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Old 05-25-2013, 04:43 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Chilliwack, British Columbia
Trailer: 2008 17B Escape
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Solar Help

First time out using new solar panel. Confusing.
We "might" have had the fridge running off the battery as the gas AND auto was lit up.
Noticed the solar charge was way down to 60% with nothing running and only the start of our weekend.
Switched it to just gas, and it went up to 70%.

Last night with just 2 LED lights on, it dropped to about 30%, using the pump but no firnace.
The charge rate yesterday was 0.1, at one point this morning got as high as 0.5.
We did get up to 98%, but the fluctuation is quite significant if we use anything.
Is this normal?
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Old 05-25-2013, 07:59 PM   #2
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Anna-Marie

The indication of state of charge on the solar panel controller is based on the voltage at the controller. When the battery is charging the voltage will be higher, when the battery is discharging it will be lower, so it is quite normal for it to go up and own. Really the only accurate state of charge indication will be when the battery is at rest -- not charging or discharging. This will probably be just before the sun comes up and just after it goes down, assuming there is no load on the battery.

The charging rate depends on the angle and intensity of light hitting the solar panel. Any shading from a tree or the Maxx fan will cause the charging rate to go down.

Do you know if you were running the fridge off the battery when you were driving? This might account for the state of charge starting off low as the fridge may have been drawing more power than the towing vehicle could supply. We run our fridge on propane except when we are hooked up to external power.

I installed a Trimetric battery monitor to give a more accurate indication of state of charge. It measures power going in and out of the battery to keep a running estimate of the real state of charge. (see separate thread on this topic) Determining State of Charge on Solar Systems
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Old 05-28-2013, 02:30 AM   #3
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After talking a few times to Reace this morning, we had to re-set our solar regulator and now it seems to be charging (was 4.5 charging in our bright cloudy day today) and turning on the maxx fan and almost all the lights, the voltage of the battery dropped a bit, but stayed steady whereas on the weekend whenever we turned anything on, the battery voltage dropped way way down..
so for now we don't need a new battery or anything...
phew...
Made us come home a day early but glad things are resolved...
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Old 05-28-2013, 09:46 AM   #4
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Anna-Marie:

I'm glad things were resolved.
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