7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Converting Cargo Trailers into TTTs

Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby featherliteCT1 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:27 pm

Thanks Hank :D
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Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby McDave » Fri Jun 21, 2019 11:05 am

Hey Featherlite,
I think you are on to something here. I can see some advantages to having the battery/solar bank in the tow vehicle. Weight distribution, access to the batteries and panels, mobile power station that could power other needs or trailers, and the fact that you could in theory park the truck in the sun and the trailer in the shade could be a boon. I tow with a 3/4 ton van so it is similar in shape to your truck w/topper. I have been considering a "wing" to deflect the air over the trailer and some sort of vortices generator to break the suction at the ramp door when towing. If you can get the same effect via tilting the panel, that's a two fer!
Nice work Mister. You have given me something to consider when I add solar to my unit. (soon I hope)

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Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby featherliteCT1 » Fri Jun 21, 2019 5:27 pm

McDave,

I have benefitted from the advantages you listed, especially with no need to take up space in the trailer and the ability to park the trailer in the shade with the truck in the sun.

I made a 20 feet long “extension cord” out of 2 AWG wire with Anderson plugs on each end to connect the truck to the trailer. I bought a 20 feet long set of jumper cables for $20 at Rural King to source the 2 AWG wire, which equates to a cost of $.50 per foot. The wire is copper with an aluminum cladding with the effect that the wire is probably equivalent to about a 3 AWG pure copper wire. At the amps I draw (no more than 10 amps), I experience negligible voltage drop. I suspect I could even go up to 40 feet with acceptable voltage drops (say 2%).
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Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby featherliteCT1 » Mon Jul 29, 2019 2:40 pm

When it rains I cannot open my slider windows so I fabricated two rain covers out of scrap 1/4” plywood as prototypes to see if they will keep the rain out while still allowing sufficient air intake. The opening at the bottom of each cover is 4”x ”28”= 112 sq. inches of opening.

I slapped on some oil based paint I had laying around to make the covers halfway presentable and to protect the wood.

I attached an aluminum angle above each window with 3m VHB tape so that the angle is removable without marring the skin of the trailer. I laid a bead of silicone caulk at the top seam where the angle meets the skin hoping to prevent water from possibly degrading the VHB tape.

I attached an eyehook at each end of the angles and on each side of the covers.

I laid a bead of clear silicone caulk around the edges of the covers that make contact with the skin to prevent marring the skin.

A turnbuckle hooked to each end of the cover and to each end of the angle holds the box up tight under the angle or alternatively, allows creation of a slope to shed water to the front or rear of the trailer, depending upon wind direction.

It is supposed to rain tonight with 20pmh winds so I might sleep in the trailer tonight to test how these covers work.

I used 6 screws to make each cover which will enable me to take the covers apart and store them flat. I suspect it will only take about 5 minutes to assemble and install, likewise to remove and disassemble, give or take a minute or two.

I am hoping that my Maxx Air fan will exhaust out strong enough to prevent rain from entering through that roof vent.
Below are pics.


Rain cover Box side.jpeg
Rain cover Box side.jpeg (306.38 KiB) Viewed 4241 times
Rain Cover Box bottom.jpeg
Rain Cover Box bottom.jpeg (330.8 KiB) Viewed 4241 times
Rain Cover Box front.jpeg
Rain Cover Box front.jpeg (285.68 KiB) Viewed 4241 times
Last edited by featherliteCT1 on Mon Jul 29, 2019 2:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby featherliteCT1 » Mon Jul 29, 2019 2:45 pm

Here is a pic showing where I wedged some wood braces up against the angle to put pressure on the VHB tape to increase adhesion as the tape cured. I parked my trailer close to my barn so I could use the barn wall as a base to push from. The skin was fairly hot so I think it will adhere well enough for the intended use.
Rain Cover Box brace.jpeg
Rain Cover Box brace.jpeg (71.04 KiB) Viewed 4240 times
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Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby featherliteCT1 » Sat Feb 08, 2020 1:48 pm

I just purchased and installed the new Bogart WF 2030 wifi unit that transmits data from my TM 2030 battery meter and my SC 2030 charge controller. Now I can read all battery data and reset any of the charge parameters remotely. I can do so on my phone or laptop or any other device with a web browser.

The WF 2030 is the black unit.
200209 WF2030 TM2030.jpg
200209 WF2030 TM2030.jpg (330.48 KiB) Viewed 3795 times



Below are two screen shots from my phone. One screen shot shows current data, the other screen shot shows all my charge parameters,

For me, this is the cat’s meow.

WF 2030 unit cost $99 and was simple to install.

200208 WF 2030 Data.jpg
200208 WF 2030 Data.jpg (643.97 KiB) Viewed 3788 times


200208 WF 2030 Parameters.jpg
200208 WF 2030 Parameters.jpg (951.46 KiB) Viewed 3795 times
Last edited by featherliteCT1 on Sat Feb 08, 2020 2:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby featherliteCT1 » Sat Feb 08, 2020 1:50 pm

Below are two two screen shots showing History data (I just reset all history data so no prior history data available except for today’s data).

200208 WF 2030 History 1.jpg
200208 WF 2030 History 1.jpg (656.84 KiB) Viewed 3795 times


200208 WF 2030 History 2.jpg
200208 WF 2030 History 2.jpg (595.38 KiB) Viewed 3795 times
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Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby flboy » Wed Jan 27, 2021 9:11 pm

Very Nice. Maybe I missed it earlier. What do you have for a battery bank?
Don (Flboy)

YouTube Video of Finished 6x12 Trailer:
https://youtu.be/6_-8cVdWUIA
YouTube Video of 7*18 with 2ft V-nose Trailer:
https://youtu.be/MUcMM86LA2g
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Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby featherliteCT1 » Wed Jan 27, 2021 9:25 pm

I have two 235AH 6v Deka batteries wired in series for 12v. They are only 18 months old and have not been deeply discharged. I also have six 100w Renogy panels; three on my trailer and three on the top of my camper shell. I use the Bogart 30amp PWM SC2030 charger with the matching TM2030 monitor.

I am pretty disappointed in the WF2030 wifi device that is shown the the photos above. The range is supposed to be 50 feet but it will not communicate with my iPhone if I am outside the trailer and more than 10 feet away. Worse yet, it will not communicate with my iPhone when I am inside my truck. Bogart sent me a “stronger” antenna for the WF2030 but it made no difference. Basically, I wasted $100 for the wifi unit.
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Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby flboy » Wed Jan 27, 2021 9:49 pm

featherliteCT1 wrote:I have two 235AH 6v Deka batteries wired in series for 12v. They are only 18 months old and have not been deeply discharged. I also have six 100w Renogy panels; three on my trailer and three on the top of my camper shell. I use the Bogart 30amp PWM SC2030 charger with the matching TM2030 monitor.

I am pretty disappointed in the WF2030 wifi device that is shown the the photos above. The range is supposed to be 50 feet but it will not communicate with my iPhone if I am outside the trailer and more than 10 feet away. Worse yet, it will not communicate with my iPhone when I am inside my truck. Bogart sent me a “stronger” antenna for the WF2030 but it made no difference. Basically, I wasted $100 for the wifi unit.


Sounds like you have a nice system.

The issue you are having is not a surprise. The aluminum skinned cargo trailer is a faraday cage and will contain RF except for the windows. I have a similar issue with my Victron Battery Monitor Blue tooth dongle. Works great inside, but not outside more than a few feet. You need to get an external antenna. On my new build, I am going to mount the dongle up inside the air vent dome so I can receive inside and it will get outside. I use to do that with an old Mifi unit before I had an external antenna. It helped a lot.

My current CTC has 4 225ah 6V Golf car batteries is series and parallel for 12VDC @ 450ah (225aH useable). Very heavy.... now that I can get 280aH useable with LiFeP04 batteries at the same price point as Lead Acid and about 30% or less in weight... I am going to do it this time...
Don (Flboy)

YouTube Video of Finished 6x12 Trailer:
https://youtu.be/6_-8cVdWUIA
YouTube Video of 7*18 with 2ft V-nose Trailer:
https://youtu.be/MUcMM86LA2g
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Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby featherliteCT1 » Mon Apr 24, 2023 12:31 pm

I removed my 12v 235A lead acid battery and the Bogart charging system and installed a 280A Lifepo4 battery I built, along with some Victron charging components.

I have a string of three (3) 100 watt 12v panels mounted on the roof of my truck plus a second string of three (3) 100 watt 12v panels mounted on the roof of the trailer. Each string is wired in parallel and then the two strings are combined in parallel inside the trailer. Thus, I have six (6) roof panels. Each panel is protected with a 10A Din rail mounted fuse inside the trailer.

I have a string of four (4) mobile 100 watt 12v panels, ground mounted, that I can place up to 90 feet away from the trailer, via a two pair 6 AWG wire. The panels can be wired 2P or 2S2P, to harvest sun when the truck and trailer are in the shade. The ground panels are not separately fused inside the trailer. I over paneled my system to hedge against several continuous days without sufficient sun.

Each roof panel is protected by a 10A inline fuse at the pos MC4 pigtail at the panel. I do not think these fuses are helpful but I installed them anyways because I already had them in stock. Each roof panel is installed with a separate two pair 10AWG wire running from each panel into the inside of the trailer, whereat each pos wire connects to its own Din rail mounted fuse before being combined in parallel for entry into the mated MPPT charger.

There is a Victron:

1. 12v Dc to DC charger, maximum output 18 amps, hooked up to the truck alternator.

2. A 100/50 MPPT charger fed by both strings of roof panels, with switches to feed the charger by either or both of the strings as necessary.

3. A second 100/50 MPPT charger fed by the ground panels.

4. A 500A Smart shunt

5. A Smart temperature sensor.

6. Not shown is a Victron IP22 smart 120v AC charger which charges the battery with 30 or 15 amp hours, depending upon which setting is chosen.

The Victron equipment is smart blue tooth equipment paired together so that I can see data on my iPhone.

I have two (2) Bee Hive heaters, 12v 12 watts each, controlled by an Ink Bird thermostatic controller to heat the battery when necessary. Wired in parallel and in series causes the heating pads to heat up to temperatures of 170 F and 95F, respectively. I suspect that 95F will be sufficient but time will tell, depending upon how cold ambient is.

The 12v battery is wired 4S and is protected by an Overkill Solar 120A 12v BMS.

The wiring shown in the photo, running to and from the chargers, is 6AWG welding cable. The wires to the inverter are 2/0. There is a 2AWG wire grounding the system to the frame of the trailer.

There is a 100A MRBF fuse mounted right on the positive battery post, and three (3) 60A MRBF fuses on the pos bus bar related to each charger.

The Din rail mounted breakers below the Victron equipment are rated at 63A but I only use them as infrequent switches. My testing discloses that I can only run about 40 Amps through each breaker because more amps causes the breakers to heat up excessively ... the downside of a 12v DC system.

The 1000 watt inverter is controlled by a second Ink Bird thermostatic controller connected to a relay to turn the inverter on and off in order to cycle a 120v AC freezer I installed, with the freezer set up to cycle like a refrigerator. I have a spare inverter in case the repeated cycling on and off of the inverter will cause the inverter to fail. I successfully used my lead acid batteries cycling the inverter on and off for two years without incident. I fear the low impedance of the Lifepo4 battery may slam the inverter with too much start up current and ruin the inverter. We shall see. If so, I will use a different kind of Ink Bird temperature controller that will be powered directly by the inverter, with the inverter turned on at all times and no cycling.

A 12v diesel heater is also powered by the battery but not depicted in the photos.

I am in the process of rigging up an insulated box to envelop the battery while the Bee Hive heaters are heating up the battery.
Attachments
230424 Trailer Lifepo4 Battery 1 copy.jpg
230424 Trailer Lifepo4 Battery 1 copy.jpg (185.22 KiB) Viewed 934 times
230424 trailer Lifepo4 System Installed copy.jpg
230424 trailer Lifepo4 System Installed copy.jpg (193.08 KiB) Viewed 944 times
Last edited by featherliteCT1 on Mon Apr 24, 2023 1:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby flboy » Mon Apr 24, 2023 1:04 pm

Wow! Very nice upgrade. I really like my LiFePo4 batteries. I am sure you are noticing a big improvement in charging efficiency if nothing else.

Sent from my SM-N970U using Tapatalk
Last edited by flboy on Mon Apr 24, 2023 1:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Don (Flboy)

YouTube Video of Finished 6x12 Trailer:
https://youtu.be/6_-8cVdWUIA
YouTube Video of 7*18 with 2ft V-nose Trailer:
https://youtu.be/MUcMM86LA2g
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Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby featherliteCT1 » Mon Apr 24, 2023 1:28 pm

I forgot to mention, kudos to flboy, bdosborne and lfhoward who, in my book, were the pioneers whose path I followed as tried to learn how to set up my system. I am not to their level yet but hope to eventually install a rasperry pie unit to monitor my stuff.
Last edited by featherliteCT1 on Mon Apr 24, 2023 5:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby flboy » Mon Apr 24, 2023 1:54 pm

featherliteCT1 wrote:
The 1000 watt inverter is controlled by a second Ink Bird thermostatic controller connected to a relay to turn the inverter on and off in order to cycle a 120v AC freezer I installed, with the freezer set up to cycle like a refrigerator.


Don't think I've heard of doing that before. What is the idea or purpose behind doing that? Is it a chest freezer you want to use as a fridge? Just curious.. Tx.
Don (Flboy)

YouTube Video of Finished 6x12 Trailer:
https://youtu.be/6_-8cVdWUIA
YouTube Video of 7*18 with 2ft V-nose Trailer:
https://youtu.be/MUcMM86LA2g
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Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby featherliteCT1 » Mon Apr 24, 2023 4:55 pm

flboy wrote:
featherliteCT1 wrote:
Is it a chest freezer you want to use as a fridge? Just curious.. Tx.


It is a 2.1 cu. ft. (=63 qt= 59 liters), upright freezer, from Walmart that cost me about $150 plus the $15 Ink Bird and a $5 buck converter to input a steady 12.8 volts DC into the Ink Bird.


I chose a freezer because the insulation is thicker than on a standard refrigerator and the height is low enough to fit in my intended space. After three days of monitoring my freezer/refrigerator every waking hour for three days, measured with a shunt, my freezer/refrigerator in the summer, set at 39 to 42 deg. F, uses about .75Ah, 1.5Ah and 2Ah at 80 deg. F, 90 deg. F and 110 deg. F, respectively.

I wanted an upright unit as I find it more convenient because I have a hard time getting up after I bend down. My unit sets eye level. I am very happy with the results. This refrigerator made a huge difference in my boon docking pleasures.

A few days ago, I thought my Lifepo4 battery fried my inverter but I did not have the correct settings in my BMS. I thought i was going to have to switch to a regular 120v AC refrigerator, but they were all too tall to fit in my space. Then I discovered that the BMS settings were incorrect. Big relief!
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