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Old 11-25-2018, 10:01 AM   #1
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Solar charger

I am going to add a trick-l-start to my coach but also want to get a solar charger for when i am not using it. The solar panel would be temporary set up so not mounted to roof. So the question is what is a good solar charger setup to use for this. I have 2 12v chassis and 4 6v house batteries. I am thinking of approx 40w - 60w panel. so I am looking for either a complete kit or dyi if i know what to get. I am thinking i can use the solar and trick-l-start in conjunction with each other. I have a disconnect on my house batteries to the converter and a one in the coach, also i have a disconnect for the chassis batteries also.

Thanks
Pete
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Old 11-25-2018, 11:37 AM   #2
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If your Battery control Center is functioning properly, you do not need a trick-l-start. When either battery bank reaches 13.3 volts the isolator relay closes and connects both battery banks together. That's been a Fleetwood item since the mid 90s.
Other wise I believe you're on the right track.

Richard
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Old 11-25-2018, 12:38 PM   #3
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so i just need to worry about the solar charge setup?
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Old 11-25-2018, 12:46 PM   #4
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Hook the solar charger to the house or chassis battery.
When the charged battery reaches 13.2 volts, it will combine with the other, keeping them both up.

I'm not sure a 40 watt panel will maintain all of your batteries. I'd go with 80 or 100 watts.

You also don't want to switch off the batteries, unless the charging circuit is on the battery side of the switch.
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Old 11-25-2018, 01:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinboat View Post

I'm not sure a 40 watt panel will maintain all of your batteries.
My HR came with a 40 watt solar panel to maintain house batteries. Since I am full time, I have never tested it until I flew back east for a week.

With fridge on propane, it maintained the house batteries.

I also have two 20 watt Harbor Freight solar panels for each of the batteries on my boat. The person who checks my boat tells me he has never had to turn on the battery charger.

One other thing to consider. I run my MH and genny engines one a month when I am in one place for that long. That should keep your batteries charged.
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Old 11-25-2018, 01:16 PM   #6
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Would this work


12 Volt 15 Watt Solar Charger Maintainer with Panel | SCC515-15
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Old 11-25-2018, 01:44 PM   #7
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About all that panel would do is keep the batteries from self discharging or maintain the voltage if there is a slight parasitic load.

I"m not sure how long your coach will be sitting , but if you disconnect fully charged batteries ,they will still be good 6 months later. Lead acid batteries will loose up to 5% of their charge per month , so they will be discharged down to 70% after sitting for 6 months. Still plenty of power left in them.
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Old 11-26-2018, 02:07 PM   #8
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About all that panel would do is keep the batteries from self discharging or maintain the voltage if there is a slight parasitic load.
I agree!

The linked product is very expensive when you consider the only thing it might do is make your batteries last longer.

This works on my boat:
https://www.harborfreight.com/15-wat...ger-68692.html
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Old 12-02-2018, 07:48 PM   #9
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About all that panel would do is keep the batteries from self discharging or maintain the voltage if there is a slight parasitic load.
And harbor freight has a one point five (!) watt panel that won't keep up with the self-discharge rate on a pair of 6 volt Trojan T-105s!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soppy View Post
I"m not sure how long your coach will be sitting , but if you disconnect fully charged batteries ,they will still be good 6 months later. Lead acid batteries will loose up to 5% of their charge per month , so they will be discharged down to 70% after sitting for 6 months. Still plenty of power left in them.
That is assuming no parasitic drains, and the only way to insure that is to remove either the positive or negative cable.

And the 5% depends on if they are flooded or sealed. I've seen as high as 10% on the cheaper sealed ones.

As an example, I have a ham radio portable setup that uses a pair of 7ah sealed batteries in parallel (these are the same batteries as you see in fire alarm panels in commercial buildings and schools). They self-discharge at about a 8-10% rate depending on the temperature and how dirty the top of the battery is. FYI a decade ago I was able to get USA-made batteries. They were as low as 3% of self discharge. The same "manufacturer" is now selling identical-looking batteries made in either mainland china, viet nam, or malasia.

And as an aside, my RV solar setup uses a 100w panel (for now) and a Morningstar SunSaverDuo charge controller. I chose that controller because it has a built-in charge splitter... you wire the two outputs to both the house and chassis battery independently, and it keeps them both charged without coupling them together.

And the Morningstar SunSaverDuo can handle 25 amps of solar panels... so I can add more panels in parallel up on the roof with no worries in the future. Just run extra thick wire up to the roof in the beginning! I used #6...
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Old 12-02-2018, 11:51 PM   #10
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I would go with a 100 watt panel setup, perhaps something like https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B06XWL79L7/ already set up in kit form with a pair of 50 watt panels hinged to fold up, with charge controller mounted on the back and battery cables. If you have a site where you can park facing south you could even place it inside the windshield out of the weather and get about 75%-85% of the rated output through the windshield glass
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