Van Build

  • I am about to start a new build in an 06 sprinter. planning on only running a maxair roof vent a 12v fridge and a few lights. I have a small inverter that I will only use ocasionaly for computer charging. can I get away with this system and one 100amp hr battery? or is 2 batterys and 2 panels a must??

  • @NickG ,tradman good to see you here.

    Those 12v fridges chew some power as do charging laptops.

    Panels are cheap on eBay, 2 100 watt solar panels ,a decent charge controller and the biggest Interstate deep cycle battery will do a good job.

    Probably run you 350.

    It is a tried and true system.

  • @wilbeer

    Seems like some good info there @wilbeer

    Don't have experience with van conversions or solar stuff but may I suggest going with deep cell "coil" type battery rather than traditional "plate". During my travelin' man days I logged a lot of washboard miles. The vibration was hell on batteries. Various premium brands typically made about half their warranty period before a plate would rattle loose and they'd short out.

    Got tipped to Optima Batteries and installed a red. The premium was worth it. Made warranty and then some. An Optima Yellow or similar might be a worth considering if you log many miles on dirt roads and such.

  • ordered panels and charger. just going to run a 12v fridge, celing fan but not while sleeping, and a few led lights for reading. haven't decided on a battery yet. can get 2 deep cycle maring/rv 100 amphr batteries from autozone for $99.00 ea. don't look as cool and spill proof as the yellow thing that is only 75amp hrs and a buck 50 more than the 2 100amp marine jobs...

  • I could not agree more Nick ,Optima batteries are probably good ,but,way overpriced vs ,well,all batteries.

    Batteries are going away as soon as you purchase one.
    Interstate srm27 deep cycle batteries have worked great in both my house and vans.

    I do not work for them.

    The srm27 costs 104 each.

    They have a 2 year warranty and if they are done they give you 15 bucks for the core,not nothing.

    I use a Morningstar SunSaver 10 charge controller for this system,up to 3 batteries.

    Nice Sprinter,man.

  • Nick, look into getting two 6V golf cart batteries from Costco. Good warranty, and the Cost Vs Quality compared to the industry standard Trojan battery is favorable.

    This is a much better system than the standard fake deep cycle battery sold at auto part stores, Walmarts, etc... Look into it.

  • I have been living
    off grid for 4 years now , I own 6 JRE -200 RE Trojan batteries. They run the majority of stuff in my place. They are the industry standard,for sure.

    I have 2 seperate arrays that run my lighting and electronics,they all run on Interstate srm27s and do really well.

    I agree Russ ,Walmart,Autozone stuff is ,crap.

  • autozone batteries run all my rigs and keep my 67 dump truck plowing all winter.... may be crap but what if it works just fine for my modest needs. 2 led lights, a fan and a fridge... heck I have heard from folks who run more straight off their alternator without even having soler..

  • not shure what the deal is with 2 6v batteries? how do you wire it?

  • Deep Cycle batteries are a bit different ,I am sure their regular auto batteries are decent enough.
    The difference is in amp hour capacity, not cranking amps. Most auto batteries do not even list their amp hour rating.

  • @NickG

    You would wire them in series.

    I've lived off grid bitd. Had a great view of the ocean and snow capped mountains from the outhouse (hint: doors just trap the flies and bugs inside). Pre solar panel days so I cannot comment from personal experience on that aspect. In more modern times people I know have spoken favorably about the golf cart battery "solution" (Russ jogged my memory). Ditto fork lift batteries for home and cabin duties.

    Also, my initial comments may have been less than clear: "....might be a worth considering if you log many miles on dirt roads....". There was a period when I logged over 30% of my miles over unpaved surfaces. In addition to rattling your fillings loose, traditional "plate style" batteries tended to not stand up long to such abuse. That was back in the 90's so maybe durability has improved since then. As always, ymmv. 😉

  • The main diff on the battrey question is the true deep cycle batteries have thicker plates and are designed to be drained lower without damage. A regular battery, even the “deep cycle” labeled ones at say walmart will get damaged if they are discharged below something like 50% of their capacity. A true deep cycle or golf cart battery can go all the way down to around 10% of capacity before damage. It is what they are designed for. What this also means, since amp hours are the name of the game, is you get more available total aH since you will not be limited by the 50% discharge... ie a 100 aH regular style battery is really only giving you 50 aH before it will need to be charged.

  • Wiring the 6volt batteries is no big deal... hook the neg on battery 1 to the pos on battery 2. The unused pos and neg poles get hooked to your draw. Solar v (from your controller) in goes across both batteries right where your draw hooks up... super easy. There are volumes written on this stuff all over the web.

  • @RussWalling Good Answer.

  • I think you guys are totally overthinking it.. Not running a house here. I like Willbeers marine /RV battery solution. 2 batteries 210 bucks. boom done.

  • @NickG

    fwiw, one of the guys who told me about the golf cart batteries was using just that for his van fridge and vent fan. Had those in addition to the regular vehicle starter battery. Supposedly pretty cost effective. But I guess a bit more involved to set up.

    I've never had the occasion though so... just tossing that out there for whatever it may be worth.

    Have fun with yer' project! o/

  • @NickG I think you are under thinking it. I'd do more research before pulling the trigger on anything. Lots of good info out there these days on RV forums etc.

    Two Costco golf cart batteries made for the job, 86.00 each, boom, done. $172.00. More aH, longer life, less cost, Costco warranty.

    here are some good links for research:

    Edit to add: I've gone through this a few times, and run a current set up much like the one I'm suggesting. Also, don't skimp on the controller... a cheap one will leave you in the dark and cook your batteries. New tech is pretty advanced on the better controllers.

  • Do you know that most batteries ,Walmart,Autozone,Die hard,Excell,are made by Johnson Controls in Scranton Pennsylvania.

    Not saying that is bad,just saying they are all similar and have the same expectation rates.

    Trojan,Interstate,Optima are part of the few that stand above.

    I have already been through a few of the above.

    Hell , both my vws have that same srm27 in them and there is 4 in my home.

    Batteries are temporary, bang for your buck is not.

  • IMG_1982.jpg

    26.7mpg on the last tank 🙂

  • ^^^^Killer!!!

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