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Old 02-04-2024, 11:21 AM   #1
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Dead Battery on Solar

For background, I have owned several travel trailers over last 15 years but just brought home our new Eagle 5th wheel this winter and put it right into storage. This is my 1st unit with solar and the dealer said I can just leave battery in all winter as it would trickle off solar. I have the battery disconnect (which seems to only disconnect from some components but all lights still work) turned to off position. First month in storage battery was fineÖ full. We had snow 2 weeks ago in PA and it was likely on the panel for a week or so. Following weeks was pretty cloudy/rainy. Now I seem to have a dead battery and my Jaycommmander pad is dead as well. Some questions I have as I need to better understand how to address this safely without hurting solar system.


1. Does this seem right for the battery to fully drain out m 2 weeks with diminished sunlight to solar panel?
2. Will the solar be enough to bring battery back and recharge commander tablet or do I need to bring it home and charge it?
3. If I have to bring battery home to recharge, any guidance/links how to safely disconnect when you have onboard solar so you donít damage the system?
4. Is there a restart procedure needed to bring the whole system back online when battery is charged? Any reset needed in the power panel since it seems completely dead?
5. Why is there no true battery disconnect like my previous trailers that halts phantom draw or is this not available due to solar needing to be connected to a battery?


Appreciate any guidance/direction here.
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Old 02-04-2024, 01:21 PM   #2
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On my eagle there is a fuze link right above the battery that you can use to isolate the battery; I think itís 250 amps but Iím not positive of that. It is separate than the disconnect in the basement, near the front jack leg controller. Depending on what parasitic draw you had, your batteries could certainly be drained in a couple of weeks. Is the inverter on? Tablet and CO detector draw power as well. I assume you have twin 64ah lead acids. They would certainly benefit from a full charge off the trailer
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Old 02-04-2024, 02:10 PM   #3
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I added a battery monitor, it's called a SmartShunt. It attaches between the negative terminal and your camper. This device shows a lot of things on your phone:
1. State of Charge
2. Current flowing from your solar panel
3. How much current your camper has consumed (since last reset)
4. How many days/hours/minutes remain in your battery (at current draw)
This last item(#4) is 50%, lead acid, or 95% if Lithium/LiFePO4).

The benefit is you can see, in real-time, if there is something draining your battery... and if so, help you track it down and know if you found it. When you are camping, you can see, in real-time, the impact of each appliance and know how many days/hours you can safely camp before you begin to damage your battery from over-draining.

The downside is you need to buy it but I think the information provided has more value.
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Old 02-04-2024, 02:24 PM   #4
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I would suggest upgrading to a MPPT charge controller like the Renogy that has built in bluetooth. Shows you battery state, incoming solar voltage, charge rate, and battery charge voltage plus some other items. If your PWM controller is the problem this would be a good way to replace it with one that gives you all the information you need to keep this from happening again.
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Old 02-04-2024, 08:02 PM   #5
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1. Yes this is normal. Found this out first winter with our 2022 Pinnacle. Even with the 400w of solar my 2 12v batteries eventually died due to the parasitic draw that the trailer has even with the disconnect turned off.
2. For best results take the battery out and recharge it at home and only reinstall it when you are ready to use the trailer.
3. There should be a main circuit breaker in the same area as the batteries. Just switch it to be an open circuit and that will disconnect power to the batteries that the solar panels might be producing.
4. Should only have to reinstall the batteries back into the trailer and everything will come back. If you have a BMPro tablet take that out and use a high current charger to recharge the tablet. This may be the biggest issue you have with this whole scenario. Look at the threads on here about the BMPro tablets and battery issues.
5. There is no true battery disconnect due to safety issues. If its accidentally bumped they don't want stuff like the CO2 detector to stop working due to no 12v supply, same with the BMPro which is why it is always charging even with the disconnect turned off.

Hope this helps. My winter storage routine now is, once it's parked for the winter, my lithium batteries come out, the BMPro comes out and my main circuit breakers are disconnected so any power the solar is making isn't been sent to bare terminals and possibly short to the ground of the trailer.
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Old 02-05-2024, 05:19 PM   #6
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In a Jayco document I read somewhere it said to cover the solar panels while in long, term below freezing storage. I asked my dealer and he didnít say anything about doing that. Damn if I know.
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Old 02-05-2024, 05:41 PM   #7
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Bmpro, CO detectors, etc could drain the batteries. How long depends on the condition of the batteries to start with. Just because you think they're in good condition doesn't mean they actually are operating at full capacity. Depends on how dead "dead" actually is. for lead acid deep cycle batteries, 50% is as far as you want to go. 12.6v (ish) fully charged, 12v is pretty heavy discharged.

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Originally Posted by Nevr2late View Post
In a Jayco document I read somewhere it said to cover the solar panels while in long, term below freezing storage. I asked my dealer and he didnít say anything about doing that. Damn if I know.
May be for lithium batteries (some chemistries don't like charging or discharging below freezing) or may be in addition to disconnecting the lead acid batteries so you don't have power coming in through solar without anywhere to put it (usually not a problem unless they're disconnected suddenly while charging but might just be a global CYA)
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