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Author Topic: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!  (Read 5102 times)

Kevin Means

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #60 on: December 26, 2017, 04:29:07 PM »
As I remember Frank, you've got the same solar controller I have - the Outback FM-80. I don't remember the exact amount of power it consumes when it goes into sleep-mode (not charging) but it's very little. Certainly nowhere near the power it would take to drain your batteries.

If you're going to be camping with the other RVForum folks at Quartzsite, I'd recommend hooking up with Bill Waugh. He's very knowledgeable about RV solar stuff, and he tows a stacker behind his motorhome that literally has a complete shop in it. I don't like to volunteer other people's help and resources, but I know Bill, and I know he'd be happy to help you install your Trimetric.

Kev
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 960 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

Frank B

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #61 on: December 26, 2017, 07:42:34 PM »
Kevin:


Yeah, I looked up the specs, and it only takes about a watt maximum. So obviously my problem is not there.


I haven't been able to locate a battery hydrometer here in Lake Havasu City. A lot of the auto parts places aren't open yet today.  I have located a trimetric monitor in Yuma, and possibly one in Quartzsite. However, the Quartzsite shop wasn't open today either.


I can't imagine the battery monitor installation being that complicated. If I need help though, I will follow your suggestion.


We were in town most of the day today, and the trailer just sat here in the sun. Voltmeter shows 12.8 at the moment.  Maybe the furnace is just taking more power than I thought.


Frank
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar

Frank B

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #62 on: December 28, 2017, 06:08:23 PM »
Got a hydrometer, and when the charger goes into float, all six batteries are fully charged. So that problem is eliminated. That would also suggest that my charge settings are dialed in correctly, and that my solar array will indeed bring a depleted battery bank back up by early afternoon on the same day.


Much to my embarrassment, I think I found what the problem was when I was checking electrolyte readings. One of the jumpers between a series string of batteries was not tightened up.   :-[   That effectively subtracted both of those batteries from the battery bank. 


I installed these batteries on the fly in the Costco parking lot. I thought I had checked all of the connections, but obviously, I missed one.  After I corrected that error, the endurance of the battery bank improved immensely!


So, while I will still purchase and install a trimetric battery monitor, I think I may have resolved the problem.


Frank.

Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar

HueyPilotVN

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #63 on: December 28, 2017, 06:24:57 PM »
Frank,

I actually live here in Lake Havasu City.

I would be happy to meet you and I am willing to share tools and parts that you might need

Send me a PM and we will meet
Bill Waugh
40' Country Coach DP
2 Jeep Commanders
Mustang Bracket Race Car
Retired from the road to Lake Havasu after 35 years on the road

Frank B

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #64 on: December 29, 2017, 10:37:32 AM »
Bill:


How very kind of you to offer.  Thank you so much!


However, I do not yet have the Trimetric battery monitor, and we are no longer in Lake Havasu.  :-(  We wander a lot when on vacation.   :D


I will likely obtain the device from Starlight Solar in Yuma sometime in the next couple of weeks, and I will attempt to install it while in the desert S of Quartzsite.  I can't imagine it being difficult, and I have a full complement of tools with me, including two different sizes of soldering irons, a power saw, two different hand saws, two battery drills, numerous packages of assorted screws, nuts, bolts, machine screws, tie wraps, cable ties, a stapler, as well as the requisite drywall screws and duct tape! No wonder the DW can't fine a place to put food!   ;D   I plan to just 'putter' at this project while in the desert.  Isn't that what old guys do?  Putter?   ;)


If I get stuck, I may PM you for some 'hand holding', so I thank you for the offer!


What are the dates of the Quartzsite rally this year?


Frank.
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar

Kevin Means

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #65 on: December 29, 2017, 02:26:53 PM »
Much to my embarrassment, I think I found what the problem was when I was checking electrolyte readings. One of the jumpers between a series string of batteries was not tightened up.   :-[   That effectively subtracted both of those batteries from the battery bank. 

I installed these batteries on the fly in the Costco parking lot. I thought I had checked all of the connections, but obviously, I missed one.  After I corrected that error, the endurance of the battery bank improved immensely!

So, while I will still purchase and install a trimetric battery monitor, I think I may have resolved the problem.

Frank.
Hey, that's great Frank. Good job!

Kev
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 960 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

Frank B

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #66 on: December 29, 2017, 03:00:57 PM »
Yeah, REALLY happy with the performance now. I even used a very power-hungry hot air popcorn popper last night for a snack before we went to bed. The battery bank handled that with aplomb.


I'm really beginning to get 'into' this solar thing!  ;D


Frank.
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar

AStravelers

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #67 on: December 29, 2017, 03:53:49 PM »
Northern AZ Wind & Solar has the Trimetric for $153 plus shipping.  https://www.solar-electric.com/bogart-engineering-tm-2030-rv-battery-monitor.html
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Frank B

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #68 on: December 29, 2017, 03:56:58 PM »
But they are in Phoenix, and we're not going there.  :'(

And, as Canadians, we don't have a u.s. credit card or a u.s. shipping address. That is an issue.

Thanks for the tip, however.


Frank.
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar

Lou Schneider

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #69 on: December 29, 2017, 04:22:01 PM »
UPS Stores will accept packages if you call ahead and arrange in advance.  Or if they'll ship USPS, send to General Delivery in a town where you'll be when the package arrives, then go to the post office and claim it.

As far as a credit card, won't your Canadian card work down here?
« Last Edit: December 29, 2017, 04:23:57 PM by Lou Schneider »

Frank B

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #70 on: December 29, 2017, 04:32:13 PM »
Lou:


The Canadian credit card works fine, but many credit card payment systems won't allow shipment to an address other than that of the card holder. Fraud protection, and all that. It's been a while since I tried that though, so maybe I should try it again.


In any case, I found one in Yuma, and we will be close to there in a couple of weeks. I may also be able to find one in Quartzsite. A few dollars difference one way or the other is worth it for the hassle involved otherwise.  And, we are on vacation. I'm in no hurry.  8)


Frank.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2017, 05:12:41 PM by Frank B »
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar

Frank B

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #71 on: December 29, 2017, 05:01:29 PM »
Lou or Kevin or any of the other sysops:


May I suggest that response number 49 and onward be removed from this thread, and pasted to the bottom of the following thread:


http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php/topic,106669.0.html

Thanks.

Frank.
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar

Frank B

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #72 on: December 29, 2017, 05:03:26 PM »
Darn but I HATE the random font size changes in this forum!


Can font size changes not be disabled?


Tom, we love you. However, can this not be addressed?  How many people actually use font size changes?
« Last Edit: December 29, 2017, 05:08:29 PM by Frank B »
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar

QZ

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #73 on: December 29, 2017, 05:13:02 PM »
For those who go to Q
If you are in Q you can have items shipped to Quiet Times shipping center. Just follow the shipping address instructions closely. The easiest thing is to have it shipped UPS so QT doesn't have to deal with the post office. It's a nightmare this time of year. A small package is a couple bucks. Something larger is $5. Be sure the seller is shipping UPS when ordering.


Frank
When you get the Trimetiric you will first go through the phase of learning how to use it. It's not complicated and has less function if you are not using  the  Bogart SC2030 solar controller with it. After that you may find yourself about to scroll the menu and tell yourself to guess how many amp hours you are down.  :) You do develop a knack of knowing what your system is doing and it does work well when using it to help diagnose problems. As some say, it's not mandatory and a voltmeter works but it is a handy tool. It was the first thing I bought for our first year when  I was running on genny only. I have been on solar for three years now and would never go without a monitor.

First thing in the morning I check AH down. I also watch volts  VS battery % full.   Through the day I may look at the RPC to reach 112%. I recently reset my 640 AH bank to 500 AH which seems to be more realistic when comparing battery volts vs battery % full. It may not be spot on since the values are floating somewhat because of loads coming on and off. When I get to a cord I may monitor it a little closer and try to fine tune. It always works so I haven't done much with history but plan on looking at it more for the heck of it.

Frank B

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #74 on: December 29, 2017, 05:31:36 PM »
Ah, you folks here are absolutely too kind! You have no idea just how wide my smile was when I saw the first part of your post!  :)   Feels like family.


Honestly, QT, I am beginning to rethink my need for a battery monitor. Just one more thing I have to check. I have SO much solar on this trailer, that I wonder if I really need to be bothered about what the charge state is. I am not running this system any where near it's limits. I am up to my stinkin' armpits (1260 watts) in solar power.  ;D   I'm beginning to think that the hydrometer, and the charge recommendations for these Interstate batteries is enough in itself.


Anyway, still a week or two before we get near Yuma and I have to make a decision.


Thank you very much for your candid comments with regard to how much you use your battery monitor.


Frank.
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar

Frank B

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #75 on: December 29, 2017, 05:42:44 PM »
FWIW, our or Arctic Fox trailer had a very small solar system pre-installed. That included a pwm controller and a display panel showing charge level as a function of voltage. Though the pwm controller no longer has any panels connected to it, I have been using the voltmeter section of the display to monitor the state of my batteries. Admittedly, it is a voltmeter only. However, I am learning that it is relatively accurate.


It has an indicator light that lights at 14.4 volts to show that the system is charged. My Interstate batteries require a float of 15+ volts, and that is what I have my Outback solar controller set to for the absorb voltage. Basically, if I can get that indicator light to light, and then keep it there for the 2-hour absorb time, then I consider my batteries to be charged. The hydrometer seems to confirm my conclusion.


Frank.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2017, 05:47:05 PM by Frank B »
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar

HueyPilotVN

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #76 on: December 29, 2017, 11:48:17 PM »
Just another heads up.  When and if you get the monitor you also have to get the shunt and wiring kit.  It is usually sold separately.
Bill Waugh
40' Country Coach DP
2 Jeep Commanders
Mustang Bracket Race Car
Retired from the road to Lake Havasu after 35 years on the road

QZ

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #77 on: December 30, 2017, 01:14:25 AM »
Ah, you folks here are absolutely too kind! You have no idea just how wide my smile was when I saw the first part of your post!  :)   Feels like family.


Honestly, QT, I am beginning to rethink my need for a battery monitor. Just one more thing I have to check. I have SO much solar on this trailer, that I wonder if I really need to be bothered about what the charge state is. I am not running this system any where near it's limits. I am up to my stinkin' armpits (1260 watts) in solar power.  ;D   I'm beginning to think that the hydrometer, and the charge recommendations for these Interstate batteries is enough in itself.


Anyway, still a week or two before we get near Yuma and I have to make a decision.


Thank you very much for your candid comments with regard to how much you use your battery monitor.


Frank.

Yep, all you need to see is that it's hitting float. From there you will develop a feel of where your volts are at night and in the am.

Frank B

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Re: supermanotorious is FINALLY going solar!
« Reply #78 on: December 30, 2017, 04:29:38 PM »
Bill:


Tks. I priced the battery monitor in Yuma with the 500 amp shunt. They sell 4 conductor wiring by the foot. That should be all I need.  I only have about a 6-foot run from where I thought I might install the battery monitor to where the batteries themselves are.


However, as noted earlier, I am thinking pretty seriously about whether I need this device at all. I've managed about 16 years and three different trailers without one. :-)  It is only the solar array that is new to me.


Frank
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar