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Old 06-03-2017, 06:24 PM   #1
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GoPower Display Readings

The battery charge level reading on the GoPower display has me confused. Even after the rally and being connected to shore power for 5 days the GoPower display showed the dual 6v as only 90% charged, but the voltage reading showed 12.8v. The % charge as it drains down also do not seem to correspond to the frequently posted chart of voltage to %. And yes I tried to allow for surface charge timing in my readings.

Also, when plugged in to shore power and in a sunny spot does the solar controller or the one in the converter regulate charge?

Ok solar gurus, can someone 'splain it to me.
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Old 06-03-2017, 08:49 PM   #2
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The battery charge level reading on the GoPower display has me confused. Even after the rally and being connected to shore power for 5 days the GoPower display showed the dual 6v as only 90% charged, but the voltage reading showed 12.8v. The % charge as it drains down also do not seem to correspond to the frequently posted chart of voltage to %.
As explained in the thread Slow Solar Charging and Go Power Display Questions, starting at post #26, the GoPower State of Charge calculation results in 90% for any voltage equal to or greater than 12.8 volts... until a full boost or equalization cycle is complete. This controller will never display a value between 90% and 100%.

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Also, when plugged in to shore power and in a sunny spot does the solar controller or the one in the converter regulate charge?
They both try, and neither is smart enough to realize that there is another charging source, or to compensate for load. If the battery charge is low enough, they'll both be trying to charge flat-out (solar limited by panel output; converter limited by its own power capacity). They'll each back off when their own trigger voltage levels or time periods are reached.
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Old 06-03-2017, 08:59 PM   #3
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GoPower Display Readings

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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
As explained in the thread Slow Solar Charging and Go Power Display Questions, starting at post #26, the GoPower State of Charge calculation results in 90% for any voltage equal to or greater than 12.8 volts... until a full boost or equalization cycle is complete. This controller will never display a value between 90% and 100%.


They both try, and neither is smart enough to realize that there is another charging source, or to compensate for load. If the battery charge is low enough, they'll both be trying to charge flat-out (solar limited by panel output; converter limited by its own power capacity). They'll each back off when their own trigger voltage levels or time periods are reached.


And I even skimmed that thread... apparently too quickly though.Thanks Brian
I still don't understand why GoPower just seems to have made up their own apparently arbitrary numbers instead of using the more widely used chart,

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Old 06-03-2017, 11:42 PM   #4
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Eric, I think the panel calculation is trying to be conservative, rather than generating a random number. What the panel does not know is how much current (amps) from the solar panel are being used by loads in the trailer. For example, the battery may be almost charged, but you are charging your laptop with the inverter, dragging the voltage down and amps up. I have the older model panel (2014 trailer) which reads 100% for any voltage 12.8 or better. In the morning, while the charge cycle is occurring, the voltage will rise to 14.4 or so, but the battery is still not fully charged. If the calculation assumed that there was no load on the 12V system, then it could probably calculate a better approximation for state of charge based on the amps that are needed to push the battery to the charging voltage, but it would still not be fully accurate. The experts claim that the chart converting volts to % charge is only accurate when the battery is neither being charged or has a load attached. The only time that happens is when your trailer is in storage in the dark.

When the solar system is charging the battery, I look at the voltage level and the amps being sent to the battery (and trailer 12V system), and whether there is full sun, to get a better guess as to how close the charge is to being complete. Once the bulk charge (up to 14.4V for an hour) is complete, and the panel shows around 13.6V (indicating float charge) on lower amps, then I know the battery has been fully charged that day. My panel also has 4 very small dots that indicate the bulk charge is not yet complete.
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Old 06-04-2017, 07:58 PM   #5
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Rather that percent charged, I would just monitor the charging current and voltage. My EPSolar remote has a stupid lecvel guage on a battery that shows about 1/3 full at 12.8 volts. They as it climbs just over 13 volts it jumps up to full.
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Old 06-05-2017, 07:17 PM   #6
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Thanks Kirk and Jim. Another question. When driving does the charging current from the tow go directly to the batteries and controllled by the tow's voltage regulator? Or does it just add more to the mix Brian described?
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Old 06-05-2017, 08:21 PM   #7
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When driving does the charging current from the tow go directly to the batteries and controllled by the tow's voltage regulator? Or does it just add more to the mix Brian described?
Both - power from the tow vehicle does not go through either the solar charge controller or the converter-charger... and so it's just a third contributor to the mix (although there are only two at a time, since most people would never supply power to the converter and plug into a running tow vehicle at the same time).

The tow vehicle's voltage regulator is even further removed from the trailer's battery than the other charge controllers.
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Old 08-22-2017, 07:48 AM   #8
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Amps from solar seem low

Here's my scenario...when we have full sun, and the battery is charged (the GoPower display says 100%) I am only showing between 0.5-2.5 amps being collected. I have heard somewhere (most likely a YouTube video) that a panel of our size should pull in maybe between 10-20 amps in direct sunlight.

My only ignorant conclusion was that since the batteries are full, it doesn't draw as much power because its not needed. Then I read here that the system is not that smart (the similarities to me are uncanny!! ) The panel doesn't have much in the way of dust or dirt covering it either and was washed mid-late June.

If someone could provide some insight and possibly help me understand (good luck!), I'd really appreciate it!!
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Old 08-22-2017, 08:37 AM   #9
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My understanding is the the display shows how much current is being provided to the battery, not how much is coming into the controller from the panels. So, once the battery is 100% the controller cuts back to maintenance levels of current flow and you will see only a small current number displayed.
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Old 08-22-2017, 08:57 AM   #10
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Thanks Eric! That makes sense now that someone else said it too. Appreciate the feedback!
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Old 08-22-2017, 02:07 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by nathanj04011 View Post
Here's my scenario...when we have full sun, and the battery is charged (the GoPower display says 100%) I am only showing between 0.5-2.5 amps being collected. I have heard somewhere (most likely a YouTube video) that a panel of our size should pull in maybe between 10-20 amps in direct sunlight.
When your trailer is in full sun, the panel is still not in ideal solar conditions, assuming that it is flat on top of the roof, not tilted to face the sun. Even ideal conditions mean that the panel can produce that much current, not that it will. For instance, if the panel isn't attached to anything, there is zero current flowing.

In general, for solid specific information I think it is best to ignore anything posted as a YouTube video (which could be posted by anyone, and often someone wanting to sell online views rather than actually provide a useful service), and just read the specifications from the manufacturer. For a solar panel, that will include some voltages and currents.

The maximum current from a solar panel (in ideal sun conditions, with no resistance in the load, just a wire connected between the panel's output terminals) is the "short circuit current" (ISC); that much current will never flow into a battery, because the battery is not a short circuit. For a panel rated at 160 watts, 20 amps could only be a short-circuit current... and it likely isn't even that high.

If the controller connected to the panel is ideal (and the sun conditions are ideal) the panel can operate at the maximum power point; in that case, the maximum power current or IMP (less than ISC) flows. For a panel rated at 160 watts, the current at the maximum power point would still likely be a little less than 10 amps. For instance, if the voltage at the maximum power point (VMP) is 17 volts, then the current would be 160 watts / 17 volts = 9.4 amps.

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... since the batteries are full, it doesn't draw as much power because its not needed.
That's it.
It's not that there is current flowing from the panel and not being used - higher current is not flowing (anywhere) because the controller is not allowing more.
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Old 08-24-2017, 09:14 PM   #12
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Also read the manual for the Go Power controller and see that it's set for your battery type. Through some button presses I found mine wasn't set to lead acid batteries and I corrected it. I have read on this forum that some models have small switches on the back that can become mis-set by glasses or cans of food in the overhead compartment the controller is mounted on


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Old 08-25-2017, 07:15 AM   #13
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Thanks Brian and jxoco! I will check the battery setting on the controller to make sure its set to flooded battery just as a precaution. It never occurred to me that it could be mis-set. Thanks for learning me something!
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Old 08-25-2017, 10:08 AM   #14
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On our 19 the controller shared space with an upper cupboard . Reterning home one time I noted that the controller displayed a message to the effect that it was not providing power to the battery. I called go power. They told me how to set the 5 dip switches on the back of the controller for standard operation . I did this and had no more problems until the stack of Red Solo Cups hopped over and flipped some switches again. This time I had the settings marked in the manual and reset them all by myself.
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Old 08-25-2017, 02:43 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Iowa Dave View Post
On our 19 the controller shared space with an upper cupboard . Reterning home one time I noted that the controller displayed a message to the effect that it was not providing power to the battery. I called go power. They told me how to set the 5 dip switches on the back of the controller for standard operation . I did this and had no more problems until the stack of Red Solo Cups hopped over and flipped some switches again. This time I had the settings marked in the manual and reset them all by myself.
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Sounds like time for a piece of protective tape over the dip switches.......
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Old 08-25-2017, 04:40 PM   #16
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Protection

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Sounds like time for a piece of protective tape over the dip switches.......
Yes some tape would have helped. In fact the tech repmsaid at one time they had a little protective plastic hood over the switches and I thought about fabricating something but it only happened twice so I could Live with it. Haven't looked at the new one, it's under the dinette. And I don't think it's that prone to "tampering".
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