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RussnSue

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RussnSue last won the day on June 8 2016

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About RussnSue

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  • Birthday 06/05/1955

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    russnsueh

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  • Current Location
    Evans Head, NSW
  • Interests
    Videography, photography, kayaking, fishing, traveling, computers

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  1. Hi there. Been away from the forum for a long time, but visited tonight and saw your post. I couldn't ignore it, because we experienced the same issue. The four solar panels on our van were cabled into the front boot in two lots of two panels. Each pair had its own fuse.In our case the fuses were inline, spade fuses, rated at 30A each. One of the fuse holders had gotten wet somehow and the fuse had corroded away. I replaced the holder and the fuse and it solved the problem. Hopefully, your van is configured similarly and the problem is an easy one to fix. Cheers Russ
  2. One of the things I have always enjoyed about the Kedron Owner's Group forum was the general politeness of the members, the willingness to pass on knowledge and share experiences and the tolerance for differing points of view. Having sold our Kedron, I decided to stay on at the forum, as a guest, to continue that experience. But, just as one changes channel or turns off the telly if the programs are rubbish, I am too old to endure smart-arses for the sake of it, so rather than have my credibility attacked and put up with less than subtle smart-arsery, I'll just bid you all adieu. It has been great, being a Kedron owner and being on this forum, but all good things come to and end. Bye all. Russ.
  3. Dave, as I said previously, I'm not interested in a war about this. I am an advocate of LiFePO4 batteries and had good service from those in my caravan, but it doesn't end there. Just to correct you on two things: If you re-read my last post, you will see that I specifically said "This first image shows the voltage of a 4 cell LiFePO4 battery....." so, yes, I am fully aware that you need 4 x 3.2 Volt cells to make a nominal 12 Volt battery. Also, there is no logic to your statement "Cell damage does not occur at 20% SOC - damage occurs when you drive then negative" If a battery has a service life of 5000 cycles at 20% SOC and this service life reduces dramatically to just 2000 cycles by discharging to 5% SOC, then only one thing can account for this loss off lifespan - damage. I will thank you not to question my competency when you have absolutely no knowledge of my background, as you did in this statement "I don't think you have analysed this properly and it is clear you don't have any practical experience" For your benefit, my entire career of more than 40 years has been spent working with DC systems of all sorts, including practical experience with LiFePO4 battery installations. I installed my first solar-powered communications site back in the mid 80's, so I know a thing or two about the subject. In your eagerness to pump up the good points of LiFePO4 you have ignored the simple fact that the Industry itself acknowledges and accepts that an 80% depth of discharge is for all practical purposes the recommended operating limit of practical use. Yes, this still makes LiFePO4 batteries superior to AGM batteries, but to ignore the price differential is wrong. And that was my point. Typically, a Kedron owner will keep his/her van for 6 to 8 years before selling. A well maintained set of AGM batteries used under the typical conditions that you, yourself describe, should last no less than four years. That means, discounting the original set of batteries, a typical owner will only need to replace their batteries once. After that, whatever happens, the next owner is going to get the legacy of any battery life that may be left. So, at the current price of LiFePO4, would I be donating the extra money I spend to the next owner, or would I be getting AGMs and spending the difference on something else? I'm going through that decision making process right now and I'm thinking that the money is better in my pocket. Just for the record,I have a real-world example of LiFePO4 NOT giving good service and it turned out to be an expensive experiment. I purchased a DC motor for my kayak. At top speed it drew 15A. As weight is only good in steamrollers, I decided to buy a 60AH Winston 12V LiFePO4 battery to run the motor. My sounder/plotter gives a readout of the battery voltage and I used this to monitor the battery volts at all times.At no stage did I ever allow the terminal voltage of that battery to drop below 13V. It was charged religiously after every trip, using a Sterling battery charger that was purchased specifically because the charging regime could be customised for perfect LiFePO4 charging and when 240VAC was not available, charging was via a Plasmatronics PL-60 that had been customised for perfect LiFePO4 charging. Yet, even after doing everything correctly, I noticed that the time that elapsed before the 13V was displayed on my sounder was getting shorter and shorter - in other words, the battery was losing capacity. I never did count the number of cycles that the battery underwent, but in two years of using the battery for maybe three months per year at most, that battery died. Possibly 100 cycles at most. OK, it might have been a dud. It might not have too. One thing is for sure, that battery could not have been treated any more kindly and it failed. Warranty expired, money gone. So the science is still not perfect. I still advocate LiFePO4 batteries - those in the Kedron (which were also Winston batteries) were still at peak condition when we sold the van - but I do not advocate LiFePO4 to the exclusion of all other options and I don't believe that encouraging people to spend twice as much money (at least) as they may need to, is a good thing, particularly if people are retro-fitting LiFePO4 batteries and will have to fork out for a new 240VAC charger and perhaps even a new solar regulator as well. Cheers Russ
  4. Hi again I don't wish to start a war about this, but I have to comment on cvtripper's assertion that LiFePO4 batteries can be discharged by 95%. This is only true if you wish to have a VERY short life expectancy for your battery.See the images, below, for an explanation: (Clicking on the images will show a larger version) This first image shows the voltage of a 4 cell LiFePO4 battery, nominally known as a 12 Volt battery. In reality the battery, when fully charged and at rest, will have a terminal voltage of 13.3V. Once the battery starts to discharge the voltage drops, quite quickly to 13.2V, where it stays until the battery is 80% discharged. After this, the voltage drops away dramatically because chemical changes and damage begin to occur within the cells. Continually discharging LiFePO4 cells more than 80% quickly damages cells. The second image shows just how the number of charge/discharge cycles is affected by deep discharging. At 80% depth of discharge you could expect a well-made LiFePO4 cell to last 5000 cycles. By discharging to 90% the number of cycles drops dramatically to 3000 and at the 95% DoD that cvtripper advocates, you are looking at closer to 2000 cycles. So, to wring out the extra 15% of the power from a LiFePO4 battery, you more than halve its life expectancy. This is why most comparisons of lead-acid and LiFePO4 batteries use the 80% figure that I chose in my previous post. The cost of buying the different types of battery is not the only consideration. Most people want a long service life from their batteries after forking out a lot of dough. Given these factors, I stick by my assertion that, at the moment, LiFePO4 batteries are not at a competitive price-point. Cheers Russ
  5. At the moment, with the price differential being almost 2:1 for LiFePO4 Vs AGM there is little point in getting Lithium over AGM unless you desperately need to save weight. Lithium batteries can deliver 80% of their power without unduly harming themselves, whereas AGMs can deliver 50% of their rated power. So, if you had a 100 AH battery of each type, the Lithium could deliver 30% more power for nearly twice the price.....very hard to justify. When I purchased Lithium batteries for my Kedron there was only a 30% price differential, which made the comparison equal - and I was after the weight saving, so I was in front. I am buying a new van at the moment and at current prices Lithium is not an option I am considering. Cheers Russ
  6. There could be a couple of explanations for this. Initially, your PL-60 charger is probably in "Float" mode, meaning that it has given the batteries the bulk of the charge and is now simply tracking the load in your van (which must have been about 8 Amps at the time you were looking.) Under float conditions, the PL-60 will not put any more current into the batteries than the load being drawn, otherwise the battery is at risk of being overcharged. When you turn on the 240V charger it probably looks at the batteries and says "OK, I'll go through charge-cycle (which could raise the battery volts as high as 14.4 Volts) and then I'll go into float mode". I'm guessing that the initial 40 Amp charge (which would include 8 Amps going to the load) would drop away very quickly because the batteries are fully charged. The 240 Volt charger would be monitoring the battery voltage, which in turn would rise rapidly because the batteries are fully charged, and would go into Float mode quite quickly. Another possibility is this: Your PL-60 appears to have its Float voltage set to 13.3V. The 240V charger may be set to a higher Float voltage, say 13.6V. The initial in-rush of current may simply be the 240V charger raising the battery volts to what it thinks the Float voltage should be. Either way, something is not quite right about the settings in your system. If the batteries are indeed gel-cell, then the Float voltage for this type of battery is typically 13.1 Volts. If the batteries are AGM, then the float voltage should be 13.6V - 13.8V You may want to double-check what is written on the batteries (along with the type of battery, the information on the battery often includes the manufacturer's recommended voltage for Float and Maximum Charge.) Once the type of battery has been established, the chargers can then be set to match this and each other. Cheers Russ
  7. Hi Ian Sorry about the delay in responding. Thanks to Telstra, the ADSL service at Evans Head has been off for the last three days. To answer your question, capacity is capacity. 400 Amp Hours rated capacity will equate to 320 AH of usable capacity, which is a pretty handy amount to have. If it is cost effective to go down this road, then I would. If it is cheaper to go with 4 x 100 AH batteries, then do that. You will end up with the same amount of usable capacity whichever way you go. Just go with a reputable brand and you'll have no problems. Cheers Russ
  8. While load rating is very important, it is much more important to monitor tyre temperatures. When you let the tyres down significantly to improve ride, they will run hotter due to the increased rolling resistance and your load rating figure will go out the window. The only way to prevent heat damage to the tyre is to reduce your speed appropriately to avoid heating in the first place. We had Toyo Open Country tyres on the car for a short while and both of them failed due to overheating. The problem was due to the fact that the tyres have white-wall writing on them and the white layer delaminated, leaving very large bubbles under the outer, black, layer. I learnt a valuable (and expensive) lesson. I was only doing 60 KPH and did not know then, but do know now, that our rear axle weight was way over what it should have been (we were 350Kg overweight on the rear axles with the van hitched.) With a single axle setup, all of your eggs are in one basket, so to speak, so keeping a check of tyre temperatures would be well advised. Cheers
  9. Hi Steve Yes, we are staying at the van park at Pinnaroo. It's $20 per night. There is a van park about 20Km over the border at Murrayville. It is $55.00 per week. We decided not to stay there because we couldn't be bothered driving the 20Km after knocking off from the arvo shift (which finished as late as two in the morning last year.) Also, it adds 25 Km (each way) to the trip to Loxton or Berri (for shopping etc.) The park at Pinnaroo is OK. It is quiet and there aren't any ratbags here. We use our own amenities, so really just using the power and water. Cheers Russ
  10. Hi Kev No mate, I didn't bother to bridge the terminals. The unit is working fine. If I take the cover off for any reason I may do it, but otherwise..... Cheers Russ
  11. As promised, here is the second annual report on the LiFePO4 batteries in our van. Over the last 12 months our batteries enjoyed life on 240V charger for just less than 6 months and the remainder on solar charge. The chargers are both configured to boost the batteries to 14.4 Volts, then float them at 13.8V (240V charger) or 13.7V (solar). We have 360 AH of capacity of which just less than 290 AH is available from the fully charged state. Typically, our state of charge in the morning (before solar charging commences) is between 70% and 80%, so they aren't working very hard. The lowest the battery was ever discharged to was a SOC of 50%. Determining the life expectancy of LiFePO4 batteries is quite difficult. I have to get technical here. From fully charged, LiFePO4 batteries deliver their power at 13.4 Volts for a short while, then 13.3 Volts for a little longer and then settle at 13.2 Volts, where they will stay until they are discharged by 80%. After this, if you continued to discharge the batteries (apart from ruining them) you would see the voltage drop away pretty quickly. If the life expectancy of the batteries were to be reduced, the capacity would be diminished and therefore the time to reach 13.1 Volts would be less. My solar charger records the maximum and minimum voltage of the batteries each day. As yet my batteries have never dropped to 13.1 Volts, so I conclude that I must still have plenty of capacity, based on the fact that when the SOC was 50% the voltage was still 13.2 Volts. I am going to have to learn to "trust" the batteries more. That is, allow them to discharge lower (because they can) rather than what I am doing now - which is, essentially, treating them as though they were AGM batteries and tailoring my power usage to no more than 35% of capacity. By forcing myself to do this I might get to watch a bit more telly or run the computers for longer. Physically there is nothing to see that would indicate any issues with the batteries. Conclusions: The weight saving is definitely worth it. The extra expense seems to be worth it, especially when I read, on this forum, about people being on their second and third set of AGMs since buying their van. The batteries need zero maintenance. So far so good. Cheers Russ.
  12. G'day Steve and Kez Look forward to meeting you when you arrive. Cheers Russ
  13. Hi Alan. Yes, we were/are selling the van with AGMs fitted - because we like the Lithiums so much that we wish to keep them. Cheers Russ
  14. Hi Brenton and Lyn, we store ours in the side hatch (which conveniently happened to be located next to the gas bayonet.) I don't tie it down at all. We have one of those two-burner gas stoves that use the butane cartridges and when it is in its box, slides neatly over the top of the baby-Q with just enough compression to hold both things in place. The sides of the BBQ are packed with other bibs and bobs that we lug around with us. I had better add that the Baby-Q has its own protective cover that prevents chaffing. We do a lot of pretty crappy roads and tracks and nothing has ever moved or sustained damage. As for road tips: Plenty and Donahue Highways vary in condition depending on when they are graded. The whole lot can be corrugated and sometimes sandy around Tobermorey Station. Remember the golden rules - Air down tyres, lift up right foot. Roads around Boulia, Bedourie etc are generally always in pretty good nick. Birdsville Track is very easy these days, but do slow down and air down, especially on the bit that passes through the Stony Desert. Arkaroola via the Copley to Arkaroola road - watch out for dips and floodways. It is a bit windy but very scenic. The shale around Arkaroola is very sharp and it is very easy to do in a tyre so, again, air-down and right foot up. Cheers Russ
  15. Good price there Kev. I wouldn't think that you'll have to worry about warranty issues. These things rarely break. Additionally, in the old days you had to worry about the input voltage and frequency (the US is 110V, 60Hz and we are 240V 50Hz), but with this unit it doesn't matter. At worst you may have to put an Australian 240V plug on the unit when it arrives. Keep your eye out on the forum. In the next day or two I will be publishing the two-year report on the Lithium batteries that I fitted (as I promised I would.) Don't forget that the 240V charger is only half of the story when it comes to charging Lithium batteries. Your solar charger has to be able to do it as well. Our van has the Plasmatronics 60A regulator, which can be programmed to suit Lithium batteries. It is my understanding that Kedron no longer fit these units. I have no idea what they changed to, or whether the new brand is programmable. Cheers Russ
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