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Old 01-23-2015, 06:34 PM   #1
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How do I check to see if my solar panel is charging my battery?

I have a '13 Tour with the 100 watt solar panel (factory option).
I full-time and have never been in the same place more than a couple of months. I've noticed that my chassis batteries go from about 12.7-12.8 down below 12.0 volt during those stays. I'm not worried about not being able to start my coach because of the battery boost feature but I don't really like low voltage situations and was questioning the systems operation.

Thanks all.
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Old 01-23-2015, 08:11 PM   #2
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I don't know if this applies to your coach but the following is taken from the owners manual for my 06 Horizon.

SOLAR CHARGER PANEL
The 10-watt roof-mounted solar charger
panel uses the sun to help keep your house
batteries charged. A charge indicator light is
provided on the One Place panel to show you
when the solar panel is actively charging the
house batteries.
The red light will glow when the solar panel is
charging the coach batteries. The greater the rate
of charge, the brighter the light. When the
batteries reach full charge, the light will
gradually dim, then darken.
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Old 01-24-2015, 10:18 AM   #3
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I would think your coach should have a Trik-L-Start or equivalent. If not get one. The 100 watt panel charges the coach batteries. It should be enough to maintain the batteries.
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Old 01-24-2015, 10:56 AM   #4
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Do you have a volt meter in your 1 place panel? If you do you can check the voltage when you are not plugged into shore power and when not running your generator. If you see 13.2 or more volts, your solar system is charging. If you see less than 13.2 volts, solar isn't working. If your 1 place doesn't have a meter, you can use a hand held digital volt meter on the battery termInals. Also, turn off as many electrical loads as you can when checking the voltage.
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Old 01-24-2015, 03:29 PM   #5
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the solar panel charges the house batteries but not the chassis batteries. This device is very easy to install and will keep the chassis batteries charged at the same voltage as the house batteries give or take a tenth of a volt or so. My rig did not have it when it was new but in 2006 they stated installing it at the factory.

Ultra TRIK-L-START Starting Battery Charger/Maintainer this is where I got mine. I have the original one. The Ultra must be an upgraded version.
and
Ultra Trik-L-Start, Starting Battery Charger/Maintainer for Gas or Diesel Engines - RV Power Supply

and here is the Winnebago page on it.
http://www.winnebagoind.com/resource...ik-L-Start.pdf

It works great, nothing to do after installation.
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Old 01-24-2015, 03:48 PM   #6
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To add to what ChasA accurately said. First take a piece of cardboard and cover the solar panel. Not connected to any type of charging system check the voltage at the coach batteries. It matters not what is draining the batteries at this time. All you are determining is the coach battery state of charge by measuring the voltage. Usually they will read about 12.6 volts. Now have someone take the cardboard off the solar panel (in the sunshine) and if they are working you should see an increase of greater than 1 -volt at the coach batteries more that you had before.

IMHO There is always more than one way to skin a cat but this method takes the guess work out of the equation.

TeJay
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Old 01-24-2015, 06:42 PM   #7
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My unit has a small red light in the control panel area with all the other coach controls I.e. Thermostat, Generator Control, Power Control etc. that lights up when the 10Watt solar panel (worthless) is charging the batteries. As to your coach batteries if your unit has the same as mine (and it should) Winnebago uses what they call a Solenoid-Battery Isolation Manager (basically the same thing as a Trik-L-Start). It is usually located inside the circuit breaker box that is located inside the electrical bay. This unit basically siphons power form the house batteries to keep the chassis batteries charge. This unit on out MH is currently dead and I'm using a battery charger that can charge AGM batteries to keep the chassis batteries charge.
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Old 01-24-2015, 07:05 PM   #8
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Solar panels get dirt/dust film on them that can reduce the amt of power they can provide... be sure to clean yours once in awhile.
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Old 01-24-2015, 07:17 PM   #9
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We need to reread #5 ... the OP is talking about the chassis batteries. The solar does house only unless there is a BIRD or Trik-L-Start (or similar). Another alternative is to just use a regular tricklecharger plugged into the shore 120vac for the chassis.

My much older system works the same ... solar is for house only.
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Old 01-24-2015, 07:32 PM   #10
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I installed solar on my Journey. If I am on shore power, the charger should keep house batteries charged as well as the chassis batteries through the Trik-L-Start installed. If I turn off the charger ( or am not on shore power), the solar kicks in as the voltage drops and maintains the voltage at 12.8v or more - if there is minimal load. I believe you should be able to check your solar controller and see if it shows a charging current.
If you are down to 12v, your chassis batteries are significantly discharged. Your battery charger must not be on or working so you should check it as well. I believe you have a device that operates similar to a Trik-L-Start so your solar and battery charger that should keep the chassis batteries charged. I don't know what device Winnebago installed in place of the Trik-L-Start, but your chassis battery voltage indicates it is not doing its job and could be defective - if your battery charger is on and working. Good luck,
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Old 01-25-2015, 09:41 AM   #11
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tnteacherguy, To repeat what was said above the solar panel only charges the coach batteries. Your coach has a Battery Isolation Manager which will keep the chassis batteries charged by connecting the coach and chassis batteries together when it senses the chassis is low and the coach battery is charged. I do not see a led on the monitor panel for the Solar Panel so the only way to check is with the panel meter or a hand held volt meter. One note the chassis batteries will not charge if the chassis battery disconnect is open.
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Old 01-25-2015, 08:10 PM   #12
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A lot of great info. Thanks.
If I summarize what has been said...buy a trikLstart.

I am surprised this is the way it is wired. My coach spends 99% of its life plugged in to shore power. Coach batteries stay nearly full at all times. Why would WBGO put a tiny solar charger on the roof to try and keep the batteries of an all-electric coach topped off? Seems like a bad joke.

It would be better to be able to start the engine or generator to keep all that electric stuff going.

Thanks guys.
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Old 01-25-2015, 08:54 PM   #13
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Tnteacherguy

Check Section 6 Page 8 of your owners manual. It says you already have a Trik-L-Start installed. Your house batteries have to be greater than 13.2 volts and your chassis batteries less that 12.6 volts before it supplies a 5 amp charge to your chassis batteries. If your charger is on and working properly, you should be getting the chassis batteries charged via the Tril-L-Start. Your Trik-L-Start might be defective or you may or may not be getting over 13.2 volts from your solar.
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Old 01-26-2015, 07:12 AM   #14
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Thanks bobmac,

Unfortunately, I can't seem to find anything about where this TrikLStart is located. According to my OnePlace, my coach batteries should be charging and I don't think they are.
I've searched the wiring diagrams and can't find a location.

If anyone has seen there's or can find a diagram I would appreciate it.

Now I'm on a quest to make it work 😆
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Old 01-26-2015, 08:01 AM   #15
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Mine is located in the Utility Compartment behind the rear axle on the DS where the transfer switch, inverter and chassis circuit breakers are. My Trik-L-Start is behind the cover where the breakers are mounted and is connected to the battery mode solenoid.
I suggest you get your battery charger configured and once charging, evaluate where you stand. I suspect there is no problem with the unit rather it is not getting enough voltage - given your house battery levels- to start to charge the chassis batteries. You can configure your battery charger from the Magnum control panel in your one place. Good luck,
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Old 01-26-2015, 08:02 AM   #16
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tnteacherguy, The drawings for your coach show you having a Battery Isolation Manager look at the link below sheets 2 and 3. You will have to look and see what you have for sure, things change during the model year.
http://www.winnebagoind.com/diagram/...ire_180441.pdf
If you do in fact have a BIM here is a link to a gentleman that had a problem with his chassis batteries not charging in his 2013 42E.
http://www.irv2.com/forums/f101/2013...ng-232372.html
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