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Old 01-08-2014, 07:20 PM   #21
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I think those battery charging voltages are correct for a 6v but incorrect for 2 6v batteries run together for 12v would be significantly higher ? Mine are charged at 14.8 and if it's cold outside the charge rate goes even higher with remote temp sensor , cheers mike
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Old 01-08-2014, 08:27 PM   #22
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more volts

The recommended charging voltages for a single 12v battery on the same chart is shown to be twice the 6 v values. This voltage business is keeping me on the fence between the installed on the roof always- keep- my- batteries- charged, and the preferred portable system that this thread is supposed to be about. But since we are off the road chasing voltages...here are the specs for the WFCO ULTRA III Distribution Center installed in my 19.
Absorption mode: 13.6v
Bulk mode: 14.4v
Float mode: 13.2v
Which may be why the specific gravity of my batteries never shows fully charged until after I have charged it with another battery charger. I think a good solar controller solves this problem.

But as many others around here, I might be obsessing over details...or perhaps killing my batteries slowly over time?
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Old 01-08-2014, 08:27 PM   #23
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We carried our 50W solar panel over from our Casita. I put the solar controller inside the battery box up front and ran the wires to both batteries thru the factory wire conduit.

I cut 20' feet off a 25' 16 gauge extension cord and wired it to the controller. It's coiled up and stored in a bag I Velcro strapped to the frame next to the battery. The remaining 5' is wired to the solar panel. When I need solar, I put the panel where I want it, uncoil the long end of the cord and plug both in. In full sun, I consistently get 13.8 volts. Full charge in 90-120 minutes.

I also drilled a hole in the aluminum frame of the solar panel and put a 10' bike cable and pad lock. Keeps everybody honest when we're away!

The solar panel stores neatly under the bed in a cover Ann made up.

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Old 01-08-2014, 09:43 PM   #24
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Battery Charging

I would like to summarize some of the requirements of battery charging in a RV environment. Many of these ideas come from Handy Bob who is mentioned and linked above by Glenn. Bob is a curmudgeon and writes that way. "Itís my way or the highway." He does have a very interesting blog and to get the most out of this discussion it is worth the struggle to read what he has posted.

Bob is the ultimate boon docker; living off the grid in an RV on a full time basis. He has definite opinions on batteries, solar controllers, wiring, monitors and much more. He seems to know his stuff.

I think the main premise that Bob makes is; we do not charge our batteries at a high enough voltage and are thus missing out on a substantial source of stored power. For starters, Bob states that Trojan recommends that you charge their batteries at 14.8 volts and using Glennís table above we see Interstate is recommending 15.3 volts. Knowing those recommended charge rates you will find that the built in WIFCO controller provided by Escape will only charge at 14.4, if you read up about this charger you will find that it never makes this bulk charge stage, instead always charging at the absorption rate of 13.6 volts. Not good.

Jubal has taken a different approach and replaced his WIFCO with a Progressive PM4-45 MBA controller. From the table below you can see it has a better charge rate of 14.6 volts. Jubal can you give a review of your Progressive controller?

Another alternative is the purchase of a separate smart charger that you connect to your battery. Not my idea of fun.

Solar chargers face the same issue, but here we have some models that actually have the ability to charge at Bobís recommended 14.8+. I have compared the Escape provided Go Power GP-PWM-30 with a model Bob mentions, the Xantec C35. What makes the Xantec unique is you have the ability to vary the voltage being put out by the charger. The Morningstar TriStar TS-45 performs the same way.

Greggo, the best measure is taken after the batteries have rested. You should be getting 14.8 in the full sun, but the benchmark you are looking for is 12.8 volts after the sun has gone down.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Battery Charging.JPG (59.0 KB, 47 views)
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Old 01-08-2014, 09:52 PM   #25
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WOW, thanks fudge. I'm using a Sunforce 7 amp controller. Appreciate the graph. My 13.8 looks like the rate in the Equalization phase. We rarely discharge our batteries below 12.5 V.

Good stuff! Thanks again.

Greg
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Old 01-08-2014, 09:56 PM   #26
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double post.
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Old 01-09-2014, 01:33 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fudge_brownie View Post

I think the main premise that Bob makes is; we do not charge our batteries at a high enough voltage and are thus missing out on a substantial source of stored power. ....

The Morningstar TriStar TS-45 performs the same way.

.
Fudge Brownie, from reading Handy Bob, and other posts here, I was thinking of upgrading equipment.

I was thinking of adding the TS-45 and the Trimetric battery monitor. I'm not sure if I will order either of the digital meters for the TS-45 because of having the Trimetric. Different things, but debating how many monitors I want. What do you think about adding or not adding the Tristar monitor in this case?

Like the idea of the Powermax, but can't find it available in Canada, and I would prefer to avoid US shipping costs.

I guess I'm in the same boat as many here - trying to imagine what might be an ideal setup, then deciding what I want to pay. j

(Oh - also thinking of beefing up the wire size from my alternator to trailer.)
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:31 PM   #28
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Hotfishtacos is knowledgeable and has optimized the battery charging systems in his Escape. I would recommend following his recommendations:
Battery and furnace - do I expect too much?
The Powermax inverter and the TriStar TS-45 Solar controller are a significant improvements for optimizing battery charging. Xanterex also make an excellent power inverter.
Xantrex Charger Installation and Wiring Upgrades
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:31 PM   #29
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Having to make decisions on published information is hard. Just think how easy we had it before the internet and did not know about all these choices and opinions. I would guess that you, like many on this forum, like the research and review of all these options.

The Xantec controller comes in two different models, one without a LCD/LED screen. Not sure if the TriStar has that option. Bob was critical of the Xantec, blaming poor Chinese quality. However, I believe all the solar controllers are now made in China.

I do believe with the Trimetric 2025 you will not want or need any other screens. Most of the time the controller is in a water tight box or buried away next to the batteries. A screen on a controller is somewhat useless unless it includes a separate unit that can be placed for viewing. I believe the Go Power that Escape uses has such a feature, an extension that is wired to a LCD/LED screen.

I am still sitting on the fence on the Powermax, my logic is having a solar system that gets the most out of the batteries is more important than the built in charger. It is when boon docking and using solar that I want that extra charge, if I can use shore power it does not matter as much. I was going to ask Reece about substituting during the build but have decided against it.

What is most important regarding the built in charger from WIFCO is it needs at least 24 hours to complete a charge and you are leaving home with only 85% battery charge. And, as this thread points out, you cannot depend on your vehicle to bring that charge up while travelling.

Which brings up the final question, what about rewiring the vehicle? I have to profess that I do not know enough of the benefits of rewiring to know if there is the payoff. Depending on battery placement in your trailer you may need to consider rewiring that as well and probably with some pretty hefty wire. Eric has dual six volts on the back of his Escape 17, resulting in 10 meter wire run. Then you need to be in your vehicle and towing enough to get the charge, so how you use your trailer comes into the equation.

For those looking to purchase solar products in Canada I have found one location that seems quite reasonable www.wegosolar.com. They are based on Vancouver Island. Are there other recommendations?
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:54 PM   #30
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If you are opting for the GoPower solar installation from Escape TT and do not want to change the controller :
http://gpelectric.com/files/gpelectr...ler2-FINAL.pdf
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