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409 Posts
Discussion Starter · #21 · (Edited)
Lithium Battery & Accessory/Solar Setup Overhaul Planning

So I went a bit crazy ordering some new bits & pieces to modernize & completely overhaul the electrical storage & power systems in my Patrol..

It all started after I fitted a Victron BMV-712 Smart battery monitor and installed it. I was so impressed with the bluetooth connectivity and functioality of the product that I have developed an (unhealthy) obsession with victron products. It doesn't help that they make everything in my favorite colour 馃槓.

Today at the Perth 4wd Show I pulled the trigger on an ItechWorld ITECH120X Lithium-Ion Battery. I have been eyeing them up for a while, and they gave me a decent price at the show. I plan on fitting this into my recently ordered Fourby Fitouts Touring Unit or possibly Horizon storage shelf. The salesman advised me that I will need to install a DC-DC charger tohelpprotect the battery and make sure it's charged correctly. I have been against buying DC-DC chargers for years, and I don't believe the cost outweighs the benifit for a traditional setup with non-smart alternator like my current one. However, I do want to protect my new setup/investment, so I decided on an Orion TR Smart 12 - 12 DC- DC Charger. It is the most powerful automotive DC-DC charger Victron makes, and can be configured via Bluetooth to match the charging specifications of my Lithium Battery.

Secondly I decided to replace my el cheapo PWM Solar charge controller with a MPPT unit. I went for the Blue Solar MPPT 75/15 as It give me headroom to add a second 110W panel down the line, if I decide to up my off grid power capacity. Once again It has supports smart networking and works out of the same app used for all Victron products. There is a wireless dongle that is required to make this work that is sold separately, and I have purchased one.

And finally, even though there is nothing wrong with my cheap & cheerful 1500W pure sine wave inverter, I went for a Victron Phoenix Inverter 12 1200. It has the same Bluetooth functionality as the other Victron products.

I'm very happy with the versatility and innovation of Victron products. Plus, wiring them up will be a great project.There is going to be a lot of blue boxes attached to my cargo barrier 馃槈

409 Posts
Discussion Starter · #22 · (Edited)
Power Storage Overhaul Wiring

I've drawn up a plan for the wiring to make everything work. This is still a WIP, however it's approaching a final version.

Key points:
  • I've decided to modfify my trusty redarc dual battery isolator by removing the automatic controller and using it as a relay switch instead.
  • I will use buss bars to connect the power hungry devices such as the inverter, air compressor and audio amps
  • Although shown as separate, the "Rear fuse box on touring unit" will be connected at the same location as the Auxiliary bus bar. This will depend on where I can fit it. I've ordered a nice 10 gang unit (found it on eBay for a good price) to do this job
  • I plan on using the bluetooth function of the bluesolar to act as a remote on/off control for my Awning lights. The reasoning being that when I go to bed at night, I can jump into my swag then turn the last lights out wireless by using my phone. I know the Redarc system can do that with every input however I can't justify the price, and I prefer to have a system that has a manual backup and less points of failure, particularly because I built the system myself and can fix it in the bush.
I'm ordering a lot of the stuff off eBay, mainly because there are plenty of good deals there and there is a huge range of items. This is going to be one hell of a project, but it will be great once it's done.


409 Posts
Discussion Starter · #23 · (Edited)
Hot Water Shower Project Completion

Today I completed my hot water shower build. 馃榿馃榿

Due to the location of where I mounted the heat exchanger, It was necessary to turn both hoses on one side 180 degrees back the other way. to do this, I unscrewed the supplied 5/8" barb and used two male-female thread 90 degree stainless steel elbows for the engine coolant side, and put the barb back in at the end of it. For the fresh water side it wasn't so easy, as the fitting is not removable. I used two 90 degree brass barb fittings to turn the flow back around. Of course, it is possible to just loop the hoses around, but due to lack of space in the engine room this would have looked messy, and they would have been sitting on top of other things.

Above: The assembled heat exchanger

After that I mounted the heat exchanger into the engine bay. I found it was easier to install and clamp the hoses on the left side before mounting the unit.
Below: The final assembly


Above: Before I installed the fittings, I took care to check where the hoses would sit. I found a way to run them neatly behind the heat exchanger, which also doubled as a way to support them without the need for cable ties.
Below: Looking down into the engine bay. You can see the joint where the 8mm (5/16) water hoses join to the 1/2" heater hoses that run into the cabin. It was necessary to change sizes as half inch heater hose would not fit through the firewall and under the plastic step, and it is not possible to unscrew the fitting on the Glind and replace it with a smaller one.

I decided to tee into the heater core hoses right after they come out of the engine. Originally I wanted to put them on the heater side, however the added length of the tee pieces would have put the heater hose too close to the exhaust pipe and turbo. Instead I teed them off in a 90 degree so that the coolant makes a turn to go down to the heater core, and continues straight to go to the Glind. I measured and cut the heater hoses to fit the tee pieces in. It's also worth noting that the engine heater hoses are in fact 20mm ID (3/4"), so I had to source additional fittings to make it work.

It's also worth mentioning that I plumed up the hoses so that the fluids run in a crossflow configuration. Thermodynamically speaking, this is the most efficient way to run any heat exchanger, which means that the shower water will be as hot as possible by the time it comes out from the Glind.

In the (bad) photo below, you can see the heater core hoses go down and to the right. I ran out of Tridon hose clamps and have ordered more. I'll replace the other off brand ones when they arrive.

As mentioned previously, the ball valve on the Glind is used to control the temperature of the water. This is done by restricting flow through the heat exchanger. During testing I tried shutting and opening the temperature valve on the dashboard to see if it made any difference to water temperature. It didn't so I'm glad I put that feature in.

After checking all fittings and bleeding the air from the cooling system and topping it up, I tested the system. I wanted to know how long the shower would run for until the bladder was empty to help me with planning for trips, so I filled the bladder up completely (using my filling system worked a treat) then ran the pump until it was empty. I'm pleased to report that I could have a whopping 57 minutes of hot showers out bush until the water bladder becomes empty 馃槃.


Above: Testing the shower. It's difficult to see in a photo, but there is steam coming off the water.

As for my concerns about the engine not making enough heat to maintain water temperature, it turns out they were somewhat true. I took my Patrol for a drive around the block to get it warm before starting the test. At the start the coolant temperature was at 80 degrees, and I had the idle up switch engaged (engine idling at 1200rpm) After about 6 minutes of continuous shower use, the coolant had dropped to 76 degrees. It continued to drop to 70 degrees, however after about 20 minutes I idled down the engine. The water coming out of the shower was still hot however, but I do wonder how it will go in cold conditions. I suppose I could simply go for a drive to warm the engine up in the morning to guarantee a hot shower.

As for water flow, I was concerned that the little pump would not be powerful enough to move water through the small tubes, heat exchanger and against a meter or so of head pressure, but it does in fact create enough pressure and flow to work. It also has the added benefit of saving water. As mentioned above with a 57 minute run time, I don't think I'll need to worry about using nearby streams as water sources. I also have the capacity to carry two jerry cans on the vehicle; one on the rear bar and one will fit forward of the fridge in the touring unit. At this stage I'll probably use one for fuel and one as emergency drinking water storage, however I'm confident that my shower system will last for many years to come.

I can't wait to test my shower this coming weekend, I have a feeling a few of my mates will be jealous and will want to try it come Sunday morning 馃榿

In other news I'm waiting on Fourby Fitouts to finish manufacturing my Touring unit, and I'm waiting on a plethora of Victron Products and breakers/wiring to arrive so that I can start on what will probably be the biggest single project on my Patrol. Thanks for reading!

409 Posts
Discussion Starter · #27 · (Edited)
Fourby Fitouts Touring Unit Install

The time has finally come to overhaul the rear cargo section of my Patrol. I've decided to install the touring unit, take it on a trip over new year's to get a feel for how it works, then mount and wire up my lithium battery, new solar controller & inverter ect at a later date.

It was obvious to me that this thing is very heavy, it came on a pallet plus had several separate boxes full of stuff. So to quantify exactly how much weight I'm adding to the rear of my Patrol, I weighed my old drawer system when I removed it, and I've weighed each piece of the Touring Unit before I installed it. I used bathroom scales (stood on them, then stood holding componant and took the difference, interestingly each time I did so there was up to 300 grams of difference in my body weight, probably due to me drinking water and sweating it out). The accuracy is +/- 50 grams per measurement. The below weights are for empty draws, and fasteners were not weighed unless stated.

Note I weighed my 1500 watt pure sine wave inverter that is attached to the wing, along with a piece of vinyl floor since it is going to be covered by the false floor anyway.

Things Removed.
Old Draw: 17.2kg
Old Fridge tilt slide w/ bolts: 13.6kg
Old Wing with inverter and bolts: 5kg
Old Draw Frame: 25.6kg
Part of the vinyl floor section 2.5kg
Rear grab handles 0.2Kg

The total weight removed is 64.1Kg. That is a lot of weight for one empty kings drawer and a fridge slide! All of that stuff was constantly in the back of my Patrol as there was no easy way to remove it. I'm hoping with the modular design of the Touring Unit I can reduce the weight in the rear when I'm not loaded for a trip.

Components For "Station Wagon Mode":
Floor support bracket 1.7Kg
False floor 9.3Kg
Cargo barrier brackets 0.8Kg
Cargo barrier 12.4Kg
Soft luggage rack legs 2.8Kg
Hood Bow 1.2Kg
Soft luggage rack gate 3.5Kg

That brings the station wagon mode weight to 31.7Kg, which is a 32.4Kg saving in weight from my original setup.

Components For Basic Touring Mode:

Draw Chassis 12.3Kg
Draw (Including 2 dividers and fasteners) 17.3Kg
Center Panel 6Kg
Right side bin 3Kg
Drawer lid 5.1Kg
Fridge slide 16.3Kg

An extra 60Kg, The total for a basic touring setup comes to 91.7Kg, however for the full touring mode setup the rest of the parts are:

Shelf arms & brackets 1.5Kg
Right shelf 3Kg
Left shelf support bracket 0.5Kg
Left shelf 2Kg
Left pockets 3.3Kg

An extra 10.3Kg, bringing the grand total to 102Kg. Quite a lot of weight (an extra 40.1Kg over old setup), however I think its worth it for the benefits gained from it. So without further ado, here is how I installed it.


Above: The "Clean" rear section of my Patrol. Note the vinyl flooring above is still installed. The wiring on the left hanging out was for my mounted air compressor, which had to be removed to fit the false floor.

The first step was to pull back the floor and remove a couple of rubber plugs to install the support bracket. There was no photo of the support bracket (or plugs for that matter) in the instructions, neither was there a parts list with pictures of each part, so I was a bit confused as to which bracket was which. After searching online for any help and failing to find it, I decided to give Fourby Fitouts a call on their after hours number. To my surprise they answered, and after apologizing for the bother (this was at 5:30PM on Boxing day, 8:30 eastern stages time) I politely asked for some quick help. To my dismay I got a very rude answer which amounted to him saying "Don't call at f***ing 9PM on boxing day" and hanging up the phone. I understand it was a bad time, however there is no excuse for anyone professional business employee to be that rude, after all they did supply an after hours phone and answer it instead of having it turned off or on an answering machine. Just something to think about if you are considering buying one of these units.

Below: the bolt hole with rubber plug removed (lower right corner). It was also necessary to drill a hole in the vinyl floor so the bolt would fit through.

I eventually figured out that there was one long bracket that fits underneath the false floor and bolted it in place:

Below: Floor support bracket installed. I have removed the vinyl that will be covered by the false floor.

After that I lifted in the false floor. It is made from a large piece of carpet covered plywood that looks like it's been cut on a computer guided machine. The fit was excellent and it slotted in nicely around the trim panels.


Above: The installed false floor. There are 2X M6 and 2X M8 bolts holding it to the body, not a lot of meat IMO considering the amount of weight it will be supporting and potentially keeping in place in a crash or over rough terrain.
Below: Rear view. There is a significant amount of overhang, which is part of the reason the support bracket needs to be there. It doubles as a support for the cargo barrier as you will see shortly.

The next step was to bolt together the two upper retaining brackets for the cargo barrier. Once again there were no good photos in the instructions, however this one was easy.

Below: One of the top cargo barrier brackets. The spacer washers are reused from the original grab handles. The hole in the trim panel was where the hose from my compressor ran through and came out the removable panel in the lower left corner of the photo. I was not possible to change the angle of the air hose, and to make it fit inside the old draw wing I had to run it inside the trim panel.

Each of the two brackets bolts into the holes for the grab handles, and the flat part bolts onto a tab on the top of the cargo barrier. From there the cargo barrier could be lifted into the middle section and rested leaning forward. Attaching it to the false floor and bracket was easily done with one person.

Below: The installed cargo barrier.

Next up was what Fourby Fitouts calls the soft luggage rack. It is a drop down platform that makes great use of the "hump" in the GU's roof in the rear section to store light but bulky things like sleeping bags, pillows, ect. To install it, two vertical supports needed to be bolted into place. The designers have made clever use of the holes for the (rather crappy) factory luggage tie down points to help secure the supports.

Below: Right side support secured in place.

The second hurdle of the install then presented itself. It seems that fourby fitouts made a mistake pre-installing the support bar for the soft luggage rack. It was obviously too low and needed to be removed and put at the correct height so that the support bars pictured below could be bolted onto it.



409 Posts
Discussion Starter · #28 · (Edited)
Below: The soft luggage rack bar reattached at the correct height and the support bars attached to it.

The next step was to attach the "Hood bow", which is a bar that spans between the two vertical sections that is contoured to the roof. It gives reinforcement and mount the nylon straps onto. After that the rack itself could then be attached to the support bar. This took a lot of time to get right, as the rack required a lot of adjustment to get it centered so that the two latches would shut with even foce on each side. I put a small amount of grease on the striking plates to prevent wear and make the latches slide easier.

Below: The installed soft luggage rack, hanging down in the unlocked position.

Below: Closeup of the rear mounting arrangement. You can just see the blue grease smeared on the striking plate in the left corner. The bump stops required adjustment to the correct high once the gate was mounted and centered.
Iron Vehicle door Automotive window part Mesh

Below: The completed soft luggage rack. It's perfect for storing light but bulky things, such as pillows and my new pop-up tent.

Now, to add the draw. The instructions called for the center panel and side bin to be bolted to the draw chassis on the ground, then the assembly can be put into the car and bolted to the false floor. Fourby Fitouts again had done some design work and cut out holes in the thicker part of the center panel so that the nuts/bolts for the drawer bearings fit nicely into them.

Below: The assembled parts sitting loose on the false floor. 4X M6 bolts are all that holds all of this to the floor, which in my opinion probably isn't enough.

The drawer lid can then be fitted. It comes with built in full length hinges, and I was pleased to find that my air compressor fits nicely in the rear section, which will probably be its new mounting location.


Above: Looking into the right side storage bins
Below: drawer lid fitted

After that it was time to attach both of the (optional extra) draw dividers to the draw using the pre-drilled holes in the steel frame, and slide the draw into posiiton. Fourby fitouts has made removing the draw easy as it has a bolt like retaining mechanism on one side and a spring loaded one on the the other, ensuring the draw can never come out on its own yet is easily removable by one person, with no tools required.

Below: The installed draw. You can see the two different bolt mechanisms on either side.

With most of the touring setup done, the next step was to install the support arms for the shelves. These again were fiddly and required a lot of adjustment to get them sitting nicely. I won't be removing them again as aligning them when I put them back on requires a lot of effort. The shelves themselves are easily removed however.

Above: the left side support arm in place. The brackets that were supplied are different to the ones pictured in the instructions. I couldn't get the arms exactly parallel as they did not reach outwards enough, however it's not noticeable by eye. There right side arm is a mirror image of the left.


Above: Installed shelves. the four mounting holes for each shelf section required measuring and drilling. I'm not sure why Fourby Fitouts didn't pre-drill them at the factory, perhaps the shelves are a generic part for many models.

409 Posts
Discussion Starter · #29 ·
The next part to go in was the left side storage bins. They are mounted using the two 3rd row seat bolts in the picture above. One longer bolt is supplied and the other one gets reused.

Below: The installed storage bins. These don't have lids, which is not a problem as it allows for taller items to be stored.

Finally, the fridge slide went in. Again, 4X M6 bolts is all that holds it onto the false floor, which when the fridge is fully loaded and extended it no doubt puts considerable strain on the forward two bolts.

Above: Fridge slide fully mounted and extended. I like that the slide can be operated with one hand, which is more convenient than my old Dunn & Wattson tilt slide.

Above: the completed install.

Straight away I measured the room in front of the fridge slide where the water tank would normally go, and I was relieved to find that there was plenty of room to install my lithium battery. After that, I started testing it by loading it up with all the items I would normally take camping. Most things fit so perfectly that I swear the system was made for them. I found that the lid of my (40L) Engel will only open fully when put in as pictured below, which isn't a big deal (mounted the other way it hits the small barn door).


So far I'm very pleased with the system. It has freed up almost the entire middle section of my Patrol to the point where I could put the larger seat back in if I wanted to carry an extra passenger, and still have enough room for their gear. The middle section can now be dedicated to storing my water bladder, sleeping bag and clothes with no fear of any sharp or heavy objects puncturing the bladder.

I've already started thinking about how I'm going to wire up the new controllers and what to do with my sub woofer. unfortunately, one of my amps got destroyed while I was moving it (an RCA input socket disintegrated when I pulled the plug out). so I'm on the lookout for a new amp. I've also decided to get rid of the bulky, heavy sub and amp combo that has been sitting in the middle for years. I'm going to buy an underseat sub/amp to further reduce weight and free up space in the middle.

Now all that's left to do is temporarily wire up my compressor, and take my new setup on a trip to test it out. More updates to follow, probably in the new year :)


09 ZD30 CRD Wagon
904 Posts
This is a great setup. A shame about the response you got on the phone though!

i ended up with the following when I replaced all my door speakers with 6.5鈥 units

Amp - pioneer GMD1004
Sub - kenwood KSCPSW8

the sub I was told is the very best underseat model. Bigger than the pioneer unit, but still fit under my passenger seat nicely.
Certainly got enough oomf for me.
the amp is a tiny little thing that lives inside the dash behind the head unit. I鈥檓 not really a car audio guy, but a larger amp may have been better?
having said that, it鈥檚 still the best car audio I鈥檝e ever had and didn鈥檛 break the bank nor cost me any storage

Premium Member
Nuffin now
28,556 Posts
I'm curious, why didn't you have the fridge turned the other way, so that you can open the lid, without needing to pull it all the way out? :unsure:


409 Posts
Discussion Starter · #33 · (Edited)

So after I got back from my last trip down south on which I managed to totally destroy 2 tyres, I was pretty happy with the rest of my gear; the Fourby Fitouts touring unit made life much, much easier, and I was very impressed with my Victron MPPT solar charger. It managed to keep my house battery topped up even while running 2 fridges and charging phones, running lights ect. Anyway, after limping home and organizing new tyres I wasted little time in getting to work on overhauling the power distribution for my Patrol.

This one let go while doing 100kmh on the blacktop... I ended up at the caravan park in Manjumup for 2 nights until the tyre shops opened on Monday and I could organize a replacement Tyre (my spare's sidewall got torn open earlier in the trip).

I started off by laying out on the cargo barrier all of the various "boxes". I put them in places where the ones that need access are easy to get to. I attached them securely to the cargo barrier using 40X3mm aluminium strip and m5 machine screws with locknuts.

From left to right: Subwoofer amplifier (will be getting rid of this soon), The monstrous Victron Phoenix 1200 watt inverter, Victron DC-DC battery charger, 4G/3G Telstra phone booster, Pioneer 4 Channel amplifier for speakers.

As a side note, I'm happy with where I put the phone booster, as I could glance while 4wding at the status LED in the rear view mirror to see at a if I had phone signal or not. Below is a view from the rear.

The next step was to mock up where I wanted the battery in its box and mark out holes where I'll bolt it down.

Above: Where the battery will sit, just forward of the fridge. With the shelf on top protecting it, this is the perfect place to install all the wiring and make use of the free space. Also, the rear needs some more weight on the passenger side, so the battery should help balance it.

I marked the locations for the holes on the carpet but decided to wait until the wiring was done before I committed to drilling holes in the false floor. After that I decided where to mount the two Busbars, the Crossover Solenoid (see drawing below), and the current shunt. I chose to put them on the back of the mounting bars for audio amplifier, they are in a good position nice and close to the battery and should not interfere with the battery when it is installed.

After I mounted those, I mounted the rest of the parts to the cargo barrier. The fuse for the audio amp, two circuit breakers and a 10 gang fuse block.

Above: All parts mounted to the cargo barrier.
Below: I put a device in every corner on the back of the amp. Top left is the current shunt which has a thick 4AWG cable going down to the negative bus bar. The battery will be connected directly to the other terminal on the shunt. Top right is my modified Redarc smart start SBI dual battery isolator. I removed the controller from it, essentially turning it into a high current relay switch. Lower right corner is the positive bus bar. As you can see it's pretty much full from the various connections going to all the different consumers.

After that It was time for the arduous task of wiring it up. As you can see from the photos above, I've got most of the "big" wires connected and when I'm finished I'll do some cable management and neaten it all up.

To crimp the large eye terminals onto the cables, I used this hydraulic crimping tool. After a cable pulled out of the terminal in the engine bay I decided to leave nothing to chance. It comes with different dies for different size terminals.

To make sense of the wire spaghetti, I've updated my drawing with any changes as I went along. The latest version looks like this
UPDATE: This is the final version with changed made to reflect how things are wired:

The method behind it is a s follows:
I've wired CB2 to manually connect the main and auxiliary batteries. This is useful for several reasons. Firstly, if my main battery goes flat but the house battery is full (or the sun is up), I can recharge the flat main battery and use the house battery to start the engine. The same works in reverse. Secondly, if my DC/DC charger fails, I can effectively bypass it. And thirdly, when using my winch, I can use the house battery to give it some extra current and take some stress off the electrical system. I've ran thick 1AWG gauge cable directly from the alternator/main battery all the way to the house battery, so the system should have no problem with voltage drop or current limitations.

At the end of day 3 I've completely removed the engine bay wiring for the old battery setup. Almost all of the systems are wired up to the new switchboard.

Above: the rewired forward distribution board. I reused some of the circuit breakers for the shower and switch illumination.

Tomorrow I'll finish it off, I need to wire up the air compressor (once I put the draws ect back in), and rewire the remote start/stop system. I also need to configure my new DC/DC charger and reset my dual battery monitor and reconfigure it for lithium (the solar charger will also need its settings changed).

409 Posts
Discussion Starter · #34 · (Edited)

The house battery fuse box that powers all of the smaller devices.

After taking the time to cable manage things as best I could, I ended up with this:

Above: I plan on getting rid of the subwoofer amplifier, but for now I have it wired up and the sub laid flat on the floor. I added the remote control module for the compressor to the cargo barrier.

Below: the battery connected for testing. The wires coiled up in the bottom right corner are for my air compressor. I plan on making it more or less plug and play to remove the air compressor, with the four wires (power+/- and remote turn on switch) being able to be quickly disconnected when I remove the draws, shelves ect to put the cargo area in "station wagon mode" like in the photo.

I also bolted a cigarette lighter plug for the fridge to the inside of the left hand storage cubby. I got sick and tired of having the engel plugged into the socket in the big barn door and the cable stretched across from right to left. Having the plug tucked away in the pocket means it is out of harm's way and in no danger of getting caught on anything or potentially crushed in closing doors.

After making sure everything was working, I drilled the holes for the battery box and mounted it in place, put the battery in and tightened up the strap. As good looking as the battery is, I prefer to have it out of direct sunlight and protected from any potential shorting out from objects touching it.


With the majority of the system online, I decided to give it a real test to see what the inverter is made of. One thing that I always wanted to do was have an off the grid setup that was able to run just about any 240v appliance. I decided to test my new inverter by running a microwave. I took my big microwave out of the kitchen.


I plugged it in and ran it off of the house battery. The microwave did start heating but inverter cut out after about 7 seconds (I looked at the power consumption afterward, the microwave is rated to a whopping 1400-1450 Watts!) - more on that later.
The inverter is VE.Direct compatible, and I have ordered a Bluetooth dongle for it.

Anyway, with everything working it was time to configure the DC/DC charger, and tweak a few settings in the solar charger and battery monitor.

After using the Victron Connect app on my tablet to pair with the DC/DC charger with its built-in Bluetooth system, I opened up the settings. The charger was in power supply mode, which is one of it's alternative uses. I changed the mode over to battery charger, then made some changes:

It's possible to create custom battery profiles, I named mine after my battery model, and changed the Absorption and Float voltages according to the manufacturer's recommendations.

There are also preset profiles for which type of alternator the vehicle has, I chose the non-smart option and left it at that. Whilst having the DC/DC charger is nice, it's not strictly necessary for my Patrol, as the alternator is a standard type. The main reason I went for one is to limit the current going into the battery when the engine is started, as iTechword recommends a charge current of 20-50 Amps, and my alternator is capable of putting much more than that into it. So, to prolong the battery's service life I went with the Orion charger.

Moving on to the Solar Charger:

Above:I changed the absorption and float voltages in the solar controller's settings. You can also see the history of the unit's power generation.


409 Posts
Discussion Starter · #35 · (Edited)

Above: This is the main screen of the charger. The icon to the left of the status tab means that the charger is smart networked. The battery monitor and charger both share data wirelessly over bluetooth in real time to optimize battery charging.

And finally, on to the battery monitor:

Above: This is the main screen of the monitor; currently 18 Watts of power are going into the battery, which is the same amount as the solar charger was producing in the previous screenshot.

The battery settings for the battery monitor are the most important here. I increased the capacity from the optimistic 100Ah of my old lead acid, to 120Ah. I lowered the discharge floor from 50% to 0%. While it is possible to go to zero on lithium batteries, leaving 15% or more charge in the battery significantly prolongs its service life. I have set the low state of charge alarm at 35% to warn me when the battery is getting low. I lowered the peukert exponent to 1.02 (it was 1.25). This setting is used for lead acid batteries, as they have a lower charging efficiency, and the peukert exponent corrects for this when the battery monitor calculates the state of charge percentage. As such, I raised the charging efficiency setting to 98%. I left the rest of the settings as they are.

Some final pictures and notes:

Above: The compressor tucked away inside its compartment. The hose runs through the cargo barrier to where the rest of it is coiled up.

Above is the two switches to control the air compressor; the manual switch will start it, and the remote switch enables the remote control module, so that I can start and stop the compressor while looking at the gauge while pumping up the tires.

Above: The air hose with the remote control attached.


Above: The finished install.

I can't wait to test my new setup whilst camping. I now have peace of mind that I can leave lights, both fridges, ect running while camping and not have to worry about the battery going flat. Future mods will include adding an Anderson Socket to the solar charger, and buying a large (200W) folding panel to use for off the grid power when camped up for several days.

I also am going to change the LED strip lights on my awning to brighter but more power hungry units, and add a Wifi enabled controller to control each of the 3 strips on the awning arms individually, as well as their brightness. My reasoning for this is, when I'm in in bed in my tent, I can switch the lights off using my phone and not have to use the switch in the car then fumble around getting into the tent in the dark馃檪馃懆鈥嶐煄.

Premium Member
Nuffin now
28,556 Posts
Just with using a microwave on 12v from an inverter to 240v. The max power draw is instant and that's where the problem is with them. ;) In the truck I have one and we had to use it straight from the battery through the power port as in below.


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409 Posts
Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Just with using a microwave on 12v from an inverter to 240v. The max power draw is instant and that's where the problem is with them. ;) In the truck I have one and we had to use it straight from the battery through the power port as in below.

View attachment 527443

I wanted to give the inverter a real test, and the microwave was one of the most power hungry things I had on hand.

409 Posts
Discussion Starter · #40 · (Edited)

I recieved another Victron VE.Direct bluetooth dongle in the mail today and hooked it up to my Phoenix inverter.

The list of Victron Bluetooth devices on my phone now looks like this:

However, to be honest I was disappointed with the amount of settings and info that was available through the app. The load output doesn't even display a reading in watts. Another surprising omission is any sort of internal temperature sensor reading, and cooling fan status/RPM.

Never the less, it has an easy to use way to turn the inverter on and off remotely via bluetooth, which is the main reason I purchased the adapter. I plan on running an extension lead into the tent to run things like phone chargers, electric blankets, fans ect and having the ability to turn the power on and off remotely with my phone gives the setup more flexibility.

I have been putting the inverter and the battery/DC through its paces lately, running the washing machine off of it, and my whole desktop computer setup to see how the inverter handles it. The washing machine ran without any issues however as the machine spun the drum up rapidly, the inverter would make a loud and sharp humming noise and actually vibrate slightly as it did so. I suspected this was destructive harmonics from the washing machine's variable speed drive resonating inside the inverter, so I stopped that test early to avoid damaging it. Combined with the solar planel/MPPT charger, the setup will run my whole computer for 8+ to 3 hours, depending on what the computer is used for (gaming uses almost 3X the amount of energy as web browsing). With the inverter load of the computer running (about 20-25% on the meter in the screenshot above), and on a hot day with internal ambient temperature in the car at 35 degrees, the inverter ran the computer without starting up its cooling fan.

Further testing revealed that the low battery shutdown setting is more of a suggestion , as in my tests the inverter's algorithm would stop the inverter at 12 volts, when the low battery shutdown setting was set at 10.

I also encountered issues with the "Dynamic Cutoff" mode in the inverter. this setting is eslecially useful for batteries with high internal resistance (like lead-acid) where the voltage drops heavily under high current load. Never the less, I selected the LiFePO4 profile, and as soon as applying the setting a low battery warning and alarm would activate. No matter how much I played with the settings below, I couldn't get the alarm to clear with dynamic cutoff mode on. The battery voltage was at 13.5 volts, and yet the inverter would not work because of the low voltage alarm. I am not entirely if this is a software glitch (though I think it likely is), or if it's due to some kind of mismatch between the iTechworld battery's internal battery management system and the Inverter.

I hope Victron updates the app or firmware to show the inverter's temperature and fan status in the future, as the Bluetooth dongles are overpriced ($80), and in my opinion don't offer good value for use cases like my one.

My whole DC system is working with with no issues. I tested the DC/DC charger two days ago by discharging the battery down to 32% then drove the car for 20 minutes. While I was driving, the alternator had not problem feeding the charger, and it consistently put the full 30 Amps into the house battery. One small concern however, was the charger did get very hot from running at full capacity. The heatsink fins under the unit were too hot to touch, and the blue casing was hot to the touch.

Another practical use for my Crossover system is to increase the charge rate of the house battery. iTechworld rates it at a maximum continuous charge rate of 50 Amps, and with the engine idling at 750rpm my alternator was putting 40 amps into the battery. Interestingly holding the engine at 2000rpm only raised the flow by 4 Amps into the battery. This could possibly be the battery's internal management system limiting the current. Either way I have the option to charge the house battery much faster using the alternator directly.

Below: I did a test and discharged the house battery down to half of its capacity (60 Ah). I was pleased to see the percentage meter was within one percent, indicating that the percentage is accurate, and it suggests that the battery does in fact have the full 120aAh capacity.

And finally, while I determined that under heavy (110%) sustained load the inverter will cut out on low voltage,I found that if I use my crossover system with the engine running, the inverter will run at full load indefinitely, with very little charge being drawn out of the house battery. This is because I ran a high current wire back to the output terminal on the alternator. I've effectively turned my vehicle into a 1.2KVA generator, so that I can run large loads (like power tools) out bush if required.

The last real test will be to take it out on a camping trip, and use my setup to life comfortably without worrying about flat batteries :)
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