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Old 01-18-2021, 08:58 PM   #1
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Solar charge-Battery change-charger converter change?

I have a 2015 Jayco Eagle HT 27.5 5th wheel. All original and 1 Interstate battery. We intend to upgrade when can afford but for now I want to try things but have a lot of questions.
we would like to become more mobile with longer trips, mostly with services but would like to boondock while on our way between locations. I bought a 100w solar panel kit from Harbor Freight thinking I could uses as needed charging the battery.
Simple questions, I'm confident I have the answers but I am doing my R&D with the camper we already own and not spend a small fortune playing with design or functionality.
Q. As a backup I could also use the power wire from the connection between the trailer and tow truck to charge the battery as backup? Instead of hauling around a noisy generator. Mine is wired that way to the battery. It should be charging as we drive?
Q. If I change to 2 6v battery's will my current charger/converter be ok with the change? I assume it will, but don't have the details of the charger unit.
Q. Will those 2 6v battery's charge ok with the solar kit? I assume they will, still a 12v system
Q. What changes to any of these items can or should I make? Maybe leave it alone and just add a 2nd battery? Can the charger/converter I have handle a load from 2 battery's?
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Old 01-18-2021, 09:28 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Genr8rs View Post
I have a 2015 Jayco Eagle HT 27.5 5th wheel. All original and 1 Interstate battery. We intend to upgrade when can afford but for now I want to try things but have a lot of questions.
we would like to become more mobile with longer trips, mostly with services but would like to boondock while on our way between locations. I bought a 100w solar panel kit from Harbor Freight thinking I could uses as needed charging the battery.
Simple questions, I'm confident I have the answers but I am doing my R&D with the camper we already own and not spend a small fortune playing with design or functionality.
Q. As a backup I could also use the power wire from the connection between the trailer and tow truck to charge the battery as backup? Instead of hauling around a noisy generator. Mine is wired that way to the battery. It should be charging as we drive?
Q. If I change to 2 6v battery's will my current charger/converter be ok with the change? I assume it will, but don't have the details of the charger unit.
Q. Will those 2 6v battery's charge ok with the solar kit? I assume they will, still a 12v system
Q. What changes to any of these items can or should I make? Maybe leave it alone and just add a 2nd battery? Can the charger/converter I have handle a load from 2 battery's?
Put the 2 - 6 volt batteries in series for 12 volts, your converter wonít know the difference. Does the solar kit include a charge controller? As long as it has a 12 volt charge controller it should be fine.
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Old 01-19-2021, 10:20 AM   #3
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Your tow vehicle will charge your battery while drive (over a few hours), but wonít give you much if you start it up and try to charge while parked. You can have it tested to see what it puts out. There are too many variables like how big is your alternator, at what RPM does it produce maximum amperage, how many Amps does it put out at idle and does it limit power to the trailer if it needs it for the TV. Plus the wire to the trailer is small, it wonít allow a lot of power to get from the TV to trailer.
You donít want to sit in the truck with your foot on the gas for an hour to get a partial charge to the trailer.

I have a 2000w generator as my back up. My suggestion, is at least get a 500w or so generator just to charge your batteries. Itís designed to generate power.
Hereís some basic math as an example, itís not exact but close. Two 6v will have about 100 amps of storage, you can only use 50%, so you have 50 amps. If your converter can charge at 30 amps per hour you need 1-2 hours to charge it back up. Iím not sure but your Truck may only give you 5-10 amps per hour.

Even your 100w solar panel will only give you about 3 amps per hour, with 6 hours of full sun youíll get 18 amp back in the battery, at best.

I have 300w solar and two 6v batteries and my set up is marginal at best, 400w is my suggestion for Boondocking, or just donít use much power over night. Buy more blankets to keep warm.
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Old 01-19-2021, 11:21 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by GHen View Post
Your tow vehicle will charge your battery while drive (over a few hours), but won’t give you much if you start it up and try to charge while parked. You can have it tested to see what it puts out. There are too many variables like how big is your alternator, at what RPM does it produce maximum amperage, how many Amps does it put out at idle and does it limit power to the trailer if it needs it for the TV. Plus the wire to the trailer is small, it won’t allow a lot of power to get from the TV to trailer.
You don’t want to sit in the truck with your foot on the gas for an hour to get a partial charge to the trailer.

I have a 2000w generator as my back up. My suggestion, is at least get a 500w or so generator just to charge your batteries. It’s designed to generate power.
Here’s some basic math as an example, it’s not exact but close. Two 6v will have about 100 amps of storage, you can only use 50%, so you have 50 amps. If your converter can charge at 30 amps per hour you need 1-2 hours to charge it back up. I’m not sure but your Truck may only give you 5-10 amps per hour.

Even your 100w solar panel will only give you about 3 amps per hour, with 6 hours of full sun you’ll get 18 amp back in the battery, at best.

I have 300w solar and two 6v batteries and my set up is marginal at best, 400w is my suggestion for Boondocking, or just don’t use much power over night. Buy more blankets to keep warm.
Actually that isn't how lead acid batteries charge, they charge quickly in bulk mode but then around 80% go into accumulation mode and charge much more slowly. If you have a 100Ah battery bank you are right, you shouldn't use more than 50%, so say 50Ah. If the converter is 30 amps it will provide around 30Ah in the first hour bringing the batteries up to 80Ah (80%). It will then take 3 to 5 more hours to charge the rest of the way to 100% because of teh slow accumulation mode..

Also most lead acid batteries don't actually meet their Ah specs so your usable capacity is likely less than 50Ah,maybe 40-45Ah.

A 100 watt solar panel will likely top out around 75 watts in real use and that is 6.25 amps at 12 volts. 100 watts isn't much, I have 800 watts and sometimes wish I had 1,000 watts.

Why are you thinking about 6 volt batteries, it used to be that 6 volt golf cart batteries were built better for repeated discharge but the true 12 volt deep cycle batteries today are just as good. If you really want to upgrade go to Lithium, they are 1/3 the weight, you can discharge them all the way so 100Ah gives you 100Ah usable and they charge full speed all the way up, they also typically exceed their Ah specs although they are expensive.

If you decide to get a generator get a Honda EU2200 and convert it to run on propane. You can run it off your rigs propane and you don't have to worry about gas sitting in it and gumming up the carburetor. Gas generators are maintenance nightmares. The EU2200 is really quiet, fuel efficient and makes perfect power that is safe for everything.
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Old 01-19-2021, 07:10 PM   #5
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Thank you all so far. I did find out that the Charger/Converter is a (Progressive Dynamics RV Converter PD4045KA), a smart charger. It has 3 modes and capable of working with Lithium-ion, flooded Lead acid, AGM and Gel batteries. So far so good. That kinda takes care of the onboard existing charger.
I would assume I do not want to connect the Solar panels with a charger control to the battery of any kind as long as I am connected to shore power?
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Old 01-20-2021, 06:37 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Genr8rs View Post
Thank you all so far. I did find out that the Charger/Converter is a (Progressive Dynamics RV Converter PD4045KA), a smart charger. It has 3 modes and capable of working with Lithium-ion, flooded Lead acid, AGM and Gel batteries. So far so good. That kinda takes care of the onboard existing charger.
I would assume I do not want to connect the Solar panels with a charger control to the battery of any kind as long as I am connected to shore power?
Your solar panels should be connected to a solar charge controller that will then connect to the batteries. The solar charge controller will "float" and can be connected at the same time as your converter running from shore power. I run both all the time.
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