Charging While Driving?

Luke42

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Like many others have pointed out, this cable would be roughly same size of extension cord.
Repeatedly pointing things out doesn't mean these people have really thought through the issues.

The cable can only be lightweight if you're running a very high voltage PV array, or put a big DC boost converter in the trailer.

That's a nontrivial requirement.

You also need lots of insulation at high voltages. The existing 7-pin connector runs at 12V and is basically covered in rubber armor. Using that style of cable at 400V without safety problems would require... ...A real engineering project.

I'm not saying this is impossible. I'm saying this is nontrivial.

 
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JBee

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Repeatedly pointing things out doesn't mean these people have really thought through the issues.

The cable can only be lightweight if you're running a very high voltage PV array, or put a big DC boost converter in the trailer.

That's a nontrivial requirement.

You also need lots of insulation at high voltages. The existing 7-pin connector runs at 12V and is basically covered in rubber armor. Using that style of cable at 400V without safety problems would require... ...A real engineering project.

I'm not saying this is impossible. I'm saying this is nontrivial.
As per my long winded post on page 2, it is in fact trivial, the maximum amount of solar you can fit in a travel trailer whilst being towed is around 4-6kW. The is easily handles by a decent 240V extension cable and represents a 40th of what goes through the CT charging cable. That is even possible with a standard Anderson plug which is commonly used on RVs.

But as per that same post "charging whilst driving" is also a pointless invention.
 

Zabhawkin

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Nope I did not think the whole thing through.

Is it something that can be done without any significant technical issues? Definetly.

Is it practical? If you are putting the panels on top to power your camper anyways it might be but most likely not.

Over the course of the day you might drive what 500-750 miles and get a max of 30 miles of range from solar.
 

Crissa

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You also need lots of insulation at high voltages. The existing 7-pin connector runs at 12V and is basically covered in rubber armor.
That's why you'd use a shuko or anderson connector. I don't know why you're focused on the brake controller. Literally no one else was saying to use it for power.

-Crissa
 
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JBee

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Nope I did not think the whole thing through.

Is it something that can be done without any significant technical issues? Definetly.

Is it practical? If you are putting the panels on top to power your camper anyways it might be but most likely not.

Over the course of the day you might drive what 500-750 miles and get a max of 30 miles of range from solar.
If you have solar on the trailer, of which only a few kW will fit, you might as well connect a 5-10kWh battery, and then intermittently charge the CT from them when you stop via a L1/2.
 


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Bob Anderson

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I feel like the added range, however small, still is something. If the giant surface area of solar on the camper doesn't make sense, then it definitely doesn't make sense on the much smaller tonneau cover. (not to mention the reliability of bending solar connections every time you open the cover, but that's another subject).

At the end of the day, it comes down to feasibility, and cost. If it's something that costs thousands to implement, probably not worth it...something less expensive, I'd definitely pay for it.

Besides the minimal range increase, it could create a seamless connection between the camper and the vehicle. Now instead of having to plug in both truck and camper at the RV site, you can just plug in the truck. Some RV sites I've been to don't have more than one plugin. I guess you could drop the tailgate and plug your camper in through the bed, but then you lose the lockable storage aspect of the truck.
 

Crissa

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That surface area will then keep the inside of the vehicle warm/cool and keep the lights on. Enough solar means dog mode and refrigerator without seeking the grid.

Just negating range loss over time is a worthwhile reason.

-Crissa
 

Luke42

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That's why you'd use a shuko or anderson connector. I don't know why you're focused on the brake controller. Literally no one else was saying to use it for power.

-Crissa
I keep referencing the 7-pin DC power lights and brake connection because it's engineered for the towing environment.

It's the design to beat.

By examining a design which works in this rather harsh environment, you will learn what problems you need to solve in order to design a high-power cable that won't self-immolate after a few weeks out in the world.

The 4-pin plug is also instructive; it's a design by counterexample. They don't do well when exposed to weather and the abuses of being kicked around a gravel parking lot for a few months. You see a lot of corrosion on the contacts, chafing/decay on the insulation, and other random physical damage on those connectors. The 7-pin setup largely eliminates these problems, which is why looking at it is instructive.

If y'all insist on starting from scratch, you'll have to relearn a bunch of lessons which have already been learned. Nothing wrong with that, but it can get expensive.
 

Crissa

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I keep referencing the 7-pin DC power lights and brake connection because it's engineered for the towing environment.

It's the design to beat.
No it isn't. It's the same connector in my old old PC but with a rubber boot. And it's irrelevant to power, no one powers an RV with it.

-Crissa
 

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I am a fan of the 7 pin towing connector and the take away I see is the protection of the connectors. The power cable that would be needed from the trailer to and from the CT will have very different problems. Female receptacles on the trailer and truck would let you remove a the male to male feeder line and store it in a better environment. A recessed connector with spring loaded protection of the contacts might be a better way to go, this keeps possibly hot contacts safe. There is time for this to develop.
 


JBee

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I feel like the added range, however small, still is something. If the giant surface area of solar on the camper doesn't make sense, then it definitely doesn't make sense on the much smaller tonneau cover. (not to mention the reliability of bending solar connections every time you open the cover, but that's another subject).

At the end of the day, it comes down to feasibility, and cost. If it's something that costs thousands to implement, probably not worth it...something less expensive, I'd definitely pay for it.

Besides the minimal range increase, it could create a seamless connection between the camper and the vehicle. Now instead of having to plug in both truck and camper at the RV site, you can just plug in the truck. Some RV sites I've been to don't have more than one plugin. I guess you could drop the tailgate and plug your camper in through the bed, but then you lose the lockable storage aspect of the truck.
Having an RV with solar and a battery means you can run the RV and you can charge the exact same range to the CT anyway. But you don't need any complicated setup or trickery to charge the CY whilst driving at all.

I think there is some confusion as to what charging whilst driving actually adds and how it does it. Adding solar to the CT or RV makes sense if it can produce some power all year long, especially if its parked. For the times its driving the addition is trivial.

The only reasons to have the ability to charge whilst driving is because you want to add that range whilst driving whilst not having to stop to do so. But in reality its absolutely impossible to operate the CT and RV just from the RV solar and drive all day, without also charging at least twice at a Supercharger as well. Even if the RV solar added a 100miles, which it never will, it still would not need "charging whilst driving" capability.

To be clear you can still use every last drop of the power the RV solar produces whilst driving, you just charge the CT with it later when you are parked.

As for charging at a camp ground from one cable, once again you are parked, and you would plug the RV in first and let that charge the CT so you can take advantage of the solar charging too.
 

charliemagpie

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If I want to hop over to the other side of the country in 2 days.. Charging will be a pain in the ass. It i impossible to emulate ICE. Solar Tonneau is not really useful in this scenario.

I have come up with my own compromise for travelling around Australia. I decided to store the CT and RV when I go overseas for 6 months. And later, just restart my journey where I left off.

No need to tug a big box back home or travel to a starting point every 6 months.

When I'm away, my family can use it, but they will be restricted to where I stored it, they are more than happy with that.

If I'm parked somewhere fishing for a week, most times, the tonneau will give me close enough kilometers to move to another location without having to charge anywhere.

Swings and roundabouts
 

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I think the major problem with a lot of these ideas is that the gain is minimal. Even if you add 30 miles of theoretical range per day, you're adding weight and drag, which reduce your mileage anyway.

May as well just get a fold up array at harbor freight or one of those fire pit generators. If you're going to hole up in the sticks for a few days you should be fine on that assuming you're using a tent and not camp mode.
 

Crissa

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I think the major problem with a lot of these ideas is that the gain is minimal. Even if you add 30 miles of theoretical range per day, you're adding weight and drag, which reduce your mileage anyway.

May as well just get a fold up array at harbor freight or one of those fire pit generators. If you're going to hole up in the sticks for a few days you should be fine on that assuming you're using a tent and not camp mode.
That's where you're wrong.

The gain isn't 'minimal' - it's energy you were going to spend anyhow. You were going to have to spend that energy cooling the cabin or maintaining the battery. Running the lights or cooling your fridge. And the battery in your truck is expensive but big and reliable - exactly what you need for solar.

A truck/RV is almost always in the sun. Very few people garage these things. That's at least 2000 hours a year these panels are in operation. For a small RV, that means keeping a full size refrigerator cold all year, no effort. For a truck it means five to ten thousand free miles a year. And how much of your driving is that?

Minimal it is not.

-Crissa
 

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There have been trials where they build inductive charging into the roadway to charge as you drive over the chargers, but I'm not sure the financial viability is quite there yet. Here's one article about it: https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/...rging-road-could-change-the-way-we-build-evs/
I wonder what happened to this too. Not farfetched and there could be financial viability on this network. After all, California was once willing to plant magnetic rods along the roads for the then idea of totally autonomous vehicles.

My other proposal is for Elon sending lightning bolts directly into your charging antenna through his Starlink.:geek:

 

 
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