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Old 07-04-2013, 21:29   #16
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Re: Batteries and Solar on the hard?

Baja gets over 100F, inside your closed up boat, it might be 150F.
Can you remove them from the boat? Leave them outside shaded?
I'd guess not, use a solar panel to run a fan and give the boat some ventilation, the rest of the boat will be better off too. They can be float charged if lead acid, a cheap small panel should be ok for 6 months. I think the heat is what killed them.
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Old 08-04-2013, 00:47   #17
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Re: Batteries and Solar on the hard?

Which Morningstar MPPT controler is it?

A lot of controllers will enter an automatic timed absorption phase every 24hours.
If the batteries are fully charged 2 hours on the absorption voltage is not good for the batteries especially at high temperatures.

The ideal is to adjust the controller so the charging algorithm is suitable for a fully charged battery.
Reducing the absorption voltage, absorption time and float voltage are ways of doing this.
For example absorption voltage 14.1v for 2 mins float 13.4v. These sort of settings will keep the battery in the best condition.

Unfortunately many controllers are not adjustable like this. Sometimes a suitable compromise can be achieved by selecting the gel battery option (when your batteries are really flooded batteries). Typically the voltages on the gel setting might be 14.2v for 2 hours and then 13.6v still a bit high for long term storage but much better than the "correct" flooded battery voltages.

Connecting only one panel can work if you have a very small panel but generally the smallest panel is enough to push the batteries up to absorption voltage, so this does not help.

Leaving the batteries disconnected the SOC of charge can become too low due to self discharge. Self discharge is greater at higher temperatures.

If you can list the model of your controller (also have you got temp compensation installed) I will see if it has any suitable options for long term storage.
It would help to know the typical temperatures you would expect while away.
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Old 08-04-2013, 05:27   #18
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Hello,

I have the Morningstar TS-60 PWM controller for my solar and another one for my wind turbines on my vessel. When you are on the hard, make sure you set the dip switches for the LVD (low voltage discharge) that is outlined in the manual to match your situation. There are a lot of adjustable features on the Morningstar controllers. Take advantage of the dip switches !

Adding the DC fans and creating proper ventilation would benefit more then just the batteries !!!

Alan
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Old 08-04-2013, 09:53   #19
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Re: Batteries and Solar on the hard?

Thanks Nolex and Alan for the usefull comments.
Controller is a TriStar MPPT-45 with temperature compensation probe and remote panel.
Solar is two Kyocera 210 watt panels so no small size option.
Can hopefully figure a way to program or set the dip switces to just trickle charge. Seems not to be an unusual situation that should be coverable.
The Summer time temps in Baja, sitting on a paved yard, are surely pretty extreme. 120F would be fair guess. Hotter inside the boat of course. Still, my buddy's boats batts lived through the same conditions??!!
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Old 08-04-2013, 10:50   #20
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Hello

I see in the manual for the MPPT unit. Switch 2 is system voltage. Switch 4/5/6 are for your battery type and charge settings. Make sure you have switch 7 off when on the hard. No need to equalize when you are not deep cycling or under any loads !!

You can turn on switch 8, go to the Morningstar website and download the software to custom configure with a PC. You can then set the absorb time much shorter, that would have you in a trickle charge state, keeping you in float state most of the time, and only a short time of bulk, absorb.

Alan
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Old 08-04-2013, 12:36   #21
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Re: Batteries and Solar on the hard?

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Originally Posted by Hkalan View Post
Hello

I see in the manual for the MPPT unit. Switch 2 is system voltage. Switch 4/5/6 are for your battery type and charge settings. Make sure you have switch 7 off when on the hard. No need to equalize when you are not deep cycling or under any loads !!

You can turn on switch 8, go to the Morningstar website and download the software to custom configure with a PC. You can then set the absorb time much shorter, that would have you in a trickle charge state, keeping you in float state most of the time, and only a short time of bulk, absorb.

Alan
Thanks for the legwork
I'm back in the States for a bit right now. Will be back to the boat in a couple of weeks to work on a solution and cruise the islands for another month or so before hauling out.
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Old 08-04-2013, 12:46   #22
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Re: Batteries and Solar on the hard?

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Originally Posted by Hkalan View Post
Hello
You can turn on switch 8, go to the Morningstar website and download the software to custom configure with a PC. You can then set the absorb time much shorter, that would have you in a trickle charge state, keeping you in float state most of the time, and only a short time of bulk, absorb.

Alan
This is good advice.

None of the standard settings look very good for long term storage.

If you can customise the settings (option 8) your batteries will be greatful.

If you don't want to go to this trouble I would totally disconnect the batteries and solar power. (Remove from the battery terminals to guard against parasitic loads) The self discharge will be better than than the overcharge of the controller.

Two months of self discharge is normally not much of of problem, but at hot temperatures, with flooded batteries (especially older batteries) it is not ideal. If you can get a small charge, from the solar panels, to replace the self discharge, it would be beneficial.

However, I think all of the standard options (1-7) will be worse for the battery than the damage from the self discharge. The customised option would allow you program appropriate parameters that would keep the batteries at close to 100%, without overcharge, which would help their lifespan.
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Old 08-04-2013, 14:01   #23
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No one else likes the idea of spending the 20$ for a little 5 watt solar tender panel? I mean reprogramming the controller will probably get you there too but it doesn't get much simpler than a small panel and battery clamps
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Old 08-04-2013, 14:17   #24
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Re: Batteries and Solar on the hard?

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No one else likes the idea of spending the 20$ for a little 5 watt solar tender panel? I mean reprogramming the controller will probably get you there too but it doesn't get much simpler than a small panel and battery clamps
5w is a little low for 360aHrs

A small solar panel is often a good option to replace the self discharge, but it seems a pity to add a small solar panel when there is a big solar array available.

It is shame that that many solar controllers are not readily adjustable to take these common conditions (for boat owners ) into account. An easily adjustable controller is an important feature.

An adjustable controller pays for itself in the extra lifespan of the batteries (without the need to buy and mount additional panels)

If you have no solar, a small panel, to replace the self discharge is a good option.
If you have a larger solar array, get a controller that will allow appropriate settings to keep the batteries in their best condition even if you leave the boat for long periods.

420w can be regulated down to 5w ( or whatever is appropriate) with a good controller. That is their job. Unfortunately many controllers are not very adjustable and do not do this job well.
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Old 08-04-2013, 19:47   #25
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Hello,

While in the states, download the "MSview" from Morningstar for your controller. The download has all the firmware updates for your controller as well. When you connect a windows notebook to it, you can have the current firmware inside the controller, and ability to set your controls as you need !

I ran a line from the controller to the pilot house so it is easy to connect the notebook.

Once I connected the PC and noticed irregularities between the remote meter and PC. Updated the firmware and poof... More efficient controller !!

Too easy !!

Good luck !

Alan
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Old 08-04-2013, 20:36   #26
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Re: Batteries and Solar on the hard?

Had a boat on the hard for 2 years now. I just put all the sealed lead acids in parallel and keep them up with an 85w panel and a cheap Chinese controller. I go once a year and start the engine and the batts are always 100% and the start battery winds up the donkey very nicely even in -10 c so I suppose its horses for courses.
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