Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 09-27-2012, 09:07 AM   #21
one of those
 
Gringo's Avatar
 
2011 27 FB International
'03 F250 PSD , Airstream summers, Catalac winters
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 1,091
I'm planning to buy a couple of the 5 watt solar trickle chargers for this coming winter. I was thinking I can put them both inside the trailer. One facing upwards in one of the skylights to catch overhead sun, and one in a side window facing south to get that component. I have a question as to the best way to do this. It would be easiest to just plug the two solar panels into the cigar lighter style 12 volt jacks in the trailer. In this case, would I leave the Battery Disconnect switch in the Use or Store position?

I was also thinking the most foolproof way to do keep the batteries charged throughout a winter would be to disconnect the ground connection to the battery, and parallel the two solar panels and just run them right to the battery terminals with the trailer out of the circuit entirely. This would make sure nothing was draining the battery.

I don't expect a lot of power from two little 5 watt panels, especially since they will be in fixed positions behind plexiglass and glass. I'm only trying to keep the batts with some charge thru the winter.
__________________
A Blog from the Devil's Triangle
https://2gringos.blogspot.com/
Gringo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-28-2012, 05:29 AM   #22
Rivet Master
 
Skater's Avatar
 
1995 30' Excella
Bowie , Maryland
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,344
I'd do the second thing - hook the panels directly to the batteries, and keep the rest of the trailer off. The small panels will help some, but I don't know if it'll be enough. I have a small 10 watt panel I used to keep in the B190 for similar reasons, but I didn't use it long enough to get a good feel for whether it did keep the battery topped off or not.
__________________
1995 Airstream Classic 30' Excella 1000
2014 Ram 2500 Crew Cab with Cummins 6.7L Diesel

Sold but not forgotten: 1991 Airstream B190
Sold: 2006 F-250 6.0L Powerstroke Supercab
Skater is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2012, 07:36 AM   #23
one of those
 
Gringo's Avatar
 
2011 27 FB International
'03 F250 PSD , Airstream summers, Catalac winters
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 1,091
The batteries were toast, by the way. I bought a hydrometer, and after a week on the AS charger, I measured six of the twelve cells ( I checked three on each battery) and the temp compensated charge was 50%. So, when we packed up the trailer for storage this year I junked the two year old batteries. I'll replace them next spring when I return to the trailer. Gives me a few months to think about various solar options. I like the idea of a big flexible strip on the roof, but I absolutely hate the idea of putting any holes into it.

Anyone know any good adhesives that would stick a flexible solar panel to the aluminum roof? I know I can run the wire down without drilling holes, but need to stick the panel in place if I go that route.
How about plain old RTV? Would that be good enough? There probably isn't much wind drag on a flexible solar panel.

Duct tape would probably hold it, but duct tape doesn't last long in sunlight.

not really that much snow up in Ft. Collins. Blows off, anyhow.
__________________
A Blog from the Devil's Triangle
https://2gringos.blogspot.com/
Gringo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2012, 07:57 AM   #24
retired USA/USAF
 
2001 30' Excella
Somerset , New Jersey
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 2,413
I have heard all of the " Old Wives Tales" about batteries too. But I like to be kept warm during the winter so why wouldn't my batteries ????? I just installed a new smart converter in my trailer so I guess I can leave them in and on the charger full time. But in the past I brought them home and put them on a tender for the winter. I know that's not an option for the original poster here though. I'm afraid he just may be in for replacing the batteries each year. Unless there's a forum member close enough to offer to sit on them at their home for the winter ???
__________________
Roger in NJ

" Democracy is the worst form of government. Except for all the rest"
Winston Churchill 1948

TAC - NJ 18

polarlyse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2012, 08:20 AM   #25
one of those
 
Gringo's Avatar
 
2011 27 FB International
'03 F250 PSD , Airstream summers, Catalac winters
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 1,091
hey, we like warm, too! Thats why we moved to the Turks and Caicos Islands in the first place!

I've got a stepson in Boulder who is about to move from a condo into a house with storage in the basement. I am hoping that I'll be able to do something there, but he won't be living there forever. He graduates from college this year, with a degree in International Relations. Probably won't be finding a job in Boulder, so I really do need a long term solution that doesn't include humping those suckers back and forth to Boulder every year. We've also got some boondocking planned, so the solar solution is attractive to us for other reasons, too.
__________________
A Blog from the Devil's Triangle
https://2gringos.blogspot.com/
Gringo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2012, 09:56 AM   #26
Rivet Master
 
1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,591
A) Batteries are not people. They do not need to be warm.
B) Once batteries are left totally or even partly discharged for any time period, they are always toast, or have their capacity reduced greatly.
C) A small solar charger will work fine to replace the very small self discharge rate of the batteries. Just totally disconnect at least one terminal of the batteries and then direct connect the little solar charger to the batteries. The solar panels will work inside, if they get some direct sunshine now and then.
D) Yes, purchase your new batteries next year if you can. Otherwise they will be a year old when you first use them.
E) I expect that something was on in your trailer, like a CO2 detector or a Propane detector which ran down your batteries and killed them. I don't know how the storage switches in the newer AS works, but from what I read it does not really totally disconnect the batteries. That is why I say totally disconnect them, and make sure the tops are clean.
F) I suspect that those who insist on removing the batteries and "keeping them warm" are actually inadvertently just doing what I suggest, totally disconnecting the batteries. But it is not necessary to move them.

I hope I am not coming across as a know it all bigot. I have had much experience with batteries over the past 50 years. I commonly have had a lifetime of 10 years out of my own RV batteries. I tend to use golf cart batteries if I can fit them into my rigs. On my 310 motorhome, I got 10 years of life from a set of #27's in parallel, and that was using the old stile Univolt converter/charger (which I did not leave on all the time). I built my first solar system in 1995 and it is still in operation, but has now been moved to a friends off grid home in NM. As a volunteer, I build and maintain solar systems for the Forest Service at their remote facilities. I have 4 to 6 in operation at any given time.

So, maybe I am a know it all bigot....LOL. So be it.
idroba is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2012, 10:48 AM   #27
one of those
 
Gringo's Avatar
 
2011 27 FB International
'03 F250 PSD , Airstream summers, Catalac winters
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 1,091
I'm that way about boats, the ocean, and underwater acoustics. I looked up the pertinent info on batteries, and see that with a full charge they are good to about
-40F. I suspect the attraction to keeping them inside is that they are also near an electrical outlet, and a smart charger then makes sense.

I do plan to keep them in the trailer when I work out the solar charger details. Stashing them in stepsons basement is a temporary solution if I don't get the solar worked out.

Disconnecting the batteries makes sense, and complicates things a little in that with the batts hooked up to the trailer it becomes simple to plug the solar output into one of the several cigar lighter jacks that Airstream decided to use for some reason for their dc outlets.

I wonder why they chose those. They're just about the worst connectors you can have, designed to light cigars in the 1940's. I replaced them on the boat with a rugged two prong connector.
__________________
A Blog from the Devil's Triangle
https://2gringos.blogspot.com/
Gringo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2012, 12:36 PM   #28
Rivet Master
 
1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,591
Two problems with the cigar lighter situation:

A) the voltage drops via the wiring and the poor connections with the lighter plugs (quality as you mention)
B) leaves any little loads such as the propane detector, or CO2 detector connected. They can easily discharge a battery over months, even with a small solar system in place. So my rule now is total disconnection (or a Perko switch, wired properly, and in the OFF position)

On my 310 motorhome I had an electric lift Braun Antenna (no amplifier). The lifting mechanism electronics, even when the switch was "off", took enough power to kill the batteries over a few months. I finally found it, and added a second switch in series with the input to the Antenna lift, and that killed the slow but constant drain. End of problem, finally.
idroba is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2012, 01:13 PM   #29
one of those
 
Gringo's Avatar
 
2011 27 FB International
'03 F250 PSD , Airstream summers, Catalac winters
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 1,091
Switch is a good idea, although it's no big issue to just disconnect the ground lead from the batts. I think I even have a 1,2, both, and off boat batt switch kicking around here somewhere. Not sure if it's Perko. One of the red round ones.
__________________
A Blog from the Devil's Triangle
https://2gringos.blogspot.com/
Gringo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2012, 01:18 PM   #30
retired USA/USAF
 
2001 30' Excella
Somerset , New Jersey
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 2,413
I wonder if you get new batteries from a Walmart if they would exchange them if they are dead while under warranty ????? I just got two new ones while we were out in Montana in August. Have to look into their warranty.
__________________
Roger in NJ

" Democracy is the worst form of government. Except for all the rest"
Winston Churchill 1948

TAC - NJ 18

polarlyse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2012, 02:05 PM   #31
Rivet Master
 
1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,591
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gringo View Post
Switch is a good idea, although it's no big issue to just disconnect the ground lead from the batts. I think I even have a 1,2, both, and off boat batt switch kicking around here somewhere. Not sure if it's Perko. One of the red round ones.
Yeppers, that's a Perko switch. Properly connected and switched to off would be as good as disconnecting the batteries. It would take a little effort to install it of course.
idroba is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2012, 03:30 PM   #32
one of those
 
Gringo's Avatar
 
2011 27 FB International
'03 F250 PSD , Airstream summers, Catalac winters
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 1,091
Quote:
Originally Posted by polarlyse View Post
I wonder if you get new batteries from a Walmart if they would exchange them if they are dead while under warranty ????? I just got two new ones while we were out in Montana in August. Have to look into their warranty.

I was thinking Sears DieHards, for the same reason.
__________________
A Blog from the Devil's Triangle
https://2gringos.blogspot.com/
Gringo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2012, 06:17 PM   #33
retired USA/USAF
 
2001 30' Excella
Somerset , New Jersey
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 2,413
Probably work with Sears too. Any of the large retailers I'd think. My batteries went bad this past summer. I just bought the trailer and didn't know their age and stopped at a Walmart in Montana where they tested them for me. They were bad so I replaced them and have no problems since. At least for the time being. In the past I took them out but since I have a 4 stage charger now I may try and leave them in and on charge.
__________________
Roger in NJ

" Democracy is the worst form of government. Except for all the rest"
Winston Churchill 1948

TAC - NJ 18

polarlyse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2012, 08:52 PM   #34
2 Rivet Member
 
1971 21' Globetrotter
Cave Creek , Arizona
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 61
Gringo, I believe that Lewster recommends 3M double sided tape for attaching solar panels to Airstream roofs. I think he used this product to attach panels to the roof of his Sprinter service van. It comes in several widths and thicknesses. 3M's website lists several types for various appllcations.
__________________
"Money frees you from doing things you dislike. Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy." Groucho Marx
snakecharmer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2012, 08:23 AM   #35
Rivet Master
 
1988 32' Excella
Robbinsville , New Jersey
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 1,224
The flexible solar panels come with a mastic on them already no need to use anything else. Snakecharmer is talking about how Lewster mounts rigid panels.
Wazbro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2012, 11:34 PM   #36
2 Rivet Member
 
1971 21' Globetrotter
Cave Creek , Arizona
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 61
Yup, you are right, Wazbro. Thanks for the clarification!
__________________
"Money frees you from doing things you dislike. Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy." Groucho Marx
snakecharmer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2012, 09:08 AM   #37
one of those
 
Gringo's Avatar
 
2011 27 FB International
'03 F250 PSD , Airstream summers, Catalac winters
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 1,091
yes, and thanks for the information. that 3M tape looks like some serious stuff, too. I can think of other applications for that, mounting stuff inside the trailer without drilling holes.

Ideally, I guess, the perfect solar solution would be a series of flexible, interconnectable tiles that could cover the top of the trailer and be mounted on the available surface and be able to accomodate the openings needed for vents, skylights, aircon, etc. I wonder if a layer of solar cells would also help keep the trailer cooler in direct sunlight by blocking it from the aluminum top. As we found out last year when the OAT dropped to 17 deg.F, that aluminum is an excellent thermal transfer medium. I happened to touch a sensitive part of my anatomy to it when bending over in the bedfoom to pick up a pair of shorts, and I bet my scream was heard for quite a distance. I didn't blink for several hours after that one. Airstream frostbite.
__________________
A Blog from the Devil's Triangle
https://2gringos.blogspot.com/
Gringo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2012, 09:45 AM   #38
2 Rivet Member
 
1971 21' Globetrotter
Cave Creek , Arizona
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 61
I think I heard that scream, thought it was a coyote!
Your perfect solar idea does sound perfect, bet the shade would help!
__________________
"Money frees you from doing things you dislike. Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy." Groucho Marx
snakecharmer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2012, 01:01 PM   #39
4 Rivet Member
 
ddruker's Avatar
 
2000 27' Safari
Palo Alto , California
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 262
Images: 1
I've got two of the flexible Unisolar panels installed on my roof - I don't think they are going to help much in terms of insulation. They are black, and they are bonded directly to the roof with mastic that looks a lot like black roofing tar - so I think if anything they are going to make the trailer hotter in the summer and cooler in the winter.

If you had rigid panels suspended above the roof of the trailer, with an air gap in between, I can see how that would help insulate the trailer. But the very easy installation of peel and stick flexible panels right to the trailer roof (which is what I have) is pretty compelling.

I am sure that some day soon someone will come up with affordable, flexible tiles with an easy interconnect system that you can just adhere to the roof and cable together.

I ended up cutting one of my Unisolar panels into three pieces and manually wiring the pieces back together because i didn't have two 18 foot long by 15 inch wide areas available on my roof.
__________________
- Dan

1999 27' Safari + 2011 Mercedes GL 350 Turbo-diesel
ddruker is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Motorhomes, and Charging Batteries.... Keyair General Motorhome Topics 18 10-15-2011 08:21 AM
Bad Batteries? Nightwatch Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar 8 05-23-2011 01:58 PM
Controller wiring to bus bar or batteries? txstreamer Generators & Solar Power 4 04-26-2011 06:10 AM


Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:13 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.