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Old 05-25-2021, 10:11 AM   #1
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Name: Leah
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Battery Draw

Has anyone experienced extreme battery draw from older models Scamps? I have a 2006, 16ft Scamp. I also have a brand new 200AH battery, 160watt Renogy flexible panel. (Note: I had one of these panels before and it stopped working. This one says it is charging.)

I live in the camper for months on end so daily use of the following occurs: An older fantastic vent fan, presumably a 2005 or 2006, water pump for the sink which I use daily and then turn off when done--when using the water pump the lights do flicker on and off depending on the water pressure, lights only three of which I use, and one USB port that I use for charging a cell phone-- an Apple Watch and a signal booster. This seems to be enough of a system to run this load with out killing the battery. Again, the panel seems to be charging the battery with a 12.8v output...and a decent amount of amp hours going in. Yet the battery keeps depleting. So now I am wondering if something could be drawing power that isn't supposed to be. Nothing appears to be on. Or is it possible that the exhaust fan as it's an older model could be pulling too much? Maybe there's a short that is pulling? Or maybe it's the water pump? I am about to charge the battery AGAIN today and will resume my tests with the new controller. I ordered a new panel as well. I just wanted to start this thread in the hopes that anyone with knowledge of the wiring on older scamps may be able to follow along with me. Again this load doesn't seem like it's too much for my setup. Thanks in advance. I'm getting extremely frustrated with this.
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Old 05-25-2021, 10:29 AM   #2
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Amp meter test

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Originally Posted by Leahw View Post
Has anyone experienced extreme battery draw from older models Scamps? I have a 2006, 16ft Scamp. I also have a brand new 200AH battery, 160watt Renogy flexible panel. (Note: I had one of these panels before and it stopped working. This one says it is charging.)

.
Hook up an amp meter at the battery and pull the fuses one at a time you will find the load. If you have a lead acid battery I'd like to see 13.8 volts charging not 12.8. My batteries drop to 12.2 fast and then stay there for a day or two. Inductive loads like motors draw plenty of amps.
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Old 05-25-2021, 10:49 AM   #3
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What he said.. you can get an ammeter and find out in minutes what the load on the battery is (and if its truly charging on solar)... or you can just guess and keep replacing parts.

Also like he said.. 12.8 volts is low for charging a battery... even when its fully charged and the charger / controller is on float setting. Of course the voltage will drop to the battery level if the solar is in shade (clouds included) and not putting out enough power.
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Old 05-26-2021, 08:17 AM   #4
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Again, the panel seems to be charging the battery with a 12.8v output...and a decent amount of amp hours going in.
Your solar is NOT charging the battery. To charge you should see at least 14.2. 12.8v is a float/maintence charge. Something is wrong with your controller. Find someone who knows how to setup your controller with the proper charge profile. If you don't correct this, sooner rather than later you'll be buying new batteries.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 05-26-2021, 09:40 AM   #5
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power draws

All of this assumes that you are NOT plugged in to shore power.

Sure, use an ammeter / multi-meter to check the amperage draw on the battery. Also, your solar charge controller likely has a way to determine the charging amperage that it is supplying to the battery.

Also consider the specific battery draws:

- If your refrigerator in running on propane, it will also use a small amount of electricity to run the control panel. However if your refrigerator is running on 12 volts DC, it will draw 10 amps while running. It may be running 30-50% of the time. That's a lot of power!

- Have you switched to LED bulbs or LED fixtures? LED lights use one tenth the power of incandescent lights. A typical incandescent bulb uses 1 - 1.5 amps.
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Old 05-26-2021, 10:02 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Perryb67 View Post
Your solar is NOT charging the battery. To charge you should see at least 14.2. 12.8v is a float/maintence [sic] charge. ...
If the sun goes behind the clouds the output drops and you will see lower voltage.. so it depends on much sun there was at the moment the OP took the measurement. Also if there is a heavy load, fans, water pump, etc, then the voltage at or past the battery will be lower than the charger / controller output. It IS quite possible that the solar is working fine but you can't tell for sure by a momentary low voltage reading.

OP talked about the Renogy flex panel output and panel voltage.. but did not mention the controller until she said she was going to resume testing with a new controller. Where was the voltage reading? Panel, controller, battery. etc.??

Best bet is to find someone who knows about RV electrical systems and can take a look at it in person. There are just way too many unknowns at present.
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Old 05-26-2021, 04:18 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
If the sun goes behind the clouds the output drops and you will see lower voltage.. so it depends on much sun there was at the moment the OP took the measurement. Also if there is a heavy load, fans, water pump, etc, then the voltage at or past the battery will be lower than the charger / controller output. It IS quite possible that the solar is working fine but you can't tell for sure by a momentary low voltage reading.

OP talked about the Renogy flex panel output and panel voltage.. but did not mention the controller until she said she was going to resume testing with a new controller. Where was the voltage reading? Panel, controller, battery. etc.??

Best bet is to find someone who knows about RV electrical systems and can take a look at it in person. There are just way too many unknowns at present.
I know about RV electrical systems, am on our third solar install, and gave up my low-voltage electrical license 6 years ago. Despite having to use my low-voltage license for computer networking it did not take long to come up to speed on solar.

12.8 volts is just trickle charging at best. My $25 Morningstar SunSaver solar controller for our 80 watt panel on our Bigfoot had Boost at 14.4, Absorption at 14.4 and Float at 13.6, not 12.8v. Unless your battery is shot the voltage will easily be around 13.2 or higher when charging using your water pump, furnace and other devices.

So the items I would look at first is to disconnect the panel and use a multimeter to see if there is around 20 volts or more at the panel with sun.

If the panel is putting out solar, then I would put the multimeter at the output of the controller to see if the controller is functioning. Depending on the controller it should be putting out 13.2 minimum. And yes, you don't do this on days with little or no sun. That's just a given.

Finally how are the connections to the battery.

We have a 170 watt panel and have plenty of solar during the day when charging phones, computers, running the water pump, and/or the furnace. When we have sun a simple meter in a 12v plug will read 13.4 or more when these items are running with the controller in float mode.

Leah should purchase a multimeter, learn how to use it, and understand the readouts. Or find someone who does.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 05-26-2021, 04:51 PM   #8
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This is all you need for meter

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Originally Posted by Perryb67 View Post
Leah should purchase a multimeter, learn how to use it, and understand the readouts. Or find someone who does.

Enjoy,Perry
They were free now and then but no more,
https://www.harborfreight.com/7-func...ter-63759.html
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Old 05-26-2021, 05:09 PM   #9
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Meter comparison test

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They were free now and then but no more,
https://www.harborfreight.com/7-func...ter-63759.html
No two are alike but this is typical.
Attached Thumbnails
METER COMP.jpg  
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Old 05-26-2021, 05:33 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Perryb67 View Post
I know about RV electrical systems, ...
Perry's information and advice (above) is spot on except that it might not be a given to some people that the voltages we are talking about are in full sun. Yes, check the panel output...first check the Voltage at Open Circuit (VOC). Voltage at open circuit is the voltage that is read with a voltmeter when the module is not connected to any load or controller. For a "12 volt"panel with 36 cells it should be near 19 IN FULL SUN. Then check the controller output.. it should be above 13.5 IN FULL SUN.
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Old 05-26-2021, 08:09 PM   #11
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And properly aimed at the sun

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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
voltages we are talking about are in full sun. Yes, check the panel output...first check the Voltage at Open Circuit (VOC). Voltage at open circuit is the voltage that is read with a voltmeter when the module is not connected to any load or controller.
That can be done with a free device called the empty tube from the paper towel roll. Stand it on end on the surface of the panel and when there is NO shadow it is square with the sun. I also measure short circuit current with that Harbor Freight meter, but the leads are the weak point and will get warm if you connect more than a couple of seconds. NOTE ALSO THAT THIS IS THE ONLY TIME THAT CURRENT IS EVER MEASURED THIS WAY.
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Old 05-27-2021, 05:47 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leahw View Post
Has anyone experienced extreme battery draw from older models Scamps? ................

I live in the camper for months on end so daily use of the following occurs: An older fantastic vent fan, presumably a 2005 or 2006, water pump for the sink which I use daily and then turn off when done--when using the water pump the lights do flicker on and off depending on the water pressure, lights only three of which I use, and one USB port that I use for charging a cell phone-- an Apple Watch and a signal booster. This seems to be enough of a system to run this load with out killing the battery.......................................

Again, the panel seems to be charging the battery with a 12.8v output...and a decent amount of amp hours going in. Yet the battery keeps depleting.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
For a "12 volt"panel with 36 cells it should be near 19 IN FULL SUN. Then check the controller output.. it should be above 13.5 IN FULL SUN.
We're talking charging here aren't we? 13.5 at the controller output would be considered a float value (think trickle charging) causing the solar to take days to charge a battery. Leah is trying to find out why her batteries are not charging and being depleted each day. The reading she is observing is 12.8. When charging, the value should be 14.2 or higher on the output side of the controller. Our controller's bulk and absorption phases are set at 14.6 for our current set of batteries.


_____________________________________



In full disclosure, our problem is many times we camp in northern states where the site can be in a shady area. Our single 170 watt panel only will put out 1-3 amp hours, depending on the amount of shade. I just received three 100 watt Renogy panels (18.6 VMP) that will be added in parallel to our 170 watt GoPower panel (19.3). After figuring our slightly mismatched VMP's we will have around 465 watts of power on a day that never happens. We do have a 100 watt Renogy portable/Victron 100/20 controller hooked separately to the battery, but over time found it to be a PITA to use. I'm guessing our 465 watts will be enough even on those sunny, but shady site days. We also have over 200 usable ah's in our SiO2 battery setup.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 06-02-2021, 10:34 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Leahw View Post
Has anyone experienced extreme battery draw from older models Scamps? I have a 2006, 16ft Scamp. I also have a brand new 200AH battery, 160watt Renogy flexible panel. (Note: I had one of these panels before and it stopped working. This one says it is charging.)

I live in the camper for months on end so daily use of the following occurs: An older fantastic vent fan, presumably a 2005 or 2006, water pump for the sink which I use daily and then turn off when done--when using the water pump the lights do flicker on and off depending on the water pressure, lights only three of which I use, and one USB port that I use for charging a cell phone-- an Apple Watch and a signal booster. This seems to be enough of a system to run this load with out killing the battery. Again, the panel seems to be charging the battery with a 12.8v output...and a decent amount of amp hours going in. Yet the battery keeps depleting. So now I am wondering if something could be drawing power that isn't supposed to be. Nothing appears to be on. Or is it possible that the exhaust fan as it's an older model could be pulling too much? Maybe there's a short that is pulling? Or maybe it's the water pump? I am about to charge the battery AGAIN today and will resume my tests with the new controller. I ordered a new panel as well. I just wanted to start this thread in the hopes that anyone with knowledge of the wiring on older scamps may be able to follow along with me. Again this load doesn't seem like it's too much for my setup. Thanks in advance. I'm getting extremely frustrated with this.
First, CONVERT ALL LIGHTS TO LED, reduce lighting load by 90%; 2) 12.8vdc is NOT a proper charging voltage, so THAT IS YOUR PROBLEM; CHARGING should be 13.2-14.4vdc. 3) VOLTAGE AS A CHARGE INDICATOR should be read after disconnecting (all charging/ all loads) for 30+ minutes to remove any FALSE-HIGH SURFACE VOLTAGE, then expect 12.6-12.7vdc= 100% and 12.0-12.1= 50%+/-. If you do not allow that dissipation time, you end up w/ dead/low battery but (thought) it was charged? LUCK
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Old 06-02-2021, 01:14 PM   #14
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I see you do have a 12volt water pump. An automatic pressure switch staying on will drain a battery quickly, perhaps if you've forgotten turn it off. It can be adjusted (readjusted?) with a small hex wrench.
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Old 06-02-2021, 11:06 PM   #15
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This thread is so helpful! I do wish we were able to 5 star a comment so that it would be more obvious when an answer was truly helpful to many people.
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Old 06-03-2021, 07:54 AM   #16
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You didn't mention whether you have a refrigerator. If you do & it is on 12V, that would explain both the low voltage & the rapidly depleting battery.
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