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Messages - RV Squirrel

I'm considering doing the same thing, but noticed that I could only move the front awning support back 18" instead of 24".  This puts it pretty close to the wheel well.  Do you have pictures of the final install?
If you have an aluminum travel trailer, then I would not expect that you would be able to reliably monitor devices inside the travel trailer from the cab of your tow vehicle.  Since both are enclosed in a sheet of metal, they both act as Faraday shields, and wireless signals have a hard time getting from the inside of aluminum trailer to the inside of the truck cabin.  If you were standing inside your travel trailer, I would expect that you would be able to use Bluetooth to configure a device from your cellphone though.  I purchased a Victron Orion, and am planning to configure it while standing inside my aluminum trailer using my iPhone.  Once configured, I do not expect to get good reception inside my Chevy pickup.

A week or so after making my initial post, I did a test.  I used a high-tech approach to testing bluetooth reception... it included my iPhone and my wife's fit-bit wristwatch.  I used the fit-bit as a bluetooth source.  I downloaded a free app called "Bluetooth BLE Device Finder" on my iPhone.  It's supposed to help you find lost BT devices.  The hard part was finding out which device was my wife's fit-bit... I had to put it in an empty aluminum cat-food can (with another can on top) to see which signal went away.

I laid in on the counter in my trailer, put my cellphone next to it, and looked at the "signal strength" associated with the fit-bit.  It was around 72.  I then put the fit-bit on the aluminum floor of the TT, where I planned to mount the DC2DC.  The aluminum floor may have interfered with the BT signal, because I got a signal strength around 53.  I then went outside the TT (closing the door and leaving the fit-bit on the floor of the TT) and stood right next to where I thought the fit-bit might be... the strength was around 35.  I walked around to the other side of the TT (driver's side of the TV) and the signal strength was 19.  I got inside the truck and the signal strength was between 0 and 5.  (The second time I tried the test, the fit-bit strength was 0, and it dropped off the list of observed devices).  I'm inclined to think that both distance and metal are attenuating the signal.  When I stepped inside the house (which has a brick front), the signal dropped significantly, so I think that the BT signal might have problems getting through other materials as well.
Does bluetooth work in an aluminum camper?  Ideally, I'd like to monitor bluetooth-enabled devices in my trailer, while I'm driving in my TV.

I've recently purchases a couple of lithium batteries for my Camplite 14DBS.  I know that I need a DCDC converter to charge the battery from the TV.  I also need a solar charge controller that will be compatible with the lithium batteries.

I've been considering two combinations of equipment:
1) Victron Smart Orion DCDC converter (18A) + Victron Bluesolar charge controller (30A with bluetooth dongle)
2) Renogy 20A DCDC converter (no bluetooth) + Renogy Rover charge controller (40A with bluetooth dongle).

The Victron equipment is considerably more expensive, but there are a few things that are making me consider it nonetheless.  My concern is that, unlike the Renogy Rover (which has a built-in display), the Victron relies entirely on bluetooth for configuration and monitoring.  I know that the Victron Bluesolar has an optional display module, but I'll likely be using that port for a bluetooth dongle... I like the idea of bluetooth dongles, because it allows me to "turn off" bluetooth when I am not using it.

It would be a real bummer to spend additional money for equipment that depends on bluetooth, only to realize that it will only work if I'm holding my cellphone next to it!

General comments about Victron vs. Renogy are welcome too!  Thanks!
I discovered that if I lay the batteries on their sides I have a little extra room.  The area is right next to the AC/DC power converter (with the electrical panel), as well as the cable entrance for shore power and the tow vehicle, so cable runs should be short.  I was considering putting them underneath the bed, but there was no easy way to run the cables without drilling a hole in the floor, and I was trying to avoid that.

I discovered yesterday that there are indeed structural aluminum tubes underneath the sheet metal ( like a sheet metal, aluminum tube, sheet metal sandwich), but I'll still need to supplement that.  I plan on making a battery tray that will distribute the weight over the structural aluminum tubes.
I've recently purchased two lithium batteries to replace the lead-acid battery that was outdoors, on the frame just behind the LP tanks.  I plan to mount the new batteries inside my 2014 CampLite 14DBS.  Each battery weighs around 30 pounds... so two would weigh 60 pounds.  It's okay to put lithium batteries indoors... in fact, it seems that most folks do for a number of reasons.

There isn't much space to do this, so my options are limited.  I'm thinking of mounting them on top of the passenger-side wheel well.  This would be behind the lowest of the two cabinet doors underneath the sink.  I've attached a picture.

The batteries fit there (assuming that I can secure them somehow), but I'm concerned about the weight.  Even though lithium batteries are much lighter than lead-acid, 60 pounds is still significant.  I've had problems with leaking on the driver's side, but I don't want to invite trouble on the passenger's side.

What I see on top of the wheel well appears to be thin sheet metal that is folded at an angle to cover the top and side of the wheel well.  However, I do not see any sheet metal screws connecting it to something underneath.  What is underneath this sheet metal?  Can I screw into it in order to attach mounting hardware for the batteries?  If not, can I use square tube stock to create a battery tray that would connect to the existing 1" square tube stock on either side of the cabinet?  As you can see from the picture, it's going to be snug!  The batteries are hard to see because they are the same color as the sheet metal.

It would be a bummer to give up the floor of the cabinet though.  The dogs wouldn't forgive me... that's where we store the kibble.

New Members / old new owner
July 05, 2020, 07:53:11 PM
I purchased a Camplite 14DBS in 2014.  I to it with a 6 cylinder 2WD 2014 Chevy Silverado.  I plan to add a porch light under the awning, and am hoping to find some advice in this forum.