Sunday, February 24, 2019

Day 47 - More Solar Blah, Blah, Blah

Another mostly clear day though the morning was a lot of high clouds. We went through another 30# of propane but I had forgotten to close one of the roof vents twice. Heating the outdoors takes a lot of propane. But by about 1:00, it was above 60°F and not too windy so I headed for the pool. It was nice as long as you were in the water.

Yesterday evening, I was reading through one of my favorite solar power blogs by someone calling himself HandyBob. One of the most recent posts was titled “2018 WARNING… TURN THE VOLTAGE DOWN” (the all caps were his). His posts are very straightforward and to the point and blasted many of the solar energy experts, manufactures, and vendors. His recommendations are what I had used to set up the solar on the RV. So when I saw the title, it caught my attention.

The gist of this post was that if you were following his original recommendation of setting absorption voltage to 14.8 volts for flooded batteries, you should turn it down to 14.6 volts. His original recommendation was based on information from Trojan and Crown. Crown had revised their recommendation. I suspect that he must have mentioned this in one of his other posts as the DIP switches on my Tristar controller were already set to absorption voltage =14.6 volts. But I didn’t remember what I had set. So this post is a reminder.

Back in 2016. I had originally ordered an MPPT charge controller (not the Renogy one that I mentioned in my blog post) before I ran into his site but I quickly canceled the order and picked up a Morningstar Tristar PWM controller per the recommendations on his site. I couldn’t be happier with the choice. That’s how convincing the information is on his site. His background is electronics and isn’t selling anything on his web site. A lot of people look for him to fix their broken solar installations. IMHO, it’s an entertaining read. BTW, the vendor I had ordered the MPPT controller from was on his “evil” list i.e. do not do business with them as their only motivation is revenue. The manufacture of that particular MPPT controller is no longer in business. Originally, I had thought that the DIP switches on the Tristar would limit the flexibility of the controller but there is a “Custom” DIP switch setting allowing you to change just about all of the parameters using a software program. What surprised me is that there is sufficient flexibility to set the controller up to even charge the new fangled LiFePO4 batteries using the custom settings.