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Old 09-14-2014, 06:28 PM   #1
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Solar confusion

We have a 2012 FC with factory installed solar but I am very confused regarding my solar system. First I thought it was not charging but today when we picked up the AS it read a 100% with batteries at 12.8. Tonight I look at the display and it reads 75%. Not sure why the loss as everything is off inside and outside the trailer except for carbon tester and switch to turn on and off the charging system. Also the display read "chr".

I turned off and then turned back on the switch for the solar and noticed the Sony radio came on. Can anyone tell be why that happen?
I do intend to replace the controller but not sure now if that is the problem

All advice or ideas greatly appreciated
John
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Old 09-15-2014, 05:19 AM   #2
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Just some thoughts...the percent full is based on voltage at the battery. If the solar system is charging it does not take long to get to the "100%" indication when the battery is nearly charged. However, once the solar system stops charging, the battery voltage will drop to its no load value. Of course that happens at night.
If your batteries are marginal, they will not fully charge and the indication will be well less than 100% after the solar stops charging. But that would be unusual for the Lifelines that come with the factory package. Can you remember any time you ran the batteries way down in voltage? If you are not the original owner, perhaps the previous owner did that or stored the trailer inside or in the shade.
As for your radio, it will come on as soon as you put the switch in the "Use" position. Only the propane detector will be energized in the "Store" position and the batteries will continue to charge from the solar panels.
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Old 09-15-2014, 06:08 AM   #3
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Larry
Thanks for the info. We are the original owners and have never run the batteries down. So for what you are saying and what I see on the display my solar system seems to be working ok.
Again thanks for the input
John
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Old 09-15-2014, 06:38 AM   #4
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Yes, you seem to be describing normal operation. It is hard to get to the solar controller and look at the lights on it. The operation is explained in the manual that came with the trailer or Atkinson used to have a copy of that online. If you are feeling ambitious you can try to access the controller and watch the lights to confirm proper operation. It is easier with a small extension mirror as the controller is up against the fwd wall, under the bed.
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Old 09-15-2014, 07:13 AM   #5
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When I get back from exercising I might remove the mattress and look at the controller. As you said it will depend on how ambitious I ama s I have to make a number of batches of cookies today for my wife's office. That must have my first priority
John
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Old 09-15-2014, 07:31 AM   #6
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One thing to remember, while the solar panel is charging, the display indicates charging voltage, not battery voltage. The display can't tell the difference. And that will be true for any charge controller, not just the solar charge controller. When you're on shore power and the converter is charging the batteries, the same thing is true.
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Old 09-15-2014, 08:46 AM   #7
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urnmor, do you have a 25FB or 25RB. Your solar controller is working like mine and I think it's fine. If you have a rear bed/front dinette model and want to look at the controller, there is an access door under the street side dinette seat cushion near the front.
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Old 09-15-2014, 11:43 AM   #8
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Doug I have a front bedroom and it does appear that everything is working correctly. It is sunny today and the battery reads 13 and 100% charged. I will contiune to monitor but all looks good

Again my thanks to all for the advice.

John
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Old 09-15-2014, 11:45 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urnmor View Post
It is sunny today and the battery reads 13 and 100% charged. I will contiune to monitor but all looks good.
Again that's a charging voltage, not a battery voltage. Do not assume that your batteries are fully charged until you see what the monitor says an hour after dusk.
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Old 09-15-2014, 12:50 PM   #10
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The factory solar charger will allow power to the batteries until they reach a preset voltage adjusted for temperature compensation, then will shut off the solar charging until the voltage falls to a preset level. So during the day the monitor reading will vary from charging to actual battery voltage. Turn on equipment such as the water pump (or even lights) and battery voltage will drop some while the pump is drawing power, then return to actual battery voltage.

This is a user's explanation, not a scientist's.
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Old 09-15-2014, 03:48 PM   #11
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One more question (at least for now) regarding the solar system. Earlier today the battery percent remaining read 100% and now it reads 85%. The battery voltage reads 12.5, the solar charge amps reads .4 and the solar Amp hours is at 117.
I have nothing running in the AS and it has been an absolutely beautiful day with plenty of sunshine. My question is is this reading normal or is the controller working intermittently.

I would have thought that because it is so sunny and I am not running anything in the AS the percentage for battery remaining would be higher.

Again thanks for the advice.

John
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Old 09-15-2014, 04:17 PM   #12
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John,

To me it does seem a bit strange. If the solar is charging at that rate I typically see about 13-13.4v. But if the controller were off, you would not see any charging amps, which is more what that voltage represents, no charging. The panels will charge at up to about 14v in real sun. Did you have sun in MD today? It almost acts like you have a load on the battery so was your switch in "Store"?
If I were you, after a day of sun I would disconnect the battery negative and measure the battery voltage at the battery terminals and measure after another hour. Initially after a charge you will see about 13v but it should drop to about 12.6 fully charged. If the voltage is below that, your batteries are not charging fully. Try the same thing with the built in charger(AC). If the batteries charge properly with the converter then you have a problem with the solar controller.
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Old 09-15-2014, 05:34 PM   #13
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Larry

Had full sun today, not a cloud in the sky. I do have some trees but they provide minimal shade.

To the best of my knowledge the batteries were not in store mode.
Sun is down it now shows 80% with 0 showing on the solar charge amps

Not sure why there would be a load on the batteries.

Again thanks for the assistance

John
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Old 09-15-2014, 05:42 PM   #14
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John these are typical indications you might see while you have something drawing power in the Airstream, and normal. As Larry says put the battery switch to "STORE" position to disconnect everything (except propane detector) and see what you have.

I believe the solar amp hour readout only represents the amount of total amp hours the solar system has provided since the last time the solar amp hour readout was reset to zero. Doesn't tell you anything useful in this case.
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