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Old 01-18-2015, 01:37 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Motor7 View Post
I'm no solar expert (still learning), but I agree that adding another panel most likely won't help since you already have the capacity to charge at the max rate. 2 more batteries would be the way to go.

However, depending on which solar charge controller you have, it might not be charging you existing batteries to full capacity. Read Handy Bob's Blog and he explains how this happens & how to fix the issue:
https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/...ging-puzzle-2/
Thank you... I will check out the article, but I am confident the batteries are being fully charged.
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Old 01-18-2015, 01:42 PM   #16
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Checking for phantom loads is quite important. I found in my case for example that just the propane and CO detectors plus the propane solenoid on my rig consume .876 amps (21 amp hours consumed daily). Most of that is the propane solenoid which I may change out to manual to eliminate the daily drain. With my 2 lifeline batteries, if parked in the shade this amounts to 50% of my amp hours consumed in 1 week just with these parasitic drains.

If you have a multimeter to test your amps usage, it is very helpful for determining your amp hour usage.

Lifeline has a free calculator that, while imperfect, is useful to determine how much amp hours of battery you may need. Remember that it is recommend to never draw batteries down more than 50%. (Yes, there is debate about different percentages of drawdown. )


DC to DC:
Lifeline Batteries - Marine & RV Deep Cycle Batteries

AC / DC: (includes inverter efficiency)

Lifeline Batteries - Marine & RV Deep Cycle Batteries

I'm admittedly a rare boondocker, there are many folks on this forum that do it much more often and have some great real world tips for the triangle of battery+consumption+charging.
Thank you... I will look at the articles. How do I properly check the amp usage with a voltmeter? Definitely a novice in this area.
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Old 01-18-2015, 02:33 PM   #17
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Solar Question

The easiest way if you want continuous monitoring is to get a battery monitor such as the Trimetric 2025rv and a shunt. That will be around $210 or so. (bestconverters,com). I know others that have one and are happy.

For me, I just use a $50 version from Home Depot (Klein tools MM200) that had an amperage setting. This particular model also has a temperature probe which is useful for testing the fridge temp, temp of the AC and furnace output, etc. I also like that it is an auto ranging meter so you just select what you want to test (volts, amps, etc) and it auto adjusts to the proper range. You do have to press the function button to distinguish testing DC or AC.

This meter is limited to 10 amps. It has an internal fuse that will blow if you exceed that. To use it in the safest manner, you disconnect the connection to the negative post on your house battery and create a connection to the negative post of the battery that uses the two probes of the meter and goes between the negative lead you just disconnected and the negative post of the battery itself. On YouTube, simply search for "testing amps with multimeter" and you will see what I mean.

IMPORTANT NOTE: be sure that the red probe is plugged into the 10A input on the meter and not the milliamperes input (400ma max). Otherwise you will damage the meter.

This particular meter is also useful for testing battery voltage, troubleshooting faulty connections, Etc and I like that it has an audible tone when testing for continuity.

On the DVR mentioned in this thread, I expect there will be a surprise that it uses more amps than might be anticipated.

You may also consider a clamp meter that doesn't require you to "break the circuit" (safer, faster) that I talk about here but the Klein CL200 ($60 at Home Depot) appears that the clamp measurement only measures Amps on AC circuits. You would have to upgrade to the CL2000 to get both DC and AC amps from the clamp meter. (About 3 times the price)
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Old 01-18-2015, 04:53 PM   #18
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Try to find out how many amps you inverter is using. I picked up a cheap, pure sine wave, one and it used 4 amps with nothing plugged in to it. I swapped it for a pure sine wave xantrex 2000 and it draws less then 1/2 amp, when resting.

Just a thought
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Old 01-18-2015, 05:16 PM   #19
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Per the company (GoPower), each panel should provide 9.14 amps (total 18.28 amps). I am assuming the panels are functioning and were installed properly.
There is that word I like "assume". You really need to know what they are doing not what they could do. We added two extra 6 volt Deka batteries under our bed were the circuit breakers are located. Use two plastic marine battery covers vented through the floor and wired up to the 12 volt buss feed through a 80 amp circuit breaker for more capacity.
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Old 01-18-2015, 06:52 PM   #20
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As far as Amps go we use a "current shunt" and a old style analog volt meter I got from a local surplus store. A current shunt is a precision resistor that gives you .1 volts per amp so 1 volt is 10 amps 2 volts are 20 amp....
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Old 01-18-2015, 07:39 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by wanderso View Post
The easiest way if you want continuous monitoring is to get a battery monitor such as the Trimetric 2025rv and a shunt. That will be around $210 or so. (bestconverters,com). I know others that have one and are happy.

For me, I just use a $50 version from Home Depot (Klein tools MM200) that had an amperage setting. This particular model also has a temperature probe which is useful for testing the fridge temp, temp of the AC and furnace output, etc. I also like that it is an auto ranging meter so you just select what you want to test (volts, amps, etc) and it auto adjusts to the proper range. You do have to press the function button to distinguish testing DC or AC.

This meter is limited to 10 amps. It has an internal fuse that will blow if you exceed that. To use it in the safest manner, you disconnect the connection to the negative post on your house battery and create a connection to the negative post of the battery that uses the two probes of the meter and goes between the negative lead you just disconnected and the negative post of the battery itself. On YouTube, simply search for "testing amps with multimeter" and you will see what I mean.

IMPORTANT NOTE: be sure that the red probe is plugged into the 10A input on the meter and not the milliamperes input (400ma max). Otherwise you will damage the meter.

This particular meter is also useful for testing battery voltage, troubleshooting faulty connections, Etc and I like that it has an audible tone when testing for continuity.

On the DVR mentioned in this thread, I expect there will be a surprise that it uses more amps than might be anticipated.

You may also consider a clamp meter that doesn't require you to "break the circuit" (safer, faster) that I talk about here but the Klein CL200 ($60 at Home Depot) appears that the clamp measurement only measures Amps on AC circuits. You would have to upgrade to the CL2000 to get both DC and AC amps from the clamp meter. (About 3 times the price)
Thank you... I also have the Klein MM200 multimeter because I thought it was good quality and ruggedly built (I actually have two, one for home and one for the motorhome). I will go to YouTube and do a search.
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