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Old 12-22-2009, 11:00 PM   #29
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Thanks guys, Ray... Great post!

Just got back from checking them up, I filled them a little higher than I read now here. Maybe half way to the top - between the ring and top... I hope it'll be ok, the voltmeter said 12.4 volts...

I did fill almost 3/8 of a gallon into the batteries... A few holes were lower than others... We shall see what will happen, I will take the baby out for a little x-mas trip...

The reason I didn't check the water till now was that the guy who installed the solar told me I'll be suprized how well the batteries and the waterlevel of them will hold up...

Lesson learned !
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Old 12-22-2009, 11:56 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richinny View Post
dishes? i thought we were supposed to use paper plates? lol
Guilty as charged.

Eventually I do empty a detergent bottle every now and then.
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Originally Posted by flmgrip View Post
...

The reason I didn't check the water till now was that the guy who installed the solar told me I'll be suprized how well the batteries and the waterlevel of them will hold up...

Lesson learned !
At least you have an excuse. I tend to forget mine way too much.

Hope this takes care of it for you.
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Old 12-23-2009, 02:09 AM   #31
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flmgrip....get some of those big, bright sun lamps the ganja growers use up in their attics and shine em' on your solar array...I'm afraid that 14.2 volts (with batteries at rest) won't get you through the night...

You'll need to get that voltage reading up to about 12.75 volts, at rest, to insure your batteries are charged fully...

Have a great time on your trip - that's what these AS rigs are for, after all...

Ray
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Old 01-02-2010, 05:30 PM   #32
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Well I went on a little trip... Here are the results:

first night I camped with shore power. Plugged in the entire time to ensure a full charge... So in the morning I have 14.2volts, after unplugging from shore power the solar control panel was blinking on the last dot (I thought that would mean full batteries/trickle charge...)

off to boondockin... First nite I used my lights very conservatively and set the heater to 58 (outside temp 30 during the nite)... Wake up in the morning to 9volt batteries... Great!

Put the trailer in the sun for about 6hrs of about 3amp/hr charge... I know that's not lot...
Second nite I barley used any lights, mainly my flashlight... When I went to bed my voltage reading was around 11.8... I turned everything off except the fridge... So in theory I should wake up to about the same voltage...

No... In the morning the voltage reads 9.6, outside temp 30, inside temp 33... And I can't run the furnace!

How can some people boondock for serveral days and I don't even make it thru one nite???

Thanks, I'm really getting frustrated here!
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Old 01-02-2010, 05:47 PM   #33
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i see no evidence that the batteries have been evaluated.

each cell needs to be tested with a hygrometer.

one full day on shore power will NOT fully charge 2 batteries...

IF the charger AND batteries aren't healthy.

14.2v RIGHT AFTER shore power means nothing.

that's the surface voltage NOT the full battery voltage.

recheck the voltage 2 hours AFTER a full charge OR run a light load for 20 minutes, like a 12v light.

this gives the batteries time to equalize the charge across the fluid and layers.

OR REPEAT the hygrometer reading after a FULL charge.

______________

IF these batteries have spent much time at ZERO or very low voltage which appears to be true from previous posts...

they have SULFATED and will NOT hold a charge regardless of the peak readings.

there are dozens of threads on this issue, here's just one.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...ind-40614.html
______________

it's also possible that a phantom load is sucking out the juice, but unlikely based on the story told in this thread.

of course it's also possible that the county is withholding power till you pay your taxes...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f348...due-58518.html

cheers
2air'
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Old 01-02-2010, 05:52 PM   #34
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Turn everything off, then
Disconnect batteries put amp meter between disconnected positive post wire and battery. If amp meter reads zero you will know no leakage, add one circuit at a time checking amps each time, if nothing is leaking it is time to buy higher amp, deep cycle batteries.
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Old 01-02-2010, 06:00 PM   #35
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john in post #9 described his issue and solution.

here's the thread with HIS details, starting with post #32...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f287...ing-32441.html

cheers
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Old 01-02-2010, 06:47 PM   #36
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2air, I don't have a hygrometer and I even don't know what it is...

Before my most recent trip the batteries did run low one time and where plugged into shore power imidiately.

They have been charged everyday by solar.

After filling up the water, they have been charged by solar for a full week and then a full nite with shorepower... That should get me more than one nite...

You are the king of providing links, but the solution of those links is to buy new batteries... Which I somewhat refuse considering the age of the trailer...

I guess I have to track down and see if something is sucking power... Could the solar charger be installed wrong and draw power out nite ?

Thanks'
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Old 01-02-2010, 06:58 PM   #37
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miss-spelling on my part, it should be hyDrometer.

and IF the batteries have spent significant time at ZERO or very low voltage they are history.

regardless of age or solar.

IF any one of the cells DRIED out while on solar the battery is toast.

water and charging will NOT change that, IF a cell (or cells) has been damaged.

google hyDrometer, it's a 2 $ gadget available at most auto parts stores.

it's VERY POSSIBLE that the batteries were at ZERO or LOW voltage while the trailer was on the LOT...

in the 3-5 months before your purchase.

cheers
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Old 01-02-2010, 09:35 PM   #38
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You may also have a shorted cell or any of a number of other problems.

The only way to know for sure where the batteries are at is to confirm they are fully charged with a hygrometer (you can buy one at any of the better auto parts stores) and then load test them. You do it one battery at a time. I have a portable 100A load tester that makes this easy but it works just as well, maybe better, to put a load of about 10A on them -- a bunch of lights, say, measure it with a magnetic ammeter (auto parts store again), and check the voltage every hour. Stop the test when you get down to 12.0 volts. Figure amp hours = amps on ammeter * hours before you got to 12 volts. If this is anything less than 75% of the factory rating of the battery, it's toast, no matter how much you might wish otherwise.

If the battery checks out OK then you can look at charging system and load problems.
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:53 AM   #39
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You are posting this on the shortest days of the year, where even in California, you have minimal solar insolation (in kWh/m2). You also have very little solar array area (probably less than 1 square meter) with only 110 watt panel. You have a very low electrical input.

At this time of the year, you have the greatest need for lighting (unless you go to bed real early and wake up real late) and ventilation fan especially when bathing or cooking, to prevent condensation damage to the trailer from the cold windows. These uses come out of the batteries in the evening, rather than directly from the solar panel in the middle of the day, so you have to put back more into the batteries than you drew out because charging is much less than 100% efficient. All these may exceed your panel production, even if every day is a cold, clear sunny day (which isn't always the case).

On top of all this, you're running the biggest electricity hog in an RV, the furnace. No wonder you are draining your batteries so deeply (9 volts) and barely recharging them (11.4 volts), resulting in their probable destruction.

If you're going to run the furnace, get a good 3-stage charger/converter and a 2000 watt Honda or Yamaha ultra-quiet generator you run for a few hours every evening (and even that won't get you up to 100%). If you will be camping in above freezing temperatures and don't need the furnace to keep the fresh water, grey water, and black water tanks, and under-floor plumbing from freezing, consider a catalytic heater (no electric fan). If you don't mind something in the trailer competing with you for oxygen, you can find unvented ones. Otherwise, consider a vented one.
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Old 01-03-2010, 03:20 PM   #40
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I had a very similar situation with my AS that struck me last year at Yellowstone in early May. I had AS tech support on the phone with the fine folks at Paralax. I tried all their recommendations to no avail. I called Paralax directly and seems, lucky for me, to be located about 20 minutes from my home. They requested that I bring the AS over to their shop and they did a complete electrical system check. They replaced the converter at no charge and recommend that the Glass Mat Batteries be replaced and that the system ground be checked. Took the AS back to AS factory and the techs found that the ground wire that runs from the converter to the main grounding bus bar had vibrated loose and that 3 strands of wire had arc welded themselves to the grounding bar, which completed the circuit, but would not carry a load. Once the wire was replace, along with the batteries (at no cost to me), all has been well. My solar panel provides me plenty of power to run the furnace all night, plus watch TV (DVD's) for a couple hours. Good luck and hopes this helps.
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Old 01-03-2010, 04:44 PM   #41
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you are fully correct, however i thought, that with a weeks worth of solar charge and then topping off over nite with shore power should give me more than one nite...

i have come to the conclusion that most likley my batteries are shot... partially by my dealer and partially by myself...

i will try to do the recommended test/fixes as time permits, or will have them done... hopefully under warranty at a more qualified place than where i bought it...

there has been much very helpful information in this thread and i do appreciate that !

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoadKingMoe View Post
You are posting this on the shortest days of the year, where even in California, you have minimal solar insolation (in kWh/m2). You also have very little solar array area (probably less than 1 square meter) with only 110 watt panel. You have a very low electrical input.

At this time of the year, you have the greatest need for lighting (unless you go to bed real early and wake up real late) and ventilation fan especially when bathing or cooking, to prevent condensation damage to the trailer from the cold windows. These uses come out of the batteries in the evening, rather than directly from the solar panel in the middle of the day, so you have to put back more into the batteries than you drew out because charging is much less than 100% efficient. All these may exceed your panel production, even if every day is a cold, clear sunny day (which isn't always the case).

On top of all this, you're running the biggest electricity hog in an RV, the furnace. No wonder you are draining your batteries so deeply (9 volts) and barely recharging them (11.4 volts), resulting in their probable destruction.

If you're going to run the furnace, get a good 3-stage charger/converter and a 2000 watt Honda or Yamaha ultra-quiet generator you run for a few hours every evening (and even that won't get you up to 100%). If you will be camping in above freezing temperatures and don't need the furnace to keep the fresh water, grey water, and black water tanks, and under-floor plumbing from freezing, consider a catalytic heater (no electric fan). If you don't mind something in the trailer competing with you for oxygen, you can find unvented ones. Otherwise, consider a vented one.
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Old 01-03-2010, 04:50 PM   #42
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but regardless of all the fixes i probably will spring for a genny... i would think thats a small price to pay for ensuring a pleasant trip... i've been eying the yamaha ef2000is...
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