Sunday, August 4, 2019

So the Upgrades Starts Again

So the process of adding things to the RV begins again though at a much slower pace. I believe that one of the first things added before upgrading batteries, adding solar, etc. is a battery monitor. On the 5th wheel, I installed a Bogart Engineering Trimetric TM-2025RV. This time, I picked the Victron BMV-712 Smart. Basically, it has the same functionality and once you add the type and capacity of your battery bank, it'll show you remaining battery capacity as a percentage. Also, like the Trimetric, you install a 500 amp shunt in series with the negative battery cable so all current running from or to your battery can be measured. The new feature this adds is Bluetooth connectivity.  This means that I can leave the meter in the battery bay and not try to figure how and where to install it inside of the coach. Just use the handy-dandy phone app.

Since I will be making battery cables again starting with the cable for the shunt for the Victron battery monitor, I picked up a crimp tool. The capacity is 4/0 AWG which is what I would be running if I opted to install LiFePO4 batteries this time around. The existing battery compartment isn't heated so the coach batteries would need to be relocated. The rearmost compartment on the passenger side is where the existing Magnum 2KW inverter-charger is located. So large cables for some of these runs between compartments will be needed. The limit for the hammer-crimp tool is 2/0 AWG which is what I used in the 5th wheel. It turns out that this made-in-China hydraulic tool was pretty inexpensive and the only negative reviews were complaining that it was made in China. I will probably stop by ABS Alaska, a local solar store, for the welding cable, shrink tubing and terminals.

Another purchase is a tow dolly. According to Toyota, the Prius can't be flat towed. But if the front wheels are on a tow dolly, then no problem. This model made by Acme (yes the same brand that the coyote always purchased from on the Roadrunner cartoons) has disc brakes and is a surge brake system. No brake controller needed and no brake adjustments. There is also no kingpin pivot. You just need to ensure that the steering wheel isn't locked. Since the Prius does not have a locking steering wheel, the kingpin units are not recommended. I was going to contact the company for information on whether the Prius was going to clear the ramps then I noticed that they used a Prius in their how-to video.

8 comments:

Scott Seidl said...

Your crimping tool looks just like the one I bought from Harbor Freight. We also have one at the shop. Never had a problem with one and has proven quite handy.
Will you even be able to see the car behind the RV? I suppose you have a camera but will backing up be a challenge?

RichardM said...

We will be able to see the car behind the RV plus I picked up tire pressure sensors for both the dolly tires as well as the rear tires of the car. Backing with a tow dolly is impossible when it has a car on it. But without a car, it’s like a short trailer. Equally difficult in my opinion. I haven’t tried the crimp tool yet but it looks like it should work fine. The last time, I used one of the hammer-crimp tools and actually ended up putting it in the hydraulic press. The crimps were much more solid than just using a hammer.

redlegsrides said...

Didn't realize its impossible to back a car on a tow dolly....

LiFePO4 batteries eh? Pricey.

david R said...

Backing a car dolly w/o a car on it is not easy. I found it easier to unhook it and move it by hand.

RichardM said...

There is an additional pivot point. The steering on the car is unlocked or there is a kingpin on the dolly with he steering on the car locked. Either way, two pivot points.

Not for a while. I will be installing the battery monitor to see what condition the existing golf cart batteries are in.

RichardM said...

I’ve seen someone back their motorhome with the empty car dolly still hitched but it looked like way more trouble than it was worth...

SonjaM said...

Ah, having the Prius towed is such a great idea, and gives you a free range, while "the big one" can stay put.

In Germany such a thing would impossible. Traffic law states that vehicles with an engine must not be operated as trailers. So taking along our car would require a full trailer, providing you with another caveat: you might need an according drivers permit to operate a long vehicle with trailer, depending on the weight... gotta love German regulations, NOT.

RichardM said...

Having the Prius along will be convenient. A full trailer has been suggested as we would then be able to bring other things along such as the Ural, but then the overall length gets way too long. Plus, you have to deal with parking a large trailer...