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Installing Custom Solar Battery Charging Systems on Recreational Vehicles in the Denver Metro Area
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Deep Cycle Batteries Facts

For optimum battery performance only use deep-cycle batteries in an RV that has a Solar and/or Inverter system installed.

 Deep-cycle batteries fall into three categories:

High quality deep-cycle batteries are usually rated in Amp-hours (Ah) as opposed to cold cranking amps (CCA).

Wet Cell Batteries

Deep-cycle wet cell batteries have thick lead plates that are alloyed with Interstate Deep Cycle wet cell batteryantimony, and are flooded with an electrolyte and water mix. Wet cell batteries will give off gas as a natural result of charging, therefore the battery compartment should have some sort of ventilation. Wet cell batteries should never be installed in in living areas. Through daily recharges, over time water loss will occur. Your deep-cycle batteries water level should be checked monthly and topped off with distilled water. High quality deep-cycle wet cell batteries will offer good performance and are available in many dimensional sizes and Ah capacities.

Ah or amp hour is a unit of measure for a batteries storage capacity obtained by the amount of amps a battery can be discharged multiplied by the amount of hours at 80 degrees fahrenheit. For example a 100ah rated RV battery means that 5 amps can be discharged for 20 hours before the battery will fall below 10 volts.

Wet Cell Battery State of Charge Rates
100% charged = 12.6 volts
75% charged = 12.4 volts
50% charged = 12.2 volts
25% charged = 12 volts
0% charged = <11.8 volts

Hybrid Deep-cycle/Cranking type batteries are suitable for both engine starting and deep-cycle applications. Although not recommended, this type of battery will work as a coach storage battery, but will have a reduced life span if deeply discharged, which means that the batteries will have to be replaced sooner than a deep-cycle battery that is rated in Amp-hours. This hybrid type of battery is usually rated in cold cranking amps (CCA).

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Gel Cell Batteries

Deep-cycle gel cell batteries are lead-acid batteries, but different in construction and chemistry than wet cell batteries. They offer unique features like: no maintenance, low self-discharge rate, and low internal resistance.

Gel cell batteries are sealed but the battery compartment still needs to be ventilated. These batteries will have slightly shorter life span than wet cell batteries. Gel cell batteries dimensional sizes and Ah capacities are more limited than wet cell.

Gel Cell Battery State of Charge Rates
100% charged = 12.95 volts
75% charged = 12.65 volts
50% charged = 12.35 volts
25% charged = 12 volts
0% charged = <11.8 volts

AGM Batteries (Absorbed Glass Mat)

Deep-cycle AGM batteries are maintenance free lead-acid batteries. TheyOptima AGM Battery are similar to gel cell batteries and have the performance and charge rate of
wet cell batteries, although they are much higher in cost than wet cell batteries. Like Gel Cell batteries, AGM batteries are sealed but still need to be ventilated. AGM batteries are available in limited dimensional sizes and capacities.

Due not confuse AGM or Gel Cell batteries with standard maintenance-free batteries. Maintenance-free batteries have calcium plates alloyed with lead and will not hold up to repeated discharging.

AGM Battery State of Charge Rates
100% charged = 12.9 volts
75% charged = 12.6 volts
50% charged = 12.3 volts
25% charged = 12 volts
0% charged = <11.8 volts

Charging Deep-cycle Batteries

Because of the charging characteristics of deep-cycle batteries, a vehicles charging system will only charge most deep-cycle batteries 80% to 85% of their maximum capacity. Depending on your daily use, a solar system installed by RV Solar Connection will charge most deep-cycle batteries to 100% full charge before the day is out during spring and summer months.

For longest battery life it is recommended that deep-cycle batteries be charged when the batteries capacity has reached 50%. A solar battery charging system from RV Solar Connection will automatically take care of this for you 365 days a year.

Deep-cycle batteries can be discharged to about 80% of capacity before damage may occur.

For a free quote on installing a battery charging system in your RV visit Contact Us and give Randy or Jim a call.

 

Never Run out of Battery Power!

Here's a snapshot of the  power generation system in my 5th wheel travel trailer.

Small Solar Array
It all starts with the solar panels. Pictured above is my two panel array. The small panel on the right is a 48 watt Siemens purchased in the early 90's. The large panel is a 110 watt Mitsubishi. The two are tied together giving me a total of 158 watts of renewable solar energy.
This spring I'm intending to add another 390 watts and a Blue Sky Solar Boost to the system.

Interstate Industrial U1850HD Workhorse Batteries
My solar power is first wired to my 12 year old Specialty Concepts charge controller (top of picture) then down to a pair of 12 volt Interstate Industrial U1850 Heavy Duty Workhorse batteries rated at 225 Ah each. That's a total of 450 Ah.

My Workhorse batteries are wired to the trailers 12 volt system and to my 3000 watt Vector inverter.

Inverter Compartment Closed
Before I could install my inverter I had to modify the bedroom step. Sunnybrook originally built the step with no access under it. I had to remove the carpet, remove the plywood step top, install a piano hinge, then put the step back together. The picture above is the after modification shot which looks just like it did before the modification.

Inverter Compartment Open
With the top step raised you can see my Vector MAXX SST 3000 watt inverter that with the flick of a switch easily powers my 110 volt electrical appliances in my 5th wheel, including the microwave and my wife's blow dryer and curling iron.

RV Solar Connection can install a system like this in your RV. Visit the Contact Us page and give Randy or Jim a call to schedule your free consultation. 

Relevant Articles
12 volt verses 6 volt
Battery Article courtesy of Kyocera Solar PDF Icon

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