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Solar power charging


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Hi I got a sunworks solar controller and on a bad weather day I get a reading of 0.4 amp,The battery reads 12.9 volts, does this mean i will get some charge form the panel to maintain the battery for use of my motorhome electrics, or is it not enough?if this would a mains trickle charger i know it would be enough (i know they normally put out about 14 volts but an old one before it dit give up the ghost put only 12.9 volts out but it worked keeping battery charged)
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spirou - 2019-10-27 11:23 AM

 

on the very low end for long term storage, 13.1-13.2V would be better. But obviously not enough to charge

So you are saying is, what is written on the controller is the voltage coming from the solar panel? when it is on mains it goes on to 13.9 so it is confusing, one minute saying it is battery input volts and one-minute solar panel and what about the 0.4 amps does this do anything?

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Charging of cyclic batteries is typically done in stages. For a wet acid battery you would expect to see voltage rise to ~14.4V in the bulk phase using large current (lets say about 10A but it depends), then switching over to an absorption phase where it maintains the voltage but amps gradually fade. It finishes with a float phase with lower voltage (~13.8V is typical ) and very low current. Some chargers have an aditional storage mode of around 13.2V.

 

Storage mode voltage should be a few tenths of a Volt above resting voltage of your battery. That can be anywhere between 12.6 to 13.2 depending on specific battery technology.

 

So in your case, you seem to have an old mains charger that outputs a fixed (low) charging voltage which means it will take forever to actually charge the battery (if ever) but is relatively OK if permanenly connected. And then you have a solar regulator that is so weak it is barely good enough for maintenance charging while the MH is not in use. Probably enough to keep the alarm from draining the battery but that's about it. In other words, you might want to consult someone and consider an upgrade. Or maybe I missed something

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