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Old 06-21-2017, 09:14 AM   #21
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Name: Gordon
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.. It seems like if it's putting out almost 14v at the battery terminals, then the panel is doing what it should.
Most likely yes (if you specify panel AND charge controller). Again, for what ever reason, the battery is still the most likely suspect.

But back to the Voc (voltage - open circuit) test... Are the panels wired in series or parallel (to the controller)? A Voc reading is still worth getting and easy to do (assuming they are not hardwired and they use a MC4 or other connector you can unplug). A substitute panel, if you can borrow one, is another idea.
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Old 06-21-2017, 09:38 AM   #22
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just go and buy a battery Zacho !

LOL....if you got 95W of panel (that you can orient perfectly to the sun) going through a controller that is putting out 14V.... on a sunny day you should be able to sell power to your neighbours!!!

now the charger in your power center is suspect....my BF of the same vintage had the same problem....I looked at three options: buy an aftermarket charger designed to fit/connect right in to the existing power center.....buy the very popular PD4045 power center/charger and replace the whole thing.....or just get rid of the charger part of my PC and install a very smart charger that I manually operate.....I went with the third option and have been happy with the results. (when one gets rid of the PC charger the converter function also gets lost...so 12V power to the coach comes from the batteries all the time....the charger I have is also designed to act as a power suppy...7.2A capability)

off topic...I looked at your registry and like your thinking on the kiddie bed storage deal....got rid of the door entirely it looks like....makes all that space usable and easily accessed.

good luck
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Old 06-21-2017, 09:56 AM   #23
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Thanks, I'll do some more testing before buying a battery. I really feel like I've treated it well, so 1 year of life is not cool...

I don't know how to check whether the panels are wired in series or parallel. I know how to check on batteries. But since I bought this as package, already assembled, I don't know how it's put together. I do want to mess with the wiring, though...what I do know about solar tells me that it could use some modifications. The wire is not as thick a gauge as I'd like, since it's a good 10-15' long, and the controller would be better up near my battery instead of on the back of a panel. But I don't know yet how to change that kind of stuff out on these.

Yeah the upper bunk work I did was great, for me.

A new power center is on my list, but far down on my list. Just not making enough money right now for it to be worth it, especially when I only very, very rarely plug in. And since the panel goes straight to the battery, it's not effected by the power center charger. I remember you posted about your system early on when I joined the site. When the power center finally makes its way up the priority list...I'll decide between a PD4045 and something more like what you did.
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Old 06-21-2017, 09:59 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Franswa View Post
LOL....if you got 95W of panel (that you can orient perfectly to the sun) going through a controller that is putting out 14V.... on a sunny day you should be able to sell power to your neighbours!!!..
Potentially, you might be correct.

But we have no idea at this point how many watts he is getting and voltage is nothing more than potential. Having ~14 volts does not necessary mean that you will have amps / watts. You could have a voltage source of 14 volts that will never every charge anything. So its possible the controller is defective while still putting out 14 volts.. just not highly likely.
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Old 06-21-2017, 10:04 AM   #25
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I will say that never once has the charge controller display moved from "charge" to "full", that I've noticed. It's always on "charge".
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Old 06-21-2017, 10:46 AM   #26
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Panel is putting out 13.97 V in the full morning sun.

Haven't checked anything else yet. I can really test my battery at rest because the fan for the fridge vent is running 24/7. If I decide I have to start living out of a cooler, I'll be able to shut that off and test the battery.

Still need to buy a hydrometer.
Add a simple on off switch into the fan wiring, I added one as the fridge fan often came on or ran longer in temps I felt it could get by fine with out the fan & I was wanted to save power. Adding a general on off switch at battery is also handy to have when storing the trailer or trouble shooting battery issues.

Re battery life. If you do not have a smart charge on your converter in the trailer & left the trailer plugged into power that can kill the batteries life fairly fast as well. Previous owner of my current trailer toasted a new battery in less than 5 months leaving the trailer plugged in for long periods of time with no smart charger on the old converter.
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Old 06-21-2017, 11:17 AM   #27
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Thanks.

The fan I bought came with an on/off switch. But since my fridge is having serious trouble cooling in anything higher than 70 degree temps, I'm keeping the fan running for now.

I don't think I've ever left the trailer plugged in for more than 1 hour. Maybe 2 hours at the most. Not sure how long it would take to fry the battery. And I've only plugged it in...maybe 5 times ever.

I still need to test the battery water. I know it's not dry and the plates are covered, but I haven't tested it with a hydrometer yet.
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Old 06-21-2017, 12:13 PM   #28
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No charge controller???

You can charge battery with a solar panel and no charge controller, but it take diligence, I've done it. You have to watch the battery voltage, and when it gets to 13.8 to 14.2 volts remove the panel.

What happens if you don't. The liquid (electrolyte) boils out, then you fill it with water. If you use tap water to top off the liquid the battery will not last long. You need to use distilled water.

I'm not sure what happens if do all the right things except keep from boiling out the electrolyte and replacing with distilled water. I suspect that over time the electrolyte is diluted to the point not being as effective as it was when new.

BOTTOM LINE.... A charge controller is usually necessary. I strongly recommend you get one after you've had your battery checked. Most battery places will be able to do a test, primarily a load dump test, to tell you the condition of your battery.
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Old 06-21-2017, 01:22 PM   #29
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Thanks Byron. As you can see from the conversation, I have a charge controller.
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Old 06-26-2017, 10:10 AM   #30
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Well I don't get it. I use my camper too much to check battery voltage after 24 hours of no use, but this weekend after sitting overnight, my battery was at 12.91V. It seems to be working fine now.

I almost wonder if the fan in the upper vent of my fridge just takes more juice than I expected. It only started running non-stop over the last few weeks. Possibly, with it running, my monitor just won't show the same level of charging.

This weekend, my panel seemed to adequately charge the battery. When I'd wake up in the morning, the monitor level was at "good" instead of "fair". But it was cold enough that the fridge vent fan stopped running overnight. Last week it was running 24/7.

Can someone explain how to test my panel without the charge controller? The controller is attached to the back of one panel. So the other panel has a wire running into the controller on the one panel, then another wire comes out of the controller and goes to my battery. So I can test the panel without the controller, but I'm not sure how to test the panel with the controller without opening up the controller. Sorry if that's confusing I'll take a photo and post more info about the actual solar setup at lunch.

I would like to see what it's putting out.
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Old 06-26-2017, 01:32 PM   #31
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Ok, so I lied, I do have access to the output of both panels. I thought the one with the charge controller was built in to the controller.

Here are photos with specs

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