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Almot

out there

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Posted: 05/12/19 10:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BFL13 wrote:

Almot the whole idea is to leave it as long as it takes to get down to the .5/100.

So it takes 4 hours on an average-sunny day, from ~7.00 to ~11.00. Might set timer to 4 hours, will see if it helps. Not prepared to disable the timer yet, the very idea of frying the batteries indefinitely at 14.4V doesn't sit well with me.

Edit - correction:
4 hours from the beginning of charging to Abs end. Actual time in Abs is ~2 hours to 0.5A/100AH, if there is any sun. When there is no sun... might get a few minutes in Abs, if even that. There is a daily report on screen, with time spent in Abs. Next day it would catch up. Ah, what the heck, will disable the timer [emoticon]

* This post was edited 05/12/19 11:43pm by Almot *

Almot

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Posted: 05/12/19 11:20pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

MEXICOWANDERER wrote:

Demanding that power be 100% solar reminds me of cruising sailboat skipper who demand every inch of the voyage be done under sail.

IMO, a hyperbole with little relevance. You can't accumulate wind, not without complicated equipment. Solar energy you can.

It boils down to solar harvest (=array size) and consumed energy out. If you keep cycle shallow, you won't need a lot of amps, not very often.

For the OP possible solutions would be getting a less demanding battery brand and (maybe) splitting the bank once in a while. With his loads I would try a smaller bank, 300AH.

pnichols

The Other California

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Posted: 05/12/19 11:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BFL13 wrote:

Phil, just happens there is one for sale locally here. $350 Can is about $262 US.

However, I paid only about 200 more for my new B&S P2200 (1700 cont) gen (on sale), and it can run my 75 amp charger. So no thanks. [emoticon]

https://www.usedvictoria.com/classified-........-EM650-Generator-recent-service_33336540


Not quite the same: The one in your link is an EM650. What I, our RV'ing friends, and my brother have is an EX650.

Take a look at their differences here -> note that the EX650 has a quieter noise level: http://www.tappedin.com/hop/html/litegen.htm

P.S. I also have an EX1000 in pristine condition, but don't bring it along in the motorhome because it's not as quiet.


Phil, 2005 E450 Itasca Spirit 24V

MEXICOWANDERER

las peñas, michoacan, mexico

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Posted: 05/13/19 03:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

First of all Almot needs to take a look at the Lifeline manual.

Second of all using the cruising sailboat analogy is the epitome of relevance

Third of all, when you test a few hundred gel and AGM batteries, let me know. We should find similarities between hybrid and non hybrid types (of the 1990's) Sonnenchein paid if memory serves sixteen thousand dollars in 1989 to test a pallet (60) group 27 batteries.

There are tens of thousands of AGM batteries on the road today operating at or near 14.4 volts. Large J180 foot alternators (Like the Load Handler) do not react to temperature. Set the voltage and it's called in production lingo Flat Compensating.

They CAN NOT BOIL Only liquid batteries, the ones that spill acid when tipped over can LOSE WEIGHT when voltage exceeds 16 volts and that would only pop the vents on a 100+ degree day.

Some folks here think battery maintenance is like making a cake. 20ml of vanilla 1-1/32 pinch of salt. Then they try to micromanage up a perfected recipe of their own design. Leave it to the engineers.

Out of 100 maintenance failures of cycling AGM batteries over 90% are due to undercharging. OVER 90%. I'm the guy they paid to strip down batteries, split the plates and then autopsy them under power of a 10x loupe. I had a Canon camera specially set up with quartz lights to photograph plates and UV tubes and dye to capture damage of positive plates and grids. This is where the EPA forced me to build a special concrete pad with 200 liter spill trough. It was outside. I had to haul plates, jars, and electrolyte to Trojan Battery in Santa Fe Springs CA. Normally they coveted virgin lead, but disassembled they would not pay a cent.

Pnichols the EX650 is not was, the quietest small generator I have ever heard. It tended to clog the muffler at high altitude and it was wise maintenance to change high altitude operated mufflers every couple of years.

When I made a recommendation of getting a very small generator and a Megawatt set to 14.4 volts I was not blasting hot air. The generator RUNS OUT OF FUEL. No wrist watch alarm TV HiFi switch to remember. And the last time I checked generators come to a halt when out of fuel. And the Megawatt does not consume so much as two microamps quiescent because it's finals are MOSFETS. Does this make sense?

SHRED your home made recipe book. Remember the big charger I built ten years ago? Other than for days offline spent moving it has been connected and working. A few weeks total working when the power was off. And last August the 31 Lifeline was capacity tested to 98.5% of brand new. The BORG has been power tested to 95 amps powering a gang of 8 Trojan 8-D batteries for two weeks when the owner's charger died. A wheeled Sears Die Hard 80 amp unit.

The secret if there is a secret is to maintain the Lifeline on the low side of Concords's recommendation and perhaps once a month prong the voltage to 14.4 and see how much time it takes to revert back to .5 amp. if I don't like what I see I'll twang the float by a tenth. Winter's 40 degree temps are more picky about fine tuning than summer's near hundred degree temps.

I hope this helps

JimK-NY

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Posted: 05/13/19 07:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

When I did not know better and had a simple one stage solar controller, I typically had undercharged batteries. I thought the batteries were charged if the controller reached the 13.6v set point. The batteries survived 7 years of that abuse including about half that time in actual daily use and half that time in storage. After 7 years, I replaced the batteries but probably could have just done an equalization.

Now that I have a multistage controller, I am more confused than ever. Recently I traveled alone and rarely used more than about 20 AH overnight. A couple of hours of solar early in the morning should be sufficient. Instead the charging remains at 14.4v and the amperage slowly, slowly drops down. After 4 or more hours of additional charging the amperage is typically still at 3-4 amps instead of 1.5 amps for full charge of my 300 AH battery bank. If I had interruptions such as driving under trees or passing clouds, the charging amps jump upwards and take a long time to drop back to where the amperage was before the interruption. By the time I finally reach a full charge, if ever, I should have had enough solar to replace what I used several times over. I contacted Lifeline but never received a good explanation of what is happening or what is ideal. I was told if I reached 3 amps, I should feel confident that the batteries were essentially fully charged.

campigloo

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Posted: 05/13/19 07:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Screw a hobby of just cruising the country doing stuff like hiking and fishing and viewing amazing scenery. My new hobby is battery charging!

BFL13

Victoria, BC

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Posted: 05/13/19 08:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

JimK , you might already know this, but are you measuring amps to the battery with an ammeter or battery monitor, or are you going by the solar controller's display of amps?

The controller shows amps going to loads as well as any going to the battery. An RV will have maybe a 1 amp load all the time from various things always on. Loads come first with any amps, so you can have all the controller's amps going to loads and none to battery.


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Smitty77

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Posted: 05/13/19 09:42am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Always enjoy reading posts here, a fine cast of 'character's' for sure[emoticon]! (That, was intended as a complement!).

I won't repeat the full story of my opportunity to learn (Burn as you learn! (Or in my case: Burned as I learned!), with my bank of X's 4 L16's Lifeline. Many of the posters in this thread, and a few members of IRV2 too, helped me thru the phases of:
-What the heck happened?
-No, this can't be true?
-What do you mean Smart Chargers, are not all that smart!
-Realization that I was lucky to only have two feet, or more would had been blown off by 'operator error'.
-Ouch, this is going to be expensive!!!

The short of it, is I walked my bank of L16's down by constantly undercharging. My bank was oversized enough for day to day needs, that it was not until they'd walked down quite aways - that I started to see 'Something ain't right!'. (Combo of doing what I thought was the right thing, based upon the info I had at that time. And a willingness to trust the logic programmed in by the engineers on my specific Smart Charger...). End result, with good tech support from Magnum and Lifeline (And sanity checks and pearls of wisdom from here and IRV2.) - it was determined the bank were shot at about 5 1/2 years. Lifeline made me an offer I could not refuse, and showed the character of the company in doing so, and I replaced the bank with exact duplicate!!

OP - You have what you have. And it does sound like you have not damaged them beyond reasonable recovery. Lifeline calls equalizing - conditioning. So I'd agree with earlier input to get your battery bank back up to where it is truly fully charged. Take out and take home and use a stand alone old fashion charger if needed. Get them to fully charged, then run a full Conditioning run on them, to shake off any sulfation build up.

You already have your solar panels. Sure you might be able to add more. But I also agree with the input here, to not give up on the bank of batteries you have, and or your desire to go use your rig. Do watch Craigslist for a good buy on a smaller generator. Honda, Yamaha - whatever.
Do get yourself one more good quality purchase of a stand alone charger, the one MW recommends is fine. And yep, do run it. If maybe not a night, and you have some good sunshine, perhaps get a good bulk/absorb charge into the battery in the AM - and see if the solar can top things off. If not, then hit the bank again in the evening. (Many people seem to due so when running AC to cool things off in hotter climates, or to say cook and use a microwave.).

Do make it habit of investing the costs of fuel, to run that generator enough to get back to fully charged on a periodic basis. The 3 days to as high as you can get it, and then the 4th day to fully charged - would be for sure better then what you have been doing[emoticon]!

------

Going back to me, and what I've done differently. I've reset the Magnum MS2812 parameters to the best options I can, based upon software limitations. (Both for usage while out and about in the RV, and also for while in storage and 'maintaining' mode.). I've also tuned my MidNite Classic 150 Controller, and have enabled the WhzBngJr module's capability to end charge based upon Finishing Amps.

The changes to the MS2812 and Classic 150 have been working well so far.

But the final change I made to my maintenance of the new bank, is to 'goose' the bank every 4-6 weeks (Depending upon usage. If going park to park and not really drawing down on the house bank. I do this every 4 weeks. If boon docking and 'cycling' the battery bank, I move it out to 6 weeks.) I run a conditioning cycle.

MW mentioned the 90% of premature failure of AGM's, is due to consistent undercharged conditions. This a common theme of my research from 'How the heck did I ruing my bank!'. On a combo of RV/Boating/Offgrid homes/cabins forums. I've also read many threads about a certain poster here, who has kept his Northstar AGM (Thin plates, as I recall[emoticon]!) healthy and supportive of his usage - much longer then is the norm of most of mere mortals....

Lithiums? Sure, in the future (As much for reduction of weight, as in the ability to not fully charge.). Probably Drop In's, but who knows, may go with a custom cell by cell built bank that fits the eventual space I determine will be utilized. (If Drop In's. Will go in the existing basement, which will be well insulated and protected from cold, and have already determined how I can install a few pancake fans to push/pull Air Conditioned air from inside of the coaches rear bedroom. If not drop in's, will face the wrath of the DW, and place them under out bed, and out of the way of the rear slide out mechanism. But, this is directly over the engine, and heat gain is a reality - that mid size block of diesel engine, heat mass does take along time to cool down. So, not sure yet where or what I'll install.) But I'm hoping this is another 5-7 years away. Things are consistently evolving on the Lithium world, some price drops too - so we'll see what is going on when the time comes!

I wish you good luck on your bank, and have some fun too! Best to you, and all,
Smitty

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las peñas, michoacan, mexico

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Posted: 05/13/19 10:28am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

JimK-NY

Discharging as you wrote perhaps 20% then recharging to 95% 7 years is good juju. Topping off every few weeks would have most likely bought you a couple more years of service life but it means hauling a tiny generator, a charger around and frankly to you would that have been worth it? You would have fared no better with wet batteries without doing periodic equalization's. And this is better? Your 7 years would have ended up like 3 years or maybe a bit less.

It's when batteries are discharged to 50% capacity that lifespan and charging are gravely impacted and percentages and voltages are more tender. IMHO only a wet Rolls battery would have gone seven years in comparison. Maybe a bit less if you decided to never equalize them.

I spend less than less than one minute twice a week monitoring my wet cells. Once a month I dip the weak sister cell to see how far it has drifted down from 1.260. Floating after I dip the weak sister cell, I top off running one hour at 14.7 volts. temperature compensated usually around 14.45 volts.

When I wanted to get way from it all..............................whtzuh battery horsepacking. Nothing to do but fish and prepare gourmet meals 30 miles from the nearest road. Trout, rainbow, brook, german brown, cutthroat and paiute cutthroa t and golden trout I went after them all.

Like campfires ya gotta either chop wood or buy a bundle for 10 bucks at a hardware store. Or, go around kicking out and gathering pine knots.

Lemmee look. Ah yes 13.34 float voltage from the BORG into the Lifeline. Good enough for me. Stretch the arm. Twist the dial. .8 amps at 14.4 volts and immediate decay down to .5 ampere. God this is killing me. I'd rather be sitting in a lounge chair watching golf?

Using 100% solar I have a sure cure. Camping above the Arctic Circle in summer. 24 hour sunlight. Look ma no generator.

JimK-NY

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Posted: 05/13/19 10:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BFL13 wrote:

JimK , you might already know this, but are you measuring amps to the battery with an ammeter or battery monitor, or are you going by the solar controller's display of amps?

The controller shows amps going to loads as well as any going to the battery. An RV will have maybe a 1 amp load all the time from various things always on. Loads come first with any amps, so you can have all the controller's amps going to loads and none to battery.

I have a compressor refrigerator so obviously that has to be off to determine the amps going into charging the batteries. I have no idea where you are losing 1 amp of current for "various things". Three or four LED light fixtures would pull an amp. I measure with the lights off as well. The radio is also off. There is only one other power drain and that is the propane leak detector at somewhere about 0.1 amp. I do not know if the refrigerator circuit board pulls any power. If so, it is too low to detect with my equipment and circuit detector.

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