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Open Roads Forum  >  Class C Motorhomes

 > Budget charge controller advice for AGM batteries

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vbnjay

Arizona

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Posted: 03/16/12 03:11pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hey all,
I posted a question (with my old account) and got a lot of good information from you all here:

Old closed thread

Thank you for the input!

In the next few months, I will be installing the solar panels and I am looking for thoughts on a charge controller.

A little History:

Class C RV lives in Maine, gets used 1-2 weeks a month from April until October.
Not "full" or even 1/4 timing in this coach each year.

From Oct to April the coach sits in the cold and possible snow for the winter.

Has shore power connected 80% of the time it is out camping.
Batteries are a pair of AGMs, (205 min of reserve capacity each).

Would have two 40w panels on the roof with possible upgrade to another 100W of solar in the future. (I am looking for some wiggle room in the controller for expansion)

So for now, 80w of PV with the possibility of going up to 200W.

I was thinking a 20 amp controller would be ok, (or even a 15 amp for the two 40W panels at this point).

What do you all recommend for a change controller?

Fancy displays are nice, but not needed.
I am looking for a "budget basic" unit, that I can leave alone, let it do its thing, and not worry about it.

If I get more PV in the future, I could upgrade (if needed) at that point.

Any suggestions for the new (small) solar user?

Thanks
- Jay


27' Four Winds 5000
300w solar, Sunsaver duo, 2 AGM batteries
Hf/VHF + APRS

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 03/16/12 03:14pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi,

Instead of worrying about the price look for a controller that can treat the AGM batteries "right".

So find out what the maker of the AGM batteries wants for a charging voltage--and find a controller that allows that to be chosen.


Regards, Don
Full Time in a Kustom Koach Class C 28'5", 256 watts Unisolar, 875 amp hours in two battery banks 12 volt batteries, Magnum 3000 watt PSW inverter.

Sailbad

Bernardo, New Mexico or Quartzsite

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Posted: 03/17/12 09:57am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

pianotuna wrote:

Hi,

Instead of worrying about the price look for a controller that can treat the AGM batteries "right".

So find out what the maker of the AGM batteries wants for a charging voltage--and find a controller that allows that to be chosen.


THAT is the correct answer!


Dave C.
2005 Silverado 2500 CC
Duramax 6.6 3.73 V-2
2003 Wildcat 27RL
B&W with Companion
Prodigy

Keep Your Powder Dry....This Ain't Gonna Be Fun


harold1946

Surprise Arizona

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Posted: 03/17/12 10:14am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

With AGM batteries its not an issue. They will accept much higher charge rates than wet cell. I have 3- 210 watt panels charging 2- 245 AH batteries and the starting battery for the genny.
The sunsaver Duo has dip switches to control the percentage of power being supplied to each circuit.

* This post was edited 03/17/12 10:41am by harold1946 *


Harold and Linda
2009 CT Coachworks siena 35V
W-22 Workhorse 8.1L
Explorer toad

harold1946

Surprise Arizona

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Posted: 03/16/12 04:12pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The Morningstar is what was recomeneded by AM Solar. I have 2-245 AH AGM batteries and it does an exelent job.
I have three 210 watt panels and will be adding another.
Prices range from $78 to $148 their 20amp controllers.

* This post was edited 03/17/12 10:40am by harold1946 *

vbnjay

Arizona

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Posted: 03/17/12 02:37pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

harold1946 wrote:

With AGM batteries its not an issue. They will accept much higher charge rates than wet cell. I have 3- 210 watt panels charging 2- 245 AH batteries and the starting battery for the genny.
The sunsaver Duo has dip switches to control the percentage of power being supplied to each circuit.


I was looking at the Sunsaver Duo, seems like it will fit my needs and throw a small amount of charge to the engine battery as well. Nice price too!

crasster

Dallas

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Posted: 07/28/12 05:14pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

vbnjay wrote:

A great way to start the day.

Throw a desktop fan on medium speed connected to a 300W inverter.
sit it on the kitchen table,(as I work on other projects) and see that even in the early morning sun, the trimetric still says I am drawing in more amps from the panels that I am putting out to power the fan and the inverter.

AWESOME!


This is a good feeling. We have some solar panels on our home, and we grid tie them. It is wonderful when we see them putting out more power than we are taking in.


4 whopping cylinders on Toyota RV's. Talk about great getting good MPG. Also I have a very light foot on the pedal. I followed some MPG advice on Livingpress.com and I now get 22 MPG! Not bad for a home on wheels.


vbnjay

Arizona

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Posted: 07/28/12 05:34pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Crasster,
Yeah, it was a fun experiment. This was about 8 am in AZ, with cloudy conditions, and still was able to net about .5 amps above what I was using.
Very cool.

vbnjay

Arizona

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Posted: 07/24/12 10:11pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Got the Sunsaver duo installed today hour in Glendale,AZ. The charger is split, 10% charge to the starting battery, 90% to the coach batteries. 300w of solar now on the roof, 3 80w panels (used) I scored at 80 bucks per panel, and the two 30w panels I already had. Trimetric 2025rv tells me everything's need to know.

Happy days ahead!

vbnjay

Arizona

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Joined: 03/31/2011

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Posted: 07/28/12 05:06pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A great way to start the day.

Throw a desktop fan on medium speed connected to a 300W inverter.
sit it on the kitchen table,(as I work on other projects) and see that even in the early morning sun, the trimetric still says I am drawing in more amps from the panels that I am putting out to power the fan and the inverter.

AWESOME!

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