We love our Arctic Fox 27-5L Fifth Wheel! Still, we knew we wanted to upgrade the solar & power set up right away. We’ve been so happy with the changes we made to our previous Fifth Wheel, we wanted to make them to this one too. This included 680 watts of solar, 400Ah lithium battery system, and a 3000W Victron inverter/charger.
We left the solar panels on our previous Fifth Wheel. The Arctic Fox comes “solar-ready” so we though the process was actually going to be easier. For our package this meant it had a single 80-watt solar panel on the roof and a port on the side of the RV to add a portable solar panel. However, the wiring leading to the controller wasn’t sufficient for the additional 680 watts of solar we wanted to add.
For this upgrade, I purchased the following kit:
- 4 x 170-Watt Panels
- 60-Amp, 5-stage PWM charge controller
- Pre-assembled wiring harness
- Two, 3-port roof caps (ready for future expansions!)
- Stainless steel mounting hardware
- Digital remote LCD display
Watch the following installation video:
We were able to swap out the standard lead acid batteries at the dealership for our Battle Born Lithium batteries. We choose to go with lithium ion batteries last year because they provide better performance, last longer, and contain no toxic components. Battle Born’s customer service and 10-year warranty stood ahead of the other manufacturers.
Watch our battery installation video on the previous RV below:
The Arctic Fox did not come with an inverter, but we saved the 1000W inverter during our upgrade last year, and replaced it when trading in the RV. The next step will be for me to install it in the Arctic Fox.
I’ll add that video when I complete the task. In the meantime, here is my inverter installation in our previous Fifth Wheel.
Finally, I plan to purchase and install a Micro-Air EasyStart™ Soft Starter on the main air conditioner. This is an easy to install product that allowed us to run the AC for short periods of time using the Battle Born batteries and Victron 3000 watt inverter charger. We had one on our previous Fifth Wheel and were very happy with it.
The process will be the exact same as the previous one. You can see that installation here:
As always, we like to be transparent about costs. We’ll admit that it was not an inexpensive project. All of the components, except the solar panels, were purchased from Battle Born Batteries. They sell bundles based on our set up at the 200ah, 400ah, 600ah, or 800ah levels.
The Zamp solar 680 watt kit (components listed in the Solar Ready paragraph above) was $2,900.
We spread these costs over two years with the battery/inverter upgrade first.
Is it worth it?
We had the upgrade on our previous Fifth Wheel for a year before moving to the Arctic Fox, and can definitely say that the battery and inverter upgrade alone was 100% worth it.
We took our RV in for service and did not worry about it sitting in a bay for 6 or 7 hours because we knew the batteries and inverter would keep our refrigerator running. In fact, the batteries did not go below 70% during that time. We would not have been able to do that with our factory installed batteries and inverter. This is not a knock on the factory equipment, it is just that they are not designed to be compatible with that type of use.
We also started doing some boondocking and dry camping. We spent 9 days off grid in January and only had to run our generator twice for one hour each to top off the batteries when it was a little cloudy .
Our Arctic Fox has a Norcold 2-way refrigerator that can run off propane or electricity which is another bonus for off-grid camping. There are less electronics in general in our new set-up so we know we’ll have more than enough power for our use.
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