New Solar Panel/Flat battery

Discussion in 'Solar Power' started by Snitrats, Oct 16, 2015.

  1. Snitrats

    Snitrats Funster

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    Need some help. I fitted a 60 watt solar panel (from Sunstore) all wired up and connected to 2 110amp batteries which are about 4 years old. When I did the final connection direct to the batteries they where about 75% full after a couple of days they showed full, the middle green light on the controller flashing green indicating they full ,confirmed by the main control panel. So yesterday drove it first time with the panel fitted. Went to check the van this morning and both batteries down to 25% ?
    There was nothing plugged in , and all the fuses are intact. The van is a 2009 Swift Escape.
    The escape is equipped with a cable to connect a panel but the idiot main dealer I bought it off new decided to connect aerial booster to it. So should I have connected to these rather than direct to the battery?
     
  2. BONZO

    BONZO Funster

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    Hi the battery's life is only four years so I would think it's your battery's that need changeing. Iv just changed mine yesterday as mine were starting to fail iv had 3 x 110 s put on . But when battery's are good you will be ok with the panel you have fitted . U can get them tested free . John
     
  3. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Funster

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    Firstly a 60watt solar panel will not charge your batteries it will only top them up a little as you have 220amps of battery, example you draw 14amps from batteries all day/night then next day you 60watts panel is in FULL sun you might get 2/3amps per hour ( UK day 6/7 hours of sun! ) 6 x 2 = 12 amps ( providing your not taking any power from batteries whilst solar is working ) if your lucky, but you took out 14amps so your 2 short and again the next day and so on. Unless you have at least 150watts or more you are never going to charge the batteries.
     
  4. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Funster

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    John, new batteries 220amps will never get charge by a 60watt panel.
     
  5. BONZO

    BONZO Funster

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    Don It all depends on Wat he's running and how much driving inbertwen. Iv had 2x110 and 80w panel stayed on shellisland for four days with tv on for little girl most days had no trubbel but u do need sun shine.
     
  6. Snitrats

    Snitrats Funster

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    Should point out that I only installed 60watt just to keep them topped up whilst not using the van, we normally use hook up on site. The batteries do drain down a little if not used for a couple of weeks, so I do realise they are on there way out, but they have never drained overnight before after being fully charged, could I have cooked them ?
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2015
  7. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Funster

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    He states 60watts and as I stated the solar panel will not charge 220amps with of batteries NOT in UK sunshine. Nothing to do with driving. You state you stayed for four days and used a 80 watt panel, thats fine but you do not say what state your batteries were in before you arrived and what power you draw each day from the batteries. This is the biggest problem in the MH world owners do not have a clue what they are drawing amps wise. I agree a 8hour drive will charge your batteries, but there are to many areas that can affect how long that 8hour drive worth of charge will last.
     
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  8. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Funster

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    Then your 60watts will do the job of topping up. The problem you have is because you go to site and plug in to EHU you will never know what state your batteries are in until you use them off grid for more than 3/5 days. Reading your first post I would say without doubt your batteries are past their sale by date and will not hold any charge period.
     
  9. Snitrats

    Snitrats Funster

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    Here what your saying but it would normally be a month before they get below 12v but never overnight before. So just enquiring to see if there's any fault anywhere with the fitting of the panel before I lash out on a couple of batteries which have a 5 year guarantee (which I suspect is useless)
     
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  10. PhilandMena

    PhilandMena Funster

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    As I understand this, after fitting solar panel the batteries became fully charged after a few days and this was confirmed by both the solar panel controller and the main controller. This indicates to me the connections are correct and solar panel is putting current into the batteries. (Note: I assume the current from the S.P. goes through a regulator/controller before being fed into the batteries and as others have said you will not get a great deal from a 60 W S.P. perhaps 2 amps per hour).
    So, moving on, the only change that has occurred to your batteries is after you started the engine and took it for a run and I suspect this is where the problem/fault is occurring. I would check to make sure the power from the solar panel is still going to your leisure batteries. It is unusual for this amount of a drop overnight unless something is draining your batteries. Is it possible that when you switched on your ignition you activated some Hab services which started to draw power from your leisure batteries ? Other than that, I would be making wild guesses. Hope you solve the problem.
     
  11. Snitrats

    Snitrats Funster

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    Thanks for your help, I am awaiting a response from Sarjants and Swift.
     
  12. PhilandMena

    PhilandMena Funster

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    This is wrong!
    Firstly your maths about hours of sun in the UK is wrong even for winter months. See attachment. http://resources.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/questions/weather/sunshine.htm

    Secondly, your assuming this is the only source of power available when almost all motorhome users use a combination of Alternator, generator and hook up to charge top up their batteries.
     
  13. PhilandMena

    PhilandMena Funster

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    You are wrong, wrong, wrong. I.M.O. this statement is insulting to those many users who have an in depth knowledge of power consumption, leisure batteries, solar panels and how it works in their motorhome.
     
  14. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    So what you have installed is suspect, remove one solar panel to controller wire, then remove one controller to battery wire, charge up batteries by some other means. See if they hold their charge.

    If they hold their charge you have screwed up or have a faulty controller.
    If they go flat again then the search is on, duff batteries ( our original German battery lasted 8 years ) or something is draining them, get an ammeter on the batteries and measure it.

    Some controllers it is essential to connect to battery THEN connect solar panel or it goes tits up.
     
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  15. Peter A Forbes

    Peter A Forbes Funster

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    You are making a lot of assumptions yourself.

    Most motorhome owners don't use generators for a start, and most don't have split charge systems fitted.

    Regarding your earlier post, it seems to me that Don Quixote's post was about right, judging by the high number of problem posts that we get on here and other forums about habitation electrics.

    65W solar is marginal at best for charging a 110AH battery, and if it doesn't get it done in the first full day the capacity of the battery is even less to start the evening with. Thus over a few days the capacity will drop off as the solar panel doesn't have sufficient output.

    Solar panel ratings are made in highly optimised conditions, midday sun, clear sky etc etc. In the UK we reckon 40% of the rated power can be expected, more in the summer, less in the winter.

    We have 2 sets of panels in 2 groups of two, so eight panels and four controllers on two vehicles.

    Peter
     
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  16. Snitrats

    Snitrats Funster

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    Thanks Hilldweller. I'll do that in the meantime I have just disconnected both batteries each show 10.10 volts on the multimeter. The panel is showing 4.2volts at the moment, however when I connect at battery again to the panel The battery shows 9.2 Volts ? so is 1.8 volts going somewhere
     
  17. PhilandMena

    PhilandMena Funster

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    Perhaps I should have worded my explanation differently. I accept that only a minority of motorhomers use Generators but the point I was trying to get across was that almost all motorhomers will use an additional power source to supplement what they receive from their S.P. I fail to see the connection between other posts and the problem Snitrats has quoted? Also, this S.P was fitted for the purposes of topping up his batteries and according to his first post this was achieved.
     
  18. Neckender

    Neckender Funster

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    Your panel should be showing 18-20 volts into controller in sunshine, and 12 volts out of controller, I would think you have a problem with the solar panel if only reading 4.2 volts.

    John.
     
  19. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Funster

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    WILL YOU GET OF MY BACK. If you read what I wrote it says "problem in the MH world owners do not have a clue what they are drawing amps wise " it does not say ALL or MANY..........
    If you have a problem with me personally PM me. If you do not like what I post then stop reading it or better still press the ignore button in my profile page.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2015
  20. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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    Please, no shouting here. Thanks ;)
     
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