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Building a portable Power Box - last updates


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#1 Stokeme

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 05:25 PM

With electrical DIY I am ”pretty” good if I have a recipe. Fully understanding the overall, initial design, not so good. I have been looking at YouTube for ideas. Most videos seem like guys trying to outdo one another. I think my needs are fairly simple. Here are my perceived needs & requirements ...
I have a canoe that is close to completion with electric motor. I need a plug & play box for fishing power. I am looking at a CF 18 Dometic 12v Fridge to use as a dedicated freezer, my Bride likes ice. The CF 18 could also be used as a boat-in, shore camp fridge. I may want to be able to remove, & power, my Dometic CFX 50 from my Camper. I may want to place it in a bear box when applicable.

Components - MTM ammo box - external pos/neg Battery posts, external SAE socket port, external cigarette socket port, (maybe external USB socket) - internal 50Ah BT LiFePo4 battery, internal small 20A solar controller w/lithium capable.

Questions - Should I use in-line fuses for everything or install a small internal fuse box? The internal battery connection to the external battery posts will be short (6-8”?), will 8 AWG wire be ok, (I have some xtra), or does Battery to external power posts require 6 AWG? The solar controller, the cigarette socket, maybe a USB port all need to be connected to the battery (along with the B to post connection), how can I configure wiring, so I do not have to just stack everything on top of each other? Do I need an external power switch (or any other switches)? If switches are needed, please offer additional wiring advice. What AWG requirements do I need to consider? Am I missing something?

I bought some small vents to install on the box. I have seen external voltage meters installed, I’ve got BT. I’ve seen external LED strips installed. Don’t see a need for these extras. I could use any advice, thanks ....

Edited by Stokeme, 16 November 2019 - 10:09 PM.

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#2 PaulT

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 07:09 PM

Here’s a setup to consider:
Powerwerx PowerBox to hold battery, provide connectors, switches, fuses, voltmeter.
Bioenno LiFePO4 battery of size that meets your needs.
Bioenno MPPT 20 amp charge controller
Bioenno folding solar panel suitcase.

https://powerwerx.co...-portable-power
https://www.bioennop...fepo4-batteries

You could add a Bluetooth LiFePO4 battery monitor if desired.
https://www.thornwav...-dc-power-meter

I acquired one of these two months ago for camping/ham radio use and have been pleased with it thus far. In addition to powering my ham gear, I wanted it to be a backup for my camper fridge if solar was scarce due to weather or shaded campsite.

I could have done a DIY project for lower cost, but time to design & finish YetAnotherElectronicProject pushed me more to keeping stress level down in my camping buddy. :). This way, I know everything works together and parts are available. I got the 30 amp Hour battery but the case can accommodate up to a 50 aH battery if needed and I can use all the aH energy unlike AGM where only half is advised.

Paul
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I thought getting old would take longer.

#3 Stokeme

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 03:50 AM

Touché, re the camping buddy, patience too. :)
I got all the parts ready now (I think), just need to make efficient & prudent wiring scheme. I want it to come together sooner than later.
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#4 Vic Harder

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 04:55 AM

Questions - Should I use in-line fuses for everything or install a small internal fuse box?

- Which is easier/simpler for you?  Inline waterproof fuses would mean you don't need to open the box and try and spot the blown fuse

 

The internal battery connection to the external battery posts will be short (6-8”?), will 8 AWG wire be ok, (I have some xtra), or does Battery to external power posts require 6 AWG?

- Bigger IS better in this case, but really... over 8" you won't notice a voltage drop difference.  What's your maximum expected current draw?  That might be a determining factor

 

The solar controller, the cigarette socket, maybe a USB port all need to be connected to the battery (along with the B to post connection), how can I configure wiring, so I do not have to just stack everything on top of each other?

- What's wrong with stacking? That's only 3-5 connectors.  If needed, get a battery terminal that can accommodate lots of connectors

 

Do I need an external power switch (or any other switches)? Don't think so.  I would consider fuses inside the battery box for the cig socket and USB port.

 

If switches are needed, please offer additional wiring advice. What AWG requirements do I need to consider?

12-14 AWG should be good enough for each "accessory" plug

 

Am I missing something?

- Aren't we all?   :blink: 

I bought some small vents to install on the box. I have seen external voltage meters installed, I’ve got BT. I’ve seen external LED strips installed. Don’t see a need for these extras.

- Agreed

 

I could use any advice, thanks ....


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2012 ATC Puma, BattleBorn LiFePo4, Victron MPPT and BMV, AIMS 3000W inverter, Induction cooktop... loving it... 


#5 ntsqd

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 01:26 PM

I put one of these in our new to us camper because it had an un-protected long run to the fuse/breaker panel:

https://www.bluesea....d_Battery_Fuses

 

If you do the calculation with the formula found here rearranged to find I: http://www.ancorprod...nt-voltage-drop I think that you'll see the 8AWG is pretty impressive at only 16" total length.


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Thom

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#6 Stokeme

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 04:28 AM

Finally gave this a go. It’s pretty basic, definitely not YouTube sexy. Added 2 vents. Just need to secure the Battery while being able to view the controller screen. Not quite sure how to do that well?
Overall I am happy to have renewable, portable power with a little plug in flexibility. Powering my DIY electric fishing canoe for sure. I may (will probably) swap out the single 12V socket for a threesome insert ... Socket, USB/V & Switch. I like the idea of a switch so it’s not “live” all the time. I replaced & stepped up my solar controller a bit with a Renogy Voyager. It has a distinct LFP4 setting & is small enough for the box. It is PWM though, not MPPT.

https://www.amazon.c...ICEVESDQN&psc=1

Three in-line fuses ..... solar controller to Battery, solar panel to controller, 12V socket to Battery. What amp fuse to use for each individual need? The in-line holders came standard with 30amp.
1) I will get a ~25W panel for trickle use in my canoe. My 100W portable camper panel will be used to charge.
2) The 12V socket might employ a 12V Dometic CF25 as a freezer. Maybe in a bear box overnight for my Dometic CFX50.
3) PWM controller to Battery
I could use some fuse suggestions ...

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Edited by Stokeme, 21 October 2019 - 04:05 PM.

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#7 Stokeme

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 04:38 AM

Inside view. 12awg & soft flex 5awg for the Battery terminals.

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#8 Happyjax

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 06:55 PM

Nice job Stokeme:)

 

10A should be a good size for each of your items. The fridge will likely not draw more that 4-5 amps at it's highest usage. Most cigarette plugs are rated for 10A. I made a similar box with a 50Ah Renogy LiFeP04 and a Wanderer controller. Works well for my Truckfridge and charging misc phones/tablets. I also have a 300w pure sine inverter for charging the laptop:) Haven't used that except to see if it came on.....

 

With that 5AWG you can pull a ton of current. Battery fuse should be 30A. I doubt you will ever blow that. You could go higher especially if you decided to use an inverter. I know my Renogy battery will dump 100A if I need to but I have a 40A on it and have never gotten close to pulling that yet :) Inverter will get close if I push it.....

 

Hope it all works out for you:)


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#9 Stokeme

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Posted 22 October 2019 - 04:16 AM

Thanks Happyjax for the helpful & useful info. With my electrical projects (never have I attempted so many) I can research what I want to accomplish & what’s needed, glean the best assembly tips, without always knowing every intricacy.

Edited by Stokeme, 22 October 2019 - 05:37 PM.

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#10 Stokeme

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 05:51 PM

FE264775-E764-42E6-B748-FD71430DA91D.jpeg 353413D0-F654-4493-AD21-DEABEF965238.jpeg

I am happy I added this threesome. It gives the Box one more accessory option, a switch option & an external V indicator. It adds to the aesthetics as well. The previous solo socket looked spartan & maybe lonely :(

Edited by Stokeme, 24 October 2019 - 07:03 PM.

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