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Old 10-19-2015, 04:49 PM   #1
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Battery equalization

Does anyone know if ETI sets the Samlex Solar charge controller to "automatic" equalization or "manual" equalization when they are completing the solar option installation? As our 17B was "pre-owned" we did not have the benefit of an "orientation".

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Old 10-19-2015, 07:13 PM   #2
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Is ETI now using a Samlex Solar charge controller for their solar installations? Which model?

We had ETI put on a panel about a year ago and it came with a Go Power charge controller. The first went south soon after installation and the replacement, second one, just followed it over the hill. These had a pretty rudimentary changing scheme but generally kept the battery up. I just replaced the second one with a Blue Sky SC30 controller. It should work better but I have yet to take a trip with it.

The Blue Sky disables equalization as delivered for safety, i.e. someone might hook up to sealed batteries and not re-program it. But when equalization is done it applies 15.2V for 2 hours. They indicate at least 3.5A is required for each 100 Ahr battery capacity. Our panel might do this for our single 85 Ahr battery, I doubt it could keep this up for two batteries.

I think the 120v/12v panel is a WFCO WF-8900? If this is correct I think it has a 3 stage battery charger but doesn't do any equalization. Hard to find good specs on this converter/charger though.

But back to your original questions, I have no idea.

Thanks.
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Old 10-20-2015, 10:59 AM   #3
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Hugh,
I can relate to what you say. I also have installed the Blue Sky SC30 solar controller. I have programmed the equalization charge for the recommended 15.6 volts for two hours. With my 120 watt solar panel I do not think I have a prayer of achieving enough voltage. I even have a difficult time getting to the Interstate recommended (dual six volt) charge rate of 15.3 volts.

I have never found a 110 volt charger that will achieve the charge rates that Interstate recommends, much less the equalization level. To date I have only seen three models of solar controllers capable of getting to that level. Again, these are the recommend rates from Interstate and for most users they are shocked, you are gonna fry your battery, is a common statement. Check the Interstate web site for your dual sixes charge rate, I did not believe the web site and called engineering at Interstate, same answer, New battery chemistry requires high charge rates. Trojan is close to those same levels with their six volt batteries.

Is Your Battery Really Charged? provides more information on this topic.
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Old 10-20-2015, 11:06 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fbalexander View Post
Does anyone know if ETI sets the Samlex Solar charge controller to "automatic" equalization or "manual" equalization when they are completing the solar option installation? As our 17B was "pre-owned" we did not have the benefit of an "orientation".

Fred Alexander
I believe it can be set up to do either. Go to samlex website and check the manual.
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Old 10-20-2015, 12:13 PM   #5
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Oct 2015 - ETI controller model

Our 17 is a Sept. 2015 model, and has the
Samlex SSC-30AB, matched with their 150 W panel.

Here's where the manual is found.
30 Amp 12V24V Samlex Solar Charge Controller | SCC-30AB
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 097.jpg (116.8 KB, 27 views)
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Old 10-20-2015, 12:21 PM   #6
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And then there is BatteryMinders take on equalization cycles. Avoid Battery Sulfation Based on the fact that high temperatures are listed most everywhere as a cause of shortened battery life, some reading on the web, and emails back and forth with a BatteryMinder tech, I decided to give their method a try on my 5+ year old Interstates. Only time will tell I guess.
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Old 10-20-2015, 03:36 PM   #7
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And then there is BatteryMinders take on equalization cycles. Avoid Battery Sulfation Based on the fact that high temperatures are listed most everywhere as a cause of shortened battery life, some reading on the web, and emails back and forth with a BatteryMinder tech, I decided to give their method a try on my 5+ year old Interstates. Only time will tell I guess.
A very good choice !
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Old 10-21-2015, 11:40 AM   #8
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Battery equalization

Quote:
Originally Posted by dfandrews View Post
Our 17 is a Sept. 2015 model, and has the
Samlex SSC-30AB, matched with their 150 W panel.

Here's where the manual is found.
30 Amp 12V24V Samlex Solar Charge Controller | SCC-30AB
Thanks Don! Our 17B is a April 2015 model and was outfitted with the Samlex SSC-30AB as well. I'm thinking that it would make sense that ETI leave the equalization in "Manual" mode and let the new owner figure things out. I'm also getting the impression that most owners with the dual 6's and solar just leave things alone and don't "mess" with equalization. As I have no experience in solar systems I don't know whether I should equalize once a year or once a month or just not at all. Suggestions anyone... from the group who are "educated" on this topic?

"Solar Dummy"
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Old 10-21-2015, 01:29 PM   #9
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The folks at AM solar set all there Controllers to manual equalization . They recommend for my 2 6 volt interstate batteries be equalized twice a year.
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Old 10-21-2015, 02:29 PM   #10
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Has anyone looked into replacing the changer/converter in the WFCO? It may be possible to find one with a good, maybe adjustable, changing scheme and that does equalization. That would more consistently apply enough power to equalize any number of batteries.

I'd be surprised if anyone is boon docking for six month periods without hooking up to shore power. You gotta wash clothes once in a while.

Thanks.
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Old 10-21-2015, 04:39 PM   #11
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As Paul mentions above, it takes a long time to completely charge the batteries with a single 12v panel, by the time the controller gets to the equalize stage the sun to done for the day. After a good deal of experimenting the only way I can get my Bogart controller to do an equalize is to start a good sunny day at 98% full. 98% being Bogart's cutoff to start a 4 stage charge. Even then I can't get the full 4 hours at 15.6v. As far as I can tell, you need a 2nd panel to get the full potential out of these controllers. So no matter what the manual says, take it with a grain of salt. Takes a long time to stuff the last few amps in a battery, equalizing (auto), won't start till that's done. You need to be able to get to that point early in the day to give equalization time to do it's thing.

I've not played with manual equalization as the early Bogart's didn't have it.
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Old 10-21-2015, 09:28 PM   #12
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There is some contention on the need for equalization. You see recommendations here and there for how often and even more contentious, at what voltage. One time I read that if you never let your battery get below 50% charge there is not a need for equalization. Apparently the build up on the lead that equalization removes only occurs when the battery is at a low charge.

I read this on the internet so it must be true. Take it for what value it has.

None of the WFCO replacements come with the ability to perform an equalization. Other than a solar charger (a limited few) the only method I have seen of equalization is the portable unit that runs off 110. Eric has purchased the Battery Minder that is described above. Check out some of the links he provides in his post.
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Old 10-22-2015, 08:40 AM   #13
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Boondocker Main Board Assembly for WFCO 8955
Easy install 5 wires less than an hours time.
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Old 10-22-2015, 09:45 AM   #14
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The Boondocker looks like a great replacement for a failing WFCO and it appears they offer "Built-in desulfation cycle" but they do not offer any voltages for doing that. Their specification sheet cannot be found so I am not sure they have a true 4 stage converter/charger. It appears "That "equalization" feature is just a shot of boost voltage every so often to prevent stratification. It is not equalization as usually defined at all."

From what I have read it appears that the Boondocker is a modified version of the Power Max. A modification done by someone called Randy and operating separately from Power Max.

Still the same charge voltages as WFCO and this is not a charger that does equalization.
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Old 10-22-2015, 11:10 AM   #15
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"That "equalization" feature is just a shot of boost voltage every so often to prevent stratification. It is not equalization as usually defined at all."
Who are you quoting ??
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Old 10-22-2015, 12:38 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by fudge_brownie View Post
The Boondocker looks like a great replacement for a failing WFCO and it appears they offer "Built-in desulfation cycle" but they do not offer any voltages for doing that. Their specification sheet cannot be found so I am not sure they have a true 4 stage converter/charger. It appears "That "equalization" feature is just a shot of boost voltage every so often to prevent stratification. It is not equalization as usually defined at all."

From what I have read it appears that the Boondocker is a modified version of the Power Max. A modification done by someone called Randy and operating separately from Power Max.

Still the same charge voltages as WFCO and this is not a charger that does equalization.
From "Randy" who is not only helpful but is "knowledgeable".
Hi,
It is not modified by us. The Boondocker does not equalize but rather has a desulfatation cycle once a day at 14.6 volts. Folks have mistakenly used equalization interchangeably for years. Equalization is a deliberate over charge greater than 15.5 volts for several hours. None of these converters do that nor do you want that in an automatic converter/charger. Its also a constant current charger that is capable of delivering its max rated output even in the normal mode. It has similar voltages as the WFCO except it will boost much easier. 14.6 (actually a little higher), 13.6 and 13.2 float. It IS a true 4 stage converter/charger. Hope this helps.
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Old 10-22-2015, 01:30 PM   #17
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In the original post the question was asking about equalization, not about desulfination. It appears that Randy agrees that the Boondocker does not do equalization but a desulfination cycle, for that reason he can call it a four stage charger, My opinion, and I think what is generally accepted, is that 4 stages mean: trickle/float/storage, bulk, absorption and equalization, he has a different definition.

The point in my above two posts is reinforced by Randy. No converter will do equalization.
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Old 10-22-2015, 03:21 PM   #18
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See previous posts in this forum about replacing the WFCO converter section with a Xantrex TrueCharge2 40-amp unit, which will equalize and charge at higher voltages.

Xantrex Charger Installation and Wiring Upgrades

Truecharge Battery Charger | Truecharge2 20A, 40A, 60A | Xantrex
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