Originally Posted by Belbein
I mean, I know what they do and (sorta) how they work. But what I don't understand--even after Airstream support so slowly explained it to me--is what the difference between these two readouts on my SunExplorer II Electrical Monitor is:
- Battery % Remaining: I thought I knew what this is, but the LED doesn't light up and when I select it, the display gives no reading
- Battery Voltage: I do understand this, and it agrees with the other Battery Voltage readout
- Solar Voltage: ???
- Solar Charge Amps: The number of Amps going to charge the battery?
- Solar Amp Hours Is this the number of hours the solar unit has been charging the battery? Or the number of Amp Hours the solar system is producing?
- Charging Status--I know what this is, obviously, but I don't know why the LED light is red.
Any hints in the right direction would be appreciated.
I feel your pain and I will add partial insight because I have been working through the understanding process myself during 2 trips made since purchase 1 month ago. I also attach a picture of the front page of the booklet that was in my owner package. Send an email to “firstname.lastname@example.org” and request hard copy or pdf. First let me say as a “polite qualifier” than in my professional history I have written geophysical computer software documentation and user guides, technical qualification guides for bid packages, technical contracts and geophysical university course notes. So with that I would say that I would have to score the booklet somewhere around 70% with respect to clarity for new users of solar and the particular product. There is both unnecessary duplication and contradiction in some of the information and some of it contradicts what was mentioned in the video posted by the other responder.
There are three equipment parts to the solar. The Zamp solar panel, the PVCM40D charge controller (which controls the solar to battery charging process and reports information to the display) and the SEDM6-40 Sunexplorer II display which you are referencing.
On several of your points:
Battery % Remaining: If my memory serves me correctly from this past week the only time it is green is when the battery is 100% charged and when it drops below that it starts blicking green. Since it is reading the battery, if you had a small portable generator running because it was overcast and the generator was keeping battery at 100% then the Sunexplorer would show 100%. I ran my generator from at 6-8 pm to keep battery topped off so that during the night I could keep the refridge running, use some lights and run the roof fan a bit. Once the battery started dropping to 90%, 85%, 80%, etc. The green light would flash. If you have nothing it might imply your battery is completely dead or your wiring is not properly connected. A little about the charge controller. This is supposed to sense when the battery has been fully charged and disconnects so that the battery will not be overcharged (apparently, some batteries have been known to explode when overcharged). Then charging will resume when the battery voltage has dropped sufficiently to accept additional charge current. The booklet places the depletion voltage at 12.7VDC, the video stated 12.4VDC. Contradiction? Or difference in new versus couple years old version?? However, in addition this charge controller will accept a charge command to “top off the battery” even when the lower value of 12.7 or 12.4 (whichever it is) has not been reached. That is where the “charging status” selection and light at bottom comes in. Why would you want to do this? Well maybe the sun is about to go down and you will lose solar so you want to top off now to be able to use full range of allowed battery depletion at night.
Battery Voltage: You mentioned you understood and you are correct in correlating to the other SeeLevel display, although I found they could report 1/10 difference in voltage. Say, 12.8 vs 12.9.
Solar Voltage: See the video
Solar Charge Amps: See the video
Solar Amp Hours: This is an accumulator that shows the running total and you can reset to zero. The booklet gives some general SEDM6-40 Description of Operation on page 4 and then on page 10 has User Instructions. But the user instructions are mostly about pushing buttons to advance display, lock particular displays, what happens after holding a display for 3 seconds and so on. Mostly about the mechanics of displaying information. Except for the part about “charging status”.
Charging Status: Booklet page 4 reads “When charging status LED is not lit, the user can scroll down to the charging status position that lights the LED green”. I scratched my head on this and I think the booklet was written by someone whose “mother tongue” is not English, although their English language skill is very good. I think they are saying when you push the select button to jump down to Charging Status the LED will then turn green to show that is active. This is where you force the charge controller to top off the battery by pressing and holding in the select button which causes the display readout to show/blink ‘n_c’ for 3-4 times (later in booklet under user instructions it states 4 times?). After this the LED turns red and stays red and the display reads ‘chr’ (all the while you are still to be holding in the select button). Then you release the select button. Once this process starts the display will alternate between solar charge amps and battery voltage until charging cycle is complete.
See, it is all just that simple. Arggggghhhhh.