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Old 07-05-2012, 11:00 AM   #31
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Re: Charging at home question

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Originally Posted by Scalf77
I guess this would be a general question to people with Solar, when you are running and charging off of the alternator, do you still have solar charging battery also?
I do.

When driving down the road, alternator is charging, solar is charging and sometimes the separator connects both sides together. I don't see a problem with that.

Mike
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Old 07-05-2012, 02:00 PM   #32
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Re: Charging at home question

Same here. My solar controller will quickly jump into the float mode when the alternator is running. Before I installed a high amp alternator it took longer before the controller switched to float and if the Starcool was running it never reached float.
Now if I want to keep from charging the house bank with my alternator, all I have to do is hit a switch to separate the batteries.
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Old 07-05-2012, 03:27 PM   #33
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Re: Charging at home question

Mike, Dave,

Thanks for the input.
I am thinking of doing a solar install and wondered if this was something I needed to account for. I could see where multiple charging sources could be a problem. Since posting this question I did read a couple of charge controller data sheets and see that they usually disable the output if they see a voltage higher then what their expected set point is, assuming that there is a secondary charge source.

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Old 07-12-2012, 03:20 PM   #34
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Re: Charging at home question

I have 2 batteries and for the past year if I haven't been on a long drive I plug it in once a week for about 12 hours. It's usually about 12.25 when I plug it in and after 11 or 12 hours it takes a week for it to get back down to that point if I haven't driven it during that time. I ALWAYS make sure the 110 is switched off before I plug it in and before I unplug it. It might last longer, but I leave the 12v on so the detectors work although I unplugged the TV so there is no power draw from it. I did this after reading about batteries in an RV handbook so I hope it applies to AGM batteries too. The time period was worked out through trial and error of what took it to get it to a fully charged state, but I'll probably check with Nancy about it to see what they recommend.
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Old 07-12-2012, 05:52 PM   #35
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Re: Charging at home question

Some types of batteries will form a memory so it's best to take them from full charge to a specified lower state, many time that value is 20 %.

Not so with AGM's. AGM's seem to be more affected by letting them sit (for long periods of time) at below 50% state of charge which is around 12.2 volts. That will kill an AGM faster than anything else other than taking it to a complete total discharged state. But AGM's as well as other batteries are affected by the cycle rate. Each time you take it through a cycle whether it's a full cycle or part cycle, that discharge pulls a bit of the batteries life out of it. It's best to keep a full float charge on the battery 24-7 rather than cycling the battery when not needed.

This thread Part 10 is a few years old but about 1/2 way down discusses batteries and has a good link to Northern Arizona sun and wind. Its one of the best links to information on batteries but there are also a few others worth looking at.

Nobody wants to kill their batteries faster than needed.

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Old 08-26-2012, 06:47 AM   #36
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Re: Charging at home question

clarify something please.
with 130 watt solar panel on roof, I have not plugged in for a year. In your opinions, should I be plugging in on some regular basis anyway?
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Old 08-26-2012, 11:31 AM   #37
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Re: Charging at home question

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clarify something please.
with 130 watt solar panel on roof, I have not plugged in for a year. In your opinions, should I be plugging in on some regular basis anyway?
Since I installed my solar panel, I have not plugged in for 6 years. The panel keeps everything topped up.

Mike
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Old 08-26-2012, 11:34 AM   #38
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Re: Charging at home question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl
clarify something please.
with 130 watt solar panel on roof, I have not plugged in for a year. In your opinions, should I be plugging in on some regular basis anyway?
Just as long as you are not parked inside a garage.
The only time I ever plug in is just before I set out on a trip and am loading up the refrigerator.
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Old 08-26-2012, 11:56 AM   #39
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Re: Charging at home question

My rig has a 4D AGM and 130w. of panels on top through a Blue Sky controller. It's 5 years old now and I've plugged into house current only 2-3 times. I admit I'm a weenie when it comes to fully understanding the electrical systems. With regular driving and constant solar charging, my house battery aways reached 14.00 volts with no load. For the last couple of years it topped at maybe 13 or more on average and recently a bit less. Then I plugged in overnight before a trip and it seems to have renewed my limit, showing 14v. again, though it didn't reach that high point again after a few days. Apparently line charging the batteries is more effective than the alternator/passive solar setup.

I have no idea if this information is of any value to anyone.
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Old 08-26-2012, 03:06 PM   #40
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Re: Charging at home question

Just remember if you have something on in the van that draws DC current, you'll be cycling your batteries down which can shorten their life. That all depends on what the draw is and how low you take the batteries down at night. I frequently leave my refrigerator on at night so I plug in to supply AC to it. When it's off there is almost no draw at all and I don't worry. I almost never charge while plugged in...only if the batteries need it.
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