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Old 07-06-2017, 02:51 AM   #1
LJY
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How does Solar work ?

Sorry.. really don't know how the solar controller works.

Questions:
1. Does the USB port on the solar controller panel charge using solar? if so, what happens at night?

2. I tried to use the inverter when unhooked to shore power, but the outlets don't work. Is there a specific outlet that will work when inverter is on?

3. What is the solar controller doing when it shows battery is 100% and still there's amps coming in during day time?

4. Is there a way to turn off solar when the battery is 100%?

Thanks!
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Old 07-06-2017, 06:06 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by LJY View Post

2. I tried to use the inverter when unhooked to shore power, but the outlets don't work. Is there a specific outlet that will work when inverter is on?
Unless you specified other plugs to be wired to work off the inverter, the one under the kitchen counter is the only one wired to use battery power.
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Old 07-06-2017, 07:31 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by LJY View Post
Sorry.. really don't know how the solar controller works.


3. What is the solar controller doing when it shows battery is 100% and still there's amps coming in during day time?

4. Is there a way to turn off solar when the battery is 100%?
At 100% the solar controller applies a trickle charge, just enough to maintain the battery. The balance of incoming power is discarded.

There is no reason to turn it off unless for maintenance purposes. The trickle charge is a recommended operation for all batteries.
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Old 07-06-2017, 08:13 AM   #4
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1. The USB is an auxiliary port to plug in your phone or any other item that needs charging
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Old 07-06-2017, 08:29 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LJY View Post
1. Does the USB port on the solar controller panel charge using solar? if so, what happens at night?

...
The controller regulates charging of the battery. That USB port will draw power from the battery at night, so as long as your trailer battery is charged, that USB power port will charge devices like Jim says above.
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Old 07-06-2017, 08:47 AM   #6
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My answers are embedded in your questions
Quote:
Originally Posted by LJY View Post
Sorry.. really don't know how the solar controller works.

Questions:
1. Does the USB port on the solar controller panel charge using solar? if so, what happens at night?

Yes. At night there will be no charging.

2. I tried to use the inverter when unhooked to shore power, but the outlets don't work. Is there a specific outlet that will work when inverter is on?

As Donna says. The std config with the inverter is to have one plug connected to its output. At the purchasers option and cost, all plugs are connected.(Thank you Donna)


3. What is the solar controller doing when it shows battery is 100% and still there's amps coming in during day time?

Providing a trickle charge to the battery. The % readings from the solar controller are really "nominal" values and not exact as they are based on battery voltage. What's actually happening in this situation is that the batteries have reached the threshold voltage but they are still providing amps to some items in the trailer such as the propane monitor, your inverter if it is turned on (even with no loads on it). The amp draw shown on the controller readout represents this small usage and also the trickle charge.

4. Is there a way to turn off solar when the battery is 100%?

Yes, you can disconnect the wires to the batteries but this is a radical move and really serves no useful purpose. The solar controller will have a regulating device in it which lowers the amp feed to the batteries as they get charged up, that's why its called a "controller". When they are charged the amp feed should be down to a trickle which should keep them fully charged.

Thanks!
So the system is really "fire and forget" in terms of operation.
One note, you should avoid having battery capacity drawn down to 50% or lower as this really shortens battery life.

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Old 07-06-2017, 01:27 PM   #7
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Voltage to percent of charge chart.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Battery_charge.jpg (138.6 KB, 92 views)
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Old 07-06-2017, 06:10 PM   #8
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Voltage to percent of charge chart.
Does this hold true for dual 6 volt set up?
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Old 07-06-2017, 06:11 PM   #9
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Yes, the 2 6v batteries are seen as a single 12v.
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Old 07-06-2017, 06:24 PM   #10
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Thanks, we went almost 3 days without sun and batteries got to 77%, thought we had a lot left. Guess not so much.
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Old 07-06-2017, 07:50 PM   #11
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You did have a lot left, 27% or about 4 days under the same conditions. But not the 77% you thought you had.

Even on overcast rainy days or when parked under broken tree cover, one stills get some power out of the panel, something like an 1ah.

For ourselves, in the summer we use about 5% a day, or 12 amps. On a lousy day we'll gain back about 5 amps for a net loss of 7 amps. The batteries hold 230 amps, 50%= 115A.
115/7=16 days, roughly.

1 day in full summer sun gets me about 50 amps with the 160w panel.

Hooking to the vehicle and letting it run for a while will restore some too, would be kind of slow though.
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Old 07-06-2017, 09:31 PM   #12
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Here's a great explanation from Go Power.

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Old 07-07-2017, 12:18 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
Unless you specified other plugs to be wired to work off the inverter, the one under the kitchen counter is the only one wired to use battery power.
hmm... pretty sure I tried that one last time. I guess I'll test it again next time.
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Old 07-07-2017, 12:34 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by John David View Post
My answers are embedded in your questions


So the system is really "fire and forget" in terms of operation.
One note, you should avoid having battery capacity drawn down to 50% or lower as this really shortens battery life.

John
Thanks for your help.
Not being argumentative.. but really questioning the use of a battery if I can only use 50% of it? I used it while towing to run the refrigerator. If this is a bad thing, how much should I expect to pay to replace the batteries and when?

As to why I'd like to shutoff the system temporarily.. I get headaches when near high EMFs.. and I was getting them and checked and found extremely high EMFs from the solar panel when it was sunny outside. So, there's no way to disconnect/disable thru the controller panel?
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Old 07-07-2017, 03:04 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by LJY View Post
Thanks for your help.
Not being argumentative.. but really questioning the use of a battery if I can only use 50% of it? I used it while towing to run the refrigerator. If this is a bad thing, how much should I expect to pay to replace the batteries and when?
It depends on the fridge you have, the size of the solar panel/s, and the batteries one has.

The 6.2cf fridge uses a lot of power, most folks travel with it on propane. If I travel 8 hours with the 6.3cf fridge on battery, on a sunny day, I'm down about 10% of my 2 6v batteries capacity when I pull into a campground. If I'll have hookups at the site it's no problem, they will recharge overnight. If I won't have hookups I don't run the fridge on battery.

You may be fine with one of the smaller fridges.

I believe the standard solar and batteries are more sized to run the standard non propane item in the trailer. If you want to run other items, like the fridge, or larger power consuming 120vac items off the inverter, you may need to increase your solar or battery capacity. You really need to calculate how much power you want to be able to use in a day against how much you can use in a day.

Having a small trailer puts space limits on the number of batteries and solar panels one can have. Ones expectations need to have their limits too.
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Old 07-07-2017, 09:18 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by LJY View Post
Thanks for your help.
Not being argumentative.. but really questioning the use of a battery if I can only use 50% of it? I used it while towing to run the refrigerator. If this is a bad thing, how much should I expect to pay to replace the batteries and when?

As to why I'd like to shutoff the system temporarily.. I get headaches when near high EMFs.. and I was getting them and checked and found extremely high EMFs from the solar panel when it was sunny outside. So, there's no way to disconnect/disable thru the controller panel?
Not using the controller. You would need to add a switch between the panel & the controller to shut them off. That might not solve your problem since I suspect the EMF is created by the controller, not the panels. You might need to add a switch at the controller output to isolate it as well. Do not disconnect the controller from the batteries without also disconnecting the panel; that can damage the controller.

As to discharging the battery, the number of charging cycles before the battery no longer takes a charge depends on how far it is discharged. Here is a link to a chart that shows the result of various amounts of discharge vs expected battery life.

There are still good reasons for using the battery (particularly if you are dry camping) however the 50% suggestion is a compromise between battery life & capacity.
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Old 07-07-2017, 11:54 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LJY View Post
Thanks for your help.
Not being argumentative.. but really questioning the use of a battery if I can only use 50% of it? I used it while towing to run the refrigerator. If this is a bad thing, how much should I expect to pay to replace the batteries and when?

As to why I'd like to shutoff the system temporarily.. I get headaches when near high EMFs.. and I was getting them and checked and found extremely high EMFs from the solar panel when it was sunny outside. So, there's no way to disconnect/disable thru the controller panel?
I will second Jon's thoughts 100%.

The decision to only use 50% of a battery's capacity is purely a matter of long-term economics. For example, I include myself in the group of folks who want to brag that I kept my batteries for 7 years before needing new ones. Others may be thinking they don't want to be worry-warts and just use the batteries without checking the % every hour. I suspect they may be in the happy(er) camper category. When the time comes to replace the batteries the going rate may have changed drastically from today's prices, so no sense in pricing now for something that may be needed years from today. The only real hazard in drawing the batteries down by running the 'fridge all day is not having power that night and a cold front demands use of the furnace. I like to think of the remaining 50% as emergency reserve to use when and if the need arises.

Regarding EMF: The solar panel is strictly a DC device and can not generate EMF. But the controller is a PWM (pulse width modulator) device and generates on/off square waves. And by definition, a pure square wave contains an infinite spectrum of frequencies. Simply stated, nothing is (electrically) noisier than a square wave.

The ultimate solution is to run the solar directly to the batteries with alligator clips. You become the controller by checking the battery voltage every hour while the sun is high and shining directly on the panel. Speaking for myself only - I would just avoid the EMF by going fishing when the sun was high and the controller was working hard. (Other stuff in the trailer can also generate EMF. I had to turn off the 'fridge and some (flickering) lights when using my ham radio. Perhaps I was unlucky but I found that my '21 was annoyingly electrically noisy.)
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Old 07-13-2017, 04:38 PM   #18
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You did have a lot left, 27% or about 4 days under the same conditions. But not the 77% you thought you had.

Even on overcast rainy days or when parked under broken tree cover, one stills get some power out of the panel, something like an 1ah.

For ourselves, in the summer we use about 5% a day, or 12 amps. On a lousy day we'll gain back about 5 amps for a net loss of 7 amps. The batteries hold 230 amps, 50%= 115A.
115/7=16 days, roughly.

1 day in full summer sun gets me about 50 amps with the 160w panel.

Hooking to the vehicle and letting it run for a while will restore some too, would be kind of slow though.


Did you install a heavier, fused wire from vehicle to your trailer plug?


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Old 07-13-2017, 05:36 PM   #19
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Did you install a heavier, fused wire from vehicle to your trailer plug?


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
No, I get about 10 amps from the truck, that's what it was a couple years ago when I checked. No idea what the truck has for wiring, it works well enough for our needs so I've never looked.

If you figure both + & - wires, it works out to about 80'. Going to take some healthy wire to boost it up over 10 amps.
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Old 07-13-2017, 06:40 PM   #20
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Alan, would an MPPT controller reduce the EMF?
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