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Old 04-07-2015, 05:46 PM   #29
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Brulaz: How much solar are you using to top off your batteries during the day? I just purchased two 100w panels (not installed yet) and am looking forward to giving them a try this summer.
We currently have two panels totalling about 400W. I'll probably add a third.
They are 47V panels wired in parallel with an MPPT controller.

But I only have 2 - 6V "golf-cart" batteries with about 200Ah capacity. I would love to add two more but my tongue weight is already too high. So that will have to wait until I can get the $$ for 3-4 AGMs installed further back inside.

We boondock a lot in the fall and spring when days are shorter, colder, and in places like the Great Smoky Mountains N.P. when there's a good chance of grey, rainy days. Running the furnace fan really uses up the batteries. So far, 400W and 200Ah has worked ok (just spent 5 days in the Smokys), but longer stretches of bad weather could be a problem. That's why I want more W and Ah. You can never have enough.

And besides, all that Solar energy is just going to waste unless you harvest it.
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Old 04-07-2015, 08:14 PM   #30
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Brulaz: Thanks for the info. I may have to consider adding a couple more panels.
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Old 04-10-2015, 09:23 AM   #31
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Thanks for all the info- I tested my WFCO charger and it never gets into boost mode- the highest it gets is 13.5V. I ordered a 100W solar panel (sounds like I may need more) and hopefully I can keep the batteries charged up and never have them get too low. I will be getting a new charger eventually as well.
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Old 04-29-2015, 09:38 PM   #32
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Your parasitic voltage sensors might be running your batteries down IE propane sensor, CO2 sensor, TV signal amplifier, carbon monoxide sensor and possibly more, all take power to run. If you don't have a battery cutoff switch, you need one. That would disconnect all of them.
When I first discovered what was running my batteries down, I started pulling fuses till I could install a battery switch. What a pain! I got tired of turning the switch on and off, so I installed solar panels and haven't had a battery problem since.
You would be surprised just how much power it takes to run those sensors.
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Old 04-29-2015, 09:40 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gogreenwave View Post
Thanks for all the info- I tested my WFCO charger and it never gets into boost mode- the highest it gets is 13.5V. I ordered a 100W solar panel (sounds like I may need more) and hopefully I can keep the batteries charged up and never have them get too low. I will be getting a new charger eventually as well.
Make sure you use a MPPT controller and NOT a PWM unit in your solar system.
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Old 04-30-2015, 07:36 AM   #34
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Make sure you use a MPPT controller and NOT a PWM unit in your solar system.
Could you elaborate why you think a MPPT controller is required for a low wattage (eg under 300 or so) 12 volt system? I know it is required for higher voltage panels going into a 12 volt battery, but for a one or two panel 12 volt system typical in a small RV system I didn't think that it gets you much for the much higher cost.?

Maybe I need to learn something here.

Appreciated.
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Old 04-30-2015, 08:31 AM   #35
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Could you elaborate why you think a MPPT controller is required for a low wattage (eg under 300 or so) 12 volt system? I know it is required for higher voltage panels going into a 12 volt battery, but for a one or two panel 12 volt system typical in a small RV system I didn't think that it gets you much for the much higher cost.?
...
Would agree for 100-200W 12V system.

But I do love my MPPT. It's got lots of bells and whistles. You can fine-tune the battery charging scheme and monitor closely how things are working. A great toy for your inner geek.

And using higher voltage panels reduces voltage drop.

Have only got 400W now, thinking to add another 300W. Hate to see all the solar energy go to waste.
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Old 04-30-2015, 11:39 AM   #36
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Quote:
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Could you elaborate why you think a MPPT controller is required for a low wattage (eg under 300 or so) 12 volt system? I know it is required for higher voltage panels going into a 12 volt battery, but for a one or two panel 12 volt system typical in a small RV system I didn't think that it gets you much for the much higher cost.?

Maybe I need to learn something here.

Appreciated.
This link below is the easiest way to explain it.
Charge Controllers for RVs

There are others but this one is a quick overview of PWM vs MPPT. I have 520 watts 12V panels with a Blue Sky SB 3024iL MPPT with remote display. In the morning when the batteries need charging and the controller is in bulk charging I have seen between 2 and 3 amp boost with 16.5 to 17V. When the controller goes into acceptance mode the amps drop a little but I still see 1 to 1.5 amp boost and the votage increases to 18 to 19V.
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Old 05-01-2015, 07:20 PM   #37
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This link below is the easiest way to explain it.
Charge Controllers for RVs

There are others but this one is a quick overview of PWM vs MPPT. I have 520 watts 12V panels with a Blue Sky SB 3024iL MPPT with remote display. In the morning when the batteries need charging and the controller is in bulk charging I have seen between 2 and 3 amp boost with 16.5 to 17V. When the controller goes into acceptance mode the amps drop a little but I still see 1 to 1.5 amp boost and the votage increases to 18 to 19V.
Thanks for the input, I get what you are saying. For my 140 Watt 12v system I keep my Morningstar PWM, but maybe I will try a MPPT in the future.
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Old 05-01-2015, 11:28 PM   #38
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Thanks for the input, I get what you are saying. For my 140 Watt 12v system I keep my Morningstar PWM, but maybe I will try a MPPT in the future.
If there's nothing wrong with the controller and does a good job of charging your batteries there's nothing wrong with keeping it. If down the road you add more panels then you could look at changing the controller.
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