Solar Panel and battery Amp leakage?

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by themountaintiger, Jan 17, 2016.

  1. themountaintiger

    themountaintiger Read Only Funster

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    Still having solar panel woes (more detail below)

    I have 2 x 60w solars which came fitted to motorhome and work with Sargent regulator. I then asked reputable installer to add another solar panel of 150w which has had a Sunworks Dual Panel Controller been fitted as advised by installer still using Sargent regulator. The set up isn’t working though and I wonder if it’s an issue with different size solar panels, blocking diode or something else. The installer changed the controller from Sunworks and Sargent regulator to Sunware FOX-MD1 Charge Monitor/Regulator and exactly the same problem is occurring.

    Does anyone know if there is a test, or solution. Is the answer to bin off the 2 x 60 w solars and buy another 150w one or Is it a more straightforward solution.


    This is happening

    Please note this is an example of whats happening every time I use motorhome.. Whilst I can see when sun is shining amps being put back into batteries, I have a massive drain..

    Sat in motorhome ready to drive off Friday 9:30 am. Cab battery is 12.3, leisure’s 12.4.
    Drove to destination (70 minutes) checked immediately batteries showed cab 13.0 and leisure's 13.3v
    Sun was shining and was keeping batteries topped up to 12.8v cab and leisure 13v+. (Sun went about 3pm)
    Checked batteries at 4pm. Cab battery at 12.6v and leisure at 12.4v

    What had I used..
    Recharged my phone
    Had telly on for 10-15 mins
    Alde heating via gas is on (manual states that uses 0.1-1amp/hr)
    Arial booster blue light has been on.
    1 tv standby light is on
    Control panel view levels light is on
    So since suns gone out, in space of 1-2 hrs, cab battery has gone from 12.8v to 12.6v, and leisure's 13.0v to 12.4v


    7-8pm had 2-3 spotlights on whilst kids had tea..
    Had telly on for 3 hrs 8-11pm
    Woke in morning 8am ish, cab battery 12.2v, leisure 11.9/12.0v


    Solars will now charge back batteries to about 12.3v cab and 12.4v leisure..
     
  2. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Funster

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    Reading your post, I think you need replace the batteries as they are not holding the charge that the solar panels are putting in. The solar panels are fooling you into thinking the next morning they are charging the batteries they are not unless the voltage is around 14.4 all they are doing is topping up the battery, but because they are knackered as soon as you put them under a load like a TV of charging a phone they will drop back down to 12.2 or less very quickly. Replace the batteries and you will find everything working as it should. Please remember that UK sun this time of year will never replace what you take out of the batteries.
     
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  3. tonka

    tonka Funster Life Member

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    How is the solar connected to your batteries ??

    Are all panels going to the new regulator and then direct to batteries or has he linked them into the sargent ??
    The Sargent can only take 120w max..
     
  4. themountaintiger

    themountaintiger Read Only Funster

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    Batteries are less than 6 months old and worked perfectly prior to installation of new solar panel

    Tonka, id read that re 120w max (think id saw 150w). I think first installation he was using sargent regulator. He did then contact Sargent on my request and I believe this new regulator/fox monitor was put in as it would be able to cope. Since reading your comment ive found the spec sheet for the fox.. im not sure if its definitely suitable or not to be honest http://starboardsun.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/DB_FOX_X20_2013_US-1.pdf

    im unclear exactly how he had connected them re sargents system
     
  5. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Funster

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    The batteries might only be 6 months old, but if they have not been charged right or allowed to drop below 12.4volts to many times they are dead. You can do a load test over 24 hours on the batteries and if they drop to 12.4 or less under load (2/5 amps per hours ) within 2/4 hours - then with NO load on batteries they should recover back up to 12.7 within about 45 minutes or better if this does not happen ( in your case we know this does not happen because you have stated "Woke in morning 8am ish, cab battery 12.2v, leisure 11.9/12.0v"). They are dead really dead.
    To give you an idea my batteries fully charged will sit at 12.7/12.8 or better for 5 or 6 hours under load ( drawing 5/7 amps ) and as soon as I remove any load (bed time) they recover and in the morning before sun up they read 12.7volts. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
     
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  6. themountaintiger

    themountaintiger Read Only Funster

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    never say never, but batteries have been checked by installer and by his reckoning and electrical measuring tool they are ok.. Also dont understand why working perfectly day before installation of new solar, then suddenly day after both cab battery and leisure batteries operate as mentioned but this has been going on for 2-3 months now. I hadn't noticed immediately due to amount of daylight hours, but over a few weekends began to notice draining far too quick.

    But i do agree that if my batteries continue to drain like they are doing then it cant be doing them any good..

    "To give you an idea my batteries fully charged will sit at 12.7/12.8 or better for 5 or 6 hours under load ( drawing 5/7 amps ) and as soon as I remove any load (bed time) they recover and in the morning before sun up they read 12.7volts. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news."

    This is what I was expecting with my batteries and solar panels. Even without solars in my prior motorhome I was getting far more use out of my 2 x 110ah batts than what I have now.

    So its definitely a solar panel installation issue, and I agree its not doing my batteries any good longer term. They have been going down more than normal due to darker nights, so less daylight for them to recover...
     
  7. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Funster

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    Well I can not help you any more. Let me know when you buy new batteries.(y)
     
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  8. tonka

    tonka Funster Life Member

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    Hard to help without knowing how its all wired...
    If there is any connection between the new regulator and the Sargent it could throw up all sorts of issues...

    When I looked at doing something similar the advise from Sargent was to have Max 120w connected to their unit via the plug in connection BUT control unit over door needs changing so that solar only did the engine/cab battery...
    Then other panel(s) via a separate regulator and fed direct to leisure battery(s).

    Another factor if you have the coloured control panel is that you can select different amp settings for the charger. May or may not have some bearing on it ..

    http://sargentshop.co.uk/epages/esh...tPath=/Shops/eshop328964/Categories/TechData/"Product%20Information"
     
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  9. themountaintiger

    themountaintiger Read Only Funster

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    That may still need to be done.. ill report back when I find out more..
     
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  10. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Funster

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    I'm 100% sure you will replace them.:whistle:
     
  11. Stealaway

    Stealaway Funster

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    That would flatten my 2 x 110A battery's
    I would need to drive for at least 3 hours to top them back up.
    I think you are over estimating the power the solar panels at this time of year.
    Have you tried isolating the solar from the Sargent and testing it.
    I installed a separate system with an amp meter for my solar to be able to monitor charging amps.
    The most I see from my 250 W panels on my amp meter is 2-3 amps, during the winter.
     
  12. walburga

    walburga Funster

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    I've got 100 watt panel on the roof, and the max I've seen in bright sun over the last few days, at mid-day, is 0.7 amps. Battery volts approx 13 volts.

    Also got a stand alone 60 watt folding panel which was angled at 90 deg to the sun and that was giving me 2.7 amps. Again, Battery voltage approx 13 volts.

    Allen
     
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  13. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Funster

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    13 volts at the battery means that your solar folding or roof mounted is only topping up your batteries and not charging them. So they will after 3/4/5 days without getting a voltage of 14.4 will soon be dead.
     
  14. walburga

    walburga Funster

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    Disagree....after a couple of weeks of no sun, and battery volts being down to 12.5 volts, it was always going to take time for them to rise up to 14 + volts. I measured them probably at mid charge. I'm sure as soon as the sun comes out for a reasonable amount of time the batts will be at 13.8 + volts

    Allen
     
  15. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Funster

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    Ok Allen
     
  16. andy63

    andy63 Funster

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    reading this thread with interest...and trying to understand a bit more about solar..
    from the little ive read so far it sounds like you are trying to make the best of a far from ideal situation, ie connecting two 60w panels and a 150w.. whatever way you choose ie parallel or series or a combination it looks like the panel electrical characteristics will be different and the system will not be as efficient as choosing panels with the same specs...
    this link covers it briefly... http://solarpanelsvenue.com/mixing-solar-panels/
    think id be trying to not use the sargent charge controller either if that's at all possible... ie totally separate installation with dedicated charge controller straight to batteries..
    hope you get sorted
    ta andy
     
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  17. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    Your batteries are knackered too!
     
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  18. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Funster

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    Your wasting your time. I have given up.
     
  19. themountaintiger

    themountaintiger Read Only Funster

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    flatten 2 x 110A batteries? Without solar panels on my prior motorhome I was getting 6-8 hours over 2-3 days.. (avtex 19inch tv)
    I dont believe I am over estimating solar panel usage as again my 2 x 110a batteries were lasting 2-3 days in prior motorhome (no solar panels) and my current set up 2 x 100a batts and 270w of solar is lasting 20hrs.
    On my amps in meter I do see your sort of reading, but sometimes less.
    Re isolating etc I will write these comments down for me to ask installer
     
  20. themountaintiger

    themountaintiger Read Only Funster

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    Listen guys.. thanks for all your comments and I do appreciate your time. the installer is coming round to try and sort out for me so I will report back.. yes even if the batteries are dead..
     
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