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Old 06-15-2024, 12:57 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2024
Location: Bellingham, Washington
Trailer: Escape 21C
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New 21C - Solar not charging at all

I have a new 21C (1 month old) with two solar panels and two lithium batteries installed at the factory (and no external solar connection). The solar panels, even when in direct sunlight, don't appear to be charging the batteries at all. I've been checking numerous times at various battery charge states and simply get no current from the panels being put back into the batteries.


I'm trying to get support for ETI on this but they have been relatively unresponsive and unhelpful so far. I'm continuing to pursue this with them but thought the community might see something immediately that is amiss of have something obvious for me to check.


When I probe the the Victron MPPT 100/50 charge controller with my multi-meter, I'm seeing 24V on the solar and 13.5V on the batteries. The Victron app confirms those numbers



I'm new to solar and still learning the various charge modes and terminology so bear with me.



See attached photos for charge controller state and settings.


Any obvious place to start here?


Thanks!
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2024-06-15 10.13.58.jpg   2024-06-15 10.52.31.jpg  
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Old 06-15-2024, 01:40 PM   #2
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Location: Lanesboro, MN, between Whalan and Fountain, Minnesota
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You appear to have full batteries. Once they get full you'll either get no additional amps or very little amps (1-4 amps).

Your absorption is a little low at 14.2, most are at 14.4, but ours are set at 14.6 when out camping (I manually set to 14.2 when we're not camping but the solar is running).

Food for thought,

Perry
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Old 06-15-2024, 07:49 PM   #3
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Continue to pardon my ignorance as this is my first experience with solar charging.


I assumed that the charge controller was connected directly to my batteries but that doesn't appear to be the case.


I measure 13.5V on the "Battery" terminal at the charge controller. That must be the voltage the charge controller is attempting to charge the batteries at.


However, if I measure the voltage at my batteries themselves, I'm getting 10.2V which makes sense (as I've been draining them the last few days).


I just did a connectivity test with my meter between my batteries and the charge connector and there doesn't appear to be a connection. That explains why they're not charging.


If I visually follow the battery wires out of the charge controller they disappear under the rear dinette without connecting to the batteries. I'm not sure where they go. I've been attempting to find a electrical schematic but it seems like that's not public info.


This thread has a schematic that should be close to my trailer but doesn't explain what's going on with my wiring.


Do you or anyone else know if I should be able to visually follow the wiring from my batteries to the charge controller? Or does it go through some other electrical gizmos in the trailer that I should start inspecting for connectivity?
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Old 06-15-2024, 09:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CampinAndBikin View Post

If I visually follow the battery wires out of the charge controller they disappear under the rear dinette without connecting to the batteries. I'm not sure where they go. I've been attempting to find a electrical schematic but it seems like that's not public info.
First of all, electrical schematic, let's not go down that rabbit hole. In the past it's been an often discussed item and now, with so much customization, there's no one size fits all.

I installed my own solar etc. so I don't know how ETI installs theirs. My controller output goes to the positive and negative terminals on the fuse panel.

See what you find when you measure there. There are two positive terminals, try each one.

Ron
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Old 06-16-2024, 12:31 PM   #5
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"under the dinette" ? you mean under the benches? take the cushions off (I pile them on the bed) and open the benches, the lids are hinged and you should be able to see everything.. On my 2014, with a U shaped dinette, the dual golf cart batts were in a bat box under the curbside bench, the solar controller was mounted on the face of the curbside bench, and I'm pretty sure the solar was wired directly to the battery (I tore all that out a couple years ago).
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Old 06-17-2024, 11:15 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone, I followed the positive battery wire out of the charge controller as it exited the passenger side bench with a bunch of wires traversing under/behind the table towards the driver's side bench.



And I eventually found it. It's simple a snipped, unterminated, unstripped wire just hanging out in the middle of nowhere. It was obviously never hooked up anywhere and ETI clearly never tested solar charging as part of their QA process.


They're getting an angry call from me this morning.
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