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Old 08-15-2009, 03:26 PM   #99
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i have the sunexplorer chargecontroller display kit.
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Old 08-15-2009, 03:32 PM   #100
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john in uk
it has the controller under the bench seat for dinette. still have not seen anything but zeros in the solar amps and solar amp hours on the display. the battery % has been dro[ping and the volts have bee dropping now at 12 volts. the controller has the yellow led lit in the partial positon. i have never heard any clicks that anything has clicked on ever.
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Old 08-15-2009, 04:03 PM   #101
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dsrtgris

Yes - sounds like your charge controller is wrecked - you should hear a click every few minutes as the controller monitors the battery voltage and decides whether to send solar amps to the battery or not.

Put a voltmeter on the leads from the solar panel(s) to controller. If you have an output from the panels that will verify if you have a controller that's broke.

John in UK
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Old 08-15-2009, 10:26 PM   #102
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Controller

1939 to...

The unit pictured in the post does not replace the device under the sofa. It is the first connection from the solar panel on the roof and then the wiring goes to the factory prewiring nearer the batteries.

Corky
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Old 08-15-2009, 10:46 PM   #103
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsrtgrls View Post
john in uk
it has the controller under the bench seat for dinette. still have not seen anything but zeros in the solar amps and solar amp hours on the display. the battery % has been dro[ping and the volts have bee dropping now at 12 volts. the controller has the yellow led lit in the partial positon. i have never heard any clicks that anything has clicked on ever.
dsrtgirls...

We had this same problem with our factory solar in our 2006 19' Bambi... we took it back to the dealer and they found that there was a wiring problem...I think it was the controller...not the solar system. By the way, we hear no clicks either, unless we "use"-"store" setting (the switch left of the door with the red light...and that's a different thing)... Hope this helps.

If you are looking for reliable service when in the Tucson area, give Oasis RV on Benson Highway a try...that's where we got out AS and where we have our service done... and we have been very pleased with them...as have others on the Forums.

BUT...having said that, I'd go back to your selling dealer first to get it right...it is under warranty and they are responsible to you to service it to your satisfaction. (If you got it at Dillon's in Phx...I do understand your trepidation....long story)...
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Old 08-16-2009, 02:31 PM   #104
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Cstar

Thanks for controller information - not sure how to wire this controller/regulator but I would like to upgrade to a two or three stage unit similar to the one you show.

I dislike on/off controllers as fitted by Airstream. Being fulltimers, dumping electric does not appeal.

I would sooner have a trickle/maintenace charge from a multi stage charger once the batteries reach their capacity.

Thanks again, John in the UK
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Old 01-16-2010, 01:51 PM   #105
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Been trying to contact Atkinson Electronics (makers of factory installed Sunexplorer solar battery charging system) this week but our emails have not been answered. Have they gone out of business, or has another company taken them over?

Thanks for any help.

John in the UK
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Old 01-16-2010, 06:11 PM   #106
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Been trying to contact Atkinson Electronics (makers of factory installed Sunexplorer solar battery charging system) this week but our emails have not been answered. Have they gone out of business, or has another company taken them over?

Thanks for any help.

John in the UK
Well John,
I don't think it is good news. I just called the number on their web site (801-261-3600) and it has been disconnected. Airstream customer service can probably tell you more.
regards,
Ken
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Old 01-17-2010, 05:52 AM   #107
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w7ts

Thanks for that Ken - will contact Airstream tomorrow.

From past experience I know they will be more than helpful but unfortunately they don't ship outside the US.

So probably the search is on for a charge controller and display unit that utilizes the RJ45 cable. It would be a real pain to have to run a new cable from under the sofa to the galley.

John in the UK
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Old 02-27-2010, 03:50 PM   #108
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How do I find out what size panels I have?

We have the factory installed boondocking package, I have searched through all of my paper on the trailer and can't seem to find out what size panels were put on our trailer. I know we have the 600W Inverter but no info on solar panel size, any help?? The sales slip calls it the boon-docking package "J", part # 111824-10. How is this different from the boondocking package "A", part # 111824-11??

With this 600W inverter where do we top out with using appliances? I have used a small stick vacuum without issue and have used my Keurig to make a cup of coffee. The panel dropped down to 75% while heating the water then bumped back up to 100%. Is this harmful to the 600W inverter?

We have boondocked several times over the last 5 months in freezing temps and have had our system drop down to 75% before bed and quickly rebounding back in the morning. I do not know how low it got because the sun was up and charging it before I could check. We are careful with light usage but recharge our laptops, watch the lcd, charge cell phone, etc. We have boondocked in the past for up to 5 nights in the summer with our past Airstream which did not have solar but we did have 2 glassmats. We like the fact that we can now use more lights, lcd, etc. without the fear of draining the batteries.

Thanks.....m
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Old 02-27-2010, 08:48 PM   #109
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m & m...

first, call or email to the factory with your vin # and they can answer the question.

2nd the DEALER should know this info and be able to tell you.

3rd crawling Up on the roof will give the exact info it's ON the panel...

there's also a make/model number and the vendor will have details about them.
__________

very likely there are 2x53 watt panels up there approximately...

the 600 watt inverter has NOTHING to do with the solar package

but IF that's a 600 watt SUSTAINED use rating it is good for up to 600 watts of STUFF...

except it is NOT 100% efficient so deduct 10% there meaning more realistically 500-540 watts.

most small gadgets have the amps/watts required printed on the housing or in the specs booklet.

IF the inverter is 600watts with the ability to peak/surge to 800 watts or so, it can temporarily juice higher draw things.

MOST coffee posts are 1500 watts, but there are some small ones that take less.

the solar display will show 100% charged within just a few minutes of getting good solar input.

THAT is a false/misleading reading because it's based on surface voltage NOT equalized battery charge.

IF u aren't running the batteries DOWN to below 40-50% charge

and in fact only dropping to 70% as your post suggests, it really doesn't matter about the details...

IF however u are regularly discharging the batteries lower than that, an energy audit of USE and supply is needed.

email a/s tech for the solar panel sizing info.

cheers
2air'
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Old 03-01-2010, 11:07 AM   #110
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Hey, Mark and Mary:

Concur with 2air's recommendations.

You can develop your own solar panel, charge controller, and inverter user procedures fairly easily.

Many charge controllers have either an integral or remote readout of solar panel output and battery condition. Mine is a Morning Star unit with a remote readout (easier to locate in a convenient mounting spot).

If your's doesn't have a readout, you can fairly easily measure the panel output on a sunny day using a mulitmeter. Some panels are "low voltage" and some are "higher" voltage out puts. Smaller panels tend to put out between 18 and 22 VDC; they range between 25 and 125 Watts. I've got a Sharpe "high" output panel that throws 57 to 62 VDC and 200 Watts - the Morning Star charge controller steps down the input to the batteries according to battery condition (low or high Amp-hr).

Knowing the panel model, charge controller type, and battery capacity - you can validate their performance with direct multimeter measurements.

Call if you need further discussions...

Hope you both are well, Maggie and I look forward to boondocking soon....

All the best,
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Old 03-03-2010, 04:37 AM   #111
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Modifications

Our factory installed solar display panel recently became faulty and as Atkinson Electronics could not be contacted (post 107), I decided to upgrade the system with a better quality 3 stage regulator made by Morningstar Corporation.

The benefit of fitting this regulator is that there is always a trickle charge going into the batteries, even when they are fully charged. Sometimes the old on/off controller could be off for up to 3 hours or until the battery volts dropped to 12.6 or 12.7. The morning voltage would be down to 12.3 whereas now I can see 12.72 at sun up at this time of year when off grid.

The regulator can be seen in the woooden enclosure - far left - the red box is a 400 watt inverter for television/computer. The unit in the foreground is a 4-stage mains battery charger made by Stirling Power Products, which I recently fitted to replace the factory converter.

Unfortunately, the patch lead for the original system does not match the new regulator remote, so I fitted a small digital voltmeter in the original Sunexplorer remote panel - see pic.

Despite the poor performance of the original solar regulator, the factory fitted Lifeline batteries are still going strong after 3 years of heavy use fulltiming.

John in the UK
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Old 03-03-2010, 04:39 AM   #112
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OK - messed that up, here's the second pic!!!

John in the UK
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