Checking the "float" feature of a Power Converter. - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-19-2015, 09:59 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Darral T. View Post
There IS a cheaper alternative that does both of what you want. I own one of these for my hobby in flying model planes/helis. But we use this to plug into our electric motors etc to see how many Amps/Watts it's pulling. It also gives the minimum voltage during the test etc. Good stuff for us as we know if we're running to large of a prop etc.

Never tried getting it to 150Amps...that's ALOT. But I HAVE seen it hit 88A!

It works. BUT, without any electrical knowledge, I'm not sure I'd recommend it. There will have to be some connectors made up for it. Not sure it would be worth it for a single test. If we lived closer I could help you out. But I just wanted to throw this out as a cheaper alternative to some of the high $$ meters.

T-Trees FT08 RC 150A Watt Meter Power Analyzer With Backlight LCD Hight Precision - - Amazon.com
Darrel, thank you for the information. In a previous lifetime, when I was a young man, I built and flew RC aircraft. Mostly built...then crashed them!

That was in the days of single channel transmitters, and rubber band control escapements. One click gave you right rudder, two clicks left rudder. Needless to say I wasn't very good a pilot...but the beer flowed freely and our group had a great time!

I believe I'll just toss the old converter in the trash, and buy a new Battery Tender or Battery Minder.

Bill
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Old 11-19-2015, 10:00 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Darral T. View Post
There IS a cheaper alternative that does both of what you want. I own one of these for my hobby in flying model planes/helis. But we use this to plug into our electric motors etc to see how many Amps/Watts it's pulling. It also gives the minimum voltage during the test etc. Good stuff for us as we know if we're running to large of a prop etc.

Never tried getting it to 150Amps...that's ALOT. But I HAVE seen it hit 88A!

It works. BUT, without any electrical knowledge, I'm not sure I'd recommend it. There will have to be some connectors made up for it. Not sure it would be worth it for a single test. If we lived closer I could help you out. But I just wanted to throw this out as a cheaper alternative to some of the high $$ meters.

http://www.amazon.com/T-Trees-Meter-...ds=watts+meter
Darrel, thank you for the information. In a previous lifetime, when I was a young man, I built and flew RC aircraft. Mostly built...then crashed them!

That was in the days of single channel transmitters, and rubber band control escapements. One click gave you right rudder, two clicks left rudder. Needless to say I wasn't very good a pilot...but the beer flowed freely and our group had a great time!

I believe I'll just toss the old converter in the trash, and buy a new Battery Tender or Battery Minder.

Bill
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Old 11-19-2015, 10:30 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
NO... You need an amp meter, that's entirely different from a volt meter. Doing what you are asking will, at a minimum, blow a fuse in the meter, or burn it up.


A useful tool is a multi-meter with a DC Amp-Clamp built in. You can measure amps by putting the clamp jaws around a wire. Be sure it is a DC amp clamp though.
A volt meter has a high internal resistance, in the case of most digital versions, millions of ohms. Placed in series (as described in the referred post) it will limit the current to almost nothing & give no reading. It will not be damaged or blow a fuse since the high internal resistance limits the current through it. That is why you can place the connections in parallel when making a voltage measurement.

On the other hand, an amp meter has a low internal resistance, ideally as close to zero as possible. If an amp meter is placed in parallel with a circuit (mistakenly used as a volt meter) you will either blow a fuse or damage the meter since it is effectively a short circuit and will draw large amounts of current, possibly damaging the source as well as itself.

This us why it is important to select the correct "meter" when using a multimeter prior to making a measurement.
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Old 11-19-2015, 11:47 AM   #18
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Bill.....

if a 7-10 watt panel is working your entry gate....you must not have many friends or you are discharging that battery way past 50% (not recommended)

that size panel is mostly used to keep the battery up on a vehicle in storage...typically

from what I've read serious off grid camping with smallish trailers requires 100W of panel ....and then some sun obviously...I started with a 40W that I used to set up/out for maximum sun exposure....and that was almost "good enough"....then I realized that often I'd be driving for a few hours in the blazing sun only to park in a completely shaded area....(no charging from TV in my case)

so now I got both 40 permanent on the roof and 40 "deployable"....the deployable obviously produces more because it can be aimed directly at the sun....backyard tests have sort of told me that both producing recharges my batteries at pretty close the same rate my charger does.....so the rule of thumb used by some about "100W flat rooftop installs" is probably right or very close enough (and you could add the latitude of your location to improve/downgrade that statement as well....just to make things more complex)

bought my meter online from an outfit called DX (as in Deal Extreme)...google it....happy with the service, no fee shipping, no duty...lots and lots of gadgets of all descriptions....got all LEDs from there (just the cards...real cheap)

in the pic below I put the deployable on the roof because I was going to be away from the trailer for some hours...
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Old 11-19-2015, 12:48 PM   #19
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As Francois says, a 7-10 watt panel might be useful to keep you battery charged during storage (assuming you have disconnected all "phantom" loads), but won't do much while using the trailer.

The only real way to tell how much solar you are going to need is to do an assessment of your typical usage. Some can get away with a single 40 watt portable panel, others ( such as myself) need more. I currently have 195 watts (2 panels) flat mounted on the roof, and carry a 160 watt portable panel for camping in the shade. I use around 25 - 35 amp hours per day (including a fairly frivolous 5 cup pot of drip coffee using an inverter), but have gone as high as 45 - 50 amp hours if I do lots of photo editing on a power hungry laptop.

As long as I have fairly full sun, I'm back to full batteries by the end of the day (usually by early afternoon) using only the rooftop panels. This is with the low angle winter sun & short winter days (I'm currently boondocking at Quartzite). During the summer, with higher sun angles & longer days, I'm usually completely recharged by noon. I don't carry a generator.

Again, many do not need that much solar; I do lots of computer work on the road, including a cell phone amplifier router, Jetpack, camera battery recharging, etc. Without an assessment of your use you really can't determine your needs.
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Old 11-19-2015, 01:44 PM   #20
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Jon and Francois, thank you very much for all the good information!

The more great information that is posted on this thread...the more I realize how little I know about electrical testing! I do know enough to install basic wiring, circuit-breaker boxes, etc. , but, using a door-bell tester is a far cry from determining the "float" current going to a battery!

I best stick to the very few skills that I do have...writing checks for services rendered!

Obviously, a small 7 watt solar panel is too small to mess with. So i will forget about that.

Again, thank you for the information,

Bill
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Old 11-19-2015, 02:04 PM   #21
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Jon...

knowing a little how Jon uses his trailer sorta confirms my assumptions....I use quite a bit less power although I have not dug into it enough to put a number on my typical daily useage (as he has)

one thing that sticks with me is how complicated the 12V "thing" is...one could spend a lifetime or research and learning and still the findings would include words like "often" "sometimes" "almost".....compare that to other sources of heat or power and the numbers/findings are always exact to a decimal point!......maybe that's why 12V and solar are so much fun to "play with" in the end

Jon when you mounted your batteries on the back bumper (great spot BTW) did you have to move some other things around to adjust tounge weight??? or did none of that come up.....really enjoy your blog BTW
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Old 11-19-2015, 05:25 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Franswa View Post
knowing a little how Jon uses his trailer sorta confirms my assumptions....I use quite a bit less power although I have not dug into it enough to put a number on my typical daily useage (as he has)

one thing that sticks with me is how complicated the 12V "thing" is...one could spend a lifetime or research and learning and still the findings would include words like "often" "sometimes" "almost".....compare that to other sources of heat or power and the numbers/findings are always exact to a decimal point!......maybe that's why 12V and solar are so much fun to "play with" in the end

Jon when you mounted your batteries on the back bumper (great spot BTW) did you have to move some other things around to adjust tounge weight??? or did none of that come up.....really enjoy your blog BTW
Don't be scared by those terms. Those are terms used by engineers and the scientific world. We in that group understand that there is no absolute, therefore we use what terms like often almost sometimes close to. We would like to be precise, but we live in a non-precise universe. Example 12Vots in an automobile system is not 12 volts it's closer to 13.8 then again how close to 13.8 Volts is it? How many decimal points do we go out to get that precise. The answer is more simple than you might think. For practical purposes we say 12 Volts, and that's close enough. But the engineering and scientific response is approximately 12 Volts.

I hope that makes some sense.
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Old 11-19-2015, 06:35 PM   #23
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...Jon when you mounted your batteries on the back bumper (great spot BTW) did you have to move some other things around to adjust tounge weight??? or did none of that come up.....really enjoy your blog BTW
Escape puts the batteries on the back bumper of the 17, at least if you get the 6V option. I believe they also place the 12V battery there as well. The 17 has the wheels well towards the back of the trailer - the 150 lbs of batteries still has me fighting to keep the tongue weight under 350 lbs with the trailer loaded to 3000 lbs. I have improved it a bit by adding a Stowaway II to the rear hitch. On this trip the trailer weighs 3100 & the tongue with 2 full propane tanks is at 340 lbs.

No sway or towing problems...
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