97 E350 Crestline Ambo Build/Mod

Bikersmurf

Expedition Leader
That fridge and micro combo works perfect there. I’d like to be able to heat a burrito and grab a cold beer while cruising down the road!
There’s even a small freezer in the top of the fridge to keep your burritos in till you want one.

So many people have told me they don’t really cook inside their campers... I figure that’s all the cooking equipment I need inside. I’ve been planning a pullout kitchen for in the drivers side compartment. Perhaps someday it’ll become a reality... only time will tell. For now I set up the Baby-Q on its stand, and just use the fridge.
 

Bikersmurf

Expedition Leader
A random person down the road gave me this panel. I’ll be set for relays, switches, and breakers for a long time. The front light relay is even a 75 amp Bosch relay.
6B50F511-EBFD-4AEE-AABF-D231E8798CEA.jpeg77FFD204-750A-4A26-94C6-BC69B39085CD.jpeg
It’s crazy how heavy it is... had to check if it was in a steel box. Surprised to find it was only aluminum.
 
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Bikersmurf

Expedition Leader
Couple things. The Samlex inverter I started with died. I didn’t want to spend $650 to replace it... so went with a Renogy 2000 watt for $350 delivered. It’ll also not shut down any time the alternator momentarily breaks 15v. Sustained output above 15 could be a problem, however the inverter shutting down if it hit more than 15v for even a fraction of a second was annoying. Renogy s max is 16.5 v so the there should be plenty of leeway.
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I also replaced the H4 Stock halogen bulbs in the Hella e code housings with Philips H4 XULED bulbs. At first they stopped working right when I started the rig. They switched to daytime running light (DRL) mode, flickered, and I didn’t have a high beam indicator on the dash. A Philips CAN bus adapter fixed it so the DRL module plays nice with the LEDs.

And pics at dawn when I tested them...

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Halogen (yes it’s on)

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LED.

it still has the same sharp horizontal cutoff, and a triangle that lights the right shoulder brighter.

I’ve since Re-aimed the headlights to have more light on the road surface... rather than only illuminating above the surface.
 

Bikersmurf

Expedition Leader
A random person down the road gave me this panel. I’ll be set for relays, switches, and breakers for a long time. The front light relay is even a 75 amp Bosch relay.
View attachment 617340View attachment 617341
It’s crazy how heavy it is... had to check if it was in a steel box. Surprised to find it was only aluminum.
I may need to steal of these for the ‘New’ mower. So far I’ve been focussed on getting it running.
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Surprisingly it started and ran despite the carb. I’ve been bypassing the starter solenoid to start it for now... electrical gremlins are further down the list.
 

Bikersmurf

Expedition Leader
I’ve never been happy with the solar output of the used 100 W panel on my rig. When I found a used 120 W kyocera solar panel for $50, I decided to switch the current one out.

What a difference! It went from the max ever of 2.35 amps to...
91931E0A-0EBE-46EC-8C51-736E28BFA667.jpeg7:30 am on an overcast day

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10:30 am still overcast

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2:40 pm bright but no visible sun.

Today I checked on the controller...
EB7EDE0B-D315-4229-A681-B35586617DFA.jpegBy 11:30 am. Cloudy with sunny periods. Not plugged into shore Output was about 7.3 amps, but it was dropping due to being at 100 %

:D
 

Bikersmurf

Expedition Leader
That was a cheap and welcomed mod :)



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For anyone running flooded lead acid batteries, take a few minutes and check your water levels.

Now that I’ve got the solar charging as it should, I found my battery capacity was well below the rated capacity. I’ve never needed to add water to any batteries in the past. However, I left them longer than I should have. I’m hoping that the two golf cart batteries haven’t been harmed. The plates were no longer submerged... to the extent it took a gallon of distilled water to have all the plates submerged again.
 

Abitibi

Explorer
Hopefully your batteries will survive, I've had 1yr battery old that never took a proper charge after going low on water...

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Bikersmurf

Expedition Leader
Hopefully your batteries will survive, I've had 1yr battery old that never took a proper charge after going low on water...

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Fingers crossed... I’m being cautiously optimistic. I left the rig running off only battery last night. At dusk last night the house batteries were at 85%. When I remembered to check this morning they’d been charged back up to 100%.

Before I refilled the water, I’d seen as low as 47%. When I saw that, I knew either there was more load than the 1.1A/hr than the fridge was rated for, or there were other issues.

I’ve now cleaned the battery terminals, coated them in electrical “grease” for mixed metals, and topped up the water level... being sure not to overfill the water which is also bad for the batteries.

So far so good... it’s looking like I may not have killed the pair of golf cart batteries.
 

Bikersmurf

Expedition Leader
So far so good.
94CE4A3C-5540-4B7D-A6D6-6154071A7BCC.jpegYesterday it was overcast with grey cloud, by 9:30 am...
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Today it’s clearer... 80% by 9:15 am.

I’m not sure if the batteries have fully recovered, but there seems to be more than enough capacity in them to handle the fridge 24/7 without anything more than the 120 W panel.
 
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