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Old 10-07-2017, 11:22 PM   #1
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Solar vs Inverter

I’ve encountered a curious problem with our new 19. We have two factory 160W solar panels running through a Blue Sky 3000i charge controller to factory Interstate dual 6V setup, and we have the factory GoPower 1500W Inverter.

I installed the Blue Sky MPPT controller because it’s capable of producing the higher charging voltages that are recommended by Interstate...lots of other threads on this elsewhere.

So here’s the rub, recommended Absorption voltage is 15.3V, *but* the GoPower inverter shuts down at anything over 15. This happened to me three days in a row while trying to run AC stuff off the inverter during daylight hours. The only way I could get the inverter to kick on was throw jackets on *both* panels, as even one kept the voltage above 15.

Anybody have any better ideas than jackets on the panels, or waiting until less sunny daytimes to run the inverter, or reprogramming the controller for non-optimum charging, or using a separate auxiliary inverter?
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Old 10-08-2017, 05:43 AM   #2
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Is the inverter the SW1500 or the HS1500?

The SW should be fine as it's over voltage is 16.5v. The obvious answer if you have the HW is dropping the Absorption and Equalization voltages on the Blue Sky to 15.

You might get lucky and find someone with the same combination who's dealt with the issue before.
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Old 10-08-2017, 07:04 AM   #3
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Interesting problem, Scott. I'm also wondering if it's either the HS1500 or the SW1500. Looking at the input voltage specs, the SW1500 is 11V to 16V, while the HS tops out at 15.

Mine is the Samlex 1500, max input of 16.5V. I don't have your upgraded MPPT charge controller, but theoretically it should work with the Samlex.

Without looking I would have thought that either the Samlex or the GoPower Escape has used would work fine with the higher input voltages, but it looks like that's not the case, depending on the model.

Long term solution might require changing out *ugh* the inverter for one that handles the higher input. Obviously not ideal.
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Old 10-08-2017, 11:45 AM   #4
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Would a voltage regulator before the inverter work?
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Old 10-08-2017, 12:28 PM   #5
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What kind of batteries do you have that requires over 15 volt absorption charge? Trojan Recommends 14.8 bulk. I can see an equization charge over15 but is it necessary for bulk or absorption? I would just drop the charge voltage down to where my system worked and call it good. Just my thoughts.
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Old 10-08-2017, 12:32 PM   #6
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I just read your post again more thoroughly. I always thought Interstate's charge rates were odd. Look again and try to find them, I think they are gone, I just looked. Like I said I would just stay below 15 volts and call it good.
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Old 10-08-2017, 09:20 PM   #7
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Inverter is a GP-HS1500.

Interesting idea about a voltage regulator. That seems like a possible winner, albeit above my current skill level to do it myself. Hmm.

Not really interested in dropping the charge rates below Interstate’s recommendations. They are pretty clear that the chemistry in these batteries performs optimally at the higher voltages. The feeling in my seatpants when we switched from our original GoPower PWM controller to the BlueSky MPPT was that our 6V bank had a lot more juice in it. We have a Trimetric now to measure such things accurately, but not before the MPPT upgrade, unfortunately.
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Old 10-08-2017, 10:14 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by sclifrickson View Post
Inverter is a GP-HS1500.


Not really interested in dropping the charge rates below Interstate’s recommendations. They are pretty clear that the chemistry in these batteries performs optimally at the higher voltages. .
Have you looked at Interstate's website to verify charge rates? I don't see where Interstate says that at all, at least not any more. I personally would follow "Handyman Bob's" recommendations and use Trojan's charge rates and avoid the problem. That's just what I would do, especially since I don't think any of the Escape factory charge rates are even up to 14.8. True, higher charge rate voltages will charge faster and if it is worth spending more money to avoid dropping the voltage, then go for it. We have our EP Solar controller set to 14.8 and it charges our Interstate six volts fine.
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Old 10-08-2017, 10:22 PM   #9
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Yes, I have checked and rechecked Interstate’s charging data. There are a number of threads that discuss this at length elsewhere if you’re interested, usually in the context of neither the factory solar GoPower, nor the WFCO converter being able to reach these voltages and optimize charging. I have spoken with Interstate technical personnel directly about all of this.

The BlueSky is one of the few chargers that can charge per Interstate’s specs.

I appreciate your input, but am not really interested in good enough. I want my trailer to work the best that it can, and I want my batteries fully charged, not 90%. Otherwise I would have stuck with the GoPower controller.
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Old 10-08-2017, 11:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sclifrickson View Post
...

Anybody have any better ideas than jackets on the panels, ...
Better is debatable but something to consider:

A 300 amp diode, for $25 on Ebay, will drop the voltage going into the inverter by approximately 0.7 volts. Add a heatsink to keep it cool and a bypass switch for when the solar panels are offline (night).

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Old 10-09-2017, 07:29 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alanmalk View Post
Better is debatable but something to consider:

A 300 amp diode, for $25 on Ebay, will drop the voltage going into the inverter by approximately 0.7 volts. Add a heatsink to keep it cool and a bypass switch for when the solar panels are offline (night).

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Now that's an interesting approach. Simply regulate the voltage input to the inverter only. The BlueSky controller would still be able to provide the recommended higher charging voltage, but the inverter would not be overloaded.
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Old 10-09-2017, 08:35 AM   #12
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Are these lead acid, gel, or AGM batteries?

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Old 10-09-2017, 09:45 AM   #13
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They are the standard batteries that Escape installs in the dual 6V setup: Interstate flooded lead acid GC2-ECL-UTL.
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Old 10-09-2017, 10:05 AM   #14
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Despite previous threads there is not a good reason to charge the batteries over 14.8 volts. Higher voltage charging rates results in excessive off-gassing and lower electrolyte levels in the cells of the battery. Interstate batteries only recommends charging above 15 volts for the occasional equalization charge which is 15.6 volts for 2 hours.


If you choose to charge your batteries over 14.8 volts the electrolyte level should be closely monitored.
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Old 10-09-2017, 10:33 AM   #15
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That is incorrect. Interstate recommends 15.3 volts for 2 to 4 hours for the absorption phase of each charge cycle. They additionally recommend 15.6 volts for two hours for the periodic equalization charge.
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Old 10-09-2017, 02:30 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by sclifrickson View Post
That is incorrect. Interstate recommends 15.3 volts for 2 to 4 hours for the absorption phase of each charge cycle. They additionally recommend 15.6 volts for two hours for the periodic equalization charge.
I know there has been a lot of discussion about Interstate charge rates through the years and how they differ from all the other manufactures specs. I sent an e-mail to Interstate and received this response from Lisa Simonini who works at Interstate. Lisa.Simonini@ibsa.com
Lisa's response was: Here is information from our tech support team. If this information does not answer your questions then please email them and they will get back to you with the correct answer. Their emailed Information is attached.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf GC2-ECL and HCL and Costco Charging Profile 6-2016.pdf (58.0 KB, 51 views)
File Type: pdf Battery Maintenance.pdf (61.7 KB, 32 views)
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Old 10-09-2017, 03:19 PM   #17
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I know there has been a lot of discussion about Interstate charge rates through the years and how they differ from all the other manufactures specs. I sent an e-mail to Interstate and received this response from Lisa Simonini who works at Interstate. Lisa.Simonini@ibsa.com
Lisa's response was: Here is information from our tech support team. If this information does not answer your questions then please email them and they will get back to you with the correct answer. Their emailed Information is attached.
Thank you, this is the same information that I received from Interstate batteries tech support.
It is best to use a "smart" battery charger that transitions from bulk to absorption to float in response to the battery charge voltage rather than charge in the absorption mode for a fixed duration of time. Current will decreasegradually during this point as the battery internal resistance comes up. Float
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Old 10-09-2017, 03:31 PM   #18
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Thank you, this is the same information that I received for interstate batteries.
I also saw the information from Interstate that is still posted on older posts stating that the charge voltage at 15.3. I always was suspicious of that information being incorrect. Now that Interstate no longer posts that information and aligns with other battery manufacture specs I would go with the latest information.
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Old 10-09-2017, 04:33 PM   #19
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Here we go again.

Interstates website used to have the higher figures referenced in old posts, still does but it's harder to find. Here's the PDF from Interstatedealers.com on it, it downloads when you click the link below, at least on my pc. Don't know what the relationship is between interstate.com and interstatedealers.com, I'd just be guessing.

www.interstatedealers.com/pdf/201535.pdf

My old notes on it have the higher numbers for the GC2-XHD-UTL as opposed to the slightly lower capacity GC2-ECL-UTL's ETI now installs. This may have something to do with the differing info from Interstate. Here's the pertinent part from the pdf, and the specs on the XHD.

I have noticed I don't get as many false propane alarms when equalize is set lower then the XHD spec calls for.



Attached Images
File Type: jpg Interstate.jpg (83.1 KB, 25 views)
File Type: jpg interstate2.jpg (32.0 KB, 19 views)
File Type: jpg interstate3.jpg (32.0 KB, 13 views)
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Old 10-09-2017, 04:36 PM   #20
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Are these lead acid, gel, or AGM batteries?
'Gel' and 'AGM' are just two types of lead-acid batteries; the other common type are 'flooded'. All batteries available from Escape are flooded (so, not gel or AGM).
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