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Old 02-15-2011, 10:27 AM   #1
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Battery Question answered, now I have a solar panel question!

Thanks for the help! We went ahead and purchased two new 12V. batteries. I will be taking Hamilton to work tomorrw and staying until Friday! So wish me luck and warmth!! LOL
My plan is to only use the heat at night if it gets really cold, that should save power. I won't turn the pump or the water heater on unless I need them.

Now my next question! I forgot to ask about this in my first post. We also have a solar panel on the roof. We have no idea if it really works or not. Under the hood there is a little green light that comes on it the switch in the coach is turned on.
So question #1, If the sun isn't out or the switch is left on, will the solar panel suck juice from the battery?? Question #2, How do we know if the solar panel is working or not??

Thanks,
Lori
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Old 02-15-2011, 11:12 AM   #2
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If the panel is set up correctly there is a blocking diode that will keep the panel from pulling any power out. A VOM is your friend and you can find out how much the panel is putting out and you can check if there is a blocking diode. You may wish to visit the solar that works thread for a through discussion and some links.
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Old 02-15-2011, 08:27 PM   #3
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Thanks, I will have to look up what a diode and a VOM is!! I have no clue!! But I am learning lots about having and RV and about having an old RV at that!!

Lori
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Old 02-16-2011, 05:04 AM   #4
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A VOM is a volt ohm meter, it will tell you much, what voltage are you really getting and it can also tell you the amperage coming from your solar panel among other things. A VOM should be in every ones tool kit.
A diode is an electrical check valve allowing current to flow only in one direction.
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Old 02-19-2011, 09:15 PM   #5
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A VOM is a volt ohm meter, it will tell you much, what voltage are you really getting and it can also tell you the amperage coming from your solar panel among other things. A VOM should be in every ones tool kit.
A diode is an electrical check valve allowing current to flow only in one direction.


I don't think the VOM's have amps on them just ohms,and volts. But they are great for finding electrical problems.
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Old 02-21-2011, 05:36 AM   #6
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Every VOM I have ever used includes amps, including the $3 Harbor Freight. I suppose I dated my self just a bit, and should have said digital multimeter. One neat little gadget is the Fuse Buddy Electronic Specialties Inc. Professional hand held automotive test equipment. which plugs in place of a blade type automotive fuse
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Old 02-21-2011, 06:51 AM   #7
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Most VOM's / DMM's found now a day's will measure current (amp's) up to about 10 amp's directly, BUT to do this with just the meter it's self you must first break the circuit in order to insert the meter "IN LINE" between the source and load.
For a "newbie" to electrical trouble shooting, I would strongly recommend doing a web search for "how to use a DMM" , there are several pages of how-to's on this, one good one is http://assets.fluke.com/appnotes/aut...e/beatbook.pdf .
Read first , then decide what meter to buy, learn how to use the equipment before getting into trouble doing it wrong .
ALWAYS remember "SAFETY FIRST" , if un-sure of how to do a test ASK someone who is qualified.
Also, add-on current clamp's are available for use with most DMM's which allow measurement of current without breaking the circuit to do it, again Research,Read and Learn before buying and trying, it can save you $$$ and frustration .
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Old 02-21-2011, 09:50 AM   #8
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Thanks, I will have to look up what a diode and a VOM is!! I have no clue!! But I am learning lots about having and RV and about having an old RV at that!!

Lori
VOM, What we usually call a "multi meter" these days but us old timers know it as a VOM.. Volt-Ohm-Milliamp meter Modern multi meters may well measure other things as well.

Diode.. Is a "one way valve" for electricity, like a check valve in a water line it allows current to flow in only one direction.

You may be able to find a suitable one in the parts drawers at Radio shack, there are two ratings on the diode that are critical

PIV (Peak Inverse Voltage" must be at least twice battery voltage 30 volts or more (more is ok)

Current should be at least the wattage of the panel divided by 10.. That is if it's a 45 amp panel, you need at least 4.5 amps and again, More is OK.

Make sure you put it in the right way.
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Old 02-21-2011, 12:06 PM   #9
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I would suspect that if the LED underhood lights when the switch is on, the panel is at least working - the LED is usually operated by power from the solar panel itself...

Not knowing the setup, I could be wrong, but that's my "educated guess", and the way my setups work...
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