Beep beep goes the alarm

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Sidney, Sep 19, 2016.

  1. Sidney

    Sidney Funster

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    With fully charged batteries (twin leisure batteries) and an 80w solar panel on the roof why would the leisure battery drop down to an alarming level within 7-10 days?

    Could the blocking diode in my solar panel be faulty?
     
  2. tonyidle

    tonyidle Funster

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    It could be:
    Duff batteries
    One duff battery
    Faulty solar controller
    Your use pattern
    Overcast sky
    Parked in shade
    Faulty solar panel
    Something drawing current full time (that you're unaware of)
    Fuse gone
    Etc

    More info needed :).
     
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  3. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    why?

    nowhere near enough information given to guess

    7 - 10 days is quite a time off grid

    Have you driven any miles in that time

    What country are you in

    What have you used on the 12V side

    what do you call an alarming level

    If we park in the shade or use in cloudy weather, with only a solar panel and twin batteries similar to yours, a couple of hours TV per night, similar laptop charge via small inverter we would go critically low after about 4 days I would reckon, unless we move or the sun shines a lot

    But we rarely stay still for more than 3 days partly for that reason (y)
     
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  4. wigster

    wigster Funster

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    Was about to post but the previous two posters said what i was thinking.
     
  5. Diabalo

    Diabalo Funster

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    It could be you have parasitic drain. Google it for testing methods.
     
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  6. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    Assuming you are talking about the vehicle being parked up and not being used then they shouldn't be going flat so my first guess would be your solar system isn't working. To check this you need to use a multimeter and check the voltages through the system, starting with what the panel is producing when the sun is shining.
    But even if the solar isn't working I would have thought two fully charged leisure batteries should last longer - so they may be duff or as suggested there is a drain somewhere. Do you have an ammeter in the system to tell you what is happening?
     
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  7. Bacchus

    Bacchus Funster

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    The simple answere is because, for whatever reason, you are using more than the panel is generating!

    If you have been in the UK for the last seven days I doubt that your panel is working at more than about 30% efficiency, so a an 80w panel at 12v = roughly (80/12)*0.3 = 2 amps, for ten hours a day that;s only 20 amp hours which is half of bugger all if you're using fridge/microwave/tv/lights/hair-curlers/hair-dyer/coffee machine/laptop/phone-charger/nose-hair-trimmers etc etc etc

    Solar is great but not a panacea for long term use (especially in the UK) if you don't size the system according to use and worse case scenario usage.
     
  8. DanielFord

    DanielFord Funster

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    Couldn't agree more. We used our van over the weekend, we got to it on Friday.
    We weren't using the inverter, but my daughter insists on having the light on over night. All other lights being used as normal. Quite heavy use on the TV and satellite receiver. This morning the leisure batteries were down to 12.1v so I have switched on the mains charger.
    Over the last seven days the highest reading I have seen from the solar (150w) has been 2.9 amps. Due to the location, the highest reading will last about 2 hours before the sun goes behind some trees and puts the panel in shade.
     
  9. Sidney

    Sidney Funster

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    Thanks for all of your input. I'm at a proper computer now so I can give more info.

    The vehicle was on the drive not in use and would benefit from sun for most of the day. The two batteries are new 110ah Banner batteries replaced in the spring

    This was last week when it was quite bright and sunny here just outside of Stamford Lincs.

    Upon entering the MH the alarm was going off. I did not switch anything on or switch anything off (the habitation entrance door light came as normal). I then plugged in the hook up.

    I went back two days later, unplugged the hook-up and took a look at the Sargent panel: Batteries charged, amps being used flickering between 0.1 and 0.2 amps.

    I would imagine the Sargent panel takes some power. But the rapid discharge makes me think something else is taking the power.

    My shortlist is:

    1. solar panel faulty and uses power at night
    2. tiny charger unit used for sim card location device
    3. alarm
    4. something else
    I'm going to start pulling fuses and disconnecting stuff but I'll need to monitor the battery cables. Will my clamp on ammeter give a good enough reading? or should I break the circuit (disconnect the battery and use the leads)?
     
  10. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

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    It HAS to be a failure in the solar panel system somewhere..
     
  11. Xabia

    Xabia Funster

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    Have you got an inverter and if so have you left it on standby. I did this a couple of times and it brought down the batterycapacity quite a lot over a couple of weeks.
     
  12. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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  13. Sidney

    Sidney Funster

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    I'll check that at lunchtime
     
  14. Sidney

    Sidney Funster

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  15. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    Assuming you have a normal solar controller I don't think a faulty blocking diode would cause a problem - unless the controller can somehow work in reverse which I don't think they normally do. ;) It would only be a problem if the solar panel was directly connected to the battery, which is a very inefficient way of doing it but I suppose it might be if it was done by someone trying to save money. :)

    I suggest trying to find out if the solar panel is actually producing anything first. Screwfix sell a good multimeter for about £10 - other suppliers are available. :)
     
  16. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    0.2amps per hour
    1amp per 5 hours
    10amps per 50 hrs
    48 amps per 240 hours (10 days)

    That's almost 50% of your usable reserve and 25% of your total reserve.
    Add to that any alarms etc and it will be even lower.
    Definitely points to a faulty solar panel/controller or associated wiring/fuse.
     
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  17. Sidney

    Sidney Funster

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    The solar panel goes via a "cheap" non MPPT solar controller to the Sargent panel. By going into advance setting on Sargent PSU I can see the solar input typically 5-6 amps on a sunny day.
     
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  18. Sidney

    Sidney Funster

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    By breaking it down you've made it apparent that there is a draw higher than that shown on the Sargent system. Thank you. I'll go off and have some fun!
     
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  19. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    There is a smaller one and a new one that is hidden using a mobile phone for the display via bluetooth.

    The bluetooth one seems like you'd forget about it after a week, you have to keep getting your phone out whereas one on the wall gives you the picture second by second.
     
  20. Sidney

    Sidney Funster

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    This will very soon be featuring on "What I Bought This Week"
     
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