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Old 02-27-2017, 08:45 PM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: ACE 30.1
State: California
Posts: 26
Replacing converter/charger and more

I have a 2016 Thor ACE 30.1. (As I've been typing this I realize that I'm dealing with pretty much the same set of issues with a communications vehicle I oversee for my county's Office of Emergency Services.)

For a whole lot of reasons I want AC power (clean sine wave) available boondocking without running generator, much greater stored power in batteries, and the ability to charge those batteries more rapidly (with generator or shore power.)

I do not intend to run air conditioner on inverter, but I do want to be able to run microwave or hair dryer as well as TVs and etc.

I know there are charger/inverter units which also handle the transfer of AC load to generator or shore power to inverter and back, and charge batteries at a higher rate. But I don't know if any of them will properly charge LiFePO4 batteries. Nor do I know if any of them will also manage charging from solar panels. Recommendations? Ideally I'd like to manage everything in one place, but two units would be better than three or four, or more!

And I'm not sure what to do about the chassis battery, which I would probably not replace with LiFePO4 battery. Since the updated house system would not optimally charge the chassis battery (and vice versa, the F53 chassis electrical system would not optimally charge the house battery,) I've thinking maybe I should just make them independent.
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Old 02-27-2017, 09:26 PM   #2
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Brand: Still Looking
State: Texas
Posts: 3,154
What you propose is almost identical to what Roadtrek/Hymer offers on various models. Perhaps taking a look at what equipment they are selecting may be helpful.

The main difference is that Roadtreks/Hymers I've seen did not have a generator, and therefore can't charge batteries from generator -- although that's minor difference because they can charge from shore line feeding inverter/charger. They also had solar that charged lithium batteries.
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Old 02-28-2017, 12:01 PM   #3
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Axis 24.1
State: Florida
Posts: 589
The LiFePo4 batteries take a special charging device to balance each cell. While the batteries are a good idea they aren't real practical for the average RVer yet.
For the hair dryer look at the battery bank size required for it. Better to just crank the ginny.
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Old 02-28-2017, 01:07 PM   #4
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Brand: Still Looking
State: Texas
Posts: 3,154
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrubjaysnest View Post
The LiFePo4 batteries take a special charging device to balance each cell. While the batteries are a good idea they aren't real practical for the average RVer yet.
For the hair dryer look at the battery bank size required for it. Better to just crank the ginny.
I believe that with more expensive batteries, the balancing you refer to is built into the battery. And as is the case with most lithium batteries, one of the greatest advantages is that they can supply very high power levels; that's to say very high current levels.

A Roadtrek Zion we saw at Tampa Supershow had two 200 Amp-hour lithium batteries that could even run the air conditioner for over 3 hours. A microwave or hair dryer for a few minutes would have been no problem. Still, the higher cost is an issue.

You're correct that for now a generator is probably the cheaper way to go, particularly if you need power for extended periods like running A/C all day while tailgating. But if not for A/C needs I could get by very nicely without a generator if motorhome was designed like the Roadtrek we saw.
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