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Old 07-25-2019, 05:58 PM   #1
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Solar Power & Battle Born batteries

Solar Power & Battle Born batteries.
This is a one year update of my FR3 Solar install project.
Past threads:2018 Solar Install Recap:
  1. Samlex EVO-2212 Inverter/Charger (May 2018)
  2. 4ea -100ah Battle Born LiFePO4 batteries (May 2018)
  3. 6ea - 100 watt Renogy Solar panels (June 2018)
  4. EpEver TRIRON 4210N 40 amp MPPT Solar Charge Controller with bluetooth (June 2018)

I have been work on fine tuning the system. While the Samlex did measure the Battery & Solar amps, But it did not show a SOC. My addition was a Victron BMV-712 battery monitor.

The next improvement was to upgrade to a Victron SmartSolar MPPT 100/50. The EpEver MPPT was purchased from Amazon. The seller was from China and support was by email only. The EpEver Lithium bluetooth app was not available on the Google Play store. I had to email support to get them to send it to me. I think they sent me the beta version because it was not released on Google Play until March 2019.

I decided to replace it with a Victron SmartSolar MPPT 100/50. The Victron MPPT also work with the Victron BMV-712. The Victron bluetooth app works a lot better than Epever. It also raised the possible MPPT output to 50 amps, the maximum of the Samlex EVO-2212 solar interface.

2018 upgrades Recap:
  1. Victron BMV-712 (July 2018)
  2. Victron SmartSolar MPPT 100/50 (August 2018)


2018-2019 winter
I found out even on a sunny day I never saw more than 365 watts from the 600 watt solar array. I decided to order more solar panels for the roof. I calculated that the 50 amp solar charge controller could output about 730 watts. (50a x 14.6v = 730w) Since I have my solar panels are flat and not angled to the sun, they will never output at full power.
I had four more 100 watt Renogy Solar panels installed in Feb 2019. This brings the total up to ten. Output is still limited to the 50 amps of the Victron MPPT solar charge controller. I have circuit breakers to protect MPPT. I will install a 2nd solar charge controller if needed. I modified my SIG to 800 watts to reflect that is the maximum wattage I expect from the solar panels.

2018-2019 winter upgrade Recap:
  1. 10ea - 100 watt Renogy Solar panels (April 2019)

My next post will be about April 2019 to present.
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Old 10-05-2019, 08:18 PM   #2
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Update: Solar panel over sizing

Update: Solar panel over sizing
  • 10ea - 100 watt Renogy Solar panels (April 2019)
I installed four more Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Slim Design Solar Panels in March 2019. That brings the total to ten.

Because my panels are fixed on my roof & my MPPT rated at 50 amp, the solar array is limited to about 730 watts. On a trip in early June 2019 to Fairbanks, Alaska area. My solar was able to generate 3.5KWH per day. I could have generated more but the engine alternator is able to generate 90 amps. Once the batteries are fully charged the MPPT shuts off.
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Old 10-05-2019, 10:58 PM   #3
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10ea - 100 watt Renogy Solar panels
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I left room on the roof to be able to maintain the A/C & Vents.
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Old 10-09-2019, 11:41 AM   #4
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Thank you for the updates! We are about 2/3 of the way through 2 weeks of boondocking and I'm now itching to get solar on the roof.
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Old 10-09-2019, 06:30 PM   #5
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Did you start putting the panels in series hopefully? That will help you in the morning and the evening.
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Old 10-09-2019, 06:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rk06382 View Post
[B]Because my panels are fixed on my roof & my MPPT rated at 50 amp, the solar array is limited to about 730 watts.
Now that you have 1000W, you may hit the 50A limit every once and a while. No problem with that...the solar controller limits the output current so you can have a little more power than what you will ever actually see with the panels.
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Old 10-09-2019, 06:33 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ependydad View Post
Thank you for the updates! We are about 2/3 of the way through 2 weeks of boondocking and I'm now itching to get solar on the roof.
My suggestion is to get the largest, highest wattage panels that fit. 1 200W panel is way better than 2 100W panels since you have half the wiring.
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Old 10-10-2019, 08:09 PM   #8
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Did you start putting the panels in series hopefully? That will help you in the morning and the evening.
No. Not yet. It is raining today and I was able to get a yield of 270Wh & PMax of 89W.

Quote:
Originally Posted by babock View Post
Now that you have 1000W, you may hit the 50A limit every once and a while. No problem with that...the solar controller limits the output current so you can have a little more power than what you will ever actually see with the panels.
I have a 60a breaker from the solar array to input of the Victron MPPT & a 50a on the output to the batteries. (as/per Victron recommendations)
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Old 10-11-2019, 02:24 AM   #9
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June 2019 Trip to the Fairbanks area.
The solar panels worked great with 20 hours of sunlight. Boondocked six nights. Only stopped briefly at one campground for Dump & Water.
See 6-19-2019 post: Welcome to the Dalton Highway.


I did notice I was not getting any charge from the alternator but was not sure. We were able to use the Microwave, Instantpot, Mr Coffee, DVD & TV. Only had a Inverter Overload/shutdown when the Microwave was turned on while the Mr Coffee was perking.

July 2019 Trip the Valdez
See: 7-9-2019 post: Sunset Thompson Pass Alaska


It was a Hot July and we had to use the A/C for a few hours in the evening. I found I could run the A/C with inverter for an hour then run the generator for few hours to recharge while the A/C was cooling the FR3.

The next day we drove with A/C, first with the generator. Then when the batteries were at 100%, I shut off the generator to run the A/C from the inverter. I drove for 30 min before stopping at a campground with 30a power.

Two hours after I plugged in, the inverter died. I was still had 12v power from the Battle Born batteries but no 120v power as the transfer switch was inside the Samlex EVO-2212 Inverter/Charger. It was still under warranty but I was 250 miles from home.

I had a 12v adapter for my CPAP so I was able to sleep with the Fantastic fans cooling the motorhome. Next day I drove home and rewired the power plug to bypass the Inverter/Charger. I was able to power the 120v appliances & A/C.

Talk to Samlex about a replacement Inverter/Charger. I only had to pay for shipping to Seattle. I also paid to upgraded to a Samlex EVO-3012. Because I believe the inverter failed because of overheat I installed a 500 cfm fan in the back of the compartment the inverter for cooling.
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Vent cover on back side of the compartment.
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Then I installed the new Samlex EVO-3012 Inverter/ 130a Charger.
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Next post will be a trip to test the new Samlex EVO-3012 Inverter/Charger.
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Old 10-11-2019, 11:37 AM   #10
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Finished repairs by adding a thermostat for the fan.
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August 2019
Took trip to test the new Samlex EVO-3012 Inverter/Charger. Returned to Valdez & Glennallen area. Forest fire smoke was still bad and we could not see the mountains.

Conclusion: Inverter/charger was working as designed. I noticed I was not getting any amps from the engine alternator to the Battle Born batteries. I learned I could start the generator with 8% State of Charge.

Solar power were able keep the batteries charged to about 85% but I still needed to run the generator to recharge the batteries at 130 amps with the Samlex EVO-3012.

I took one more trip in Sept 2019 to confirm the Battery Control Center failure.

See thread My coach batteries stopped charging from the alternator. (Bad SDC-107A)

Oct 2019
After replacing the SDC-107A, we took a day boondock trip to the Kenai Peninsula. The alternator was able to charge the Battle Born batteries with the 80 amps. I started powering the fridge with the inverter instead of propane. I switch to propane after shutting off the engine. Solar was poor because of rain but, as we drove everyday, I did not need to use the generator.

Only problem I had was the BCC did not release from the chassis battery until the Battle Born batteries are under 20% SOC. I think it also caused a steady drain as the Battle Born batteries tried to charge the chassis battery.

My next project is to disable the BIRD. (See the thread above.)

I am also plan on adding two more Battle Born batteries. I have already talked to Battle Born about adding more batteries.
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Old 10-19-2019, 03:35 AM   #11
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I ordered two more BB10012 batteries & four Heat Pads for BB10012 from Battle Born.

Current install of four Battle Born batteries are side by side.


I am going to rotate the batteries 90 degrees & have two rows of three. I have scheduled for this work to be done next month at Cache Camper.
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I will install four Heat Pads on the outside batteries. The center batteries will be keep warm from the Heat Pads on either side.
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Jump to 12:47 to see the installation of the Heat Pads on Battle Born batteries in the YouTube below:
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Old 10-26-2019, 10:38 PM   #12
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How to adjust SDC-107A BCC for Battle Born batteries

I was able to adjust the BCC BIRD trip voltages to 13.45v.
See post: How to adjust SDC-107A BCC for Battle Born batteries #17.



Conclusion:
I am happy with the results. The SDC-107A BCC is now safe to use with my Battle Born batteries. I have isolation when there is no charger raising the voltage above 14v.
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Old 10-27-2019, 12:53 AM   #13
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I was able to adjust the BCC BIRD trip voltages to 13.45v.
See post: How to adjust SDC-107A BCC for Battle Born batteries #17.



Conclusion:
I am happy with the results. The SDC-107A BCC is now safe to use with my Battle Born batteries. I have isolation when there is no charger raising the voltage above 14v.
So...if you are charging your Battleborns with your solar controller, is it connecting to charge your chassis battery at the same time? If so, that's a big problem.
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Old 10-27-2019, 07:50 AM   #14
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Old 10-27-2019, 08:11 PM   #15
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So...if you are charging your Battleborns with your solar controller, is it connecting to charge your chassis battery at the same time? If so, that's a big problem.
No, The SDC-107A BIRD circuit doesn't latch until 13.9-14v. The Chassis battery is a lead-acid. A lead-acid battery has a higher resistance to charge than Battle Born LiFePO4.

I will be monitoring the chassis battery with the Victron BMV-712 as I have Not used the motorhome after modifying the SDC-107A.


Why do you think it is a big problem?
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Old 10-27-2019, 08:54 PM   #16
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No, The SDC-107A BIRD circuit doesn't latch until 13.9-14v. The Chassis battery is a lead-acid. A lead-acid battery has a higher resistance to charge than Battle Born LiFePO4.

I will be monitoring the chassis battery with the Victron BMV-712 as I have Not used the motorhome after modifying the SDC-107A.


Why do you think it is a big problem?
The case where your chassis battery gets charged completely early yet the coach lithium batteries continue charging off your solar or your lithiun converter. Your BIRD connects the coach to the chassis at 13.9V and up. You are now giving the chassis battery excessive voltage for possibly a LONG time even though it is completely charged. Check your chassis battery for boiling if you can.

Would you connect your solar controller set for a lithioum profile to your lead acid battery? Well, that's what you are doing! Same applies for your lithium converter.
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Old 10-27-2019, 09:05 PM   #17
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The case where your chassis battery gets charged completely early yet the coach lithium batteries continue charging off your solar or your lithiun converter. Your BIRD connects the coach to the chassis at 13.9V and up. You are now giving the chassis battery excessive voltage for possibly a LONG time even though it is completely charged. Check your chassis battery for boiling if you can.

Would you connect your solar controller set for a lithioum profile to your lead acid battery? Well, that's what you are doing! Same applies for your lithium converter.
The alternator stays at 14.3v whenever the engine is running. Is that excessive voltage when driving three to eight hours a day?
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Old 10-27-2019, 09:27 PM   #18
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The alternator stays at 14.3v whenever the engine is running. Is that excessive voltage when driving three to eight hours a day?
Sure is! Hopefully your alternator isn't putting out 14.3V when your battery is fully charged. My F-150 puts out 13.9V. But go for it! I am not advising anyone else to do it for sure.

BTW, the battery isolator that Battleborn recommends charges up the battery until its fully charged and then isolates until the non charging battery goes down to what it thinks is 80% charge. It does it specifically to avoid overcharging either of the batteries.



Quote:
The Li-BIM monitors the battery voltage of both the Lead Acid Chassis and Lithium Coach batteries over long periods of time. If it senses a charging voltage, it connects the two batteries together. If the charging system is drastically overburdened, the batteries will be isolated, however, if the Li-BIM sees a long term charging of both batteries it will allow the batteries to remain connected and allow the charging system to do its job. Once the batteries have charged for one hour, the Li-BIM will isolate the batteries to prevent overcharging, and will only reconnect the batteries for charging if one of the batteries drops to approximately 80% charge, and the other is being charged.
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Old 10-27-2019, 11:32 PM   #19
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Sure is! Hopefully your alternator isn't putting out 14.3V when your battery is fully charged. My F-150 puts out 13.9V. But go for it! I am not advising anyone else to do it for sure.

BTW, the battery isolator that Battleborn recommends charges up the battery until its fully charged and then isolates until the non charging battery goes down to what it thinks is 80% charge. It does it specifically to avoid overcharging either of the batteries.
I will be monitoring both batteries next year but I can not replace the SDC-107A with the LiFePO4 Battery Isolation Manager. I heard that F

I would have to install it in series or inside the SDC-107A after removing the BIRD relay.

I also read another forum thread on the BIRD issue iRV2 Forums > THE OWNER'S CORNER FORUMS > Newmar Owner's Forum > BIRD and Battle Born Batteries - Need Help!.

I am still researching for the perfect solution.
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Old 10-27-2019, 11:46 PM   #20
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My suggestion to Sagecoachdriver was to use the manually operated circuit breaker located near his chassis battery in the odd chance his solar didn't charge his coach batteries. Most of the time, you don't need the engine charging them. In the rare occasions when there is bad weather and the solar can't keep up, close the breaker and allow the engine to do its charging. You of course can buy a 40A DC to DC Renogy charger if you were satisfied with a 40A charge.

I know you want something fully automatic and want to use your current hardware but that's the problem with mixing battery chemistries that operate at different voltages.
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