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Old 09-20-2014, 11:08 AM   #1
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bad batteries or flaky (factory) solar?

This morning we started hearing a clicking noise at the front of the Safari (under the couch) where all the power connections are. We had never heard that before in the 8 years we have had the Safari. I was pretty sure it was an electrical relay making the noise and confirmed that it was coming from the Sunexplorer charge controller. The relay clicks corresponded with the Charge/Partial/Low LEDs rapidly blinking. The 'Full' LED is solid green. And they also correspond with the changes for Solar Charge Amps reading on the Sunexplorer display. And it was intermittent. OK... The batteries are showing charged (I haven't measured directly yet) and when we returned to the trailer last night we discovered that we had lost AC shore power (interior breaker tripped after external surge protector fried), and we ran the pump and lights off the batteries until I troubleshot that. I'm wondering if we have a flaky solar system or the batteries are finally going. They are the original 2006 Lifelines from the factory. I know we would have noticed the clicking before. I would've woken up if it was doing it last night. The Sunexplorer shows 1.00% (we thought it was the normal 100% until I looked closer), Battery Voltage is 13.7, Solar Charge Amps 0.0 and the Solar Amp hours is only 1.27. I'm scratcing my head. It seems to have stopped now. And what do you know... the sun is up much higher. Any ideas? Are we just paranoid? I'm leaning toward batteries but I can't really prove it.

Thanks,
Ken
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Old 09-20-2014, 01:14 PM   #2
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You're lucky your original 2006 Lifeline batteries lasted this long! I replaced mine when they were 5 1/2 years old (see details), when they began not holding onto a charge as long as they used to. Lifeline AGM batteries typically have a life span of 5 - 8 years, so I now change mine about every 5 years when I change the tires!

If you still have problems after getting new AGMs, then the next thing to check is the controller, of course. Good Luck with this!
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Old 09-20-2014, 01:26 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by silverback View Post
The Sunexplorer shows 1.00% (we thought it was the normal 100% until I looked closer), Battery Voltage is 13.7, Solar Charge Amps 0.0 and the Solar Amp hours is only 1.27. I'm scratcing my head. It seems to have stopped now. And what do you know... the sun is up much higher. Any ideas? Are we just paranoid? I'm leaning toward batteries but I can't really prove it.

Thanks,
Ken
The Sunexplorer monitor displaying "Battery Voltage is 13.7" is only telling you that the very top of the battery is 13.7 volts, which can be very misleading because at the age of this battery, chances are that the rest of the battery could be much lower and in any case will not be able to hold to a full charge as long as it used to.

I'd order and put in a new set of AGMs when you have a chance!
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Old 09-20-2014, 01:28 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by silverback View Post
This morning we started hearing a clicking noise at the front of the Safari (under the couch) where all the power connections are. We had never heard that before in the 8 years we have had the Safari. I was pretty sure it was an electrical relay making the noise and confirmed that it was coming from the Sunexplorer charge controller. The relay clicks corresponded with the Charge/Partial/Low LEDs rapidly blinking. The 'Full' LED is solid green. And they also correspond with the changes for Solar Charge Amps reading on the Sunexplorer display. And it was intermittent. OK... The batteries are showing charged (I haven't measured directly yet) and when we returned to the trailer last night we discovered that we had lost AC shore power (interior breaker tripped after external surge protector fried), and we ran the pump and lights off the batteries until I troubleshot that. I'm wondering if we have a flaky solar system or the batteries are finally going. They are the original 2006 Lifelines from the factory. I know we would have noticed the clicking before. I would've woken up if it was doing it last night. The Sunexplorer shows 1.00% (we thought it was the normal 100% until I looked closer), Battery Voltage is 13.7, Solar Charge Amps 0.0 and the Solar Amp hours is only 1.27. I'm scratcing my head. It seems to have stopped now. And what do you know... the sun is up much higher. Any ideas? Are we just paranoid? I'm leaning toward batteries but I can't really prove it.

Thanks,
Ken
Ken.

You have already got far more than 100 percent from your batteries.

First step, is to replace them.

I believe that will solve the issue.

Then you can go back to enjoying Airstreaming, along with a cool one, or maybe two.

Andy
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Old 09-20-2014, 01:55 PM   #5
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I checked the batteries with a DVM and they did both show ~13.5 volts, but I agree. I think I'll order another set of the Lifelines. It's time.
Thanks,
Ken
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