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Old 05-21-2019, 09:19 PM   #1
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Adventures in Battery Charging

I recently fired up my solar controller for the first time in preparation for the first trip with solar panels. With shore power from the house, the best I can get out of the batteries is 12.3 volts after 24 hours on the converter.

I disconnected the shore power and plugged in a quality battery charger and the batteries miraculoulslly went to 12.7 volts in 10 minutes.

Can anyone explain what is going on here?
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Old 05-22-2019, 08:34 AM   #2
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don't know what the comment about solar means.

on shore power the converter should be supplying about 13.6 volts to the batteries. take a reading at the battery terminal when you are not connected to shore power. (have solar off). a fully charged battery should be 12.6 volts or so. now plug into shore power and take the same reading. if converter is supplying power it should be around 13.6. if it is not find out why converter is not supplying power.

as far as the reading from the battery charger i don't know if the 12.7 is while the charger was connected or not. if it was taken immediately after the charger was disconnected it might be misleading as the batteries need to stabilize for many hours until the voltage reading is reflective of their status. take a reading the day after the charger was disconnected. you're not going to fully charge a battery in 10 minutes.
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Old 05-22-2019, 04:12 PM   #3
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The rig sat over night on shore power, now the solar controller reads 12.1 volts on the two batteries. They are from 2017 but might be shot from being abused. This is getting confusing.
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Old 05-22-2019, 05:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ppine View Post
The rig sat over night on shore power, now the solar controller reads 12.1 volts on the two batteries. They are from 2017 but might be shot from being abused. This is getting confusing.
What are the details on your Solar panels & charge controller?
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Old 05-22-2019, 07:18 PM   #5
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i'm certainly no expert but i hate trying to figure out things when there are mutliple variables going on. in this case shore power and converter, external battery charger, and solar.

i'd try to get a baseline. disconnect all but one power source. you say you have a quality battery charger. use it and only it to charge up the batteries for a day or so. then take your battery voltage measurements. or better yet take them in to an auto parts store to have them load tested. replace if not able to keep a charge. once you know that you have good batteries i'd then connect them to the converter and verify that it is working ok. once you know it is, then i'd connect the solar and again confirm that it is working.
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Old 05-22-2019, 11:31 PM   #6
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Solar controller is a 40 amp MPPT. No solar panels are connected to it. I am just using it to monitor the battery charge. With a battery charger the controller reads 13.6 volts. On shore power it reads about 12.1 volts.

Trailer is a 2013 Rockwood.
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Old 05-22-2019, 11:43 PM   #7
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You are using the solar controller as a battery meter?
If so, it appears that the solar controller is reading incorrectly or has some malfunction when plugged into shore power.

What are your battery readings on a mutimeter after shore power?
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Old 05-23-2019, 07:35 AM   #8
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well post #6 pretty much sums it up, the external battery charger is providing a recharge voltage (13.6). the converter isn't. the 12.1 volts is the voltage of the battery. no recharge voltage is going to the batteries from the converter.

so you need to determine why there is no voltage from the converter. possible causes could be:
converter not receiving 120vac inpt power
converter reverse polarity fuses blown
converter damaged
battery disconnect switch has batteries disconnected from converter
resettable 12vdc circuit breaker tripped
loose or corroded battery cable

i would start by taking a voltage measurement at the converter output terminals to see if the problem is on the converter side or in the cable run from the converter to the battery.
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Old 05-23-2019, 01:08 PM   #9
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thanks to chickdoe.
I got down by the rig controller with a headlamp. The breakers are not labelled, but the fuses are. A breaker was off, that I thought was for the AC. Obviously it contols the feed to the batteries. Now we are charging at 13.6 volts. The batteries are coming up.

Sometimes it helps to stop and think about a situation like this and it is very helpful to have a forum with some smart people asking the right questions. Appears to be fixed.
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Old 05-23-2019, 02:43 PM   #10
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new maintenance activity. find out what each breaker controls and label them.

i did it with all my breakers.
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