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Old 03-17-2017, 05:47 PM   #1
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System options

Well, due to circumstances beyond my control, I have been given the 6 following batteries:

2- Trojan L16G-AC- Grp 903 batteries (5yrs old) with 12hrs on them, specs are:
4- US 2200XC2 - GC2 batteries 5yrs old with 83hrs on them, specs are:
Question is I believe I will have to keep these separated into 2 banks isolated and run 1 bank at time.
We have little load on our 97 National TropiCal comes with the Generac 5500genset, transfer switch and EMS system. GE convection microwave, and the furnace motor @ 3.5 amps, as well as a Sony 32" tv and DVD player. I just finished putting a new roof on last fall and the OEM factory trickle charger solar panel is off. Looking to put new panel on the roof how many, unsure at this point as this unit will be used for occasional long trips camping for 2wks, not full time.
I currently have a xantrex 1000w inverter 2000W surge & its a MSW type. 20yr old oem inverter/charger on board.
Please advise on a good plan for panels and CC, will the MSW be ok with the tv?
I have not been able to keep up with the new products in the last 10yrs, and been diving into this forum here.
Kind Regards, Marv
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Old 03-17-2017, 06:30 PM   #2
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If I was given a bunch of 5 year old batteries, I would use them as one big set, and get what I can out of them.

A larger bank, discharged to 75%, will outlast 2 smaller banks, each discharged to 50%.

It's not how many hours on them, it's how many and how deep the discharges they've had. If they were stored discharged, you may be wasting your efforts.

Your MSW inverter will run the TV fine. They have power supplies in them, that cleans up the MSW.
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Old 03-18-2017, 06:29 AM   #3
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They are completely different batteries requiring different charging profiles. I would not put them in the same bank. But that is me, I like to do things the right way.
Also, at 5 years old with x amount hours? What does that mean? As Twinboat discusses the depth of discharge and overall maintenance is a lot more important than saying is has 10 hours on it. If the batteries were used for 12 hours then put in a corner for 5 years the batteries are no good. Flooded lead acid batteries are happiest when fully charged with the proper voltages. I would charge them up then do a specific gravity test and see how they respond and make a decision from there.
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Old 03-18-2017, 06:48 AM   #4
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Sounds like they were given to you with good reason... Not worth anything. As likely stored and not maintained. That said, I would get a good charge on the if possible. Then load test and check specific gravity to try to ascertain their condition.

As for usage. The dissimilar types should not be used together in one bank.
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Old 03-18-2017, 08:28 AM   #5
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I agree that tieing different batteries together isn't a good idea, but with this bunch of questionable batteries, it's a cost saving move.

With 2 banks, you need a switch, cables and switchable or 2 charging sources.

The OP has an inverter/charger so it's setup to charge the bank it's connected to.
Do you run down one set and switch to the other and then somehow charge to first set ?

Do you get a seperate charger, or reconfigure the inverter/chargers, charging prophile each time you switch banks ?

What about the chassis battery isolation system, which bank does that go to ?

As I first stated, " If I was given a bunch of 5 year old batteries "


Save all the expense and rearranging, and use them together until shot. Then get a bank of same type batteries.
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Old 03-18-2017, 11:42 AM   #6
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battery conditions

Twinboat
My bad, as I should have stated their usage, got them from work in zoom boom lift and scissor lift. They have been used intermittently of periods up to 45 minuets continuously. Then placed on a charger, they have never been equalized, floated or desulphurized. I have a small Genie 3500 charger at home and placed each battery on charge for 1 week. It was the other 8 batteries that did not respond as per manufacturers spec thus all was tossed out and all new fresh ones placed. I have the left overs which are in good shape as per sp g test.

Computerguy
These batteries were never placed in a corner for 5 yrs, the lifts were used for maybe 45 minutes at a time continuously then either parked with no charge or on Saturday’s placed on the internally built in dumb charger which is not a “smart” charger. Distilled water was periodically added as needed.

I am in the starting stages of designing a “system” to instal in our 20yr old coach and would like to “upgrade” with new technology, however I have not kept up with the tech in these systems.

Charge controllers do they have smart charging tech built in? Since I am going from roof to basement of coach 12v or 24v panels should do correct? These new Inverter/chargers, I should be able to swap oout old for new correct?

Thanks guys for the replies, I forgot to mention the details of the batteries
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Old 03-18-2017, 03:34 PM   #7
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Things to Check/Decide

There are any number of ways that you can go with your system design, mostly depending on how much you are willing to spend at any given point in time. There are a few initial things that I would consider if it were my installation.

1) Are the batteries any good? Basically, the only way you're going to find out is to either find somebody who has a fancy battery capacity meter and a good charger, or take the DIY route and run them through their paces. Again, this comes down to how much you are willing to spend. At a minimum, you'll want a four stage charger or charge controller with an amperage capacity of somewhere between 3% and 10% of the Amp-hour rating of the individual batteries or the bank that you plan to charge. The 3% value is the minimum you'll need to do an equalization charge and have sufficient amperage to get the electrolyte to “bubble” properly. The batteries that you are dealing with are rated at 232 Ah for the GC2's and 390Ah for the L-16's. That means that you'll need at least 12 Amps of capacity from the charging source in order to fully charge the pair of L-16's in series. The GC's will need at least 14 Amps if you connect them in a bank of four.

Make sure that the water levels in the cells are correct and then give them a full charge, followed by an equalization charge. Let them rest for a day and check the voltages. If the voltages are in the 12.5 to 12.7 volt range after resting (with no load of any sort, including the charger of controller) things are looking good and you can proceed to doing a load test. Find a couple of 50 Watt incandescent 12v RV lamps and a couple of inexpensive light sockets and connect the sockets in parallel to the pair of series-connected batteries under test. Each lamp will provide a load of 4 Amps. Leave the load on for 24 hours for the single pairs of GC2’s and 48 hours for the L-16’s. Wait a day and then check the voltage again. If it is in the range of 11.9 to 12.1V, things are again looking good as you will have discharge the batteries by about 50% at that point. You can then be reasonably assured that the batteries will work when you install them. RECHARGE ASAP after this test! You may want to repeat this process a few times as it can help with batteries that have sat “unexercised” for long periods.

2) What to charge them with? If you want to get your feet wet in solar and start to understand how the whole system works there are a few ways that you can go. Otherwise, consider getting a decent converter/charger that you would then install in the RV, such as an Iota Engineering DLS-45 with an IQ4, unless you want to spring for an inverter/charger such as a Magnum or a Victron. It’s up to you, and your bank account.

The cheap solar date would be a pair of HQST-100D modules, a Victron 75/15 (or 100/15) MPPT charge controller, a Victron VE Direct Bluetooth Dongle, some MC4 connectors and an MC4 crimping tool, all available via Amazon at reasonable prices (about $400 total). This minimal setup can keep the batteries charged and later be grafted onto the RV if you wish. It will also give you some rudimentary monitoring features and data logging via the Bluetooth link. You might want to consider a charge controller with a higher amperage rating if you decide to go with more solar on the RV. I have a Midnight Solar KID in my RV, and I like it for an all-in-one solution, but it was a challenge to install.

3) About solar panels on the RV…figure out what will fit before you buy your modules. By this I mean look at the space that you have available that will not be shaded by the air conditioners or other vents hatches, racks and covers on the roof. Decide up front if you want to go with fixed, tiltable, portable, or any combination of the three. Make some cardboard templates that are the size of the modules and check the fit if you need to. Unfortunately, wishful thinking, rosaries, incantations and prayers WILL NOT make up for shading and lack of space. Be sure BEFORE you buy.

If you can find the time, I highly recommend Handy Bob’s Solar Blog, if you can deal with dense pages of online text and endless sarcasm. He’s got a lot of good information and you will learn a lot by thoroughly reading his missives/diatribe.
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Old 03-18-2017, 04:33 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by baphenatem View Post
There are any number of ways that you can go with your system design, mostly depending on how much you are willing to spend at any given point in time. There are a few initial things that I would consider if it were my installation.

1) Are the batteries any good? Basically, the only way you're going to find out is to either find somebody who has a fancy battery capacity meter and a good charger, or take the DIY route and run them through their paces. Again, this comes down to how much you are willing to spend. At a minimum, you'll want a four stage charger or charge controller with an amperage capacity of somewhere between 3% and 10% of the Amp-hour rating of the individual batteries or the bank that you plan to charge. The 3% value is the minimum you'll need to do an equalization charge and have sufficient amperage to get the electrolyte to “bubble” properly. The batteries that you are dealing with are rated at 232 Ah for the GC2's and 390Ah for the L-16's. That means that you'll need at least 12 Amps of capacity from the charging source in order to fully charge the pair of L-16's in series. The GC's will need at least 14 Amps if you connect them in a bank of four.

Make sure that the water levels in the cells are correct and then give them a full charge, followed by an equalization charge. Let them rest for a day and check the voltages. If the voltages are in the 12.5 to 12.7 volt range after resting (with no load of any sort, including the charger of controller) things are looking good and you can proceed to doing a load test. Find a couple of 50 Watt incandescent 12v RV lamps and a couple of inexpensive light sockets and connect the sockets in parallel to the pair of series-connected batteries under test. Each lamp will provide a load of 4 Amps. Leave the load on for 24 hours for the single pairs of GC2’s and 48 hours for the L-16’s. Wait a day and then check the voltage again. If it is in the range of 11.9 to 12.1V, things are again looking good as you will have discharge the batteries by about 50% at that point. You can then be reasonably assured that the batteries will work when you install them. RECHARGE ASAP after this test! You may want to repeat this process a few times as it can help with batteries that have sat “unexercised” for long periods.

2) What to charge them with? If you want to get your feet wet in solar and start to understand how the whole system works there are a few ways that you can go. Otherwise, consider getting a decent converter/charger that you would then install in the RV, such as an Iota Engineering DLS-45 with an IQ4, unless you want to spring for an inverter/charger such as a Magnum or a Victron. It’s up to you, and your bank account.

The cheap solar date would be a pair of HQST-100D modules, a Victron 75/15 (or 100/15) MPPT charge controller, a Victron VE Direct Bluetooth Dongle, some MC4 connectors and an MC4 crimping tool, all available via Amazon at reasonable prices (about $400 total). This minimal setup can keep the batteries charged and later be grafted onto the RV if you wish. It will also give you some rudimentary monitoring features and data logging via the Bluetooth link. You might want to consider a charge controller with a higher amperage rating if you decide to go with more solar on the RV. I have a Midnight Solar KID in my RV, and I like it for an all-in-one solution, but it was a challenge to install.

3) About solar panels on the RV…figure out what will fit before you buy your modules. By this I mean look at the space that you have available that will not be shaded by the air conditioners or other vents hatches, racks and covers on the roof. Decide up front if you want to go with fixed, tiltable, portable, or any combination of the three. Make some cardboard templates that are the size of the modules and check the fit if you need to. Unfortunately, wishful thinking, rosaries, incantations and prayers WILL NOT make up for shading and lack of space. Be sure BEFORE you buy.

If you can find the time, I highly recommend Handy Bob’s Solar Blog, if you can deal with dense pages of online text and endless sarcasm. He’s got a lot of good information and you will learn a lot by thoroughly reading his missives/diatribe.
There is a lot of good info in the above post.

Keep in mind that while boondocking, you want to use the highest amprage charger the batteries can handle, 13% to 15% of the AH capacity of the bank.

A charger rated at 7% the AH capacity, will require 2 times as much run time to bring the batteries up to full capacity.

This is fine at home, but not when running you generator off grid.

A 400 AH bank will need 4 + hours charging time, with a 50 amp charger, to go from 50% to 100% capacity.

A 25 amp charger will need 8+ hours to do the same thing.
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Old 03-18-2017, 04:47 PM   #9
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There is a lot of good info in the above post.

Keep in mind that while boondocking, you want to use the highest amprage charger the batteries can handle, 13% to 15% of the AH capacity of the bank.

A charger rated at 7% the AH capacity, will require 2 times as much run time to bring the batteries up to full capacity.

This is fine at home, but not when running you generator off grid.

A 400 AH bank will need 4 + hours charging time, with a 50 amp charger, to go from 50% to 100% capacity.

A 25 amp charger will need 8+ hours to do the same thing.


I agree with going with the maximum that the batteries can handle, even up to 20% of AH capacity when it comes to using solar and a charge controller, as the charging time tends to be self-limiting due to the nature of the solar resource itself. My suggestion to go with the 200W "get your feet wet" system was for experimentation and not as the final installed solution. The Victron 75/15 would make an excellent pairing with the 2-100W modules for a portable charging solution.
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Old 03-18-2017, 06:33 PM   #10
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a lot of good info in the above post's

Yes there is, Thanks for the time to write that guidance info down. I am an Industrial Maintenance Millwright Mechanic 34yrs in a ball bearing plant, from the old school days I have my electrical endorsement on my ticket, but mainly practiced the mechanical side. I have printed the above out and will work through it and spec out your recommendations. Money is not the concern its the darn time to do this, but I will try this summer for sure.

I will do some research into the cc and inverter to bring myself up to speed.
Again, thankyou gentlemen for taking the time of writing this - appreciated!!

Marv
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Old 03-18-2017, 10:21 PM   #11
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I know that people try to save money on projects because they really do know or can learn how to do things themselves and have a hard time to hire it done. I am often the same way.

At the same time, it is unfortunate to see so many people go through the same, detailed, time consuming learning curve, when there are others out there that can do this in their sleep, given the chance, and at fairly reasonable prices.

As far as the existing batteries, I have had car engine starter batteries tested at the stores that sell them, and rarely had one "fail the test". In almost every case though, if I tried to keep using that battery, the car had issues again, and when I put in a new battery, everything was fine.

My humble advice is to trade in those batteries, buy a couple of good quality deep discharge 8Ds and go enjoy your life. Brands like Lifeline, Trojan, Rolls are all good ones.
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Old 03-19-2017, 07:09 AM   #12
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I know that people try to save money on projects because they really do know or can learn how to do things themselves and have a hard time to hire it done. I am often the same way...

My humble advice is to trade in those batteries, buy a couple of good quality deep discharge 8Ds and go enjoy your life. Brands like Lifeline, Trojan, Rolls are all good ones.


As one of those who could probably do the installation with my eyes closed, I agree with your assessment. At 160 pounds each, my aging and aching back would hesitate to go with 8D's, but the concept is sound; go right, go big, go once, and hire it out when your budget, calendar, and talents don't converge.
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Old 03-19-2017, 10:01 PM   #13
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As one of those who could probably do the installation with my eyes closed, I agree with your assessment. At 160 pounds each, my aging and aching back would hesitate to go with 8D's, but the concept is sound; go right, go big, go once, and hire it out when your budget, calendar, and talents don't converge.
You are right, those 8Ds are a bit heavy. I tend to use a size 27 LiFe setup anymore that weighs 45 lbs but has the same capacity, but many people are not at that price point yet.

Rolls has an interesting battery that has an 8D size outer case, but you actually build it up from 2 volt modules (so lighter to drop in place).

And as far as doing it with your eyes closed - yes, you are one of the people I was thinking about.
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