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Old 09-05-2017, 08:37 PM   #1
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Default Lithium Upgrade Xplorer 230

Well, I've been busy working on various projects on the Xplorer.

I changed out the old Heart inverter to a modern Magnum 2800. Heart at some point was acquired by Xantrex and they still make the very same 1500 watt inverter. Surely it's guts are more modern, but it looks the same to me.

Since the Magnum has a CC/CV profile, upgrading to lithium was easy. Basically the inverter was a plug and play swap. The remote was too as the old one also used a telephone type cable for communications.

I had four Stark drop-in lithiums from an earlier project, totalling 500 AH. The existing battery box under the steps could not be modified easily, plus in that location is was getting a lot of heat from the exhaust. Since this van didn't have the generator, there is an extra outside compartment with tray that would be great for battery placement. Upside, it's technically inside the heated/cooled interior of the van, downside it's a pretty far wiring run.

So in the existing battery box I installed a switch for the positive lead, and a bus bar to connect negative leads to. Then I ran 4/0 cable (20ft) to the new battery compartment. I placed a second switch at the batteries for convenience. I connected the batteries together with 4/0 lead as well.

I started my solar project. I got the 180 watt Victron kit from AM Solar. Mounted the panel and the combiner box on the roof and routed the cables down into a closet. Probably bought a more robust kit than I needed, but I can decide later if I want to add another panel, there is certainly capacity for it. This kit has the bluetooth dongle so you can monitor your solar output and settings on your smartphone, which should be handy.
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Old 09-05-2017, 11:15 PM   #2
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You make it look easy. Nice parts. No power worries now!
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Old 09-05-2017, 11:30 PM   #3
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The screen you show on the Magnum is the internal amp measurement one. Do you have the BMK battery monitor on it, with the shunt, so you can get accurate readings and control from it, as well as full battery monitoring? We have found the internal readings from our Magnum to be quite a ways off from the shunt based measurements with the BMK.
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Old 09-05-2017, 11:35 PM   #4
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I haven't gotten the BMK on this one yet - I have it on my bus. I hadn't had much luck with it controlling charging via SOC, as the counter needs periodic resetting.

I do have a Victron 702 I may use to just monitor with.

If I rewire so that I can run the AC off the inverter, then I may want to set up something more elaborate to monitor. If not, then my means are modest enough that controlling on voltage is adequate.
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Old 09-05-2017, 11:57 PM   #5
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The main benefit of the shunt control on the charging is on the end of charge termination. It was originally for lead acid cells, but it will also allow you to terminate to full shutoff based on amps and volts, so would be very good for lithium to stop before totally full, which seems to be the newer recommendation. The charger will restart a charge cycle off of a setpoint, which is usually voltage. With no chance of overcharge, or for lithium getting all the way to 100% all the time, it can be set to run a charge cycle quite frequently if sitting on shore power.

The monitor SOC should reset itself automatically at every full charge cycle, where it determines full based on the amps and volts ending points for the charging. Once it determines the batteries have hit 100% full, it will either go to float or shutoff depending on the mode settings, and reset the meter to 100% SOC. You really should never need to reset it manually, unless you want to watch for a particular reason, and then you would use the secondary AH counter which can be manually reset any time and doesn't affect the main monitor readings.
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Old 09-06-2017, 03:32 AM   #6
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Well, with the standard remote, you can set the shutoff based on amperage going in. Currently I have it set to stop at 15 amps in. Recharge set to 12.1 volts.
Not perfect, nor exact, but it seems to work pretty well.

I found the BMK to loose track of where it was and would have to reboot it basically every now and then. Could be if you aren't charging to 100%, then the counter never resets.

My preference would be to use the range 20-90%.

Just not convinced it's worth the extra $500+ for the advanced remote and the BMK over what I'm currently doing.
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Old 09-07-2017, 03:10 PM   #7
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The victron solar controller is feeding back a higher voltage than the Magnum's remote - about .15 volts higher. Could be the difference in the cable run.

I decided to order the advanced remote & bmk. Found it for $400. Found an easy way to run the network cable back to the inverter, so not too tough an install.
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Old 09-08-2017, 02:01 PM   #8
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If one is measuring voltage without a shunt, is the measurement 'precise' (arrows all hit the same spot, but not the bullseye) but not 'accurate' (bullseye)? If the measurement was precise, you could get decent information by adjusting it by an offset.
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Old 09-10-2017, 08:27 PM   #9
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Got my shunt installed. Routing the cable was much easier than I thought. They only give you 10 feet of network cable, so you can't be too far from your inverter. I ended up mounting the control box inside the van and using the 5 feet of blue/orange signal cable to make it all work. Unfortunately, they use an ethernet cable with an RJ11 connector instead of the standard RJ45 connector, so you can't just use a longer cable.

So all my hard projects are complete - new inverter, new solar, lithium battery bank, LED lighting. All that's left is some cosmetic projects and mounting my LED TV.

I may want to do something with my alternator charging to get a bit more output. Not sure yet what is possible on the Dodge 360. I believe it only has a 130 amp alternator and some positively ancient solenoids and an isolator. I may post some pictures and see if I can solicit some advice.
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Old 09-10-2017, 10:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wincrasher View Post
Unfortunately, they use an ethernet cable with an RJ11 connector instead of the standard RJ45 connector, so you can't just use a longer cable.
Ethernet crimp tools are available at Home Depot. Not terribly expensive or hard.
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