I recently purchased an AC180 to use when camping. I have a caravan with 160W of solar on roof, supplemented by 2 x 150W portable panels. I also have all the necessary cables to connect everything I use i.e. Anderson to MC4 and cables to connect the 2 x 150W in series or parallel. I’ve tested the AC180 with solar and all is good, however I am still to test charging from my 4x4. My question is regarding DC vehicle charging.
Standard 12VDC power sockets (cigarette lighter style) are limited to 10amps @ 12VDC nominal = a maximum of 120W. However the AC180 maximum DC input has a voltage range of 12-60V, 10A max or 500W in the case of solar.
What are the ramifications of using a DC-DC converter to simulate a solar charge of up to 500W? (With the correct cable and input plug) For example;
Victron Orion DC-DC converter is available in 2 versions that would fit the 10A limit;
- Orion DC-DC 12/24-8. Output V is 24VDC at 8A = 192W
- Orion DC-DC 12/24-10. Output V is 20-30VDC at 10A = 300W at max volts.
My logic being, would an input, as in option 2, of 30V at 10A at 300W be accepted by the AC180 as a solar input without damage to the Bluetti?
You should be correct in your calculations. I would def. go with option 2 with output adjusted to 30 VDC
Keep in mind that if option 1 does get up to 192 watts, it would be pulling between 13-16 amps from the cig plug, and if option 2 gets to 300, it would be between 21-25 amps.
If your cig plug isn’t rated for this, you might want to skip it and hook up else where. Be sure to use proper wiring and fuse/breaker, and that your alternator can handle the extra load.
Thanks for the replies, I had already calculated current draw of each. Re connecting it to the 4by, definitely not using the OEM cig sockets.
I have a slimline LiFePo4 auxiliary on the side of a rear drawer, has its own internal 20A charger fed from alternator through 8AWG @ 40A fuse, which also has 110W solar on roof. So if I need to boost the 180 I can connect to the vehicle feed instead of the slimline as it’s all Anderson plug n play. Or, I could use a spare outlet from the aux battery to run either of the converters, as it is fused high enough to handle the load and is the easier option.
That way the slimline charges the 180 at the same time as being charged from vehicle and solar at the same time when driving. The slimline will also act as a buffer between vehicle and the 180. I don’t intend using the 180 in the 4by, it’s more for the caravan microwave, a folding kettle and elec toothbrush charging at 240VAC. Maybe the laptop, but I can already run that from the 200Ah of van LiFePo house batteries with a 12VDC adaptor.
I also have the AC200P and that with the 180, when home will be power blackout backup.
FYI, I do all my own low voltage design and installation. I started as a Toolmaker, but mostly a retired elec/mech designer.
I was reasonably confident in doing this, but it’s always good to get opinions from other sources especially as both these units are new and I may not know something important.
Thought I would add this for others that might read this thread.
Apart from the correct rated cable sizing v load. I have always used Midi Fuses/Holders when running from battery to any kind of charger, DC-DC, solar etc. i.e. 30A or above. Then for distribution, a multi fuse block with blade fuses. (Correctly rated). Usually lower loads like 1-15A, i.e. car fridge, LED lights etc
Years ago, I had a couple of 30A inline blade fuse holders melt, likely the quality of the item. I also do not use thermal circuit breakers. If there is an issue that causes it to trip, when it self resets, it re-energises and trips again until “you” disconnect it or something melts.
I have option 2 ready to go, just need to wire it into my canopy. There is a good video on YouTube of someone doing the same thing as well, works fine.
Possibly a Q for Bluetti Support, or anyone else in the know.
As mentioned I have a 75Ah LiFePo4 Auxiliary in the rear of the 4x4 with its own internal 20A DC-DC charger. In the near future there will also be a 110W (nominal 12V) solar panel on the roof to charge this battery at the same time when driving. Given the solar charge will be at a lower voltage, I may well not get much charge from solar when driving, it’s more for when stopped to offset the Engel fridge/freezer load.
I have outputs from this battery that I can plug the car charger for the 180 into. I regularly see 14.4VDC from the 75Ah when driving on my Victron shunt app. My Q is;
Does the internal BMS in the 180 limit the current to 10 amps without damage if more is available and therefore give me up to 14.4 x 10 = 144 watts of nominal charge? Or do I need to limit the available current in some other way?
Should have noted, that if usable, I would prefer to power the charging for the AC180 from the auxiliary rather than a vehicle power socket.
Yes, the AC180 has control of how many amps it draws. This is true for power stations and most loads in general. Will the AC180 pull a full 10 amps from 14.4 volts? Probably not. I think the MPPT charge controller will prefer a higher voltage.
Also, while the solar panel is nominal 12v, most have a VOC near 18 or higher (my 12v 100w renogy have a VOC of 22.5) and a Vmp around 15+ volts (my renogy are around 18+). The amps is probably between 5-7, lower than the 10 max, but you might give it a try since the MPPT might prefer the slightly higher voltage.
Thanks for that RGB. The setup I have in the 4x4 rear is all “plug n play”, primarily all Anderson plugs. The controller I am using is a spare 15A Hardkorr that came with my portable “crocskin” panels. It is PWM, but has a Lithium profile. At 110W there would be little benefit from using MPPT which is another purchase. As the controller has Anderson on the input and output it would be easy to unplug the panel and rout a cable to the AC180 as I already have a MC4 to Anderson adaptor cable.
Once the panel is installed I’ll test the input from the Aux BAT output and then the panel direct to the 180 to see which gives more.
The panel is mounted horizontal, specs are 21.6Voc, 17.8Vmp, 6.6Isc & 6.24Vmp. Over the years I’ve used flat mounted panels I’ve noted around a 20% loss compared to angle mounted panels. I’ll note the difference once tested, but might be several weeks as Xmas is on its way lol. From the Youtube vids I’ve watched it seems around 8 amps is the average at a nom 12V input.
Forgot to mention the Hardkorr controller is for the 4x4 Aux Bat, not the AC180, lol
How much do you produce on average in the low season?
Panels produce as low as 1% to 5% on cloudy grey Autumn / Winter days. Don’t rely on peak power to size your project. However, that’s free, daily power. Once you experience the magic of running devices on “no grid” energy, you become addicted.
Can confirm. Addiction to Solar and Powerstation is real! xD
Addicted to negawatts TBH
that sounds like quite a setup… I’d love to see a pic if you don’t mind
LOL at least I see my hubby bit less as a weirdo now that I witness other people affected with the “solar virus” on this forum. He’d rather wrap himself in 2 blankets to work on his computer in a 14°C room rather than heating his office using grid power, to save whatever he harvests on a rainy day for an “off grid” work day…
Thats exactly what we talking about^^. Could be myself xD
I was out in September, at times I was getting around 25 amps from all 3 panels. My caravan has a Projecta PM300 management system, it will take up to 50VDC solar. The 160W on roof and 2 x 150W hardkorr panels would exceed 50V in series, so are connected in parallel. I used some term blocks to rewire the on roof thru a 2pole 15A circuit breaker to isolate the roof panel if it is in shade. I then wired an Anderson under the van floor to those term blocks. I also made a couple of 2 into one Anderson patch leads, 1 wired in series the other in parallel. Also have a Anderson to MC4 patch lead.
This allows me to connect the Hardkorrs in either series or parallel to the caravan or use them to charge either my AC200P or AC180 in series for the higher voltage.
On average days of overcast, I still see 12-15 amps from all 3 panels in parallel to the caravan. If the sun aint shining, I have the option of hooking up the car via an extension lead to the van as I also fitted a 25Ah Redarc DC-DC. The Projecta PM300 although Lithium profile, is a VSR and with a smart alternator, not good enough.
Hope this helps
The way I set up for off grid caravanning or charging the Bluetti in the event of a power outage is “Redundancy”.
However, there is a limit on what can be reasonably carried.
Caravan - I go totally off grid, no longer carry a generator as it is noisy, and there is a need to carry petrol to run it. My 4x4 and heater in the van are both diesel, much safer to carry. I charge from solar whenever I can, but have the option to charge from my car at 25 amps as well. I have 200Ah of LiFePo4 in the van and that gives me close to 4 days with no charge at all and more with solar/car charging. I’ve never run out of ‘juice’.
At home - I could run the genny (Honda 2kVA) to charge the Bluettis if the grid goes down for a long time. Plus get the Hardkorrs from the van.
There is a logical method in all of this. #1 item to have for off grid power, is a management system so you know what you are using and charging, don’t rely on a simple voltmeter especially for Lithium batteries. They have a very stable flat voltage curve. #2 I have 5 times battery capacity on board to what my average daily use is. (40Ah = approx 500Wh. #3 A solar array that is in Watts close to the Wh used. (I have 460W of panel for my 500Wh of use and the option of adding another 150W if I need to)
Added to this I have the AC180 capacity. It’s primary use in the van is to run the microwave, but I can charge my electric toothbrush, mobiles and laptops as well. Apart from the m/wave, I can do all of that from the van batteries as well = Redundancy.
I learned the hard way years ago that if you only have one source or charging method and it goes wrong trips can be at least cut short or ruined all together.