Jump to content

Battery problem Or Other ?


Recommended Posts

2015 LE II, Hull #67, 4 AGM Interstate batteries/6volt (fairly new), roof solar package 300+ watt, 2000watt inverter

We are the new owners, just took possession about 4 weeks ago, drove it home and put in a storage lot till we can clear the driveway to bring home.  Previous owner said they used the solar to keep the batteries charged during the winter months.  When we bought the trailer the battery readout was I believe 13.2.  First of this week I went to the storage lot and checked the battery readout again and it was 12.2.  I am not aware of anything being on that would drain the battery - but then I am totally new to Oliver, lacking knowledge and experience.  We had a day of sunshine and then some cloudy/rainy/snowy weather this week. I went back to the storage lot to check the battery readout and it read 12.1.  I kinda freaked, not wanting to damage the AGM batteries due to ignorance, and we decided to pull the batteries out of the trailer, take them home and put them on a charger.  We took several pictures of the connections before disconnecting and removing the batteries (Not sure if that didn't cause a problem because if I was supposed to turn anything off before disconnecting the batteries, I didn't).  At home, I tested the batteries with a multimeter and got a 6.09 or 6.1 readout on all four...which I'm thinking should be a "full" battery?

Now, I don't know what's causing the drain on the batteries, if indeed there is one, or if the panel readout of 12.2 is correct?  Or why the solar isn't keeping the batteries charged.  If anyone can offer some troubleshooting guidance we would greatly appreciate it. I've done a bunch of reading on this forum but nothing has helped me to understand what we might need to check and am uncertain how to proceed. I have not done a deep dive into the owners manual yet, that's next I guess.20220106_125942.thumb.jpg.2fb57382a84aa357c9759fab0ac5b8ce.jpg I included a couple of pictures to hopefully help with my descriptions. 

20220106_135713.jpg

  • Like 1

Alberta & Randy

2015 LE II / 2018 F150 3.5L XLT EcoBoost

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

12.1 volts is OK, but just barely. Looks like you took them out just in time. There are lots of "phantom electrical draws" in your trailer. Something on the order of 0.4 amps/hour. That's 9 amps per day. In a week that's 63 amps or more. Looking at your battery pic, you have 210 available amp hours before you reach 50%. You state the batteries are "fairly new". We don't know their history of if the PO let them go down below 50% a few times.  I would have them checked under a load (free at Auto Zone or such) and see how much reserve they have left. The poor weather you speak of most likely had a lot to do with them not charging too well. Can you plug up to 120 volts?

Also, judging from the 4/0 negative cable (I hope there's an equally large red positive wire) I am assuming you have an inverter. If so, you really need to replace all those small 10 AWG connecting wires to 4/0 also.

  • Like 4

Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher and Rocky plus our beloved Storm, Maggie and Lucy (all waiting at the Rainbow Bridge)

2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #026 | 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #050 | 2022 Silverado High Country 3500HD SRW Diesel 4x4 

 

             801469912_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-I.jpg.26814499292ab76ee55b889b69ad3ef0.jpg1226003278_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-H.jpg.dc46129cb4967a7fd2531b16699e9e45.jpg

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The batteries are connected in series so the voltmeter agrees with your trailer battery monitor. 6.1v X 2 = 12.2v. I doubt you damaged anything by disconnecting the batteries as long as you kept the + and - wires away from each other and the + away from any metal trailer structure (even without the batteries there will still be voltage coming from the solar panels).

  • Like 2

Stephanie and Dudley from CT.  2022 LE2, Hull #1150: Eggcelsior.

Tow vehicle: 2016 GMC Sierra 6.0 gas dually 4x4.

Our Oliver journey: Steph and Dud B's RV Screed

Where we've been RVing since 1999:

ALAZCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKYLAMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNMNYNCNDOHOKORPASCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYmed.jpg.e6391b9064a3f8f0951751f985664135.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looking for stray current being used in the winter is important. For instance, if you have a composting toilet there is a fan that stays on all the time unless you disconnect the power cord at the toilet.

Do not store your batteries on a concrete floor and charge them a couple of times throughout the winter.

  • Like 2

2018 Oliver Elite II, Twin Bed, Hull #354 

2018 RAM 1500 Rebel 4 x 4, 5.7 Hemi, 3.92 gear ratio

Maine

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All of these comments have been extremely useful and educational.  First off, after getting my first cup of coffee this morning and starting to read the feedback, we immediately jumped in the car and went to the Oliver to verify/address whether the 4/0 positive cable end was touching anything metal.  Well it kinda was I guess because it was laying on the bottom of the metal battery tray.  We put pool noodles on both the positive and negative ends of the 4/0 wires, thankful we didn't get shocked touching the trailer and nothing appears to be amiss. Thank you Steph and Dud B for that comment and the math.  I realize a 6 volt battery is probably full at about 6.7 then.

ScubaRx thank you for the comment on upgrading the connector wires for the "in series" batteries, that was a gold nugget and we will be changing those out.

Dewdev - we will have to learn our new to us trailer in order to know where any electrical draws could be coming from during the winter storage.  We don't have a composting toilet but will look for other consumers.

My lingering concern is why wasn't the solar panels able to keep up with the amount of phantom electrical consumption that ScubaRx mentions.  I don't think the past month has been mostly cloudy but I wasn't keeping track (now I realize I better). And the winter sun is at a lower angle so the angle to the panels will reduce their production.  But I'm still left wondering if something else might be going on. I had the stray thought could I use the voltmeter on the positive & negative wires in the battery box to see what they read, as I'm presuming that would reflect the amount of charge coming from the solar panel.  Huge education ahead. 

  • Like 1

Alberta & Randy

2015 LE II / 2018 F150 3.5L XLT EcoBoost

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators
46 minutes ago, Alberta Cooley said:

My lingering concern is why wasn't the solar panels able to keep up with the amount of phantom electrical consumption that ScubaRx mentions.  I don't think the past month has been mostly cloudy but I wasn't keeping track (now I realize I better). And the winter sun is at a lower angle so the angle to the panels will reduce their production.  But I'm still left wondering if something else might be going on. I had the stray thought could I use the voltmeter on the positive & negative wires in the battery box to see what they read, as I'm presuming that would reflect the amount of charge coming from the solar panel.  Huge education ahead. 

You can use your Blue Sky display to see what you’ve got going out and coming in.  A low winter sun combined with a cloudy or rainy sky will limit your solar panels.  We had to pull out the generator when camped at Grand Teton and Glacier National Parks a few years ago.  Low sun angle and clouds prevented the solar from fully charging our batteries during the day.  Your Blue Sky display should tell you what kind of phantom draw you have.  Steve’s estimate of .4aH is a little lower than ours.  If I turn everything off I still get .6 to .7aH draw.  We store under cover so now I just turn the batteries off with a battery cut off switch that I installed.  Mike

  • Like 1

Texas Hill Country | Elite II #135 | Ram 2500 6.7L

ALAZARCACOFLGAIDILKSKYLAMDMSMOMTNENVNMNYNCNDOHOKSCSDTNTXUTVAWVWYsm.jpgALAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMS

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators
1 hour ago, Alberta Cooley said:

My lingering concern is why wasn't the solar panels able to keep up with the amount of phantom electrical consumption that ScubaRx mentions.

Indeed - 

During the winter months I store my Ollie under a cover.  I also turn the solar panels off and flip both of the dc circuit breakers to off.  Then I plug in a 25 watt solar panel that is wired directly to the batteries (4 lead acid).  Yes, the solar panel is pointed towards the sun but it is partially shaded by a cyclone fence and doesn't get any sun after about 3pm due to a tree.  Even with all this, my batteries have always been fully charged.

Also, I agree with Mike's comments about looking at your Blue Sky display to help with the draw.

Bill

  • Like 1

2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

Looking at your photos, it would "appear" that your solar panels were charging the batteries.  (See the green light on in the photo of the blue sky remote), and possibly in bulk state, unless you were lucky and just captured that photo on a blink. But, the 12.1 on the seelevel gauge means it wasn't really charging, (should read 13.4 or so in bulk), or you had some huge power draw going on, like the 3way fridge running on dc. The Dometic 3way never defaults to 12v like the Norcold. It has to be set to dc, but it can be done accidentally. Your solar panels would not be able to keep up with that big draw, especially in cloudy weather. 

The other possibility is that the panels weren't actually  charging the batteries, at all. We have about  a .35  ghost draw in our trailer. In 3 to 4 weeks, that would draw your batteries down to 50 per cent.

Do you have a breaker near the pd charger/converter to cut the power from the panels? We do, but I don't remember if we installed it, or if  Oliver installed it, back in 2008. @ScubaRx would probably know, as your hull numbers are only 17 apart. If you don't have one,  you can cover the panels with a dark packing quilt so they won't be making power, and I'd suggest you do that when you reinstall the batteries and connect the cables.

I'm also curious about the message on your display. Mine never shows "blue energy v4." It always shows whatever setting i was last looking at,  instead. Maybe this is different in the newer remotes. Again, @ScubaRx or one of the other owners of newer systems may see that. I don't know.

  • Like 2

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators
28 minutes ago, SeaDawg said:

...Do you have a breaker near the pd charger/converter to cut the power from the panels? We do, but I don't remember if we installed it, or if  Oliver installed it, back in 2008. @ScubaRx would probably know, as your hull numbers are only 17 apart. If you don't have one,  you can cover the panels with a dark packing quilt so they won't be making power, and I'd suggest you do that when you reinstall the batteries and connect the cables.

I'm also curious about the message on your display. Mine never shows "blue energy v4." It always shows whatever setting i was last looking at,  instead. Maybe this is different in the newer remotes. Again, @ScubaRx or one of the other owners of newer systems may see that. I don't know.

There should be a large red rotatory switch near the charge controller. If you turn this off all solar input will be interrupted. On my unit this does not kill the power to the IPN Pro display.

About the IPN Pro display. That shown is a screen that would only be seen during boot up, whenever power to the screen had been interrupted and then restored. The photo would have to have been taken during this stage. On my unit that screen and green indicator light only stay on for about 2 seconds.

 

4 hours ago, Mike and Carol said:

...Steve’s estimate of .4aH is a little lower than ours.  If I turn everything off I still get .6 to .7aH draw.  We store under cover so now I just turn the batteries off with a battery cut off switch that I installed.  Mike

I've found that when I first turn everything off mine will show your 0.6-0.7 Ah draw, but a few hours later it almost always has dropped to 0.4 Ah.

  • Thanks 1
  • Like 3

Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher and Rocky plus our beloved Storm, Maggie and Lucy (all waiting at the Rainbow Bridge)

2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #026 | 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #050 | 2022 Silverado High Country 3500HD SRW Diesel 4x4 

 

             801469912_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-I.jpg.26814499292ab76ee55b889b69ad3ef0.jpg1226003278_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-H.jpg.dc46129cb4967a7fd2531b16699e9e45.jpg

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Alberta Cooley said:

All of these comments have been extremely useful and educational.  

A shot in the dark with this statement- Your original picutre on the Sea Level II Tank Monitor shows 12.1 percent. I assume you pushed the Batt button to get that reading. If not it was a reading of one of your tank levels.

SeaDawg's post is very good. You could PM the people she suggested to get their input.

2018 Oliver Elite II, Twin Bed, Hull #354 

2018 RAM 1500 Rebel 4 x 4, 5.7 Hemi, 3.92 gear ratio

Maine

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators
23 minutes ago, ScubaRx said:

About the IPN Pro display. That shown is a screen that would only be seen during boot up, whenever power to the screen had been interrupted and then restored. The photo would have to have been taken during this stage. On my unit that screen and green indicator light only stay on for about 2 seconds.

That's interesting.  Just guessing they didn't just happen to capture a 2 second display.  Maybe a storm caused a power outage? Display froze?

We normally charge our batteries from solar only. We lost power from the solar, just one time, this past summer,  when we were away. Fortunately,  we got back in two weeks. Battery voltage was down to 12.3 on the seelevel, 12.4 on the ipn proremote. The storm had apparently tripped our solar breaker. It never happened before (in 14 seasons), and not since, so guessing lightning, quite close by. 

 

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators
9 hours ago, Steph and Dud B said:

The batteries are connected in series so the voltmeter agrees with your trailer battery monitor. 6.1v X 2 = 12.2v. ...

Dudley, you probably already know this, but for the benefit of newer owners who's 12VDC electrical knowledge may be a little rusty.

In Oliver's 4 x 6 volt battery package you have two sets of two 6 volt batteries. Both batteries in these sets are wired together in series to make a 12 volt battery (one wire from the positive terminal on one battery to the negative terminal on the other battery - think as if you're putting batteries in a flashlight, each battery's voltage is added to make the total). The voltage doubles for the set but the available ah remains the same.

Then, the two sets are wired together in parallel by connecting the positive and negative terminals. This keeps the voltage the same for the four batteries but doubles the Ah capacity of the pack.

This wiring scheme gives you a 12 volt system with a aH capacity of double the stated aH of any one battery. This is how many aH you can use before reaching the dreaded 50% point of no return.

Then, to properly connect the battery pack to your trailer the positive and negative wires should come off the opposite corners of the set of batteries. This will enable each battery to be discharged and charged equally.

  • Thanks 1
  • Like 5

Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher and Rocky plus our beloved Storm, Maggie and Lucy (all waiting at the Rainbow Bridge)

2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #026 | 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #050 | 2022 Silverado High Country 3500HD SRW Diesel 4x4 

 

             801469912_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-I.jpg.26814499292ab76ee55b889b69ad3ef0.jpg1226003278_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-H.jpg.dc46129cb4967a7fd2531b16699e9e45.jpg

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

And, the bigger tray in the Elite II allows that configuration.  It's really nice for you elite ii owners to have all those amp hours available. 

 

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

I will say this. The Blue sky gear is more complicated to program than Zamp, and more old school than victron,  but it's been pretty bulletproof,  for us. 14 seasons of mostly solar only. And, Ryan in customer/technical service is amazing. So down to earth, and very patient, and helpful. Explains in layman's terms.

While you are at home, check out the videos on the blue sky website. And, read the manuals. It will definitely help you.

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've read all ya'lls most recent comments (huge benefit and thank you!!) and stayed up reading manuals last night.  I believe you nailed it with the Blue Sky charge controller being frozen, therefore it was not doing its job.  The backlit greet light has always been on anytime I went to check on the trailer and anytime I pressed on the Next button the screen never changed from what is shown in my attached picture.  I thought that very odd but regretfully I did not follow up to educate myself as to why.  Pulling the batteries caused a reboot and (fingers crossed) hopefully BlueSky will come back on working correctly.

Thank you again for all the contributions and comments. I am going to plug away at my education and work on getting these batteries healthy and reinstalled.  Hopefully have good news to report later.

Alberta

 

  • Like 3

Alberta & Randy

2015 LE II / 2018 F150 3.5L XLT EcoBoost

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another place you could check for a phantom draw is the light in your rear storage garage.  I am kind of embarrassed to admit this but recently while camping I opened the streetside rear storage hatch at night and it was lit up inside!  I had never really thought about there being a light in there.  It could have been on for over a year since I picked up our Oliver for all I know. 

  • Thanks 1
  • Like 1

Steve and Lornie

LE II Standard  Hull #657  2004 4Runner 4.7 L V8

Oregon

COIDKSMOORTNUTWYmed.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators
On 1/8/2022 at 10:43 AM, Alberta Cooley said:

Pulling the batteries caused a reboot and (fingers crossed) hopefully BlueSky will come back on working correctly.

I hope so, too. 

Did you shut down power from the panels, for safety?

After you reinstall the batteries, and reboot the system,   I hope you will  share your results. 

Good luck. Chasing electronic issues is the worst,  imo.

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We got the AGM batteries charged up at a local battery store and were told they were in good shape.  We had flipped the 30 amp breaker to off, thinking that would cut any power that needed to be off while reinstalling the batteries.  We did not know where the master off/on for the solar panels was located, as it was not in the overhead shelf side wall like I've seen in photos from others.  While cleaning several days later I found the solar on/off switch under the street side bed, so I now know where that is located. It was still on while we had reinstalled the batteries, and thankfully nothing happened (arcing, twitching, etc.).

We got our Casita sold and now have the Oliver sitting in our driveway, plugged in to the wall.  The charge controller came back on and I can cycle thru 5 or 6 different items so that seems to be okay.  I did notice that the charge in/charge out view did not have any number registering for the "in" part, and it was a sunny day so that caused me to think that a number should be registering if the solar is putting in a charge (it was a sunny day too).  The "out" was registering 0.4 and that sounded normal compared to what some of you have mentioned is your normal phantom charges.

I still need to educate/convince myself the solar is working and make sure I thoroughly understand what the charge controller is telling me. The manuals only help me so much so I will be doing some searches on the FB page and Forum for descriptions as well as some videos.  Thanks again everyone for all the contributions!  We are closer than farther away to trucking.

Alberta

Alberta & Randy

2015 LE II / 2018 F150 3.5L XLT EcoBoost

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On my Solar Charge Controller when the solar panels are actively charging the batteries, the display shows 14.5 + or - volts.

When the batteries are fully charged the Solar Charge Controller shows 13.6 volts.

Solar Controller-Stereo.jpeg

  • Thanks 1

2018 Oliver Elite II, Twin Bed, Hull #354 

2018 RAM 1500 Rebel 4 x 4, 5.7 Hemi, 3.92 gear ratio

Maine

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...