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Old 12-07-2019, 01:40 PM   #1
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Anyone have an idea where the wire for the factory 10 watt panel is run?

I discovered today that my 10 watt panel is overcharging my 2 6volts while in storage so I want to add a charge controller to it. It has been cloudy/overcast here for weeks so if it is overcharging now it will be much worse in the summer when we get 100% sunny days almost all the time. I am guessing if I pull the small access panel in the pass through wall behind the bedroom that the wire is right there. Any issues mounting the controller in that panel? Any idea if there is more wire in there than the one from the 10 watt panel or is there a larger wire from the combiner box on the roof?
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Old 12-07-2019, 01:48 PM   #2
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I'm sure it's wired like our '16 280RKS: 16ga red wire from panel to the switch on panel, then 16ga red wire from switch to the battery disconnect switch in front compartment. I also sure that the wires run in the ceiling in both directions!! Diag shows a 7.5A fuse on both lines, but doesn't show where they are located. You MAY find the wires in the cabinet area, but not sure.

Can you hook up a small controller near the ORV control panel accessing the wires at the switch behind the panel? My controller for our 450W solar system is mtd in a cabinet right next to the main panel and have a remote indicator mtd next to the main panel.
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Old 12-07-2019, 02:07 PM   #3
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Hmm, is it wired to a pass-through post on the battery disconnect? I know mine charges the battery with the disconnect shut off. I guess I have some exploring to do. I will send Todd an email as well and get the drawings for the electrical which may or may not help. I know when I had it at the factory a couple years ago he said they changed a couple things at the switch to make sure that only the tongue jack, brake-away switch and solar panel by-passed the battery switch to ensure that all other phantom loads could be disconnected and that those would always be connected.

Until today I had assumed the little panel was incapable of overcharging 2 large batteries, especially with the overcast we have had. I guess that was incorrect.
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Old 12-07-2019, 05:07 PM   #4
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I have used the little solar panel for 3 years now with no over-charging issues. I even use it with an additional charging system I installed 2 years ago that provides anti-sulfation help when charging.

Never see over-voltage issues, and no water loss with 2 6v Interstates. My disconnect is on all the time. The trailer sits in our south facing driveway.

I installed a battery monitor when I bought the trailer so I could check and be sure nothing bad happens. A 10 watt panel doesn't generate much power. Its nothing more than a trickle charger at less than 1 amp (.83 to be more precise).

How did you determine that its overcharging? Is the water boiling out? What is is the standing voltage when it's operating normally.

Curious why you have this issue.

The 7amp fuse in ours is behind the panel that has the disconnect. A red wire is connected there, and it by-passes the disconnect.

I've had two issues with the panel. The fuse was blown when I rec'd the trailer from the dealer. I discovered it the first week. The second issue is the crappy installation of the roof combiner box wiring that rusted out the sae plug from water. I re-wired the entire thing and resealed it.
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Old 12-08-2019, 09:16 AM   #5
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So I tested the voltage at the batteries after they had sat with the disconnect switch in the off position for 15 hours or so, solar switch off as well, and when I took the top off the battery boxes I was surprised to find them wet and both positive posts were wet with yellow liquid. The tops of the boxes are sealed but have plenty of ventilation so it's not rainwater. My Fluke measured the resting voltage at 13.

I guess it is possible that they forgot to wire in the switch on the cabinet and the panel is always connected. I don't see any other way they would read 13 volts after being disconnected from all other charging sources.
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Old 12-08-2019, 09:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keymastr View Post
So I tested the voltage at the batteries after they had sat with the disconnect switch in the off position for 15 hours or so, solar switch off as well, and when I took the top off the battery boxes I was surprised to find them wet and both positive posts were wet with yellow liquid. The tops of the boxes are sealed but have plenty of ventilation so it's not rainwater. My Fluke measured the resting voltage at 13.

I guess it is possible that they forgot to wire in the switch on the cabinet and the panel is always connected. I don't see any other way they would read 13 volts after being disconnected from all other charging sources.
You could test that theory by connecting the multimeter to the batteries, and have someone toggle the solar switch on and off in the sun to see if the voltage rises. That would eliminate the switch and wiring as the issue. That's how I discovered my connection on the roof that failed.

The next thing I would do is disconnect both batteries and clean everything up in the box including the terminals. Then let it sit 24 hours and see if the batteries are leaking and boiling out fluid with no loads positive or negative.

You didn't say how old the batteries are. Could they be shorting out internally? How often do you have to add water?
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Old 12-08-2019, 10:29 AM   #7
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They are 2 years old and I have only had to add water once, and even then it was a very small amount. The plates have never been exposed.
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Old 12-10-2019, 10:37 PM   #8
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So I got to thinking and I remembered I had charged them a couple weeks back when it was below freezing. I wonder if that caused them to accept the charge differently and pushed some electrolyte out. Still kinda weird that each battery only had a puddle around the positive post though.
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Old 12-11-2019, 03:20 PM   #9
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Maybe the "puddle" was water/rain coming in from the vent holes that most battery cases have in the top???? I really don't think that the 10W panel was overcharging.
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Old 12-11-2019, 10:31 PM   #10
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I sealed those vents since there is nearly an inch gap all the way around each lid plus two larger areas where cables would run. Really not sure how but guessing by the yellow color and the fact that it is puddled around both positive terminals it is electrolyte. Not the end of the world, just perplexing.
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Old 12-12-2019, 10:19 AM   #11
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After you neutralize the acid, make sure you Emory cloth or clean the batt post's and clamps, usually once they are contaminated the lead gets a hard dark surface you have to clean and scrub back to looking like new. I always paste dielectric grease on them never a issue.
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Old 12-12-2019, 03:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
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...

I always paste dielectric grease on them never a issue.
When making my battery cables, it was recommended to use a "conductive" grease on battery terminals and cable lugs: a grease with fine metal particles to improve conductivity.

But conductive grease may not be that useful. This guy: https://www.w8ji.com/dielectric_grea...ive_grease.htm
has lots of info comparing dielectric vs conductive but also says: "In bolted or clamped connections, I have no opinion if conductive greases help or are necessary. I feel like they help, but I'm not sure if that is true."

Anyway ...
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Old 12-12-2019, 08:33 PM   #13
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I just spray the lugs and terminals with WD40 and call it a day.
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Old 12-15-2019, 11:37 AM   #14
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I have a battery terminal spray that I use. It's red and seems to last pretty well but I have never seen puddles of acid before so not sure it's up to the task, lol. Should have taken a picture before I wiped it up. If I get the chance this week I will take one if it has re-occurred. We are going to the very picturesque town of Leavenworth Wa for a little holiday getaway later this week so maybe I can get a pic then.

If you have never been to Leavenworth it is worth the time to stop if you are near. It's the Alps of Washington and the whole town is Bavarian themed. Beautiful mountains and plenty of touristy things to do.
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