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Old 04-23-2011, 08:28 PM   #1
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Solar panel to AS battery hookup question

Does anyone know if I can connect an 80 watt solar panel, (while charging out in the sun) to the batteries in my Airsteam if they are also in use and hooked up in my Airstream at the same time. Or do I have to remove the batteries from the Airstream, charge them and then put them back in. Will this cause any electrical, battery or inverter problems?
I am wanting to set my panels up on a stand in the yard, not on the roof. I always park in the shade. Then I can keep the panels out in the sun to charge up my batteries during the day, about 15'20 feet away.
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Old 04-23-2011, 08:46 PM   #2
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I don't know how you are intending on making the connections, but if you have a battery that emits hydrogen gas you could cause an explosion if you create a spark while making the connections. If you have a remote place away from the battery box to make the connections, you should be OK.
I would recommend covering the solar panel with a blanket or something to block the light while you are actually making the connections, making sure you get the polarity right.
I don't believe you will have any problem with your converter. Most have ample protection.
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Old 04-23-2011, 11:11 PM   #3
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What are you using for a charge controller?

That is the device that controls the current from the solar panel to the battery.

You should have no problems connecting the output of the solar charge controller in parallel with the converter and battery.
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Old 04-24-2011, 12:37 AM   #4
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Connect a solar charge controller directly to the battery. Connect the solar panel directly to the controller.

You're done. It's just that easy.

The panel may be left connected to the battery through the controller whether you are using the battery or not. It may remain connected while the trailer is connected to shore power.

Connect it and forget it. Once the battery comes to full charge it will stay there ready for use with no attention. Just be sure your battery is full of water when you hook up, and check it from time to time. Ours sit in the sum for months at a time with no attention, loosing very little water.

Both of our Airstreams have solar. Wouldn't have it any other way.
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Old 04-24-2011, 02:47 PM   #5
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Thanks guys. Good info. The two batteries I have in my AS are Deep Cycle Marine 175 Batteries from Bass Pro. The have the quick disconnects on them. I have uploaded 2 picts. The Solar kit I would like to buy contains this stuff: (photo and description from purchasing web site below)


"60w Solar Panel/Blocking Diode/2m Cable/Clamps Battery Charger Kit Package Includes One 60 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel, One Blocking Diode Cable and One 2-Meter Long Charging Cable with Clamps. This solar panel generates free electricity by charging under sunlight during daytime for use with house, RV, boat, yacht, car, camping, as well as many electronics such as laptop, stereo, television, radio, fan, outdoor lighting. The solar panel and the cables included construct a complete battery charger kits. Made of monocrystalline PV -- the most energy efficient material; An extra blocking diode cable prevents reverse current flowing from battery to solar panel during night-time; An extra two-meter long cable with clamps provides the easy connection to batteries or electronic devices; Low voltage-temperature coefficient enhances high-temperature operation; Exceptional low-light performance and high sensitivity to light across the entire solar spectrum maximize yearly energy delivery; High quality, high-transmission tempered glass provides enhanced stiffness and impact resistance; Advanced EVA encapsulation system with triple-layer back sheet meets the most stringent safety requirements for high-voltage operation; A sturdy, anodized aluminum frame allows modules to be easily roof-mounted with a variety of standard mounting systems; Ultra reliable bypass diodes prevent damage through overheating due to shaded or defective calls; Output power tolerance of +/-3%; 25-year limited warranty on power output; Manufactured in an ISO9001:2000 certified plant; CE certified; Dimension 32.1inx26.4inx1.57in (816x670x40mm); Maximum Power (Pmax) 60Watts; Maximum Power Voltage (Vmp) 17.5V; Maximum Power Current (Imp) 3.43A; Open Circuit Voltage (Voc) 21.5V; Short Circuit Current (Isc) 3.88A;"
with this charge controller Sunforce 7 Amp Charge Controller





So where would I put the controller on this set up? At the end with the battery clamps or in the middle of the line somewhere?

Would I actully use the battery clamps supplied to attach the solar unit to the battery would these need to be changed out to something else? Would I just clamp these ontop of the connection that's already there feeding my AS?

Are my batteries suffiecient or do I need to swap to the totally sealed type which will not be able to leak anything dangerous or harmfull?

I know acactally what I want to do. I just need to know the proper and safe way to do it.
I appreciate any help you all can offer me!

Thanks!
Lynn
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Old 04-24-2011, 05:05 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by txstreamer View Post
with this charge controller Sunforce 7 Amp Charge Controller


So where would I put the controller on this set up? At the end with the battery clamps or in the middle of the line somewhere?

Would I actully use the battery clamps supplied to attach the solar unit to the battery would these need to be changed out to something else? Would I just clamp these ontop of the connection that's already there feeding my AS?
Are my batteries suffiecient or do I need to swap to the totally sealed type which will not be able to leak anything dangerous or harmfull?
I know acactally what I want to do. I just need to know the proper and safe way to do it.
I appreciate any help you all can offer me!
Thanks!
Lynn
I mounted the same Sun Force 7amp controller next to my fuse panel, and per the instructions wired the controller to a battery positive and battery ground on the panel first, then wired the controller to the solar panels. No battery clamps, don't need to mess with the battery but check water. Save the battery clamps for some time use solar on the truck battery. This set up does seem to give some AM radio clicking.
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Old 04-24-2011, 05:35 PM   #7
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We used a panel from CEA Solar, it was pretty amazing. We were camping next to the guy who owns the company. He was interested in seeing the Airstream. We got talking and lent us a panel for the weekend. We ran our crock pot ALL DAY on the panel.

His set up was pretty cool. It was an all in one unit. We have two Deka batteries (they use silver in the lead plates, so they hold up really well to the AZ heat) and connected the clips directly to the batteries. The unit has the controller built right in. It had a metal case (Airstream colored even!).

I went to his site to poke around and there are some testimonials on there too. These are the panels I am going to get for my Safari. He was talking about a special package price for Airstream owners. He did a similar thing for the Casita group! It is not on his site, but you can contact him directly for more information on that.



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Old 04-24-2011, 07:00 PM   #8
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NevadaGeo,

So, the wires from the controller do not even go on the batteries, they go on the terminals next to the fuse box? Correct?
Lynn
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Old 04-24-2011, 07:12 PM   #9
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Actually, I mean in the 12V fuse box along the right end?
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Old 04-24-2011, 07:16 PM   #10
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For some reason, the other pic didn't post. Try this?

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Old 04-24-2011, 07:17 PM   #11
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Here is another solar panel distributor for those wanting a larger roof systems. Most of these are certified..Solar Panels as low as $1.20 per watt
2-225amp panels and a total of 4 batteries.
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Old 04-24-2011, 09:07 PM   #12
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Here ya go gpwise

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Old 04-25-2011, 04:32 PM   #13
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NevadaGeo,

So, the wires from the controller do not even go on the batteries, they go on the terminals next to the fuse box? Correct?
Lynn
They can clip onto the batteries too, I just fancied it a little so I don't need to pull out my battery to clip on every time, I connected to the fuse block terminals on the right side. I have a pull-apart plug on the solar wire to rig down for travel. You will probably have to snip your wire somewhere behind the clamps to connect the controller between the panel and the battery.
Be sure to put some kind of lanyard on the panel so the jealous wind devils don't try to steal your panels and go wind surfing with them.
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