Questions about solar power - Page 6 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-10-2014, 01:57 PM   #71
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Add to the mix the new technology of printing solar panels.
This solar panel printer can make 33 feet of solar cells per minute | Grist
Don't think they're ready for prime time, yet, but that could make solar very cheap in the future.
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Old 03-10-2014, 02:22 PM   #72
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I guess my question is what longevity differences to the life of the battery could I expect ......
That's the million dollar question isn't it. How much to spend on a charging system if you have an inexpensive battery and a trailer you may not own 5 years from now. Of course in the case of solar you can take the system with you.


Oh, and in terms of charging methods don't forget your tow vehicle. Raz
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Old 03-10-2014, 02:44 PM   #73
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That's the million dollar question isn't it. How much to spend on a charging system if you have an inexpensive battery and a trailer you may not own 5 years from now. Of course in the case of solar you can take the system with you.


Oh, and in terms of charging methods don't forget your tow vehicle. Raz
I have always assumed that my tow vehicle charge is not going to give me the max charge possible either - assuming of course its actually has left over power to send out to the trailer battery and I have not maxing out the cars ability to supply power with all the other stuff running (GPS, MP3 Player, AC, back up camera etc running) and charging of phones & IPads while heading down the road. I already know it can't keep up with the fridge consumption if I was to run with the fridge on 12V even when not charging up phones or running with the GPS on.

Even if the tow did have the DC power does it have the capability/technology with the simple wiring charging system it uses to give it the ultimate max charge?
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Old 03-10-2014, 02:59 PM   #74
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Even if the tow did have the DC power does it have the capability/technology with the simple wiring charging system it uses to give it the ultimate max charge?
How long does the tow vehicle battery last? Don't run it down by leaving your lights on, 5 years?
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Old 03-10-2014, 03:07 PM   #75
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How long does the tow vehicle battery last? Don't run it down by leaving your lights on, 5 years?
Even without ever leaving the lights on, 5 years seems to be about the norm - that is if I want to be sure the battery is good enough to crank over at -30 on a ski hill. I guess if you stick to warmer climates you might get more years out of one.

The good news is my new tug is a bit fool proof in regards to leaving lights on when its not running. It shuts them off itself after 5 min. Which reminds me I have to check to see if it keeps charging the trailer if I leave it plugged in while parked.
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Old 03-10-2014, 04:06 PM   #76
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My jeep grand cherokee puts 13.0 volts on the trailer battery whether idling or running 2000 rpm. Not enough oomph left after running through the vehicle to the plug and another 5' of 10 gage wire to the battery. Towing with the fridge running doesn't seem to run down the battery but towing with a partially discharged trailer battery won't recharge it either.
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Old 03-10-2014, 04:24 PM   #77
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Towing with the fridge running doesn't seem to run down the battery but towing with a partially discharged trailer battery won't recharge it either.
I suspect you have a bit better results with the fridge on 12v than I do as your fridge if I am not mistaken is of better/newer 12v design/technology. Unfortunately my fridge is a bit of a 12v hog so the few times I did try running it on 12v while driving the trailer battery suffered a deficit.
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Old 03-10-2014, 04:28 PM   #78
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So I am guessing by the lack of responses to my question as to whether or not adding a MPPT solar controller will improve the life of my trailer battery if I continue to run the basic consumer grade simple power converter with a smart charger will remain an unknown?
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Old 03-10-2014, 04:35 PM   #79
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And, just to throw another option into the mix, Bogart Engineering is expected to release their SC2030 Charge Controller, a PWM controller that ties to their TM 2030 battery monitor in March.

I haven't seen the manual or specifications, but the preliminary description gives the impression that the two devices communicate to give the solar controller real battery status, something that most PWM and MPPT controllers don't actually do since most controllers don't actually measure the amp hour status of the battery.
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Old 03-10-2014, 04:47 PM   #80
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So I am guessing by the lack of responses to my question as to whether or not adding a MPPT solar controller will improve the life of my trailer battery if I continue to run the basic consumer grade simple power converter with a smart charger will remain an unknown?
Personally I'd go with the controller & panel that can reach the bulk charge voltage for your battery specs, preferably in one day. Either controller type will accomplish this.

If your panel is undersized and it never raises the voltage above float I'd expect it's not helping your batteries longevity or properly charge them. Of course I'm hesitant to mention this in case the thread turns into one of the others that was closed because of the arguments However there are a number of good controllers which allow you to set your set points which is something that's missing from converter style chargers.
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Old 03-10-2014, 04:58 PM   #81
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Even without ever leaving the lights on, 5 years seems to be about the norm - that is if I want to be sure the battery is good enough to crank over at -30 on a ski hill. I guess if you stick to warmer climates you might get more years out of one.

The good news is my new tug is a bit fool proof in regards to leaving lights on when its not running. It shuts them off itself after 5 min. Which reminds me I have to check to see if it keeps charging the trailer if I leave it plugged in while parked.
My Frontier is a 2012. The cheap (s) version . No headlight timer, no courtesy lights up front, no power window, door locks, mirrors, you get the idea . But the charge line is off with the key off.
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Old 03-10-2014, 05:21 PM   #82
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My Frontier is a 2012. The cheap (s) version . No headlight timer, no courtesy lights up front, no power window, door locks, mirrors, you get the idea . But the charge line is off with the key off.
Thanks Raz, good info. I am assuming that as I have some of the other stuff mine will work the same.

Drew - yes getting a solar controller to match your panels is a good idea as it is to match your power needs and I do see the benefit of the MPPT when running solar. But my question is will the fact I am running a simple consumer grade Power Converter with a basic smart charger when on the grid & not on solar which is about 50% of the time mitigate the benefits of having the MPPT in regards to improved battery life?
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Old 03-10-2014, 05:53 PM   #83
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My jeep grand cherokee puts 13.0 volts on the trailer battery whether idling or running 2000 rpm. Not enough oomph left after running through the vehicle to the plug and another 5' of 10 gage wire to the battery. Towing with the fridge running doesn't seem to run down the battery but towing with a partially discharged trailer battery won't recharge it either.
Common problem, that long run from the tug charging system back to the trailer plug has to be some heavy wire to avoid voltage drop. Have heard of people using 8 gauge or even welding leads to overcome that problem.

Voltage delivered has to be greater than battery voltage to force any charge in, and if it's just a little greater it won't charge very rapidly.

Say battery is at 70% charge, it would still have approx. 12.3 volt charge and feeding it 13 volt is not going to push much charge in. Especially if you drawing power at the same time.

That is a question that has not been asked (at least I don't think it has) how does a charge controller deal with load while charging? In regards to the state of the battery charge. How does it handle topping off the battery charge when say 3 of the 4 amps coming from solar is being used.
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Old 03-10-2014, 06:45 PM   #84
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Add to the mix the new technology of printing solar panels.
This solar panel printer can make 33 feet of solar cells per minute | Grist
Don't think they're ready for prime time, yet, but that could make solar very cheap in the future.
I can see a tent and/or tipi made of solar cell material........lol
Haven't searched yet, but would not be surprised if there already
is such a animal.

Interesting read.
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