Solar plus 240 volt charger plus vehicle charging ??

I tried to do a search on here and other places....and so far havent come up with any answer to my particular question.
I would like to install solar into my Goldstream Crown 4B...
It has a C Tech 7 amp multistage charger already hard wired...plus wiring connected to dual battery system of fourby via an anderson plug. The above 2 systems work well without having to unhook either when using one or the other. Now if I install 2 or 3 80w solar panels on roof of camper and running thru a solar regulator at battery...can I leave all 3 systems hard wired up permanently for normal use without doing damage to any of them while driving...plugged into pwer...or solar ??
the battery is a 100 amp hour AGM.that came with camper.
I would really like it if it is possible to go from one system to another without unhooking/isolating any of the other systems to use any or all of them..IE...can solar remain hooked up while charger is being used....and also when driving???
Any ideas n thorts would be appreciated.
TIA.

Cheers Keith
Nothin is ever the same once I own it ...........

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Reply By: Lex M (Brisbane) - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 00:22

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 00:22
"can I leave all 3 systems hard wired up permanently for normal use?"
Yes.
AnswerID: 407758

Reply By: Member - res.q.guy (Vic.) - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 08:45

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 08:45
Hi Keith
Speaking from my own personal experience, with my set up, I wouldn't.
Although I am using wet cell batteries, I have had no experience with AGM batteries.
On my van I have 3 x 100 A/hr batteries, to charge these, I have :- 3 x 60w panels with a PL20 solar reg. in camp without power, when on 240v, a 3 stage charger and when driving an Arid Twin Charge, with it's power from an anderson plug from the vehicle. I had them all connected and operable at the same time and the batteries only lasted for 2 years. Upon further investigation from the battery and equipment suppliers - although they are all supposed to be smart chargers , they out-smarted themselves and cooked the batteries. Since replacing the batteries, I have only had one charger controlling the batteries at any one time. The batteries are now + 4 yrs old and still going ok.
It will be interesting to hear what others say about there systems.
Cheers
Neil
AnswerID: 407789

Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 11:25

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 11:25
Actually the Arrid twin charge is not a smart charger. It gives a constant output voltage. My one gave an output of 14.4 V. I attribute the premature demise of the first battery in the current van to the twin charge (less than 12 months service.)

I replaced the battery in late 06 and disconnected the twin charge. In April 08 I replaced it with a RanOx booster which is a smart charger. For the last two years I have had all three chargers connected in parallel to the battery and the battery still gives good service.

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Reply By: for all your solar needs - Mandrake's Solar Power- Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 09:26

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 09:26
Keith ,

As you have an AGM battery it should not be a problem at all to have everything hard-wired ..

I recently learned that wet-cell batteries should be charged at the C/8 rate - which means 1/8 of their 20 hour aH rating - so 100 aH should be charged at a maximum of 12.5 Amps ...

AGMs on the other hand can be charged at upto 75% of their 20 hour aH rating
so a 100 aH AGM can accept upto 75 Amps of charge ...

Cheers

Steve
AnswerID: 407803

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 11:43

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 11:43
Battery use a theory called "Arrhenius equation" to work.

A battery is just a glorified chemistry set.

Another good thing to look at is "thermal Run Away".
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Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 12:14

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 12:14
I've never seen an AGM Battery Manufacture recommend more than 0.3 C (30 amps for a 100 amphour battery) for long battery life.

Which manufacturer recommends 0.75 ?
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FollowupID: 677729

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 12:35

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 12:35
Most of the time we will charge 75 to 100a/h battery at maximum 25 amps (unless specs say different).

For example if you use Optima battery's they only recommend 10 amps max, meaning most people who use them have been over charging them. You can rapid charge them at any current up to 15.6 volts as long as the battery temp stays below 52 Deg.C......this cancels most under bonnet applications out.
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Follow Up By: Mandrake's Solar Power- Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 12:43

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 12:43
Mike ,

Who , apart from you , said anything about manufacturers recommendations ??

Please read this --- Notice the two words CAN in there !

AGMs on the other hand can be charged at upto 75% of their 20 hour aH rating
so a 100 aH AGM can accept upto 75 Amps of charge ...

The article I read --here

A MAJOR issue with AGM batteries. AGM batteries will accept, in real life, a charge rate of 75% or more of their AH capacities. This means, a 200 AHr AGM battery can be charged at 150 Amps with no problem. The average cruiser will have 400 - 600 AH capacities, but I know of few, if any, alternators capable of putting out 300+ Amps. Another good point about the AGM's is that they will be quite happy with a charger that does not meet this parameter, they will just charge slower, unlike Lead Acid batteries which will loose capacity if charged at a lower than proper rate. BUT, AGM's will suck in everything they can get ahold of!

Cheers

Steve

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FollowupID: 677739

Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 13:04

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 13:04
Also I CAN discharge a 12 volt battery down to 6 volts - but I certainly wouldn't write that here, without making it very clear what effect this will have on battery life.
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FollowupID: 677745

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 15:16

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 15:16
Steve, you can charge any battery with any amount of current as long as the temperature of the battery is controlled.....this is usually around 50 Deg.C max.

Once the temperature starts to rise the chemical reaction in the battery changes, this is called the "Arrhenius equation" and is based on chemistry, the other thing to watch is "thermal run away" once the battery is starting to charge the temperature increases to a point where it will take off and with higher temperature the chemical reaction changes generating more heat, when this happens it is very hard to control the temperature.

A battery will only accept most of the charge within roughly the first 60 minutes and as the internal resistance changes so does the charge rates from bulk charge to trickle charge.

Most 3 stage chargers have a bulk, absorption and float charge, bulk charge is usually controlled by a timer system and will in most cases deliver up to 80% of the charge with absorption and float charge sensed of the battery.

It is up most important to read the charge specs of any battery before charging if available, if not go with the 25% rule and you will be pretty safe.
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FollowupID: 677773

Follow Up By: Lex M (Brisbane) - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 16:22

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 16:22
"AGMs on the other hand can be charged at upto 75% of their 20 hour aH rating
so a 100 aH AGM can accept upto 75 Amps of charge ... "here

Really love the fact that this quote came from a site called "Wishful thinking" :-)
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FollowupID: 677789

Follow Up By: Mandrake's Solar Power- Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 16:38

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 16:38
Lex ,

I think the vessel's name is "Wishful Thinking" not the website ..

www.bitwranglers.com is a boating site ....and hopefully they know

a little bit about batteries an 'at !! LOL

Cheers

Steve





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FollowupID: 677795

Follow Up By: Lex M (Brisbane) - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 20:11

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 20:11
"Wishful Thinking
My web site for sharing experiences and adventures
living aboard a blue water sailboat."


A battery expert hey?

A quote from one of his pages doesn't instill much confidence.

"After nearly 1.5 years of intermittent charging problems, we finally got it. "

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FollowupID: 677841

Follow Up By: Mandrake's Solar Power- Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 20:59

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 20:59
Lex ,

Did anyone call him a battery expert ? Only you ...

I would have thought that even you would agree that a person living on a sailboat for several years

might just might " know a little bit about batteries an 'at !!"

Lets put this one to bed shall we -

Cheers

Steve







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FollowupID: 677848

Reply By: olcoolone - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 11:27

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 11:27
Re hash you system and install a RedArc BMS.

It will do everything you want it to do and more.

The BMS offers DC-DC battery charging, 15amp 3 to 5 stage 240v battery charging and MPPT technology (maximum power point tracking) up to 15 amps battery charging from your solar panels.

It also prioritises the power source from DC, 240v or solar.

It has a remote mounted screen that tells you everything from battery status, how long you battery will last with the current current draw, voltage,amps and a host of other thing.

The BMS also offers a storage mode for when you are not using your van for a period of time.
AnswerID: 407837

Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 11:38

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 11:38
What is their current price? are they still close to $1500?

I think a RanOx is still under $400. That is all he needs to add to the current equipment and he can leave them all connected.

PeterD
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 11:53

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 11:53
The Ranox is a very good product and has many advantages but we are having a few issues with heat and the Ranox's switching off at the moment.

The Ranox is just under $500.00.

The Retail for the RedArc is just under $1500 but when we sell them we through some other stuff in so your paying a lot less then that.

Thats about all I can say as it's not fair on the paid advertisers on this forum to push what we do.

I'm not on forums to sell.

But I can help you out with any questions.
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FollowupID: 677720

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 11:55

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 11:55
Can't spell today...

Should be

"The Retail for the RedArc is just under $1500 but when we sell them we throw some other stuff in so your paying a lot less then that.
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FollowupID: 677722

Reply By: Member - Keith P (NSW) - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 16:23

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 16:23
Well...after reading everones informed comments so far..I reckon I will go with it.
The C Tek charger is already hard wired and mounted...along with the wiring from dual battery in truck. I already have a solar regulator that...as far as I understand...switches off when battery voltage gets to a certain point..so there should be no..or very little feedback to solar panels when using 240v charger or while driving.
Thanks for all the responses so far..n if anyone has any ideas to add..please do so.

Cheers Keith
Nothin is ever the same once I own it ...........

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AnswerID: 407884

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