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Old 01-27-2013, 09:07 AM   #15
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I agree with the others. You have more than enough solar. Something is wrong with the system either the charger (incorrect profile?) or the wiring (too thin?) or the batteries (not holding charge?)

We have 600 watts on our big rig which powers everything we need all-day including Internet, TV AND charging the batteries to a full state.
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:20 AM   #16
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I would agree that something is wrong.
It would help to know the total amp hour rating of the battery bank and whether or not they are performing up to capacity. (load tested)
The older tube type televisions use much more power than an LED of comparable size, that could also be a factor.
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:20 AM   #17
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Have you read Handy Bob's solar info?

The RV Battery Charging Puzzle HandyBob's Blog

When I changed out my batteries last Spring he talked me thru resetting my Trimetric settings via phone. You can find his email address on the first page at the above link.
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:52 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriik View Post
I will check out all of the things you guys have suggested. However, based on what I am reading, and my history with this vehicle, my guess is that it is not a battery issue, it is an inverter issue! We shall see!!! Eriik
You might be right. Have you turned the converter off and set the refrigerator to propane and made sure the hot water heater is running on propane with the electric element off? If not, those resistive loads would drain the batteries fast.
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:01 PM   #19
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This sounds like another failed installation by a "SOLAR EXPERT". Yes by all means read the Handy Bob Solar blog.
By reading his blog and doing what he said, I renovated my system into a 400 watt system that really works. I have power to spare. I do use 4- 6 volt golf cart batteries.

See my post: "SOLAR THAT REALLY WORKS" here under boondocking.
Your controler is too small. It needs to be at least 60 amps.
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:46 PM   #20
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I thought this was the boondocking forum.
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:55 PM   #21
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We are running 525 watts with 4 panels a Morningstar 45 mppt controler , 2800 watt Magnum inverter, 4 6 volt batteries . We have a 21 cubic all electric fridge and runs as much extra equipment as we want and have never had a problem. I would consider switching to 6 volt when the 12s go. I was not getting enough charge current to the battery bank until I had 2/0 wire installed from the controller to the battery bank [15 ft]. You should not have a problem with the panels, it is definitely wire size or controller but most likely the 12 v batts. But definately contact Bob he will sort you out.
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:38 PM   #22
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Hi,

I always thought solar was a good thing for boondocking.

How many amp-hours is the battery bank?

Are all the batteries the same age, make and capacity?

Are they wired in a balanced manner?

What is the total wattage are you running from the inverter?

What charge controller is being used?
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Old 02-10-2013, 07:30 PM   #23
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First I have to tell you when it comes to power, no matter if it's horse power of the engine or electrical power, I belong to the Tim Taylor (Tim Allen's character on the TV show Home Improvement) school of MORE POWER!!!! But there is more.

Q:How many amp-hours is the battery bank?

A: As many as possible, I'd say 600 is the minimum I'd want but to be honest, it depends on your use, IN fact most all the "how much" answers depend on your use CRT tv or a new LCD/LED job (CRT's guzzle, LCD/LED sips...Slowly) for example.

Q:Are all the batteries the same age, make and capacity?
A: If you are using six volt pairs then EACH PAIR should be as identical as possible, ideally sequential serial numbers (But that's taking it a bit too far) But Well, think of it this way, There are no six volt batteries in RVs.. Just 12 volt batteries that have been broken into two halves for easier handling, Think of each pair as though it were a single 12 volt and ask "Would I want a 12 volt battery that was half ___ and half ___" the answer, of course, is no.

Batteries in parallel. Some people feel they need to be identical as well.. I'm not as convinced, but for sure it won't hurt if they are.

Q:Are they wired in a balanced manner?
A: IF you have a high power inverter, YES, by all means, for lower power applications... Some say always, I'm not that convinced, HOWEVER, considering how easy it is to do it. That's how I'd do it.

Q:What is the total wattage are you running from the inverter?
A: This depends on you.. Televisions epically LCD/LED types do not need much a few hundred watts.. Microwaves need over a thousand watts (So go 1500-2000) Air conditioenrs need upwards of 3,000 starting and 1500 running so 3000-4000 if you plan on running one of those, which by the way I do NOT suggest you do.

Also on teh amp hour thing, Recommend at least 200 amp hours per thousand watts. More is better

As to the best controler.. can't help you.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:15 PM   #24
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A balanced approach is conservation i.e. LED lights, monitoring current usage with a Trimetric or Victron battery monitor, and realizing you can not have everything all of the time.
Time for home work Handy Bobs information is a good start and the place to ask questions is Solar Electric Power Discussion Forum by Northern Arizona Wind & Sun
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:42 AM   #25
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Hi,

You may find the handy bob site wordy and it has some information that is dated at best.

Try these sites instead:

RV 12v Information - Everything You Need to Know

RV Solar Panel Installation Guide - RV Solar Power
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Old 02-17-2013, 04:35 PM   #26
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Along with checking the batteries (and maybe replacing them with four 6-volt golf cart batteries) and making sure your charge controller is at least 45 amp, get yourself a clamp-on volt meter and clamp it around various wires in your system to see how much amperage you are getting when the system is at its max around noon or 1:00.

Check the wiring from the panels to the controller and also from the controller to the batteries. This may help you decide if your wiring is too thin (we had that problem in one of our installations... upgrading and shortening the wiring run from controller to batteries gave us a 15% or so improvement in daily charging).

A sample clamp-on volt meter you could use is here:

Amazon.com: A.W. Sperry DSA500A 5-Function 9-Range 400-Ampere Digital Clamp Meter: Home Improvement

You can also verify the voltage on the batteries in "bulk" and in "absorb" -- maybe they aren't getting up to the full voltage they need.

You might also look into tweaking the charge controller... on one of our systems we increased the time the system spends in "absorb" mode and also set the amperage at which the system falls into "float" mode to be different than factory standard settings, and those two changes gave us another 20% in overall charging ever day.

Lastly, make sure something on your roof isn't shading any of your panels in any way. A little shade on one panel can knock it out of commission, and if your panels are wired in series, that one non-participating panel will shut down all the others along with it...

(and even though this is a boondocking forum, I think having a good solar setup is essential for boondocking if you're going to stay more than a few nights...)
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Old 02-17-2013, 04:52 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Groovy View Post
Along with checking the batteries (and maybe replacing them with four 6-volt golf cart batteries) and making sure your charge controller is at least 45 amp, get yourself a clamp-on volt meter and clamp it around various wires in your system to see how much amperage you are getting when the system is at its max around noon or 1:00.

Check the wiring from the panels to the controller and also from the controller to the batteries. This may help you decide if your wiring is too thin (we had that problem in one of our installations... upgrading and shortening the wiring run from controller to batteries gave us a 15% or so improvement in daily charging).

A sample clamp-on volt meter you could use is here:

Amazon.com: A.W. Sperry DSA500A 5-Function 9-Range 400-Ampere Digital Clamp Meter: Home Improvement

You can also verify the voltage on the batteries in "bulk" and in "absorb" -- maybe they aren't getting up to the full voltage they need.

You might also look into tweaking the charge controller... on one of our systems we increased the time the system spends in "absorb" mode and also set the amperage at which the system falls into "float" mode to be different than factory standard settings, and those two changes gave us another 20% in overall charging ever day.

Lastly, make sure something on your roof isn't shading any of your panels in any way. A little shade on one panel can knock it out of commission, and if your panels are wired in series, that one non-participating panel will shut down all the others along with it...

(and even though this is a boondocking forum, I think having a good solar setup is essential for boondocking if you're going to stay more than a few nights...)
That meter doesn't have a DC current rang

Quote:
Product Features

  • AC Current 0-40/400 AAC
  • AC Voltage 0-400/600 VAC
  • DC Voltage 0-400/600 VDC
  • Resistance 0-400/4KOHM
  • Continuity: Sounds at 100Ohms
As for the charge controller, it is rated for the output of his four panels. If it is a concern, the panels can be wired in a series/parallel configuration. This would cut the current in half and also be a benefit if the wire is sized too small.

This meter does measure both AC and DC current with the clampon feature

Sinometer MS210

Sears also sells a less expensive meter.
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Old 03-04-2013, 04:34 PM   #28
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Not much on handy bob's blog is dated, if anything. First place I would direct you. Then on to Jack Meyer's site.
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