All-in-one + DC to DC charger (isolator) OR inverter/charger + mppt/DC to DC charger

dudedogvan

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Absolute newb here. I'm planning to install a 12v system in my van for full time living. I'm planning to use: DIY 280ah LiFEPO4 battery w/JBD BMS and 400w solar array. I would like some advice on the other components in the system. I don't think I need an inverter larger than 1000w because I just need to run a laptop.

I think it would be best for the system to be versatile in the ways I can charge the battery so I think DC in (solar), AC in (extension cord from someone's house when available), and DC in (alternator) would all be nice to have. No need for shore power with a mounted plug, I just want to have a 110v male plug I can run an extension cord to from someone's house to charge the batteries with AC.

So, from what I gather, I have 2 options: get an all-in-one MPP PIP-1012LV and add in the DC to DC charger (victron, or renogy) OR get an inverter/charger combo for AC in/out and a mppt/DC to DC combo for DC solar in and DC alternator in.

I like the idea of just buying an MPP all-in-one and adding a DC to DC charger because it seems to be more compact, simpler, and easier to wire.
Does anyone have some advice on one over the other? I think it's a great idea for versatility, but is it overkill/do I need all these options? Are there special considerations I need to make about wiring or anything else that I may be missing? Please provide any advice you feel is pertinent!

 

jbird526

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If running DC to DC charger, you need to decide how many amps. What vehicle are you building and more specifically do you know the output of your alternator? You may be limited to a single Victron Orion 18amp or able to run (2) 30amp components.

As far as a DIY batt, have you considered say an Ampere Time 300ah for @$1000 and not wait 3 months to get your EVE cells? I have had fun building my own packs but at this point unless its a very large 48volt system, not sure it's worth the trouble and especially time it takes. Just 2 cents worth. Even with 48volt may just consider server racks batts now but that is another conversation.

Was putting together different options for a friends van and this was one of the simplest/cheapest options I was thinking of if it helps.
 

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jbird526

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One thing I am not a fan of with the 1012LV is the 20amp charger limit when plugged into shore power. Seems rather limited if you need a hotshot of juice to the batts.
 

dudedogvan

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2004 Ford E150 Passenger van. 115A alternator. I planned to use the Renogy 12V 20A DC to DC charger because for my size vehicle that's what Will recommended in his video.

I was leaning towards building my own 280ah battery because:
1) If I buy EVE cells from Docan Power or Current Connected or anyone with US warehouse stock, I was under the impression I would receive them in a week or 2. Is that incorrect?
2) I can build a 280ah battery with a quality JBD BMS for ~$700 as opposed to $1030 for SOK 206ah with Low Temp protection (save ~$300 for an extra 74ah capacity)

If I use separate components, I axed the idea of using a Renogy DCC50S DC to DC charger with MPPT because the max solar input voltage it can take is 25V. I plan to use 2X 200w Rich Solar panels (400w). Each panel's Maximum Power Voltage is 20.4V. In order to satisfy the spec on the DCC50S, I would have to wire the panels in parallel leaving a difference of 4.6V. Should I be concerned with approaching the voltage limit so closely (I feel it's better to have more allowance) or is that unfounded?

If I don't use the DCC50S, I planned on buying the Rich Solar 400w kit with 40A MPPT, still using the Renogy 12V 20A DC to DC charger, and possibly the AIMS 1250w inverter/charger or the victron equivalent for AC charging.

There's I another option with the MPP all-in-one. It's the MPP 1012LV-MK with a 60A charger from shore power for ~$200 more instead of the 1012LV-MS 20A ability.

I just discovered Victron also has an all-in-one the EasySolar 12/1600/70 for ~$1400 from inverter supply. Why has this not been mentioned on the forum? Too expensive?

Now that I've seen the MPP 1012LV-MK, I may just do that with a Renogy 20A DCDC charger and call it! Comments?!?!
 

4thHorseman

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There's I another option with the MPP all-in-one. It's the MPP 1012LV-MK with a 60A charger from shore power for ~$200 more instead of the 1012LV-MS 20A ability.
Question actually.

Does the MPP 1012lv-MK allow 1000 watts of solar panels?

The MPP 1012lv-ms is only 500 watts is why I'm asking.
 

dudedogvan

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Perhaps you can use a dc2dc power brick for your laptop.
If that your only ac load?
Please link an example of DC2DC power brick. Not sure what you're suggesting.

At this point it is, but I may come up with another small ac appliance like a dehydrator, food processor, instapot, or to charge 20v drill battery, etc. that I need an inverter for. I think having one is wise for versatility.
 

Roswell Bob

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Why wouldn't you just charge your pack directly off of the alternator? I don't know anything about rolling systems so just curious.
 

dudedogvan

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Why wouldn't you just charge your pack directly off of the alternator? I don't know anything about rolling systems so just curious.
Because if/when I'm not mobile, parked somewhere (boondocking), I will be relying on my solar panels to recharge my batteries. The van will not be driving, therefore the alternator will not be generating power to charge my house batteries.

It's best for me to have a versatile setup with 3 ways to charge the house batteries if desired: 1) solar, 2) dc2dc charger (alternator), 3)AC in from an extension cord. I don't feel it's necessary to have a mounted shore power plug because I don't foresee myself paying for an RV slot.
 

John Frum

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Please link an example of DC2DC power brick. Not sure what you're suggesting.
At this point it is, but I may come up with another small ac appliance like a dehydrator, food processor, instapot, or to charge 20v drill battery, etc. that I need an inverter for. I think having one is wise for versatility.
This is a quality low wattage inverter/charger
This one has GFCI outlets
There is a hardware version if that is your preference.
 

mikefitz

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Data suggests up to 30 watts for the all in one as standby power, that's 700 watts per day. On a good solar day 400 watts of panels will deliver 1500 to 2000 watts.
My advice would be to forget the inverter, get a 12v power brick for the computer. A quality mppt controller and a 20 amp AC battery charger with any of the 30 to 60 amp dc to dc battery chargers for the rest.
By having separate parts if one fails you still charging facilities. Perhaps more expensive and time consuming to wire up but a more secure system.
It's possible with your low power requirements you only need solar. DC to DC and /or AC charging could be added later if needed.
I am reluctant to recommend any Renogy product.

Mike
 

MisterSandals

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I don't think I need an inverter larger than 1000w because I just need to run a laptop.
Can you find a “car charger” or any DC charging solution? An inverter takes DC and makes AC. The laptop “charger” is really just a AC to DC power supply (the charger is in the laptop).
Please link an example of DC2DC power brick. Not sure what you're suggesting.
How many volts and amps is your laptop “charger/brick”?
 

dudedogvan

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Data suggests up to 30 watts for the all in one as standby power, that's 700 watts per day. On a good solar day 400 watts of panels will deliver 1500 to 2000 watts.
My advice would be to forget the inverter, get a 12v power brick for the computer. A quality mppt controller and a 20 amp AC battery charger with any of the 30 to 60 amp dc to dc battery chargers for the rest.
By having separate parts if one fails you still charging facilities. Perhaps more expensive and time consuming to wire up but a more secure system.
It's possible with your low power requirements you only need solar. DC to DC and /or AC charging could be added later if needed.
I am reluctant to recommend any Renogy product.

Mike
Right on Mike and Joey! I never thought of that! I have an old macbook with the magsafe power adapter. I just found an article detailing how to build a DC magsafe power cord, ditching the AC adapter. This is much more efficient as it makes no sense to invert DC to AC just so my power adapter can convert it back to DC for the macbook. Losses. Also the all-in-one is inefficient and unnecessary due to Mike's point.

Mike, you are suggesting I have separate components (no combinations) : correct?
-quality mppt
-20amp AC charger
-30 to 60amp DC2DC batter charger

Please suggest quality mppt for 400w of panels that's not overpriced. Suggest AC charger and DC2DC too please. I still plan to build the 280ah battery with EVE cells and JBD BMS, as long as I'm correct that they won't take 3 months to get to me form Docan or Current Connected.

Joey, my largest DC loads will be a 7500k Maxxair roof fan (estimated 50ah/day), macbook (estimated 30ah/day), ICECO VL 45 12V fridge (estimated 30ah/day)

small loads are phone charging, led lights, bluetooth speaker, portable battery block, ipad, portable hotspot (estimated 34ah/day)

Total= ~145ah/day which is my maximum estimation, therefore I first thought a 200ah LiFePO4, but since have learned I can just have another 80ah for $300 less if I just assemble my own.
 

MisterSandals

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Late 2008 Macbook so it has the magsafe connection.
I thought only the MBP’s lasted that long!

Ack, I watched a couple videos for hacks and they seem to be power only, no charging.

Sometimes an inverter is the best option.

We us a 600W psw Xantrex Pro in the RV and charge/run 2 MacBook Pro’s and 2 iPhones, sometimes all at the same time.
 

fratermus

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It's best for me to have a versatile setup with 3 ways to charge the house batteries if desired: 1) solar, 2) dc2dc charger (alternator), 3)AC in from an extension cord.

My offgrid rig is set up to charge those three ways. My solution is a little different because I have less lithium capacity (100Ah) and more panel (750w). In my case it's

  • 95% of my charging - 750w of panel on a 150v 50A MPPT
  • 5% of my charging since I don't drive so much -- isolator (VSR); pulls ~30A from the 180A alternator. I would have installed a Renogy or similar 20A DC-DC but the VSR left over from my GC2 bank has been working fine.
  • 0% of my charging since I've been offgrid for a few years - shore power plug -> DIY 10A converter (24v power supply + 10A mppt controller, for reasons specific to my build in 2017)
Here's a parts list.

I don't feel it's necessary to have a mounted shore power plug because I don't foresee myself paying for an RV slot.

15A shore power ports are inexpensive and will let you plug in the extension cord without having to leave a door or window open. Rain and bugs are kept out. The ports are not just for RV park pedestals and don't have to be the 30A type. :)

Total= ~145ah/day which is my maximum estimation, therefore I first thought a 200ah LiFePO4, but since have learned I can just have another 80ah for $300 less if I just assemble my own.

Similar to my daily use, but my watts are consumed overwhelmingly in daytime. Hence my lopsided system.



I axed the idea of using a Renogy DCC50S DC to DC charger with MPPT because the max solar input voltage it can take is 25V.

IIRC the Kisae DC-DC can take 50v from the panels. Redarc looks like up to 32v. I've attempted to collect this info (and solar+alternator charging behavior) in this article. Be sure to confirm with your own reading of the specs, as I may be drunk|stupid|insane for all you know. :)

In order to satisfy the spec on the DCC50S, I would have to wire the panels in parallel leaving a difference of 4.6V. Should I be concerned with approaching the voltage limit so closely (I feel it's better to have more allowance) or is that unfounded?

Voc =~ Vmp * 1.2, so the voltage could be closer to 24.48v under entirely normal conditions. DIY folk often prefer a 20% controller input margin over Voc, which at 29.3v would blow well past 25v. I have personally seen panels blow well past spec under the right (wrong) conditions.

Working backwards a Vmp closer to 17v would be safer with the Renogy 30A/50A DC-DC. Poly panels often have lower Vmp/Voc if that helps narrow the field.
 

dudedogvan

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I thought only the MBP’s lasted that long!

Ack, I watched a couple videos for hacks and they seem to be power only, no charging.

Sometimes an inverter is the best option.

We us a 600W psw Xantrex Pro in the RV and charge/run 2 MacBook Pro’s and 2 iPhones, sometimes all at the same time.
Ha, still running after almost 14 years, and I dropped it twice out of a bed on hard floor, with the screen open (cracked for 12 out of 14 years). Using it as a power supply is fine because that's already what I do with my ac adapter at home, the laptop's batteries are shot and have been. My power audit accounts for this.
My offgrid rig is set up to charge those three ways. My solution is a little different because I have less lithium capacity (100Ah) and more panel (750w). In my case it's

  • 95% of my charging - 750w of panel on a 150v 50A MPPT
  • 5% of my charging since I don't drive so much -- isolator (VSR); pulls ~30A from the 180A alternator. I would have installed a Renogy or similar 20A DC-DC but the VSR left over from my GC2 bank has been working fine.
  • 0% of my charging since I've been offgrid for a few years - shore power plug -> DIY 10A converter (24v power supply + 10A mppt controller, for reasons specific to my build in 2017)
Here's a parts list.



15A shore power ports are inexpensive and will let you plug in the extension cord without having to leave a door or window open. Rain and bugs are kept out. The ports are not just for RV park pedestals and don't have to be the 30A type. :)



Similar to my daily use, but my watts are consumed overwhelmingly in daytime. Hence my lopsided system.





IIRC the Kisae DC-DC can take 50v from the panels. Redarc looks like up to 32v. I've attempted to collect this info (and solar+alternator charging behavior) in this article. Be sure to confirm with your own reading of the specs, as I may be drunk|stupid|insane for all you know. :)



Voc =~ Vmp * 1.2, so the voltage could be closer to 24.48v under entirely normal conditions. DIY folk often prefer a 20% controller input margin over Voc, which at 29.3v would blow well past 25v. I have personally seen panels blow well past spec under the right (wrong) conditions.

Working backwards a Vmp closer to 17v would be safer with the Renogy 30A/50A DC-DC. Poly panels often have lower Vmp/Voc if that helps narrow the field.
Thanks for all your info. Still piecing it together.
 
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