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Old 01-11-2017, 08:49 AM   #11
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I've read on battery manufacturer web sites that to prevent freezing keep them at 100%. If your going down to 88% in a month and you won't be using the trailer I'd pull one of the battery leads. I'm surprised you loose that much with the 12vdc switch have off.
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Old 01-11-2017, 09:22 AM   #12
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I've read on battery manufacturer web sites that to prevent freezing keep them at 100%. If your going down to 88% in a month and you won't be using the trailer I'd pull one of the battery leads. I'm surprised you loose that much with the 12vdc switch have off.
Well, it did get into the single digits the past few nights. I have no idea if that reduces the level or not. It is sunny today and will be in the low 50's and due to rain we got last night, all the snow melted off the solar panel, so I am going to check the level tonight when I get home. We have had strange weather here in Maine this winter!

I kept the leads hooked up so that a charge could be supplied to the batteries, either by the solar panel or an extension cord, if needed. If I pulled a lead, I wouldn't readily know what the levels are, unless I got a tester of some sort. I may not do this next year, but I thought that using the indicator would be a reasonably decent way of keeping an eye on where the levels should be. As I have found out rather often, what do I know?
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Old 01-11-2017, 10:14 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by padlin View Post
I've read on battery manufacturer web sites that to prevent freezing keep them at 100%. If your going down to 88% in a month and you won't be using the trailer I'd pull one of the battery leads. I'm surprised you loose that much with the 12vdc switch have off.
I was kind of surprised by that too Bob when I saw it. Thing is, it went right back to 100% in the 8 mile trip from the storage to my house. Not sure how accurate the GoPower monitor was. I have a really nice battery tester and it showed all cells in great shape.
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Old 01-11-2017, 12:05 PM   #14
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If you want the simple answer, to avoid ulcers and tearing of hair (if you are lucky enough to have hair), then pick your favorite number - say, 75%, and plug in and charge if it drops below that. Or as an alternative, pick a voltage, say 12.4v and charge if it drops below.
When you say the 12.4v, is that on the solar monitor? Or is that a separate battery monitor? I'm beginning to think I need a separate battery monitor other than the one that Escape provides that shows 1/3, 2/3 or full. If so, does anyone have recommendations for what I should get if I don't want anything too complicated?
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Old 01-11-2017, 12:17 PM   #15
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Jill, there are lot of inexpensive one like this available. This one is kinda nice as it also has USB charging outlets. I have a different one so can't speak for the quality of this one:
https://www.amazon.com/Charger-Melon...arge+indicator

I have this one and it has proved reliable and accurate when tested with multimeters :
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 01-11-2017, 12:20 PM   #16
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Jill, there are lot of inexpensive one like this available. This one is kinda nice as it also has USB charging outlets. I have a different one so can't speak for the quality of this one:
https://www.amazon.com/Charger-Melon...arge+indicator

I have this one and it has proved reliable and accurate when tested with multimeters :
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Well that's pretty cool - and all I have to do is plug it in. I envisioned something that would have to be hooked up directly to the batteries. Thanks!!
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Old 01-11-2017, 12:45 PM   #17
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Jill, there are lot of inexpensive one like this available. This one is kinda nice as it also has USB charging outlets. I have a different one so can't speak for the quality of this one:
https://www.amazon.com/Charger-Melon...arge+indicator
There is a limited amount of battery information the typical solar controller can measure. Battery voltage is about it. The per cent readout on the GoPower controller is not all that accurate, since all it does is attempt to interpret the battery voltage. I've often found it reading 100% while the batteries were charging either via the solar panels or the converter when I knew the batteries were 30 or more amp hours discharged. I'd never use the per cent reading when the batteries are charging.

Under the right conditions a voltage measurement gives an acceptable reading of your battery state of charge. The best is to do a specific gravity measurement, but most don't since it can be messy, you are playing with battery acid & you need a hydrometer, the tool used to make the measurement.

To get an accurate voltage measurement, it must be with all charging sources off (if you have solar, that means at night unless you have added a switch to disconnect the panels). A small 1 - 2 amp load should be placed on the batteries to remove what is called surface charge or let the batteries sit with no load (or charging) for at least 6 hours. If you use the small load to remove the surface charge, disconnect it after an hour or so, then, again with no load or charging, measure the voltage. There is a good chart on the first linked Trojan site or additional information & chart at Mark Nemeth's "12V Side of Life, Parts 1 & 2" that compares voltage to charge per cent. As others have stated, to get the maximum life from your batteries, don't let them go below 50%.

While either checking the specific gravity or the preparation for an accurate voltage measurement a bit of trouble to go through, it is best way to determine the true state of your battery charge level.

By the way, the three links in this post are excellent sources of information on using & maintaining batteries.
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Old 01-11-2017, 01:06 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Jill View Post
When you say the 12.4v, is that on the solar monitor? Or is that a separate battery monitor? I'm beginning to think I need a separate battery monitor other than the one that Escape provides that shows 1/3, 2/3 or full. If so, does anyone have recommendations for what I should get if I don't want anything too complicated?
The solar monitor (aka solar charge controller) reads both voltage and percentage.
Voltage and Percent have essentially the same meaning, just use different numbers.
The numbers come directly from the battery and are very useful.

You can buy a hand held volt meter which is handy for debugging many electrical
problems, but I have no reason to think the solar monitor is not equally accurate.

The battery monitor that reads in a similar fashion as the holding tanks is not
particulary useful - in that "1/3, 2/3, full", is not close enough to be meaningfull.
By time a battery reads 1/3 you are in the damage zone and will shorten the lifespan
of the battery if you repeat 1/3 day after day. For maximum lifespan of the battery
you want to recharge at the magic 50% level, if not earlier.

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Old 01-11-2017, 01:11 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
...
I'd never use the per cent reading when the batteries are charging.
...
Good advice. The best measurements are taken when the battery is "resting".
In real life, when camping, try to take a reading first thing in the morning
before the sun starts serious charging. Assuming of course that nothing was
on during the night using (much) 12v.

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Old 01-11-2017, 01:31 PM   #20
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Ok, Jill, I'm hesitant to wade in here as Jon and Alan both know a lot more than I do about solar and batteries. But anyway, here is a chart that might help - however even it is open to dispute, but it does give you some ballpark numbers if you want them. It has served my needs well enough over the years. As Jon and Alan said, it is only useful when the "surface charge" is dissipated from the batteries. I just wait a couple hours after charging to test mine....
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