ULTIMATE Off-Grid/Free Camping Caravan Power System | Accelerate Auto Electrics & Air Conditioning
Articles,  Blog

ULTIMATE Off-Grid/Free Camping Caravan Power System | Accelerate Auto Electrics & Air Conditioning

Want to run your air
conditioning overnight in your caravan while
camping off the grid? You heard it right, running
air con without 240 power. Keep watching and we’ll show you how. Hi there, Andrew here from Accelerate Auto
Electrics & Air Conditioning on the Sunshine Coast. Today we’re very excited
to show you through, this On The Move, No Limits caravan that we have just finished installing a power packed, Enerdrive
Lithium power system in. This caravan came to us with 3x 125Ah AGM batteries in it, and Enerdrive Combo 1600W
charger inverter, and a Projecta DCDC charger. It was only wired up and
capable of running a microwave and a couple of power points. The batteries, inverter, and DCDC charger were all too small to
run the air con system. This new setup is a custom system that is built by us, and Enerdrive, and includes two 300Ah
compact lithium batteries, an Enerdrive Combi 2000W invertor charger. The custom Enerdrive base plate. Two 40A DCDC chargers. And an Enerdrive ePRO
Plus battery monitor. The other thing we’ve done, is we’ve fitted 890 watts
of solar on the roof, and a Dometic Harrier
Inverter air conditioner. Let’s take a closer look at all of the components inside. We’ll start up top with the solar panel. The caravan already had two
120 watt panels on the roof, it also had the air con
unit, satellite dish, couple of TV antennas,
so we had to play Tetris to get all the panels there. It now has nine separate panels including the two existing
ones, totaling 890 watts. The nine solar panels flow into the Morning
Star 60 Amp controller. The whole system is installed under these seats in the rear of the van. We’ve installed two 300Ah
compact lithium batteries, giving the caravan a whopping
600Ah of lithium. That is equivalent to 850Ah
of AGM batteries. So there’s a few reasons why we use these lithium batteries
in these type of fit outs. Lithium-ion batteries have
a high energy density, and are perfect for cyclic applications. They offer savings of up
to 70% in volume and weight compared to traditional
lead acid or AGM batteries. Lithium-ion batteries also offer fast charging and discharging, high efficiency and three
times as many charging cycles, up to 1500 cycles compared to traditional
AGM lead acid batteries. To give you an example
of the weight saving, you would need to have seven 125Ah AGM batteries
installed in a caravan to get the equivalent run
time for the air con system. The weight of that many AGM batteries, would be 241 kilos, in comparison, these two lithium batteries, weigh less than a hundred kilos. Don’t forget about the space saving too, I don’t know many
caravans that could fit all these AGM batteries
underneath the seat. A feature that these
lithium batteries have that is exclusive to Enerdrive
is the Active Cell Balancing. In layman’s terms, the battery
is made up of individual cells, and over time, these cells get out of balance with each other. Enerdrive has a magic black box, that allows for automatic balancing of the cells during charging,
discharging, and storage. Any cells with high voltage density will transfer energy to the
lower cells in the pack, which will increase
longevity of the batteries and limit the waste of stored energy. Down here, we have the Enerdrive ePRO Combi
2000 Watt Charger Inverter. It is an all in one
combination of a DC to AC pure sine wave inverter, and
advanced multi-stage charger, and a high speed AC transfer switch. The main task of the ePRO
Combi Inverter Charger is to act as an uninterruptible
AC power supply or UPS. In case of disconnecting
the van from 240 volt, the ePRO Combi immediately
stops charging the battery, releases the AC transfer switch,
and activates an inverter to take over supply of
all the connected loads. Basically, this inverter is what runs all the 240 volt appliances like the air conditioning system, the microwave and the power points. So you could pretty much plug
anything into this thing, like kettle, toaster, coffee maker, hair straightener, even
the washing machine. So basically this charger
will charge the batteries even when it’s connecting
power supply into 240 volt, so it’s got load sharing. When free camping and you’re
not plugged into 240 power, the inverter takes the power
stored in the batteries, turns it into 240 volt,
to run the appliances. Next up, we’ll take a closer look at these two 40A DC to DC chargers. The Enerdrive DC to DC battery charger is a fully automatic multi-stage, multi-input battery charger with the ability to charge from either alternator link to a battery, or via the solar panel. In this instance, we’re only
using it as a DCDC charger, because we’re gonna use a separate Morning Star solar regulator. The reason for that is,
so when you’re driving, we can charge from both the
Anderson plug alternator, and from the solar panels. The reason why we’ve got
two of these DCDC chargers is ’cause, we’ve packed
them parallel together, we can get up to 80A
of charging, while driving. So basically, these batteries
can take a lotta hit, and these chargers can give it to ’em. The Anderson plug connects
straight to these DCDC chargers, and they manage the whole lithium profile. We’ve worked closely with the
team in Enerdrive in Brisbane to have this system fully customised to suit this caravan and customer’s needs. Prior to the van coming in, all the measurements are sent to Enerdrive and they build a battery
management system connection plate, in their factory, in Brisbane. This is basically a plate
that is built in the factory and shipped to us for installation. All the individual circuits
are fused and clearly labelled and that this handles all
the charging, discharging, and fusing for the system. Over here on the wall, we’ve mounted the ePRO Plus
battery monitor and alarm. The battery monitor shows
you the true state of charge of your system, it’s like a
fuel gauge for your battery, telling you how long until
the system shuts down, the hours and minutes, and also the current
load going in and out. The ePRO Plus can monitor
up to three battery banks. We also have set up two alarms, the first will shut the
system down at 24% capacity, the second, is to shut the AC off when the batteries get
down to 35% capacity. That allows the fridges and
all the other important things to keep running overnight, once the air con shuts down, so that no problems happen. We can expand it up to
another three alarms, so for example we could turn
the washing machine off at 30%, or lights at 28% or something like that. So all in all, this is
a pretty epic system, it’s not often I geek out. And one for the serious tourers out there who want the creature comforts, powered appliances like
you’d have in your home. If you are interested in upgrading to a lithium system for your caravan, or have any questions about getting your caravan set up for free camping, feel free to comment below, send us an email, or give
us a call on 1300 227 353. Thanks.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *