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Trucks, Trailers and Hauling for Shows

New Project Trailer/RV


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  #101  
Old 05-30-2012, 02:15:20 AM
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Default Re: New Project Trailer/RV

Just back from Holland last evening, trailer was fine, all worked OK, we had a few small glitches but we had hot showers, flush toilet and full kitchen facilities

We did have a couple of issues getting the trailer LPG filled up, as many garages had the LPG pumps in the 'through' lane in the garage, and if we pulled forward to get the trailer alongside the pump, it blocked off other exits while we were there.

Weather was absolutely gorgeous the whole weekend, ferry crossings were very smooth and quite, night crossing going out and day crossing coming back.

Lots of modifications we thought about on the trip.....

Peter
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  #102  
Old 06-01-2012, 03:49:12 PM
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Default Re: New Project Trailer/RV

'To Do' List:

1) Shorten the main drawbar. We made it as long as it is to slow the rate of slew when reversing the rig, but we have probably gone too far. We aim to chop 2ft out of the A-frame, soon.

2) A Solar Panel is in our future. We have got a new 80W panel to play with, hope to have a play with it over the coming weekend. Gives out 18V max from 36 cells.

3) Additional LPG tankage. We need extra tankage for towing the big trailer, and while we are chopping the towbar about, we are looking at fitting an extra, independent tank that we can plug into the car LPG system, allowing extra mileage between refills. At present we get about 110 miles between fillups when towing, 150 miles solo.

4) Front LPG filler point. The two side filler points are not always accessible, especially in the UK filling stations, so we are going to fit a third filler up front, either on the towbar A-frame, along with the additional tank filler, or on the front of the chassis.

5) Shower Taps. The existing combined shower and basin tap arrangement isn't that convenient, and the raised shower head allows water to run back down the outside of the hose and through the top of the vanity unit. Separate taps and a dedicated shower head feed should cure that one.

6) Electrically, no changes planned, all worked fine. The LED marker lights aren't that bright, but at night they are pretty visible.

7) Interior. Nothing major planned, just a few items like new end panels for the seats, always a 'to-do' but never had time for it.

8) Structure & Running Gear. Nothing planned, it all works very well, no complaints at all.

Peter
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  #103  
Old 06-08-2012, 05:30:45 AM
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Default Re: New Project Trailer/RV

We've got the 80W solar panel wired up to play with, it gives a useful 2-3A output on a cloudy but bright day into a charged battery, more on sunny days but since we got back from Nuenen the weather has been pretty foul!

We can't fix the panel to the roof permanently as we park under a tree with the chance of branches falling onto the glass panel, so we've made up a 12V 2-pole socket on the side of the trailer, and a suitable 2-pole plug onto the solar panel.

They are rated at IP44 which is fine for what we need.

Plugs are Legrand 052461
Sockets are Legrand 052401

These are low-voltage rated, and are different keying to the 110V and 240V stuff that looks similar.

I'll get some pictures over the weekend.

Peter
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  #104  
Old 06-08-2012, 01:07:12 PM
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Default Re: New Project Trailer/RV

Because we haven't worked out a mounting method yet, ie we don't know if we are going to permanently mount them on the roof or not, we have rigged up a 12V external IP44 socket so we can plug the panel in as and when required. We could also use the socket for an exterior light if needed.

As we aren't using anything off the batteries, they are just float charging, but we will get sorted out with a proper controller for the solar panel as soon as possible.









The plug and socket are standard Legrand 'Hypra' IP44 types and freely available. Part numbers posted earlier.

Peter
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  #105  
Old 06-15-2012, 12:31:54 AM
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Default Re: New Project Trailer/RV

Second solar panel has arrived, we are going to bolt through the rear panel flanges directly to the roof top-hat sections, with 3/4" diameter rubber washers in between to seal the bolt holes. We can't access the bolt heads once the panel is down flat. so will tap the panel flanges M5 and put the screws/bolts in from the top before lowering it all down, with nylocs underneath inside the trailer.

Cables can go through the fibreglass roof sheet in a waterproof gland under the panels, where they are covered by the panel itself. There's a lot of space behind the panel with just the connection box in there.

The rubber washers are about 1/8" thick, so that will allow a bit of airflow underneath.

I may get a bit of time over the weekend to get the panels up there and secured.

Peter
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  #106  
Old 06-22-2012, 11:02:40 AM
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Default Re: New Project Trailer/RV

Things have ground to a halt, Rita has been diagnosed with Cancer and has been into hospital for a major operation.

She's back home now, and I'm looking after her until she can get back on her feet again.

Peter
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  #107  
Old 06-22-2012, 12:11:21 PM
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Default Re: New Project Trailer/RV

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and Rita for a speedy and complete recovery. I really enjoyed your thread on this project. I see you do high quality work, and that's why it looks professional. I hope you can enjoy many hours in your new trailor. Best Wishes.
Mark
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  #108  
Old 06-22-2012, 02:26:36 PM
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Default Re: New Project Trailer/RV

Quote:
Originally Posted by marlorup View Post
Our thoughts and prayers are with you and Rita for a speedy and complete recovery. I really enjoyed your thread on this project. I see you do high quality work, and that's why it looks professional. I hope you can enjoy many hours in your new trailor. Best Wishes.
Mark
I agree, hope she has a fast recovery so you can enjoy your trailer. You really did a fantastic job on it!
Steve
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  #109  
Old 06-22-2012, 06:04:07 PM
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Default Re: New Project Trailer/RV

Peter:

What can I say? Big time bummer!

I hope Rita has a speedy recovery.

Take care - Elden
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  #110  
Old 06-23-2012, 08:31:17 AM
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Default Re: New Project Trailer/RV

Very many thanks, Guys, I have passed your messages on to Rita

Things have slowed down a bit due to the weather, which is not conducive to working on the roof of a trailer 8ft up off the ground!

We revised the solar panel mountings, and put 6 X M5 nutserts into the lower flanges, and will screw up through the roof supports to hold the panels in place. The panels are supported over three roof top-hat sections, and we will have the rubber sealing washers on each hole.

The thorny question of electronics raised its head, and we have looked at all sorts of devices and gadgets, but finally decided that we could do our own thing for now and see how it works out.

The main thing is to keep the output of each panel separated from the other one, and that means a blocking diode in the output of each panel, so if one panel fails, the other won't feed back into it, and also it stops the batteries running back into the panels at night when there is no output from them.

To regulate the solar panel outputs, we are using simple linear regulator circuitry, with a low drop-out regulator (Linear technology LT1083CP) to provide the batteries with a regulated charging voltage. this regulator is rated at 7.5A maximum, we reckon to get 4A on a very bright day from each of the panels.

http://cds.linear.com/docs/Datasheet/108345fg.pdf

We have 5 devices that we bought from a far east supplier on ebay, they turned up on Friday. There will be one regulator for each panel.

Later on we may go more high-tech and use something more sophisticated, but our 12V needs are fairly low, and will be more than covered by the panels.

We are mounting all the electronics in a sealed die-cast aluminium box that we have knocking around, it is 360mm long X 125mm wide by 80mm deep. That will house all of the electronics and the case will act as a heatsink for the blocking diodes and regulators.

http://catalogs.fibox.com/catalogs/S...0191C34FE57DD0

Fuses will be fitted to protect everything, and we will probably put it up on the roof with the panels so that we just bring a pair of cables down to the batteries. It is a bit of a pain to get up there if anything goes pop, but the regulators are running at half their rated power and voltage, so I can't see anything causing an issue.

Fuseholders will be fully sealed types so we won't have to open the box to change a fuse. Cables from the panels to the box will enter by sealed glands, and there will be one gland through the roof panel to carry the battery cables.

I'm hoping to get up on the roof today, subject to weather, and will get some pictures.

Peter
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  #111  
Old 06-23-2012, 03:23:45 PM
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Default Re: New Project Trailer/RV

Sorted Rita out with food etc for the morning, then went up to the factory to get the solar bits sorted out.

The MC4 connectors and 4mm cable are fine if you want an array linked up, but the connectors are huge for the wire they are carrying, and it means large holes to get them through, so we have chopped thos off and soldered on a section of TRS 6mm twin, which is easier to get through the frame in a single hole, and we can gland it into the sealed controller box.

Original Panel Connection Arrangement


Modified Panel Connection Arrangement


Panels Up On The Roof 1:


Panels Up On The Roof 2:


Peter
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  #112  
Old 06-29-2012, 03:24:04 PM
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Default Re: New Project Trailer/RV

First time on the trailer for a week nearly, it's either been wet or I've had other things to do.

I ordered a small ali IP65 box for the roof box, and decided to bring the chargers down into the back of the trailer, along with the other electrics.

I left the two blocking diodes up on top, they are 40A rated, but chosen for their ability to be used as a terminal point as much as anything else, plus we had a couple going spare

Panel Connection Box 1:


The glands are IP68 and the cable is twin-core 6mm sq. The box is bolted to the roof through one of the top-hat rails, and sealed with a ring of Sikaflex 221 round the base and round the gland that goes through the roof panel.

Panel Connection Box 2:


The fully wired up box. Both negatives are commoned, both positives go through individual diodes, down to the (as yet unbuilt) control boards.

Peter
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  #113  
Old 06-29-2012, 06:32:22 PM
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Default Re: New Project Trailer/RV

Peter:

How's Rita doing? Send her my best wishes for a fast recovery!

What are you going to use for a charge controller for the panels? A few years ago, I put an old Solarex panel on a former motorhome and designed a controller for it.

I designed it so it would "boost" the battery to 14.2 Volts in direct connection to the batteries, then switch to a 13.8 Volt "float" for the duration once charged.

I also made a new scale for an old meter I had that said "Solar Amperes". I think the range was 0-3 Amps. Being a geek, I thought it was interesting to watch the meter. AND, yes - I AM a bit weird!

I think that, if I look in my old files (what's left of 'em), I may be able to unearth the schematic if you'd want to build it. With the proper output transistor, it could be made to handle whatever your panels would be able to output.

Take care - Elden
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  #114  
Old 06-30-2012, 05:02:09 AM
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Default Re: New Project Trailer/RV

Hi Elden:

Rita is doing fine and sends her best wishes. She can start using stairs now, two weeks after the operation, but only on a limited basis until it all heals up.

Ref the controller, I am going to use a simple constant-voltage single-rate charger, using the LT1083CP 7A low drop-out regulator.

The batteries are sealed lead-acid and we won't be going into deep discharge with them, so a single voltage of 13.80V should be fine.

The mains charger is 26A and carries everything when we have a local 220/240V supply. The two panels can give up to 4.5A each, so 9A absolute max on a clear sunny day with the sun overhead.

Our main consumption in the daytime is the water pump, everything else is either LPG (fridge, water heater) or mains powered.

Off-load, they were giving 17.5V and 20V yesterday evening with just the blocking diodes in circuit, but with no load on they drop hardly anything.

I've got to pull the heater core out of the Discovery now, there is coolant on the carpet inside, and the whole dash has to be removed to get at it

Peter
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  #115  
Old 06-30-2012, 10:25:12 AM
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Default Re: New Project Trailer/RV

Peter:

First and most important! I've been the heater core route myself and, years ago, found a better solution.

Look around at your auto parts stores and see if you can find a product that's called (in the "Colonies") "Barrs Leak".

This is a bottle with some pellets that look like small rabbit food pellets that are mixed-in with what appears to be soluble oil.

Follow instructions and the leak should be gone forever.

I did it in both my old '54 Ford (lasted more than 100,000 miles until I sold the car) and in my '50 Chevy (lasted about 200,000 miles until I sold it).

If it fails, it won't hurt the rest of the cooling system and will flush out. The only cost is that of the sealant and a heck of a lot easier to do.

- - - - - WARNING! Nerdspeak follows! - - - - -

On the solar controllers, I built mine from scratch using a 78L05 (5 volt) regulator as a reference for a high-gain opamp. (You could use a comparator .... it ain't critical). The reason I did mine homebrew is that even low dropout regulators can have a volt or so of dropout and the one I designed has about 0.1 volt drop.

The regulator fed the inverting input of the opamp. The non-inverting input was fed by a voltage divider from the battery with a pot in it. When the battery voltage reached a point where the output of the divider pot equalled 5Volts, the opamp switched on (high).

The circuit actually switches on and off rapidly and I slowed mine down to a few hundred cycles per second using a small capacitor.across the opamp.

The opamp drove a fairly high-gain PNP power transistor that was between the panel and the battery. When the base of the PNP transistor went low, the transistor was turned on to allow the panel to charge the battery.

Of course, this was done about 15 years ago and there may be better low-dropout regulators out there.

Take care - Elden
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  #116  
Old 06-30-2012, 01:28:45 PM
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Default Re: New Project Trailer/RV

I think the O-ring joint is beyond a liquid repair, but Bars Leaks is much bigger these days, they have a whole range of stuff:

http://barsproducts.com/catalog/brand/bar-s-leaks

Because the LPG vapouriser is in the heater circuit, I can't just take the heater out of the flow for a month or so, it would require a fair bit of hose re-routeing to do.

I've got to have the seats and centre console out so I can get the carpet dried, so by that time, the dash isn't too bad a job.

I may look at using Sikaflex on the joint and the O-rings, as it is all aluminium (aluminum) pipes and fittings in there, one heavy-hand on the heater pipes and those joints get wrenched.

Re the regulator, I'll go the simple route for now, I have all winter to design something better and produce it, but appreciate the info. Two panels with two controllers gives me redundancy should one get damaged under a low bridge....

MPPT controllers are a little bit more involved, but there are plenty of home-build circuits on the net, plus a good one from one of the magazines that I found.

Take care,

Peter
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  #117  
Old 07-17-2012, 05:35:59 AM
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Default Re: New Project Trailer/RV

Had a bit of time to get the panel regulators wired and running, just used a regular control board for now with a 3A current limit on each one until we get sorted out.

Once up and running, I took off the mains charger by unplugging the mains cable at the house, and left it for a few days.

The panel regulators are set to 13.90V and the mains charger at 13.86V.

All looks OK, nothing gets warm and the batteries seem happy. I'm going to run a discharge test tonight and get the batteries well down, then we will see how well the solar panels run tomorrow.

I'll get some pictures of the temporary charger and wiring later.

Peter
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  #118  
Old 07-19-2012, 08:01:54 AM
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Default Re: New Project Trailer/RV

Here are a few pictures:

The charger on the side wall by the other electrical bits and pieces.


The feed-through of the three cables from the top sealed box. The box was sealed to the roof and the gland just carries the cables through.


Close-up of the dual charger. The PCB's are standard ones that we used to use but no longer required, regulators are bolted to either side of the ali, both sides are separated until the bottom where they are joined before going to the battery.


We will rewire the mains and solar chargers to go through the 12V fusebox that is already in place, that will give us a fair bit of safety protection.


Peter
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  #119  
Old 07-20-2012, 03:05:23 AM
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Default Re: New Project Trailer/RV

It's a dull, overcast evening. With the four round overhead lights on and the two linear flourescents over the kitchen on, the panels balance the load with just over 15V coming into the chargers and the batteries sitting at 12.50V. No up or down movement for an hour.

The panels probably need a wash as well. It is parked just to the side of the big Ash tree which blocks the sun for most of the afternoon.

As soon as we take the lights off, the battery volts rise immediately to 12.76V.

All we need to know is that it holds the lighting load, with occasional bursts from the water pump and gas ignitors, which it does.

Peter
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  #120  
Old 07-20-2012, 09:51:13 AM
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Default Re: New Project Trailer/RV

Peter:

Are you a volt low on your readings? I assume the panels can take care of all the load when the battery voltage gets to the bottom of the "float" range.

I'd guess that the loaded voltage was 13.5 Volts and unloaded was 13.76 Volts (top end of float range) respectively. If not, am I all wet?

Take care - Elden
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P.S.: Maybe, on your side of the pond, you use metric Volts. That could be the difference.
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