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Old 09-09-2016, 12:11 AM   #1
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Slow Solar Charging and Go Power Display Questions

I searched and couldn't find specific answers to these questions, so here goes:

(1) How long should it take to fully recharge the batteries from an approximate 50% reading on the Go Power panel using only solar to recharge? Hours? Days?

Our 2016 19 has the standard solar panel and dual 6V batteries from ETI. We had the trailer out for four nights this past weekend, off-grid with no plugging in. Evening temperatures dipped down to the mid 30s, daytime highs in the 70s. We used the standard electrical items, but also ran the fridge on 12V in the evenings (my wife was finding that the propane firing for the fridge in the night was waking her up) and for a good portion of the five-hour drive home. IIRC, on our last night the monitor panel was showing around a 40% charge level.

This increased somewhat to about 50% by the time we got home on Monday, but now, three days later, it's still only reading 65% and 12.3v. This is after being parked in our mostly-sunny driveway for three clear days. After previous trips I think that the batteries were fully charged the next day, so I'm a bit puzzled as to why it's taking longer now. Is it because we ran them down too low, or something else? Should I be plugging in for a day to charge them up again?

(2) Does the Go Power panel only display info for both 6V batteries combined as "battery 1"? The Go Power manual says that with two batteries you can toggle through the display to see the charge level for each battery separately as "1" and "2", but on my display it's just showing info for "1". I'm guessing this is because the 6Vs are linked in sequence, but please let me know if that's not the case.

(3) Finally, the display is showing the "boost" indicator, even though I did not manually select "boost" mode. Is that boost light automatically on at a certain state of charge?

Thanks in advance for any insight, all of this is very new to me.
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Old 09-09-2016, 12:16 AM   #2
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After previous trips I think that the batteries were fully charged the next day, so I'm a bit puzzled as to why it's taking longer now.
A much more acute sun angle in September will make a huge difference in the charging rate. That's why I added an additional 90-watt portable panel to augment the fixed roof solar panel during winter months.
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Old 09-09-2016, 12:22 AM   #3
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(1) How long should it take to fully recharge the batteries from an approximate 50% reading on the Go Power panel using only solar to recharge? Hours? Days?
The 160 watt panel could deliver 11 to 13 amps into the battery (depending on state of battery charge) in absolutely ideal conditions... and much less in reality. Also, lead-acid batteries are far from perfectly efficient, so it takes more than one amp for an hour to increase the charge in the battery by one amp-hour. That means to refill half the capacity of the dual 6V batteries would take ten hours ideally, and thus a couple of full sunny days (with no shade on the trailer) if you tilted the trailer toward the sun (!), and more with the panel just sitting horizontal. So... days.

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(2) Does the Go Power panel only display info for both 6V batteries combined as "battery 1"? The Go Power manual says that with two batteries you can toggle through the display to see the charge level for each battery separately as "1" and "2", but on my display it's just showing info for "1". I'm guessing this is because the 6Vs are linked in sequence, but please let me know if that's not the case.
You've got it: you have one 12-volt battery. It's split into two boxes, which doesn't matter electrically.
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Old 09-09-2016, 12:33 AM   #4
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Thanks for the fast replies, very helpful!
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Old 09-09-2016, 12:37 AM   #5
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Really interesting thread... thanks for posting.

Our 2017 21' hasn't been built yet, and a last minute addition to our build sheet is a *second* roof mounted solar panel.

This is possible on a 21' as long as one does not want the TV antenna. (we dont) and it is possible as long as the second roof solar is added during the build (they have to re-enforce the roof somewhat during the build to support the 10-ish lbs of the 2nd panel.

For a minute I was thinking "oh this 2nd panel is overkill" but as we like to boondock, a lot, at various times of year.... your post makes me feel good about spending the extra $.

thanks again for sharing your findings. Interesting.
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Old 09-09-2016, 12:47 AM   #6
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Somebody with that fridge needs to explain this, I think.

QUOTE: also ran the fridge on 12V in the evenings (my wife was finding that the propane firing for the fridge in the night was waking her up) UNQUOTE.

I don't have 12V so I'm always on propane unless plugged into 120VAC.
Other than the initial lighting of the flame, my fridge is silent.
I get woken by the furnace and its thermostat, but never the fridge.
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Old 09-09-2016, 06:38 AM   #7
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Yes, I agree, one will not hear clicking on propane unless there is an error. The operation on propane is silent other than start up. Perhaps you need to check the refer operation.....operating off 12v exclusively can cause battery issues while sitting still.
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Old 09-09-2016, 06:51 AM   #8
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At 50% charge you have roughly a 120 amp deficit. Best I've gotten from my panel in the dead of summer is 50 amps over a full day. As a guess, I'd think it'd take you 3-4 days to recharge from 50%.

The issue I see is that after 3 days it only went up 15%. Is anything still on in the trailer? Might through the disconnect and see if you get a better jump then 5% a day. 5% is only 10-12 amps, about what I'd get in the shade. Seems way too low for early September, but I could be wrong.

Might want to rethink running the fridge on 12v at night, that or get a 2nd panel like Karen, even that might not be enough. I don't know what fridge the 19 has but they suck an awful lot of power.
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Old 09-09-2016, 08:17 AM   #9
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Yes, I agree, one will not hear clicking on propane unless there is an error. The operation on propane is silent other than start up. Perhaps you need to check the refer operation.....operating off 12v exclusively can cause battery issues while sitting still.
It's not clicking usually (although we have had clicking and some failures at altitudes closer to 10,000 ft), but just the quiet hum of the propane going that was waking her. I agree that it's quiet, but not silent if your head is in that corner. I think I just need to switch which side of the bed I sleep on!
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Old 09-09-2016, 08:31 AM   #10
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Yelp, try sleeping with your heads at the other end of the bed.
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Old 09-09-2016, 08:35 AM   #11
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Yelp, try sleeping with your heads at the other end of the bed.
Yes, maybe a review of this thread is in order: Where in bed do you put your head?
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Old 09-09-2016, 08:47 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by canyonrider View Post
Our 2016 19 has the standard solar panel and dual 6V batteries from ETI. We had the trailer out for four nights this past weekend, off-grid with no plugging in. Evening temperatures dipped down to the mid 30s, daytime highs in the 70s. We used the standard electrical items, but also ran the fridge on 12V in the evenings (my wife was finding that the propane firing for the fridge in the night was waking her up) and for a good portion of the five-hour drive home. IIRC, on our last night the monitor panel was showing around a 40% charge level.
This use of the fridge on 12V will drastically draw down the batteries. Personally, I would never use 12V on the fridge. And like baglo said, once lit, the fridge stays lit, and the sound inside is almost undetectable, and even outside right by the burner is quite. I wonder if your wife was hearing something else, the furnace cutting in maybe?

And like Karen said, at this time of year the solar gain with horizontal panels and a low sun with shorter daylight hours will lessen the rate of charge. This is one of the reasons I am using a portable panel as well.
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Old 09-09-2016, 09:08 AM   #13
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Oh no the which side you put ur heads on discussion. We've never heard any noise from the fridge, sleep with heads on passenger side.
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Old 09-09-2016, 09:18 AM   #14
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Oh no the which side you put ur heads on discussion. We've never heard any noise from the fridge, sleep with heads on passenger side.
We never slept backwards like this, and still never heard the fridge.
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Old 09-09-2016, 09:32 AM   #15
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It keeps Canyonrider's spouse awake. If it were my spouse, I know I'd have to deal with it one way or the other. Telling her that I couldn't hear it would just aggravate the situation.

After you figure out why the batteries are only charging 5% a day swap sides, of flip 180. Do whatever you have to do to stop running on 12v.

Can you tell on the GoPower what the amperage output is when the sun is shining, say at mid day?
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Old 09-09-2016, 09:35 AM   #16
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We never slept backwards like this, and still never heard the fridge.
Yes, it is just so very wrong. You might as well be holding a hand of aces and eights.
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Old 09-09-2016, 09:47 AM   #17
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Yes, it is just so very wrong. You might as well be holding a hand of aces and eights.
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Old 09-09-2016, 09:52 AM   #18
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Yes, it is just so very wrong. You might as well be holding a hand of aces and eights.
Truth!
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Old 09-09-2016, 09:58 AM   #19
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It keeps Canyonrider's spouse awake. If it were my spouse, I know I'd have to deal with it one way or the other. Telling her that I couldn't hear it would just aggravate the situation.
My comments were more about the "firing" of the fridge, and that it actually doesn't do this, it burns continuous. Plus, I really do believe it is not very discernible. This is why I wonder if it isn't something else.

canyonrider, just curious, but could this by any chance be the water heater on propane firing up. With it under the bed in the 19, that burner is very noticeable. This is one of the reasons I added the indicator light to show it was on, so I did not get woken by it firing. I too just hate getting woken, especially shortly after I fall asleep.

Not a huge fan of the furnace noise either, but it beats freezing, and I kinda ge tused to it.
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Old 09-09-2016, 11:19 AM   #20
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canyonrider, just curious, but could this by any chance be the water heater on propane firing up. With it under the bed in the 19, that burner is very noticeable. This is one of the reasons I added the indicator light to show it was on, so I did not get woken by it firing. I too just hate getting woken, especially shortly after I fall asleep.
Hmm, interesting. We did use the water heater, but I turned it off using the switch on the monitor panel before going to bed. Could the water heater still be firing even with that switch turned off?

On the solar issue, last night I noticed that the panel was set to "AGM," so I changed it to "flooded." This morning at 9:00, after about 30 minutes of direct sun, the panel was reading 79%/12.6v/3.4 A. So it seems to be doing its thing, I'll check it later this afternoon.
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