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Chad Heiser

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About Chad Heiser

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    Major Contributor
  • Birthday September 2

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    Lake County, CA

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  1. Bleeding brakes

    I think you will be fine with that amount of time. Think how long you sit on the brake at a long stop light. There isn't much difference between that and what you are doing.
  2. Need advice on under-performing solar system

    With the panels you are describing (after looking at the spec sheet on line) you should see approximately 60 volts at approximately 16 amps in a series pair configuration. The specs I found rate the panels 31.4 volts at 8.37 amps. In a series pair you add the volts, but the amps stay the same. This gives you approximately 60 volts at 8 amps. Then when you parallel two of these pairs together, you add the amps to get a total array of approximately 60 volts at 16 amps. You say you are running this through 50 feet of 10 AWG wire. I am going to assume that is 50 feet from point A (panels) to point B (solar controller), which for a wire run is really 100 feet because you need to add the return leg (positive and negative run). According to an internet voltage calculator, that will result in approximately 5% line loss under ideal conditions. This drops your 60 volts at 16 amps down to 57 volts at 15.2 amps. This is under ideal conditions. You will realistically never achieve ideal conditions in an RV environment, so you will actually see something less than that for maximum output. Your batteries will charge somewhere around 13 volts. This leaves 44 volts the MPPT controller can convert to amps going to the batteries (57-13=44). 44 volts is approximately 338% of 13 volts (44/13=3.384). This remaining power is converted to amps. 16 amps plus another 338% is approximately 54 amps (16x3.62= 54.2). So under ideal conditions you could see 54 amps (approximately) going into your battery bank from your solar array (which is near the maximum your solar controller is capable of producing). Lets assume for working numbers you get 80% of that output because the sun isn't perpendicular to the panels and it isn't peak sun time all day long and line loss and heat loss and etc. (and this is still probably being generous and assumes you are in the dessert near the southern border of the US - as close to the equator as possible). This will bring you down somewhere around 43 amps to the batteries per hour of usable sunlight (your numbers will vary based on many conditions, but this is a good working model for the described system). You said you are in Grand Teton so you are nowhere near the dessert or the southern border of the US so realistically, I would drop that number down another 10 or 15%. This gets you closer to 35 amps to the batteries per hour. At 5 solar hours in a day that puts you around 175 amps back into the batteries per day (again your exact solar output is dependent on many conditions and this is only an estimate). This also assumes you have nothing coming out of the batteries while the solar is recharging them. Any amps coming out of the batteries will be taken right off the top of this number. According to your post, you saw + 80 amps go into your batteries. This is a little less than half the output of the estimate I made based on some basic calculations. I have no way of knowing what the draw was on your batteries during the day (but you say it was minimal). I also don't know over what time period you saw the 80 amp increase in your battery bank. Was that from the morning to the afternoon. Was it over a 24 hour period, 12 hour period????? I also don't know what size wire you have going from the solar controller to the batteries and how long this wire run is (so I can't factor in any possible line loss on this end of the system). Without additional information and/or taking exact measurements, I can't say for sure that your system is under-performing. It does seem to be somewhat low, but there are many factors that could be contributing to this. It could also be performing at its capabilities based on the limited information I am working with. If that 80 amp increase was for a 24 hr period then it is right within where I would expect it to be based on average usage of power in a boondocking situation (175 amps into the bank and 95 amps used from the bank over a 24 our period to give you a net gain of 80 amps). Some things I would check are that there is no shading on any of your panels from AC shrouds, vent covers satellite antennas, TV antennas, etc. You need to check this under all possible angles of the sun to make sure there isn't an issue in the morning versus afternoon, etc. I would also make sure the panels are clean (no bird droppings, leaves, etc covering any cells in the panels). In a series (or series pair like you have) configuration, any small amount of shading will greatly affect the output of the series string of panels. I would also recommend shortening that 10 AWG wire run. I would put a combiner box on the roof and run the 10 AWG to that (short run) and then come down to the solar controller from the combiner box with heavier gauge wire to reduce or eliminate line loss on the long run you have. I would also make sure all your connections are good and tight on the system as a whole. I know this is a lot of information, but hopefully some of it helps.
  3. Bleeding brakes

    Al, Your trailer does not have to be connected to anything for the emergency brake breakaway cable to work. It is completely standalone and is designed to be that way. It is intended to activate the trailer brakes when the trailer becomes disconnected from the tow vehicle while in transit and the two vehicles (tow vehicle and trailer) separate from one another. This way the trailer will stop on its own. It will draw power from the trailer battery bank to activate the trailer brakes whether or not it is hooked up to anything else.
  4. Depleted Li battery pack- UPDATED and ok

    You may or may not have the relays Ronbo described. It depends on your battery supplier (in this case Relion). Not all Lithium Ion battery suppliers supply the necessary battery monitoring controls with their batteries. I went to Relion's web site and after a quick scan, I do not see anything about battery monitoring equipment. It looks like they just supply batteries set up like a replacement drop in battery without any built in monitoring, so you probably do not have any of the equipment Ronbo and Jack were referring to unless you added it on your own.
  5. Bleeding brakes

    When he says emergency switch, he is referring to the emergency brake break away cable at the pin box. When you pull this cable out of the actuator it will apply full pressure to the trailer brakes until the plunger is replaced in the actuator. Of course it will also be pulling power from your battery bank to do this, so don't leave it this way for extended periods of time and drain your batteries.
  6. Your truck may or may not actually be supplying a charge to the trailer while towing. You need to put a meter on the 12 volt positive terminal in your trucks 7 pin connector at the bumper and see if it is energized with the truck running. If it is not, there is a fuse somewhere that is either bad or was never installed. Additionally, the charge coming through the 7 pin connector (when it is working) is minimal at best. It is being pushed through a 12 gauge wire (most likely) from your alternator through a fuse block and all the to the back of your truck. Then it goes through the 7 pin connector and into your trailer wiring (also probably 12 gauge) to wherever the batteries are located. This is a long run on relatively small gauge wire for 12 volt which makes it very difficult to effectively recharge a depleted battery bank (especially a larger one like it appears you have). You cannot expect a lot of charging from this set up. It will help to maintain a fully charged battery bank while moving, but it won't do a lot to recharge a depleted bank that still has small loads on it. As to your solar equipment, it is difficult to answer why it is not charging better than you describe. It seems from the equipment that you are describing that it should. Again, my first step would be to put a meter on the system and see what it is actually doing. Measure the voltage/amperage coming from the solar panels to the controller and then the voltage/amperage going from the controller to the batteries and see what the readings are. With that information, we can better determine how fast/well your system should recharge your batteries.
  7. Verizon terminates rural Montana accounts

    My cousin was affected by this. The problem is Verizon has no towers in that area and therefore their customers in that area are always roaming. I didn't read the linked article, but after my cousin was told by Verizon when she got the letter that she was roaming over 90% (it may have even been 95%, I forget exactly) of the time and therefore was being terminated. Verizon told her to buy service from the local provider in the area so she wouldn't be roaming all the time.
  8. Dometic Refrigerator Problem

    This can be several things. It can be low battery voltage as suggested. It can be a bad igniter. When you turn the fridge to propane and wait, do you hear a clicking sound coming from the back of the refrigerator? If you don't, you should. This sound is the igniter trying to lite the LP gas coming from the orifice. There are some simple electrical connections going to the igniter that can be checked to make sure they are still good. It can be a bad air fuel mixture. The orifice where the fuel and igniter interact (the exact name of it currently escapes me) needs to be set properly to allow the correct air/fuel ratio. If the igniter is clicking, I would check this. It can be the flue. If the flue above the flame is blocked it also will not allow the flame to stay lit. These would be the next things I would check. There is a website that has most of the manuals for RV refrigerators archived online. It is here: http://bryantrv.com/docs.html Locate the manual for your refrigerator and go through the trouble shooting guide (although as I reread your post you said you were following the manual). There still may be some documentation that may help you here.
  9. Just a friendly reminder

    This is one thing CA actually fixed in the law. As of January 1 this year you can't have the phone in your hand at all while on the road (even while stopped). In addition you can only interact with a mounted phone with a single touch or swipe (i.e. answer or hang up from a call). Anything more than that is also a violation. It has made enforcement very simple and we right numerous tickets for it every day in my city. Just because there is a law doesn't mean people are going to follow it without a little encouragement.
  10. "Tiny House" vs. Fiver?

    There are parks that will not accept tiny houses. If you read the fine print of a parks rental agreement, there are those that require a RVIA sticker on the RV to allow access. Very few actually enforce this rule, but it is an excuse to keep out some home built units. It is similar to the 10 year old rule that many parks have. It is seldom enforced until they need a reason to deny someone entry. The other issue with many tiny homes is the lack of a stand alone electrical system (think 12 volt systems and batteries) and the lack of holding tanks. Very few tiny homes have these systems in place. As a result, they require full hook ups in order to be functional. This is rarely if ever mentioned on the TV shows. This, of course can be overcome if you are designing one from scratch. The final comment I have about tiny homes (I am actually somewhat fascinated by them and watch many of the tiny home shows on TV) is their weight. Most every transportable tiny home built is built on a tag along trailer rather than a 5th wheel or goose neck trailer. When you get into the larger versions of the tiny homes, this is A LOT of weight to pull off the bumper of a vehicle. The shows rarely address weight when they talk about how the tiny homes are built. A larger stick built style tiny home is going to require a significant tow vehicle to move it around. One episode I remember in particular of Tiny House Nation, they built a fairly large "Tiny Home" (I know that is a kind of oxymoron) and then over heated and almost blew the transmission on a dodge dually with Cummins turbo diesel motor climbing a hill. They actually had to get another truck out there to tow the first truck and tiny home the last few hundred yards to the crest of the hill where the home was going to be located. All this for a home that was still smaller in size than a typical large 5th wheel with slide outs. I like Tiny homes, but I like them for stationary use (drop it on a small piece of property somewhere). I don't think they are nearly as practical as a standard 5th wheel is for general traveling.
  11. Battery drain

    On my last 5th wheel, the factory wired thew back up camera to direct power. In other words it was always on. I couldn't believe they did this, but they did. I quickly rectified this problem by putting a switch in the line. It is a good possibility your camera was wired the same way and that would definitely create a draw on the batteries.
  12. How to set page layout

    I believe the new colors and fonts, etc, was a minor upgrade to the system. I am getting the same thing and did not change any of my settings to get them.
  13. Toy hauler patios in many parks are useless. Typical commercial parks put sites so close together that there is not enough room to use them. This is not always the case, but it will be the case a lot. The rear patio is more likely to have room for deployment than a side patio. Those patios on toy haulers are designed to be used out in the wide open desert and other boondocking areas that many toy hauler manufacturers assume you will be in to use the "Toys" that are intended to be hauled in the toy hauler. They are good in those situations because they help keep dirt/sand etc from being tracked into the toy hauler when all you want to do is sit outside. I have seen a few rear patios deployed in an RV park (but not many). I have never seen a side patio deployed in an actual RV park.
  14. 2011 Grand Cherokee as Toad wiring lights?

    Look on etrailer and other towed related websites. There are plug and play kits you can install that require no splicing or changes to the factory wiring. I put one on my Jeep. I removed the rear tail lights, unplugged them, plugged in the towing harness, then plugged the tail lights into the other side of the harness. You do have to run the harness wire between the two tail lights and down the side of the vehicle to the front for the connection to the tow vehicle, but none of that was very difficult.
  15. So much to learn.....

    Two things. Your battery was not at 13.46 after only 10 minutes. That voltage was what was coming off the charger being powered by your shore power plug. 99 volts is way too low to run 120 volt appliances. You will cause damage to electronic devices over time if you allow them to run on that low voltage. The voltage drop is a result of your coach pulling too many amps through the outlet your dog bone adapter is plugged into. You need to turn off some 120 volt appliances when plugged into regular outlets (15 amp) like you are now.