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trumpetguy

Solar again

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OK. Full disclosure. I am a novice when it comes to understanding how the system works and what the various messages on the remote actually mean. If you can answer just a couple of questions I will really appreciate it. Not in a technical way. OH. I did not receive a manual and my google queries have only produced lot's of ads.

 

The two basic questions are 1. How much is the system producing, and 2. How much am I using.

 

The Blue Sky IPN ProRemote has a function that displays "Input xxx Chg Out xxx". My assumption is that this answers questions 1 and 2, but the numbers do not change.

 

Another question...is there a display that calculates how much an appliance or device is drawing while in use.

 

One more...Is 450 the correct Amp hours for (4) Trojan T 105s?

 

Thanks so much.


Current 2007 Airstream Classic Limited 31


2015 Oliver Legacy Elite II (Sold)


2016 Ram 2500 HD 6.7i Cummins turbo diesel


 

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Please cancel the last message. I called Blue Sky and got a very good course on the workings of their Ipn ProRemote.


Current 2007 Airstream Classic Limited 31


2015 Oliver Legacy Elite II (Sold)


2016 Ram 2500 HD 6.7i Cummins turbo diesel


 

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Has anyone successfully equalized their batteries using the Blue Sky IPN remote. My voltage will not get to 15.2 and I am in full Florida sunlight.


Current 2007 Airstream Classic Limited 31


2015 Oliver Legacy Elite II (Sold)


2016 Ram 2500 HD 6.7i Cummins turbo diesel


 

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I just got off the phone with Boz at Blue Sky. Boz has been a terrific source of information, is extremely patient with my questions, and knows their product completely. The short answer is that 320 Watts of solar will not produce the 15.5 volts needed to equalize 450 amp hours of batteries. I guess a stand alone battery charger with the proper capabilities is on the shopping list now.

 

Has anyone installed the Tri Metic battery monitor that Hand Bob says is a must?


Current 2007 Airstream Classic Limited 31


2015 Oliver Legacy Elite II (Sold)


2016 Ram 2500 HD 6.7i Cummins turbo diesel


 

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Mr. David question when you were talking to the solar company what did they say it would do to the batteries when you only charge at the 15. 2 VS the 15.5. Does this shorten the life of them, develop a memory, and does it charge some of the batteries full and other short, I am thinking of when we boon dock like at Quartzite or Death valley next year or do we need to carry a generator since the solar was one of the main reasons so as not carry one. Just thinking out loud as I read your post. Thanks Gary


Gary & Jona

2016 Silverado 2500 Diesel

Legacy Elite II Hull 81 

 

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Dave I'm certainly not an expert at any of this and initially had concerns similar to yours regarding charge voltage. The folks at Oliver set my system up for a 15.2 Volts equalization probably like yours. However after spending the last 30 days on the road with our Oliver and this in some less than desirable weather, often in the low to mid teens at night, and many more hovering around freezing or 40's-50's where we needed to run the furnace at night to some degree we never even once came close to scraping the bottom of the barrel of our charge and amps available. We used lights liberally though, as well as other devices available to us. The long and short of it is, regardless of what Handy Bob says, both my wife and I feel we could stay off the grid indefinitely in our Ollie with the 320 W solar package and 4 Trojan batteries. We would run out of water, fill up holding tanks, or run out of propane long before we ran out of electricity.

 

We only plugged into shore power about 3 nights total during our entire trip although it was available to us we just did not use it unless there was some special reason to use a device that needed 110 AC. During the coldest weather when the furnace ran quite often, the lowest our charge went to was 84%, but usually 87%. Otherwise it only dropped to 96-97% each night and back up to 100% by mid morning on sunny days, slightly longer on cloudy overcast days.

 

Now all that said, I have no idea if your electrical needs will be more excessive than ours, but would the .3 volts difference really make that much of an impact should you need the extra charge? If not, the long and short of it is I wouldn't worry about it.

 

Hopefully you will find this helpful.

 

rob

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Thanks for the comments. What I refer to is not the capacity of my batteries to sustain us, rather a process reccomended by Trojan and others to equalize the batteries at certain intervals. This is accomplished by over charging the batteries for a period of two hours at 15.5 volts, which boils the water in the cells, and cleans built up residue from the plates. If you have AGM batteries this is not needed.

 

The reason for this is to extend the life of the batteries, and prevent gradual deterioration. I have discovered that 320 WATS of solar will not produce enough AMPS to get the voltage 15.5, and am researching stand alone three stage chargers with equalization mode.

 

I don't know the answer to the first question, but Trojan specs out 15.5 volts for equalizing.

 

This may be a small thing in the grand scheme....just replace the batteries every few years and don't worry about it.

 

Good information can be found at....

 

http://www.trojanbattery.com/tech-suppo ... intenance/


Current 2007 Airstream Classic Limited 31


2015 Oliver Legacy Elite II (Sold)


2016 Ram 2500 HD 6.7i Cummins turbo diesel


 

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This is a good conversation for anyone contemplating solar and thanks for the link.

 

I have pasted the section regarding equalization from the Trojan website below for those who want a quick read. A couple of quick thoughts on this from what I was able to garner from the Trojan website. While it may be true the solar charger that is in the Oliver might not be able to accomplish an equalization charge, surely the converter/charger circuit once plugged into a 110 AC shoreline would be able to. Also worth noting Trojan only recommends or as they state the "experts" recommend an equalization charge anywhere from once per year to once per month. It appears from this there is a ton of leeway on this aspect alone.

 

The long and short of it is at least for now I'm not going to worry about it too much with the existing solar charger installed. And will take gravity readings perhaps a couple of times per year. For me I think my biggest concern will be freezing batteries, but even to that I am a bit skeptical to the amount of damage done. After all car/truck batteries in my neck of the woods will set in below freezing to sub zero temps for days, perhaps weeks with no charge to them at all. I have yet to see premature battery failure for vehicles in the northern hinterlands though it may have happened to others. And it appears their method for an equalization charge is done via a actual battery charger rather than a solar or converter/charger installed in the RV. IOW's it might be cheaper, easier in the long run to invest in a battery charger which would be way easier than taking the things out and heading down to the local auto shop to have it done.

 

FWIW in the conversation Norm over on the FGRV forum stated he had a set of these T105's in motorhome for 14 years and they were still going strong when he sold the MH and this was in NH not exactly in the tropics and probably not with a solar package either.

 

Thanks, and it would be interesting to hear from others on their experience.

 

rob

 

 

 

FLOODED BATTERIES ONLY

 

Equalizing is an overcharge performed on flooded lead acid batteries after they have been fully charged.

 

It reverses the buildup of negative chemical effects like stratification, a condition where acid concentration is greater at the bottom of the battery than at the top. Equalizing also helps to remove sulfate crystals that might have built up on the plates. If left unchecked, this condition, called sulfation, will reduce the overall capacity of the battery.

 

Many experts recommend that batteries be equalized periodically, ranging anywhere from once a month to once or twice per year. However, Trojan only recommends equalizing when low or wide ranging specific gravity (+/- .015) are detected after fully charging a battery.

 

Step-By-Step Equalizing

 

Verify the battery(s) are flooded type.

Remove all loads from the batteries.

Connect battery charger.

Set charger for the equalizing voltage (See Table 2 in the Charging section). If your charger doesn’t have an equalization mode, you can unplug the charger and re-plug it back in. This also will conduct the equalization charge.

Start charging batteries.

Batteries will begin gassing and bubbling vigorously.

Take specific gravity readings every hour.

Equalization is complete when specific gravity values no longer rise during the gassing stage.

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Trumpetguy,

 

I am also new to the solar game and have been trying to learn as much as I can from various sources, in anticipation of my new trailer. There is a lot of misinformation on the internet, from installers, and from some manufacturers. But I have come to realize that HandyBob is one of the more believable and trusted sources out there. I would reread his "The RV Battery Charging Puzzle" because I believe the answer to your problem is in there. First, I don't get what Blue Sky told you that your 320 watts of solar panels don't produce enough voltage to equalize your batteries. I don't know what panels Oliver uses, but the 160 watt panels offered by AM Solar are rated at 18.5 volts and 8.65 amps output per panel, in ideal situations. Wired in parallel, that's 18.5 volts and ~17 amps output. Figure some voltage drop from panel heating and wire resistance loss (although I believe Oliver uses 6 gauge in the harness from panel to charge controller so not much loss there), and you still should have about 16.5 volts at the charge controller. That is plenty of voltage to equalize your batteries. Have you tested panel output at the charge controller? Am I missing something here? It sounds like the charging profiles on the Blue Sky controller do not accommodate the equalizing requirements of your Trojans. Or there is some other voltage loss going on that needs to be corrected. But it is not your panels! Get a digital volt/ohmmeter and do some testing. If the Blue sky controller is the problem, then I would go with the Trimetric SC2030 controller and the TM2030 meter combination. That's what is going in my rig. HandyBob did a great recent write-up on the pair.

 

I hope my info is all correct, as I said, I'm still learning. Hopefully someone with more experience can verify or correct what I said. Good luck though. Get that meter and do some testing.

 

Best,

Dave


2015 Oliver Elite, Hull 107


1998 Ford E-250, 5.4 liter

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Dave. This is confusing to me, but the issue seems to be in the amp hours of my batteries...450. If I had fewer AH the solar would be able to put more volts into the batteries. Since I already have the batteries, and the solar I think Outlaws mantra of don't worry about it is best. A battery test for specific gravity every few months will probably suffice.

 

It's good to explore these things, eh? Now for some camping. Headed for Torreya State park next month. So great to be a Florida Senior and get half price. Ten bucks a night for water, electric site on the Appalachicola river. Sweet.


Current 2007 Airstream Classic Limited 31


2015 Oliver Legacy Elite II (Sold)


2016 Ram 2500 HD 6.7i Cummins turbo diesel


 

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All you "big boys" with your four battery capacity and Four Hundred and Fifty Amp Hours are killin' me! My Elite has two batteries . . . When I recently changed battery types from Optima Blue Top to Lifeline, my amp hours went from 105 to 200 and I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Recently, I boondocked and the temp went down to about 40 degrees. With the furnace running to keep me comfortable,showering at night and in the morning using the water pump, I only lost two tenths of a volt on my battery charge all night. That's nothing!

 

Get on out there and enjoy your trailer in the wild. You'll have plenty of power on board for all your needs as long as you don't use your batteries to heat your jakkuzi.


Pete & "Bosker".    TV -  '18 F150 Super-cab Fx4; RV  - "The Wonder Egg";   '08 Elite, Hull Number 014.


Travel blog of 1st 10 years' wanderings - http://www.peteandthewonderegg.blogspot.com


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...showering at night and in the morning using the water pump...

 

 

You shower TWICE a day? While camping? What's up with that?


Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

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Well said Pete.


Current 2007 Airstream Classic Limited 31


2015 Oliver Legacy Elite II (Sold)


2016 Ram 2500 HD 6.7i Cummins turbo diesel


 

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...showering at night and in the morning using the water pump...

 

 

You shower TWICE a day? While camping? What's up with that?

 

 

Oscar insists on it! He claims it's to prevent offending his sensitive canine nose. :roll:


Pete & "Bosker".    TV -  '18 F150 Super-cab Fx4; RV  - "The Wonder Egg";   '08 Elite, Hull Number 014.


Travel blog of 1st 10 years' wanderings - http://www.peteandthewonderegg.blogspot.com


ABBCMBNBNLNSONPEQCSKYTALAKAZARCACOCTFLGAHIIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNJNMNYNCNDOHOKORPAPRSCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYsm.jpg

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Pete, funny comments, you had me laughing. BTW, sorry we couldn't connect as you were heading east and us west. Man we got into some awful weather leaving the coast. Will detail this more later in another thread, but…

 

In the interest of understanding solar, batteries and the charging of such I would like to make one additional comment and provide some anecdotal info. It occurs to me that perhaps there might be some misunderstanding regarding "equalization" vs normal SOP for battery charging. Correct me if I am wrong but it appears to me equalization is a maintenance scheme of keeping your batteries in top operating condition, sort of like changing the oil in your auto, and has nothing "directly" to do with ones amp storage. While normal charging strategies in day to day, week to week camping is about keeping the charge at 14.8 volts (bulk) in order to completely deep charge in this case the Trojan T 105's. Other batteries will have slightly different specs. Also in order to do a proper equalization one has to manually be taking specific gravity measurements during the time you are charging at 15.6 volts and only when the gravity ceases to rise are you fully equalized. To my way of thinking this is not something one would undertake while camping.

 

Most battery chargers are 3 stage, bulk, absorption, and float, while a few can do a 4th stage that being "equalization". Its been awhile, probably more than a year since reading through all of Handy Bob's endless pages of battery rants but for the moment I don't recall him ever discussing this 4th stage of equalization maintenance. But if you have a charge of 14.8 volts in the bulk stage then the T105's will be filled up completely and thus by default you would have a complete 450 amp hours of charge. The notion the 320 watt panels in conjunction with the Blue Sky charger cannot accomplish this does not seem correct, not only based upon the math but my personal experience having used the system for 38 straight non stop days, often in some taxing conditions.

 

While I don't have a method of measuring the stored amp hours on a full charge as an additional stress test to the system with our existing cold, rainy, snowy weather in MT I decided to leave the Oliver in our driveway unplugged to shore power since our return rather than taking it into storage. Its a waste of energy but it will give me a good idea of what can be expected in the future. Besides we wanted to do a few other things to it anyway, i.e. outfitting with some other accessories, performing a winterization task and a few other things. Yes we are still have freezing temps here. So #70 has been in the driveway for a week now with all but one night freezing some into the 20's and the furnace running at least during the evenings, the lights have been on as needed, pump running off and on. As an example this mornings battery capacity at sunrise was at 94% ± (running furnace through the night) with about half an inch of snow piled on the panels. Currently its at 97% with 14.1 volts showing on the battery meter, its noon. This is a bit slow historically but it is a breezy chilly day with heavy overcast skies. Yesterday, batteries were 96% at sunrise but by 1:00 PM had regained their 100% capacity. This during a wet heavily overcast rainy day. Furnace was on all night and day with some lights running as needed. System stayed 100% with 12.7 volts reading at the battery until at least an hour after dark.

 

Most people do not camp in these conditions, and granted on mild winter days with shorter daylight hours and lower sun angle (especially above the 45th parallel) the system might not be able to regain as fast or as efficiently as the last 38 days have shown. It would be an understatement to say we are impressed thus far.

 

Hopefully anyone contemplating the solar package and whopper batteries will find this info helpful.

 

Rob

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I need to check my batteries then because I have never once observed voltage above 13 even when on shore power. Perhaps being a few months older has some affect but I don't think that should matter.

 

I did have a good conversation with James at Trojan batteries today. What he suggested is that specific gravity is the only true gauge of battery health and if the SG falls below 1.235 the batteries need to be over charged until the SG reads >1.270. James said this can be accomplished by re starting (unplugging) your automatic charger each time it shuts off and re testing until the desired SG is achieved.

 

Sorry about your cold weather Rob. We are having a spectacular Spring here on the Gulf Coast. You get your turn later when we are hot and humid.


Current 2007 Airstream Classic Limited 31


2015 Oliver Legacy Elite II (Sold)


2016 Ram 2500 HD 6.7i Cummins turbo diesel


 

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Hmm curious, unless of course you just happen to be checking when it is in float stage. The charger will go up and down depending upon its stage. Currently mine is at 13.5 V and only 98% charged. Its really overcast and chilly but today its taking the longest ever to completely charge. I doubt the difference in a few months would make that much difference in charge rates.

 

What James and Trojan might be referring to is when a charger is first engaged it goes into bulk mode (I believe), so a restart would more or less accomplish this status apparently. There is another method, albeit far less controlled and scientific. Hook up a set of battery jumper cables from you tow vehicle directly to the + & - terminals of your battery pack, making sure to turn off the charge controller and all loads by flipping the breakers under the bed storage area. Guaranteed to boil the batteries in short order, or alternatively if you have a small generator like our Yamaha hooking up the battery charge circuit with throw something like 17.4 volts at the batteries. You wouldn't want to leave it connected for too long at a time this way, maybe 10 minute intervals or so but that would certainly destratify or clean off the plates.

 

As for weather this is very typical for up here this time of year and will last off and on throughout Apr, May and sometimes into Jun. I have seen it snow every month of the year up here, though not every month every year. Next week we could be in the 50's, 60's and 70's with sunny skies too. In fact the entire month we were gone in Mar was the warmest sunniest ever on record up here. Better here than where we were down south, go figure.

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