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Old 27-01-2015, 12:01   #1
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pirate Solar, Batteries, Power and what the heck am I doing?

Don't be alarmed by the title. I have a fully functioning energy system that I have spent lots of work putting together properly, and have tried my best to maintain battery charge and power consumption, and everything is working great... But thats just it! Despite doing the research on whats good and how to set it up, I have no idea about electricity math, and what all these AMPS VOLTS HOURS mean.

I created a thread before about batteries, and the community guided me away from making a big mistake, and helped me get the right set up. I'm hoping I can get your help again.

My understanding of the whole battery and solar concept is simple:
1. I know how to set it up right.
2. I then monitor my power usage, combined with a VOLT meter.
3. I pick and choose one big thing to run/charge a day, and make sure I save at least 2-3 hours of sunlight with nothing running.
Or Ill run my engine for an hour to make sure batteries get a little charge.

5. As soon as my volt meter displays 12.0-3 I stop using big things. when they turn off, the meter goes back to 12.5-7. I assume 12.7 is good to end the day with so from there I only use LED lights or charge my cellphone.

Thats all I know about this stuff. I really want to take care of my power system but I have no idea what Im capable of, and I would really really appreciate a simple beginners explanation of this stuff, using my scenario as an example;
How long can I safely charge my laptop with a AC inverter during a sunny day, or night, and will running my engine maintain enough power at night so I don't drain my batteries. I plan on buying a better and more efficient pure sine wave inverter to replace the junk plastic K-Mart truck inverter on board (Its all I have) and so I want to have a better understanding of what I could use (Gaming system, Tv ect) before I get into replacing my inverter.

I realize that Im asking for a lot of explaining, I spent all morning drawing a diagram of my set up to help.



I have:
-1 100w Solar Panel
-4 6v 75amp Golf cart batts, converted in sereis to 2 12v batts
-2 deep cycle marine batts, 115 Amps.
-1 shitty power gobbler 400w inverter.

I mostly charge/run: (Not all at once, I take turns day by day with big stuff.)
-Laptop
-Fridge
-Cellhpone
-VHF Radio
-LED lights.

since Im strictly on the hook, I have all 4 batts on separate switches, and Im currently using them all for house since it takes nothing to start my Atomic 4 engine.
I have no idea the output of my alternator.
I simply have all batteries on, they are all being charged by the solar panel each day, and I watch my volt meter to make sure I don't use too much power.

I really appreciate any help and any links that have SIMPLE explanations of solar and battery, with real time usage of common items for examples.

EDIT:
P.S. also I would appreciate any tips methods or tricks you use to save power in any way.
Today I discovered its better to keep a laptop fully charged instead of unplugging it, running it down, and plugging it in again to charge it back up.
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Old 27-01-2015, 12:30   #2
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Re: Solar, Batteries, Power and what the heck am I doing?

First, using volts is a very tricky way to track state of charge for your batteries. Yes many do it but to do it well takes a bit of knowledge, experience and a good feel for your system.

Since you confess to a lack of expertise I highly recommend a good battery monitor to help you keep track of what's going on with your system and to help you learn more about how much and what you can run every day.

The most accurate and the one requiring the least knowledge I think is the Balmar Smart Guage. A cheaper alternative but requiring more knowledge and interaction to give accurate results would be a Victron battery monitor. This will track amps in and out of the batteries, shows how many amps you're drawing at any moment, how many you have used over the day, etc.
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Old 27-01-2015, 13:54   #3
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Re: Solar, Batteries, Power and what the heck am I doing?

A) you can not charge anything at night.
B) a battery monitor will help you but the Xantrex Linklite I am buying this week is $300 plus fitting.
C) i have been using a volt meter for the 6 years cruising and it teaches you a lot about your system
D) anyone who says write down you boats electrical consumption of a day is nuts, they have rocks in their head and their brains are a sandwich short of a full picnic.
E) I hate to recommend a book to anyone, but maybe you really could do with one. Theres one famous one that someone here will remember the name of

To cuddle your electrical system every day, to talk to it, to soothe its feelings and to never use an inverter at night will mean you truly love your electrical system and after many years it will do what you need it to do. Its the only way!!
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Old 27-01-2015, 14:00   #4
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Re: Solar, Batteries, Power and what the heck am I doing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
D) anyone who says write down you boats electrical consumption of a day is nuts, they have rocks in their head and their brains are a sandwich short of a full picnic.
!
now I'm all hungary
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Old 27-01-2015, 14:27   #5
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Re: Solar, Batteries, Power and what the heck am I doing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
A) you can not charge anything at night.
B) a battery monitor will help you but the Xantrex Linklite I am buying this week is $300 plus fitting.
C) i have been using a volt meter for the 6 years cruising and it teaches you a lot about your system
D) anyone who says write down you boats electrical consumption of a day is nuts, they have rocks in their head and their brains are a sandwich short of a full picnic.
E) I hate to recommend a book to anyone, but maybe you really could do with one. Theres one famous one that someone here will remember the name of

To cuddle your electrical system every day, to talk to it, to soothe its feelings and to never use an inverter at night will mean you truly love your electrical system and after many years it will do what you need it to do. Its the only way!!
Hey Mark,

Isn't it about 5:00 where you are? Sounds like it's time for a sundowner. Either that or you've been too long without companionship.

What kind of sandwich?

Peanuts, cashews or almonds?
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Old 27-01-2015, 14:29   #6
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Re: Solar, Batteries, Power and what the heck am I doing?

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Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
now I'm all hungary
Isn't that right next door to Austria? I hear they have good chocolate there.
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Old 27-01-2015, 14:45   #7
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Re: Solar, Batteries, Power and what the heck am I doing?

Ummmmmm, its 5:45!
Whadda my talking to you lot for???
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Old 27-01-2015, 14:51   #8
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Re: Solar, Batteries, Power and what the heck am I doing?

I think this is the book to which @MarkJ was referring:

http://www.amazon.com/Boatowners-Mec.../dp/0071432388

It really is the missing manual to your boat. Every sailor should have it.
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Old 27-01-2015, 15:51   #9
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Re: Solar, Batteries, Power and what the heck am I doing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by masterolive View Post
Don't be alarmed by the title. I have a fully functioning energy system that I have spent lots of work putting together properly, and have tried my best to maintain battery charge and power consumption, and everything is working great... But thats just it! Despite doing the research on whats good and how to set it up, I have no idea about electricity math, and what all these AMPS VOLTS HOURS mean.

I created a thread before about batteries, and the community guided me away from making a big mistake, and helped me get the right set up. I'm hoping I can get your help again.

My understanding of the whole battery and solar concept is simple:
1. I know how to set it up right.
2. I then monitor my power usage, combined with a VOLT meter.
3. I pick and choose one big thing to run/charge a day, and make sure I save at least 2-3 hours of sunlight with nothing running.
Or Ill run my engine for an hour to make sure batteries get a little charge.

5. As soon as my volt meter displays 12.0-3 I stop using big things. when they turn off, the meter goes back to 12.5-7. I assume 12.7 is good to end the day with so from there I only use LED lights or charge my cellphone.

Thats all I know about this stuff. I really want to take care of my power system but I have no idea what Im capable of, and I would really really appreciate a simple beginners explanation of this stuff, using my scenario as an example;
How long can I safely charge my laptop with a AC inverter during a sunny day, or night, and will running my engine maintain enough power at night so I don't drain my batteries. I plan on buying a better and more efficient pure sine wave inverter to replace the junk plastic K-Mart truck inverter on board (Its all I have) and so I want to have a better understanding of what I could use (Gaming system, Tv ect) before I get into replacing my inverter.

I realize that Im asking for a lot of explaining, I spent all morning drawing a diagram of my set up to help.



I have:
-1 100w Solar Panel
-4 6v 75amp Golf cart batts, converted in sereis to 2 12v batts
-2 deep cycle marine batts, 115 Amps.
-1 shitty power gobbler 400w inverter.

I mostly charge/run: (Not all at once, I take turns day by day with big stuff.)
-Laptop
-Fridge
-Cellhpone
-VHF Radio
-LED lights.

since Im strictly on the hook, I have all 4 batts on separate switches, and Im currently using them all for house since it takes nothing to start my Atomic 4 engine.
I have no idea the output of my alternator.
I simply have all batteries on, they are all being charged by the solar panel each day, and I watch my volt meter to make sure I don't use too much power.

I really appreciate any help and any links that have SIMPLE explanations of solar and battery, with real time usage of common items for examples.

EDIT:
P.S. also I would appreciate any tips methods or tricks you use to save power in any way.
Today I discovered its better to keep a laptop fully charged instead of unplugging it, running it down, and plugging it in again to charge it back up.
I'll take a stab at it. Some of this is from electronics school, and some of it is from experience.

Starting at the top: We need to get our vocabulary straight. Voltage is a measurement of potential (think of it as water or air pressure) and amperage is a measurement of current (like gallons of water or cfm of air.) Wattage is a measurement of power and is simply voltage x amperage. 12v battery that has produced 10 amps of current has provided 120 watts of power.

Best practices is all about maximizing power generation, and minimizing power consumption. This includes reducing resistance caused by poor connections or small cables.

To maximize your solar harvest begins with pointing your solar panel directly at the sun and making sure it has no shading, or minimal. You could add a 2nd panel with the ideal panel being the same make/model. If not, try and find a close match in amperage and a very close match in Vmax. Second step would be to make sure you have an MPPT controller, which converts higher voltage panel output to slightly lower voltage charge voltage at slightly higher current. Think of it like a reduction gear.

Make sure your battery posts remain clean with a battery protector spray. If badly corroded, remove them and scrub them and add the spray.

I was taught that a battery is an energy storage device, but I envisioned it like a pitcher of water. You pour some in, you pour some out. But that's not entirely accurate. A battery is a lot more like a compressed air tank with a slow leak. You have to force power into it with a higher voltage (air pressure) and you never get all of it back out. If left alone, it will self discharge, like a tank with a leak. It's like an air tank that you have to compress air into it at 120 psi to get 100 psi out of it. Just like there is a pressure gauge on an air tank, you can use a voltmeter to check your battery, but like mentioned above, a battery monitor is more accurate.

Look up the batteries that you have on the web and find out what the recommended charge voltage is. Most people are not fully charging their batteries. For example, my batteries (Interstate 6v) are supposed to be charged at 7.75v, which is 15.5v for a 12v pair. Most chargers don't go anywhere near that high, and if not charged to 15.5 for a period of time, my batteries are not fully charged. Most people have their chargers set at 14.4v or so, which is only 80% charged. Since you should strive to charge to 100% and discharge to only 50%, they're only using 30% of their capacity. If they were getting the other 20%, they'd be increasing their usable cap. by 40%.

Once you've determined the max. charging V. try and set your solar controller and alternator regulator to that voltage.

You really should not mix and match batteries of different types, sizes, or age. What will happen is the weakest battery will drag the whole system down. If you do have a mix, use a battery isolator to allow all batteries to be charged without affecting the cap, and discharge rate of the other batteries. Most of them have a connection that allows you to flip a switch to connect the batteries together to power a bigger load.

Now let's discuss minimizing power usage. LED lights, laptops, etc are all good power savers. Don't assume that your inverter is inefficent just based on price, it might be as efficient as a more expensive unit, and usually pure sine wave inverters consume more power in order to produce that pure sine wave, so if it's working for you and it's anywhere close to 90% or above efficient, you might consider keeping it.

That being said, you can run your laptop off of a 12c DC to 19v DC converter. It wastes a little power, but it's more efficient than converting 12v to 110VAC, then converting it back down to 19VDC.

It's also better to buy a 12v TV, charge your cell phone off of 12v, etc. The fewer 110v items you use, the less power you lose in the inversion process.


Between all of that, you should be closer to making more power and using/losing less of it. Hope this helped!
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Old 27-01-2015, 15:59   #10
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Re: Solar, Batteries, Power and what the heck am I doing?

Get yourself a battery monitor like the Xantrex Linklite for under $200. You don't then have to guess what amps you're using. They're easy to set up and use and will show your exact amp usage. At the touch of a button you can see the amps going in or the amps coming out as well as total amps used or the percentage of battery storage remaining.
I glance at mine often. It's great to see when your charging system is pumping in 50amps and I get a kick out of seeing the solar panels recharge the bank back up to full by 10.00am.
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Old 27-01-2015, 16:17   #11
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Re: Solar, Batteries, Power and what the heck am I doing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
First, using volts is a very tricky way to track state of charge for your batteries. Yes many do it but to do it well takes a bit of knowledge, experience and a good feel for your system.

Since you confess to a lack of expertise I highly recommend a good battery monitor to help you keep track of what's going on with your system and to help you learn more about how much and what you can run every day.

The most accurate and the one requiring the least knowledge I think is the Balmar Smart Guage. A cheaper alternative but requiring more knowledge and interaction to give accurate results would be a Victron battery monitor. This will track amps in and out of the batteries, shows how many amps you're drawing at any moment, how many you have used over the day, etc.
Thanks. Im currently in Haiti and I couldnt buy one if I wanted. I was hoping to have someone look at my battery banks capacity, and translate to me how much power I have total, and as an example, show me how long I could charge my laptop before running them down to 70% and how the 100w solar panel will maintain that power for longer usage during the day. This is still really confusing for me, but my diagram is 100% accurate to my current setup.

I just started looking into replacing AC cords for some of my devices into DC cords instead, and simply power devices with a DC outlet without an inverter.

Quote:
A) you can not charge anything at night.
B) a battery monitor will help you but the Xantrex Linklite I am buying this week is $300 plus fitting.
C) i have been using a volt meter for the 6 years cruising and it teaches you a lot about your system
D) anyone who says write down you boats electrical consumption of a day is nuts, they have rocks in their head and their brains are a sandwich short of a full picnic.
E) I hate to recommend a book to anyone, but maybe you really could do with one. Theres one famous one that someone here will remember the name of

To cuddle your electrical system every day, to talk to it, to soothe its feelings and to never use an inverter at night will mean you truly love your electrical system and after many years it will do what you need it to do. Its the only way!!
Thanks for the reply. I monitor my volt meter AND my solar charger that indicates when the batts (the whole bank total, or whatever batteries are switched on) are 25% 50% 75% or FULL. IDK WTF this stuff means, I just make sure the volt meter doesn't go below 12.0-3 and that the solar charger never shows 50%.
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Old 27-01-2015, 16:38   #12
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Re: Solar, Batteries, Power and what the heck am I doing?

There are other, smaller changes you can make. I have an LED LCD laptop with an i7 CPU that throttles way down on power unless it's crunching heavy numbers, which is almost never. I installed an SSD to replace the HDD which not only drastically speeds up data access time and overall computer responsiveness, it saves power by eliminating a motor and spinning platters, not to mention no danger of data loss from a head crash.

It can also run for 8 hrs on a charge, so I could run it plugged in during the day and on it's own battery at night to reduce battery drain.

Anything you can do to use solar power during the day instead of battery power at night is a good idea. It might take 130 amps into your batteries to get 100 amps out, so it's far more efficient to run big power users off of the solar than the batteries.
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Old 27-01-2015, 16:41   #13
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Re: Solar, Batteries, Power and what the heck am I doing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by socaldmax View Post
I'll take a stab at it. Some of this is from electronics school, and some of it is from experience.

Starting at the top: We need to get our vocabulary straight. Voltage is a measurement of potential (think of it as water or air pressure) and amperage is a measurement of current (like gallons of water or cfm of air.) Wattage is a measurement of power and is simply voltage x amperage. 12v battery that has produced 10 amps of current has provided 120 watts of power.

Best practices is all about maximizing power generation, and minimizing power consumption. This includes reducing resistance caused by poor connections or small cables.

To maximize your solar harvest begins with pointing your solar panel directly at the sun and making sure it has no shading, or minimal. You could add a 2nd panel with the ideal panel being the same make/model. If not, try and find a close match in amperage and a very close match in Vmax. Second step would be to make sure you have an MPPT controller, which converts higher voltage panel output to slightly lower voltage charge voltage at slightly higher current. Think of it like a reduction gear.

Make sure your battery posts remain clean with a battery protector spray. If badly corroded, remove them and scrub them and add the spray.

I was taught that a battery is an energy storage device, but I envisioned it like a pitcher of water. You pour some in, you pour some out. But that's not entirely accurate. A battery is a lot more like a compressed air tank with a slow leak. You have to force power into it with a higher voltage (air pressure) and you never get all of it back out. If left alone, it will self discharge, like a tank with a leak. It's like an air tank that you have to compress air into it at 120 psi to get 100 psi out of it. Just like there is a pressure gauge on an air tank, you can use a voltmeter to check your battery, but like mentioned above, a battery monitor is more accurate.

Look up the batteries that you have on the web and find out what the recommended charge voltage is. Most people are not fully charging their batteries. For example, my batteries (Interstate 6v) are supposed to be charged at 7.75v, which is 15.5v for a 12v pair. Most chargers don't go anywhere near that high, and if not charged to 15.5 for a period of time, my batteries are not fully charged. Most people have their chargers set at 14.4v or so, which is only 80% charged. Since you should strive to charge to 100% and discharge to only 50%, they're only using 30% of their capacity. If they were getting the other 20%, they'd be increasing their usable cap. by 40%.

Once you've determined the max. charging V. try and set your solar controller and alternator regulator to that voltage.

You really should not mix and match batteries of different types, sizes, or age. What will happen is the weakest battery will drag the whole system down. If you do have a mix, use a battery isolator to allow all batteries to be charged without affecting the cap, and discharge rate of the other batteries. Most of them have a connection that allows you to flip a switch to connect the batteries together to power a bigger load.

Now let's discuss minimizing power usage. LED lights, laptops, etc are all good power savers. Don't assume that your inverter is inefficent just based on price, it might be as efficient as a more expensive unit, and usually pure sine wave inverters consume more power in order to produce that pure sine wave, so if it's working for you and it's anywhere close to 90% or above efficient, you might consider keeping it.

That being said, you can run your laptop off of a 12c DC to 19v DC converter. It wastes a little power, but it's more efficient than converting 12v to 110VAC, then converting it back down to 19VDC.

It's also better to buy a 12v TV, charge your cell phone off of 12v, etc. The fewer 110v items you use, the less power you lose in the inversion process.


Between all of that, you should be closer to making more power and using/losing less of it. Hope this helped!
I just noticed this post, I can tell its gonna be a good read but I wanted to let you know I didnt skip it. I also have another discussion going on at reddit and Im getting alot of feedback, more than I hoped for. Im in haiti and sadly the interent is slow but Ill get there.
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Old 27-01-2015, 17:08   #14
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Re: Solar, Batteries, Power and what the heck am I doing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by socaldmax View Post
I'll take a stab at it. Some of this is from electronics school, and some of it is from experience.

Starting at the top: We need to get our vocabulary straight. Voltage is a measurement of potential (think of it as water or air pressure) and amperage is a measurement of current (like gallons of water or cfm of air.) Wattage is a measurement of power and is simply voltage x amperage. 12v battery that has produced 10 amps of current has provided 120 watts of power.

Best practices is all about maximizing power generation, and minimizing power consumption. This includes reducing resistance caused by poor connections or small cables.

To maximize your solar harvest begins with pointing your solar panel directly at the sun and making sure it has no shading, or minimal. You could add a 2nd panel with the ideal panel being the same make/model. If not, try and find a close match in amperage and a very close match in Vmax. Second step would be to make sure you have an MPPT controller, which converts higher voltage panel output to slightly lower voltage charge voltage at slightly higher current. Think of it like a reduction gear.

Make sure your battery posts remain clean with a battery protector spray. If badly corroded, remove them and scrub them and add the spray.

I was taught that a battery is an energy storage device, but I envisioned it like a pitcher of water. You pour some in, you pour some out. But that's not entirely accurate. A battery is a lot more like a compressed air tank with a slow leak. You have to force power into it with a higher voltage (air pressure) and you never get all of it back out. If left alone, it will self discharge, like a tank with a leak. It's like an air tank that you have to compress air into it at 120 psi to get 100 psi out of it. Just like there is a pressure gauge on an air tank, you can use a voltmeter to check your battery, but like mentioned above, a battery monitor is more accurate.

Look up the batteries that you have on the web and find out what the recommended charge voltage is. Most people are not fully charging their batteries. For example, my batteries (Interstate 6v) are supposed to be charged at 7.75v, which is 15.5v for a 12v pair. Most chargers don't go anywhere near that high, and if not charged to 15.5 for a period of time, my batteries are not fully charged. Most people have their chargers set at 14.4v or so, which is only 80% charged. Since you should strive to charge to 100% and discharge to only 50%, they're only using 30% of their capacity. If they were getting the other 20%, they'd be increasing their usable cap. by 40%.

Once you've determined the max. charging V. try and set your solar controller and alternator regulator to that voltage.

You really should not mix and match batteries of different types, sizes, or age. What will happen is the weakest battery will drag the whole system down. If you do have a mix, use a battery isolator to allow all batteries to be charged without affecting the cap, and discharge rate of the other batteries. Most of them have a connection that allows you to flip a switch to connect the batteries together to power a bigger load.

Now let's discuss minimizing power usage. LED lights, laptops, etc are all good power savers. Don't assume that your inverter is inefficent just based on price, it might be as efficient as a more expensive unit, and usually pure sine wave inverters consume more power in order to produce that pure sine wave, so if it's working for you and it's anywhere close to 90% or above efficient, you might consider keeping it.

That being said, you can run your laptop off of a 12c DC to 19v DC converter. It wastes a little power, but it's more efficient than converting 12v to 110VAC, then converting it back down to 19VDC.

It's also better to buy a 12v TV, charge your cell phone off of 12v, etc. The fewer 110v items you use, the less power you lose in the inversion process.


Between all of that, you should be closer to making more power and using/losing less of it. Hope this helped!
This absolutely helped. Im special in the department where using simple examples make more sense, and I totally understand the compressed air concept.
It looks to me that In order to truly understand my system I need a battery monitor or amp reader so I can see exactly how much is going in, stored, and being taken out. simple.

I monitor my volt meter and solar charger and make sure the solar charger never displays %50 or that the voltage doesn't go below 12.0-3. On what seems to be a good day, my meter will show 13.1volts. After steadily using it thought the day, I end the day with the meter reading 12.7. Should I be seeing 14v or 15v on my volt meter? I have to save gas and cant just charge my batts all day yet because I am in haiti.
I started the voyage a month ago, and Ive been carefully making sure my batteries dont go below 70% but Ive never fully charged them since. I intend to but I cant at this time.

for battery isolators, does a battery switch count? I have the solar charge output connected to the common terminal. since Im living on the hook now, I have all terminals open.

Alot of people told me this today, about getting the DC adaptor cords for my devices and that is the first thing I want to look into. If I completely bypass the inverter by getting DC cords and outlets, will my DC switch panel be able to power a game system or small tv if I plug them into a DC Outlet connected to a 15amp breaker?
or will I have to look into another DC/inverter type of device?
Thankyou so much for your reply.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Privilege View Post
Get yourself a battery monitor like the Xantrex Linklite for under $200. You don't then have to guess what amps you're using. They're easy to set up and use and will show your exact amp usage. At the touch of a button you can see the amps going in or the amps coming out as well as total amps used or the percentage of battery storage remaining.
I glance at mine often. It's great to see when your charging system is pumping in 50amps and I get a kick out of seeing the solar panels recharge the bank back up to full by 10.00am.
Unfortunetly I cannot purchase one at this time, but this seems to be the answer to everything if I truly want to see what my power is doing :/ money is scarce and so is cooking propain and gas if im lucky enough to afford turning my engine on to act as a small generator.

That battery monitor along with DC Outlets and replacement cords are on by buy list. Its getting to the point where I may have to sail back to the USA to work on all this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by socaldmax View Post
There are other, smaller changes you can make. I have an LED LCD laptop with an i7 CPU that throttles way down on power unless it's crunching heavy numbers, which is almost never. I installed an SSD to replace the HDD which not only drastically speeds up data access time and overall computer responsiveness, it saves power by eliminating a motor and spinning platters, not to mention no danger of data loss from a head crash.

It can also run for 8 hrs on a charge, so I could run it plugged in during the day and on it's own battery at night to reduce battery drain.

Anything you can do to use solar power during the day instead of battery power at night is a good idea. It might take 130 amps into your batteries to get 100 amps out, so it's far more efficient to run big power users off of the solar than the batteries.
Do you mind giving me a link to your computer or where you purchased it? Is is specially designed to run at low power while being able to run games or edit movies? I have a power house mac book pro, i7, 16gb ram, 1.5T hard drive, Its a work horse and it provides exceptional results for my movie editing photos and gaming, but its been used and abused so much It has no re-sell value. Someday Ill have to completley 1UP mself and get the latest and greatest laptop like I did in 2011, so Im interested if this "low power consumption" is a special feature for specific laptops.
Thanks for the reply.
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Old 27-01-2015, 17:24   #15
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Re: Solar, Batteries, Power and what the heck am I doing?

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Originally Posted by masterolive View Post
I just make sure the volt meter doesn't go below 12.0-3 and that the solar charger never shows 50%.
I don't know what 12.0-3 means.

50% is 12.24 when not under load, i.e everything turned off. It shold not be allowed to go uder 12.24.

12.3 is nearly down to zipperty...

Here is a good table. After sunset it should be about 12.80. I do note the table says 50% is 12.2. Ummmmmmmmm I think it shoukd be 12.24... Goes to show you its an inexact science!
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