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Old 09-28-2021, 02:38 PM   #1
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2013 19' Flying Cloud
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Battery performance

Just purchased portable 100W solar panel for 25 Flying Cloud. Used it for six days boon docking. Excellent solar exposure for 6 hours. Kept 3yr old flooded acid IS batteries @12.6v all day, but running some space heat at night dropped the batteries to 11.3-11.6 v by morning. Still sufficient for lights, fans, water pump. Needed generator for toaster in am, but only for 10-15 minutes or so. Should batteries drop below 12v with minimal load?
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Old 09-28-2021, 02:53 PM   #2
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Some space heat at night? Inverter?
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Old 09-28-2021, 03:41 PM   #3
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It all depends on your usage. We've boondocks for 8 days, needing heat in the morning, using older batteries and a 100 watt portable panel. We don't run the AS furnace heat all night, we run it until we go to bed (pretty early) and kick it on at 5 or 6 AM. Works for uWe tend to stay where generators are not allowed. There are alternatives to toaster. YMMV.
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Old 09-28-2021, 06:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masterfly View Post
Just purchased portable 100W solar panel for 25 Flying Cloud. Used it for six days boon docking. Excellent solar exposure for 6 hours. Kept 3yr old flooded acid IS batteries @12.6v all day, but running some space heat at night dropped the batteries to 11.3-11.6 v by morning. Still sufficient for lights, fans, water pump. Needed generator for toaster in am, but only for 10-15 minutes or so. Should batteries drop below 12v with minimal load?
Hi

Simple answer: no

More complex answer: No, very much so if it's cold out. The "magic voltages" all go up when it is cold.

More detailed answer: This is going to damage your batteries and you will not get a very long life out of them doing this.

Unless you have a really massive battery bank, space heaters are a bad idea ...

Bob
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Old 09-28-2021, 07:24 PM   #5
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Possibly time for a proper battery monitor?
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Old 09-29-2021, 07:28 AM   #6
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Battery performance

Thanks; just for clarification: not space heater, AS furnace set at 50 deg overnight, and comes on occasionally when outside temps drop into 30s. Monitor in AS not sufficient?
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Old 09-29-2021, 08:21 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by masterfly View Post
Thanks; just for clarification: not space heater, AS furnace set at 50 deg overnight, and comes on occasionally when outside temps drop into 30s. Monitor in AS not sufficient?
Hi

Nope

Any device that is just looking at battery voltage is only making a very rough guess. If it is wired directly to the battery posts the guess will be a little better, but still not very good at all. Most RV monitors do not go directly to the battery posts ( the typical AS monitor does not go to the posts).

A shunt based monitor is the only way to really know what's going on with your batteries. They are a common item on lithium installs. They are equally helpful with lead acids.

Why?

The voltage monitors only have limited information. The voltage of a full battery (or half full) changes by maybe as much as a half volt up or down as temperature changes over a normal "let's go camping" sort of range. The monitor does not read temperature. It does not understand that 12.0 (the normal stop using voltage) now is 12.6 (because it's *cold* out). It happily tells you the battery is at 100% when it's below 50%. Battery capacity goes down when it's cold, that also messes things up.

A good monitor runs a current meter ( a shunt ) on the battery. It looks at all the current in and all the current out. It also looks at battery voltage. The fancy ones look at temperature. You do some settings to let them know what the characteristics of your battery are. They do math to tell you what's left in the battery.

If you are going to be off grid / depending on batteries get one.

One of many:

https://shop.pkys.com/victron-energy...y-monitor.html

A lower cost / simpler version:

https://shop.pkys.com/Victron-Energy...mV_p_8092.html

There are a range of others out there. The Victron stuff is what a lot of us have used.

Bob
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