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Old 05-23-2022, 10:13 AM   #1
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2018 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Golden , Colorado
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Solar System has me baffled

We have a 2018 Sprinter Camper Van with 300 watts of solar. We’ve talked with the dealer but can’t seem to get straight answers. So we are reaching out to you. Thanks in advance for any assistance. Here goes - in general is there anything I need to turn on to engage solar? When Boondocking how low can you allow the voltage to go before turning on the generator or starting the engine?
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Old 05-24-2022, 08:51 AM   #2
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Hi jgummoe,

We need more information. Are your batteries Lithium or lead acid/AGM?

If the latter, here is a good table to help answer your boondocking question. When I had AGM, I never let them get below 11.9V for any length of time.
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Old 05-24-2022, 10:36 AM   #3
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For my small system, there is a disconnect switch if I ever need to turn the solar off. This is similar / same as the battery disconnect switches some use. Otherwise it is always on if there is sunlight / panels are not covered by snow , etc and they wires are plugged into the combiner box they are on.
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Old 05-24-2022, 02:09 PM   #4
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As to the solar part of your question, the system is fully automatic and should be left on all the time. When your batteries are full, it should turn off. Likewise, when it senses your batteries need it, it will automatically charge.
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Old 05-24-2022, 04:46 PM   #5
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If you have the stock Airstream system with the Go Power soft panels, they are probably degraded to the point that they won't put out a sufficient voltage. On top of that, your solar controller will not function when your battery voltage gets near 12.6VDC.

I would definitely remove your soft panels and replace them with hard 100 watt units. We generally place 400 watts (4 panels) on the Sprinter roof. Then, run 6AWG cable down to your new Victron 100/30 solar controller (along with the appropriate switching) and you will have a much better, functioning system.

Hope this helps a bit.
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Old 05-24-2022, 04:54 PM   #6
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2022 Interstate 24X
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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Hi

How low should you let your batteries go? That depends on the temperature and exactly what batteries you have. Best guess is that 12.2V on an idling battery is the "start generator" point.

That assumes no load, which is an unusual case. It also assumes measurement at the battery terminals, which also is unusual. The stock meter can be off by a couple tenths due to load. The battery also can be off by a couple tenths due to charging or load. This makes things really tough.

It also assumes a "typical" temperature ( say 70F) and not something really cold ( 40F ) or really hot ( 90F ). As temperature changes the battery voltages change by maybe a half volt ....

The simple answer if you are depending on batteries is to install a Victron BMV-712 shunt or something similar.

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Old 05-24-2022, 05:20 PM   #7
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"Solar System has me baffled"

It's easy: Sun-Mercury-Venus-Earth- Mars-Jupiter-Saturn-Uranus-Neptune.

I won't get in to Pluto.
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Old 05-24-2022, 05:25 PM   #8
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“Mother very thoughtfully made a jelly sandwich under no protest”—Mercury, Venus, Terra, Mars, Asteroids, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Pluto. Yeah, old style mnemonic!
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Old 05-24-2022, 05:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne&Sam View Post
"Solar System has me baffled"

It's easy: Sun-Mercury-Venus-Earth- Mars-Jupiter-Saturn-Uranus-Neptune.

I won't get in to Pluto.
Doesn’t it change at night?
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Old 05-25-2022, 12:43 PM   #10
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Interesting. Thanks.
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Old 05-26-2022, 12:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmkrum View Post
“Mother very thoughtfully made a jelly sandwich under no protest”—Mercury, Venus, Terra, Mars, Asteroids, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Pluto. Yeah, old style mnemonic!


Yeah, I missed Neptune…

I’ll plead old age.
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