Questions about trailer solar systems and charging off the tow vehicle, and shore power

Still wondering, "what breaker"?

You said something about a breaker...but not what circuit the breaker is in. Solar input to the charge controller? Battery output from the charge controller? Inverter feed from battery? Inverter output to 120v plugs?

Incoming main from Hoover Dam to your workshop on the back 40? :)

Is the breaker labeled by any chance?
All excellent questions that further highlight my ignorance in this area. o_O I'm thinking some photos are in order.

Basically what I was calling a breaker is a big switch in the control area of the trailer labelled "On" and "Off." None of the other switches work when it's off (water, overhead lights, plug ins, etc). There is what I thought was an inverter that also has some sort of voltmeter built into it. It also goes off when the main switch is thrown (and if I don't switch it off first, it makes a horrible squealing noise). That's the only monitoring device in the whole setup.

I appreciate all the assistance and will get some photos up to help illustrate, clearly I don't have the knowledge to communicate the issues effectively. I swear I'm not usually this useless.

Also, the battery folks just called. One battery is shot and the other only partially charged, so they're both getting replaced Saturday. We also discussed a charger and he assured me they have smart chargers particular to my type of battery available. (I've had good luck with these guys in the past, good customer service).
 
if this guy spends thousands on two 6v batteries he's doing it wrong.. though he should just get FLA GC batteries instead of AGM's..

I wasent implying a cheap timer avoids need to get a good charger, but I've got some mechanical timers that are extremely reliable.
If that stands for Flooded Lead Acid Golf Cart battery, why is that better than an AGM?

(My quote for the two AGMs they have for me was $310 apiece, they'll take mine for the core and waive the charging and test fees).
 

dreadlocks

Well-known member
you can get a FLA for $100 each from Sams Club or Costco, they are more robust, take more abuse and are cheap and easy to replace when the time comes.. AGM's provide practically zero benefit for you other than emptying your savings account every time you need a new bank.. AGM's are finicky, easily damaged, harder to recover, and for recreational trailer loads provide nothing extra of value what so ever... maybe if you were full time off the grid with very high loads and reliable charge sources you could take advantage of its gains, but even then its almost never worth the premium because you need to buy top grade batteries from one of the like 3 good AGM manufacturers that cost many times more than "cheap" AGM's

AGM's are marketing snake-oil, they wont last any longer than FLA, in reality its likely less.. so you can buy 3x sets of FLA Golf Cart Batteries for the same cost sunk as 1 set of AGM's and they will perform every bit as well.
 
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Verkstad

Raggarkung
AGM's provide practically zero benefit for you other than emptying your savings account every time you need a new bank..
Or emptying acid when tipped, emitting sweet aroma whilst charging and a good deal safer against exploding.
 

dreadlocks

Well-known member
nonsense, generally its advisable to not tip your trailer upside down, if you have conditions where you have to mount a battery sideways or something then sure.. never smelled anything coming out of my batteries and them exploding is just nonsense, are you putting your self and battery banks in a sealed chamber while charging? You got better chance of blowing your camper up with your own farts than your FLA batteries since hydrogen is so much lighter than methane.. Despite trying practically every time I've gotten on a Golf Cart, I've never been able to make one explode.. I'd wager its practically a non-event.

real expo guys dont spend 3x more money for zero performance gain.. thats for the mall crawler crowd who just want the stickers and bragging rights.. but if thats the case AGM is old school, Lithium is where the real street cred comes now days.
 

john61ct

Adventurer
There are valid reasons for preferring AGM.

Just know the cost per Ah per year will be a lot higher.

Odyssey, Lifeline, Northstar, maybe Full River. . .
 

dwh

Tail-End Charlie
Normal RV wiring does not usually include an INverter (DC->AC). They normally do include a CONverter (AC->DC).

What the converter does is take incoming AC shore power and output 12v so both the 120vac stuff is powered (by the shore power), and the 12vdc stuff is also powered (by the converter). That way, the battery doesn't get drained by the 12v stuff when plugged into shore power. Since the converter is putting out 12vdc (more like 13.6v or somewhere in that neighborhood), there is a mild charging effect to the battery...but most converters aren't actually very good battery chargers...but, some are. Just depends on what you have.


That on/off switch sounds like maybe a master disconnect for the battery.
 

dwh

Tail-End Charlie
Depending on what converter you have, there are kits to upgrade it to a proper battery charger.
 

dwh

Tail-End Charlie
And if you don't actually need AGM you are way better off with golf cart batteries.

(And FLA can and do spontaneously blow up. But it's rare enough to not worry about it. EDIT: AGMs can do it too.)
 
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dwh

Tail-End Charlie
It has nothing to do with hydrogen buildup in the area outside the battery. All it takes is hydrogen and oxygen INSIDE the battery...and an internal short.
 

dreadlocks

Well-known member
and that kinda damage requires very high charge or discharge rates, that might be an a slight concern if your trying to run your aircon off a battery bank.. its never gonna happen powering a fridge, some lights and a furnace unless your really negligent and dont put any fuses on anything.

Can anyone raise your hand if you've ever had a battery explode?

Yes in some situations AGM has benefits, but what about all wild claims they make, like you can discharge em to 20%, or they last longer, or they charge way faster? eh snake-oil.. you cant, they wont, and its marginally faster.
 
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dreadlocks

Well-known member
well all deep cycle batteries that I know will eventually fail spectacularly if negligently charged, even AGMs.. kinda a known danger of energy storage, applies to much more than batteries too.. dont want to overfill pressure containers or fuel tanks either.
 

john61ct

Adventurer
If you are tuned in to your bank, you should be replacing it long before acute failure signs start showing up.

Standard EoL is 80% SoH, might push to 70% but past that is increased odds of such unexpected "events".

Proactive maintenance trumps waiting for components to overtly fail.
 
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