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Old 12-14-2017, 10:36 PM   #1
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2018 30' Flying Cloud
brooklyn , New York
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 15
Something's up with our Solar (?)

Scenario;
320 watts of solar on a 30 foot bunk.
Have used it from NYS to New Mexico from Sept to Dec.
Used to charge fine meaning we felt like we were always at 100%

Today we were at 80% and left the trailer at 11:00am.
We have full unobstructed New Mexico sun (dec 14).
We left with nothing running and all lights off. (We're fully dry camping right now).
When we arrived back at 8:30pm we thought for sure we would be at 100% but we were actually down to 60%!
We can't seem to figure it out. (Pump was 'on' but not running, no lights, no heat, inverter off, fridge on gas...)

We're totally new at this. Any advice appreciated!
Joe
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Old 12-14-2017, 11:29 PM   #2
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Perhaps a silly question, but the first thing I would have done is checked my monitor to see if the panels were working? Did you?
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Old 12-14-2017, 11:30 PM   #3
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Something's up with our Solar (?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by gandttimes View Post
Perhaps a silly question, but the first thing I would have done is checked my monitor to see if the panels were working? Did you?


Yeah, they were at 45% when we woke up and had been climbing all morning.
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Old 12-14-2017, 11:41 PM   #4
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OK. Not quite understanding. 45% of what. Do you not have a way of reading what voltage or amperage is being produced by your panels? What is normal output. What do you have for a charging unit or battery monitor?
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Old 12-15-2017, 05:51 AM   #5
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Keswick , Virginia
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How old are the batteries? Check those. Are they sealed or unsealed?
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Old 12-15-2017, 06:27 AM   #6
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As gandttimes suggests, check to be sure that your monitor panel indicates that there is power/charge coming out of the panels (not what your battery is reading) the fact that you are down to 45% or lower means you're batteries are now starting to suffer damage also. Usually one of the buttons on the display allows you to toggle through the different functions, you are looking for one that indicates "charge out (or in)"
After that, there would be a shutoff switch and circuit Interrupters between the panels and system that you would check if the display indicates zero out.
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Old 12-15-2017, 08:32 AM   #7
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2011 27' FB Classic
Camp Hill , Pennsylvania
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I had a similar problem. Check to see if the lights are on in your outside lockers. Also the refrigerator eats quite a bit of battery on hot days.
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Old 12-15-2017, 08:40 AM   #8
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Run the fridge on Propane...not battery.
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Old 12-15-2017, 08:41 AM   #9
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Are your fantastic fans on thermostat?
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Old 12-15-2017, 09:18 AM   #10
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Thanks everyone;

My sunexplorer display panel reads;
35 Battery Percent Remaining
11.5 battery voltage
11.5 solar voltage
.6 solar charge amps
64.2 solar amp hours
(Charging status is red)

This is 8am with no direct sun and after the furnace running for much of the night.

(Bin lights off)
(All fans off)
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Old 12-15-2017, 09:26 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by megadice View Post
Thanks everyone;

My sunexplorer display panel reads;
35 Battery Percent Remaining
11.5 battery voltage
11.5 solar voltage
.6 solar charge amps
64.2 solar amp hours
(Charging status is red)

This is 8am with no direct sun and after the furnace running for much of the night.

(Bin lights off)
(All fans off)


Oh yeah, brand new sealed batteries.
2018 flying cloud.
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Old 12-15-2017, 09:32 AM   #12
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How are your panels configured? Are there blocking or bypass diodes in your junction box?

Data from a full sun environment would be more instructive. When was the last reset of the solar amp hours statistic?

Check your fridge for a "Climate Control" switch. It should be OFF. This runs heat strips in the door frame to control condensation. Also the low ambient switch, if you have one, should be OFF. This runs the light in the fridge all the time to increase run time.

It sounds like you have a significant phantom draw which could be in your trailer or a failure of the solar charge controller.

Al
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Old 12-15-2017, 11:19 AM   #13
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The refrig. uses 12 volts while it is running on propane.
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Old 12-15-2017, 11:40 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KWN306 View Post
The refrig. uses 12 volts while it is running on propane.
Very little...much less than 1A, unless a cooling fan(s) are installed, in which case mine draws a bit over 1A.
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Old 12-15-2017, 02:32 PM   #15
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Euless , Texas
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Are the solar panels clean? Mine get covered with dirt and tree sap and my output drops noticeably. Wash them with soap and water or Windex. Also, the sun is at a lower angle this time of year, so, unless you can tilt your panels toward the Sun your output will be reduced.
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Old 12-15-2017, 05:03 PM   #16
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Furnace fan, refrigerator, minor lighting, perhaps a radio accidently left on, check battery water level, check closet light switch(s) working plus anything else you can think of.
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Old 12-15-2017, 05:23 PM   #17
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Hollidaysburg , Pennsylvania
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Solar charge fuses

Check your charge fuses. In our 30 Classic, they’re beneath the wardrobe. 20 amp. Faulty electric or a surge blows them every time.
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Old 12-15-2017, 05:27 PM   #18
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I'm with RVB's point regarding the sun - it is mid-December!
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Old 12-15-2017, 05:37 PM   #19
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As suggested by others your panels will not work as well in December because of the lower angel of the sun. Nevertheless get a reading of your solar voltage and amps at midday with the panels unobstructed to see how they are performing. Irregardless of the panel performance something was drawing your battery down. However, first order of business is to not draw down the batteries further and find some other way get them fully charged ASAP to minimize damage to them.--Frank
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Old 12-15-2017, 06:11 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fran&frank View Post
... However, first order of business is to not draw down the batteries further and find some other way get them fully charged ASAP to minimize damage to them.
It sounds like your furnace running drained your batteries. It draws about 8 amps per hour. Use your booster cables from your runnning TV to add a lot of amps to your house batteries quickly. Many TV with a tow package have 160 amp (or larger) alternators.
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