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Old 03-01-2016, 06:12 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Mary F View Post
Great report, Jill! Thanks for sharing - I agree the towing will get easier with more practice... And that carrying firewood sure adds to the load. The other thing about solar is it doesn't stink (no exhaust); and we've also used the indoor dining when conditions weren't picnic suitable. Getting in the mood to get going again! (We're heading to Surprise, AZ next week, to watch a little baseball.)
One more thing about solar - you don't have the potential danger of carrying around an extra gas can!
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Old 03-01-2016, 06:44 PM   #12
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Many don't know having that option is also a great thing for battery maintenance in most cases as the charge controller is way more efficient than the WFCO house converter for charging.

On the inverter issue- we met another newbie two days ago in Monterey reporting the same problem and they left before I could digest it. The 120V plug wont' work for a minute or two after turning on the inverter...it's not like plugging in with full hookups.
Count me among those who didn't know that about battery maintenance. But then I have a ton to learn about all that. I just tested my inverter with the coffee maker again. This time I was sure to wait a full 2 minutes after turning on the inverter, before starting the coffee maker and it worked! However I'm a bit confused on all the readings.

Before I started, my battery level showed full and the solar showed 12.8w and 151 amp hours and the inverter showed 12.8w input. While making coffee, the inverter reading showed 11.2 input, and dropped to 11.1 towards the end of the cycle. After the coffee was done, the inverter showed 12.4 input, the battery level dropped to 2/3 full and solar showed 12.4w but still had 151 amp hours. I would have expected the 151 amp hours to drop as well.

Anyway, the good news is that the inverter may be working properly. My guess is that I was so eager for that morning jolt that I didn't wait long enough for the inverter to fire up.
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Old 03-01-2016, 07:13 PM   #13
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This may help you better understand The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
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Old 03-02-2016, 12:03 AM   #14
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This may help you better understand The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
What an awesome resource - thank you for sharing that!
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Old 03-02-2016, 11:53 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Jill View Post
Count me among those who didn't know that about battery maintenance. But then I have a ton to learn about all that. I just tested my inverter with the coffee maker again. This time I was sure to wait a full 2 minutes after turning on the inverter, before starting the coffee maker and it worked! However I'm a bit confused on all the readings.

Before I started, my battery level showed full and the solar showed 12.8w and 151 amp hours and the inverter showed 12.8w input. While making coffee, the inverter reading showed 11.2 input, and dropped to 11.1 towards the end of the cycle. After the coffee was done, the inverter showed 12.4 input, the battery level dropped to 2/3 full and solar showed 12.4w but still had 151 amp hours. I would have expected the 151 amp hours to drop as well.

Anyway, the good news is that the inverter may be working properly. My guess is that I was so eager for that morning jolt that I didn't wait long enough for the inverter to fire up.
All of this makes sense, although you should change the "w" to "v" since w stands for watts and you are describing voltage. The inverter load on the battery and wiring pulls down the voltage while operating the coffee pot. When it is done, the current draw drops, the voltage goes back up, but since you used some of the battery capacity, not as far up as when you started. Over time, the solar panels will replace the used amperage in the battery.

As to why the solar controller shows the same amp hours, it can't determine what you used from the battery since it can only measure voltage & amperage going out of the controller. Essentially, it tells you what the solar panels produced since the last time you reset it.

To determine actual battery amp hours you need a battery monitor, a device that is placed in series with the battery at the battery so that all current goes through it. It will measure what goes into the battery from any source (tow vehicle, converter or solar controller), and what goes out to any load. This provides a far more accurate measurement of usage, but is not a standard (or even optional) item on Escapes.

While there are several manufacturers, I installed a Bogart TriMetric 2025 (current model is the 2030) in my trailer.
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Old 03-02-2016, 12:10 PM   #16
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Good explanation Jon. I was at a loss at what I was looking at on the factory solar at Quartzsite and Jon walked me through everything that I could do and measure from the controller display. I really appreciated his help on interpreting all that info, and you definitely get to see why he was and still is a successful teacher.
I'm not sure at this point I need more measurement than currently exists, but when we hit the road full-time like Jon, I will need the additional battery monitoring. Of course, by then there will probably be an RV Powerwall by Tesla that will change how we approach everything.
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Old 03-02-2016, 12:26 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
All of this makes sense, although you should change the "w" to "v" since w stands for watts and you are describing voltage. The inverter load on the battery and wiring pulls down the voltage while operating the coffee pot. When it is done, the current draw drops, the voltage goes back up, but since you used some of the battery capacity, not as far up as when you started. Over time, the solar panels will replace the used amperage in the battery.

As to why the solar controller shows the same amp hours, it can't determine what you used from the battery since it can only measure voltage & amperage going out of the controller. Essentially, it tells you what the solar panels produced since the last time you reset it.
Thank you Jon - that makes perfect sense. Lots of learning opportunities here and I love it!
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Old 03-02-2016, 01:28 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
All of this makes sense, although you should change the "w" to "v" since w stands for watts and you are describing voltage. The inverter load on the battery and wiring pulls down the voltage while operating the coffee pot. When it is done, the current draw drops, the voltage goes back up, but since you used some of the battery capacity, not as far up as when you started. Over time, the solar panels will replace the used amperage in the battery.

As to why the solar controller shows the same amp hours, it can't determine what you used from the battery since it can only measure voltage & amperage going out of the controller. Essentially, it tells you what the solar panels produced since the last time you reset it.

To determine actual battery amp hours you need a battery monitor, a device that is placed in series with the battery at the battery so that all current goes through it. It will measure what goes into the battery from any source (tow vehicle, converter or solar controller), and what goes out to any load. This provides a far more accurate measurement of usage, but is not a standard (or even optional) item on Escapes.

While there are several manufacturers, I installed a Bogart TriMetric 2025 (current model is the 2030) in my trailer.
Jon how hard was it to install the Bogart?

And we'll have dual 6v and an inverter

Does that make it harder to put in the shunt?
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Old 03-02-2016, 01:32 PM   #19
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Installers manual. Probably more than one needs to know.
http://www.bogartengineering.com/sit...s1-27-2016.pdf
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Old 03-02-2016, 02:40 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Losangeles View Post
Jon how hard was it to install the Bogart?

And we'll have dual 6v and an inverter

Does that make it harder to put in the shunt?
It depends on the original wiring. If the inverter is run with separate wiring from the rest of the feed between the batteries & the converter, you have to add the shunt between the battery and ALL negative connections for it to provide accurate readings.

In the case of my 17B, I rewired the jumper between batteries & the main feeds from them to the inverter with #0 wire, then #6 between the inverter & the converter. The shunt went in the line to the inverter. Not difficult, other than dealing with 1/2" thick wire. I placed the TM2025 next to the solar controller & ran a lightweight 4 conductor cable between them. How difficult this would be depends on the location of your shunt & the TM2030.

While Escape won't install the TM2030, they will prewire for the run between the shunt & the device if your ask, and give them the locations (and probably pay for it).
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