Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Battery challenged

Day 62

Just In Time!

7am - The Scampy Team's solar battery charging system has come together in the Nick of Time!

This morning when we were getting out of bed, we heard the ominous alarm squeal of our Samlex Inverter! This meant something was wrong either on the input or output end of the Samlex.

We knew that it was almost 100% that it was on the input! Scampy's deep cycle battery was too low! 

We checked specific gravity. 1.10SG!! We never saw an SG reading that low before.

Renogy Solar to the rescue!
We Blogged to you yesterday in our 3pm and 10:15pm posts about the new charging cable and the accident that busted Renogy.

Thank God that we did all of that! With the Renogy repaired and the new heavy duty cable complete, we are good to go!

After the Renogy was hooked up, the Samlex Inverter was turned on. Of course, no alarm squeal. Because the Samlex was now receiving adequate input voltage from Renogy!

We are expecting Renogy to bring the deep cycle battery up to perhaps 1.17SG by the time of our appointment with Car Care Specialists at 11am. Still low. But good enough for now.

Renogy and new heavy cable On-The-Job!

8:30am - Voltage Drop
You may have guessed the reason for us building a 10-gauge Heavy Duty Cable Assembly to connect Renogy with Deep Cycle Battery. If you guessed voltage drop, you go to the head of the class!

This new cable is over 15-feet long. If we used the the wire gauge that came with Renogy, voltage drop may have sabotaged charging batteries.

9:20am - Milk Run
This morning we wanted Post Honey Bunches Oats cereal for breakfast. Wow! We forgot to buy milk!

We wanted to go buy some milk now. But, Renogy was all hooked up and nicely charging Scampy's deep cycle battery. It was a bit of a stretch to unhook and put Renogy away. So, we decided to walk to a store and buy milk.

We had no idea how far away would be this store. But we took off walking anyway.

Did you take a peek at yesterday's Nite Camp Location Map? That Nite Camp was in the dirt lot behind J's Fish & Chips. That's where where our Morning Camp is right now. Same place!

Walking is a good thing. Especially for a 79½ year old. But we did not have to go too far. We came to a Shell gas station with a Foster's Store. We found a Shamrock Farms ½ gallon of milk in the display fridge.

The milk had a $4.79 price. Must be really fantastic milk!

11am - Car Care Specialists
We have arrived here in order to have Tránsito's electric system disconnect from Scampy's electric system when Tránsito's ignition switch is turned off.

The isolator that we purchased from Napa Auto Parts will not be used. That isolator shall be returned to Napa Auto Parts.

As I understand it, some kind of solenoid relay shall be used.  I'll find out exactly what later on, and will Blog to you about that.

6:30pm - Regatta Park
The Scampy Team has come to this park to have a nice place for an Evening Camp to prepare supper.

On the menu:
 Breaded Fried Chicken Breast
 Fried Brussel Sprouts
 Fried Snap Peas

Winner, Winner-Chicken Dinner
Pano of Regatta Lake
After supper - Heading out to Ocean

Are you wondering what happened to Tránsito at the auto repair place?

Well, lots of stuff:
➜ The diode isolator was not installed.
➜ A solenoid isolator was installed instead.
➜ Charging power from Tránsito's alternator is now separated into two circuits. One circuit to charge Tránsito's engine starting battery. The second circuit for Scampy's trailer battery.
➜ When Scampy's battery has a low charge, up to 15-amps will be sent.
➜ If Tránsito's battery is fully charged, as little as 2-amps will be delivered.

The Scampy RV Team is crusin' now!

8pm - Boid messing around
After supper, I was cleaning up Scampy's kitchen. I had watched PBS News during supper. And while doing dishes tuned into YouTube to watch some of Muhammed Ali's fights [I am crazy about Ali!].

Upon getting to YouTube some parakeet videos caught my eye. So, I watched them. Wow! Boid went to watch them too!

9pm - Lincoln City views
These are pics that Little iPhone captured on the way to our Evening Camp!

Heading for the Pacific Ocean

Lincoln City between hotels - Near Casino

9:40pm - Do you see it?
The pic below contains an object. This object appears in my browsers. Both Chrome and Safari

In the pic below, the object is just to the right of the word

Do you know what this object is?

What is this?

Nite Camp Location Map

Elevation: 159 feet



  1. Is there anyway you could feasibly put those solar panels on top of your trailer as a permanent set up.

    are you using a Standard solar controller with your panels
    Or is it solar panel and direct to the battery?

    1. Hi Mister ed,

      Yes. I am able to put a solar panel on Scampy's roof. I would have to contend with the two roof vents.

      But I don't wanna do that! It wouldn't be elegant. And the Scampy team is the epitome of elegance.

      Wouldn't you agree, Mister ed? 😏

      Our solar panel is equipped with the Renogy Adventurer Battery Charge controller. Click [Here] to view that controller.

      Mister ed, perhaps you would use your talent to find out why this controller tapers off sooooo much that we could not achieve an acceptable Specific Gravity?

      We have bypassed the Adventurer and are using our:
      Watchful Eye Controller to insure that Scampy's deep cycle is not injured.



    2. My philosophy is the same as Tim Allen's on home-improvement.
      Why use one when 9 more will do a better job
      In your case more is not gonna work for you, so the two that you have needs to be the most efficient means of power for your application
      Your set up I believe is 100w with a PWM controller.
      When I was looking for a solar panel the largest I could find was a 240w 24 V panel.
      When I hooked my solar panel to the PWM I really thought I was doing great.
      It would charge my batteries, but it would take until about two or 3 o'clock for my 2. 6v batteries to go to float I wasn't happy, there has to be a faster way.
      MorningStar mppt controller was the answer to my solution.
      After making the switch, it went down to about 11 to 12 o'clock to float
      I think switching your PWM to a MPPT would be your answer
      Also on a finer note your use of 10 gauge wire can be reduced to the simple wire that came with the panel unit you don't need heavier gauge wire with the MPPT unit
      Some MPPT Units are adjustable (but I'm not sure about the lesser cost ones.)
      You could purchase a very inexpensive MPPT controller from eBay with free shipping,for the same price your PWM unit cost. and from what I've looked at cheaper and some cases.
      The hook up is identical on each unit, except the MPPT does not need to have the heavier cable


  2. This what I keep on hand. I love whole milk and never buy skim or 2%. I can't tell the difference between this and milk out of a carton. You can buy smaller cans in a Mexican grocery store.


  3. George, don't worry, be happy about the price of that milk! Beach and I returned from Cuba a few weeks ago and while there, we walked into a store to pick up a fresh half-gallon of milk, and the clerk asked me for 23 CUCs, which is equal to $23 USD. The embargo is really doing a number on those poor Cubans.

  4. Walmart half gallon Milk 269
    Dollar General half gallon milk 429
    Convenient stores cater to people at the last minute or in need of it now, it's a good thing you didn't buy a banana,, there a dollar each
    Walmart $.59 a pound
    Convenient stores are like movie theaters they don't make it on the gas and I don't make it on the movie

  5. And your comment about the mechanic telling you that your isolator is overkill
    In someways yes it is, but as I said before, you have the advantage option of putting in a third battery. By where the three position isolators doesn't have

  6. "Mister ed, perhaps you would use your talent to find out why this controller tapers off sooooo much that we could not achieve an acceptable Specific Gravity?"

    First of all, do you have a true deep cycle battery? Hopefully the answer is yes. Your Renology controller requires a true deep cycle battery. A RV/Marine battery is not a true deep cycle.

    Here are the charge points most deep cycle battery manufacturer's specify.

    Stage 1 -- Bulk or Daily Charge: 14.8 volts
    Stage 2 -- Boost or Absorption Charge: 14.1 - 14.7 volts
    Stage 3 -- Float Charge: 13.2 - 13.5 volts
    Stage 4 -- Equalization Charge: 15.8 - 16.2 volts

    Your controller has this:
    Stage 1 -- Bulk or Daily Charge: 14.4 volts
    Stage 2 -- Boost or Absorption Charge: 14.6 volts
    Stage 3 -- Float Charge: 13.8 volts
    Stage 4 -- Equalization Charge: 14.8 volts

    Your controller is not going to allow you to get to the proper Stage 3 charging phase, because your Stage 1 and Stage 2 charge rates are too low. Also every 28 days your controller goes to Equalization Charge, but the rate is too low. Also, since your controller and panel is not permanently connected to the system, it probably never performs Equalization, which is more than likely why you will never get a SG reading of 1.275 with this battery.

    You didn't have this problem with Ms. Tioga because you had better batteries, a better charge controller (BlueSky) and it was hooked up 24/7.

    A Morningstar TriStar TS-45 controller will allow you to adjust the charge points to the battery manufacturer's specifications. Your controller is not adjustable. Also, when the panel and charge controller are permanently installed the system will perform all 4 charging stages as time and/or voltage require.

  7. Also, switching from a PWM to a more expensive MPPT controller isn't required. Your system is too small to truly benefit from MPPT.

    1. Hi Nick,

      In your opinion, is my use of an MPPT better than charging directly from the solar panels to the battery using no battery charge controller?

      Note: Please do not address any harm to the battery that may come from not using a controller.



  8. Yes, MPPT is better than no controller.

    What is BEST is to perform 4 Stage charging per the battery manufacturer's specifications. A quality PWM or MPPT controller that can be adjusted will to that just fine.

    I had a pair of Trojan T-105 6volt batteries that lasted almost 8 years. They didn't die, they were stolen! I used a PWM controller that was adjustable, and I set the charge points higher than all the non-adjustable controllers use, so the output would match what Trojan said they should be. For 5 years I had a single Kyocera 120 watt panel. I added a 2nd 130 watt panel because we were camping for two weeks at a time in winter and needed to push more amps into the battery during the short days with crappy weather and the sun low on the horizon.

    If you get a true deep cycle battery, the TS-45 controller and adjust it the set points I previously recommended, and mount your 100 watt panel permanently, you probably will never have battery problems again, you will just need to check the battery water level once a month. I like the out of sight, out of mind solution; instead of moving and connecting panels everyday. Also on all my campers, the panels are mounted flush on the roof, not with adjustable tilt, which does have good benefits.

  9. Generator still out of the question?


    1. Hi Point,

      Why do you bring up a generator?



    2. Power issues, solar, charging... Would a little genny fix all of that? Just curious. I use mine all the time while vagabonding. But I have remote start and can start it while in bed. Maybe all the charging stuff is what is fun...and i'm missing the point..lol. I never know..:)

    3. Here is my solution to your "Battery Challenge" haha. This is a video I just uploaded after testing my generator to max output. This is the newest in RV generators:


  10. George's team members are stealth campers Supreme!

    Generators are not stealthy :-)

    1. That was the only thing I could see as a downside. Carrying fuel too. But the first link I sent was for a tiny genny 800watts. But it still would not work in Transito. Carrying fuel is smelly, and you need a outside compartment or truck bed, like I have. On with the stealth show..:-)

    2. When I switched to full-time (pay no rent full time) vagabonding, I had to decide the power issue before I even bought the RV. My solution was to go stealthing off-road...away from people...away from cities, away from campgrounds, and have a generator. It works for me, but would not a city vagabonder like George. I read about a lady who used a Hybrid electric car as the TV and it was the battery bank for her small trailer. Genius!

    3. A properly configured solar system is almost maintenance free. I wash my panels twice a year, check the water level once a month, and clean the battery terminals once a year. I have a TriMetric battery meter that reports the state of my battery bank. The system does its job day after day with almost zero action on my part. Plus it is good for the environment vs. other solutions, if that is important to the owner.

      When I bought my last two campers I installed solar before the maiden voyage.

      Solar is perfect for George, he just has to work out some glitches, and this isn't new territory for him. Ms. Tioga was an early adapter for RV solar.

    4. Hi Nick,

      Wow! I just read that:
      " Ms. Tioga was an early adapter for RV solar."

      I really don't think of myself that way.

      You know something, Nick? Back then, I just had a goal of living away from the RV Campground. And I did stuff to achieve that goal.

      ➜ MotoSat Mobile Satellite Antenna
      ➜ Levelling Jacks [Mechanical ones. Not hydraulic. Really bad jacks too! These jacks failed many times!]
      ➜ Replaced the Onan generator with a
      Honda EU i1000 Portable Generator.
      ➜ Solar electric system which at first had (4) 6-volt deep cycle batteries and (4) 80 watt solar panels. Later, I upped that to (6) panels and (6) batteries.

      When I recall those MsTioga and George days, it makes me smile. What a great time that was for me!


      PS: These times with The Scampy RV Team are even better for me! 😎



  11. To Nick G
    First of all, you failed to read today's very first post to Mr, George
    If you go back and read it you'll understand the reasoning for my comments
    The MPPT controller is far superior to the PWM controller. If mounted and calibrated correctly
    Based on what Mr. George has, and what Mr. George is working with, was the best over all answer
    Mr. George is no dummy when it comes to solar setup.
    And I'm willing to bet he could teach us a few tricks
    One of those little tricks is learning how to attach it to the top of his motorhome so it doesn't blow off; remember Mr, George
    You see Nick you're working with the assumption that everything is hardwired
    If it was, he already knows the answer, he's been there, and he's done that.
    But what is frustrating him. Is it's not working the same way
    With his set up the way it is, the fastest way to get the juice out of those panels and into the batteries is the way I suggested
    So it boils down to damned if I'm right? and dammed if I'm wrong?

    Now I'm going to put a disclaimer in here
    It goes like this
    when it comes to solar panel and controller or technical information all one has to do is to go to any RV forum and ask a question you get 5000 + answers
    Everybody's right for the answer they give
    I was asked a question I gave my opinion and I'm not going to get in a pissing contest sorry it ain't happening ?

    1. The PWM and MPPT debate has been raging for years. That's a debate I'll pass on today. At the end of the day, what truly matters is for the charge controller to deliver the battery manufacturer's recommend charge rates for daily, absorption, float, and equalization charge. The 8 year life of the batteries I referred earlier lasted because the system charged them properly as recommended. The battery bank never, ever, not even once, got too low to work. Had they not been stolen, I might still be using them 4 years after the incident, although 12 years is unlikely. Heck, I even occasionally ran a microwave with those two Trojan batteries.

      My current system will be 4 years old in September and not a single problem, so something is working right and I have never used a MPPT, which is NOT saying they are a poor choice.

      When I first installed solar in 2003, George's installation on Ms. Tioga was the very thing I found on the Internet about RV solar systems. I have been following his blog ever since and I don't follow many blogs. George is a special person. I'm just trying to help based on what I have learned and what has worked me without a single problem over 14 years of RV solar use. How I do it doesn't mean it is the only way.

  12. George, your new isolator setup looks real nice! Good Job :)

    1. I agree P2Z. There's basically 3 types of isolators: solenoid, solid state, and electronic. Solenoid is the simplest and least expensive (usually under $20 if you install it yourself). So ... way to go George!

  13. George, you may be interested to know that half of the land for what used to be the Regatta Grounds and is now Regatta Park was donated by my maternal grandfather Edgar L. Merritt. If you stand on West Devils Lake Rd and look down across the Regatta Grounds toward the lake, all of the property to the right between the road and the lake belonged to my family at one time. The Regatta Grounds name comes from the annual boat races promoted by Grandpa in 1933. If you scroll down this page until you see some photos of racing boats you will find more about the park and my Grandpa: http://www.lincolncity.org/vertical/sites/%7BDDC39B4D-9F7A-4251-AEA0-F594E7F89DDB%7D/uploads/Delake_Context_Statement_2009_NEWtoPrint_small.pdf

    1. http://columbiaoutboard.org/?page_id=221 "...the length of the lake and the low sea level altitude lent itself to having the fastest water around. In the APBA annals, Devils Lake in Lincoln City, OR is listed as having so many speed records that it soon became known as the (self described) “Worlds Fastest Water”

    2. Hi Pete,

      I went the URL that you included in your comment. Then I bookmarked the "Delake" PDF file.

      I want to read the story of your family! You should be very proud of your heritage.


      PS: I'll be heading out of Lincoln City. Likely today [It's 1:30am right now!]

      What am I doing still awake!! 🙄