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Old 08-24-2017, 06:07 PM   #21
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I would agree with Chance, it really will only save you an hour, maybe up to 3 hours of generator time, depending on your typical amp-hour usage.

Even on a good day with our panels mounted flat, it seems that the solar controller was always in "float" mode, constantly charging. The batteries never get 100 percent charged.

We have a fairly high usage (satellite dish, Xbox, TV, 2 access points, phone and laptop chargers, etc.) so we simply wanted to extend what we could after dark when most places have quiet time (no generators running.)

The goal is to not be awakened by the inverter alarm or the AGS kicking in because the batteries got too low. So far, so good...
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Old 08-24-2017, 06:15 PM   #22
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thanks for some solar feedback,



I do not have a shoremax setting on my Hurricane. Unless it is hidden away somewhere. I have the Magnum AGS documentation and it mentions nothing of this setting. Perhaps it is on some higher end converter, or on my converter that I have not seen.
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Old 08-24-2017, 06:17 PM   #23
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We found with 400 watts, 5 12 volt wet batteries, flat mounted on the roof and with not the most expensive controller, that if we're in a spot with decent sun exposure, and if we shut off the inverter at bedtime so as not to run the residential fridge all night, we need about 2-3 hours of generator time for a weekend.

The panels will charge the batteries all day but not enough for a full charge. When I upgrade to a DP I'll go up to 500 watts with a better controller and 6 volt batteries...
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Old 08-24-2017, 06:22 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by doubravsky View Post
We found with 400 watts, 5 12 volt wet batteries, flat mounted on the roof and with not the most expensive controller, that if we're in a spot with decent sun exposure, and if we shut off the inverter at bedtime so as not to run the residential fridge all night, we need about 2-3 hours of generator time for a weekend.

The panels will charge the batteries all day but not enough for a full charge. When I upgrade to a DP I'll go up to 500 watts with a better controller and 6 volt batteries...
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Old 08-24-2017, 11:04 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by doubravsky View Post
We found with 400 watts, 5 12 volt wet batteries, flat mounted on the roof and with not the most expensive controller, that if we're in a spot with decent sun exposure, and if we shut off the inverter at bedtime so as not to run the residential fridge all night, we need about 2-3 hours of generator time for a weekend.

The panels will charge the batteries all day but not enough for a full charge. When I upgrade to a DP I'll go up to 500 watts with a better controller and 6 volt batteries...
Did you mount the panels up there permanently, or are they removable?
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Old 08-24-2017, 11:17 PM   #26
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I do not have a shoremax setting on my Hurricane. Unless it is hidden away somewhere. I have the Magnum AGS documentation and it mentions nothing of this setting. Perhaps it is on some higher end converter, or on my converter that I have not seen.
not sure what model Magnum inverter you have, or the Magnum readout panel, if you have one... it generally has a SHORE MAX button along the bottom with the others. it's not necessarily part of the AGS, itself, but is integrated within the inverter, so that the owner can decide how much amperage to allow to the Charger, depending on the amount of incoming power.
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Old 08-24-2017, 11:37 PM   #27
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Ours are permanently mounted. I thought about the swivel mounts to be able to point them at the sun angle, but I didn't want to be going up and down the ladder on a regular basis....
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Old 08-25-2017, 12:07 AM   #28
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We dry camp on average about 10 weeks each winter. The first year I tried with 2 ea 6 volt batteries. That was bad!! Checked the specific gravity - bad cells. So we upgraded to 4 Trojan 105, 6 volt batteries.

Then I learned a bit more about what it takes to charge 4 - 6 volt batteries. On the generator it takes about 5 hours to bring the battery bank back up to full charge.

Also, figured out the ice maker needs to be off. With a full charge, we can turn off generator at 11:00PM, run my CPAP all night and watch satellite TV for an hour or so. Easily make it through the night - generally can get 10 hours with all the stuff running as mentioned. With just the Whirlpool refrig on, I've gotten up to 14 hours.

The keys for us were solid batteries, with all good cells and fully charged. Installed a Pro-Fill battery water system to keep batteries topped of easily and routinely. With 10 weeks dry camping gotta make sure you got the juice for quiet time.
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Old 08-25-2017, 01:30 AM   #29
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Did you mount the panels up there permanently, or are they removable?
Ours are permanently mounted on Z brackets. Also didn't want to keep going up and down the ladder all of the time to adjust them.
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Old 08-25-2017, 01:46 AM   #30
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WOW!! Lots of good info guys!! Thank you...Thank you!!
Turnerfarm... I don't think the charger was on, for whatever reason. Voltage didn't budge from 12.0 for an hour. "shrug"
I decided to "get-after-it" on the battery tray. I cut out a small triangle piece of the gusset that was crushing the Flex conduit I mentioned. Then, was able to raise the conduitit above the batteries & tray assy to zip-tie it in place. I also cut & re-routed wiring for a light in a small compartment forward of the batteries. There was also a small wiring bundle for the AGS controller, but didn't want to mess with that one too much. I was able to tuck it tightly into the corner of the battery tray. I called that good for the day and had some lunch, then called 5- 6 places looking for 2 more Interstate GC2's. Costco had them for $83 ea. Successful day.
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Old 08-25-2017, 01:51 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by bigben View Post
We dry camp on average about 10 weeks each winter. The first year I tried with 2 ea 6 volt batteries. That was bad!! Checked the specific gravity - bad cells. So we upgraded to 4 Trojan 105, 6 volt batteries.

Then I learned a bit more about what it takes to charge 4 - 6 volt batteries. On the generator it takes about 5 hours to bring the battery bank back up to full charge.

Also, figured out the ice maker needs to be off. With a full charge, we can turn off generator at 11:00PM, run my CPAP all night and watch satellite TV for an hour or so. Easily make it through the night - generally can get 10 hours with all the stuff running as mentioned. With just the Whirlpool refrig on, I've gotten up to 14 hours.

The keys for us were solid batteries, with all good cells and fully charged. Installed a Pro-Fill battery water system to keep batteries topped of easily and routinely. With 10 weeks dry camping gotta make sure you got the juice for quiet time.
Good info, Thanks! I found & ordered a pro-fill system for mine also. Two of the four batteries will be impossible to access for fill-ups.
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Old 08-25-2017, 01:57 AM   #32
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Good info, Thanks! I found & ordered a pro-fill system for mine also. Two of the four batteries will be impossible to access for fill-ups.
Another reason to go to AGM batteries... No maintenance and can be mounted just about anywhere except upside down, plus easier to charge. More expensive than sealed lead acid but worth it.
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Old 08-25-2017, 02:47 AM   #33
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Another reason to go to AGM batteries... No maintenance and can be mounted just about anywhere except upside down, plus easier to charge. More expensive than sealed lead acid but worth it.
Yes, I like AGM batteries for those reasons. That's why I had an Odyssey 1700 in our old MH. At the time I purchased my two 6v wet cells, I needed batteries NOW. And, I wasn't gonna dump a grand locally into AGM's.
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Old 08-25-2017, 01:16 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doubravsky View Post
Ours are permanently mounted. I thought about the swivel mounts to be able to point them at the sun angle, but I didn't want to be going up and down the ladder on a regular basis....
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpmihalk View Post
Ours are permanently mounted on Z brackets. Also didn't want to keep going up and down the ladder all of the time to adjust them.
Thanks for thgis info... a picture or two of the mounting setup would be GREATLY appreciated!
The wiring: Did you run it down the externior of your rig, or come up with something much more interesting???
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Old 08-25-2017, 03:39 PM   #35
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Thanks for thgis info... a picture or two of the mounting setup would be GREATLY appreciated!
The wiring: Did you run it down the externior of your rig, or come up with something much more interesting???
Here is a shot from my drone:

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I can do a close up shot of the brackets later when I get the other ladder out.

As far as the wiring, we took the extreme measures of drilling through the roof to the main cabin and then through the floor to the battery compartment. Everything is sealed (The panel mounts, the roof wiring entry, the ceiling entry, the floor exit and the battery entry) and the charge controller is mounted right behind the driver's seat where it can be seen easily from the door or cabin when the slide is extended.

Hope this helps!
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Old 08-25-2017, 04:18 PM   #36
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It helps more than you could imagine!

Tanks A Lot 02.jpg
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Old 08-26-2017, 04:03 PM   #37
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Here's some close ups of the Z brackets mounted to the roof.

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Old 08-26-2017, 04:12 PM   #38
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And here are where the cables come in from the roof and where the charge controller is mounted right above the battery compartment with cables leading through the floor.

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Old 08-26-2017, 07:28 PM   #39
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That is OUtstanding!.jpg

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Old 08-26-2017, 09:04 PM   #40
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Finally I've seen one post that mentioned Ah, amp hours at a 20 hour rating. This is the capacity of a deep cycle battery whether 6 or 12v for a 20 hour period. If your battery has reserve capacity instead of Ah then it is not a true deep cycle. If it has CCA it is not a deep cycle battery.

Do an energy audit to see how many amps you will use in a day. If you have a residential fridge this is mandatory. Add in everything else such as the furnace, microwave, lights, hair dryers, tv etc. the total is the minimum amperage you will need to regenerate somehow each and every day. My inverter is 3,000 W, I added a second transfer switch and a sub panel. I used the bus's bar technique for fusing.

I use 40 - 50 amps per day so my batteries are 360 Ah via 2 Trojan 6v. The coach converter is entry level 55 amps and is powered either by shore power or by a generator. Modern chargers need solar controllers offer three stage charging designed to keep your battery within manufacturer specs. About half the Ah of a lead acid battery are usable. So my 360 is now 180.

I have 480w of solar with a high quality solar controller and 6 gauge wiring, about 29 amps. We seldom camp where there are hookups for an extended stay. We like the USFS campgrounds. My fridge is a Dometice, gas/electric and at the #3 of 5 setting is keeps the fridge in the mid 30's even when warm out, 105 to 110.

I don't know how many amps a residential fridge uses but let's say it's around 80. You probably have a load of 120 to 160 amps per day which you will need to regenerate. I'm thinking somewhere around 600 - 800 Ah. Solar is roughly calculated by having your wattage be equal or above you Ah of batteries. So you are looking at 800 to 1000 watts of solar.

Unfortunately the batteries that come with the coach are the combos, if 12v usually around 60Ah at the 20 hour rating. But this is not a true deep cycle which means it really doesn't like to be deeply discharged and not working to well for Boondocking. True deep cycle batteries can be 50% discharged and then fully recharge above 95% with the right charger. So that's one of the reasons you are unhappy.

As for lead acid vs. glass mat, gel, lithium or iron phosphate do your homework. AGM'S have issues to. The key is that whatever you get get a quality deep cycle that is large enough to meet your needs in Ah's and that you have sufficient amperage in your charger to recharge them in a reasonable period of time, do the math.
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