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Old 08-04-2013, 04:50 PM   #1
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Solar Panel Charge Issues..Trimetric 2025RV....HELP!

I thought this solar stuff would be easy........NOT!

I have a 120w Solar Cynergy Polycrystalline solar panel on the roof of my TC.....7' of #10 wire to the controller....18" of #10 wire to the shunt....12" #10 wire to the battery

I have one brand new 95AH Deep Cycle, Walmart (Johnson Controls) 12V battery....

I have a Phocos 20A controller....

My TC has a Centurion 3000 power converter , 1998 vintage...

I have a Trimetric 2025RV with a 500 Shunt....
Current Readings:
Volts ... 13.2
Amps .... -00.3
Percent Full... - - -

Settings:
P1 ...14.3
P2 ...02.
P3 ...090.
P4 ...A
P5 ...OFF
P6 ...OFF
P7 ...L1



My battery will only get to 13.2V and there it stays.

I have used a SEARS smart battery charger hooked up to it for a couple of days...13.2V..no more
Sears.com

I've left the Centurion 3000 on for days...Battery gets to 12.9 on a digital VOM and no higher

The solar panel is putting out 19- 27V over the course of the day (The camper is parked in a partially shaded area when not being used)

The Phocos is outputting only 12.8V no matter the output of the panel.

I have a feeling the Phocos is garbage.....Just a hunch. I want to replace it with a Morningstar Sunsaver 20A PWM

I have a feeling the SEARS charger is rubbish. I've ordered the Black and Decker VEC1093DBD as it is spoken of extremely highly on this and other forums.

I'm not sure I have the Trimetric set properly. ??? Why is "% Full" still showing three dashes?

What is the best way to monitor the solar panel output....Simple volt meter or a clamp on amp meter? When I park for best sun exposure, does it matter whether I'm monitoring Volts or Amps?

Looking at my system, how come my battery won't come up to 14+ volts as I see referenced in many posts and articles here on the internet.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 08-04-2013, 05:04 PM   #2
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What is the specific model of the charge controller. I goggled and not sure which it is.

Sure you have the Trimetic installed correctly? The shunt should be in series with all loads to/from the battery, the Trimetic connects to the two terminals on the shunt.
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Old 08-04-2013, 05:14 PM   #3
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I'm struggling with getting my Trimetric setup correct also. Mine report sometime at 102% full? I can answer part of your situation and that is the %full will not work properly until you batteries go down to below 90% which will complet a charge/discharge cycle this is discussed on page 5 section 4 of the users instuctions manual. I had the same issue when I first hooked it up. You can either deplete some energy from the batteries one night and let them recharge to full and you will then start to see this parameter work without the --- readings. You setup looks ok to me on all of the P1-P7 parameters. I will report back when I can figure out my over 100% delima. For now I use it to watch my AH used. It has been over cast the last two days and I had not gotten a full charge back yet so I am currious what will happen on the next sunny day. I usually get re-charged by mid day. Hope this helps and others can jump in with more info.
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Old 08-04-2013, 05:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
What is the specific model of the charge controller.
Phocos 20A CML20
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Old 08-04-2013, 05:32 PM   #5
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BTW...Thanks for the triple dash issue...I missed that part in the owners manual.
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Old 08-04-2013, 05:41 PM   #6
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rbertalotto,
Yes I have been having to re read the manual over and over to try to figure out how to truely set this up. Each install has its own setup and there is alot this little jewel can do. I use a moningstar ts-45 and it might be setup wrong causing my trimetric delema I just not sure yet. It does not bother me too much because I am changing and using the energy. I full time on my property in the country.
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Old 08-04-2013, 06:34 PM   #7
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I just went out and "tricked" the Trimetric to be sure it was working correctly. I changed the P1 reading to 13V instead of the 14.3 it was set at. The charger is outputting 13.2 volts.

The Trimetric then started blinking the "Charging" light as now it was seeing more watts than what it was set to. So this is working fine.

Then I went to "% Full" and it now shows 100% instead of - - -. So now I know this working.

But the issue remains that the battery should charge to 14.3+/- volts and I simply can't get it there even with Solar, Sears Charger and Centurion 3000 all operating together.

But I guess if neither of these devices are outputting over 13.2V that is all the battery will charge to.....can't get something for nothing....Correct?

So if the Phocos doesn't output above 13.2, it matters not how much sun the panel is getting and how many volts the panel is outputting, the controller will limit the charge to 13.2....Correct?
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Old 08-04-2013, 06:37 PM   #8
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The PHOCOS country of origin is China and frankly sounds like it is just not working. I would however check the voltage from the solar panel at the controller. I have a 180W high voltage panel feeding into a Morningstar MPPT Sunsaver and it works very well.
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Old 08-04-2013, 06:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbertalotto View Post
I just went out and "tricked" the Trimetric to be sure it was working correctly. I changed the P1 reading to 13V instead of the 14.3 it was set at. The charger is outputting 13.2 volts.

The Trimetric then started blinking the "Charging" light as now it was seeing more watts than what it was set to. So this is working fine.

Then I went to "% Full" and it now shows 100% instead of - - -. So now I know this working.

But the issue remains that the battery should charge to 14.3+/- volts and I simply can't get it there even with Solar, Sears Charger and Centurion 3000 all operating together.

But I guess if neither of these devices are outputting over 13.2V that is all the battery will charge to.....can't get something for nothing....Correct?

So if the Phocos doesn't output above 13.2, it matters not how much sun the panel is getting and how many volts the panel is outputting, the controller will limit the charge to 13.2....Correct?
The way I read the manual for your controller it should charge to 14.5 volts in absorbtion (for 2 hours) and then float at 13.7. I dont know for sure what the Trimetric wants to see to call it 100% charged. I have a differing meter that wants to see the battery at absorbsion voltage for 1 hour to trigger the full charged indication. Voltage drops due to wiring losses and load variations can disruption this and other charging activities. My Morningstar TS60 has a separate wire to the battery for voltage sence which mitigate voltage varations from confusing the controller.
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Old 08-04-2013, 06:54 PM   #10
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At the controller, the Solar Panel is outputting 19-27v depending on the sun.
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Old 08-04-2013, 07:08 PM   #11
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I dont know for sure what the Trimetric wants to see to call it 100% charged.
This can be set to anything you want from 10V to 65V. It says if you don't know what the charged set point is for your particular battery (and I don't) then you set it at 14.3V

Again....It's a Walmart Deep Cycle Battery Group 29 battery with rated 95ah

EverStart Group Size 29DC Marine Battery: Automotive : Walmart.com
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Old 08-04-2013, 07:21 PM   #12
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At the controller, the Solar Panel is outputting 19-27v depending on the sun.
Correct - and a solar controller steps that down to the voltages of the various charging stages (absorption, float, etc.). What is of most interest from the panel itself is the current in amps being generated, which over time is the production in amp hours. In full sun you are likely seeing ~5-7 amps from your panel (varies with panel elevation angle, location latitude, time of year, etc.).
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Old 08-04-2013, 07:26 PM   #13
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Thanks Vince...I believe the Phocos digital monitor panel is not working properly. This is the second one Solar Blvd sent me as the first one did nothing. This second unit will show battery voltage correctly, but the amps from the panel never exceeded 0.1. This simply can not be correct.

How would I use a Digital VOM to measure amps coming off the panel?
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Old 08-04-2013, 09:16 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by rbertalotto View Post
Thanks Vince...I believe the Phocos digital monitor panel is not working properly. This is the second one Solar Blvd sent me as the first one did nothing. This second unit will show battery voltage correctly, but the amps from the panel never exceeded 0.1. This simply can not be correct.

How would I use a Digital VOM to measure amps coming off the panel?
If your meter has a current reading capability and it will handle up to 10 amps or more, you can read directly from your 120w panel. Set the meter for amps (many require a change of where the leads plug into the meter - if this is the case be sure to do so!). Darken and disconnect the solar panel. Connect the meter leads to the panel (red lead to one panel wire, black to the other panel wire). Allow sunlight to the panel, and you will see the amps begin to read.

While you have this setup, if you can move the panel around in relation to the sun, shade just a portion of the panel, etc. to get a good feel for how the output is impacted.
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