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Small Cabin Forum / Off-Grid Living / Solar question
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# Posted: 11 Jul 2019 14:26

I want to try and find a way to use my generator less. not sure if it is possible the way I want to set it up.

I want to use a lithium battery because they are lighter. My plan is to bring them home and put on a trickle charge for the winter months. This is a seasonal cabin and we don’t use it in the winter. I want a setup that charges my battery when my generator is on. I plan on using the generator for 4 to 5 hours a day. I will only use the solar set up when I am at the cabin, which is about 30 days out of the year. Starts end of May and my last visit in October.

Here is what I want to run when the generator is off

Small fridge ( 404 kwh approximate per year, per the label)
about 12 led builds
110 shallow well pump. The surge is 1800.00 slow start. I have a big pressure tank I don’t see it kicking on much maybe once just for toilet water. I will turn on the generator when we need showers
LED TV 40 inch

The rest of the stuff I will only use when the generator is on. I was thinking maybe one panel to add a little charge to the battery bank. Nothing will be on when I am not at the cabin. Maybe in the future I will add panels, so I could leave a fridge on while I am away from the cabin.

let me know if I am crazy or if this could work the way I am thinking. I just don't want to run my generator 15 hours a day to keep some lights on.

# Posted: 11 Jul 2019 16:40

I'm about to head out for a few days, so no long comment right now, but one thing grabbed me right off the bat. Lithium batteries do not need to be dragged home over winter. Leave them there at 60 to 80% charge and they will be waiting in spring with very little self-discharge, all ready to go. No damage done to them by low temperature storage with a partial charge. They do not need or want a trickle charge, ever.

If you plan on using LiFePO4 chemistry batteries and will be only charging with a generator and charger consider an Iota charger. with the IQ-Lifepo plugin accessory controller. Or some other charger as long as they are designed for use with whatever lithium type you choose.

# Posted: 12 Jul 2019 13:26

Thanks ICC... These Lithium batteries seem great! most likely I am changing gears again. It looks like I am going with Victron MultiPlus inverter & charger. 3000 Watts, 12 Volts DC, 120 Volts AC, 120 Amp charger. and for batteries going with 3- Battle Born 100 Amp-hour 12 Volt Lithium battery. Then I will charge the system with an EU3000IS. What's cool about this system is I only have to run the generator for a few hours each day and if I need more power it uses the generator and the battery bank to work together. Anyone here using Victron MultiPlus inverter & charger?

# Posted: 12 Jul 2019 15:26

I think a bit of clarity may be required to prevent miscommunications.

To be specific, the Battleborn Batteries are Lithium but LiFePO4, there are differences. You might also want to have a look at as they also make LiFePO4 with built in BMS etc with free shipping in US as well.

Regarding Victron, I haven't used them myself but they have a very good reputation and I do know people who have their equipment and love it. Creeky, a member here who also has a small Solar business sells them as well and he is picky. He also does "upcycled" EV Lithium Batteries for folks like us and you can check out his site @

You'll still need balance of system bits like main DC Breaker, DC solar breaker or two for panels, 2/0, Battery Cables (better to use welding cables), small AC Panel & breakers, plus wires etc... You'll need a Auto Generator Start Module for the generator (may require mods to generator), an ATS won't be needed as your not transferring from AC one source to another. It's the extras that get ya ! 20 here, 50 there, 10 there another 100 on that and Ooops the wallet is so light, it can fly !!

BTW Best Bang for Buck on panels are the Hanwha Q315 & Q345 seems at the moment, as they are floating around $250 CAD / $191.78 USD

# Posted: 12 Jul 2019 15:55

Does Bob have a contact number? I am getting close to buying and would like to see his price to compare

# Posted: 13 Jul 2019 09:54

Thx Steve for the promo. Not to be bashful but I also have panels at .46 to .61/w
ejm if you can reach out through the website steve linked to. I have a contact page.
The multiplus is great kit. Victron has a reputation for being easier to use for self installers. Ie. Boat/marine. And a good reputation for reliability.

At above 2000w you really are best off at 48v. Remember watts = volts X amps. So 3000w at 12v = 250a!!! 3000w / 48v = 60 amps. One needs 2/0 wire inverter to battery. Big fuses. Costly circuit breakers. The other is 6 gauge wire (readily available as house wire) inverter to battery. Lower cost fuses, circuit breakers, solar controllers etc.

imho 12v should be consigned to small lead acid systems. 24v for small lithium systems (350-1600w inverters 4kw storage) and 48 and above beyond. .02

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