Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: 2000 Bigfoot 10.6 Electrical Upgrade/Solar Advice
Open Roads Forum Already a member? Login here.   If not, Register Today!  |  Help

Newest  |  Active  |  Popular  |  RVing FAQ Forum Rules  |  Forum Posting Help and Support  |  Contact  

Search:   Advanced Search

Search only in Truck Campers

Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > 2000 Bigfoot 10.6 Electrical Upgrade/Solar Advice

Reply to Topic  |  Subscribe  |  Print Topic  |  Post New Topic  | 
Page of 3  
Prev
adamis

Northern California

Senior Member

Joined: 06/09/2016

View Profile


Offline
Posted: 09/18/20 07:27am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Looks like you are making some good progress. I have also wondered about the circuit breaker under the sink but not enough for me to move it at this point. I did add a 2000w sinewave inverter under the sink right next to that circuit and ran the power straight to the battery just below it. For our last trip we used that inverter constantly for bottle warmers (twin newborn babies) and a small coffee maker for the wife (I don't drink coffee). It was extremely nice to be able to just juse the inverter for a quick thing versus firing up the generator, especially when in RV Parks with neighbors close by.

For my Renogy panels, I just eternabonded them straight to the roof. I've not had an issue with cupping because the tape is secured all around the perimeter and some double sided tape in the center. . I've not worried about keeping the panels cool. Although I am sure it could be a factor in extreme conditions, I'm not planning on camping in the desert when it is 120+F anyway...

It is nice to see you went with two Battle Born batteries. I am curious how you managed to get them both to fit in the compartment. Looking forward to some pictures. One thing of note... I just started resealing my outer compartments and when I removed the hatch on the battery compartment, I discovered some dry rot. It is ironic that a fiberglass camper is still susceptible to water damage because of the interior structural wood used. At this point I haven't dealt with it since the LiFePo4 battery is 1/3rd the weight of an AGM, I think there is enough stregnth in the wood to hold for now but it is another thing on the todo list...

In my setup, I ran my solar charger and battery monitoring next to the stero (see pic below). It did require running longer wires from the battery compartment up to this area but I like the convienence of being able to observe everything while seated at the dinnette. One thing you might also consider is that your solar charger might be capable of charging both a house bank and starter battery. If that is the case, connect your charger up to the 12v line coming in from the umbilical so that it will keep the truck charged up as well. You will have to keep these two circuits isolated so you would need a DC to DC charger if you wanted to also charge the battery from the truck while driving but not draing the batteries when parked. I am still working on this part to get it right, I have a DC to DC charger (from Renogy) installed in the compartment where the furnance is but I don't currently have the D+ signal wire hooked up because I need to either have a voltage sensative relay added or a manual switch so the charger doesn't run constantly. I posted in another thread about this issue a few days ago if your interested to know more about it.

At any rate, looking forward to the pics when you got them!

[image]
[image]
[image]


1999 F350 Dually with 7.3 Diesel
2000 Bigfoot 10.6 Camper


srschang

Western NY

Full Member

Joined: 08/23/2005

View Profile



Good Sam RV Club Member

Offline
Posted: 09/18/20 08:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You will enjoy the two Battle Born batteries. I installed them in our new Northstar camper which has just enough room for them. The nice part about the battery location in the Northstar is it's right below the dinette seat, so the batteries are always at inside camper temperatures.

I initially installed a Progressive Dynamics 45 amp lithium converter, but after some more research, and watching a YouTube with the CEO of Battle Born, decided that the way I use the camper doesn't work well with the Battle Borns and the PD converter that stays at 14.6v constantly. Yesterday I installed a different converter that better fits our usage. It's a WFCO 8950L2 50 amp converter. As we leave our camper plugged in sometimes for weeks or months to keep the refrigerator cold, the stereo set up the way I like it (Pet peeve on this camper), and to keep the batteries from running low due to parasitic loads, I didn't want the converter at a constant 14.6v.

The WFCO converter charges at 14.6V for up to 4 hours, then drops down to 13.6v indefinitely. Perfect fit for the Battle Borns and the way we use the camper.

One thing I noticed yesterday after I installed the new converter, when I fired it up, the batteries were down a bit, and the converter ramped up to 14.6v and 50 amps. After a half hour or so, the batteries were approaching full, and the converter started ramping down from 50 amps. It took 10 minutes to ramp down from 50 amps to 2 amps (full batteries, just running the lights & stuff I had on in the camper). I love it! My two Lifelines that I had before would charge to 90 some percent then take 8 hours(?) to get to full charge.


2020 Ram 3500 SRW Crewcab Longbed Cummins, 2019 Northstar 12 STC

VehicleTrader94

Texas

New Member

Joined: 12/10/2009

View Profile



Posted: 09/18/20 09:50am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

adamis

We postponed the inverter to pay for the 2nd battery. It is shipping now so not in yet. My measurements show it will fit fine. On the inverter our use case was for my wife to occasionally use the microwave (I'd prefer to remove it as it's weight in a high CG area and takes up storage space) and my computer. I also thought about running the A/C off of it. After doing some math and my EE friend looking at me like I was more nuts than usual it was determined that was not a feasible plan without pulling a battery trailer. With the solar and the 12v powered 4.8amp USBs and 25 amp power points I can run the computer(s) that way. We have the now working Onan if we need 120v. In your use case that microwave is critical equipment!

I put the Trimetric just above the dinette outlet. It was not hard to pull the wires over there. Like you it seemed like a good place to do the monitoring. On our 88 it was not viewable from the dinette. You had to sit on the bunk step to play with it.

I am definitely going to look into charging the truck batteries off the solar. This truck often sits a lot and I forget to put the charger on periodically. I'm also investigating switching to a dual alternator set up since it was a factory option. Also looking into running welding cable from the engine bay to the rear bumper of the truck with a winch connection and tying that to the camper to get a higher charge rate off the truck. If no solar and dead house batteries then the truck can charge the camper while on high idle. Just out of time for that project.

I also have no plans for 120 degree desert camping. Driving through places like that in the summer will happen. Parked in the back yard we often see 105-108 degree days in the summer.

Keep me posted on your rot situation. I have not noticed any except in the front wall over the bed. Seems to be very old and before my ownership. Appears a clearance light leaked, but all is sealed. New light are on the wish list.

I haven't posted pics on here in years. Do you still have to host them offsite and link to them?

If you have not inspected your interior and exterior shower hoses you might give it a good look. We pressurized the plumbing for the first time last weekend and blew holes in the two plastic fitting that screw the shower hose to the faucet. Gave me a nice shower even though I was not in the shower. We assume them to be 21yo originals (September 1999 manufacture date on the camper).

Do you have the Happijac system? Ours was mounted at the back of the closet which seemed to be an catastrophe waiting to happen when closet contents hit it. We moved it under the bottom shelf which is also where the solar controller is. We also ran higher gauge wire to the jacks.

srschang:
I have a breaker so I can cut out the batteries from the charging circuit. We currently are able to plug in at the house. With the solar we probably have no need to be plugged unless we need the A/C. I sometimes use the camper as a family free office or as a guest bedroom so A/C can be needed 9 months out of the year.

At the moment the solar is charging enough to do everything. We did cut the solar out to test the charger but that is about it. We'll know a lot more after being in Yellowstone with no hookups for a week. We decided to jettison the toad so we will have truck charging from driving around. It won't be much as we ran out of time to run a higher gauge wire through the tow harness to the alternator.


1988 Bigfoot C-11.5 on a 2002 F-350 DRW 4x4

adamis

Northern California

Senior Member

Joined: 06/09/2016

View Profile


Offline
Posted: 09/18/20 05:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

In regards to powering your AC off the solar / batteries, it is possible, indeed, you are most of the way there. I have not done it personally but others on here have. With you having 2 100ah Battle Born batteries you are most of the way there. The bigfoot will easily take 400w of solar on the roof, possibly a little more if you got fancy. You need an efficient AC and a soft start capacitor and it can be done. This isn't something super high on my prority list but if I was to be full time, I could seriously see going that route. I've had more than a few times of stopping for lunch and it is so dang hot in the camper. The generator sucks gas and poops out when it gets too hot as well. Being able to run the AC on battery for 30 minutes to 60 minutes on battery is perfect for a quick lunch stop.

In regards to the thick cables in the truck, you can do it but I'm not sure it is really worth it. My DC to DC charger is only 20 amps but that is 10 amps more than my 200w of solar. I would have to measure the thickness of the cable but I know it isn't as heavy as welding cables. Higher amperage DC to DC converters are available but remember that you would have to you make yourself a custom 7 pin connector to the camper and rewire the connector in the camper to benefit from all of that. I don't know how much that is worth the effor though. With my 20 amp DC to DC charger, I am using the current cables without issue. In theory it would take about ~5 to 6 hours of driving to charge the battery up from complete dead on the rare occaision that happened. Most of the time after a day of use I'm more like at 60% so a good 3 hours of driving would top that off well enough. That is assuming solar wasn't even available.

The rot situation raised my eyebrows but I think it's very minimal from what I can tell. One thing you should do though is replace all of the exterior screws with stainless steel. Bigfoot used regular screws up until ~2001. My camper was purchased from someone who lived on the coast and he stored it outside. Unfortently, that meant a lot of cold condensation on those screws which meant that over time, the rusted completely out. The majority of screws I pulled from the various cargo hatch frames had no threads on them. Also note that these screws are threaded into pretty much just the fiberglass and possibly some foam insulation. You can't tighten them down tight without stripping the fiberglass. I'm looking at adding a then strip of aluminum or wood as a backing to get more bite when I redo the hatches.

Last thing... Did you have the insulation sucking to the center of your sliding windows? Apparently it was an issue on these campers. I have it really bad and need to get them repaired. Just haven't had the time or money to get to it.

Posting image link is here:

http://photoposting.is-great.net/?i=1

VehicleTrader94

Texas

New Member

Joined: 12/10/2009

View Profile



Posted: 09/19/20 07:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Adamis:

Thanks for the info. I'm not clear on what you mean with the windows and insulation. Could you explain more and/or add a picture?

Reply to Topic  |  Subscribe  |  Print Topic  |  Post New Topic  | 
Page of 3  
Prev

Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > 2000 Bigfoot 10.6 Electrical Upgrade/Solar Advice
Search:   Advanced Search

Search only in Truck Campers


New posts No new posts
Closed, new posts Closed, no new posts
Moved, new posts Moved, no new posts

Adjust text size:




© 2021 CWI, Inc. © 2021 Good Sam Enterprises, LLC. All Rights Reserved.