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Old 04-09-2014, 10:05 PM   #1
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Solar while traveling

Boondockers: Any reason why I cant allow my solar panels to charge battery array while driving?

Effective?
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Old 04-10-2014, 03:46 AM   #2
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Interesting question, never really looked into that aspect of solar charging. I guess one issue would be that the panels would normally be positioned "flat" while in tow, thus not angled optimally toward the sun. Not sure how the "electronics" would be handled between the solar system and the low amp charge coming from the 7-pin connection simultaneously.

Let's see what our solar experts have to say......

Bob
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Old 04-10-2014, 06:52 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmooney View Post
Boondockers: Any reason why I cant allow my solar panels to charge battery array while driving?

Effective?
Our SOLAR runs 24/7, parked or being towed. The TT's battery charge controller has been turned of since adding SOLAR early last year.

The answer is YES and NO. The main concern is how much voltage your SOLAR charge controller outputs. Your TV alternator system produces voltages to MAX of about 14.6 14.8 VDC. The electronics of your TV and TT can handle that voltage. The issue is that some of the inexpensive SOLAR charge controllers output is 15VDC or more (16-17+VDC), and this could have an impact on your electronic devices/micro computers in the TV/TT. As long as your voltage from SOLAR is in the 14VDC range you are ok. There are voltage control units you can purchase that mount between the TV and TT that control the outputs from the TV/TT and SOLAR, and do not allow the higher voltage to feed back to the TV.

Check to see if your SOLAR charge controller has an "Equalization Mode", with a voltage >15VDC. If it does and you can not manually control (on/off) the "Equalization Mode" (on/off) and it runs automatically, do not travel with the solar on.

We travel with the solar on and the Inverter on. We leave the Fridge on and never had an issue. The battery is always charged when we arrive at our destination.

What Solar Charge Controller are you using? Panel output? Just curious..

Good Luck,
Don
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Old 04-10-2014, 07:23 AM   #4
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since 1995 mine are on 24/7 and never a problem. batteries are always charged!!
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Old 04-10-2014, 07:35 AM   #5
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It's my startup kit: Renogy 100w panel that I intend to expand.

The controller is also Renogy, 30 amp, and basic PWM, but I can control the max voltage out.
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Old 04-10-2014, 09:02 AM   #6
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I am still in the planning stages here but would hope I could use the solar panels to charge my TRAILER BATTERIES while en-route to the camp sites.. I am hoping the solar panel controller will act just like the on board converter/charger and keep the battery bank charged.

Not sure what the implication would be having "BOTH" the Truck Alternator Charge line and the Solar Charge line both feeding the same TRAILER BATTERY BANK...

I am guessing this is not going to be any different than having SOLAR PANELS and on-board CONVERTER/CHARGER unit both charging your trailer batteries when hooked up to shore power...

Roy Ken
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Old 04-10-2014, 03:08 PM   #7
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Dons point is a good one though - the charging volatge from the solar system can be pretty high sometimes, based on the charging mode its in.

If you send + 15V back into your truck system, through the tow vehicle connection for brakes and lights, you can damage electronics on the truck ( EMC for example )

If you can control the charge voltage from the solar contorller, then you can avoid that concern
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Old 04-11-2014, 10:50 AM   #8
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How or WHY would you stop them from charging while driving? Over the years I have found that although they do charge while driving it is not as efficient as while parked but in 6 years with my solar system I have never turned them off while driving and no it does not harm the truck electrical system.. You do have a charge controller right?
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Old 04-12-2014, 12:13 PM   #9
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How or WHY would you stop them from charging while driving? Over the years I have found that although they do charge while driving it is not as efficient as while parked but in 6 years with my solar system I have never turned them off while driving and no it does not harm the truck electrical system.. You do have a charge controller right?
Yes, controller in place , although an upgrade is needed, but yes in place.

I guess I'm not surprised at the answers, and happy too, but being new to solar, I figured I would ask...
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Old 04-12-2014, 01:21 PM   #10
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Blocking DIODES like in MUSTANG65s solar block diagram is a two edged sword. The Blocking DIODE will BLOCK your DC VOLTAGE coming from the load side from getting back into the solar panels as stated. The DIODE will also drop your DC VOLTAGE going the other way being produced by the SOLAR PANEL by .7VDC.

This probably is not going to be any concern since your SOLAR CONTROLLER is going to put out the smart mode voltages of 13.2, 13.6, and 14.4 to charge your batteries with. This could be a problem however if the SOLAR PANEL DC Volatge feeding the SOLAR CONTROLLER get below the 14.4VDC which would not allow your deep cycle batteries to be charged up to the 90% charge state in a short three hour period of time. I don't think any of the panels will do that anyway since their usuable DC output is only 5-6 AMPS per panel. A typical deep cycle battey will want 14.4VDC at around 15DC AMPS to be able to reach 90% charge state in a short three hour time period according to the battery science we all know now..

Just babbling on here hehe...
Roy Ken
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