Solar Charge Controller - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 06-24-2014, 07:56 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
clyle's Avatar
 
Name: lyle
Trailer: Trillium
Michigan
Posts: 112
Registry
Solar Charge Controller

Just got (most) of the parts together to start solar charging:

100W solar panel
Various wire and connectors
Tracer 20A charge controller


I read the manual for the charge controller and it says: "sealed, gel or flooded" batteries only.

Well......The battery I have is a AGM and I'd like to keep it or at least keep using AGM. I don't want to ruin a AGM battery by hooking up an incompatible controller. A days worth of internet investigation was of little help except to learn that generally speaking, AGM and GEL are both considered "sealed" batteries (Wiki).
Should I interpret my Chinese-English manual to read: "gel, gel or flooded" or "AGM, gel, flooded". Or is there a sealed battery out there that is neither AGM or gel?
Does anyone have any experience/knowledge WRT whether or not a Tracer charge controller can be used with a AGM battery?
I'm going to be at the LongPoint rally in a few weeks. Thanks.
__________________

__________________
clyle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-24-2014, 08:33 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
The Minimalist's Avatar
 
Name: Clif
Trailer: 08 Weiscraft Little Joe 14 Subaru Outback 2.5i CVT
Louisiana
Posts: 724
Registry
The AGM (Asorbant Glass Mat) battery is a sealed battery. There is no free acid that can spill our. They can legally be shipped in the cargo bay of commercial aircraft.

I can't speak to the Tracer controller. I am using a Morning Star SunSaver 10.

There is a jumper on my controller that, connected, sets the controller up for sealed batteries. When you remove the jumper, it is set for flooded batteries. The difference is, that when it is set for 'flooded', every 28 days the controller goes into equalize mode for 3 hours, during which it applies 14.9 v, which is above the normal absorption voltage. It does this because in a battery that is not being used, the electrolyte, sulfuric acid, tends to stratify. Bringing the voltage up to 14.9 for a few hours, causes the electrolyte to gas, ie bubble, mixing the electrolyte and therefore eliminating the stratification. The battery will last much longer this way.

AGM and gel batteries don't have free liquid acid running around in them an so are not subject to stratification.


The real problem here is the term sealed. AGM and gel batteries are sealed, but many maintenance free batteries are sealed as well, no caps or caps glued down. Inside it is a flooded battery and in my humble opinion should be set up as such.

So, if your battery has free acid in it, sealed or unsealed, it is a flooded battery.

Good luck.

Clif

ps: That 20 amp controller should be able to handle at least one more of those 100 W panels with room to spare, should you feel the need to expand your system.
__________________

__________________
The Minimalist is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-24-2014, 08:44 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Name: Drew
Trailer: Trillium Outback - 2004
Alberta
Posts: 106
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by clyle View Post
Just got (most) of the parts together to start solar charging:

100W solar panel
Various wire and connectors
Tracer 20A charge controller


I read the manual for the charge controller and it says: "sealed, gel or flooded" batteries only.

Well......The battery I have is a AGM and I'd like to keep it or at least keep using AGM. I don't want to ruin a AGM battery by hooking up an incompatible controller. A days worth of internet investigation was of little help except to learn that generally speaking, AGM and GEL are both considered "sealed" batteries (Wiki).
Should I interpret my Chinese-English manual to read: "gel, gel or flooded" or "AGM, gel, flooded". Or is there a sealed battery out there that is neither AGM or gel?
Does anyone have any experience/knowledge WRT whether or not a Tracer charge controller can be used with a AGM battery?
I'm going to be at the LongPoint rally in a few weeks. Thanks.
The controller user manual should list it's charge voltages for each battery setting. Compare that to your battery manufacturer suggested charge voltages and choose the closest one. I'm not familiar with your controller but if it lets you change the set points to match your batter specs that's the preferred way to go, though many do not have that option. However if none of it's settings are close to your battery specs you might not get the proper charge and in some cases reduce the life of your battery.
__________________
Where we’re going, we don’t need a plug-in.
multi-task is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-24-2014, 09:02 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
The Minimalist's Avatar
 
Name: Clif
Trailer: 08 Weiscraft Little Joe 14 Subaru Outback 2.5i CVT
Louisiana
Posts: 724
Registry
I just skimmed through the manual on the Tracer-2210RN/2215RN which are 20 amp controllers. Page 19 shows the setting for the various types of batteries. They actually show sealed lead acid battery, sealed and flooded.

I would contact the manufacturer/distributor for clarification. I would assume that the sealed lead acid battery they are referring to is an AGM, which is a lead acid battery. It's just that the acid is contained in the glass mat. These batteries do need a charger or controller that is set up for their particular charging requirements.
__________________
The Minimalist is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-24-2014, 09:03 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
clyle's Avatar
 
Name: lyle
Trailer: Trillium
Michigan
Posts: 112
Registry
I can't set the charge points, but there is a list for each of the 3 types (sealed, gel, flooded). I must confess that I'm out of my element here and the numbers don't mean too much.
I thought I just had to get the parts together, hook 'em up and I'd be good to go. My plan B in most of these cases is to just hook everything up and see what happens, hoping that it will either work or I'll become incrementally smarter in the process. I'm a little reluctant to do such experiments using $200-$300 batteries. I've previously ruined an Ultima using a cheap one-step charger so I know not to do THAT again. I've also emailed the company that makes the controller hoping to get some clarification, but I've found this site a much better source of "real-world" knowledge.
__________________
clyle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2014, 04:36 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
Ron F's Avatar
 
Name: Ron
Trailer: Eggless for now.
Formerly NH, now full timing
Posts: 405
Registry
Lyle,
You can also find some helpful folks at the Northern Arizona Wind & Solar Forum ( Activity Stream - Solar Electric Power Discussion Forum by Northern Arizona Wind & Sun ).

My Moringstar Controller says to remove the jumper for AGM and flooded batteries, which would apply the equalize voltage to both AGM & flooded.

Didn't we do some pickin' down in Georgia? What fun!

Will you be heading south again this winter? We sold the house and will be full-timin' for a year or so till we find some place speaks to our spirits and says "live here."

Ron
__________________
Ron F is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2014, 06:57 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
clyle's Avatar
 
Name: lyle
Trailer: Trillium
Michigan
Posts: 112
Registry
Ron,
Mike, Doreen and I were just talking about you a few days ago. I'm still getting unpacked from last winters trip and getting ready for a weekender to Longbeach, ON on 11 July. Too bad about your egg, but every so often ya gotta scale back and start fresh. We're going back for sure. Same general area. Mike is tradeing his trailer for a 5th wheel. We're still playing. Any good festivals out your way?
I should have done better research before beginning my solar project. For starters, my DC setup (batts, etc) are all inside in a space under a seat. If I had the batts outside on the tounge i'd just get cheap flooded batts and be done with it, but where I come from I may as well put up a sign saying "free battery". So the batts are insde. After that I should have chosen GEL batts, but those Ultimas looked so darn cool! Air flow around the solar controller may be another issue? On and on.
__________________
clyle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2014, 07:03 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
Timber Wolf's Avatar
 
Name: Tim
Trailer: '88 Scamp 16, layout 4
North Florida
Posts: 1,440
Quote:
Originally Posted by clyle View Post
Just got (most) of the parts together to start solar charging:

100W solar panel
Various wire and connectors
Tracer 20A charge controller

That is similiar to the setup I am considering. I don't see any fuzes or fuze holders mentioned on your list. That is the only part I have not figured out yet. I have had good luck contacting the folks on the Renogy via their "Chat" function to get my solar questions answered. I think the Tracer is the charge contorller they sell.
__________________
Timber Wolf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2014, 07:36 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
clyle's Avatar
 
Name: lyle
Trailer: Trillium
Michigan
Posts: 112
Registry
The manual with the solar controller shows a circuit schematic. I plan to go with their recomendations wrt fuse location(s). I'll use 15-20A blade fuses/holders w/10g wire.
__________________
clyle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2014, 08:14 AM   #10
Senior Member
 
Timber Wolf's Avatar
 
Name: Tim
Trailer: '88 Scamp 16, layout 4
North Florida
Posts: 1,440
Quote:
Originally Posted by clyle View Post
The manual with the solar controller shows a circuit schematic. I plan to go with their recomendations wrt fuse location(s). I'll use 15-20A blade fuses/holders w/10g wire.
Are blade fuzes the standard automotive kind? How available are holders for them with 10 guage wire? I had origianlly planned on going with 10 guage, and might still but am leaning toward even larger wire, 8, 6, or 4. One of my Chats confirmed the controller can take up to 4 guage wire although that does seem like over kill.
__________________
Timber Wolf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2014, 08:47 AM   #11
Senior Member
 
clyle's Avatar
 
Name: lyle
Trailer: Trillium
Michigan
Posts: 112
Registry
Yes, they're the automobile type, standard or mini. The fuse holder w/10 gauge wire must be pretty common. I already have a few laying around. I've seen them around auto stores for sure. Don't know about "higher" gauges as 10 gauge is adequate for my system, but there must be.
Nothing wrong with a little "over-kill". I usually build assuming that I'll want/have to upgrade at some later time. The 20A solar charger that I got is over-kill for a single 100W panel, but I'm assuming that I'll have two panels before long.
__________________
clyle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2014, 09:00 AM   #12
Senior Member
 
Timber Wolf's Avatar
 
Name: Tim
Trailer: '88 Scamp 16, layout 4
North Florida
Posts: 1,440
Quote:
Originally Posted by clyle View Post
The 20A solar charger that I got is over-kill for a single 100W panel, but I'm assuming that I'll have two panels before long.
My thoughts exactly and why I had decided on the 20Amp. I am just waiting on my ship to come in before I go solar. I need new tires on the tug first.
__________________
Timber Wolf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2014, 09:56 AM   #13
Senior Member
 
The Minimalist's Avatar
 
Name: Clif
Trailer: 08 Weiscraft Little Joe 14 Subaru Outback 2.5i CVT
Louisiana
Posts: 724
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron F View Post

My Moringstar Controller says to remove the jumper for AGM and flooded batteries, which would apply the equalize voltage to both AGM & flooded.
Ron: You may want to check your MorningStar documentation. Due to their construction and oxygen recombinant chemistry, AGMs shouldn't need equalization as in a flooded battery.

In your battery set points at the back of the manual you will see that AGMs(variously termed sealed or Valve Regulated Lead Acid,VRLA) have both lower absorption and float voltages. You may damage an AGM with too high a charging rate.

For more information and a better understanding of the issues, go here:
Comparing Flooded Batteries to VRLA Batteries

Clyde: In the info on gel batteries, you will see that you made a wise choice of the AGM over the gel for inside the trailer, as the gel in the early stages of it's life actually does gas out until it dries enough for the released oxygen to move from plate to plate.

Good discussion.
Clif
__________________
The Minimalist is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2014, 04:56 AM   #14
Senior Member
 
Ron F's Avatar
 
Name: Ron
Trailer: Eggless for now.
Formerly NH, now full timing
Posts: 405
Registry
Clif,

Thanks for the heads up. I went back to the install/operator manual ( http://www.morningstarcorp.com/wp-co...N_.03-4-13.pdf ).

The install guide for my SunSaver MPPT calls for the jumper removed, but differentiates between flooded and AGM with configuration switch 1. Switch 1 set to On for AGM, Off for flooded, but it doesn't discuss the exact purpose for switch 1. Switch 3 configures equalization on or off, and has equalization On for both flooded and AGM. Perhaps switch 1 sets the voltage level for both the charging and equalization.

Anyway; it's moot in my case since I'm in a low crime area and I'm using a flooded battery, but perhaps it's time for a call to Morningstar.

Ron
__________________

__________________
Ron F is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
solar, trillium


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Manual for EWC-10 charge controller? BCPaul Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 1 07-16-2011 10:07 PM
charge controller theresa p Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 3 05-30-2009 08:11 PM
Solar Charge Controller Installation kevin61 Modifications, Alterations and Updates 3 02-22-2009 09:20 AM
Solar charge controller yvonne Care and Feeding of Molded Fiberglass Trailers 24 06-26-2008 06:46 AM
Fluid, Battery Levels & Solar Charge Controller? peterh Electrical | Charging, Systems, Solar and Generators 9 04-27-2007 05:45 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:16 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.