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Old 08-18-2019, 11:22 AM   #21
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I don't understand the bit about the T105's. I see their specs... Why would their lead-acid chemistry be different than anyone elses? Why 14.8v?
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Old 08-18-2019, 12:22 PM   #22
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Trojans & Charging

Trojan AGM charging recommendations:

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Progressive Dynamics 9260 charging specs:

The Charge Wizard selects one of three charging voltages: 14.4, 13.6, 13.2 - the unit has a circuit board that monitors battery charge and adjusts as needed.

Atkinson Electronics MPPT Controller - has heat sensing in it and installed right next to batteries.

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I'm not an electrical engineer by any means but here's the specs, this is also reflected on my battery monitors (Victron and Atkinson) and this is what the three companies have told me. If they are incorrect, well...buggers again, but all three companies have told me I'm working at optimum with this configuration and it appears to be.
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Old 08-18-2019, 01:05 PM   #23
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Converters, Batteries, Solar Controllers and BUYERS BEWARE

I was looking at this for their lead acid. 14.8 makes no sense to me. Click image for larger version

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Old 08-18-2019, 03:49 PM   #24
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Flooded voltage

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Originally Posted by leedav View Post
I was looking at this for their lead acid. 14.8 makes no sense to me. Attachment 349791
I'm pretty sure that's a periodic desulfation charge (14.8) that the Trojan flooded batteries need. The AGMs don't require a de-sulfation stage, but flooded do.
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Old 08-18-2019, 04:47 PM   #25
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Mystery solved - I hope - re: Uncle_Bob

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I was looking at this for their lead acid. 14.8 makes no sense to me. Attachment 349791
Leeday, thank you for your post. It explains (I think) why Uncle_Bob has been saying that my setup isn't working. He thought I had flooded batteries. I don't, I have Trojan AGMs that have different requirements for charging the the Trojan flooded. Flooded batteries need a slightly higher charge to "de-sulfate" - a process of getting a chemical build-up off the plates of the battery with a higher voltage charge. I believe that's a basic way to describe it... Anyway, I've been trying to figure out where Uncle_Bob has been coming from - I think you just revealed it. As for what converter will work with the Trojan flooded, that is not in my expertise. I would suggest calling a reputable converter company tech support department - like Progressive Dynamics.
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Old 08-18-2019, 09:03 PM   #26
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Converters, Batteries, Solar Controllers and BUYERS BEWARE

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Originally Posted by memph View Post
The Details:

-Researched deeply here in forums. Read great things about Randy at bestconverters.com and the Boondocker 1260HW.

-I discovered that the Boondocker model is made for Randy by a Florida company called PowerMax...

memph

I also had a less than favorable experience recently ordering a converter from Randy at Best Converters. I needed to replace a Progressive Dynamics converter that I had ordered from him 8 years ago (PD9245C) because I had recently replaced my two golf cart flooded batteries with two BB lithium batteries. I had no problems from the PD converter- it charged my batteries properly, was compact and no unwanted noise from the fan. I knew that Randy had been recommending the Boondocker brand to others and wasn’t surprised when he recommended it to me. He sent me the BD 1275CL (75 amp) Converter/Charger. He said this would work for all batteries. It came with no documentation- no paperwork at all. This bothered me. I called Randy and he said that this was a new model and they didn’t have documentation for it yet. He did tell me how to set it up to the correct parameters for charging the lithium batteries. I noticed that the address listed on the box for the Boondocker Converter was the same as the address for Best Converters. This told me that it was a “House” model manufactured for Best Converters. I did a little homework that I really should have done before I ordered this converter and realized that it was made in China and required more current than could be provided by my 1,000 watt generator. We boondock pretty much all the time so we will only be charging the batteries from solar or our small generator. I decided to return the Boondocker converter and order a PD9145AL (45 amp) lithium converter/charger for the following reasons:

- I have been happy with the performance of the PD9245C unit for the last 8 years, so why change manufacturers?
- made in the USA
- same size and wiring locations as the previous converter.
- Converter is designed for lithium batteries only.
- will be able to charge it with my 1,000 watt generator.
- no fan noise problems expected.

The new converter has been installed now for two months and it has worked flawlessly when needed to charge our BB lithium batteries. Here is a photo of the installed PD9145AL converter.
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Old 08-19-2019, 10:28 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TouringDan View Post
memph

I also had a less than favorable experience recently ordering a converter from Randy at Best Converters. I needed to replace a Progressive Dynamics converter that I had ordered from him 8 years ago (PD9245C) because I had recently replaced my two golf cart flooded batteries with two BB lithium batteries. I had no problems from the PD converter- it charged my batteries properly, was compact and no unwanted noise from the fan. I knew that Randy had been recommending the Boondocker brand to others and wasn’t surprised when he recommended it to me. He sent me the BD 1275CL (75 amp) Converter/Charger. He said this would work for all batteries. It came with no documentation- no paperwork at all. This bothered me. I called Randy and he said that this was a new model and they didn’t have documentation for it yet. He did tell me how to set it up to the correct parameters for charging the lithium batteries. I noticed that the address listed on the box for the Boondocker Converter was the same as the address for Best Converters. This told me that it was a “House” model manufactured for Best Converters. I did a little homework that I really should have done before I ordered this converter and realized that it was made in China and required more current than could be provided by my 1,000 watt generator. We boondock pretty much all the time so we will only be charging the batteries from solar or our small generator. I decided to return the Boondocker converter and order a PD9145AL (45 amp) lithium converter/charger for the following reasons:

- I have been happy with the performance of the PD9245C unit for the last 8 years, so why change manufacturers?
- made in the USA
- same size and wiring locations as the previous converter.
- Converter is designed for lithium batteries only.
- will be able to charge it with my 1,000 watt generator.
- no fan noise problems expected.

The new converter has been installed now for two months and it has worked flawlessly when needed to charge our BB lithium batteries. Here is a photo of the installed PD9145AL converter.
DanAttachment 349865
Thanks for sharing your info, Dan! Interesting data on the Boondocker and BestConverters...will keep my eye on my Boondocker going forward.
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Old 08-25-2019, 10:27 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by memph View Post
Now remember... I'm on the road, traveling, supposed to be doing other things than repairing my Airstream electrical system and dealing with business owners not being helpful and grinding off backs of converter housings .... and I don't have my shop at the ready or anything of the sort. I'm sure you can imagine....

.................................................. .........................snip...........

I hope this post is helpful.

Good luck, stay safe and great adventures to all of you.
Well Memph,
Heard every solar system eats at least one set of batteries, sounds like you did it up properly.
Not making fun of you, really glad you came through this in good shape with lessons to share.
Building my second system now, just made the step from FLA to AGM. 5 years on one set of batteries. No more fumes with AGM, I hope..
Want to go Lithium but I feel a few more mistakes coming my way.
Keep your chin up, thanks for sharing.
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Old 08-25-2019, 10:40 AM   #29
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Curiously, PD *likes* bestconverter.com

I had a few questions about PD LiFePO4 charging 'logic', and called them on the phone. Their CS people referred to bestconverter.com for purchase, and it's one of only a couple factory-authorized retail web sellers for PD converters.

For my smaller trailer with a fancy new battery, I bought a 'PD4655L MBA Wildkat' Lithium-capable controller, from Randy's Site. The transaction went great. The Box actually arrived from different location (near PD manufacturing, but not actually PD - the WildKat model is slightly modified and shipped from elsewhere.)
- - -
But exactly as in the top posts of this Thread, my first purchase (years ago) had been a 'Boondocker' - and it never charged my SLA batteries properly. It would quit constant-voltage 'bulk mode' way to early, and the 'float' current was to low for my so-called phantom loads (gas detector, stereo set, thermostats, etc.).

When a friend scoped it, he also saw the the output was full of nasty RF distortion. In the year I bought mine, the 'Boondocker' was nearly as bad as the original WFCO. It was a mistake.

I think that Randy is a nice guy, and does a gangbuster business - but I recommend only the PD products from his site.
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Old 08-25-2019, 01:05 PM   #30
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memph, sorry for your troubles.

I read your posts and didn't notice whether the original system had a good battery status monitor(?). To me that would have prevented or at least let you know a problem was looming. I know my monitor of choice would have. The first thing I do is get a good monitor.

What you went through is exactly why I learned (still learning) to build and maintain my own system. What you get from the industry is hit or miss. The equipment selected may or may not be ideal or compatible and the installers, who may or may not know what they are doing, could have a self serving agenda.

I read all I could get my hands on before tackling what I've done, which is 4 systems so far. I have a telecom background, so I am familiar with most things electrical, but PV equipment and battery chemistry was new to me.

I have had good experiences with Best Converter and Randy. Randy has called me back later into the evening, a couple times, when I had a question. And, the converters I've used worked / work well.

I assume you have looked at tongue weight and its doable with your rig. In my old toyhauler, I decided to have 4(ea) GC-2s, which pushed tongue weight to a little over 1400#.
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Old 08-25-2019, 01:47 PM   #31
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Haha Fastrob :-) Thanks...always some good when we come out smarter! Agree on wanting to be smarter even more before $$$$ on lithium system. Good luck on your AGM switch. I hope at least some of my learning shared can help others avoid some potholes & pitfalls.
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Old 08-25-2019, 01:54 PM   #32
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Thanks Wolfwhistle... I find that any system I haven’t gone thru ends in me going thru it after breakdown. Yup, what you said. & had monitor but it was not shunted & didn’t catch the issue when on shore power - which I was on when this happened. Now I have a good shunted monitor installed. Tongue weight is still good for me. Very glad to hear you had good luck with best converters & Randy. Wish I had.
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Old 08-25-2019, 10:19 PM   #33
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[B]The Detailsealer installed Progressive Dynamics Converter 5355 with TempAssure unit (supposed to simulate multi-stage charging)
Just a side note.

The 2017 Airstreams came with Parallax/Magnatek converter/chargers, not Progressive Dynamics.

The Parallax/Magnatek units are the ones with TempAssure, not Progressive Dynamics.

Without TempAssure, the Parallax/Magnatek converter/chargers are single stage battery killers.

I have a 2017 FC 23FB, it came with a Parallax/Magnatek converter/charger.

I called Airstream and asked if they installed the TempAssure option, and they said no, they did not.

I replaced my Parallax/Magnatek converter/charger with a Progressive Dynamics PD4645V converter/charger before I ever plugged it in after buying the Airstream.

(I ordered a PD4655V from BestConverter.com, but he sent me the PD4645V by mistake. I didn't realize the error until about a year after installing it. He ignored several emails from me about this, so I finally called him on the telephone. He refunded the difference in price between the two, but I am still ticked that I don't have the PD4655V that I ordered.)

For those with 2018 and later units, Airstream changed from the Parallax/Magnatek battery killers to the WFCO 4 stage converter/charger. It is no longer a battery killer, but WFCO is known to not go into boost mode. It takes 12 to 24 hours to charge a 50% discharged battery to the same extent that a good 4 stage converter/charger will do in 3 to 4 hours.
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Old 08-25-2019, 10:57 PM   #34
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Lead Acid and MMPT

I suspect that anyone trying to connect any significant amount of solar power with an MPPT controller to Lead Acid (LA) RV house batteries is going to be disappointed in the life of the batteries and the reliability of the system. There are a lot of reasons for that, and I suspect the situation will get worse with time. Fewer manufacturers are going to do development work to optimize batteries that are not really suited to be house batteries.

RV's have substantially different needs than a home solar installation, where the aim is to use as much of the energy generated by the PV's in the home. RV use aims to keep the battery topped off, while hybrid battery/grid home use aims to have the battery low enough each morning so a minimal amount of generation goes to the grid--most if not all goes to home loads plus battery charging aimed at having the battery at full charge when the sun goes down. The lion's share of development work is going toward optimizing systems like this.

Meeting both the general physical requirements plus specific manufacturer differences of a lead acid battery is not simple. In comparison, a Lithium stack with a quality BMS simply requires that the charger deliver a single voltage and constant current. There isn't even a necessity for a float, in fact a good BMS will prevent floating the battery.

For a lead acid battery, the BMS is you, and if you aren't attentive to the needs and wants of the battery it won't last long. You probably can't trust your local RV dealer to understand all the system requirements of a solar installation. For the most part RV's have minimal development efforts on their ancillary equipment. Most of the systems in RV's are identical to what was installed in the 70's. You might say "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." But I wouldn't be able to hear you over the roar of the roof mount air conditioner that contributes 30 percent of the aero drag of an airstream while drawing four times the power for the same cooling of a silent, modern inverter mini split.
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Old 08-26-2019, 06:33 AM   #35
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I was surprised that my 2013 IS came with a Parallax single stage converter. Not to mention 80Ah marine Interstate batteries that were at end of life. And.... a few other things that caused some head scratching.

I guess I shouldn't have been. Then they've gone to WFCO, which is a little less awful. Why not IOTA or PD? Even those can't be customized optimally.

I think our $60K - 150K campers are equipped to just get them out the door and sold. I shudder to think of these nice people driving off with their expensive new toy and not knowing what they are in for. But, then there's this forum with members that stands in the gap, so to speak, and willing to give up their time to help. Thanks all of you who care. Damn, I almost teared up.
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Old 08-26-2019, 09:41 AM   #36
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I suspect that anyone trying to connect any significant amount of solar power with an MPPT controller to Lead Acid (LA) RV house batteries is going to be disappointed in the life of the batteries and the reliability of the system. There are a lot of reasons for that, and I suspect the situation will get worse with time. Fewer manufacturers are going to do development work to optimize batteries that are not really suited to be house batteries.

RV's have substantially different needs than a home solar installation, where the aim is to use as much of the energy generated by the PV's in the home. RV use aims to keep the battery topped off, while hybrid battery/grid home use aims to have the battery low enough each morning so a minimal amount of generation goes to the grid--most if not all goes to home loads plus battery charging aimed at having the battery at full charge when the sun goes down. The lion's share of development work is going toward optimizing systems like this.

Meeting both the general physical requirements plus specific manufacturer differences of a lead acid battery is not simple. In comparison, a Lithium stack with a quality BMS simply requires that the charger deliver a single voltage and constant current. There isn't even a necessity for a float, in fact a good BMS will prevent floating the battery.

For a lead acid battery, the BMS is you, and if you aren't attentive to the needs and wants of the battery it won't last long. You probably can't trust your local RV dealer to understand all the system requirements of a solar installation. For the most part RV's have minimal development efforts on their ancillary equipment. Most of the systems in RV's are identical to what was installed in the 70's. You might say "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." But I wouldn't be able to hear you over the roar of the roof mount air conditioner that contributes 30 percent of the aero drag of an airstream while drawing four times the power for the same cooling of a silent, modern inverter mini split.
Hi

If you wish to spend the money, there are systems out there that do the job quite well. A Victron MPPT along with a 712 and a Venus will do a very good job on any lead acid or lithium battery.

Indeed Lithium's will not self destruct with a constant voltage charge. That's not the same as it being the best way to go with them. How much does it matter ? Who knows.

I went with Victron gear after my "fun" with lower priced replacement converters. My example lasted almost two weeks ....

Bob
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Old 08-26-2019, 11:02 AM   #37
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Yes. The first iteration of my post mentioned that the avaialble choices for MPPT controllers are very expensive controllers, especially those that can have their charging levels and trigger functions modified, and inexpensive ones that just have construction-specific choices. If you choose the latter the performance is a matter of luck--were you fortunate enough to have a battery that matches the controller. If you don't it might work OK for a while, but battery life and overall performance will be impacted. I lost the first version when the forum system decided I wasn't logged in, though I had been. I hadn't copied this post before clicking <submit reply> I would have lost this one too.



The ability to build a controller that optimizes an LA battery requires enough research into every combination possible and every use case to treat each battery perfectly, with no help from the battery pack.
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Old 08-26-2019, 11:42 AM   #38
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Lithium batteries are MORE sensitive and in many chemistries MORE dangerous than LA batteries. But they have a BMS that is specific to those particular cells, making certain that they are charged and discharged exactly as they need to be. Tesla batteries are actually very dangerous if they are not controlled by their BMS and won't last past a single charge if they are overcharged or over-discharged or charged at all when the battery temperature is less than 0C. With a BMS they are reliable and safe--to the tune of more than 500,000 on the road, lasting potentially hundreds of thousands of miles and multiple decades of life.



Lead acid batteries depend on the charger knowing exactly what they need and delivering that with the only measured parameter being the voltage of the battery. Highly unlikely.
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Old 08-26-2019, 01:08 PM   #39
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Hi

If you wish to spend the money, there are systems out there that do the job quite well. A Victron MPPT along with a 712 and a Venus will do a very good job on any lead acid or lithium battery.

[snip]
Bob
I gather that these recommendations are for solar battery charging. Any converter recommendation for charging T-105 batteries with shore power?
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Old 08-26-2019, 01:13 PM   #40
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See my post in the battery section. For some reason Trojan claims that you need 14.83v to fully charge two T105 batteries in series. They claim it's due to their manufacturing process. I don't know of any RV converter that generates that voltage (but I'd like to know)
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I gather that these recommendations are for battery charging. Any converter recommendation for charging T-105 batteries with shore power?
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