Robust, reliable electrical system design and implementation is critical to a successful expedition vehicle design. Unfortunately, electrical systems are the “Achilles heel” of many traditional RVs and expedition vehicles. Poor electrical system design and use of low-cost electrical components are prevalent in the construction of many RVs and expedition vehicles which frequently results in systems not working and in some cases vehicle fires.
One of the major breakthrough improvements made with the transition from LTS to LTi was the removal of the traditional EarthRoamer circuit breaker panel, located most frequently on the driver side cabinets inside the camper. In its place, we have condensed all of the duties and responsibilities of this breaker into a streamlined and sleek touchscreen interface. What once looked like a daunting collection of buttons and switches is now all easily accessed through a more user-friendly medium. Check solar, water, battery, and temperature levels, as well as control your awning, interior lighting, exterior lighting, and much more all from the convenience of this small touchscreen.
Even though user ease of experience was at the forefront of this decision, by removing the traditional breaker, we have freed up roughly 2.5 cabinets worth of storage space that was once used solely for housing wires and electrical equipment.
EarthRoamer electrical system design is influenced heavily by designs extensively tested and used for years in high-end yachts. Yachts frequently operate for long periods of time in extremely corrosive saltwater environments far away from power sources. With their need for reliability and operation under harsh conditions, all EarthRoamers have system requirements very similar to those of yachts. Fundamentals of the electrical system design in EarthRoamer LTs include the use of:
– Solar power as a primary source of energy
– Diesel engine driven dual alternators as a primary source of energy while driving and as a backup energy source when in camp
– Large gauge, high conductivity, low resistance, fine strand tinned copper marine cable throughout
– Sealed, weatherproof connectors – even on the inside of the vehicle
– Switches, circuit breaker panels, fuse blocks and other components engineered for use in harsh marine environments
– Advanced battery isolation system to ensure the ability to start the truck even if the camper batteries have been drained
– Efficient and reliable lithium ion batteries
– State of the art, high efficiency pure sine wave inverters
– Battery chargers that can be used with AC electrical power from 110-220 volt AC and 50-60 Hz to enable charging in any country
There are three ways to provide electrical power to the LTi:
1. Solar power – 1,320 watts whenever the vehicle is outside exposed to daylight (even on overcast days)
2. Running the engine – 3,700 watts while driving or when idling the engine in camp
3. Plugged in – At home, in an established campground, or camped in your friend’s backyard, the onboard battery charger will provide 2,100 watts of power when the vehicle is plugged into a standard 20 amp AC wall outlet.
It’s a common cliché that the “devil is in the details,” but nowhere is this truer than with electrical systems. An intelligently designed electrical system is useless if poorly routed wires chafe and short out or improperly terminated electrical connections come apart. Electrical failures can be much more than just an annoyance; an improperly installed electrical system can result in an electrical fire and potentially be life threatening. Good electrical systems require installation by a skilled craftsman who cares. Our electrical technicians have many years of experience, extensive training, and are true craftsman who take great pride in their work. For them, electrical system installations are a work of art and a source of pride.
In typical operation, little thought needs to be given to the vehicle electrical system. While driving to your destination, the dual engine alternators as well as the solar panels will be charging the lithium ion battery bank. Once in camp, the batteries are typically fully charged and during daylight the solar panels continue to produce power. High efficiency 12 volt DC components are used wherever possible to reduce power usage. The high efficiency LED lights, compressor refrigerator, variable speed fans all help keep electrical consumption low. AC powered appliances like the convection microwave, coffee maker, air conditioners, induction cooktop and AC outlets are all powered by the battery bank through the 3,000 watt pure sine wave inverter. In typical use with reasonable electrical power conservation (simply turn things off when they are not being used) and good sunlight, plenty of power is available indefinitely. If solar output is low (i.e. cloudy or short winter days), or electrical power demands are high (i.e. continuously running the air conditioner or roasting a turkey), the dual inverter charger will automatically kick on to ensure that you are never without the power you need.