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 > Your search for posts made by 'pianotuna' found 3337 matches.

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RE: Opinions on my battery charging profile (solar)

Hi, You don't mention an equalize "session". I believe Trojan suggests 15.5 volts for that. Perhaps consider doing so once a month? Nice choice of charge controller. I'm surprized that you only see 15 amps from 280 watts.
pianotuna 11/25/14 12:53pm Tech Issues
RE: Should I Change My WFCO Converter?

Hi Mike, I don't know where you are headed. However this site may help you find inexpensive and free campgrounds. I would not bother with anything other than the extra charger you already own given the time frame before the trip. Just spend 48 hours in a (sometimes free) shore power situation once every two weeks. You have the generator, so use it. http://www.bestconverter.com/assets/images/charge_wiz_curve.gif width=450 The "normal" line on this graph is at 13.6 volts which is exactly what may be expected from the existing converter.
pianotuna 11/25/14 12:41pm Tech Issues
RE: I'm guessing an A/B/Both battery selector sw is okay?

Hi Mr Wizard, Then, why is he talking about powering an inverter from a battery bank?
pianotuna 11/25/14 11:43am Tech Issues
RE: Any free parking in Sidney BC ?

Hi, http://freecampsites.net/#!sidney,%20bc We are catching the Sidney to Anacortes Ferry in a couple of weeks. Just wondering if there is anywhere to park over night that's free. There's no Walmart near there and I'm too cheap to pay for a place to sleep.
pianotuna 11/25/14 11:39am Snowbirds
RE: I'm guessing an A/B/Both battery selector sw is okay?

Hi, I used two perko switches That way I can power the inverter from either bank, or both. Cost is $7 from Napa Auto.
pianotuna 11/25/14 11:35am Tech Issues
RE: Should I Change My WFCO Converter?

Hi Mike, How long are your RV trips in off the grid land? I would NOT worry about equalizing on the generator. That eliminates the need for 15.5 volts. Very few folks would consider equalizing on a generator power source--again with the exception being "opportunity" charging while running an air conditioner. Personally if I need the air conditioner for more than an hour or so I start looking for a shore power site.
pianotuna 11/25/14 11:32am Tech Issues
RE: Winter Camping skills/ideas

Hi, Window, vent, and skylight covers made from Insulbright.
pianotuna 11/25/14 10:41am General RVing Issues
RE: Trickle Charge 2 12v batts in parallel question???

Hi Matt, Six volt batteries in series would not come close to meeting my needs. One size does NOT fit all. For example: If an RV'er usually is on shore power, a single maintenance free battery may be the best choice for them. If an RV'er is off the grid and deep cycles then a Lithium Ion battery bank is "as good as it gets" and is state of the art. My 12 volt marine batteries are in two banks. One bank is 10 years old and the other is 5. They continue to more than meet my needs. I push them hard with large loads on the inverter. My ultimate battery bank would not be LI as I RV in -30 temperatures. I'd love to have six large two volt cells totaling 800 amp-hours, but can not afford the remodeling that would be required. Nor can I afford the cost of the cells. Three different needs for three different RV styles.
pianotuna 11/25/14 10:37am Beginning RVing
RE: Should I Change My WFCO Converter?

Hi jrnymn, http://www.harborfreight.com/240200-amp-612v-manual-wheel-charger-with-start-62292.html It is on the large side. I'm fortunate enough to have a Vector which I've only used a very few times.
pianotuna 11/25/14 10:29am Tech Issues
RE: Parking in Calgary

Hi, Daytime parking in Calgary is not much of an issue as far as security goes. If you are not staying overnight, any of the Walmart or shopping centers can accommodate the RV. Just find one near to where you plan on visiting. At least two casino's allow overnight parking.
pianotuna 11/25/14 10:10am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Inverter/Alternator Question

Hi, You should be able to power small loads literally forever if the alternator is charging the house battery bank. Here are some things to consider: There is an isolator of some kind between the alternator and the "house" battery bank. The contacts might be burned. There is a fuse in that circuit before the isolator. It may be blown. If the alternator does the "whole house" and is after market and does not utilize a transfer switch, it may be powering the "converter" which can deplete the battery bank rather quickly.
pianotuna 11/25/14 10:07am Class A Motorhomes
RE: Should I Change My WFCO Converter?

Hi, Mike only has 232 amp-hours of batteries. Add a "dumb" charger from Harbor Freight. 2 to 3 hours of generator time will get him to 90%. Again, myself I'd to solar and forget about running a generator. He is NOT full timing. Mike what is a long RV trip for you in terms of days off the grid?
pianotuna 11/25/14 09:56am Tech Issues
RE: Roll Up Solar Panels / Ogre MPPT Controller

Hi, Here is a great article on panel efficiency and what to choose: Which solar panels are most efficient
pianotuna 11/25/14 09:46am Tech Issues
RE: Should I Change My WFCO Converter?

Hi Mike, So use two of them. It really depends on the size of the battery bank. A scenario: 232 amp-hours of battery bank taken down by 116 amp-hours. (50%) How many hours to get back to 85% of charge? (at 85% acceptance rate is only going to be 34 amps max). 197.2 - 116 = 81.2 amps that can be replaced at a high current 81.2 /38 = 2.13 hours of run time. Likely 3 hours would get you to 90%. As it probably takes 3 to 4 hours more run time to get from 90% to nearly 100%, no one in their right mind would deliberately run the generator to do so. Opportunity charging (i.e. while running the air conditioner) is another matter altogether. I'm not sure that doubling up on the amps is going to be worth the extra trouble of connecting two Megawatt units. I spent 4 years maintaining 875 amp-hours with a 40 amp PD converter to which I added a wizard. I never EVER saw the converter maxing out to 40 amps. Most of my charging was done with solar. Now I tend to use the magnum inverter/charger. I have seen it do 125 amps @ 15.5 volts in cold weather. (-15 c, 5 F). It doesn't stay at that rate long because my battery bank is getting old and tired (4 @ 10 years old, and 3 @ 5 years old). Megawatt makes one that will do 15.5 and costs only $60 but it's only 38 amps. Since about half of my time camping I'm off the grid and have to recharge with a generator I doubt that anything around 38 amps is adequate, but could well be wrong. Mike
pianotuna 11/25/14 09:01am Tech Issues
RE: Roll Up Solar Panels / Ogre MPPT Controller

Hi Phil, There are some panels that have more than one layer of material that output 27% of the energy hitting them vs the 17 to 20% that "regular" panels do. Unfortunately they won't be under $1 per watt. Do you have any further knowledge of the "solar magic" and how it works? On a long run I'd go for the maximum voltage that the MPPT would accept. However that does mean that efficiency at the controller drops. Some panels have diodes between each and every cell. Those do the best output in shade conditions, but of course avoiding shade is always better. Hmmmm ... if one was to have an even numbered quantity of solar panels, how about compromising for best average performance by making half of them mono and half of them poly? Now for the tough question: Assuming you want to spend the money for a high enough input voltage spec'd MPPT - what would be best for a couple of portable panels that could wind up being up to 50 feet from the batteries -> put the two panels in parallel or put the two panels in series? (Also, I believe that the SolarMagic technology I mentioned earlier helps reduce the effects of partial shading.)
pianotuna 11/25/14 08:44am Tech Issues
RE: Roll Up Solar Panels / Ogre MPPT Controller

Hi Phil, I'd love to know more about the solar magic system and the technology they use. What solar is best at is getting from 85% to 100% state of charge. Flooded batteries have an acceptance rate of only 12.5 amps above 85% state of charge. Therefore, there is not much point in doing more than about 150 watts per 100 amp-hours of battery bank. The exceptions are: A. that folks who full time ought really to max out their solar harvest. B. that folks who camp in December need all the solar they can cram on the roof. A and B MPPT makes sense, because running a generator is ALWAYS more expensive than solar. It is thought that poly panels do better in poor light conditions than Mono. If I do change my system, it will not be to Mono, but it will be continuing on with a "top drawer" MPPT. I'm not so concerned with what is good enough. I'm more interested in what the optimum is - for maybe only a few dollars more. Solar is inefficient enough without making it worse trying to save a few bucks, IMHO. Remember that with portable panels, if you want you can walk up to them and tweak them towards the sun from sunrise to sunset way better than can be done with roof mounted ones. I think that harvesting max energy from early morning to sunset as best you can requires a MPPT controller - from what I've learned.
pianotuna 11/24/14 10:45pm Tech Issues
RE: Roll Up Solar Panels / Ogre MPPT Controller

Hi Phil, Some folks put the gains from MPPT to be as low as 8% more than a PWM system. What is most important, where I live, is temperature compensated charging. So a "cheap" PWM may not be desirable. MPPT makes sense when you want more watts out of a system with no room to add more panels. It also made sense when panels were $5.50 per watt, not the $0.76 cents per watt prices we are seeing now. It is probably true that higher voltage panels are cheaper per watt than nominal 12 volt (really 17 volt) panels. If someone would come out with an inexpensive fully featured MPPT controller then it would be quite special.
pianotuna 11/24/14 06:19pm Tech Issues
RE: Should I Change My WFCO Converter?

Hi, You only need the 60 amp True Charger if planning to recharge with a generator. For shore power 40 amps will be fine. Or take BFL's sage advice and add a vector charger to your arsenal. I'd prefer to see your hard earned dollars put into a solar system. A good Solar charge controller will be more flexible than the True Charger, and probably cheaper, too! He also confirmed the commonly held belief on this forum that oem converters outputs do not meet Trojan's recommendations and won't do an adequate job in maintaining or equalizing their batteries (there goes my WFCO!). When asked if he had a recommendation for an after market converter that would do the job he said "the Xantrex Truecharge 2." Researching the Xantrex online for the first time I found it charges at 14.2 to 15.5 volts, floats at 13.4 to 13.8, and equalizes at 16, confirming what the agent said. The Xantrex Truecharge 2 is very expensive, the cheapest I could find on Amazon being $293 for the 40 amp and $480 for the 60 amp. Since my WFCO is 55 amps I suppose I need the 60 amp? If anyone has any suggestions for any other converter that will charge at 14.8 and equalize at 15.5, please let me know. I realize that some may disagree with Trojan's recommendations but since they manufacture the batteries I feel I should follow those recommendations. Thank you all for your help and advice, I really appreciate it and learned a lot from this thread. This forum is a fountain of knowledge on RV electrical issues. Mike
pianotuna 11/24/14 04:42pm Tech Issues
RE: Roll Up Solar Panels / Ogre MPPT Controller

Hi Mex, Sunelec still has the 136 watt Uni-solar flexible panels. $76 for 136 watts
pianotuna 11/24/14 11:23am Tech Issues
RE: Trickle Charge 2 12v batts in parallel question???

This is what is balanced and best for twin twelve volt batteries. http://www.rubyorchid.com/RV/images/Pianotuna12V.png As it often doesn't cost a dime more to do this, I think it is worth the trouble. If you wish to understand the "why" surf here: correctly interconnecting multiple twelve volt batteries Others may say it doesn't matter--but unless there is a compelling reason to not optimize charging and discharging why not do it the best possible way?
pianotuna 11/24/14 11:01am Beginning RVing
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