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Old 04-28-2019, 12:04 PM   #1
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Newbie with solar not lasting Epro 19fbs

First few nights in 2019 E-Pro 19FBS and trying to understand the solar. It is the 100w unit that was installed from factory. 1st time ever dealing with solar for me.

Should both my dual batteries at front of camper be connected to the Go Power solar panel. When I look at control panel, only 1 battery is connected.

Is it normal for the batteries not to make it through the night? Furnace never kicked on early this morning when temp got below 60 because batteries where dead. I will say my daughter had her cell phone plugged in charging all night, will that drain the batteries overnight?

Thanks;
Dustin
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Old 04-28-2019, 12:28 PM   #2
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With the batteries in parallel, the panel will say only one battery is connected, but, both are connected.


There may have been things on that were draining the battery. Check that your TV antenna was off. The green light should be off. The button is on the same panel as the DC TV plug.

Check that your power inverter is off. It draws power even when not in use. I shut mine off at the breaker box. In fact, if I am off-grid, I will shut all my breakers off.
Just some things to think about:
Were the batteries full at the start of the night?
Was your frig on gas?
How often did your furnace kick on?
Leave any outside lights on?
Electric heaters?
The inverter and any usage, like a phone plugged in, would cause a drain.



I've ran my TV, a light, and the radio for over 4 hours and the batteries were still over 80%.
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Old 04-28-2019, 12:42 PM   #3
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The fridge also takes electricity to run, even on propane.
You’d be surprised how a constant drain from a phone charger will impact battery charge.
I installed a switch to completely isolate the radio/dvd/iRV audio system, because of the parasitic draw.
Something else may be drawing 12v power.
But, you should also be using both batteries for overnight camping.
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Old 04-29-2019, 10:19 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JS Stanley View Post
With the batteries in parallel, the panel will say only one battery is connected, but, both are connected.


There may have been things on that were draining the battery. Check that your TV antenna was off. The green light should be off. The button is on the same panel as the DC TV plug.

Check that your power inverter is off. It draws power even when not in use. I shut mine off at the breaker box. In fact, if I am off-grid, I will shut all my breakers off.
Just some things to think about:
Were the batteries full at the start of the night?
Was your frig on gas?
How often did your furnace kick on?
Leave any outside lights on?
Electric heaters?
The inverter and any usage, like a phone plugged in, would cause a drain.



I've ran my TV, a light, and the radio for over 4 hours and the batteries were still over 80%.
Thanks. That helps. Will give it a try. I can confirm that TV antenna was on all weekend. I have since powered it down. Inverter was on all weekend except for when we ran generator. My daughter also had a charging block for her iPhone plugged in pretty much all weekend. Fridge is on Auto.


I will see what happens turning the inverter off, the TV antenna off, and not having my daughter charge her phone non stop (GOOD LUCK) lol.


This is my first experience with Solar, so I think my expectations where a little off I will see how next trip goes with being more careful.

Thanks;
Dustin
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Old 04-29-2019, 10:20 AM   #5
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The fridge also takes electricity to run, even on propane.
You’d be surprised how a constant drain from a phone charger will impact battery charge.
I installed a switch to completely isolate the radio/dvd/iRV audio system, because of the parasitic draw.
Something else may be drawing 12v power.
But, you should also be using both batteries for overnight camping.
Yeah, at one point we had 3 phones charging. Probably a huge drain.
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Old 04-29-2019, 10:31 AM   #6
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To charge those phones, consider getting them their own solar phone charger
https://smile.amazon.com/BEARTWO-Ult...s%2C184&sr=8-3
or a Mophie Juice Pack
https://smile.amazon.com/mophie-juic...e%2C184&sr=1-3
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Old 04-29-2019, 10:55 AM   #7
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The furnace has a built in safety that prevents it from running when voltage is low but battery is not technically dead. If you are running all the stuff you said , one panel may not be sufficient. One panel will provide about 40AHr best case in full sun for 8-10 hrs. This will not fully charge two batteries at 50%. This means that each day you will be starting with a lower and lower percentage charge. I did not see a mention of a charge controller as you said the panel is connected to the batteries. Also what is the inverter running?
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Old 04-29-2019, 11:37 AM   #8
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The furnace has a built in safety that prevents it from running when voltage is low but battery is not technically dead. If you are running all the stuff you said , one panel may not be sufficient. One panel will provide about 40AHr best case in full sun for 8-10 hrs. This will not fully charge two batteries at 50%. This means that each day you will be starting with a lower and lower percentage charge. I did not see a mention of a charge controller as you said the panel is connected to the batteries. Also what is the inverter running?
Maybe I will look at adding another panel. Sorry, this is my first experience with solar, when you say "Charge Controller". Do you mean the Go Power Gpelectric.com maximum GP-PWM-30-UL Solar controller?

When I turned on the inverter, it was to mainly charge our phones,
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Old 04-29-2019, 12:09 PM   #9
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Anker PowerCore 26800 Portable... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074VY3CKY...p_mob_ap_share

I really like this to charge my phones.

Also, I saw that you said to turn on the inverter to charge phones. There’s one of your problems there. Extremely inefficient to convert 12v DC to 110v AC then back to 5v DC in the phone chargers. Just plug into a 12v port (or add one), and use that to charge phones with. The inverter sucks lots of juice.
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Old 04-29-2019, 12:16 PM   #10
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A 100W solar panel with a PWM controller will only produce around 5A or so, depending on panel specs, when aimed perfectly. Flat mounted will average 25 to 30% less. With a 5 hour equivalent sun day, that's going to be less than 20AH produced. Keep that in mind. Definitely consider getting another panel or two.
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Old 04-29-2019, 12:17 PM   #11
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Thanks. That helps. Will give it a try. I can confirm that TV antenna was on all weekend. I have since powered it down. Inverter was on all weekend except for when we ran generator. My daughter also had a charging block for her iPhone plugged in pretty much all weekend. Fridge is on Auto.


I will see what happens turning the inverter off, the TV antenna off, and not having my daughter charge her phone non stop (GOOD LUCK) lol.


This is my first experience with Solar, so I think my expectations where a little off I will see how next trip goes with being more careful.

Thanks;
Dustin
Okay. Just get used to what works for you. Some adjustments are necessary. Some people buy additional panels and use them by moving it around during the day to add additional charging amps.
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Old 04-29-2019, 12:18 PM   #12
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To charge those phones, consider getting them their own solar phone charger
https://smile.amazon.com/BEARTWO-Ult...s%2C184&sr=8-3
or a Mophie Juice Pack
https://smile.amazon.com/mophie-juic...e%2C184&sr=1-3
Yes, I have one as well. Works awesome.
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Old 04-29-2019, 12:25 PM   #13
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For charging phones and tablets, I installed a couple of these. I made sure I bought the type that would supply over 2A on each outlet. Many of the cheap chineses ones you see on Amazon or eBay don't.


https://shop.pkys.com/Blue-Sea-1045-Fast-Charge-48-Amp-Dual-USB-Charger_p_4757.html
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Old 04-29-2019, 12:33 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by spydunks View Post
Anker PowerCore 26800 Portable... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074VY3CKY...p_mob_ap_share

I really like this to charge my phones.

Also, I saw that you said to turn on the inverter to charge phones. There’s one of your problems there. Extremely inefficient to convert 12v DC to 110v AC then back to 5v DC in the phone chargers. Just plug into a 12v port (or add one), and use that to charge phones with. The inverter sucks lots of juice.
Thank you. Yeah we had the phones and a charging block to charge the phones away from a power source plugged into 110. I will not do that anymore. There are multiple USB ports throughout the camper, would that be a better option to try?
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Old 04-29-2019, 12:34 PM   #15
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You say you have a genny. Just run that in the morning for a few hours to get your battery bad to 90% plus and again in the evening to make sure it's nearly full and you should be good.

For the daughters Cell phone, One of the portable battery packs (or solar chargers as pointed out) that can be charged by 120v when the genny is running will give her a couple recharges without ever plugging into batteries.

Look at your single solar panel as a trickle charger for the battery that will add some power back in during the sunny days but needs to be supplemented by the genny to make sure your batteries are fully charged in the morning and evening before bedtime.

That along with a little better understanding of the parasitic draws and better timing of charging to match Genny run time, you'll be golden.
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Old 04-29-2019, 12:38 PM   #16
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Thank you. Yeah we had the phones and a charging block to charge the phones away from a power source plugged into 110. I will not do that anymore. There are multiple USB ports throughout the camper, would that be a better option to try?
It's more efficient since the USB jacks get powered directly from 12V. Its a little more efficient since you don't need the inverter to convert 12V to 120V and back down to 5V which the USB jacks produce. It's pretty minimal loss but there still is some loss.
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Old 04-29-2019, 12:47 PM   #17
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Also be sure if you have tank heaters that they are off as they will draw a lot of batter power
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Old 04-29-2019, 12:55 PM   #18
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Be sure your batteries are fully charged before starting your trip. Charging through your shore power for a couple of days to get them completely topped off.
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Old 04-29-2019, 01:04 PM   #19
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years ago there was a topic which a contributor handle was HERC... which he described in great length how to install a second battery properly and install a master switch as well.


https://www.amazon.ca/Blue-Sea-Systems-Selector-Battery/dp/B000K2MCR2/ref=asc_df_B000K2MCR2/?tag=googleshopc0c-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=293019546650&hvpos=1o2&hvne tw=g&hvrand=8551861123524522396&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hv qmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1002057& hvtargid=pla-485863562837&psc=1


problem is with running the batteries the way they come from the factory is that you cannot isolate one from the other when fully charged so as in your position when one died they both went south. get this product charge both and then select one to run. when one dies you have the second one you can run.
My GeoPro came with one battery but 2 boxes so I will go to a local shop and pick up the second battery as well as order and install one of these.
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Old 04-29-2019, 02:32 PM   #20
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If you are going to be boondocking or any camping without shore power, you have to be very stingy about using power. Besides what was mentioned, if your hot water tank is both electric and propane, shut off the electric and only run water pump when water is needed. Make sure your fridge in on gas, be stingy on lights, TV and anything that runs on 12V. Also don't forget that the solar panel will only charge the battery if it get enough full, strong sunlight.
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