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Old 06-17-2024, 09:59 PM   #1
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Problem charging after adding solar

I added a solar setup to the cedar creek and now the battery doesn't seem to take a charge when hooked to shore power. I added 2- 200w renogy panels, renogy 40a mppt controller with BT, 10ga cables, 1 renogy 200ah lithium battery, and renogy 2000w inverter. I swapped out the factory converter to a power max 60a lithium capable converter. The solar keeps the battery full while driving when the suns out. Now when we're hooked to shore power the DC home app shows charging between 10-13.1 amps. Shouldn't it show 14.4 when we're hooked to shore power? I checked the converter output with my multimeter and it shows 14.4 amps and I can hear the fan kicking on and off on it.

Our residential fridge draws 6.5 amps (715 watts) at full load and it runs off the inverter all the time.
Could that be the problem? Basically the converter can't keep the battery charged up enough to run the fridge? At this point I'm ready to sell all the solar stuff and go back to 4- 6v FLD batteries.
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Old 06-18-2024, 07:55 AM   #2
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Apples and oranges, or better yet, amps and volts. If you are just probing the battery your multimeter is probably reading volts, and 14.4 volts is pretty much a fully charged lithium battery.

I'm not familiar with the DC home app but if it is reading 10-13 amps charging, I can picture that.

On my trailer the converter 13.6V float voltage is lower than my MPPT voltage of 14.2V so the solar is providing most of my idle needs. If I draw the battery down the converter will kick in.

When you are on shore power your inverter should be passing that 120VAC through to the refrigerator to power it. Your converter/solar will provide 12VDC for the 12V stuff. Your battery should be pretty much charged and waiting for you to unplug the shore cord.

Is there something not working?
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Old 06-18-2024, 08:42 AM   #3
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Battery voltage increases as it gets charged... you will only see the higher 14.4 voltage for a short period of time
then it will drop to a float of around 13.6
VOLTAGE DROP your wiring... may be too old or small and may never see 14.4 getting to battery

TEST... disconnect battery cables at NIGHT (no solar)
measure the voltage with a multimeter............ at the converter output
and then at the disconnected battery cable ends.
If there is a difference your wiring /cables need attention

BUT as long as it is OVER 13.6 - 13.8 volts at the battery end...
Your battery will get a good charge ..........it just takes much longer.


----------------------------------------------
if you are seeing 10amps going to battery that is probably NORMAL
amps will decrease as the battery nears 100%

you will ONLY see full charging amps (50-60 amps) when battery is LOW after a long night powering Inverter ... without shorepower connected.

When shorepower is connected the converter only sends as many amps as the battery requires
don't know your system but it might be adding charge + Load together(inverter + fridge)

solar should be setup to charge where driving or stopped. (during daylight)


You need to actually measure your consumption using a shunt on the battery
-------------------------------------------------------------
6 amps is for max cooling for a HOT fridge and it is 120v ...
if it using the full 6amps ........ then would be using 60 amps @ 12v from battery

once the fridge is COLD it will use a lot less power
a good shunt will provide more answers.

if you want ..... study up on power usage at different voltages 12v and 120v
BUT all you really need to do is watch what power is going in/out of battery
If you are plugged into shorepower ... the battery will get charged to 100% and sit there
shorepower + solar will power any LOADS and keep battery full

as long as the battery is able to keep your fridge running (while not on shorepower) and has enough capacity to last until you plugin you will be OK
I have enough solar... never need to plugin to shorepower to charge my battery

a smaller solar system.... helps to EXTEND the time between hookups

After a few trips you'll get more comfortable and will understand YOUR system and any limitations it may have
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Old 06-18-2024, 08:52 AM   #4
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PS your 40amp controller can use 600w
an extra panel in Idaho could be the difference between constant worry or carefree

my preference.... would be to add as much solar as your roof allows
I got 740w for a small 12v system and it has totally made it a pleasure not to have to run to a powered campsite
I only intended to last a day or two boondocking BUT got lucky and my solar working better than I expected. even in shade it slows down or stops discharge from the bttery
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Old 06-18-2024, 10:46 AM   #5
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Thank you for the replies. When I tested the battery yesterday morning after being connected to shore power all night. The battery showed 12.3v with the cables connected. The converter showed 14.4v output.
I've never seen my charge controller read more than 13.8v.
Even this morning after being hooked to shore power all night the battery shows 81% and battery charging volts at 12.8 on the DC home app. I would think the converter would've charged it to full during the night.
Am I wrong about that?
The cables are all 6ga I believe with the exception of the new ones on the inverter. They are 2ga I believe.
On another note, if I can get this all figured out, I'll be adding 2 more 200w panels and atleast one more 200ah battery.
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Old 06-18-2024, 10:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 82ndabnvet View Post
Thank you for the replies. When I tested the battery yesterday morning after being connected to shore power all night. The battery showed 12.3v with the cables connected. The converter showed 14.4v output.
I've never seen my charge controller read more than 13.8v.
Even this morning after being hooked to shore power all night the battery shows 81% and battery charging volts at 12.8 on the DC home app. I would think the converter would've charged it to full during the night.
Am I wrong about that?
The cables are all 6ga I believe with the exception of the new ones on the inverter. They are 2ga I believe.
On another note, if I can get this all figured out, I'll be adding 2 more 200w panels and atleast one more 200ah battery.
The converter measures 14.4vdc.
After overnight, battery reads 12.3vdc.
Disconnect the cable going to the battery and measure what the converter is supplying to the battery.
Aussieguy had big probs with his grounds. Converter negative grounded to the chassis. Battery negative to chassis. Corrosion significantly cut his charging rate.
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Old 06-18-2024, 11:03 AM   #7
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test the convert output is actually getting to the battery
when NO SOLAR is charging (night time or disconnect solar panels)

measure voltage a battery with multimeter and the CONVERTER is OFF you'll read battery voltage only

THen turn ON the converter ... if it is working you'll see a higher voltage such as 13.8 or 14.2

do the voltage drop test too
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Old 06-18-2024, 12:27 PM   #8
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Run around with a meter. The voltage at the converter, solar output, inverter input and battery should all be pretty close. The units are all connected to each other with wire and only factor to cause a difference is voltage drop.
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Old 06-18-2024, 11:24 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the help. When we get back home from our trip I'll report back.
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Old 06-21-2024, 04:26 PM   #10
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same problem here, but not a new solar installation. i installed a LiFePO4 200ahr battery, 600 watts of rooftop solar, and a progressive dynamics Li-capable converter two years ago. everything worked as expected after the mods and up until now.


we just made our first non-boondocking trip since last fall. on shore power, we were out for two nights and i noticed that the converter is apparently not charging the battery. we have a 12v fridge and on the recent trip in the morning the battery was down to about 70%--normal for boondocking but not normal when on shore power.


when on shore power, all the 120 volt appliances work (microwave, A/C, 120v outlets).


all the 12v outlets, the interior lights, and the fridge, are workng properly.


i have a progressive dynamics PD4135 converter.


as i begin the troubleshooting: is the only connection between the battery and the PD charger the one from the 40 amp DC fuse? i can't see behind the fuse portion of the PD without pulling it, but when i do, would the conductor from the PD to the battery be 8 or 10 gauge wire?


thanks


Ken
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Old 06-22-2024, 07:15 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by faithie999 View Post
same problem here, but not a new solar installation. i installed a LiFePO4 200ahr battery, 600 watts of rooftop solar, and a progressive dynamics Li-capable converter two years ago. everything worked as expected after the mods and up until now.


we just made our first non-boondocking trip since last fall. on shore power, we were out for two nights and i noticed that the converter is apparently not charging the battery. we have a 12v fridge and on the recent trip in the morning the battery was down to about 70%--normal for boondocking but not normal when on shore power.


when on shore power, all the 120 volt appliances work (microwave, A/C, 120v outlets).


all the 12v outlets, the interior lights, and the fridge, are workng properly.


i have a progressive dynamics PD4135 converter.


as i begin the troubleshooting: is the only connection between the battery and the PD charger the one from the 40 amp DC fuse? i can't see behind the fuse portion of the PD without pulling it, but when i do, would the conductor from the PD to the battery be 8 or 10 gauge wire?


thanks


Ken
Depends on how the mod wiring was done. Originally, mine had the battery on the tongue, through the breaker on the frame, cut-off switch to the WFCO panel. At the panel the battery power ran through a couple of 40A reverse polarity fuses to get to the converter output and trailer loads.

Sounds like you have a break in the path. Your converter powers the trailer load on shore power fine, just doesn't get to the battery.
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Old 06-22-2024, 08:08 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TacomaJoe View Post
Depends on how the mod wiring was done. Originally, mine had the battery on the tongue, through the breaker on the frame, cut-off switch to the WFCO panel. At the panel the battery power ran through a couple of 40A reverse polarity fuses to get to the converter output and trailer loads.

Sounds like you have a break in the path. Your converter powers the trailer load on shore power fine, just doesn't get to the battery.

when i switched to the Li battery, i moved it inside the front storage locker. i think i remember there is a positive bus bar inside the coroplast belly cover. so i assume i need to find the (probably) 8 ga wire from the converter to the bus bar, and check that wire for continuity--right?


when you say "couple of 40A reverse polarity fuses", do you mean in your setup the WFCO panel has 2 40A fuses, with a cable from each going to the battery? sorry if i'm not understanding. (my 35A PD converter has 7 DC fuse positions, one being 40A, with only 6 being used because the WFCO that i replaced had only 6 positions)



thanks
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Old 06-22-2024, 05:37 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by faithie999 View Post
when you say "couple of 40A reverse polarity fuses", do you mean in your setup the WFCO panel has 2 40A fuses, with a cable from each going to the battery? sorry if i'm not understanding. (my 35A PD converter has 7 DC fuse positions, one being 40A, with only 6 being used because the WFCO that i replaced had only 6 positions)
I think my panel is larger.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_2351.jpg
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ID:	301238

The left/top (2 screw) terminal is the negative, the single terminal is for the converter, and the right/bottom terminal is to the battery (via the 2 40A fuses). The converter always powers the load fuses but the battery runs through the reverse polarity fuses to power the loads.
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Old 06-22-2024, 06:45 PM   #14
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Correct

Quote:
Originally Posted by TacomaJoe View Post
I think my panel is larger.
Attachment 301238

The left/top (2 screw) terminal is the negative, the single terminal is for the converter, and the right/bottom terminal is to the battery (via the 2 40A fuses). The converter always powers the load fuses but the battery runs through the reverse polarity fuses to power the loads.
Correct. The reverse polarity fuses isolate the converter from the battery+loads combination. If someone connects the battery(s) backwards, the fans will run backwards, awning and jack up/down functions are reversed, incandescent lamps will work but LEDs won't, and the battery(s) will eventually discharge.
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Old 06-22-2024, 06:55 PM   #15
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will my screen read right to left?
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