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Old 08-09-2015, 08:48 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Sandiegodoug View Post
I have the tracer mppt controller along with 2x100 watt flexible panels and never equalized batteries. I hooked up from panel to controller to battery's. There is another output from controller which I ignored. We dry camp, take showers, charge phones, run fantastic fan, watch tv and batteries seem to stay pretty much charged. I do watch water level in batteries but doesn't seem to go down much, even after lots of dry camping. I also leave panels connected to keep battery at full charge so we can use unit spur of the moment. Unit is in San Diego so we have lots of sun year round.


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I am coming to believe you are using more power than the panels can deliver, the flex panels are not the most efficient ones. They lose some of their efficiency due to the extreme heat in the S/W. With your 6 Volt batteries you probably have no more than 230 Amp/h capacity max. of which only 50% is accessible - so 115 Amp/h. With your setup you might get up to 15 Amp from the solar panels at noon, you might be able to get 120 Amp on a sunny day with no clouds and not a speck of dust on the panels.
What is the Amp reading on the charge controller and what battery voltage does it display at around noon that could be an indicator.
You should probably try to conserve as much electricity as possible. I know from past experience with one 150 Watt panel we had to be very conservative.
Check your battery voltage at the terminal when they are idle (connect the tester to the + terminal on one battery and to the - on the other), a full battery is 12.6 Volt, there are battery charts on the internet.
If you can plug the motorhome in for several days and see if that makes a difference.
Here are a couple of links on solar setups that are very helpful:
https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/...ging-puzzle-2/
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Old 08-09-2015, 09:45 PM   #12
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Thanks cypress... I have read handybobs blog. A great resource. And I did buy a hydrometer. And I realized I'd been parked under trees for the past few days. I don't use much in the rig but the fridge and fantastic fan. Once I moved into direct sun (if you can call it that here in Toronto) the voltages rose and amps into the battery went to 10 amps. This was at mid day so I'm see how the SOC is tonight when I get home. I'm at the paraPanam games working on the medical team. Go Canada wheelchair basketball!
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Old 08-09-2015, 10:45 PM   #13
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Thanks cypress... I have read handybobs blog. A great resource. And I did buy a hydrometer. And I realized I'd been parked under trees for the past few days. I don't use much in the rig but the fridge and fantastic fan. Once I moved into direct sun (if you can call it that here in Toronto) the voltages rose and amps into the battery went to 10 amps. This was at mid day so I'm see how the SOC is tonight when I get home. I'm at the paraPanam games working on the medical team. Go Canada wheelchair basketball!
Respect Eric, these games couldn't be held without people like you .
Every solar system is different, when it works it is a great pleasure but if it doesn't it can become a nightmare real fast, sometimes you don't know where to start troubleshooting. Even though we're experiencing the hottest time of year now the best time for solar is behind us already. We have 6 12 Volt panels at 160 Watt each in parallel on a PWM controller and we're already getting 100 Amp/h less per day down from 500 to under 400. We can't afford to lose our batteries because of our residential fridge.
We'll be heading for the mountains tomorrow and this will be the first time this year where we stay at a campground with power (50 Amp) and we haven't used the generator more than 5 hours (hourmeter is my witness) since April and only for the AC's.
Is solar worth the effort - you bet it is.

Go Canada go

Edit: Eric, you get the most accurate SOC reading directly at the battery terminals, not at the charge controller, after the batteries have been sitting idle for at least a few minutes (no charge or discharge)
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Old 08-09-2015, 10:53 PM   #14
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I have 2 twelve volt deep cycle batteries. We are careful with electricity when dry camping. My controller blinks when batteries full. It seems to blink in the afternoon. All lights led so very little draw. My 12 volt TV is power efficient. I think the pump uses most. I have room for 3 more panels but don't see need. I don't think refer draws that much.
Since the solar system is constantly charging, I believe I will be measuring a surface charge unless u disconnect batteries and let stand 24 hours. All I know is I did a 2 week test with refer running and fantastic fans used a few hours each day and lights at night and batteries were still measuring full at night. Without solar I had to run generator after 1st night, so panels do ok for our style camping


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Old 08-09-2015, 11:24 PM   #15
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Now at 11:30 pm the terminals read 12.6 v. But the SOC says 45% charge? Huh? I'll get out my hydrometer tomorrow and see what those values are. I have the 2 12v deep cycle batteries at 170 amp hours on the charge controller. I did lift the batteries out to check the values on the side but there was no specific labelling. This is a new rig (Jan ) so I'm not sure what the problem is with the labeling but I couldn't find it anywhere. Actually I didn't look on the bottom...giggle. Well. I'll keep working on this issue. I will also buy a trimetric amp to figure out what's going in and out of my batteries.
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Old 08-10-2015, 12:33 AM   #16
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Now at 11:30 pm the terminals read 12.6 v. But the SOC says 45% charge? Huh? I'll get out my hydrometer tomorrow and see what those values are. I have the 2 12v deep cycle batteries at 170 amp hours on the charge controller. I did lift the batteries out to check the values on the side but there was no specific labelling. This is a new rig (Jan ) so I'm not sure what the problem is with the labeling but I couldn't find it anywhere. Actually I didn't look on the bottom...giggle. Well. I'll keep working on this issue. I will also buy a trimetric amp to figure out what's going in and out of my batteries.
Eric, looks like you're ok.
At 12.6 V your batteries are full but not full full. the charge controller will likely let them go as high as 14.5 to 14.8 Volt which is fine. Maybe this is what the 45% SOC is indicating - 'give me more sun, I'll take it'.
I agree, a good battery monitor is like a fuel gauge and a wise investment.
Maybe your setup is working ok after all.
John
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Old 08-10-2015, 08:23 AM   #17
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Eric, looks like you're ok.
At 12.6 V your batteries are full but not full full.
John
Yes, for all practicle purposes, your batteries are full. See chart posted in previous thread.

One caveat when checking recently charged bats, they may hold a residual charge, so either let them set for a while, then check, or put a slight load on them to true up your readings at the terminals for this excersise.
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Old 08-10-2015, 01:25 PM   #18
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Hi all. My new solera's batteries are not doing well. I guess they have discharged too much or too often. I've installedsolar panels with a Tracer mppt controller. Even with an equalization cycle they are only at 30% state of charge after a full day of sun. Im considering changing to Trojan 6v batteries but not sure if they'll fit. Anyone with experience?
How many watts is your solar array rated for? In any event, I am not surprised your battery isn't fully charged. It takes 3 days to completely charge our one 105Ah 12v battery using a PD 9245c charger/converter. I know that because I monitor battery use (inflow and outflow) with a Trimetric 2020 and it shows the charge stages and ampere flow to the n.nn ampere. When the charge voltage drops to 13.1v and the ampere flow drops to zero, the battery is full.
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Old 08-10-2015, 05:44 PM   #19
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Yeah. I measured the depth this am. They're only 10" so the 6v won't fit. They're just over 11". Anyone have experience with batteries that show 80-90% state of charge when the sun is up and 48-55% when it goes down. My reading is that the batteries are likely sulphated and need to be equalized at 14.8v for several hours as long as they don't exceed 125`. I know the the progressive converter won't get there. It only boosts to 14.4 v and then will equalize at the same number for 15 min a day. How do I get this thing equalized?
@bd... usually the batts supplied by the Dealer are not true deep cycle batts and most of the under the steps ones are group 24 12V which give you around 150 amp hours per pair or 75 amp hours before needing recharging is REQUIRED... discharge below 50% frequently and you will murder the cheap batts that come with the coach even more quickly. The readings you are seeing are NOT battery SOC readings...they are active system voltage readings Translated into an assumed state of charge.... i.e 12.2v-50%...which is ONLY true for a batt disconnected and at rest for a day.

Your 200W of sol
ar under perfect conditions can deliver 50-60
amp hours a day.
I think you
are prolly using more than this on a daily basis
and killing your Batt life. Others have it right..you need a real batt monitor like the Trimetric or Victron...it ain't a real monitor unless it has a shunt.
Your controller...if it is like most of the Tr
acers has a manual EQ mode @ 14.8V so no need to buy something different there.
Suggest either E
ast Penn Deka or Trojan 12V wet cells as replacements...be sure to get TRUE deep cycle...not dual purpose....
any batt that mentions cranking amps on the label is NOT a deep cycle...it is dual purpose and needs to be avoided.
If your me
asurements permit ...Get size group 27 instead of 24 as this will give you another 40 a/h.
The m
ain things a real monitor will let you do is see your actual use, see your
actual state of charge...including when the bank is 100% full which takes
about 2 hours longer than most people think. Good luck.
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Old 08-10-2015, 09:27 PM   #20
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usually the batts supplied by the Dealer are not true deep cycle batts and most of the under the steps ones are group 24 12V
Fyi, 2015+ Soleras come with Group 27's and are from the factory, not the dealer. They are Exide Deep Cycle.
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