Drovers new Rig - "Big Mal"

Drover

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Nov 7, 2013
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So far this trip Big Mal has been going well, pots and pans slider bounced its door off on the dirt, an easy fix thankfully, dirt suppression worked well when I remembered to put newspaper over door vent ..... power supply has been great, a month so far and just sun powered, the portable has hardly been used and when I plugged it in to sons Ute to run his fridge it had a fault but later I discovered a dry solder joint, 9 years till it let go...now sorted and doing well........ New fridge is working as good as a compressor job, proper insulation of cabinet makes a hell of a difference, something most vans lack........Probably clock up 3K km this trip, good wear trial for new tyres....
 

Drover

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Well unhitched and parked up at home, diesel heater got a bit of work coming home, about 7 lts worth and the addition of some Fuel Doctor has seemed to got it running better, probably gave the insides a good clean out, runs quieter heats up quicker .................. Might do a reconfig of panels on roof if it ever stops raining, adjust mounting so water can't pool on them and away from AC shadow..... 3500km trip this time and mostly towing, covered in dirt and not getting a wash until the place dries out, been a swamp at home since Xmas so far ................................... Also contemplating air bags in the rear springs of the Jeep as WDH is giving me the sh*ts and would save about 30kgs or so, only need it to take a bit of load of the Nivomat shocks and hold off the porpoising on some of our lovely QLD roads such as around the Darling Downs/Maranoa, sea sick tabs are needed on some of them..........

Big Mal is 13 years old this year, racked up a lot of Kms in that time, as usual a good dose of TLC in coming weeks, might just get the spray polish now though can't handle the hand polishing nowadays ...............
 

Drover

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Hey Ian I put airbags in my jeep ran them at around 10-15 psi no WDH and performed well over the course of 3 vans

Its getting serious thought Dave, just have to drill through three panels to run the line but they sound like a big pain as the first one needs to be 19mm so a sizer will be needed then the other 2 at 13mm need to be angled, so should be fun to do........................... getting someone to do it is about the same price of the units so it will be DiY..................
 

Drover

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PS I bought mine from Michigan truck spares back then $100 delivered in around a week
Thats right I recall talking to you about it and even by then the price had risen, about $400 for a set now for Airbag Man HD kit.... going with them means they are local and I can bash on a desk ......... Been thinking if the Sachs Nivomatt self levelling shocks fail I will be up for a grand or so to replace them so if I chuck some bags on, set up to take a bit of the load from the shocks at least if the shocks go I can fit some gas shocks without any drama, I have already replaced the springs and front struts ages ago to give it a lift, so not relying on the original soft ride rubbish.
 
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Drover

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Big Mal has been in hibernation for a couple of weeks as Ive been doing other stuff, since going away for a "coupl a days" next week, started on some pre flight checks, instantly found no power, battery at 11 point something, the Epever had shut the system down ................... Some idiot had been doing some maintenance and left the shower lights on and possibly some others, solar was shut down because of lithium not liking being at 100% all the time so before everything went to ZERO totally shut down the show ............................. Problem was it has been heavy overcast the last 2 days here so it wasn't getting charged quickly even so the Epver solar reg has done a fantastic job of sucking some juice out of the sky, even with the portable set up, 520w it was mostly 5amp with the odd double digit when the sun did pop out, about 1400 this arvo we got full charge, then the sun came out in all its glory................ so I fired up the diesel heater to test it while the sun shined ...................... Nice to know the system does work, might just buy a 240v charger for lithium, its on the list .........................
 

Boots in Action

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Big Mal has been in hibernation for a couple of weeks as Ive been doing other stuff, since going away for a "coupl a days" next week, started on some pre flight checks, instantly found no power, battery at 11 point something, the Epever had shut the system down ................... Some idiot had been doing some maintenance and left the shower lights on and possibly some others, solar was shut down because of lithium not liking being at 100% all the time so before everything went to ZERO totally shut down the show ............................. Problem was it has been heavy overcast the last 2 days here so it wasn't getting charged quickly even so the Epver solar reg has done a fantastic job of sucking some juice out of the sky, even with the portable set up, 520w it was mostly 5amp with the odd double digit when the sun did pop out, about 1400 this arvo we got full charge, then the sun came out in all its glory................ so I fired up the diesel heater to test it while the sun shined ...................... Nice to know the system does work, might just buy a 240v charger for lithium, its on the list .........................
I would have thought that the solar controller would have (should have!!) kicked in when voltage dropped to the low voltage setting , somewhere around the 12.0 volt mark as there is only 0.5 volt difference between a fully charged lithium and a "flat'" lithium with less than 10% charge. It may have done so, but as there was a continuous draw of lights etc (left on by some unthinking person???!!!) for continuous 24 hour periods, night and day, there would be insufficient charge going in through the day to cover the draw down power through the night and still have some power left over to provide charge to flat battery. Does the lithium battery need to be "woken up" if it is left in a charged state for a period??? Will have to do some more research on that situation.
 
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Drover

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I had the solar shut down so no charging happening at all, when I saw the flashing warning sign and 11.** or something I just went and fired up the panels, the lights being led might have taken awhile to draw it down but it was at 13.2 or there abouts when I did the maintenance and also fired up the TV and Vast to keep the log on current so would have chewed a bit of power, then a couple of weeks and some cold days wouldn't have helped.... Now all charged up even though it took 2 days, a rather good effort from the Epever how it managed to suck something with all the cloud cover ......................

The only problem with the lithium so far is not keeping them on charge all the time means I have to make sure I shut down the load as well when I turn the panels off, at least then it sits happily for months, its just flicking a breaker off for the panels and a button for the load, "old timers" ??????? ............

This batteries BMS discharge cut off is actually 10v but I set the Epever to cut the load at 11.5v or maybe 12v ???? will double check, I thought 10 a tad low and it seems to have worked, not sure how many lights were on as the leds are push button anyway good test of the system ..... Does make me think a mains charger might be an idea but really like my old charger a few hundred dollars sitting around doing nothing though it will provide 12v to van if needed but then need some mains power........... better carry a dolphin battery so I can keep the fridge running on gas.
 
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Boots in Action

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Mar 13, 2017
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I had the solar shut down so no charging happening at all, when I saw the flashing warning sign and 11.** or something I just went and fired up the panels, the lights being led might have taken awhile to draw it down but it was at 13.2 or there abouts when I did the maintenance and also fired up the TV and Vast to keep the log on current so would have chewed a bit of power, then a couple of weeks and some cold days wouldn't have helped.... Now all charged up even though it took 2 days, a rather good effort from the Epever how it managed to suck something with all the cloud cover ......................

The only problem with the lithium so far is not keeping them on charge all the time means I have to make sure I shut down the load as well when I turn the panels off, at least then it sits happily for months, its just flicking a breaker off for the panels and a button for the load, "old timers" ??????? ............

This batteries BMS discharge cut off is actually 10v but I set the Epever to cut the load at 11.5v or maybe 12v ???? will double check, I thought 10 a tad low and it seems to have worked, not sure how many lights were on as the leds are push button anyway good test of the system ..... Does make me think a mains charger might be an idea but really like my old charger a few hundred dollars sitting around doing nothing though it will provide 12v to van if needed but then need some mains power........... better carry a dolphin battery so I can keep the fridge running on gas.
Just small point Ian. Your MPPT (Epever?) solar controller DOES NOT "suck any power from the sky"!!! What it really does is "suck up ALL the available energy" generated by the SOLAR Panels. By combining any current generated by the solar panels (no matter how small!) with the solar panel charging voltage, your Epever is able to convert ALL the electrical energy into maximum current at the optimum charging voltage for your battery charging and to provide power to the electrical loads' without wasting any energy. Yes, a bit pedantic I know! But that is how MPPT controllers work.
Incidentally, your controller would show total amp hours IN and OUT over that period, so that will give you details of what happened.
The following links may provide some info for you:

IMPORTANT: Note that even when down to only 14% capacity state of charge, VOLTAGE is still 12.8 volts, so you need to set your MPPT solar controllers to start charging, and not letting voltage drop lower before starting recharging. So very different to charging AGM batteries! Printout of chart is attached.
 

Drover

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Server is causing me some headaches, so will try to resent LiPo SOC chart later.


Not to worry @Boots in Action I have all that detail, pretty well on top of my controller as I had to write the settings for the lithium into it, I could have flashed it with the lithium info but that can be a frightful experience if a bit of code is wobbly, so I wrote it in ...................................... I think saying that my Epever is sucking power from the sky is a lot easier BUT when my solar panels are shut down the Epever is just a fancy battery monitor ...............
 
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Drover

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Big Mal has a stable mate for a few days while I fit a diesel heater to this little New Age Expanda, its a cutie even has an ensuite......................

I will also go over the settings for lithium on the Epever @Boots in Action, just to make sure things are what they should be................



Well there would be a pic here of a small van but it keeps coming up as a Server Error ..............
 
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Drover

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The little van job completed a day an a half to fit, figuring out a fuel tank rack and construction was the time consumer, eventually got it primed and away it went, so I was very pleased then ..................... not a lot of room to fit things underneath the little bugga either............... that will be the last work I will do on a van other than mine, I'm just not up to crawling around anymore ...............................................................