KP is a great, innovative resource for these electrical upgrades, I am lucky to have him nearby. The manifesto he posted above is a well thought out roadmap to upgrading your electrical system based on KP”s several years of research,work and hands on experience with a ridiculous number of campers, trailers and vans. He has also developed some awesome add ones for campers; an outdoor shower enclosure and some quick connect attachments for the cornerjacks. https://www.zerodeclination.com/
Here is the summary of what was achieved; upgraded wiring allows my 200 plus amp alternator to take my batteries from dead to full in a couple hours of driving, my 200 Ah of useable capacity relieves any remaining power anxieties. I do not enjoy thinking about power when I am out and about, I just want it to happen.
I did this in two phases. First I had KP upgrade the wiring from my truck to the camper and add in a victron BMS to replace the overland solar monitor. I did this after a late November trip with cold temps and minimal solar avail to top up. Healthy one year old AGM batteries were just not keeping up, solar was minimal, and the four hour drive home did not give the truck time to get the batteries full again through the factory wiring. When I imagined a longer duration trip without 8-10 hours of driving a day, and inadequate solar, I realized that an improved charging system was needed. Going to 4 AWG is like using a firehose to fill a swimming pool instead of a garden hose, it gets done quick. If I run my batteries down, which does become an issue with 3,4,5 year old AGM batteries, I am topped up in a few hours of driving, and functional after a few minutes of high idle while parked. 6 to 9 months later, the overland mppt conked out, fairly common, and KP replaced with a victron mppt.
This fall I observed that my three year old AGM batteries were having a tough time keeping up. Running the heater for a short period would rapidly drop them from full 12.8 V down into the 12.2 range. I am not sure what happened, the fall off in capacity was pretty quick. I think it might have been secondary to the failure of the two starter batteries in my diesel, but I cannot verify that. I had been noticing since late summer that the overnight voltage of the batteries was getting lower and lower in the history that the victron BMS records. So, I gave myself an early Christmas present and bought a couple battleborns and a victron dcdc charger.
To be honest, I was going to have KP do the conversion, but he was on a well deserved vacation trip and I had a lot of free time on my hands through the holidays. I used the above posted guidelines as my instructions and installed. It is a PITA working in the compartments, but I eventually got it all done. Two of the battleborn golf cart batteries will fit into the battery compartment of a late model FD hawk. YMMV. One take away from this was to use welding type wire in the future rather than the usual automotive grade. It is much less rigid and so much easier to work with. Standard wire is a real PITA to move around in these tight spaces. KP uses welding wire, my additional wires were automotive grade and only made my life difficult. Another take away is that the hammer style crimper works, but the crimp looks much more uniform and reliable when done with a professional grade crimper. I will probably have KP make up some replacement connections for me eventually to release some of the strain on the super stiff connections I made.
Edited by Mthomas, 20 January 2022 - 11:12 AM.