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Author Topic: Best electrical system for high consume of energy  (Read 3192 times)

Micael Guedes

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Best electrical system for high consume of energy
« on: March 29, 2017, 10:55:41 PM »
Hi,

I am making a project for a Van conversion. Here my doubt is on the electrical system. Me and my girlfriend will be living in the Van, and therefore working in there. So we will consume a lot of power. I am estimating an use of 2500-2700 watts per day.

My first idea was to put solar panels, but with this consume I would need maybe 3 solar panels. wich would be to much. Would take the entire roof. Then i thought about an generator. Would be great if I work with it on, but sometime I work during the night and a generator would be loud on a camping during the night. I could charge batteries with the generator but what count to charge the batteries is the Amps and the vast majority of generators have a low one, so would be needed to stay on for to long.

For the last I thought in have both in the Van. But this would be an extra cost.

I dont understand electrical system well, and I am trying to find the best way to do it mine so any help would be great.

Thanks :)

« Last Edit: March 29, 2017, 10:57:45 PM by Micael Guedes »

Camper_Dan

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Re: Best electrical system for high consume of energy
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2017, 03:16:01 AM »
Greetings and Welcome!

Maybe if we start from a slightly different direction, we could offer some better help.

Let's start by listing all of the items that you want to use.

It looks like you already know how many watts each thing uses, so if you can list those with each item as well, and whether we're talking about AC or DC on each item.

Anything you can get that will run on 12 volt DC rather than AC will save you in the power required department because inverters are inefficient and use 20-25%+ more power just to power themselves.

Are there car cords (plug into a cigarette lighter outlet) available for any of your goodies?

Very few full timers seem to have much success with solar panels, without the additional use of a generator, shore power, or charging their batteries while driving.

I'm assuming that you are aware of the fact that anything related to heating, cooking, or refrigeration are best handled by non electrical means unless you have shore power, with the possible exception of your refrigeration while driving.

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Micael Guedes

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Re: Best electrical system for high consume of energy
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2017, 08:33:47 PM »
Hi,

Thanks for the welcome.

I made a basic list of accessories. Most of them will be regular in any other campervan. What makes me to need more energy is my work. I will need to use 3 laptops and a monitor for 4-5 hours a day. So only this makes the Solar panel almost impossible. And all of this need the AC loads, so I think is kind of difficult to save energy.

The thing is, I would like to use the generator as few as I need. So if I could work and in the mean time he charges the battery I wouldnt need the solar panel. But I thinks this is also difficult. Maybe the best choice will be to have both.

I am still searching here.

Thanks for the reply.


Camper_Dan

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Re: Best electrical system for high consume of energy
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2017, 09:01:29 AM »
Boy, this  is a tough one.  If your figures are correct, it looks like you're going to need at least 600ah of battery capacity, which is both huge and heavy.

I'm not in love with my solutions, but here is what I would do...

A) Only stay in campgrounds which offer electricity.

B) Work only during the day when you can charge your battery & work at the same time with a generator running.  If your main draws are only for your computers & monitor, you may only need a single house battery, which could get charged via the generator, and also while driving via an isolator.

C) Charge up all of your electronics at a coffee shop or library, maybe work while they are charging too, then once charged, return to your van to continue working later.

I wouldn't call any of these ideal, but they are workable and affordable.  If you only charge your house battery while driving, and forego either solar or a generator, the savings could pay for a lot of camping in campgrounds where power is included, and you wouldn't need to spend as much up front, but could pay as you go instead.

Let me know what you think.

Cheers!
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peeela

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Re: Best electrical system for high consume of energy
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2017, 03:58:16 PM »
Lithium, while super pricey, will easily get you your 600Ah in a small, lightweight form. The added bonus of the lithium form factor is, for the weight and volume, you can use almost all the stored power. AGMís while cheap, only give you 50% usable of the label Ah.

Itís going to take me 6 months to save up for my 600Ah lithiums, but when itís all done, iíll be able to run 200Ah per day for 3 days in case of poor weather. (Including a couple of hours of aircon if needs be).

Good tip Dan, as always, on the 12V for typically AC loads. :)


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Camper_Dan

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Re: Best electrical system for high consume of energy
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2017, 07:15:50 AM »
Re: Lithium Batteries...

Lithium batteries are more marketing hype than reality.  At today's prices they just don't make good financial sense.

Too many people online tend to push for people spending big bucks to get what they think they want.  It's all too easy for them to spend somebody else's money, and possibly for their own gain as well.  Newbies don't understand about batteries, battery life, and the overall costs of having power.  People are willing to step up and spend big bucks for their dreams, but when those dreams turn out to have overly expensive reccurring  costs for things like batteries every year, their dreams frequently turn into nightmares.  Successful full timers have figured out what makes the best long term financial sense.  In the case of power, being power frugal, junkyard batteries, and an isolator, generator, or shore power are the only options that make long term financial sense.  Solar,  expensive batteries of any kind, and power hungry appliances/accessories, just don't work long term.  The people bragging about this stuff haven't had it long enough or have enough experience to give a worthwhile and accurate review of it.    Those of us with experience, and nothing to gain for offering good advice, don't recommend either solar, or any kind of expensive batteries.  We've already been there, and suffered through those expensive mistakes, and ultimately found better solutions.

Today my power needs are small, my last 120ah deep cycle battery from a junkyard that cost me $18 lasted almost 7 years, and would keep me in power for 6-7 days normally, down to about 5 days during the summer if I am running my air cooler a lot between charges.

Expensive batteries of any kind, still have a limited life span, shortened even further if charged via solar, rather than a proper charging regimen.  We are conditioned to believe that newer is better, and that you get what you pay for.  Neither is factually true.  In today's economy, prices are a reflection of greed, not quality.  After purchase of the junkyard battery mentioned above, research showed that it originally sold for over $200, and was only 1 month old.  By buying it slightly used, I saved over $180, but that isn't really the point either...  When I had solar panels, I had four $350 batteries that lasted just over a year.  That was $1400 worth of batteries that lasted a year, that I spent more time without power, than I did with it.  The system was poorly designed, and my power usage was unrealistic, in spite of the fact that it worked out fine on paper.  By lowering my power needs, and doing away with solar, I now have all the power I need, and it saves me $1400 a year that it would have continually cost me in batteries.  That's what we call true success.  I am not doing without anything, my system is just optimized for both price and  functionality.  ~$20 for several years worth of power is affordable for anybody.  No fluff, just the cold hard facts...

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