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Old 06-24-2018, 11:28 PM   #1
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End of Battery Life?

I have a 2014 19 model, with the solar panel, 2 6V battery option and Samlex 1500W inverter, all ETI factory options. I have used the inverter occasionally for making drip coffee and charging my laptop. While cleaning the trailer after a recent trip, I tried to use the inverter to power up my shop vac to clean out the trailer. The inverter quit after only a second or two with an input voltage fault. I tried again a few times, and saw the voltage readout on the inverter drop quickly before the inverter quit, but it jumps back to normal voltage right away after the inverter quits. After checking the forum for things to correct, I tightened the inverter connections (the red+ connection was loose), and cleaned and crimped all the battery connections (some had green copper corrosion), but still get the problem. No problems on low wattage inverter loads, or regular 12v operation ( fridge, lights, occasional furnace use) on our last trip.

Either the inverter or battery (or wiring) can't handle big amperage draws without a large voltage drop. I have tried some voltmeter tests on the battery, but no conclusive results - (the voltage drops real quick, so not sure if the voltmeter shows the rapid changes). The next step is probably a proper load test on the batteries. I bought a specific gravity battery tester, and all cells are up at 1.3 (good) when the battery is charged.

The factory solar panel (90/95? W) seems to keep the batteries fully charged, except for high wattage inverter use. I can live without 'solar coffee' for a while if my batteries still have some life expectancy, I am not in a hurry to replace my batteries.

My question for the forum is - what happens at end of life for your batteries? What are the signs that your batteries are getting old? If they fail a load test, are they at end of useful service? I am wondering how other Escape owners know it is time to replace the battery (or batteries if 6V).

Thanks in advance for your input.
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Old 06-25-2018, 12:00 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KirkB View Post
I have tried some voltmeter tests on the battery, but no conclusive results - (the voltage drops real quick, so not sure if the voltmeter shows the rapid changes).
OK, we need to take a few tests here.

First, with the voltmeter directly on the battery posts (not the lugs), put a high load on the inverter and record the voltage. It is normal for the battery voltage to drop under heavy load within limits.

https://www.thoughtco.com/vehicle-ba...esting-4083840

Next, with the voltmeter directly on the inverter lugs, put a high load on the inverter and record the voltage. This will tell you if the problem is your battery cables.

Depending on the voltages you record, we could help you find the problem.
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Old 06-25-2018, 12:38 AM   #3
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I have tried voltage tests on the battery posts when starting a heavy inverter load. They do deflect to about 6V (each battery), but happens quickly before the inverter cuts out, so not sure if my voltmeter catches the full voltage drop. I am using an inexpensive analog voltmeter. I haven't run voltage tests on the inverter posts yet to look for a larger deflection - i just cleaned the battery connections today and have not retested the voltage yet. I was hoping to first get some anecdotal feedback to see if I am in the normal 'end of battery life' scenario, or if i have a different problem.

I will try some more tests at battery and inverter posts tomorrow to help determine where the voltage drop is happening, if my voltmeter can detect it.

PS. So far, the only place I have seen the voltage drop real low, is the remote for the inverter, it goes to 11?.something, then quits and jumps back to 13v or so. I am just not sure if this also happens at the batteries, but I miss it without a digital display.


Thanks for your help.
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Old 06-25-2018, 05:25 AM   #4
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Read across both batteries (12V), as opposed to just one (6V).


Have you ever run the ShopVac on the inverter before? may well be more then the 1500w inverter can handle. Try it with the coffee pot or something a little easier on the inverter.
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Old 06-25-2018, 06:56 AM   #5
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With the minimal voltage drop you indicated at the batteries (6V), if the draw of the shop vac is within the ratings of the inverter, it is likely a problem with either connections or undersized wire. Motors do draw a heavier load while starting, which might be enough to drop the input voltage at the inverter below cut off. If the wiring works for all your other uses, I'd probably skip upgrading to larger size wiring, but checking the connections is fairly easy.
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Old 06-25-2018, 07:46 AM   #6
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I don't believe the GoPower controllers from 2014 had Equalization capability. Could sulfation over the last 4 years cause less then optimum battery output?



Low Voltage Alarm on the Samlex is 10.7vdc.
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Old 06-25-2018, 11:53 AM   #7
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Thanks for your input and suggestions.

The shop vac used to work on the inverter, it is rated at 6 amps, so well within inverter specs.

When the inverter fails, it fails quickly, then the voltage bounces right back to normal, so it is tough to measure the voltage at the time the inverter sees the low voltage.

My voltmeter is a cheap analog model, so it might be missing the rapid voltage drop before the inverter shuts off. The needle deflects, then bounces back right away - so it might not show the lowest voltage level. To read across both batteries, means setting to the 50V scale, which does not give a very precise reading.

I think I will have to find a different load that does not cause the inverter to fault, and check voltages at the battery and inverter to see if there is a voltage drop in the wiring.
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Old 06-25-2018, 03:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by padlin View Post
I don't believe the GoPower controllers from 2014 had Equalization capability. Could sulfation over the last 4 years cause less then optimum battery output?



Low Voltage Alarm on the Samlex is 10.7vdc.
The GoPower solar controller in our 2013 escape 19 has an equilization mode.
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Old 06-25-2018, 04:33 PM   #9
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Ha! This is all to familiar. My shop vac always kills my 1500w inverter on startup. What I do is turn off the inverter, turn on the shop vac, THEN turn on the inverter. Works every time (for me, at least).

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