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Old 06-27-2018, 12:04 PM   #1
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Couple questions about batteries/solar

I recently bought a travel trailer that has built in solar and 2 house batteries. The batteries weren't holding a good charge even with the solar so I pulled them out and put them on a charger. One of the batteries charged up fine, but the other came back with a weak cell. I'm guessing the bad battery was working the good battery so that's why it wouldn't hold a good charge. Both of the batteries are identical and have an 11/14 sticker on it which I'm assuming is the manufacture date. I'm wondering if I should just replace both batteries or if it would be ok to replace just the bad one. They're Interstate, wet cell, deep cycle batteries so nothing special.

The other question I have is... The trailer has built in solar with controller. In direct sun, it registers a little over 8 amps. I'm guessing its a 200w panel (just one), but I'm not sure. I have a portable solar panel with controller that I used on my tent trailer. I'm wondering if I can still use the portable unit on these batteries to give it an extra boost. My logic tells me it should be ok, but I wanted to confirm with someone with more experience.
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Old 06-27-2018, 08:59 PM   #2
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With a solar system there's no guessing, it's all about arithmetics.
Grab all the actual info and one of us here should be able to lead you in the right direction.
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Old 06-27-2018, 10:05 PM   #3
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I had a similar battery situation when I got my van. Decided to replace both so that there was no question about their condition. The originals were a no name deep cycle wet cells and I replaced them with the same type from Trojan. Some people say that when you have two batteries connected to the same charger they work better and last longer if they are both changed out at the same time.
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Old 06-28-2018, 09:20 AM   #4
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Banking different solar panels together can have a negative effect if the panels aren't compatible. You'd have to check the specs of each panel. As far as the batteries, in most cases it's usually best to replace both. For me it would hinge on the age and cost of the batteries. If the batteries are already 4 years old, I'd just replace both especially since they're just standard wet cell types. I'd also suggest Trojan wet cell or rid yourself of the wet cells all together and go with a couple AGM's. I think Trojan is offering AGM's now but they might be higher priced.
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Old 06-28-2018, 09:30 AM   #5
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Thanks guys, I think I'll just replace both batteries.

Just to clarify with the solar, I'm not trying to link the portable panel to the mounted panel and controller. Each system is its own complete system, I'm just wondering if I can connect the portable unit to the batteries to add additional charge.
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Old 06-28-2018, 11:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikracer View Post
Thanks guys, I think I'll just replace both batteries.

Just to clarify with the solar, I'm not trying to link the portable panel to the mounted panel and controller. Each system is its own complete system, I'm just wondering if I can connect the portable unit to the batteries to add additional charge.

8A X 12V=96W....so perhaps a 140W panel. There should be a sticker on the back of the panel.


You can certainly use both solar setups to charge if you want, and you could also wire the portable panels into the existing controller assuming that their specs are similar and you don't exceed the wattage rating of the controller.


As DaveB mentioned, it's not optimal to mix panels, although I've got a 120W kyocera polycrystalline panel in parallel with a pair of 100W renogy mono crystalline panels, so 320W total going to a single 30A PWM controller. The slight mismatch is likely decreasing my efficiency a little but my amps in direct sunlight has gone up significantly compared to just the 120W panel.


Post up the specs (or just post pics of the labels on the back of the panels) for the panels and controller; that would shed additonal light on your setup.
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