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shade avatar image

Camper Alternator/Solar System: Please Critique

Hi! I'm adding a house battery system to my pickup truck camper, and I want to confirm the basic schematic before moving forward. I do not want to combine the start & house batteries, and I do not want AC charging available for either battery. I may add an AC inverter at a later date, but that's beyond the scope of the project at this point.


I've left out fuses. switches, and other necessary additions from the diagram at this time.

Please take a look, and thanks for your help.

system designschematicssystem building
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3 Answers
Matthias Lange - DE avatar image
Matthias Lange - DE answered ·

You don't need the BatteryProtect for the charging currents. You can either connect the Orion and the MPPT directly to the VE.Bus BMS.

For the MPPT you can use the "VE.Direct non inverting remote on/off cable"

https://www.victronenergy.com/accessories/ve-direct-non-inverting-remote-on-off-cable

And for the Orion the Inverting remote on-off cable should be the right one (not 100% sure)

https://www.victronenergy.com/cables/inverting-remote-on-off-cable



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Thanks for the advice and the cable links. I'm finding that Victron has an amazing array of control options. It seems like the site doesn't readily display some products, though.

I think I'm going to stick with the BatteryProtect for disconnecting charge sources in an emergency. I realize the BMS and charger programming should keep the system from ever requiring the BP from acting, but I like the additional insurance it offers. I believe the Orion and SmartSolar both offer programming that will shut them down (or change to a low float voltage) at configurable set points, which is how I may control those inputs. If that works properly, the BMS may never have to protect the battery from an overvoltage event, but I like knowing that it can via the BP.

It's really a difference between protection (BMS + BPs) and control (programmable chargers).

Justin Cook - Bay Marine Supply USA avatar image
Justin Cook - Bay Marine Supply USA answered ·

@shade, overall I think this looks pretty fantastic... obviously the proper operation/installation of this system will hinge around all your intermediate components being just as carefully-selected; ie, using the proper cable gauge and type, using the proper circuit breakers and fuses and making sure all the lugs are properly crimped, the bolts tightened, all that kind of stuff. I literally can't count the number of times I've seen beautiful equipment shoddily installed, with low-budget knockoff breakers and poor crimps, loose bolts, runaway cable strands... *shudder*.

Trusting that you're going to install carefully and properly and use all the correct components in between these wonderful devices, I feel pretty good that this is a near-perfect little system.

In re to AC charging, have you considered just putting two IP67 12/25's in? 50A of charge into a 160Ah LFP bank is perfectly reasonable, and the IP67s are waterproof and practically bulletproof. You could install them pretty much anywhere and have that "shore power" charging readily available; I just don't believe I'd hold my breath waiting for that IP22 Smart charger to be released in 120 :-P

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Thanks for your thoughts. You're absolutely right about the quality of the system relying on more than just the major components.

I'm working out the details on wire, circuit protection, and the like now. I'll post the detailed schematic once I finish it. I'll probably use Blue Sea components, as they offer good value and are easily sourced. I have crimping tools that have been tested, and will be using high quality terminals.

I've considered the IP67 charger and may eventually add one, but I rarely camp near mains power, and my benchtop power supply can deliver 20A at home, if needed.

shade avatar image
shade answered ·

Updated Plan: 11/1/2019

With the upcoming release of the Orion-Tr Smart 12/12-30 DC-DC charger, I altered the plan. I think the 30A charger will be a good fit for my truck's 12V/130A alternator to supplement solar charging.


I already have all of the components on hand, with the exception of the Orion, which should be available early next year. If Victron releases the Blue Smart IP22 charger in 120VAC versions, I may add one for shore power, but I have a benchtop power supply charging the battery now.


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