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Old 08-07-2008, 08:21 PM   #1
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We have the standard 100 watt solar panel for the house batteries and added a 10 watt solar panel for charging the chassis batteries when we bought the coach new from WRV. We replaced the house batteries with new Lifeline AGMs a couple weeks ago (see previous threads) and now find the solar panel that charges the chassis batteries doesn't seem to work, i.e., the chassis batteries discharge enough in a week or so of being parked and not hooked to shore power/charger that I need to use the battery boost switch to start the engine. In the past the coach could set for 2 or 3 weeks without needing battery boost to start.

The house batteries appear to be getting charged; they keep their voltage above about 12.6 according to the Xantrex ( I have been shutting off the chassis/disconnect switch by the entryh door). But the chassis batteries will start off at 13 volts or so after a trip, then work their way down to 11.1 volts or so over a couple weeks, and not have enough power to crank the engine.

Before I installed the new house batteries I didn't have this problem. I look at the solar charging LED behind the wood panel in the bathroom and see the red light on, signifying the system is charging. What I can't see is the split between charging of the charging of the chassis batteries with the 10 amp panel vs. the 100 watt panel on the house batteries.

So, my questions for the group: where does the solar panel charger connect with the chassis batteries, and is there a good physical point to test whether the chassis batteries are getting charged? And if so how to do it - voltmeter, I assume? And has anybody installed separate charging meter on the house battery vs. chassis batteries, other than what appears to be the combined red LED?

Thanks for your help on this subject.
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Old 08-07-2008, 08:21 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Washington State
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We have the standard 100 watt solar panel for the house batteries and added a 10 watt solar panel for charging the chassis batteries when we bought the coach new from WRV. We replaced the house batteries with new Lifeline AGMs a couple weeks ago (see previous threads) and now find the solar panel that charges the chassis batteries doesn't seem to work, i.e., the chassis batteries discharge enough in a week or so of being parked and not hooked to shore power/charger that I need to use the battery boost switch to start the engine. In the past the coach could set for 2 or 3 weeks without needing battery boost to start.

The house batteries appear to be getting charged; they keep their voltage above about 12.6 according to the Xantrex ( I have been shutting off the chassis/disconnect switch by the entryh door). But the chassis batteries will start off at 13 volts or so after a trip, then work their way down to 11.1 volts or so over a couple weeks, and not have enough power to crank the engine.

Before I installed the new house batteries I didn't have this problem. I look at the solar charging LED behind the wood panel in the bathroom and see the red light on, signifying the system is charging. What I can't see is the split between charging of the charging of the chassis batteries with the 10 amp panel vs. the 100 watt panel on the house batteries.

So, my questions for the group: where does the solar panel charger connect with the chassis batteries, and is there a good physical point to test whether the chassis batteries are getting charged? And if so how to do it - voltmeter, I assume? And has anybody installed separate charging meter on the house battery vs. chassis batteries, other than what appears to be the combined red LED?

Thanks for your help on this subject.
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Old 08-07-2008, 08:36 PM   #3
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by OldForester:
So, my questions for the group: where does the solar panel charger connect with the chassis batteries, and is there a good physical point to test whether the chassis batteries are getting charged? And if so how to do it - voltmeter, I assume? And has anybody installed separate charging meter on the house battery vs. chassis batteries, other than what appears to be the combined red LED? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>The solar panels are connected to the appropriate battery array right in the battery compartment. The solar feeds do not go thru any disconnect switch. There is typically a fuse right at the batteries so any problem on the feed from the panels will be protected. This fuse could be blown on the 10W/chassis system.

Since the chassis system is only a 10W panel, just about any cheap voltmeter could be placed in series (current passing thru the meter) to measure the amperage being delivered to the chassis batteries. (Most meters can measure up to 2A, at 12V that's 24W.) Of course, just verifying 12V (or more) on the wire coming from the 10W panel (while disconnected from the chassis batts) is also informative.
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Old 08-15-2008, 10:01 PM   #4
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OldForester,

I think I might have been mistaken in my last post about the fuses for the 10W & 100W solar panels. I was thinking of the fuses from the Echo Charger going to each battery bank.

So, on my coach, the feed from the 10W panel (the only panel from the factory) comes directly from the roof to a small amperage battery isolator mounted on the ceiling of the batt compartment. The batt isolator "splits" the current from the panel and feeds the chassis & house batts.

I then assume since WRV installed both the 100W and 10W at build time, that they would have skipped the battery isolator, and just wired the 10W directly to the chassis batts.

I think what you might need to do is:<UL TYPE=SQUARE><LI>1) On the roof, disconnect the 10W panel from the feed going down to the battery compartment<LI>2) On the roof, check for 12VDC on the wire going to the batts<LI>3) If 0VDC, then there is some kind of connection problem between the solar panel and the batteries<LI>4) If 12VDC, then your panel is connected to "something" supplying 12V<LI>5) In direct sunlight check for 12VDC (or more) from the solar panel while connect to nothing but the meter (I think that'll work, I try tomorrow).<LI>6) If 0VDC then you are correct that your 10W panel is bad<LI>7) If appropriate voltage is found from 10W panel, then the wire going to the batt compartment is likely improperly connected. To get any further, now you'll need to find the other end of the 10W panel wire at the batt compartment.[/list]The battery isolator and connections to each battery bank can be found on the right side below:

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