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Old 02-26-2020, 12:17 PM   #521
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2007 30' Classic
KW , Ontario
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

We have stayed at a number of campsites where the panels dropped to near nothing for most of the day. Pretty much no sun on any panel outside a 1 or 2 hour window.

Bob
Yup that can happen. Just need to find better sites next time, or adjust your expectations. I've been on a few where it's been dark like in December and pouring rain, barely a charge. Just enough to keep the lights from draining the battery. But even after a few days of this the batteries didn't drop much further. You just need to control what you're using. Then when the weather is fine it's back up to 100% and you can go nuts using whatever. That's why I have multiple panels in parallel so that I can take advantage of the little bit power they are putting out. Anyone can charge their batteries in full sunlight.
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Old 02-27-2020, 04:42 PM   #522
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Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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Originally Posted by gator.bigfoot View Post
Yup that can happen. Just need to find better sites next time, or adjust your expectations. I've been on a few where it's been dark like in December and pouring rain, barely a charge. Just enough to keep the lights from draining the battery. But even after a few days of this the batteries didn't drop much further. You just need to control what you're using. Then when the weather is fine it's back up to 100% and you can go nuts using whatever. That's why I have multiple panels in parallel so that I can take advantage of the little bit power they are putting out. Anyone can charge their batteries in full sunlight.
Hi

Well, the fridge pulls 1A in our trailer. The control system pulls another 1A. That gets us to right at 50A doing pretty much nothing all day long. The only way to go below that would be to shut down the fridge. I'm not into warm beer

Indeed we *do* turn on lights for a bit at night. We sometimes run the water / flush the toilet. I suppose we could use candles and dig a pit at the end of the campsite .. Probably higher up the list than warm beer

Bob
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Old 02-28-2020, 06:48 AM   #523
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

Well, the fridge pulls 1A in our trailer. The control system pulls another 1A. That gets us to right at 50A doing pretty much nothing all day long. The only way to go below that would be to shut down the fridge. I'm not into warm beer

Indeed we *do* turn on lights for a bit at night. We sometimes run the water / flush the toilet. I suppose we could use candles and dig a pit at the end of the campsite .. Probably higher up the list than warm beer

Bob
Your fridge draws a lot of power. Mine did too and then I realized that the light inside was staying on all the time. Removed the bulb and presto it no longer drew 1 A. Almost nothing now. And my beer is ICE cold. In fact I keep 2 frozen steins in the freezer at all times just to make sure my beer is cold
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Old 02-28-2020, 06:58 AM   #524
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2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , Milky Way
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POI...our fridge has a setting that keeps the light on ...ck the "low ambient switch". Keeps the temps up in cold weather so your Kom-quats don't freeze

Took me three years, but I finally learned that....when I read the manual.

BTW...Do NOT put an LED in the Fridge....Why I read the manual. 🥴

Bob
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Old 02-28-2020, 08:54 AM   #525
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Oswego , Illinois
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
POI...our fridge has a setting that keeps the light on ...ck the "low ambient switch". Keeps the temps up in cold weather so your Kom-quats don't freeze

Took me three years, but I finally learned that....when I read the manual.

BTW...Do NOT put an LED in the Fridge....Why I read the manual.

Bob
I put an led in. I have yet to find low enough temps that the temperature level selector hasn't taken care of....or shut the fridge off. I do keep the bulb in my supplies box if I ever do.
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Old 04-21-2020, 03:45 PM   #526
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2015 Interstate Ext. Coach
Katy , Texas
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2015 solar system operation

Hi,

Iím new to both the AI and solar panels / controller operation. I bought a 2015 3500 ext with 10 day contingency that all systems work as designed. I have not been able to validate the system and previous owner says he never used or understood the system. I have read the sunexplorer manual (pretty poor manual). Can someone walk me through operation as I have not been able to get any current (amps) to show up on the controller
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Old 04-28-2020, 03:54 PM   #527
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2016 30' International
redondo beach , California
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Originally Posted by pjeoss View Post
Hi,

Iím new to both the AI and solar panels / controller operation. I bought a 2015 3500 ext with 10 day contingency that all systems work as designed. I have not been able to validate the system and previous owner says he never used or understood the system. I have read the sunexplorer manual (pretty poor manual). Can someone walk me through operation as I have not been able to get any current (amps) to show up on the controller

The only way I know to test your factory solar system is to put the Airstream in the sun and look at the controller and see if it draws any current. There is a display setting on the controller that indicates current in amps (A). And when in direct sunlight you should get some value like 3.2A or something like that.

Good luck with your purchase, whatever you are buying.

Not to sure what you mean by "AI"
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Old 04-29-2020, 06:52 AM   #528
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AI=Airstream Interstate

Sunexplorer = Garbage

Check your batteries and make sure they are still ok. Get a volt meter to confirm and then check the solar charge into the controller in full sun. Your current solar charger leaves something to be desired. Get a proper one, either MPPT or PWM (both Victron and Morningstar make quality ones). With the AI there are a number of ways that they can be wired. I'm not sure how the factory did it, but I'm sure that the folks with them can help you out better. A lot of the charging of the batteries on an AI will happen when the vehicle runs. It will need some proper electronics like DC-DC converters and a proper meter for the battery usage.
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Old 06-23-2020, 06:03 PM   #529
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2020 30' Classic
Cary , North Carolina
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How to add Bluetooth to Victron Energy System

I have a 2020 with 270W factory installed solar using a Victron Bluesolar MPPT 150 | 35 Charger Controller. It is wired to a Victron MPPT Control Display. They are connected with a cable using the VE direct port on each device.

They make an optional Bluetooth dongle, but it has to connect to the VE Direct port. Is there another way to add bluetooth to the system without sacrificing the existing MPPT display?
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Old 07-12-2020, 08:05 AM   #530
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2020 25' Flying Cloud
Alexandria , Minnesota
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverGate View Post
So now itís your turnÖ

If you have an Airstream with the factory-installed Solar Charging System, please share your experience, notes, information, and ideas here.

Others who are seriously interested in this system or have similar components of this system are also encouraged to share information.

Also, if you have in-depth knowledge about any of the system components, please share the information here.

SilverGate
I have a 2020 25FB Twin with factory solar w/2ea 100 w panels. The batteries are the Lifeline. Presently the unit is parked and in the sun in Minnesota. Day temps upper 80's night upper 60's. Inside temps of the trailer could hit 95F at the peak sun day. Each morning the display panel shows it's in a charging mode (came on as it detected less than 12.6v - input amp charge is about 3.2A). Nothing was ever 'on' in the trailer, use switch is off, always in "store" position. (CO detector comes on only when use switch is on - hooked up that way). The charging will take about 2 hours and the batteries come back up to 100% 12.8v. ( I measured this with a meter and have placed another digital charger on the batteries to verify the 100% charge). After about 2 hours again with no use the panel displays 90% then through out the day goes down to 85%. Nothing is running/on ever. I've confirmed this with a volt meter at the fuses showing no amp draw.
I cannot figure out why I'm loosing amps throughout the day? I cannot believe the temperature is that much of a factor as the mass of the two batteries would remain fairly even temperature wise. ?????Thanks for any inputs/ideas Benjamin
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Old 07-12-2020, 08:18 AM   #531
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I do not think you are. You are just measuring voltage. As long as the charge controller allows the panels to charge the batteries, the voltage will read higher since the panels are at 19 volts or more. Once the charge controller says "full" and shuts off, the voltage will drift down. A lead acid battery, at rest after a hour or so, fully charged is only about 12.6 volts. You need a a good battery monitor with a shunt to really know what is going on, at any given time.

Larry
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Old 07-13-2020, 02:17 AM   #532
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2012 25' International
Prosser , Washington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cicho69 View Post
I have a 2020 25FB Twin with factory solar w/2ea 100 w panels. The batteries are the Lifeline. Presently the unit is parked and in the sun in Minnesota. Day temps upper 80's night upper 60's. Inside temps of the trailer could hit 95F at the peak sun day. Each morning the display panel shows it's in a charging mode (came on as it detected less than 12.6v - input amp charge is about 3.2A). Nothing was ever 'on' in the trailer, use switch is off, always in "store" position. (CO detector comes on only when use switch is on - hooked up that way). The charging will take about 2 hours and the batteries come back up to 100% 12.8v. ( I measured this with a meter and have placed another digital charger on the batteries to verify the 100% charge). After about 2 hours again with no use the panel displays 90% then through out the day goes down to 85%. Nothing is running/on ever. I've confirmed this with a volt meter at the fuses showing no amp draw.
I cannot figure out why I'm loosing amps throughout the day? I cannot believe the temperature is that much of a factor as the mass of the two batteries would remain fairly even temperature wise. ?????Thanks for any inputs/ideas Benjamin
Airstream installed our system after market. We have 240 watts on our roof. Our "charging" meter is the Zamp Solar digital readout. About a year ago, we replaced our batteries (AGM, Interstate 12V) and upgraded our charger to a smart charger (so it does not overcharge them). On a typical day of boon docking, we start out at 12.4 volts, which I am told is "healthy." The battery indicator is green. As the sun starts to shine on the panels, the voltage will jump to 14.4 volts and stay there for some time. Then we drop back to about 12.8 because we are now on trickle charge. Even with full sun our amp meter reads zero until we start using systems, and then energy starts going back into the battery to maintain that charge.

As long as your batteries are good/holding charge, I would not be concerned with any reading above 12 volts after running systems in the evening (refrigerator fan, range fan, water pump, and the biggie: furnace fan). As boondockers, we tend to find ways to save energy so we can be off grid. Extra down blanket to keep from running the furnace, removing the fuse from our refrigerator fan, and keeping that panel propped open to dissipate heat from the coils, etc. Our record for off grid is 8 days, after which, it is time to get more water and dump, but power is not an issue.
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Old 07-13-2020, 07:38 AM   #533
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2007 30' Classic
KW , Ontario
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cicho69 View Post
I have a 2020 25FB Twin with factory solar w/2ea 100 w panels. The batteries are the Lifeline. Presently the unit is parked and in the sun in Minnesota. Day temps upper 80's night upper 60's. Inside temps of the trailer could hit 95F at the peak sun day. Each morning the display panel shows it's in a charging mode (came on as it detected less than 12.6v - input amp charge is about 3.2A). Nothing was ever 'on' in the trailer, use switch is off, always in "store" position. (CO detector comes on only when use switch is on - hooked up that way). The charging will take about 2 hours and the batteries come back up to 100% 12.8v. ( I measured this with a meter and have placed another digital charger on the batteries to verify the 100% charge). After about 2 hours again with no use the panel displays 90% then through out the day goes down to 85%. Nothing is running/on ever. I've confirmed this with a volt meter at the fuses showing no amp draw.
I cannot figure out why I'm loosing amps throughout the day? I cannot believe the temperature is that much of a factor as the mass of the two batteries would remain fairly even temperature wise. ?????Thanks for any inputs/ideas Benjamin
The problem is the factory installed charger. Get rid of it. It is junk. It's killing your batteries. If all it charges to is 12.8V it is not doing you any favours. The lifelines need a much higher voltage to charge properly. See the lifeline manual. Then buy a proper solar charger like a MorningStar or a Victron. Set it for flooded batteries so that you will also get the equalization charge. Make sure the unit you buy has either a built in temperature sensor or the ability to add an external one (then wire it up). I'm using a cheap Prostar 30 for my 4 lifelines. Never an issue. Also get yourself a battery monitor so you can actually confirm the charge and the draw. Without it you will always be guessing. I use a Trimetric, but most AS'ers seem to gravitate towards the Victron prison.
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