G'Day, I am in the throws of designing a semi off road van

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J.REEVES
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Re: G'Day, I am in the throws of designing a semi off road van

Post by J.REEVES » Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:02 pm

Hi Milton,
Very neat work looks great and very functional and as a Control Systems Engineer your skills show.

If it is the Cell Logger 8 you are buying you probably know and it is in the little manual that comes with the Cell Logger 8 but easily missed is the way the circuit works on the cell logger tripping circuit.

You must use a negative to switch as using a positive will damage the cell logger. This is shown in the manual but you could easily misinterpret the circuit.

I have found my lithium battery can start to get out off balance when the cells are fully charged. Usually cell 4 starts to climb first but is not an issue with the cell logger stopping any charging. I have now changed my solar controller and have managed to almost stop cell 4 going high. Once the charging stops the cells balance up in no time so have never needed to do any extra balancing. Also when the logger is in a trip mode I think an error is created one of the cell voltages due to the extra current draw on the earth or something like that.

I personally only charge the battery with the solar but do have the ability to charge from the vehicle or 240V charger.

JR
:razz:

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Re: G'Day, I am in the throws of designing a semi off road van

Post by Milton477 » Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:36 pm

Lance, thanks. We are confined to home for the next couple of months while my better half completes her breast cancer 'journey.

JR, thanks for the advice regarding the CellLog kit. Perhaps this is one of those occasions where the manual is best read first before blowing the thing up.

I have set my Victron Solar Controller to LifePo4 so hopefully it knows what it should be doing. I noticed when charging the batteries with the 15A mains charger that they accept 15A all the way up to 14.1V & then the amps drop off to around 4A at 14.2V.

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Re: G'Day, I am in the throws of designing a semi off road van

Post by Bussy » Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:22 am

Hi Rory, great job as always. 45,000 km huh! Geez, just cracked 1,000 km in mine. Was going to use those VSR’s myself as specs look ok and if good enough for you then good enough for me. A bit late but those CALB LifePo4 cells are cheaper from Lithium power here in Vic.

I like your third line of defence too, a machete at the ready to make a fast open circuit if things go wrong!

Good luck to your wife too. This has also played its wrenched hand on my family so all the best.

Cheers,
ALLAN
Computer Engineer. 200Series TTD Altitude SE with TAJ in tow.
Home built 21.6ft off-roader "The Taj Mah AL".
Steel Chassis, Simplicity Suspension, Aluminium Frame.
Paulownia Cabinetry, 800 W solar.
Its finished, now WE retire.

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Re: G'Day, I am in the throws of designing a semi off road van

Post by Milton477 » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:49 am

Thanks Allan. Win some, lose some with pricing eh?
At least I have the machete if anyone thinks they might need to relieve me of the batteries in the middle of the night.
The truth is, the whole install cost 10% of what it cost to build the van.

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Re: G'Day, I am in the throws of designing a semi off road van

Post by Milton477 » Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:19 pm

My budget doesn't extend to some of the automatic changeover arrangements used in vans for automatically swapping between various power supplies such as mains/generator/inverter.

To prevent the possibility of accidently connecting my inverter while simultaneously being connected to mains had to be addressed. The inverter is not of the fixed wiring variety but requires a plug. If this plug is unplugged, there is no chance of mains power meeting the inverter but the pins on the plug would be live. Some sort of changeover was needed.

20171207_150928 (Custom).jpg

I have shoehorned an inexpensive 20A selector switch into the rear of my van that switches both the Active & the Neutral lines through 3 positions, Mains, Off & Inverter so no chance of any of the mains meeting the inverter. The original main switch has been replaced with a RCD/RVD from RVDSAFE, thanks Ian for your help. This device will provide 'earth leakage type' protection while running on generator or inverter along with normal earth leakage protection on mains supply.

Put simply, if you stick your fingers in the plug while running on the inverter or generator, the RVD will trip the RCD & you should not receive the full shock that an unprotected inverter or generator can deliver.

The next project is to double the 400W of solar to fill the batteries when not travelling. I connected the tug to the van when the batteries were lust below 50% & they were taking 40A from the tug at idle. I'm thinking the days of lugging the generator around are over.
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Re: G'Day, I am in the throws of designing a semi off road van

Post by Milton477 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:10 pm

Milton477 wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:35 pm
This is the inverter I am going to use with the new LifePo4 batteries. I did not fully appreciate the size of the thing but at least it stayed cool while test running the aircon for 20 minutes.
20171109_153131 (Small).jpg
Well it let the smoke out!
20190402_144742 (Small).jpg
While trundling along the Bruce Highway, running the aircon while we travelled, I noticed that the tug had stopped charging the van batteries. The inverter was mounted on the wall above the wheel arch & I suspect the additional stress on the motherboard caused a small pc board mounted at 90deg to the motherboard to snap off. I'd say that had I mounted the inverter flat like the pic, this would not have happened.
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Re: G'Day, I am in the throws of designing a semi off road van

Post by Milton477 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:29 pm

Now these cheap inverters have increased in price so it was decided to go the whole hog & install a Victron:
20190416_161413 (Small).jpg
All 18 kg of it.
No, it's not mounted lying on it's side.

This unit can be monitored using a smart phone & the maximum available shore (mains) power can be adjusted via the phone. This means that if I am plugged into a 10A supply, I can set the Victron to 10A. If more than 10A is needed, the the batteries are used in conjunction with the shore power.
The included battery charger is good for 120A which means if my Lithiums are flat, I can have them full in around 3 hours.
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Re: G'Day, I am in the throws of designing a semi off road van

Post by KeithB » Thu Apr 18, 2019 10:02 pm

Milton, like most Victron stuff, these are excellent inverter chargers. If the unit is in a hard to reach place, you can get a remote panel for it that lets you select OFF-INVERTER-CHARGER as well as setting the maximum draw from the mains. Here's mine in situ (it's the black panel to the left of the white light switches):
Image

https://www.outbackmarine.com.au/victro ... pYEALw_wcB
My inverter charger is the little brother to yours because of space and weight limitations.
Keith

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Re: G'Day, I am in the throws of designing a semi off road van

Post by Milton477 » Sat Apr 20, 2019 5:23 pm

Thanks Keith. I have been impressed with Victron products so far. I especially like the bluetooth accessibility.

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