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Solar, Twin Aux Batteries, Battery Tender and Alt. Charging.
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Timwhy
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:08 pm    Post subject: Solar, Twin Aux Batteries, Battery Tender and Alt. Charging. Reply with quote

Looking for some insight and advice before I proceed with my wiring project. At the
moment I have Wertker 44 amp aux battery charging by the dual battery relay
when under way. Also connected is a battery maintainer when hooked up to shore
power. I have a aux fuse box that provides a central place for all my powered item
to come from the Aux Battery. Also I have a small inverter connected to the Werker.

What I want to connect is a 135 watt solar panel through a Morningstar Prostar 15 amp
controller to the Aux Batteries. I will be adding another Werker 44 amp battery. My plan
is to keep the driver seat Werker and locate the new battery under the sink close to
my fuse box.

Also in my plan is to keep the maintainer and how the Dual Battery relay is wired currently.
The relay is a 40 amp relay running from the starting battery using 8 ga wire. When the
engine is running I have not had any charging issues, so keeping it this way if prefered.

Any suggestions on bits and pieces that I should be getting to have a safe and reliable
charging system that I have not mentioned? As well as recommendations as to the
wiring of this so that it works as I hope it will.

As always I appreciate all of you Electrical Wizards help.....And yes electricity is Magic!

Thanks in advance...............Tim
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also have three batteries. I have the solar charge controller hooked up in parallel with the charging relays. The batteries don't care if the charge is coming from the alternator or solar panel. I only connect my solar panel though when the van is parked for camping however. I did use Yandinas which have manual combine/off functions, and I concocted a switch panel that I can direct the solar charge to any of three batteries if I wish, or all at the same time. I wanted a priority charging system because I have a 600 watt amp connected to one of the batteries which drains faster.

The first two switches (from the left) control the Yandina modules, the next three connect each of the batteries to the solar charge controller. This also allows me to read each battery voltage individually on the controller display as well. Each battery positive is connected to a post on the panel( bottom) as well as a post for the solar power. They all share a common ground. This allowed all the wiring to be done right there for convenience.

My next step is to add a battery minder for more convenient charging.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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Timwhy
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PDXWesty wrote:
I also have three batteries. I have the solar charge controller hooked up in parallel with the charging relays. The batteries don't care if the charge is coming from the alternator or solar panel. I only connect my solar panel though when the van is parked for camping however. I did use Yandinas which have manual combine/off functions, and I concocted a switch panel that I can direct the solar charge to any of three batteries if I wish, or all at the same time. I wanted a priority charging system because I have a 600 watt amp connected to one of the batteries which drains faster.

The first two switches (from the left) control the Yandina modules, the next three connect each of the batteries to the solar charge controller. This also allows me to read each battery voltage individually on the controller display as well. Each battery positive is connected to a post on the panel( bottom) as well as a post for the solar power. They all share a common ground. This allowed all the wiring to be done right there for convenience.



Nice looking setup! When you say parrallel, do you mean that the batteries are hooked up in parallel? If so wouldn't you only get the reading from them in combined parrallel? Also you say that you have a 600 watt amp that is running off a battery, is it one of you aux batteries or the stating battery. The reason I'm asking is that I want to have the aux batteries connected together and not involve the solar hook up to the starting battery. I never gave it a thought about the amp being a big draw on power, I have a 300 watt amp but have an on/off switch to turn it off while camping. Usually I just use my xm boombox outside the van.Do you have any wiring diagrams that you could share of the aux battery side of your set up?
Thanks for the reply............Tim
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll see if I can get a diagram sketched up for clarity.
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I am Wildcat
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PDXWesty wrote:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Wow! That's a fantastic looking setup. You in the car a/v installation biz, or just really crafty? You should make a kit out of that setup and sell it. Looks awesome.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PDXWesty wrote:
I'll see if I can get a diagram sketched up for clarity.

Yes, diagram please. Smile

Also, those three switches that connect battery 1/2/3 positive to your solar controller - aren't you at risk if you flip more than one of those switches on at the same time?
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mariusstrom wrote:
Also, those three switches that connect battery 1/2/3 positive to your solar controller - aren't you at risk if you flip more than one of those switches on at the same time?


There's a 10 amp fuse in each of those lines from the solar controller to each battery post. It is a way to inadvertantly combine the batteries, but it's never been a problem even with more than one switch on. I haven't blown a fuse even during starting. I think as long as the starting batery is good, that's where the main current draw will come from.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PDXwesty,

Thanks for the photo. That is buy far the cleanest wiring setup I've ever seen in a van, and better then most houses for that matter. Applause

Something to strive for . . .

-CJ
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alright, here is the wiring diagram for the panel I set up (picture above) to control charging three batteries. As you can see, there are many combinations of use and charging using the Yandina relays and the solar controller switches. The yandina's are set up in a star pattern as suggested by them. I can force combine or turn them off. I also upgraded the wiring from the alternator to the starter to handle extra current. All the small grounds terminate on the ground post on the board. I have an aux. fuse panel connected to battery #3 that is not shown. The post set up makes it easy to connect loads to where ever you want though. My next step is to add an on board charger for when shore power is available. I will connect it to battery #1. It's really very simple when you take it one piece at a time.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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Timwhy
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very Nice!

Thank You!!
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Timwhy
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bought a few new things for my install. Two 6ga 49" battery cables to go from drivers
side battery to new under sink battery, to connect the batteries in parallel.
Two 6ga 19" battery cables to connect sink battery to aux fuse box under sink.
Also a battery box for the sink battery.

A couple of questions about how and where the wires go? From starting battery
to house battery under drivers seat 8ga to 40 amp relay. Battery maintainer to under sink
battery. Solar CC to under sink battery.

Does it make any difference which house batterys' + and or - side is used when
connecting charging devices to a battery bank that is connected in parallel?
Also is there any way that damage could be done to the 40 amp relay from the solar panels'
CC?
One last thing. Can I hook up my inverter to the +- poles on the aux fuse box instead
of the battery terminals. Just thinking of the web of wires this seems that it will create
and want to reduce that if possible.
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wolfsburg4x4
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure if you have already done this but if you power your aux fuse box throught the Mornigstar solar charge controller it will give you a live read out of amperage being used and will aslo shut down power if the battery reaches a critical low voltage level to protect the batteries

I have a Prostar 30 amp version...plenty of capacity

Eric
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Timwhy
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wolfsburg4x4 wrote:
I'm not sure if you have already done this but if you power your aux fuse box throught the Mornigstar solar charge controller it will give you a live read out of amperage being used and will aslo shut down power if the battery reaches a critical low voltage level to protect the batteries

I have a Prostar 30 amp version...plenty of capacity

Eric


Just have the one house battery and fuse panel, maintainer and inverter connected to it so far.
Panel is sitting here next to me waiting to go on the roof. Additional house battery
will be here next week. Just in the planning stages so far. Tell me more about how you have
your hooked up if you could?
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wolfsburg4x4
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did you get the Prostar with the led readout ? It should have a plus and minus outlet to power your fuse box. So your aux fuse box should only be connected to the Morningstar in order to get the amperage reading and protection. The Morningstar will have seperate connections to the aux batteries and an option to run a pair of small "sense" wires directly to the aux batteries as well to get a more accurate reading of the aux battery voltage.

No charging connections other than the solar panel should be made to the Morgingstar however

Can you post a picture of your Morningstar ?
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Timwhy
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wolfsburg4x4 wrote:
Did you get the Prostar with the led readout ? It should have a plus and minus outlet to power your fuse box. So your aux fuse box should only be connected to the Morningstar in order to get the amperage reading and protection. The Morningstar will have seperate connections to the aux batteries and an option to run a pair of small "sense" wires directly to the aux batteries as well to get a more accurate reading of the aux battery voltage.

No charging connections other than the solar panel should be made to the Morgingstar however

Can you post a picture of your Morningstar ?

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Last edited by Timwhy on Sat Feb 26, 2011 4:18 am; edited 1 time in total
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wolfsburg4x4
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, Identical to my 30 amp version
As you can see there are 8 possible connections:

Solar panel plus minus ( 12-14 guage wire is probably fine )
Battery plus minus ( 12 guage is probably fine )
optional sense plus minus ( 18 guage " " )
Load plus minus ( 12 Guage " " )

The Load terminals can power all your accessories up to 15 amps which is quite a lot, this what i did in my van. so just wire your fuse panel which supplies power to your accessories through the Load terminals.

The Morningstar read out will scroll showing aux battery voltage, solar amperage coming in ( if any ), and load amperage being consumed.
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Timwhy
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wolfsburg4x4 wrote:
Ok, Identical to my 30 amp version
As you can see there are 8 possible connections:

Solar panel plus minus ( 12-14 guage wire is probably fine )
Battery plus minus ( 12 guage is probably fine )
optional sense plus minus ( 18 guage " " )
Load plus minus ( 12 Guage " " )

The Load terminals can power all your accessories up to 15 amps which is quite a lot, this what i did in my van. so just wire your fuse panel which supplies power to your accessories through the Load terminals.

The Morningstar read out will scroll showing aux battery voltage, solar amperage coming in ( if any ), and load amperage being consumed.


Thank you!

Do you have any pictures of your installation that you can share? Wondering where
is the best place to mount this controller and if the distance from the batteries matters?
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Timwhy
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reading through the owners manual, it states to connect the battery first. Can I actually
connect this controller to the battery and the aux fuse box and have it work without
connecting the panel? I guess I am asking if it will allow me to use my electrical things
from the aux fuse box until it get to nicer weather for my panels' installation?
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wolfsburg4x4
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I mounted mine on the pillar just behind the driver seat above the kitchen sink, this way it is visible from all locations and I can even see it while driving by just having a look back. It should not matter how far it is away from the batteries because there is not a significant voltage drop as long as you connect it to the aux batteries with 12 guage maybe 10 wire. The farther it is away from the battery, the more need for the sense wires which adjust for the voltage drop.

I like the location I mounted it but it is also visible to the passer by, so it's not very "stealthy"

I haven't quite deled into the photo posting thing yet, but could pmail one if you like
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wolfsburg4x4
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Timwhy wrote:
Reading through the owners manual, it states to connect the battery first. Can I actually
connect this controller to the battery and the aux fuse box and have it work without
connecting the panel? I guess I am asking if it will allow me to use my electrical things
from the aux fuse box until it get to nicer weather for my panels' installation?


Correct, the unit will work fine without a solar panel connected at all, but will still serve as battery monitor and battery protection
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