Slow Solar Charging and Go Power Display Questions - Page 3 - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 09-09-2016, 02:10 PM   #21
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The first thing I would suggest is to check the water level in your batteries. I found that the recharging via solar is less when the water level is lower.


I would also plug in to shore power if you can, even for a short while, to see if the converter charger can raise the voltage on the batteries faster than solar alone. You might keep plugged in until you are over 13V, then unplug to see how the solar does from there.


The solar charger will try to run a one hour bulk charge cycle each day at 14.4V. The power boost symbol (4 very small dots) are visible on the display until this cycle has completed. This cycle will not complete if the batteries cannot reach 14.4V of charge.
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Old 09-10-2016, 12:24 PM   #22
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Interesting. After getting home yesterday afternoon the batteries were still around 80%, despite having at least partial direct sun all day. I plugged in to shore power for two hours. They went to 90% quickly, then stayed there. This morning the panel had direct sun again and was showing a charge of 4.1 amps, but batteries still stuck at 90%. I think my next step is to check water levels.
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Old 09-10-2016, 02:57 PM   #23
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Do you have the dual water heater with electric? If the propane is off, it is off. Electric, however, can be heard if you have that on.

The batteries can recover from deep discharges but that should only happen once in a great while or it will shorten their life. Try not to do it often and you need to do whatever you can to not use 12V for the refrigerator, as mentioned.
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Old 09-10-2016, 03:14 PM   #24
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Might be worth checking the 12 volt voltage level with a meter of some sort, as opposed to just the GoPower's meter.
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Old 09-10-2016, 04:20 PM   #25
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The first mistake I made camping...

The first mistake I made boon-docking was to run the refrigerator on 12 volts instead of propane. This was a 4 day trip to the Anza Borrego Desert. Even with the 95watt solar panel and with the sun high in the sky it killed one of my two 6 volts batteries when the solar could not keep up. I replaced both of the batteries after that trip. The refer pulls way too much amperage to use boon-docking. As I added more batteries and panels I still never ran the refer on 12 volts while boon-docking, only when connected to the grid. ALWAYS use propane when off the grid.
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Old 09-10-2016, 04:37 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by padlin View Post
Might be worth checking the 12 volt voltage level with a meter of some sort, as opposed to just the GoPower's meter.
I assume that the GoPower controller's meter is nothing but a voltmeter calibrated according to a table like that, adjusted by some formula based on current to try to compensate for the effect of charging. This isn't a monitoring system like the Bogart Trimetric that actually measures net current accumulated in and out of the battery.

It would make sense to me to remove the source of charge and any loads and let the battery sit to reach a more accurate indication of state of charge, based on resting voltage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by canyonrider View Post
After getting home yesterday afternoon the batteries were still around 80%, despite having at least partial direct sun all day. I plugged in to shore power for two hours. They went to 90% quickly, then stayed there. This morning the panel had direct sun again and was showing a charge of 4.1 amps, but batteries still stuck at 90%.
A problem with these charge level indications is that they are based simply on voltage, and at least some of these numbers are being read while a charger is pushing current into the batteries. The charger can make that number go up and down just by changing charging mode (absorption, bulk, float...) without any change in actual battery charge level. The steady 90% reading on shore power presumably just means that the charger was maintaining a constant output voltage, not that the battery wasn't charging, although any charging voltage is much higher than the 12.5 volts of a resting (not being charged or discharged) battery at 90% state of charge.
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Old 09-10-2016, 08:21 PM   #27
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Canyonrider, I question whether the gopower controller is operating properly. I might have a different model of gopower controller, but I haven't seen a charging voltage as low as 12.6 volts. If it has been in direct sun for 30 minutes and putting out 3.4 amps I would expect a voltage of between 13.6 and 14.4. 12.6 is what you might find after dark when not charging, and reflecting the status of the battery, not the charge voltage. Again, my controller might be a different model, but maybe worth a call to manufacturer.
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Old 09-10-2016, 11:49 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by canyonrider View Post
They went to 90% quickly, then stayed there. This morning the panel had direct sun again and was showing a charge of 4.1 amps, but batteries still stuck at 90%.
I don't think that the batteries were stuck at 90%; I think that the controller's State of Charge calculation is stuck.

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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
I assume that the GoPower controller's meter is nothing but a voltmeter calibrated according to a table like that, adjusted by some formula based on current to try to compensate for the effect of charging.
I found three manuals for what appear to be three different versions of GoPower's 30-amp solar charge controller, all called GP-PWM-30. One of them shows the logic to determine the State of Charge (SOC) value, which I can only guess is the same in all versions. It looks like my guess was half-right: it is a calculation based on voltage, but it doesn't even consider current.

Battery Voltage
State of Charge Displayed
  • Shows only after full Boost or Equalization Cycle
    100%
  • >= 12.8V
    90%
  • < 12.8V and > 11.0V
    SOC = (BatteryVoltage V - 11.0 V)/1.8 V * 90%
  • <= 11.0V
    0%
So once the battery voltage (or close to it, as seen by the solar charge controller) reaches 12.8 V - driven by the converter/charger - the display will show until the solar charge controller thinks the Boost cycle is complete... but the solar controller isn't doing the all of the charging, so who knows when it will think that?
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Old 09-11-2016, 01:06 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canyonrider View Post
... despite having at least partial direct sun all day ...
Canyonrider, I'm a little worried about your use of "partial". You have mention this a couple of times. It may be significant because shade on a solar panel is the kiss of death. A single leaf shading one cell can cut the amps by half. Even shade of the width of a pencil across a full cell will be noticeable. Do your best to get 100% sun on the panel for at least a few hours when the sun is at its highest.

Also, you are welcome to visit our '21 here in Arvada and listen to the 'fridge. I have a very hard time telling when the propane flame is lit. On the other hand, I can hear the supplemental fans running on a warm day. Send me a PM (private message) if you are so inclined.

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Old 09-11-2016, 04:17 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by alanmalk View Post
Canyonrider, I'm a little worried about your use of "partial". You have mention this a couple of times. It may be significant because shade on a solar panel is the kiss of death. A single leaf shading one cell can cut the amps by half. Even shade of the width of a pencil across a full cell will be noticeable. Do your best to get 100% sun on the panel for at least a few hours when the sun is at its highest.--
Alan
Your experience with shade on solar panels is exactly what I have experienced yet some forum members have stated that they receive a charge even with the cover on.
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