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Old 08-31-2017, 11:21 AM   #1
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Continuous Solenoid Battery Bank

Newbie here learning (a lot) as I go: I'm installing a continuous solenoid battery bank. Can I add solar panels and charger to this in the future to charge when the bus is turned off?
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Old 08-31-2017, 01:19 PM   #2
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Newbie here learning (a lot) as I go: I'm installing a continuous solenoid battery bank. Can I add solar panels and charger to this in the future to charge when the bus is turned off?
What is a "continuous solenoid battery bank"? Googling didn't turn anything up.
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Old 08-31-2017, 02:40 PM   #3
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Newbie here learning (a lot) as I go: I'm installing a continuous solenoid battery bank. Can I add solar panels and charger to this in the future to charge when the bus is turned off?
If I can assume that you are installing a battery bank (of some sort - lead-acid, AGM, lithium, etc.) and you are connecting it to your electrical system thru a continuous duty solenoid (so you have the ability to completely disconnect it), the answer is generally yes. You can connect any type of charger (appropriate for the batteries in use) to charge the batteries "thru" that solenoid or on the battery side of that solenoid.
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Old 08-31-2017, 04:14 PM   #4
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Yes i have 2 115ah AGM SLA batteries that I'm going to run off of solenoid......wasnt sure if in the future I could add the MPPT charger or if I had to wire it as a completely separate system. Thanks so much for the response.
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Old 08-31-2017, 04:16 PM   #5
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Old 08-31-2017, 11:23 PM   #6
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I assume your house batteries are true deep-cycle batteries (with an amp/hour rating, unlike start batteries that are rated instead by cranking amps). If so, it's best to not charge them from the engine's alternator. Alternators are intended to quickly charge start batteries back to 100%, and they cannot provide the extended three-stage charging that deep-cycle batteries need for a long life. It's prudent to be able to temporarily connect your house batteries to the starter for emergencies, but that's the only time they should be connected to the alternator. The best ways to charge house batteries are either by solar, preferably with a decent MPPT charge controller, or from a generator or shore power through a proper multi-stage charger. You can use a continuous-duty solenoid to connect house batteries, providing it has sufficient capacity for whatever loads it will carry, or you can use simple manual switches. I use Blue Sea switches for my house batteries, including two for their emergency starter interconnect.

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Old 09-01-2017, 10:51 AM   #7
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This seems to come up quite often. I see no reason to not charge your batteries with the alternator BUT it is not a "set and forget" deal. I prefer a disconnect switch available to decide when i want to charge from alternator or not. If I know I just used 40-50% of my bank and will be driving why not send some of that energy to the battery bank? It works for BULK charging, but will still need the 3 stage from the charger from the inverter/ charger to top off and float charge. If your bank is already at 95% charge and you are going to drive 400 miles, then no use the disconnect switch to prevent the alternator from boiling the dielectric in your batteries. As always, you must use common sense. Some types of batteries can and some cannot run well under these circumstances. NEVER do this with Lithium batteries....they require specific equipment to charge properly. I had a converted ambulance where I ran that type of setup for years. But I am OCD when it comes to battery maintanance.
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Old 09-02-2017, 02:27 PM   #8
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I have to be honest I am completely ignorant when it comes to all this electrical/battery stuff. Im learning as I go, researching online. I have purchased (2) 115ah AGM batteries, 1500/3000 true sine inverter, blue sea on/off switch, 2awg & 10awg wire, (2) in line fuses, and a fuse panel lol I have a pretty good idea on how to put it all together (haven't done it yet just came in the mail 2 days ago) but I have yet to really look into whats next. As I said I don't know anything about batteries just a girl with a dream trying to make it a reality lol. Not sure when to charge, when not to charge, how to tell if the whole thing is working as it should once its together. Any pointers would be greatly appreciated. I plan on purchasing a back up generator as well but not really sure how I would include that into the system. The goal is to eventually integrate solar as well. I've come across different things online that show you how to run them independently but nothing really about how to use them all.
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Old 09-03-2017, 06:56 AM   #9
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Misty, a good battery monitor will help you tremendously. The Trimetric RV-2030 and Victron BMV are good examples. In all cases, a shunt is used at the battery negative terminal to monitor all of the electrons going into/out of the battery bank. This will help you to know the current state of charge (SOC) and monitor what is going on. In my opinion, a good monitor is essential to taking care of your batteries and understanding how your system is operating.

My electrical system is far more than you need but there is a diagram here that shows one way to incorporate shore, generator, and solar. The shore/generator connection can also be done manually, without transfer switches - just a cord that you plug into shore OR generator. Solar is very easy to integrate but worry about that when the time comes.
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Old 09-03-2017, 07:05 AM   #10
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Oh... thinking of the solenoid to charge from alternator...

I assume you have considered your "mission" or style of use. Meaning; do you plan to travel during the day (every day) and then use house battery power at night OR do you plan to camp for weeks at a time and only occasionally travel (run the engine)? If the latter, charging from the alternator will not buy you much of anything (and introduces the complexities mentioned by others).

Adding to the maze of information, a solenoid is not the only way to charge between house and chassis battery. Something like the Smart Battery Combiner from Magnum Energy is another option that provides some 'tunability.'
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