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Battery Installation

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:confused1: Hi All

Our van has 4 panels and three batteries. We are on a camp site with power and expect to be here for a long period. Our battery charge is still showing 101% on the PLM max. but recently was showing 94%. I turn the battery charger off at night as the hum can be heard from the bed above. On most sunny days the solar system is used only but when days are overcast the mains power is used for charging.

From what I have been advised I should be able to get close to maximum expected life with the batteries so long as I don't allow too much discharge. The batteries seemed to be very good ( approx. 3 yrs old now).

My query to other members is particularly for those who have already had to replace batteries.

Being set up on a permanent site in a remote area in WA I will have to replace them in the near future. Has anyone done this?

Obviously mains power would need to be disconnected but I am not sure about the solar power and how to disconnect it and whether there is some order inwhich to remove the batteries?

Also, whether there are alternate batteries that people may recommend?

I'll have to source where,cost etc of batteries and allow plenty of time for freight.

The Gall brothers at Kedron have always been helpful and I'll probably make contact again with them if necessary. But I thought I'd enquire with members on the road who have been there and done this before.

Hoping someone can assist :thumbsup:

cheers Reg

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Hi,

Sorry but I don’t know the answer to your question, but I will be very interested to know the correct proceeure.

I have been looking at the wiring setup in my TopEnder for some months now and have achieved only a basic understanding.

I consider the lack of a wiring diagram with the TopEnder to be one of the small shortcomings of the information Kedron give us when we take delivery of our van.

Regards, JK.

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Hi all,Hmm nail on head about wiring diagram or should I say lack of it, I specifically asked for it prior to the build and got a definite "nope". I have an electrical background so will probably be OK, but I consider not having one a considerable shortcoming. I would be interested in knowing the answer to the question at hand also if anyone has managed to secure a diagram.

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Hi ya CCC

Hey we've had our kedron 5 years 4 batts, 4 125 solar panels, and still on the same Batts

Our Van has been our home for 5 years so it gats a bit of a work out around the country mainly out western Qld where we do a bit of work

When ever where on 240 V power our charger is on all the time as my understanding is that the batt's don't like being disscharged so I've been told

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Hello CCC,

We have 3 batteries and 3 solar panels and our van was collected from Kedron May '09. So far no problems with batteries as I watch the voltage like a hawk. Like (I presume) many people, I thought that a 12 volt battery would be half discharged at 6 volts. How naive was that? I'm pretty sure that under Hints and Tips on the KOG site back in 2008 I found a chart showing just what the situation was when at 12.7 volts and all the way down to 11.6 volts was shown. Surprisingly to me (I'm electrically challenged) at 11.6 volts there is only 10% of the charge left. I can't seem to find the chart on the web site any more so perhaps Webby (Sue) can resurrect it. If not I have it saved as a word document and with a bit of luckn I might be able to post it.

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Mayzee

This may be of some help

State of charge chart for 12 volt batteries:

12.70 volts 100%

12.50 volts 90%

12.42 volts 80%

12.32 volts 70%

12.20 volts 60%

12.06 volts 50%

11.90 volts 40%

11.75 volts 30%

11.58 volts 20%

11.31 volts 10%

10.50 volts 0%

http://www.rverscorner.com/battery.html

Cheers

Bryan :thumbsup:

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Thanks Bryan,

That is very similar to the chart I have.

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Hi CCC,

I had cause to be speaking with Tom at Kedron this morning and posed the question - "but I am not sure about the solar power and how to disconnect it and whether there is some order inwhich to remove the batteries?"

There is no isolation switch in the circuit for the solar panels, but there is a 30A fuse in the left hand (looking into the boot area) battery box which can be disconnected. Other than that just make sure that you don't short out any of the positive wires - if this happens you will most likely blow the negative wire from the solar regulator to the negative shunt (but please don't ask me where that is).

Tom suggests that with precaution not to short the wires it is straight forward to then remove and replace the batteries in any order.

Hope this is of some help

Regards, JK.

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Some tips:

If 240 Volts is available, use it. Don't turn the battery charger off at night. You will get used to the slight hum of the fan. ANY discharge of a battery bank will shorten its life. The deeper the discharge the shorter the lifespan will be. If your State of Charge has been moderate (only down to, say, 70% of capacity) over time, your batteries typically should last about 7 years. There are other factors that affect this but this is a fair rule-of-thumb.

If you must change batteries and have solar power, either:

1) locate and remove the solar panel isolating fuse or

2) do the job at night (no Sun = no charge) or

3) throw a tarpaulin over your panels to block the Sun out

Also, make sure that the battery charger is turned off. Turn of all appliances in the van. This just prevents you from getting a fright when you disconnect the first battery connection and a spark jumps from the cable to the battery post.

After doing these things, remove the cables from the battery terminals one at a time and insulate them with insulation tape. Tie all cables that went to a battery post together, so that they all go back on (its easy for one to drop out of sight and get missed.) It is not that important whether you remove the positive or negative connection first. Make sure that no cable ends short against other battery terminals or the chassis as you remove them and if possible, wrap your spanner from the arm end to the jaw of the spanner with insulation tape. This prevents shorting the spanner between the battery terminals or the battery terminals and the chassis of the van.

Depending on the model of van you have, you might need to take the boot door right off to get the old batteries out and the new ones in.

Note that up until December 2008, Kedron were wiring the Solar Regulator (Plasmatronics) incorrectly and if you are messing with the DC wiring it would be a good time to rectify this. PM me if you need more details about this.

Cheers

Russ

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Hi Russ,

Could you elaborate on the solar charger wiring as we have been having intermittent problems with our PL40 solar charger.

Our TE is a Dec. 07 delivery.

Regards,

Ian

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Hi Russ,

Could you provide more information on the solar charger wiring as we have PL40 solar charger in our van.

Our XC and we picked it up in Dec. 07.

Regards,

Graham

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Hi Ian and Graham,

sorry for the delay in replying, was away yesterday. Kedron had two seperate issues with the solar regulator wiring.

1) If a PL20 or PL60 were installed, Kedron wired the appliances in the van from the batteries (via fuses and/or cct breakers). They should have wired the fridge and any inverter that may have been fitted to the batteries via a shunt, and every other 12 Volt applaince to the Load terminal of the regulator.

2) They did the same thing with the PL40 regulators but in this case, it is OK to do so because the PL40 only has a 7 Amp Load terminal (stupid bit of design). They should, however, have wired the 12 Volt appliances via Shunt (as well as fuses/breakers) and often this was not done.

The Plasmatronics Manual has clear diagrams showing how it should be done.

OK, the reason for wiring the devices via a Shunt is that the Shunt enables the regulator to monitor current flow to or from 12 Volt appliances that are NOT connected directly to the regulator itself. The PL series are intelligent regulators and instead of relying simply on the voltage of the batteries to determine the State of Charge, it also monitors and calculates the current coming from the solar panels, from the battery charger (when on 240 VAC supply), to or from the charge wire connected to your vehicle, to all appliances connected to the Load terminal and to appliances not connected to the Load terminal (fridge, inverter).

It then knows EXACTLY how much current to deliver to the batteries and when to do so, maximising battery life.

The Shunt is bi-directional and if wired in (correctly) can monitor current going through it in either direction. This means that if wired correctly, all devices using current pass that current through the Shunt in one direction and all devices delivering or supplying current pass it through the shunt in the other direction. When this is occurring simultaneously it (the Shunt) does an addition or subtraction and indicates the net result to the regulator. This means that at all times the regulator knows exactly what is going on around it and regulates the solar charge accordingly.

It should be noted that current coming from the car or a 240 Volt charger cannot be regulated by the Solar Regulator, but it can reduce or completely stop the flow of current from the Solar Panels to prevent overcharging of the batteries. Usually, the 240 VAC charger is also reasonably intelligent and will not overcharge the batteries, but the charge wire from the car is a whole different matter.

To identify whether a Shunt has been wired into your van you will be looking for something that looks like a giant, open fuse. It has a connection on each end with large brass blocks where the main cables are bolted to it. Between the brass blocks will be a number of flat wire links. Two insulated, thin, wires will also be fastened onto the brass blocks, one on each end. These are the wires that go to the regulator. The whole thing is about 120mm long, 30mm wide and 30mm deep. If you can't find something that looks like this, you don't have a shunt and the PL device cannot monitor and regulate the current properly.

Hope this helps.

Russ

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