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Old 04-24-2015, 01:07 PM   #1
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Cool More batteries rather than more solar panels?

We have a solar set up of 480w and 4 exite golf batteries. Works well, charges to 100% by noon in the sun. But in the morning, with the res Frige turned down to low, we have discharged to 50% which is worrisome. We are trying to achieve dry camping with only about one hour generator in the a.m. And one hour while cooking in the evening. We both find the generators disturbing out in the parks.

My question is, the solar set up responds well to full charge, why not add two more batteries, thinking the panels we have are capable of charging more than our four batteries, and you are only worth what can be stored?

We really don't want to put any more holes in the roof for more panels if we can just store 660 amp hours instead of 440 in a larger battery storage system?
Thnx for your thoughts!
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Old 04-24-2015, 01:18 PM   #2
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More batteries rather than more solar panels?

I have 600w solar and 4 six volt batteries. Works very well. However, If I had the room, would add two more batteries for the longer run time / capacity.
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Old 04-24-2015, 01:37 PM   #3
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for boondocking, i think both solar panel and battery need to be increased. if space is not a concern, i would double the size of sp and add two more batteries. just a thought.
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Old 04-24-2015, 01:51 PM   #4
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Add the batteries. The pack will charge slower but the capacity will be greater. Slower charging is your tradeoff. If you are charged by noon now does moving that to 3 pm matter? ;-)
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Old 04-24-2015, 01:53 PM   #5
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Thnx, everyone, my husband just read that if we turn our batteries 90degrees the the existing tray will allow two more. We may try this too.

Maybe at 3pm less light ? So does it change anything to have 6 batteries at 80% vs. 4 @ 100%? Worse comes to worse, we could add a portable solar panel for extra juice at an angle.
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Old 04-24-2015, 01:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeaceOwl View Post
We have a solar set up of 480w and 4 exite golf batteries. Works well, charges to 100% by noon in the sun...
My solar setup was very similar to yours. It took the addition of two more batteries to provide enough storage capacity to make it overnight w/o excess discharge. Instead of 100% by noon, I got there about 1430. More panels would have been a waste in my opinion.

Jim in CO
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Old 04-24-2015, 02:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeaceOwl View Post
We have a solar set up of 480w and 4 exite golf batteries. Works well, charges to 100% by noon in the sun. But in the morning, with the res Frige turned down to low, we have discharged to 50% which is worrisome. We are trying to achieve dry camping with only about one hour generator in the a.m. And one hour while cooking in the evening. We both find the generators disturbing out in the parks.

My question is, the solar set up responds well to full charge, why not add two more batteries, thinking the panels we have are capable of charging more than our four batteries, and you are only worth what can be stored?

We really don't want to put any more holes in the roof for more panels if we can just store 660 amp hours instead of 440 in a larger battery storage system?
Thnx for your thoughts!

Hi PeaceOwl,

Let's do some math. Your 4 golf cart batteries are about 5,500 watt-hours of capacity. You say the battery is down 50% by morning. That means you used about 2700 Watt-hours. Your 480 Watt PV solar system can make about 1800 Watt hours a day under IDEAL conditions.

The first day of dry camping you use 20% more power than you can make from the PV solar. If you have a large charger, you should be able to make that 20% or about 100AH back from the generator if you run it for 1.5 to 2 hours. If you run the generator in the AM until you are about 80% full, you should be able to dry camp for many days without more batteries or more PV solar.

FYI, it is a bad idea to add new batteries to older ones.

Larry
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Old 04-24-2015, 02:54 PM   #8
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Thnx everyone, Larry, what about adding two batteries to 6 month old batteries? My concern also.

The biggest problem seem to be the substantial fall off between 6 and 9 pm, and we only use one light and no tv! maybe we need both the batteries and a portable solar panel to add to the power storage.
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Old 04-24-2015, 03:05 PM   #9
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Curious of the high discharge. Are you running your fridge on propane or electricity? I have two 70 watt and two 25b watt solar panels and 2 twelve volt (hi cap) and two in series six volt golf cart batteries and we can go upwards of a week out boondocking without running the generator.
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Old 04-24-2015, 03:26 PM   #10
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How are you determining that your batteries are charged by noon?
A battery monitor will give you a good picture.
My monitor shows that I am drawing 8 amps DC for the refrigerator. I time the, run verses off times and know how many AH it uses.

Another handy thing is a "Kill A Watt". Plug your stuff in and get all the info you need.

Are your batteries in good shape?
If they were mistreated in there short life, they could be failing. Dealers are always letting them die and throwing a charge in, on demo day.

What kind of inverter are you using , some suck lots of power at idle?
You can check the specs .

I think, adding 2 more, will be ok, only if you are sure the 4 you have are in good shape.
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Old 04-24-2015, 04:45 PM   #11
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I have to say we were both worried about the' 4 months on the lot' without enough charging have affected them.

We talked to the dealers repair guys today and they said, yes we should first test the 4 original batteries before adding two more. So we will do that.

Twinboat, we see on our go power monitor 100% - 12.7v, assuming they are fully charged including a one hour morning generator charge during breakfast. We then turn our res frige back up to cold. And back down before bed. In the morning when we get up it shows between 50 and 60% charged and down to around 10v.

Yes, as much as I love the residential frige, I probably wouldn't have special ordered it. The RV was new and came with it. We know about some of the propane friges problems, having them in the past, but dry camping was not a problem. We think we are ok and happy with this set up, but trying to maximize our present power. Thnx!
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Old 04-24-2015, 05:30 PM   #12
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Oh, No. 10 volts is dead.
12.2 is 50%. There is a good chance your batteries are shot.

Once you get it straightened out, you should leave the fridge set.
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Old 04-24-2015, 06:38 PM   #13
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...., we see on our go power monitor 100% - 12.7v, assuming they are fully charged including a one hour morning generator charge during breakfast. ...
Bad news...the GoPower battery monitor has NO capability to know the state of charge of your battery. It only reads a percentage based on the voltage. When it reads 100%, you have many hours of charging before you really are full.

If you plan to do lot's of dry camping, invest in a battery capacity meter. And, if possible, upgrade to a MPPT charge controller. The GoPower can only use about 75% to 80% of your PV solar system.

It sounds like your batteries are shot. A dead battery not under load is about 11.3 volts and 10.5 if under a moderate load.

Larry
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Old 04-24-2015, 06:46 PM   #14
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More batts are always good if you have the space and can handle the weight. I have 500 amp hrs of batts and never need for elec. with 600 watts of panels. I started out with wanting to have solar to top off the batts while in storage and it got out of hand, but glad I did it. $2,800 later and we are totally off the grid.
Get a MPPT controller. No comparison between it and a PWM. Been there, done that.
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