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Old 08-05-2015, 10:06 PM   #111
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Originally Posted by bubb, the real one View Post
IRD


ird13,
the specific gravity test should work,
I would charge the up one day, then at night disconnect the batteries and let them sit disconnected all night, then check their voltage and the specific gravity,
12.6 or 12.7 is a full battery, less means it is getting old, below 12.4 or definately 12.3 and you may want a new battery, best to have identical batteries at least for the long term it is,

check the specific gravity also on each cell and keep notes,

I realize you may have plans for more batteries but you have panel charging capacity that is oversize for your batteries, depending upon how much power you use ever day you may want to disconnect one panel so you dont overcharge the batteries with too many amps,
Thank you for your help. We gave one of the batteries away and discovered a dead cell on the other remaining battery. Since then we have bought an 8D Marine Battery with 210AH as well as the meter for our charge controller. However we are STILL having issues The charge controller meter says at the peak of sunlight we are putting 20amps into the battery, but our battery had never read more than 3/4 full except when we bought it (it came fully charged). We have had NOTHING plugged into the inverter and still cannot get our battery past 3/4 using a float hydrometer. We have actually had so much trouble that we are making a craigslist ad to have someone knowledgable come look at it.

Any other suggestions before we pay someone for this? lol
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Old 08-05-2015, 10:33 PM   #112
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is the specific gravity test saying the batteries are low or is it the charge controller meter that says 3/4 full.
what is the specific gravity reading?
when it is charging and the batteries are bubbling what is the voltage reading at the battery post, is it 14.8v?
if the specific gravity is good, and if it is putting 14.8v when charging and if the batteries are ~12.7v resting then the batteries are full,
the meter may need to be reprogrammed according to the manual, if I understand what you are saying,
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Old 08-05-2015, 10:33 PM   #113
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An inverter turned on, even with nothing plugged into its output, may still consume power (the amount varies). It might even have some drain when it's "off." You could disconnect the inverter input (and any other 12 volt loads, including any on the charge controller's load terminals?) in order to confidently say that there's zero load on the battery.

What about the instruments...? Might the hydrometer be bad? If you charge the battery in some other way, such as your own mains charger or have it charged at an auto parts place, then does the hydrometer indicate full charge? (You mention that "[the new battery] came fully charged" but it isn't clear whether that was tested with this hydrometer or another way.) Maybe use it to test other batteries that one would expect to find charged, such as in a few cars.

Back in #101 it was mentioned that the PV system worked great with one battery, and has trouble ever since the second battery was added. How can we verify that the charge controller was not damaged around the time the second battery was installed? Do you have a reliable DVM to measure the charger controller's output voltage and current to validate that its own measurement is accurate?

It might be to the point where it's worth at least asking the manufacturer about shipping the controller to them to be tested -- whether that's a service they would provide and at what cost.
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Old 08-08-2015, 05:55 PM   #114
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HEy Plasma,
WE are about to start wiring our bus next week, at least stubbing it out so we can finish the interior and all. And I am trying to figure out how many v/A/W whatever I need for everything. I am looking for either a solar fridge, or a electric/gas fridge made for small spaces so hopefully the energy usage wont be ridiculous. The only things that will be on the power is obviously LED lights, vent fans (12v I think), the water pump, the stove/oven is gas, and chargers for cell phones and laptops. I found electric outlets that have two plugs and 2 USB slots which is perfect for phones and tablets...I want ot make sure I have enough volts/watts no matter what, like if i decide to add a lcd tv later or something...What would the best option be for me if money isn't a factor. How many panels/batteries too...
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Old 08-09-2015, 11:11 PM   #115
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If money isn't a factor... then install conduit all over so you have the flexibility to add wires as appropriate later!

The outlets with built-in USB chargers are neat. But consider whether you'll always have the 120 volts on when you want to charge something.. in my case, I'll be running USB-charged things direct from the house batteries rather than from a 120 volt supply. If the house battery bank is 12 volt then it's easy to wire in a socket (or several) for a normal car charger. Power supplies called "dc-dc converters" can be used from any house battery voltage down to 5 volts at as many amps as you want if you want a more built-in feeling or have many USB things to charge simultaneously.

So long as the wiring goes to the places where power is needed, and it's adequately sized (in terms of wire gauge) then you can worry about the watts/amps/amp-hours for the battery bank and inverter later when the loads are better known. The biggest problem might be allocating the right amount of physical space now for a battery bank of unknown capacity.
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Old 08-10-2015, 01:01 AM   #116
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I've seen stock Buses catch fire from shoddy electrical repairs and they speed at which the burn is shocking. No pun intended
Pun well received! I was almost re-volted.........
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Old 08-10-2015, 08:31 AM   #117
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If money was no object--I'd do it the way I did it. Of course, you can always splurge for a nicer set of batteries that are Lithium or some such, and a pure sine wave inverter, but I didn't have the buxx.

1200 Watts of panels into 8 Trojan T105's via a rooftop combiner box and Midnite classic 150 charge controller at 24v. My inverter is a 2400 watt tripplite that can also charge the bank from shore power, and provide 3600watts for up to an hour. DC load center with 175amp breaker on the disconnect and 0000 gauge wiring from the batteries to the load center.

I used 12/3 guage, stranded copper wire inside my bus for all the runs. Plastic outlet boxes, no places for the grounds or wires to touch the frame of the bus.
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Old 08-10-2015, 11:09 AM   #118
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Quote:
Originally Posted by family wagon View Post
The outlets with built-in USB chargers are neat. But consider whether you'll always have the 120 volts on when you want to charge something.. in my case, I'll be running USB-charged things direct from the house batteries rather than from a 120 volt supply. If the house battery bank is 12 volt then it's easy to wire in a socket (or several) for a normal car charger.
I've been having good luck with these:


They can be found all over eBay and Amazon. I didn't like the blue LED on the front, though, so I disconnected it. It was always on when power was applied. As mentioned above, going this route will provide you with USB power all the time, instead of only when the inverter is turned on. Additionally, it seems silly to go from 12vdc->120vac->5vdc to power USB devices.
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Old 08-10-2015, 12:47 PM   #119
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Thanks for showing that, jazty. I hadn't seen those before! Was it difficult to crack open and re-close after "fixing" the blue LED? Did you happen to check the quiescent (no-load/idle) power consumption..?
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Old 08-10-2015, 12:54 PM   #120
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Thanks for showing that, jazty. I hadn't seen those before! Was it difficult to crack open and re-close after "fixing" the blue LED? Did you happen to check the quiescent (no-load/idle) power consumption..?
I have something similar in my car, sitting in the power point. The draw on it is so minor, that my car fires right up even with after sitting with it in (and on) for weeks at a time.
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