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Old 10-03-2012, 09:21 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by wardy View Post
Yes, you have an on-board converter that will charge your batteries when plugged in or running the generator. Really you seem like you'll have plenty of ways to charge your batteries so you will not be "stuck". You can just adjust to what makes best sense after you do this a few times.
So is it safe to say if the batteries are not charged after a couple days of having it plugged in at home, They are probably dead.

I also checked the water levels and used a hydrometer. The readings on the hydrometer said they needed to be charged\are dead.

I put one of the dead cycles on a slow charge with a battery charger I have and it still did not hold a charge.

I pretty confident it is time for new batteries. I guess I will be going to Costco this weekend.
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:32 AM   #16
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First just verify your converter is putting out voltage using your volt/ohm meter. If you have a reading above 13 volts at the batteries when plugged in then the converter is working and it's time for new batteries. Really from your post you need new batteries regardless. But just make certain the converter output is working so your new batteries will charged/recharged properly.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:10 AM   #17
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Hi LVJ58, you brought up an interesting topic, actually i have been thinking about solar panels... do you recommend to connect two panels in parallel or serial? does it need blocking diodes? also the battery connections - do you connect house batteries to controller or all three batteries to controller?

(i didn't mean to hijack the thread, just wanted to know a little more)...

Hi sdlcrazier,

No hijack at all, valid question, but one I really can't answer, as our solar panel & Controller was installed by a Solar company out of Lake Havasu, AZ so not sure about the serial or parallel connection issue, as we only have one panel.

I'm fairly certain there's an in-line diode on the positive supply lead between the controller and house battery bank to prevent voltage back flow when batteries are receiving a charge from either the converter or engine alternator.

The positive lead from the controller is connected to the house battery bank only, however, our coach's Battery Control Center has an isolator solenoid that engages, when voltage from any charging source reaches 13.4 volts or higher and charges both house and chassis batteries.

When voltage drops below the 13.4v the isolator solenoid disengages preventing battery drain from one battery bank or the other.

Best of luck and safe travels
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Old 10-03-2012, 02:23 PM   #18
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Hi sdlcrazier,

No hijack at all, valid question, but one I really can't answer, as our solar panel & Controller was installed by a Solar company out of Lake Havasu, AZ so not sure about the serial or parallel connection issue, as we only have one panel.

I'm fairly certain there's an in-line diode on the positive supply lead between the controller and house battery bank to prevent voltage back flow when batteries are receiving a charge from either the converter or engine alternator.

The positive lead from the controller is connected to the house battery bank only, however, our coach's Battery Control Center has an isolator solenoid that engages, when voltage from any charging source reaches 13.4 volts or higher and charges both house and chassis batteries.

When voltage drops below the 13.4v the isolator solenoid disengages preventing battery drain from one battery bank or the other.

Best of luck and safe travels
Thank you LVJ58!! My coach came with two solar panels on roof but it looks like it provides power for satellite data reception only (a separate dome for satellite tv programs); it must have been there for a long time as the dish has bunch of cracks on it. I don't need the data reception so plan to make use of the solar panels to charge batteries. Per my research and your info it appears I just need to add a controller (about $80) and a diode then good to go. Thanks again!
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:00 PM   #19
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Starting battery needs to be strong to avoid overtaxing the starter motor & the alternator. Trying to get the last gasp out of the start battery is a false economy. If you have any doubt about it, I'd replace it w/a good quality battery; Interstate is a good brand. I got 5.5 years out of mine and they tested just slightly above spec for CCA, but replaced them for age anyway.
I tested my 1 year old toad 550cca battery at 715cca (>25% over stated capacity; my coach starters at 960cca vs 950 per case spec were getting "long in the tooth."

I agree that two U2200's are not enough for boondocking much. You can check the parasitic draw and fiddle w/your loads each day, but you'll be way happier with 4 6V batteries of that size. Probably need to run gen in the a.m. when you get up and again in p.m. to top off (until you get some solar to hold the charge all day).

As to solar, you'll have to do that research. One thing I've found is that the controller is key and getting a good one will assure you get reliable service out of the panels. I like the idea of the high voltage panels & a controller that takes advantage of the excess; cheap controllers trim off the excess voltage down to 13.5-13.8ish and therefore waste it. Clever ones read the voltage & adjust parameters automatically to generate the correct charge voltage output w/all the input going to create output.
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