Upgrade time: Dual Battery, Solar, Drawers and Air Install - Component advice (1 Viewer)

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I'm taking the plunge on a dual battery drawer, and air compressor upgrades on my 08 200. I have a local shop doing the actual install, but I wanted to get some advice on my final list of components before I sign on the dotted line. My power needs are not too demanding, and my electrical knowledge is novice. I'm looking to power a National Luna Legacy 72L Fridge, charge a couple of phones and Ipads. No excessive lighting, drones, or laptops needed. I also would need to be able to stay at a camp for 2-3 days without driving, which means solar charging is also needed. Trying to keep it simple, but I'm also wanting to skip a really basic setup that I would end up upgrading in a couple of years. Rather buy once cry once......within reason. Money is still an object, and this is a big expense at one time, just want to spend in the right places that matter the most. Had some long in-depth conversations with the shop doing the work, the specific electronics list is mostly per his advice, which Is why I wanted to run it by this forum for the 200 specific advice

Drawers:
1) Dobinsons Rear Dual Roller Drawer System:
Looked at all the options (Trekboxx, GooseGear, Ironman, Frontrunner, ARB, Big Country 4x4). Trekboxx would be great, but way outta range for my wallet. My top 3 contenders, in the end, were Dobinson, ARB, and Big Country 4x4. Big Country 4x4 I'm intrigued by them being South African made and reasonably priced, but as far as I've seen not 1 US 200 install yet, so I'd be nervous buying into a brand new US vendor with no reputation here. So where I landed, Dobinsons just seems like the best bang for my buck. I liked the different configurations on the ARB, but the end result is I wanted a flat surface with a roller top instead of a fridge slide, which is what the Dobinsons only option is, at a lot less $$$ than that same ARB configuration. This also works best between trips so i can take the fridge out and just have a nice flat clean cargo area.

Air:
1) ARB Twin Air Compressor
Mounted on the Slee Mounting Bracket, Line and Air Chuck ran to rear Bumper.
Briefly considered some of the ExtremeAire products, but the ARB twin definitely wins for most popular in the 200 world.

Electronics and Solar:
1) Redarc BCDC 1240D
2) Slee 2nd Battery Tray (with Redarc Mount)
3) Switch-Pros SP9100
4) Blue Sea USB & 12v Plug w Battery Monitor
5) Blue Sea Dual USB Plug and Mount
6) Odyssey 35-14400 AGM Battery
7) Solar Port Plug on Rear Bumper
8) National Luna Dual Battery monitor
9) 2 - KC C2 lights (roof rack mounted camp setup lights)
10) Nomad 100 Solar Panel

I know solar can easily fill up a whole thread on it's own. The Nomad 100 Solar Panel was per the shop's advice. They said it's very compact and a good deal at that price point. I've heard some negative reviews on it in general, and don't love the proprietary connectors that Goal Zero uses. I wanted something portable that if we're parked for a few days, I can move the panel around to get in the sun. If i had a fixed roof panel it'd be a pain to keep having to move the truck. We tow a offroad trailer with a RTT, so also usually don't unhitch if we're just staying put. Open to input on this especially, as i'd rather spend the money on a non Goal Zero option if there is a better way to go. Switch-Pros vs sPod sounds like a mixed bath of who prefers who. This particular shop does a lot of Switch-Pros installs, so I figured let them rock with that since I don't have a strong preference either way.

Lithium vs AGM I know has also filled up many threads on it's own, I was very on the fence about which way to go on this. The $900 battery (like Battleborn) is hard to stomach, but i do hear all the advantages (weight, size, usablle Amp hours, how many charges ect) and was planning to put in the wing of the drawers. Wasn't sure in the end if it'd do so well in Arizona, and don't know anybody personally that has gone that route here. It regularly gets up to 115+ degrees Faranheight in the Phoenix summer, so who knows how hot it is in the parked truck. Figured even with all it's disadvantages, the AGM route was at least tried and tested all over, and free's up my entire drawer wings for more storage. Curious if you think i should add shore power to be able to plug in at home. Don't plan on having the fridge in between trips. I drive very little most days, so with 30ish minutes, a day is that enough on its own to keep the AGM in shape?


Feedback and your wealth of knowledge much appreciated, I'm planning on pulling the trigger within the next couple of weeks on the parts order.
 

sdnative

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I recently went back and forth several times on an aux battery, and ultimately decided lithium (specifically LiFePO4 / LFP) was the way to go for me. For your stated usage, especially with supplemental charging (Solar), you should be fine with 50Ah or 100Ah worth of battery.

But... if your truck is parked out in the sun in those temps, I would imagine it would get too hot inside for LFP. Maybe bring it inside the house for the summer when not on a trip?


I went the DIY route and shoehorned 200+ Ah under the ARB drawer wing, along with chargers and distribution on the front of the drawer. I know @TheGrrrrr and others have installed "drop in replacement" type LFP batteries (Battleborn, ReLion, Renogy, Lion Energy, etc) under the ARB drawer wing. He is in Phoenix close to you I believe.

AGM is fine too, just not enough value for me (about $20+ per Ah usable, after buying the battery, second tray, charger, wiring, etc). With my DIY LFP I am paying about $6-$7 per Ah usable. With an off the shelf 100Ah LFP, you'll pay around $15 per Ah usable. Sure LFP has a higher initial investment, but could be cheaper in the long run. It is hard to swallow the up front cost though..
 
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I'd take a look at drifta drawers :



And a bantam x spod in lieu of the switchpro
 

Markuson

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Re interior heat while parked...
I never imagined what a MASSIVE difference darker tinted second row and rearward windows would make. Amazes me still, 4 years later.

Added and huge benefit is visual concealment of interior doodads. I have never had a break-in to my LOADED truck in my travels, included hotel parking lots and towns. I attribute this to opportunistic thieves simply not seeing what’s inside.

But anyway... I have “limo dark” in back, and I can see out fine. But heat is low and security a big plus.

Might make the difference with your interior lithium option.
 

CharlieS

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I'd take a look at drifta drawers :



And a bantam x spod in lieu of the switchpro
Unfortunately, if you are in North America the lead time is huge on Drifta drawers. I spoke with their North American distributor recently. The next shipment they are taking orders for arrives in the fall of 2021, if I understood him correctly.

Also, opinions obviously vary, but I prefer the Switch-Pros.
 
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Unfortunately, if you are in North America the lead time is huge on Drifta drawers. I spoke with their North American distributor recently. The next shipment they are taking orders for arrives in the fall of 2021, if I understood him correctly.

Also, opinions obviously vary, but I prefer the Switch-Pros.

Drifta is really making a mistake by not having distribution in the US. They chose to enter the EU market but have decided to skip the US market for some reason. Sad because they have some really cool stuff.
 

CharlieS

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Drifta has a North American distributor in British Columbia, Canada (who serves the US market). They can get you Drifta drawer systems, it is just that there are currently very long lead times.
 
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Drifta has a North American distributor in British Columbia, Canada (who serves the US market). They can get you Drifta drawer systems, it is just that there are currently very long lead times.
I'd seen Drifta youtube videos before but didn't know anybody in North America was able to get them. They look awesome. I love that they have so many options, particularly covers that can turn the fridge area into a flat shelf when a fridge is not in the truck. My NL72 fridge is pretty big and very tall, so I'm a bit concerned it's gonna be a pain to get stuff out of being so high up on top of the Dobinsons drawers. Hoping to avoid having to add an Alu Cab tilt slide. I don't want to just put the fridge flat on the cargo floor though, and lose all that storage potential of a drawer below. My ideal option would be to have the fridge on a very low sliding drawer on trips, but be able to convert that area to a flat cargo area without the fridge for daily driver duties. I think I've seen Drifta do exactly this. basically a filler plate for the area where the fridge was.

Is this the Canadian distributor you speak of?


1 main thing I noticed different from others is they use the Teflon slide system, vs traditional rollers drawers like the others. Smaller, lighter, less space taken up. Are they the only company doing this? Any cons to this method?

I'll try to reach out to kakaducamping later this morning. I'm ok waiting for a few months if needed for the best option, but if it really is waiting til Fall 2021, that'd be longer than I'd like. I'll let you know what info I get back. Saw this post on their Facebook/Instagram media sites, says the install is in North Carolina. Does anybody know who this 200 owner is? Would be nice to reach out to an owner about his buying experience

Screen Shot 2021-01-05 at 7.25.32 AM.png


Screen Shot 2021-01-05 at 7.29.29 AM.png


Screen Shot 2021-01-05 at 7.26.01 AM.png
 

CharlieS

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Yes, that is the distributor and they were very responsive by email. I was referred to them by Drifter in Australia when I inquired about shipping to the US. Drop Matt Broadbent a line: matt@kakaducamping.com

@Taco2Cruiser spoke very highly of Drifta, and I respect Rob's opinion a great deal, so that was why I started looking at them.

The Drifta drawers are custom built per your needs.

Landshark Reef uses a similar Ultra-Wear Resistant Ultra-High Molecular Weight (UWRUHMW) slide, but they aren't a turnkey setup, and I don't think they're configurable to meet your fridge needs without lots of customization. I haven't had any issues with my Reef drawer slides.

I think Matt said they do about 4 containers a year, so it depends on both production time, and when a container is ready, plus transit time.

Have you seen the MSA drop slides? They're pretty cool too.

 
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Sandroad

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For the solar panel, look around a bit. Another potential one to consider is the 100w Xantrex Solar Portable Flex Kit. It has standard SAE or bare wire connections. I’m sure the Nomad is fine, but one of my pet peeves it proprietary connections on solar equipment. There is no reason for that. At the risk of getting too high on my soapbox, my other pet peeve is crazy high prices on solar. There is no reason why portable solar panels should be more than a couple dollars a watt. My Renogy 100w flexible panel has survived 2 years of camping and was only $176.
 
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Yes, that is the distributor and they were very responsive by email. I was referred to them by Drifter in Australia when I inquired about shipping to the US. Drop Matt Broadbent a line: matt@kakaducamping.com

@Taco2Cruiser spoke very highly of Drifta, and I respect Rob's opinion a great deal, so that was why I started looking at them.

The Drifta drawers are custom built per your needs.

Landshark Reef uses a similar Ultra-Wear Resistant Ultra-High Molecular Weight (UWRUHMW) slide, but they aren't a turnkey setup, and I don't think they're configurable to meet your fridge needs without lots of customization. I haven't had any issues with my Reef drawer slides.

I think Matt said they do about 4 containers a year, so it depends on both production time, and when a container is ready, plus transit time.

Have you seen the MSA drop slides? They're pretty cool too.

Thanks for Matt's contact info, I'll reach out today. I've also always got great advice from Rob, so I'd trust his opinion as well. Did a lil snooping around the ol interweb and think i found that very distinctive 200 build. Looks like the base was a @Eric Sarjeant build for @RumDoodle


@RumDoodle can you weigh in on your Drifta buying experience if this is your truck?
 
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For the solar panel, look around a bit. Another potential one to consider is the 100w Xantrex Solar Portable Flex Kit. It has standard SAE or bare wire connections. I’m sure the Nomad is fine, but one of my pet peeves it proprietary connections on solar equipment. There is no reason for that. At the risk of getting too high on my soapbox, my other pet peeve is crazy high prices on solar. There is no reason why portable solar panels should be more than a couple dollars a watt. My Renogy 100w flexible panel has survived 2 years of camping and was only $176.
Yeah the proprietary connections and the cost per watt I'm not into at all on the Nomad. I really don't like when companies do proprietary connections that you then have to go buy every extension and plug and everything, especially in an industry like solar that already has universally adapted standard connection types. The Xantrex looks like that could be a good similar alternative. Same price as the nomad. It says it includes a 10a charge controller. Is this necessary being that the Redarc BCDC 1240D I'm getting already has the MPPT solar regulator built-in? Sorry, solar newbie here if that's a dumb question. You have any photos or a link to your Renogy 100w and where you have it mounted? Would something like that be a good fit for me?
 

sdnative

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Only need one solar charge controller, located as close to the battery as possible. If you are set on the BCDC just get a panel without built in controller. Have you looked at the Renogy rigid panels? $110 for a 100W.

Keep in mind that the BCDC will only support one panel or multiple panels wired in parallel. The open circuit voltage (Voc) rating is not enough for series connected panels.
 
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For portable solar, checkout the Rockpals SP003 100W Foldable Solar Panel. It's the opposite of proprietary with a smorgasbord of connectors and direct USB charging. I use it on my travel trailer, car, and goal-zero.
 
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Re interior heat while parked...
I never imagined what a MASSIVE difference darker tinted second row and rearward windows would make. Amazes me still, 4 years later.

Added and huge benefit is visual concealment of interior doodads. I have never had a break-in to my LOADED truck in my travels, included hotel parking lots and towns. I attribute this to opportunistic thieves simply not seeing what’s inside.

But anyway... I have “limo dark” in back, and I can see out fine. But heat is low and security a big plus.

Might make the difference with your interior lithium option.
Thanks Mark. Yeah my 08 had zero tint from the factory. This past summer I finally got around to adding a full ceramic tint job for that AZ sun. I was about to go limo on the rear for the gear theft reason but ended up going the darkest non limo option which is still very dark. Made a big difference, but I still don't think it'd be enough to bring it down to good lithium charging temps. I don't have a garage either, so the truck is out in either full or partial sun all summer. True though I could consider just putting the lithium in the truck for trips, and storing inside the house between trips....that's an option. The AGM route for the battery and Slee mount comes out around $450 parts. Something like the Battleborn 100a is about $900. Might possibly save a little back on install/wiring being thats a simpler setup. really just that AZ sun that weighs in my mind. It's much easier to stomach a $300 AGM only lasting a few years than a $900 Lithium thats built to last 10 years...the only lasts 3 years for the heat damage
 
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Only need one solar charge controller, located as close to the battery as possible. If you are set on the BCDC just get a panel without built in controller. Have you looked at the Renogy rigid panels? $110 for a 100W.

Keep in mind that the BCDC will only support one panel or multiple panels wired in parallel. The open circuit voltage (Voc) rating is not enough for series connected panels.
I like the price per watt and size on that option. I could spare that amount of space on the front of my BajaRack without missing it. My useable rack space on my MeagMule is 46x57, and that 100w panel is only 19.5x42.2. That's fit nice horizontal in the front. Even the 160w version turned the other direction would fit at 19.5x42.2....but i'm giving up about half my rack at that point. So would i just mount it permanently flat to the rack, or would it need to be up at an angle? If i went this route, but then was parked in the shade at camp, is there a way to quickly detach the panel and run an extension cord, and move the panel to where the sun is? Or is that where the foldable blankets are my only option? And if that's the case with the BCDC only supporting 1 panel, would i have to detach the fixed roof panel and plug in the solar blanket? Or is there a BCDC upgrade that'd support both? Sorry, lotta questions in 1 paragraph.

For portable solar, checkout the Rockpals SP003 100W Foldable Solar Panel. It's the opposite of proprietary with a smorgasbord of connectors and direct USB charging. I use it on my travel trailer, car, and goal-zero.

Thanks @TeCKis300 I just looked up that Rockpals panel and that as far as portable could be an ideal option. Just over $200, and like you said the exact opposite of Goal Zero as far as connections, and even includes the Goal zero connection.
I didnt see model numbers on the website, but is this the one you were talking about? Look at all those connectors!
 
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Yes, that is the distributor and they were very responsive by email. I was referred to them by Drifter in Australia when I inquired about shipping to the US. Drop Matt Broadbent a line: matt@kakaducamping.com

@Taco2Cruiser spoke very highly of Drifta, and I respect Rob's opinion a great deal, so that was why I started looking at them.

The Drifta drawers are custom built per your needs.

Landshark Reef uses a similar Ultra-Wear Resistant Ultra-High Molecular Weight (UWRUHMW) slide, but they aren't a turnkey setup, and I don't think they're configurable to meet your fridge needs without lots of customization. I haven't had any issues with my Reef drawer slides.

I think Matt said they do about 4 containers a year, so it depends on both production time, and when a container is ready, plus transit time.

Have you seen the MSA drop slides? They're pretty cool too.

Those drop slides are super cool indeed. I hadn't seen that brand they look quite nice. Drop slide wise though even if i could separate myself from the price, The slides themselves are so big and bulky (especialy to fit a 72L fridge like mine) I'd not want to have that in there all the time when the fridge was out. The Alu-Cab tilting also same space/size issue, but it's about 1/2 the cost at least. Ideally like I said I'd have the drawer top (like Dobinson/ARB), or the drawer itself be the slide so when the fridge was out itd just be clean flat carpeted area. I also had considered Landshark, I forgot they use that same type of slide system like Drifta. I know people love them, and seems like a great company to support. When i spec'd them out though with latches and everything, it came out to about the same price as the Dobinsons. So i thought why not save myself the trouble of all that DIY carpet and what not.
 

sdnative

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I plan on using a rigid panel and making a kick stand for it. Then I can deploy out in the sun at whatever angle is best. I wouldn't want to permanently mount to the rack as it takes a lot of valuable space, and you would have to park the vehicle out in the sun. I haven't bought a panel yet but I was thinking just sliding it in on its side next to the fridge (fab up a bracket of some type). You could get the foldable panels, but they are quite a bit more expensive and from what I understand are not as efficient / don't last as long, but they may be a good choice depending on your requirements.

With the BCDC you could use one 12V panel or several 12V panels wired in parallel. Just not series connected. I'm not sure on using different panels wired in parallel.

From your described usage and battery, one 100W or 160W panel would be enough I imagine.
 
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Thanks @TeCKis300 I just looked up that Rockpals panel and that as far as portable could be an ideal option. Just over $200, and like you said the exact opposite of Goal Zero as far as connections, and even includes the Goal zero connection.
I didnt see model numbers on the website, but is this the one you were talking about? Look at all those connectors!
[/QUOTE]

Didn't know a new model came out. Even better. And looks like it could be had for under $200 on Amazon.

Amazon product
 
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Thanks @TeCKis300 I just looked up that Rockpals panel and that as far as portable could be an ideal option. Just over $200, and like you said the exact opposite of Goal Zero as far as connections, and even includes the Goal zero connection.
I didnt see model numbers on the website, but is this the one you were talking about? Look at all those connectors!

Didn't know a new model came out. Even better. And looks like it could be had for under $200 on Amazon.

Amazon product[/QUOTE]
Jeez crazy $40 off coupon on there right now, $189 all in. Well, that's too good to pass up so i just bought it. Thanks for the tip! Even if i decide to go with a rigid route for the truck, this is so compact and with all the connectors would just be a good around camp option in general. 30 days free returns if i change my mind, but for now that at least cancels out the $400 Nomad i was going to get.
 
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