Battery, Solar and Electrical Set Up
For our MCI D3 Bus Coversion
Battery, Solar, and Electrical Set Up for our Bus Conversion
Building out the battery bank and house electrical system for our bus conversion was a major hurdle for us. We are so grateful to Battle Born Batteries for helping us to size out a system that would be right for our needs.
Our dream is to have the electrical system for our tiny home on wheels be as self-sufficient as possible. We are utilizing solar power, the bus alternator, and a backup plug for shore power to keep our batteries charged and keep the lights and all of our appliances working . . . including 2 air conditioners.
With the help of Dad, a retired electronic technician, we followed all standard safety protocols and we followed the manufacturer’s recommendations as closely as possible. This page is to share our experience, but we do recommend using a qualified electrician for your project.
Below we are sharing lists of all the components in our system Battery, DC, Solar and Alternating Current set up as well as some details of things we learned along the way. We will be updating this page as we make adjustments as we perfect our system to meet our electric demands.
Battery, Wires, Connectors & Bus Bar List
3 - Battle Born 270Ah 12V LiFePO4 GC3 Battery - BBGC3
10 Foot - Red 4/0 AWG Copper Welding Cable
10 Foot -Black 4/0 AWG Copper Cable
1 - Ratchet-Style Cable Cutter
1 - Cable Stripping Knife
40 - 4/0 AWG 3/8" Stud/Lugs (We bought 40, learned on 4 and used 26 total on our system)
1 - Hydraulic Crimping Tool
Heat Shrink Tubing Assortment Kit
4ft, Black & Red 3/4 inch Heat Shrink Tubing
1 - 600Ah On-Off Battery Switch
1 - Battery Monitor
1 - Bus Bar
1 - Victron Energy Lynx Distributor 1000DC
DC Power Components List
1 - Battery Guardian AutoSelect (BGA225)
10 AWG Black/Red Stranded Tinned Wire
1 - DC Fuse Box
1 - Orion-Tr Smart 24/12-Volt 30 amp Charger
Solar PV Components List
6 - 235W PV Solar Panels
10 AWG PV Solar Extension Cable (assorted sizes)
3 - Solar/PV 10A Fuse
1 - Weatherproof PV Solar Cable Entry
10 AWG Electrical Wire Cable Black/Red Stranded Tinned Copper
2 - 50A 1500V DC Isolator Switch
2 - Fuse Block
2 - AMI/ MIDI 100A Fuses
2 - SmartSolar MPPT 150/70 TR VE.Can Charge Controller w/ Bluetooth
AC (Alternating Current) Components List
1 - Victron Energy Lynx Distributor 1000DC (Bus Bar)
2 - MEGA/AMG Fuses 400 AMP
16 - 4/0 AWG (XL) 3/8" Stud/Lug
5 Foot 4/0 AWG Red Welding Cable Copper Wire
5 Foot 4/0 AWG Black Welding Cable Copper Wire
2 - 350A ON/Off Battery Switch
2 - Victron Multiplus Inverter Charger
Standard 6/2 Indoor Electric Cable with Ground
Square D Breaker Box QO612L100
Battery, Wires, Connectors & Bus Bar Details
GC3 270Ah 12V LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Battery
For our system, we currently have 3 Battle Born Game Changer 3.0 Batteries.
These LiFePO4 deep cycle batteries pack 270 amp-hours in a self-contained case that weighs just 80lbs each. The feet and strap ports offer a variety of ways for these Batteries to be mounted or housed and Battle Born Batteries come with a 10-year warranty.
Lugs, Cables, Connectors & Bus Bar
Wiring our batteries together we used 4/0 AWG Red Copper Welding Cable and 4/0 AWG Black Cable. First cutting them with a Ratchet Cable Cutter to size, stripping back the covers with a Specialized Stripping Knife.
Then we used Hydraulic Cable Crimper to secure our 4/0 AWG Lugs with 3/8" holes to our cables. I had seen many people use a less expensive Hammer Crimping Tool but we opted to go with a more expensive hydraulic crimper to ensure we had the best connections possible.
We connected out 3 Battle Born Game Changer 3.0 Batteries in series (black to black, red to red) to create a battery bank with 810Ah.
From the positive of our battery bank, we went directly to a 600A On-Off Battery Switch
Coming directly off of our battery bank negative, we connected to a BMV shunt 500A which was supplied with the BMV-712 Battery Monitor. The shunt is a low resistance resistor that measures the battery state of charge. We connected it to the BMV-712 Battery Monitor and then on to our bus bar.
After weeks of research, we opted to NOT use the 250A bus bars we had seen used in so many other installs as some owners had seen them melt over time. Looking into other options we opted to go with the Victron Energy Lynx Distributor 1000DC. The Lynx Distributor contains a positive and negative bus-bar and is rated for 1000A with support for 12, 24 or 48V systems. Although the Lynx Distributor was significantly more expensive than the bus bars we had originally ordered, it made up for that fact by providing 4 individually fused connections.
We were able to return the 400A fuse blocks we had originally purchased and added MEGA/AMG Fuses to the Lynx Distributor which in the end made cost us less than the individual components it replaces.
DC Power Set Up and Connector Details
Running power from our Batteries to our DC loud is fairly simple.
12 Volt current flows from our Battle Born Game Changer 3.0 Batteries to our Lynx Distributor 1000DC which acts as a fused bus bar. Positive runs out of the Lynx Distributor on 10 AWG Red Stranded Tinned Wire to a Battery Guardian AutoSelect (BGA225). The BGA225 acts as a safeguard to ensure our DC power load never depletes our batteries below a safe level.
From the BGA225 the positive 10 AWG Red Wire runs directly into the positive in of our DC Fuse Box.
The negative line runs directly from our Lynx Distributor on 10 AWG Black Stranded Wire to the negative terminal of our DC Fuse Box.
We also have a Orion-Tr Smart Charger connected to our bus alternator. This allows us to charge our Battle Born Game Changer 3.0 Batteries anytime our bus is running.
Solar PV Set Up and Connector Details
We currently have SIX 12V 235W PV Solar Panels installed on the roof of our bus. This gives us a total of 1410W. We plan to double our solar setup in the future and will mirror our functioning solar array and components for the second set.
Our panels are wired with 3 sets of 2 panels wired in series, then linking those 3 sets together in parallel. Connecting our solar panels this way gives us 48V and keeps our amperage down so we can utilize 10 AWG Solar Cables & 10 AWG Copper Wire continuing on for the system.
Each of the sets of panels connects to our Y Branch Connector Parallel Adapter Wire Plug with Solar/PV 10A Fuse and then head down into the bus through a Weatherproof PV Solar Cable Entry.
From the cable entry we run 10 AWG Copper Wire down to our electrical wall and connect into a 50A DC Isolator Switch, then on to a Fuse Block with a 100A MIDI Fuse and then on to our SmartSolar MPPT 150/70 TR Charge Controller.
The current from our solar panels is converted in the MPPT Charge Controller and sent across 6 AWG Flexible Stranded Wire with 4 AWG Lugs connecting to our Victron Energy Lynx Distributor 1000DC, which passes the power on to charge our batteries.
AC (Alternating Current) Set Up and Connector Details
Our alternating current comes from the Battle Born Batteries, through the Lynx Distributor . Inside the Lynx Distributor, we have a 400 AMP MEGA Fuse to the positive output. From there we have our 4/0 AWG Lugs crimped to 4/0 AWG Red Copper Wire and connected to a 350A ON/Off Switch before entering into one of our Victron Multiplus Inverter Charger.
We used 4/0 AWG Black Cable on the negative side to directly connect into the Multiplus Inverter Charger
From the AC1 out of our Multiplus Inverter Charger we used Standard 6/2 Indoor Electric Cable with Ground to connect to one leg of our QO612L100 Square D Breaker Box.
We have a second Multiplus Inverter Charger which we connect on a separate 400 AMP MEGA Fuse in the Lynx Distributor we a 350A ON/Off Switch before entering the second Victron Multiplus Inverter Charger. The second Inverter Charger will then connect to the second leg of our QO612L100 Square D Breaker Box via Standard 6/2 Indoor Electric Cable.
Smart Power Networking Connector Details
All the components of our system connect to the Cerbo GX via RJ45 Cat6a Cables. The Cerbo will eventually connect to our ethernet network which will make our system information and some controls available via the internet.
The Cerbo GX has an optional LED touch screen that allows us to see a system overview (see right) which we have hooked up inside the bus and are mounting in an upper kitchen cabinet door.
We can also monitor the system through the VictronConnect 4 app
via bluetooth connections to each component separately. The Multiplus Inverter Chargers connect to VE. Bus Smart Dongles which allows for bluetooth monitoring and the SmartSolar MPPT 150/70 TR Charge Controllers and BMV-712 Battery Monitor have bluetooth built-in.
Shore Power Hookups
We wanted maximum flexibility for connecting to shore power or an outboard generator so we choose to take advantage of our dual Victron Multiplus Inverter Charger.
Each Inverter has shore input ability so we opted to connect one to a 50 Amp Waterproof Power Inlet Box and the other to a 30 Amp Waterproof Power Inlet Box.
Our 30 Amp Power Onlet Box came as a set with a 25 Foot Extension Cord. For the 50 Amp we found 25 foot Power Generator Cord.
For ultimate flexibility, we also picked up a 15 to 30 Amp Adapter Plug which will allow us to connect to any regular 15 amp extension cord to charge our system.
With this setup we have no limitations when it comes to connecting to shore power or an outboard generator to charge our Battle Born Batteries.
We will continue to update this page with details as we continue to learn more about our system and its networking capabilities.
Huge thanks to Battle Born for partnering with us to help get one giant step closer to achieving an all electric tiny home dreams.
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