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10 Kilowatt Lithium Battery System in Mercedes Sprinter: Parts and Wiring Overview
Photographer and cyclist and Mac expert and software engineer Lloyd Chambers is available for consulting on general Sprinter considerations at his usual consulting rates via phone, or in person in the Palo Alto, CA area. Save yourself hours and mistakes by discussing issues up-front. More about Lloyd....
This page gives an overview of the parts need to wire up a 10 kilowatt lithium iron phosphate dual-battery system in a 2017 Sprinter 4x4 van.
In late March 2018, I drove my Sprinter to ADF Sprinters of San Fernando, CA to install a 48 X 29 inch hickory table, a key working space in my van. The table serves both as a work desk and as the mounting platform for the dual Xantrex Freedom XC power inverters. No cheap Formica or particle board table for me; hickory is the hardest toughest American wood that exists, and still it can be dented without too much trouble.
Why mention the table? Because mounting two 17-pound inverters and heavy 4/0 and 1/0 cables demands a robust mounting platform. On very rough roads, the idea of counting on the particle board yuk installed in most vans definitely to hold screws in place is a risky idea—already sheet metal screws have worked their way out of metal on such roads, in my van. Nothing but very strong solid wood will do for hard-duty usage, in my view.
Parts summary for symmetric/balanced dual-battery 10 kilowatt system:
The following parts were needed, which the following pages detail:
- Sturdy mounting platform for the inverter(s). I used my hickory table as per the above. For longevity, the idea of using particle board or similar inferior materials seems unwise. I have already had sheet metal screws rattle themselves out on rough roads.
- Two (2) Lithionics 12V400A-5D-CTRL400 each with 5120 watt hours (usable around 4600 WH), dimensions 24.0 X 8.0 X 15.9, weighing 125 pounds each. Custom support/stands likely needed for most configurations.
- Shore power charging: external 30 amp socket using heavy duty 8 AWG wiring into van interior. External 50-foot heavy duty 30 amp cable (for 30 amp outlets) and heavy duty 15 amp cable (for 15 amp outlets), for either/or usage depending on what is available.
- Two (2) interior AC sockets for shore power, into which each inverter/charger can independently plugged or unplugged for controlling the shore power current draw, so as to allow use of either a 15 amp or 30 amp shore power supply.
- Two (2) Xantrex Freedom XC 2000W inverter/charger units, each capable of inverting 2000 watts and charging at 80 amps, for a total of 160 amps of shore power charging capability. Add the GFCI outlet option for two onboard AC outlets (I use these a lot).
- Two (2) Blue Sea marine-grade 8-post 600A bus bars (one for positive/hot and one for ground), the focal point for all connections. These are 2.3 pounds bus bars, basically a thick chunk of tin-plated copper, very beefy high-grade stuff.
- Two (2) Blue Sea Mega Amp 300A fuse blocks each with a 250-amp fuse between batteries and bus bar. Note: I now recommend 300 to 400 amp fuses, because if one battery goes off (drained), it would immediately blow the other fuse if 300 amp load were in progress.
- Two (2) 1/0 cables from the stock alternator to POS bus bar, for charging when shore power is unavailable (most of the time, in my travel).
- Two (2) 4/0 grounding cables from batteries to van chassis.
- Two (2) grounding cables from (one from each inverter) to van chassis.
- Heavy duty welding cables throughout, 4/0 for any run over 18 inches, with 1/0 for short runs.
- Crimping of lugs to cables with high-quality hexagonal or circular crimping, to ensure good contact and to minimize hot spots.
- Two (2) AC-out wall sockets, at least one socket from each inverter.
Discussion continues in 10 Kilowatt Lithium Battery System in Mercedes Sprinter: Challenges in Routing/Organizing/Placement.
Shown below is partial wiring prior to installation, inverters and bus bars attach to table bottom while leaving forward part of table/desk free for user knees/chair.