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Old 08-18-2013, 07:06 PM   #1
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Solar Panels

I have an 80 watt solar panel charging two 6 volt golf cart batteries. They do the job but the monitor never reads above 85%. This drives me crazy. Why not 100%? Comments?
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Old 08-18-2013, 07:15 PM   #2
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Welcome!

What monitor are you referring to? One on a solar charge controller?

Tell us more about your solar setup - type of batteries, type of controller, wiring, etc.? And where are you located?
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Old 08-18-2013, 08:08 PM   #3
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I am referring to the monitor on the controller. The batteries are Interstate 6 volt deep cycle. I can't comment on the contrller orbthe wiring.
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Old 08-18-2013, 08:15 PM   #4
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Most controllers read in amps. An 80 watt panel would put out about 4 amps in bright sun light in the middle of the day. There may be a set point in the controller for capacity, but I doubt it. What is the brand and model of the controller?
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Old 08-19-2013, 10:52 AM   #5
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There is internal resistance in battery's, and require sufficient oomp to charge them properly. Sounds like you are trying to push a tank with a pickup truck.

I'd suggest a test of temporarily trying to charge only two of the battery's, wired for 12 volts of course, and see what happens!

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Old 08-19-2013, 11:57 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Ed-Sommers View Post
There is internal resistance in battery's, and require sufficient oomp to charge them properly. Sounds like you are trying to push a tank with a pickup truck.

I'd suggest a test of temporarily trying to charge only two of the battery's, wired for 12 volts of course, and see what happens!

Ed
He only has two batteries wired in series.
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:12 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by John Hilley View Post
He only has two batteries wired in series.

Woops, for some reason my brain said six, oh well, however, if the panel is reading correctly, then I'd suspect low battery performance.

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Old 08-20-2013, 10:34 AM   #8
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Assuming NO parasitic loads or use while charging... an 80 watt panel in mid latitudes will provide in the range of 20 amp hours on average daily which is plenty to keep a couple of golf cart batteries topped off or recharge them after use over a week at 50% discharge. (Around 110amp hours to replace).
If I were sure that enough time and sunshine existed to recharge my batteries fully and I was only seeing 85% on the "meter", I would disconnect my batteries, wait at LEAST 6 hours (preferably 24) and then test the voltage at the terminals...and if you don't see 12.6 or 12.7V there is something wrong. Possibilities:
1. Your batteries are showing age and resistance to charging fully. Anything less than 12.2V is on its' last legs.
2. Your charge controller is defective or an el cheapo. Hook directly to a well discharged battery when the sun is out and see what it is putting out...you should see 3-5 amps.
3. Your panels are either partially shaded or not outputting their rated wattage or have bad wiring connections. Shading of just 1 or 2 cells on the panel can cut output in half. You should see around 17.5V coming out of the panel BEFORE the controller.

Good luck!
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:44 AM   #9
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As the voltage goes up during the charge, the amps go down until with only a 80 w panel you have just a few amps for what ever daylight you have left (Watts = amps x volts). Plus you have to consider your phantom loads that in my case are 1.7 amps which would eat most if not all of that available current.
That 80 watts is in full direct sun with ideal temp and no line lose.
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Old 08-20-2013, 01:34 PM   #10
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Those two batteries have quite a bit of capacity. Perhaps you don't have a big enough solar panel.

Also, it is best to check the charge level by checking the specific gravity of the battery electrolyte. The full deep cycle golf cart batteries seem to have a few 10ths of a volt lower full charge voltage than some of the group 24 12V mixed purpose batteries due to the amount of antimony in the plates. Perhaps the charge controller is just wrong about the charge state.
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