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Old 10-21-2019, 03:03 PM   #1
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GeoPro 19bh solar and batteries

We enjoyed our GeoPro so much this season!
My only real question circles around solar charging and batteries. Our current batteries (2, 12v deep cycle marine) drain very quickly-usually from 100% to approx. 50% over night. With sun we charge back up, but we have never had a camper go down that low overnight. (Inverter is off, we use 1 light sparingly, and keep heat low and it rarely goes on, fridge is on propane).
Does this sound like a battery issue or a solar issue?I have read so many battery posts my head is spinning. I am thinking we may need new batteries. One is just a year old though, the other is 2 years old. I will be bringing them to have the load tested.
So, my real issue is this: most times we camp with no shore power. I want to have batteries that will last as long as possible. Yes, we have the solar to recharge, but it does rain and there are cloudy days that we don’t get a good charge. Sometimes the sites are shady.
After what I have been reading, I am thinking of getting golf cart batteries, but not sure why. Like I said, my head is spinning, lol.
I’m looking for suggestions on what brand, type and size, and any other info I need that I don’t know I need. It has to work with the solar on my GeoPro. I can do one or two batteries in parallel.
If it could be a solar issue I am lost.
Help this clueless newbie please
Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-21-2019, 03:36 PM   #2
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MamaSkel, I posted to this question you had on the other thread. Do you only have the rooftop 100W panel? If so, a fold up panel to hook directly to the battery(s) or side input plug is in order.
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Old 10-19-2021, 02:21 PM   #3
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GeoPro 19bh solar and batteries

I realize this string is two years old, but I just saw it when looking for something on overcharged batteries. I have an early 2020 19bh. It came with a single 100W solar panel. I added a second 100w flexible solar panel on the roof. I also have two 12 volt marine batteries. But your issue does not appear to be quantity of solar power if you're starting the night at 100% and ending at 50%. If your solar panel is getting you to 100% before nightfall it's doing its job and you don't need a second one. I think what's draining your battery is the furnace. What we do is run a small 1lb propane catalytic heater instead of running the furnace. That way we still have plenty of battery to run lights and the TV, charge phones, run the water pump and pretty much anything we need to do until the sun comes up and starts charging the batteries again. (If the sun doesn't come out or I forget to switch the frig to gas well before dark, my truck has a 400w inverter and I charge the GeoPro batteries from that.)
I added the second 100W solar panel because I want the refrigerator to run on AC when I'm towing and during the day when I'm not hooked up to shore power. I would have added a 190W if I had it to do over. That refrigerator sucks a lot of juice and the 1000W inverter uses some power as well. When I don't have sun I let it run on propane to include while I'm towing. I have 15,000 miles doing this. The 2021 GeoPro pros came with an AC-only (no propane) refrigerator and a single 190W solar panel. I don't know how you could get by on two 12V marine batteries and still run that refrigerator. The people I met this summer with 2021 models swapped their lead acid batteries for lithium batteries to overcome this deficiency. That's a $1600 fix. I would much rather have the refrigerator we have that also runs on propane. I only went through one tank of propane on a 3 week trip this year and only one tank on a five week trip last year. That's the long answer to your battery issue. Get a small catalytic heater and leave the furnace turned off unless you're on shore power.
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Old 10-23-2021, 08:40 PM   #4
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I spent two weeks on the Wall in the Badlands SD recently. My EPro has the stock 100 watt solar amd 1000 watt inverter. Only one deep cycle no brand battery that came with it. Iíll admit being very conservative with lights and such. Used TV and radio fair amount on the 12v side not through inverter. Fridge on propane. Was a good test to see what I really needed. Few warm days would run a box fan on inverter. It would drop capacity down at night to around 60% and during the day come back up to 90%. Last few days there was overcast so not much charge. Last day leaving the battery was down to where had to jump from truck to pull in slide. Temps did drop into low 30ís. Do have another 100 watt external panel to use on side hookup that didnít use much. Know want to probably go with a pair of 6volts. Lithium not in my budget currently. Will get a battery monitor upgrade too where can really see whatís going on use.
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Old 10-24-2021, 07:55 AM   #5
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GeoPro 19bh solar and batteries

As I mentioned, I have two marine batteries. I think I've pretty much destroyed them in two seasons by repeatedly discharging them well below where I should have. I would set the refrigerator on auto and let it pull AC from the inverter until the inverter sensed there wasn't enough voltage left in the batteries and shut itself off. The refrigerator would then switch to propane automatically and the batteries would recharge with whatever sunlight I had left. As I recall, the inverter doesn't shut down until the batteries are about 11.5V, or well below where I should have been discharging them. Now the batteries discharge quickly and gas up with just a little bit of charging. Time for new batteries. Lithium is not in my budget either but two 6V may be a possibility. The 12V marine batteries are about $80 each. Looks like two good 6V might be around $600. I would be interested in a battery monitoring systems as well if I put $600 into batteries. The Go Power GP-PWM-30 solar controller I have can handle sealed, gel, AGM and flooded batteries. No lithium. I looks like I would have to upgrade to a GP-PWM-30-UL for lithium. Lithium would be an expensive proposition. In addition to the two roof mounted flexible 100W panels I have another 100W rigid solar panel and controller for the side hookup that I have never used. I was able to get by with the two roof mounted panels when we were dry camping.
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Old 10-24-2021, 10:47 AM   #6
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Avoid using inverter, inefficient, if you have propane fridge. I only go down to 85% SOC overnight with CPAP running all night (not heated) fridge on propane and hours of TV use. Dual golf cart batts. I use a separate fan to stay cool (Home Depot Rigid brand, uses power tool batteries).
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Old 10-24-2021, 11:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GumbyThe1st View Post
Time for new batteries. Lithium is not in my budget either but two 6V may be a possibility. The 12V marine batteries are about $80 each. Looks like two good 6V might be around $600.
Two good 6v golf cart batteries don't cost $600.
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Old 10-24-2021, 11:34 AM   #8
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Yes. You don't need to pay double (mine are around 300, Dekas from Lowes, made by East Penn, like most brands are (like Duracell). You don't need Trojans, which are overpriced in my opinion.
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Old 10-24-2021, 11:58 AM   #9
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You need a good battery monitor.

Solar is interesting. The max amps to the batteries on the best solar day is about 25 amps in a day with a 100 watt panel.

Central heaters use a ton of propane and battery.

We use typically 100 amps of battery per day with normal usage plus the cpap unit. Using the furnace uses a lot of amps. No inverter is ever used. Using the heater we need to charge our 4 gc2 batteries daily. Every other day without the heater.

Two marine batteries are about 100 amps available.

Costco sells Interstate 6 volt gc2 batteries for under $100 each. Best bang for the buck. Batteries a lot more expensive than this are typically agm. They offer no maintenance but, have little other advantages for the dollar.

Learn as much as you can about batteries. They are, ďthe weak linkĒ.
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Old 10-26-2021, 02:34 PM   #10
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I was under the impression that if your refrigerator is set on Auto it would only use propane, and only run on electricity if it was plugged in. Am I wrong?
Thank you!
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