connecting battery to solar controller.....comments please???

Submitted: Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 20:14
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Scenerio.....caravan with batteries down low.........these batteries are charged / maintained through a PL60 controller and solar panels on the roof of the 'van

this PL60 has a anderson plug for connecting other solar panels into the PL60 system at times for extra charge (other than the solar panels on the roof)

Vehicle with 2 fully charged batteries dong nothing.....

I connect these batteries into the anderson on the PL60......

any reason that the charge would not flow via the PL60 into the 'van batteries?......obviously the voltage would be around the 12.5 at start and reducing as the spare batteries are drained down........and yes I would have to monitor these batteries so as to not take them down too low and stuff them up

comments please and thanks
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Reply By: Ianw - Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 20:32

Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 20:32
My guess would be that there is a voltage drop in the PL60 and it requires more than 12.5v input.

Ian
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Reply By: Battery Value Pty Ltd - Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 21:46

Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 21:46
I'm just guessing that you're trying to charge the two flat batteries from two good batteries...
If yes, it won't work like that because charging voltages are somewhat higher than the 'discharging' voltage.
It's a bit like trying to reverse the flow of a river by directing the flow of another river against it.

cheers, Peter
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Follow Up By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 21:54

Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 21:54
Thanks for your comment........I am really working on being able to keep the 12v appliance (fridge) in the 'van going if the situation needs it.........

not bothered about actually charging the batteries....more like keeping the 'van on 12v until I sort out getting the 'van batteries charged up....as the fridge is hard wired and not able to access its connection points

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Reply By: rainbowprof - Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 01:35

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 01:35
I guess you need a dc-dc charger from the anderson plug to charge the batteries in the van better- the long cable from the charged vehicle batteries may be too small a diameter to carry the charge efficiently thus lowering the voltage so that the back batteries never charge much beyond 60-70%. But the dc to dc charger will charge them at a higher voltage, with a good one with 3 or 4 stage smart charging. There are others more qualified and more capable to offer suggestions on this forum and some of them will no doubt offer more specific suggestions and advice. A dc-dc charger like this looks cost effective for around $180 but the more you pay the better the quality to a certain extent...

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=290564665382&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT

(BTW I am in no way associated with the sellers of this product)


I don't know why your solar panel isn't bringing the batteries up to full charge. How many watts is / are the panel/s? Maybe you need to program the PLASMATRONICS PL60 INTELLIGENT CONTROLLER in some way.

Brett
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Follow Up By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 10:07

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 10:07
Hi rainbow.thanks for your comments. I will clarify my post a little more

There is nothing wrong with my 'van charging system at all and in fact it is working a treat...and what I contemplated may never need happen at all

I was simply thinking through a scenerio of "what if" one day for what ever reason (a week of cloud and rain and very little charge) the ' van batteries had run down and sitting there in the back of the 'cruiser are my 2 spare full batteries

I was thinking a simple way of using tht power without specifically wiring in another plug to parallel them all (if ever needed) as the alternative solar input anderson is already there

Thanks
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Reply By: oldtrack123 - Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 10:03

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 10:03
Hi Bungarra

Are you asking if this would work ,or have you tried & it does not work??

If the extra panels are the CORRECT voltage & are feeding into the solar reg input
ie parallelled with the other panels there should be NO PROBLEMS.

It should not matter if one set of batts are very low & the other fully charged.

They will quickly get a voltage balance & the lower charged batts will take the bulk of the available solar power

Peter
AnswerID: 455103

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 10:09

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 10:09
Hi Brett
RE:"rainbowprof replied:
I guess you need a dc-dc charger from the anderson plug to charge the batteries in the van better- the long cable from the charged vehicle batteries may be too small a diameter to carry the charge efficiently thus lowering the voltage so that the back batteries never charge much beyond 60-70%. But the dc to dc charger will charge them at a higher voltage, with a good one with 3 or 4 stage smart charging. There are others more qualified and more capable to offer suggestions on this forum and some of them will no doubt offer more specific suggestions and advice. A dc-dc charger like this looks cost effective for around $180 but the more you pay the better the quality to a certain extent... ""

I think you have misread the OP'question
He is not asking about charging from the vehicle.


Peter


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Follow Up By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 10:11

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 10:11
Thanks for your reply. I dont seem to have posted my question as clear as I thought

I have just posted a reply to a previous answer that may clarify my query

It is all about "what if" situation....could I parallel connect the spare batteries to the 'van batteries through the other solar anderson input plug (seeing as it is there already)..or simply run a cable of suitable guage direct to the 'van batteries.....which is probably the right way to go...just wanted an opinion before I did this in case it was not necessary

Thanks
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 10:15

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 10:15
HI Brett

MY APOLGIES
MY MISTAKE
I READ HIS OP WRONG


YOUR reply is the real solution to his problem
In fact the only solution , other than having good heavy cables from van to tug batteries & RUNNING THE ENGINE @ FAST IDLE

Peter
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 10:24

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 10:24
HI
I should also add if using a dc to dc charger connect it direct to the van battery .
DO NOT GO THROUGH THE SOLAR controller


DO you have the van batts being charged by the alternator when engine is running?

Do you have a battery isolator fitted?
Depending on the above answers the fitting of A dc to dc charger could be very easy.
Peter









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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 10:37

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 10:37
Hi Bungarra
DO NOT GO THROUGH THE SOLAR CONTROLLER


RE:".or simply run a cable of suitable guage direct to the 'van batteries.....which is probably the right way to go...just wanted an opinion before I did this in case it was not necessary ""

The above method will allow you to pull some power from the van batteries & WOULD BE THE MOST EFFICIENT USE OF THE AVAILABLE POWER FROM THE TUG BATTRIES.[with engine not running]
You would need to carefully watch their state of charge or you could have insufficient power to start the engine particularly if diesel,

i HOPE IT IS A COMPRESSOR FRIDGE THAT YOU ARE FEEDING?


Peter
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Follow Up By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 10:39

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 10:39
Hi Peter

I chose not to charge the 'van batteries from the alternator simply because
1 The cruiser is already charging 2 under the bonnet (original and 2nd)
2 Two deep cycle in the rear which I set up from our camping days

I felt that was enough to ask of the alternator and so on our 'van I now have 3 x 130 panels and 3 x 105 deep cycle and the 'cruiser batteries in the rear are really sitting there doing nothing when we will now start using the 'van

the 'van system is working a treat and perfectly in balance and I doubt I will ever need to use the spare power available from the 'cruiser.

My post was more along the lines of "what if" I am down on available amps in the 'van one day for whatever reason 9extended non charging situation etc) and how was the simplest and easy way to parallel the 'van to the cruiser to tap inot the 'cruiser back batteries

The 'van has a spare solar input via an anderson on the side and I wondered what would happen if I plugged the 'cruiser spares into this ....simple and no prior preperation needed

It seems that perhaps voltage drop through the PL60 may be an issue and I guess from all the answers to my post that I should perhaps

1 Wire in a dedicated lead to be able to parallel the 'van battereis when needed (if ever)
2 Use the DC DC charger to boost this charge from the full 'cruiser battereis to top up / allow draw on the 'van batteries

thanks

Graeme
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Follow Up By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 10:47

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 10:47
Hi Peter

yes the fridge is a compressor and the whole 'van is 12v. I believe I have ample solar charge capabalities and reserve battery storage

But sitting there the other day I simply thought to myself..there is now 2 x 105 a/h deep cycle batteries in the rear of the tug doing nothing when sing the 'van......if i ever need them what is a quick and simple method to hook them in parallel to the 'van batteries

answer is now clear.....run a dedicated lead in case of needed one day.consider boosting this with the dc dc charger

thanks

Graeme
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 15:26

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 15:26
H i Bungarra

Ok now it's clearer
Since the batteries are not your crankers ,& I assume you do have an isolator between them & the cranker then just simply parallel both banks directly together ',,

NOT through the solar reg.
In fact since they are not being used for any other purpose , why not do this as standard practise ??


It just gives you more amphrs to play with

Any surplus solar will add to their charge .
Peter
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 15:41

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 15:41
Hi Bungaara
Since I cannot edit ,I will add this
Your alternator can quite happily feed all & assist in charging ALL,as long as you have an isolator between the cranks & the others .[to prevent accidental flattening of cranks]
Just use a good sized cables, 6B&S, for the Pos & Neg interconnection between van batteries & the auxs in the tug

The solar & the alternator will work quite haopy together, with each doing it's own thing
This usually means that the alternator will stop charging first & leave solar to finish the job on the van & aux batts.

Peter
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 15:50

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 15:50
Hi Graeme

Damn wish I could edit

I would not bother with a dc to dc charger
For your use a direct connection will do all you want
If your solar was insufficient & you needed to regularly assist in charging the vAN batteries , then yes it COULD be an option.

General advise to all:; do not rush into a dc to dc charger ,
IT MAY NOT ALWAYS BE THE BEST OPTION

Peter
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 16:02

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 16:02
Hi
Just a quick explanation why not to connect a battery to the solar reg input
[1]The solar panel will preferentially charge that battery
that battery could end up being well & truly OVERCHARGED.[as it has no reg in it's supply]
[2] The voltage drop thru the reg will stop/limit any useful current draw from that battery.

[3]The charge current to that battery will be subtracted from what should go to the van batts
[4] would you damage the reg, NO.


Peter
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Follow Up By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 17:49

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 17:49
Hi Peter

Thanks for your info and effort...........the system works well like it is. I will keep it simple, wire up a connector for when ever......and carry some 8 B& S ready for the job if ever needed
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Reply By: paulnsw - Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 10:27

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 10:27
"2 fully charged batteries dong nothing" your 2 'fully' charged batteries in a Toyota are around 60% charged. If you want to fix up your truck and van electrics correctly drop over to RVT Only way to get painless power travelling.
AnswerID: 455105

Reply By: Member - michael H (NSW) - Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 10:28

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 10:28
Hi bungarra
I will be doing something similar shortly so will be watching any replys.
Sounds like you need to run your fresh batteries directly to run the fridge, can you intercept the cabling at some point to wire in a bypass switch straight to the fridge

Cheers Michael
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Follow Up By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 10:55

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 10:55
Hi Michael

If it was that simple I would. The 'van has been wired up really well and the charging system is working a treat...........

intercepting the fridge wiring is the issue without delving into the circuit braker box and tapping into the fridge circuit.........hence the thought to simply parallel the batteries the easy way without any extra wiring

it seems the easy way will to be to prepare for the "what if" situation here at home before I travl and then if needed i will have it all in place

At this stage it seems i will simply now make up a short lead of suitable guage probably a minium of 8mm sq with an anderson each end....prepare the 'van batteries with an anderson to receive and the tug battereis with a andersen to send and see what happens....maybe the dc dc charger will or will not be required.

in other words an oversize jumper lead !
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 16:09

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 16:09
Hi Graeme
"in other words an oversize jumper lead "
Yes. if you are happy with your present charging arrangements.
Just use it as standard practise to get some extra capacity . [ a lot not being used]

Peter
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Follow Up By: Member - Niss42 - Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 16:50

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 16:50
G'day Graeme
This my setup, fridge powered by car when mobile via Anderson plug, when parked up, remove Anderson plug and relay switches fridge to van battery supply.
My setup is supplied from second battery (duel) in Patrol and also keeps Breakaway battery charged whilst running compressor fridge.
Barry.





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