufacturers should have their hands slapped for providing 12v only refrigerators. They should always provide an "upgrade" option to customers to have propane refrigerators for those of us who plan on boondocking which require very little 12v power to operate. I'm glad that I purchased our unit before the move to 12v refrigerators.
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Old 06-11-2024, 09:38 AM   #40
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Boondocking Upgrades

We have a 2019 Roo 233s and boondock quite a bit .I have 2 golf cart batteries, A Victron battery monitor, a 200watt Renogy solar suitcase and 2 Champion 2000 watt generators that I can run in Parallel if we need to use the AC on occasion. The problem we had was with the onboard converter that charges the batteries. It had a WFCO 8955 which is supposed to do a 3 stage charge rate, but in use, would only do bulk charge for about 5 minutes then go to normal charge at only about 5 Amps. Would take 10 hours to charge the batteries even with solar panels and generator running.
I replaced it with a Progressive Dynamics PD4655 and made a world of difference. It will now go to around 25 amps or more and stay there until the batteries are nearly full charge. It also works with LiFePO4 batteries and has a remote "wizard" switch to put it in full bulk charge at any time you want. Its not that hard to install yourself as its a direct replacement. It doesn't mater how much power you have available if the converter wont charge the batteries properly. You might do a search on this as there are quite a few threads on this.
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