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Old 01-06-2015, 08:17 AM   #29
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I have an old charger that doesn't have any "smarts". I put the Interstate battery with the two low specific gravity cells on this charger for a couple of hours. The voltage runs at 15.5v and climbs a little from that on a full battery. I was able to restore the specific gravity of the two suspect cells. I won't know how it performs until I put a load on it. I'm hoping to get another season's use out of them.

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Old 01-06-2015, 10:15 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by KJRitchie View Post
What controller to you use? The author of the article states the manufacturers of the controllers and converters don't seem to talk to the battery manufactures so it appears they come in a little low on voltage to match the battery charge requirements.

I'm aware of the size and weight differences of 6v batteries and the need to modify the battery box to clear the 6v batteries. I may not switch over if that task is beyond my capabilities.

I'm also hoping if I switch to 6v there will be enough room to install the controller in the battery box. I plan to use a portable solar system, 200w.


Kelvin
This is ours and we like the way the sytem works.
Would not put controler where you can not see it and sure not in battery box if you use lead acid one because of corrosion
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Old 01-15-2015, 03:34 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KJRitchie View Post
What controller to you use? The author of the article states the manufacturers of the controllers and converters don't seem to talk to the battery manufactures so it appears they come in a little low on voltage to match the battery charge requirements.

I'm aware of the size and weight differences of 6v batteries and the need to modify the battery box to clear the 6v batteries. I may not switch over if that task is beyond my capabilities.

I'm also hoping if I switch to 6v there will be enough room to install the controller in the battery box. I plan to use a portable solar system, 200w.


Kelvin
I am currently using the Trimetric SC2030 controller which when paired with the TM2030 and the latest update can be programmed to any battery manufacturers specifications and can also be set to equalize whenever the operator wants them equalized.
Check out Bogart Engineering and pm Ralph. He is always available to explain how his system works.
I am completely satisfied with my system.


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Old 01-17-2015, 08:56 AM   #32
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fuse in charge line?

Lewster, who has my respect as an expert, said in an earlier post:

With regard to the charge line going from the tow vehicle to your batteries.... this is no better than a Parallax converter from your batteries' standpoint, as your TV will be sending a continual 14.2 VDC (or close, depending on the alternator's output). When/if your trailer batteries are full, they will begin to overcharge as they will not have the benefit of receiving a float charge from the alternator. I disconnect the charging line fuse on every solar charging installation that I do to prevent battery damage from alternator overcharging.

Others have said there should be no fuse on the charge line based on it being the source of power for the break-away switch. This emergency device should always be ready to work when the trailer is in motion. If the fuse is removed during towing, this switch would not work unless there is another battery for this purpose.

I've just rewired my tow vehicle to trailer wiring based on one set of batteries with no fuse in the charge line. Did I mess up once again?
Thanks,
Jim
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Old 01-17-2015, 10:24 AM   #33
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Jim,

The charge line does not power your brakes in an emergency brake away, your batteries do. That's one of the reasons that ALL trailers with electric brakes are required to have an on board battery system.

You might not have a fuse per se for your charge line.........it might be an auto-reset circuit breaker.

I just did a new F-250 and the charge line fuse was #90 in the engine bay fuse box.

I'm not sure about automotive electrical codes, but NEC requires over current protection within 18" of a DC power source, and ABYC (marine) requires them within 7".

I would check the manual again or call your dealer.


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Old 01-18-2015, 10:25 AM   #34
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Lew,
The wire which serves as charge line from TV remains connected to the trailer battery when the cable from TV to trailer is pulled out so the same wire path contacts the trailer brake wire when break away is activated. That's how it mine is wired. I will have a the current protector in this line within 18" of the positive battery terminal.

I must have misunderstood your comment about pulling a fuse. If the fuse is in the TV, I was not thinking of that one. I'll go look at the manual for my truck.
Thanks again!
Jim
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Old 01-18-2015, 03:12 PM   #35
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I'm confused now - which fuse do I remove to prevent my trucks alternator from charging the airstream batteries?




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Old 01-18-2015, 04:52 PM   #36
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I think I may just install a switch that would allow me to turn or off the charge from the TV to the AS. This way I can charge up while towing and discontinue charging once the batteries are topped off.

Granted I don't have a permanent solar installation but I do keep a very close eye on my battery levels.

-J


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Old 01-20-2015, 12:58 PM   #37
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I've been following this thread with some interest. I've added a link to another recent thread along the same lines. Appears to indicate that a healthy TV alternator/voltage regulator should not overcharge the AS batteries.


Quote from trekerboy:

In my case, I was worried about the alternator over-charging the AS batteries (a problem I thought a 4 stage DC to DC charger would rectify) however from my understanding over-charging would only happen if the alternator was defective (bad voltage regulator).

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f37/...ml#post1570455
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Old 01-26-2015, 10:11 AM   #38
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Just got back from 2 weeks of dry camping in Quartzsite. We had some nasty battery experiences, which I am relating in order to provide a "caveat emptor" to those who get caught in a similar situation.

Shortly after I acquired my Excella in 2011, the 4 AGM batteries in it failed while I was dry camping in Lake Mead NRA. Since I use a CPAP machine, adequate battery power is essential. So in my ignorance I purchased 4 new AGMs from Interstate of Las Vegas. They seemed to work fine, but unknown to me, they only had a 6-month warranty! In December 2012, while I was dry camped near Pahrump in the Mojave Desert, they failed again. I went back to Interstate of Las Vegas and that was when I found that there was no warranty. So I bought 4 more new AGM's (another $1,200 spent). This month while I was camped at Quartzsite, the batteries failed again. By now I realized that Interstate batteries, while widely distributed and "reasonable" priced, were the most costly overall, since they fail annually. Having followed Lew's posts, I looked for Lifelines - and here things went off the rails.

The only one selling Lifelines in Quartzsite was Solar Bill. Last year I had him do some work for me and the experience was good - changed my crappy Canadian Tire controller for a Blue Sky 3000i MPPT controller, added another 140-watt panel to my existing array of 3x75-watts and upgraded the wire from the controller to the batteries from #10 to #6. Based on this, which was straight forward, I headed in to see Solar Bill.

Bill checked the batteries I had, and 3 of the 4 failed the load test. So he called Interstate (as he was a dealer) and gave their rep the story that I had called him a month earlier saying I had a problem. The Interstate manager authorized the replacement of the the 4 AGM's +installation +core charges - Bill told him he didn't have 4 90Ah AGM's in stock, but was substituting with 2 4D AGM's. He passed the phone to me to thank the guy which I did). However, I told Bill I didn't want the Interstate, and since he was getting replacements, I preferred Lifeline's. He said the only ones he had were pulled from a coach where one of the 5 was bad and the other 4 were good. I took 2 of the 4D's and the guy actually charged me $100 each for them, effectively scooping the $1,000 he got from Interstate on my behalf without cutting me a share of it. They didn't hold a charge sufficiently so I called him to ask him to get me two new ones - priced at $685 each.

As this point, I went over to Discount Solar to see what they had - which turned out to be Full River AGM's, which come with a 5-year warrant (100% the first 2 years and prorated the last 3) - cost was $479 each. However, their tech took the time to check out all the settings on both my Xantrex SW3012 inverter/charger and the Blue Sky 3000i solar controller. Some of the settings were out of whack on the Xantrex. I now have a list of what they should be. While at the RV show at Quartzsite, I spoke with the Xantrex Factory Rep, and I will likely get a firmware upgrade in the next week of so from their distributor in Gilbert AZ.

All this leads me to post a question: I'm trying to determine what phantom loads I have in my AS. Why when the sun is shining my batteries show full charge (13.2-volts) but as the sun goes down, I notice after a while I've dropped to 12-9-volts.

Some of the loads I can identify as:
- propane detector
- control panel (sensors for holding tanks) & radio
- amplifier for TV antenna (which I switch off)

Other loads when the inverter is running can be:
- microwave oven (the clock/timer is always running even when the m/w is off
- TV (it always runs when the circuit to detect the remote)

Are there any others?

Lew, I welcome your feedback!
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Old 01-26-2015, 10:56 AM   #39
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Subwoofer, refrigerator electronics. 12.9v is a fully charged battery. 13.2v is probably the float charge your controllers are putting out. When the batteries are discharged you should see more like 14.4 to 14.8 from you controllers. What I've learned from all this is your solar controllers an converter/chargers have to be set to the charging parameters of the batteries. If these parameters are too low the batteries never get fully charged which reduces their lifespan.

Kelvin
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Old 01-26-2015, 02:06 PM   #40
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blkmagic: I would guess that your inverter/charger is your big phantom load. Many if not most of the sine wave inverters have a draw of 1.5 to 2 amps doing nothing, just sitting there waiting for a 120 volt load to be connected. If yours runs 24/7 it will kill any set of batteries without a lot of solar input each day.

You need someone who really understands RV electrical and solar systems, plus batteries to go through your system. I think you are finding out with all you have spent that there are some issues inherent in your setup which need to be resolved and I doubt that anyone can do that remotely (by words, here on the forum).

Although you had one good experience at Quartzite, your second one was not very positive it seems. I would not return to that source.
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Old 01-26-2015, 03:43 PM   #41
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idroba, I only switch the inverter on before bedtime and it gets switched off in the morning. I know that it draws about 2 amps when it runs. That said, there are also other things quietly draw current constantly - for one, the Xantrex remote control panel. I have enough reserve with the two 4D AGM batteries (totaling 420Ah). My project is to identify and quantify these phantom loads. Since I'll be getting the firmware upgrade done shortly, I'll see what information I can get from the Xantrex tech.
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