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Thread: DIY Composite Flatbed Camper Build

  1. #91
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Ventura, CA
    Posts
    151
    I do not have a shore power charger and didn't do much research on integrating one. I know there are some by Victron and surely others that are supposedly designed for LiFePO. Victron and others sell complete packages (battery, chargers, etc.) that are plug and play but not at all cheap.

    If you go the DIY route like I did, I think that as long as you have a way to disconnect the battery from the charger automatically when the battery reaches "full charge", you'd be fine. Probably would require a charger that has a remote on/off feature (i.e., triggered by a 12v signal as opposed to just a toggle switch).

    No battery tending (e.g., trickle charging) needed - in fact it is bad. Most say to just let it sit somewhere less than fully charged - fine for up to a year or more. I have a master solenoid to disconnect all loads when the camper is not in use to keep if from going dead and it just sits there. You have to be careful of parasitic loads though with this approach (over discharge is also very bad for Li). If you have solar and store the camper outside, you can just let the solar keep it from over discharging and not have to disconnect everything.
    2010 Nissan Frontier 4X4, 2014 Yamaha WR250R, 1980 Honda XL250S, 1981 Honda XL500S
    Camper Builds:
    The Original Pro-Rig and Pro-Rig v2.0

  2. #92
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Vancouver island
    Posts
    17
    Thanks for sharing, researching my own build, was thinking of welding up the frame with aluminum angle, then fit panels, then add interior smaller angle. Maybe I missed it, curious about your entry door, and if you plan on exterior camper storage doors?
    Thanks
    Nice work

  3. #93
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Spartanburg SC
    Posts
    190
    Quote Originally Posted by CoyoteThistle View Post
    I do not have a shore power charger and didn't do much research on integrating one. I know there are some by Victron and surely others that are supposedly designed for LiFePO. Victron and others sell complete packages (battery, chargers, etc.) that are plug and play but not at all cheap.

    If you go the DIY route like I did, I think that as long as you have a way to disconnect the battery from the charger automatically when the battery reaches "full charge", you'd be fine. Probably would require a charger that has a remote on/off feature (i.e., triggered by a 12v signal as opposed to just a toggle switch).

    No battery tending (e.g., trickle charging) needed - in fact it is bad. Most say to just let it sit somewhere less than fully charged - fine for up to a year or more. I have a master solenoid to disconnect all loads when the camper is not in use to keep if from going dead and it just sits there. You have to be careful of parasitic loads though with this approach (over discharge is also very bad for Li). If you have solar and store the camper outside, you can just let the solar keep it from over discharging and not have to disconnect everything.
    Thanks, that's good to know. Easier than I thought, just turn it off when not in use

  4. #94
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Spartanburg SC
    Posts
    190
    Quote Originally Posted by Lwing View Post
    Thanks for sharing, researching my own build, was thinking of welding up the frame with aluminum angle, then fit panels, then add interior smaller angle. Maybe I missed it, curious about your entry door, and if you plan on exterior camper storage doors?
    Thanks
    Nice work
    Welding up a frame sounds good and strong. However, it's the bonding of all the panels together, including interior walls/supports that give the box its overall strength. I would think the frame alone would have substantial flexing "depending on size and shape". This is probably a mute point though. It may be tricky fitting the panels inside the frame for a secure bond. I may be completely wrong I would definitely do a dry run first. As for my door, nothing special about it. Ordered it online from Lipert. Thought about making my own, but felt it was a little beyond my DIY level. It is bonded with Sika 252. Since there was no lip on the interior, I fabricated a frame to cover the gap as well as increase strength.
    Since I have storage boxes on my flatbed, I don't plan to have exterior storage doors on the camper. I actually hate putting any additional holes in the panels. My goal is to keep it as simple as possible and maintain a tight insulated envelope.
    Last edited by Terra Ops; 12-22-2017 at 12:32 PM.

  5. #95
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Corpus Christi, TX
    Posts
    365
    Nice work!
    2015 MB Sprinter Winnebago Era 70C
    1965 Scout 80 7.3PSD/ZF/203/205 D60F/14BFF
    Member: 4 Jackstand Wheeler's Association
    Quote Originally Posted by General Dwight D. Eisenhower
    History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.

  6. #96
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kuna Idaho
    Posts
    719
    I can't believe how I missed this thread. Currently building a foam core trailer myself. Great info and thanks for sharing. Sub'd!

  7. #97
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Spartanburg SC
    Posts
    190
    Quote Originally Posted by guidolyons View Post
    Nice work!
    Thanks!

  8. #98
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Spartanburg SC
    Posts
    190
    Quote Originally Posted by stomperxj View Post
    I can't believe how I missed this thread. Currently building a foam core trailer myself. Great info and thanks for sharing. Sub'd!
    Thanks.
    Saw the exchange of ideas in "Composite fiberglass/foam panel build question " thread. Good stuff! Glad to see your not deterred in building your own.
    I have found that the European market is not the all knowing when it comes to panels. There are companies here in the US that have been doing it for over 50 years.
    Guess you can't blame sales reps for trying to discourage home made panels, or can you They just want to make a buck

  9. #99
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Spartanburg SC
    Posts
    190
    Probably the biggest decision of this build is whether to go lithium or not. Is it possible for a DIY'er with no electrical experience to install a
    complicated "to me" lithium system?
    I currently have a Blue Sea combiner installed on my truck which pig tails into a camper with lead acid batteries. From what I've read and heard, a drop in lithium
    could potentially damage the truck batteries, alternator, and who knows what else. This is due to the higher charge and discharge levels.

    At first I was leaning towards this AGM which would allow me to keep using my existing combiner; (Firefly Oasis)
    http://www.coastalclimatecontrol.com...egory=25823701

    Then a fellow enthusiast and friend introduced me to REDARC. This tipped my decision from AGM to lithium. REDARC is a battery isolator, solar charge controller, with lithium settings all in one.
    This means "I hope" that I can use a drop in lithium battery and not worry about frying my truck. Combine this with a Magnum inverter which also allows custom settings, and I should have a basically plug and play system.
    For more info on REDARC; https://redarcelectronics.com/produc...attery_charger

    Found my inverter here; http://www.imarineusa.com/magnumener...CAAEgKcBfD_BwE

  10. #100
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Spartanburg SC
    Posts
    190
    Lithium, lithium, lithium. Where to go, what to choose?
    From a lot of reading and research I had no clue as to which lithium battery to go with. All lithium is imported from China.
    So I thought why not buy direct; https://www.alibaba.com/product-deta...46a634cfl05w99
    Then a little bird reminded me that this is an investment that could potentially need servicing. Not to mention that I new nothing about the BMS

    Here were the candidates;
    Smart battery; https://www.lithiumion-batteries.com/
    Battle Born; https://battlebornbatteries.com/
    Stark; https://starkpower.com/

    I decided to go with Stark based on a strong recommendation from a friend and phone calls I had with an owner and reps.
    This is what sold me; open communication/support, customer friendly, location, high end quality, patented BMS, built/assembled in USA, and a true desire to see
    this technology become more readily available and affordable. There is also a built in blue tooth for monitoring the batteries.
    I ended up purchasing two 125 ah which will be paralleled for 250ah total. You can get a 5% discount by entering 5off at checkout. Shipping is free!?
    Probably built into the price, but the weight is impressively low that it can't cost that much.

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