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Old 08-26-2014, 09:29 PM   #281
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Been there.....done that......numerous times! The first was on my own new at the time '06 19CCD. Removed the worthless Interstates (they were sulfated from sitting on the dealer lot and I wasn't going to drive 4 hours each way for replacements) and installed a pair of Lifeline GPL-6CT batteries. Had a 1-1/2" aluminum spacer made, painted it to match, removed the lid, added the spacer, replaced the lid and all was happy!

You could also use Lifeline's GPL-27T which is a 12VDC battery but 2 will give you 200 amp/hours and you don't need to raise the lid of the battery box.........

.......OR........yo could place a pair of Lifeline GPL-6CT golf cart batteries at 300 amp/hours inside the trailer under a bed or couch and almost double your battery capacity.

Choices, choices, choices
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Old 08-27-2014, 12:07 AM   #282
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Yes...my daughter and son-in-law recently converted to two inline 6v's from one 12v. They had to build a two battery box which as you would expect was fairly pricey. So far they are very happy with them. The only thing I would worry about is if one battery completely fails ie, shorts then you are out of luck. With two 12v one can completely fail (as happened to me) with the result being just a system with deminished capacity, ie 80Ah vs. 160Ah.
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Old 08-27-2014, 10:40 PM   #283
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Thank you, folks, for your advice. I'm still in the troubleshooting mode, but I'll have to solve the problem soon, as I've got 2 weeks of boondocking this fall. I'll pay close attention to battery performance during this coming boondocking weekend. I don't want to replace anything until I'm certain of the culprit. Thanks again.
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Old 08-29-2014, 12:03 PM   #284
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Charge Controller Problem??!

Hey Folks!

It's been a while since I've been on the Forum. Too busy to take the AS out for the past couple years.

I now am having a problem with the solar system. This is a factory system (although it was installed by the dealer). Everything is as per a std. factory set up except the batteries (couldn't get the dealer to swap the original Interstates for the better AGMs).

I noticed that the electrical system was "chattering" (quick clicking), regardless of whether I was on solar or shore power. The charging system now behaves intermittently (on a bright sunny day it will show 2.4 charge amps from the single 40W panel, 30 minutes later it shows no charge amps, even with the batteries down).

I suspect the charge controller is to blame, and have ordered a Blue Sky controller (which is a better controller anyway).

Didn't know what experiences folks have had with swaping out the original charge controller, and welcome any insights.

Thanks!

Chris Sonne
Nellysford, VA
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Old 08-30-2014, 12:56 AM   #285
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Originally Posted by Silvery Moon View Post
Sorry for the temporary hijacking, I have a question:

I'm thinking the standard batteries that came with my trailer are not taking or holding a full charge and should be replaced under the AS warranty.

I've replaced the 7355 battery boiler with a PLax 4655, and have a Zamp 150 watt solar panel with a temp sensor. The best I can get out of my battery after fully charging the unit at home and driving to the campsite for a couple of hours in plenty of direct sunlight is 12.3-12.4 volts, as measured by the Zamp controller with the trailer in the shade. By evening it's down to 12.2-12.3 and in the morning it's 12.1. Nothing on but the fridge and the hot water heater for the most part.

I'll get out my own volt meter to be sure, but I strongly suspect this indicates that in the several months my unit sat on the lot waiting for me to find and buy it, the batteries were treated less gently than they deserved (e.g. they were allowed to sit in a discharged state for an extended period of time). I don't think I need any fancy capacity test...I probably just need new batteries.

I know I can just replace those std batteries with another pair, toss in a pair of AGMs (maybe AS will let me pay the difference), or re-jigger the battery box so it will hold a couple of 6volt golf cart batteries. Given our storage compartment is in front and opens down onto the battery box, I'm thinking it's probably not realistic to raise that box a couple of inches for the 6V batteries.

Thoughts? Suggestions?
We had suspected this on our trailer as well. We bought it in 2012 at the end of the season. When we dry camped the first summer (2013), we noticed we needed to run the generator for a couple hrs every day and the only thing that was running was the DC fan for the fridge. When we installed solar at AS, we thought our problems were solved, but this summer, we had the same problem. Solar kept us going during the day, and despite shutting off all draws (I disconnected the fridge fan and left the vent open), we would be down to 10.5 amps.....BAD NEWS....We replaced with AGMs and now we are reading 13.6 during the day, full sun. If there is no power draw, we are reading about 13.2 in the AM. If our refrigerator fan is running (it will run despite being on gas), it may drop to 12.8, but we are actively using the battery. However, if it is cool at night, I will shut off the fridge fan manually and prop the vent door open to save battery power. If this does not do, then I am converting to the 2X 6 volt 300 amp hrs.
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Old 08-30-2014, 09:18 AM   #286
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Your problem might not be your battery capacity but the amount of amps that your solar is adding to your batteries. How big are your panels and what does your charge controller show as the amperage into the batteries in full sum during 'solar noon'?
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Old 08-30-2014, 10:36 AM   #287
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Chris,

The problem is the charge controller. I would remove the fuse or cut the ground wire until you get it replaced.

I just replaced our controller for the second time.

It is easy to replace and only takes about 15 - 30 minutes. I would reccommend taking a picture of the wire connections before removing. The existing controller wires are clearly marked

As for replacing the SunExplorer with a Blue Sky, I don't think the monitoring panel will work, and you may need to install a new monitoring panel compatible with the Blue Sky.

Let me know how the replacement works out -- If my controller fails for the third time, I am going to go with a different manufacturer.

Good luck!



Quote:
Originally Posted by 1civilengr View Post
Hey Folks!

It's been a while since I've been on the Forum. Too busy to take the AS out for the past couple years.

I now am having a problem with the solar system. This is a factory system (although it was installed by the dealer). Everything is as per a std. factory set up except the batteries (couldn't get the dealer to swap the original Interstates for the better AGMs).

I noticed that the electrical system was "chattering" (quick clicking), regardless of whether I was on solar or shore power. The charging system now behaves intermittently (on a bright sunny day it will show 2.4 charge amps from the single 40W panel, 30 minutes later it shows no charge amps, even with the batteries down).

I suspect the charge controller is to blame, and have ordered a Blue Sky controller (which is a better controller anyway).

Didn't know what experiences folks have had with swaping out the original charge controller, and welcome any insights.

Thanks!

Chris Sonne
Nellysford, VA
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Old 09-10-2014, 08:11 PM   #288
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Solar Controller Replaced!

Hi folks!
I finally made time to replace my factory solar charge controller. I installed a Blue Sky 3000i controller in it's place. In my 23' FB Interstate, the controller and solar wiring terminations are all located under a removable panel under the bed. As a side note, it looks like I could easily fit 2 additional batteries in the compartment under the bed (sealed batteries, of course!).

Since my remote readout won't work with the replacement controller, I decided to locate the new controller where I could see it. I ran the 2 wires for the panel, 2 wires for the battery, and a temperature compensation wire behind my bed and the edge of the front curtain, then located the controller in the end of the overhead compartment (it shares the space with a speaker).

The only wiring showing is a short section from my bed up to the curtain, and I'll cover this with a piece of Wiremold.

We are taking the AS up to PA this weekend on a trip, so I'll get an idea of how the new controller functions (of course, if it functions at all, it's a significant improvement over the old unit!).

I've attached a couple pics of the unit and the installation, as well as the wiring fandango going on under the bed.
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Old 09-11-2014, 11:32 AM   #289
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1civilengr View Post
Hi folks!
I finally made time to replace my factory solar charge controller. I installed a Blue Sky 3000i controller in it's place. In my 23' FB Interstate, the controller and solar wiring terminations are all located under a removable panel under the bed. As a side note, it looks like I could easily fit 2 additional batteries in the compartment under the bed (sealed batteries, of course!).
Nice Job!
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Old 09-11-2014, 04:03 PM   #290
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With respect to your side note, I would not recommend batteries in the coach area. All lead acid batteries including sealed have excess pressure valves on them and when over charged will let gas escape. I have a friend who purchased a 30 AS which had, had a modification to the tongue which displaced his batteries inside. Eventhough they were vented he was camping this Summer and noticed a very foul smell. Turned one of the cells in one battery had failed and that battery was getting overcharged releasing huge amounts of volatile sulfur compounds. Not good for ones health to be sure. So...I know you have the space but I would not bite on the temptation.
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Old 09-11-2014, 04:28 PM   #291
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgwatkin View Post
With respect to your side note, I would not recommend batteries in the coach area. All lead acid batteries including sealed have excess pressure valves on them and when over charged will let gas escape. I have a friend who purchased a 30 AS which had, had a modification to the tongue which displaced his batteries inside. Eventhough they were vented he was camping this Summer and noticed a very foul smell. Turned one of the cells in one battery had failed and that battery was getting overcharged releasing huge amounts of volatile sulfur compounds. Not good for ones health to be sure. So...I know you have the space but I would not bite on the temptation.
On top of that, charging lead acid batteries release hydrogen which we all know is highly explosive. Make sure that any battery compartment within an enclosed trailer is completely sealed from the interior and well ventilated to the exterior.

Ken
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Old 09-11-2014, 05:29 PM   #292
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AGM batteries under the bed

As an FYI I just spoke with an alternative energy company in my area (ABS Alaska) that says they do lots of installations in homes, boats, and recreational vehicles.

I hope to do exactly the same thing - move the batteries off the tongue and put them under our bed, switching from those crappy Group 24 flooded batteries to 200AH 6Volt AGM batteries. The new batteries would be a little heavier, but by moving them back ~7-8 feet we should see a helpful reduction in total weight on the tongue.

In line with Lewster's prior recommendations here on the forum, the folks at ABS Alaska said it's no problem to put AGM batteries in there. I'd use Lewster if he was closer to us, but ABS Alaska will have to do. Separately, it's abundantly clear that my Airstream is anything but air tight.

If I have this done, the next time I smell sulfur in the bedroom I'll know I need to eat less cabbage, Beelzebub has moved in, or an AGM battery has gone bad.
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Old 09-11-2014, 09:29 PM   #293
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Originally Posted by rgwatkin View Post
With respect to your side note, I would not recommend batteries in the coach area. All lead acid batteries including sealed have excess pressure valves on them and when over charged will let gas escape. I have a friend who purchased a 30 AS which had, had a modification to the tongue which displaced his batteries inside. Eventhough they were vented he was camping this Summer and noticed a very foul smell. Turned one of the cells in one battery had failed and that battery was getting overcharged releasing huge amounts of volatile sulfur compounds. Not good for ones health to be sure. So...I know you have the space but I would not bite on the temptation.
I don't know which AGM batteries your friend had, or what type of charging system he employed. This is key to his problem. In 10 years of installations, I have NEVER had a Lifeline AGM battery short, have a bad cell or otherwise get close to out-gassing. Proper charging, preferably with full temperature compensation, is an absolute necessity!

As an FYI I just spoke with an alternative energy company in my area (ABS Alaska) that says they do lots of installations in homes, boats, and recreational vehicles.

"I hope to do exactly the same thing - move the batteries off the tongue and put them under our bed, switching from those crappy Group 24 flooded batteries to 200AH 6Volt AGM batteries. The new batteries would be a little heavier, but by moving them back ~7-8 feet we should see a helpful reduction in total weight on the tongue.

In line with Lewster's prior recommendations here on the forum, the folks at ABS Alaska said it's no problem to put AGM batteries in there. I'd use Lewster if he was closer to us, but ABS Alaska will have to do. Separately, it's abundantly clear that my Airstream is anything but air tight.

If I have this done, the next time I smell sulfur in the bedroom I'll know I need to eat less cabbage, Beelzebub has moved in, or an AGM battery has gone bad.
"

I didn't know Hood River, OR was that far

And for the minimal pricing difference, I would STILL go with the Lifelines!
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Old 10-24-2014, 01:53 PM   #294
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I have a solar unit in my 2003 Classic. It was on the unit when I bought it 5 years ago and the solar has never worked. I did find that the yellow and green wire were connected to the wrong wire post .(crossed) so I suspect the solar unit might be burnt out. I tested the incoming wire from the panel, on a very sunny day, and didn't get a reading on my tester and it wouldn't even light up a very small bulb. Do you know of any way to repair the panel or am I screwed and I have to buy a whole unit?
Thanks
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