The Trail Lite of the Future with Advance Trident's Industry Leading Lithium Systems
Advance Trident is proud to unveil our newest project – the Trail Lite 968 equipped with the latest Lithium Technology.
We were approached to scope, specify, supply and aid in the installation to upgrade the Trail Lite 968 to meet the power demands for the user, which is to run most household amenities such as: toaster, hot water, Televisions, Nespresso machine, fridge and more. The owner had said to us” we have three kids, we enjoy freedom camping and we have loads of electronics on board, what we have now just isn’t enough. We need a system that allows me to run more than just one appliance at a time and we do not want to rely on mains power all the time”. With that in mind, Lithium allows the user to draw a bigger load off the inverter and will keep a constant 13.2 volts with no drop. When at camp, the family relies on their Cumins Onan Genset often, and there are three existing 140watt solar panels on the roof.
Originally, the Trail Lite had equipped with gear that was not sufficient to run these appliances especially when more turns on at once. The load caused voltage to drop, thus the system shut down. Furthermore, the CTEK 25A and DC to DC chargers were not enough to fully charge and equalise the two 260A AGM batteries installed. In order to support the demands, the Genset was relied upon heavily, which isn’t preferable at camp grounds or if peace and quiet is needed.
With that in mind, a complete DC Electrical overhaul was needed, which allowed the Trail Lite to be equipped with 600A of 12v Lithium Batteries, Battery Management Safety Board, 3000w/125A Inverter Charger, 980w of total solar power with three Battery Monitors and two DC2DC chargers to provide up to 100A of charging while the alternator was running. We also upgraded the starting batteries to Optima Red Tops, which are a leading American brand of commercial truck batteries.
The project took about one week to scope then around 3 weeks for installation and commissioning. We wanted to ensure that only the best marine-grade parts were used and each step to be completed propely to provide user safety. That being said, Scott (our Service Manager) and our electrical contractor worked tirelessly to make sure everything is done to meet the high electrical standards of today, for example, a complete overhaul of the existing AC wiring and additional MCB/RCD's were put in place. The Lithium Upgrade was part of a plan that guarentees longevity - over 1500 and at least 5 years service life.
Alex Bai from Advance Trident who specified, scoped the system and project told us: "We probably have the most advanced Lithium System in New Zealand for a motorhome. No manufacturer (apart from Coastal Motorhomes Whakatane) or lithium supplier in New Zealand have created a system similar to Enerdrive's with the ability to live off grid, while enjoying creature comforts of home for prolonged periods of time. The Combi Inverter Charger, coupled with the existing Cumins Onan Genset, DC2DC chargers and advanced Solar System enables a highly effective way to regenerate batteries as long as there is either sunlight or diesel".
Here is some detailed information for the gear that was installed:
Lithium Batteries: Based on the electrical demands of the client, we specified 600A, which comprised of two 300A batteries in parallel, and with some margin for safety, this provides 450 useable amps before the Blue Sea switch trips to protect the user and the batteries. We have also installed an optional Alarm Output Expander in order to fire up the Genset Automatically when the battery reaches 35% Capacity, meaning that these is no chance the system will ever be depleted. The extremely accurate built-in EPRO+ battery monitor shows exactly the percentage of charge and time remaining, down to a decimal point. The built-in battery Auto Balancing Module keeps each cell in the system level, eliminating any risk of cell imbalances.
AC Charger and Inverter: The Owner chose to switch from a separate charger and inverter to an all in one inverter charger. The monstrous EPRO Combi 3000/125 is one of the biggest in the industry, which can provide 3000W (peaks at 6000w) of AC power and charges the Lithium batteries at 125A, allowing room for numerous appliances, and giving the lithium batteries plenty of charge when running the Cumins Genset or while on mains. This comes with a remote mounted panel to give full control of the inverter charger. Our EPRO Combi Inverter Chargers are fully load compensating while charging so no matter what appliances the end user runs on mains or Genset, he'll always put more in than he takes out of the batteries.
Solar: There were existing three 140w solar panels on the roof, we then expanded this and added two 120w at the front, and two 160watt panels on the mid of the motorhome, giving it a maximum solar output of 980 watts or roughly 70Amps. To maximise the solar harvest, we supplied MorningStar TriStar PWN solar regulators. Because there are three separate sets of solar panels with different wattages, we wanted to absorb as much sunlight - efficiently as possible, so we used three 45A MorningStar PWM TriStar Solar regulators, each with its own set of panels (2x 120w, 2x 160w and 3x 140w), to ensure we have no losses. All these are linked up to the MorningStar Meter Hub, and a dedicated solar remote controller show the performance of each solar bank.
DC to DC Charging: We were quite fortunate in the fact that this Trail Lite was equipped with a larger 120A 24v alternator. We took advantage of this by installing two Enerdrive DC2DC 40+ chargers. These were able to be boosted to charge at 50A each, giving us a huge 100A of multistage Lithium Charging from the alternator. Our DC2DC chargers differ greatly from a regulator or VSR because our chargers will apply proper charging stages and will ensure the battery receives the correct bulk charging and then maintains when full. This is needed especially for Lithium because the charging profile for Lithium batteries are very specific. You can add multiple DC2DC chargers depending on the output of your alternator.
Other improvements: To ensure that the owner has plenty of juice to start his Trail Lite, we swapped his original truck batteries with two brand new Optima 34/78’s from the US, and to complement this we installed a Schumacher 24v 10A charger to charge and maintain the new batteries from the inverter.
We also overhauled the entire AC wiring with RCD’s to protect loads coming out of the inverter and to the outlets on the bus, thus creating a completely safe system that complies with modern electrical standards.
We have rearranged the existing dash board to include EPRO+ Battery Monitor, Solar Monitor and EPRO Combi Remote.
All electrical components used were marine-grade and are Blue Sea branded to ensure it is the highest quality.
Here are some installation photos to show progress:
Above: Original batteries in rear compartment - took up a fair bit of room
Above: Layout under the lounge seating comprising of a Victron Inverter, a DC to DC charger with no brand, and CTEK charger and Smart Pass
Above: Two 300A batteries being put in place - the rugged aluminium casing provides protection for the cells.
Above: Top-Down View of the lounge setup during installation - Schumacher 24v 10A charger, 3x MorningStar Tristar Regulators, MorningStar Meter Hub, DC2DC Chargers x2
Above: Finished installation during benchmarking. Batteries being stored in a discrete wooden carpeted box, with the Active Cell Balancers, BMS Board and Inverter Charger in place. The EPRO+ Battery Monitor from the BMS board allows PC connectivity to log performance and change alarm settings.
Above: The Meter Hub that links three MorningStar Solar regulators together and calculates data to be displayed
Above: The three MorningStar Tristar PWM 45A Solar Regulators in action
Above: Additional solar panels being installed.
Above: The two DC2DC chargers each pumping out 45A on IDLE from the Alternator.
Above: New Dashboard layout including the EPRO+ Battery Monitor, Tristar Meter and EPRO Combi Remote Interface. Note the large current draw on the battery monitor (204A), this was sustained for long periods of time during the discharge testing, yielding constant voltages throughout the process.
Above: Auto Generator Start kicking from a signal sent by the EPRO+ Battery Monitor's on the BMS Board - eliminating any risk from discharging batteries.
Above: Brand New Optima Red Top 34/78 Commercial Starting Batteries.
Please call or email us if you are interested in lithium systems for your motorhome/caravan, boat, or commercial applications and we can direct you to one of our distributors in your area.