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Old 03-12-2013, 11:16 PM   #11
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I just picked up my solar unit, maybe a year and a half ago and I got the cheap controler. The paper work says it turns the charge on at 13.2V and turns the charge off at 14.3V. I do not watch it with a volt meter but I have seen the LEDs on and off like there working.
No dought that the more variables, the more possible solutions.
John
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:28 PM   #12
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Yeah and it just keeps cycling between those points and that is hard on a battery bank.
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Old 03-13-2013, 05:49 AM   #13
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YoungKopernic, you have an pwm controller which is basically a switch. On at a predetermined voltage, if sun is out, and off at predetermined voltage, battery charged. This system works, but isn't best for your batteries. A mppt type will get you more power from your solar panels and usually a 3 stage charger on the better controllers.

You will reduce the lifespan of a set of deep cycle batteries if you don't use a 3 stage charger. I can't say by how much as there are other factors at work, but it be reduced.

As for cycling the battery, charge & discharge, every cycle wears on the battery components. A little. A true deep cycle battery is built to take it though. Unless you seriously discharge a deep cycle battery, like to 50-60%, you won't notice a reduced lifespan by daily charging with a proper charger.
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:49 PM   #14
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the more I learn, the less I know

I only use my portable solar when I dry-camp for more than two days. But I will keep this this solar charging issue in my mind so as not to over do it.
I do use a 7W solar durring the winter for 4 to 6 weeks at a time, should I not do this and go back to plugging into 120ac every month for three days?
I will be asking these questions before I buy new batteries, I just hope I find someone who has the right answers
John.
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Old 03-14-2013, 05:33 AM   #15
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if you disconnect the batteries completely from the camper, then a 1-2 day charge every month is good. The solar maintainer you have will be OK too if everything else is disconnected but it still should be a mppt controller so it goes into "float" mode if the battery is already charged.

edit- With 7 watt solar maintainer its not worth the $ to upgrade to an mppt controller.


With solar during winter, there isn't a lot of daytime and the sun is low. That means low power production. Your 7w panels may only be producing 50% or less of what they're capable with the low Sun. Subtract the fewer hours of bright sun and your daily AHr will be very low. If your camper is still connected to the batteries, then the parasitic draw will exceed your solar production. This would result in sulfated batteries and lower storage capacity.
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