Solar Array to Engine Battery?

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by scottb80, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. scottb80

    scottb80 Member

    I have a solar array that is connected to my coach batteries and it does a good job of keeping them charged up, but my engine battery slowly drains down over time. Do you think it would be OK to tie the two systems together with a jumper wire, say 12 AWG with alligator clips during the times that the RV is being stored? I'd, of course, remove it before starting the RV.

    Scott
     
  2. Triple E

    Triple E Senior Member

    You would have the same voltage but you amperage would be cut in half. It might be time to replace you engine batteries.
     
  3. Pancanbob

    Pancanbob Senior Member

    Hi, Scott
    I would not tie the Coach and the Engine battery together that way.
    I would split off the incoming wire from the solar cells through diodes to each set of batteries...
    This way one set of batteries would not drain the other set of batteries.
    But, this all depends the size of Solar cells and the phantom load on the batteries.
    Good luck
     
  4. Triple E

    Triple E Senior Member

    Very good advice Pancan. I should have mentioned the diodes. Still think he needs new engine batteries.
     
  5. Pancanbob

    Pancanbob Senior Member

    Hi, Triple E

    You are probably right, he should have the batteries checked too.
    On my RV, I installed two 125 Watt solar panels to charge the house batteries, but never got around to connecting to the engine battery, but so far no problems.
    Just another thought... you need to keep the top of your batteries clean and dry, if they get wet and are little dusty and or dirty.. it will can cause a slow battery drain.
     
  6. akjimny

    akjimny Senior Member

    I have a push button on my dash that temporarily connects my house batteries to the chassis battery - just in case it needs a little boost to start the engine. Haven't had to use it, thankfully.:)
     
  7. H2H1

    H2H1 Senior Member

    Jimmy I have that feature also, like you I have never had to use it. I also have a solar panel on top that keeps the house batteries charged up.
     
  8. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    I have the same feature on mine Hollis and it DIDN'T work the first time I needed it:mad:
     
  9. scottb80

    scottb80 Member

    All the batteries were replaced three years ago, but they've had very little use :( The RV mostly sits on my lot plugged into shore power. However, after a couple of months, the engine battery is dead and I need to charge it in order to get it started. There is a measured slow drain on it, but only 8 milliamps, which I would think it could support for a much longer period of time. This is why I thought it would be Ok to run a jumper wire with alligator clips from the coach batteries, which are kept charged by the inverter or solar array, to the engine battery while I have it stored, removing it before starting it up.
     
  10. H2H1

    H2H1 Senior Member

    you could get a battery reminder and hook it up to your battery. They aren't to expensive, but I think they are worth it.
     
  11. Triple E

    Triple E Senior Member

    Very good suggestion Hollis.
     
  12. H2H1

    H2H1 Senior Member

    well every once in awhile I come up with a good idea. But really just trying to help out
     
  13. akjimny

    akjimny Senior Member

    I think Hollis was referring to a battery tender - a small battery charger that provides a trickle charge then eases back when the battery is fully charged. Since you say the RV is on your lot, plugged in to shore power, that would be my suggestion. $25.00 at Wally Mart. I have them at home for my truck, motorcycle, gas golf cart and lawn mower so everything starts and runs when I get there.:):)
     
  14. larold

    larold Member

    Alligator clip is fine. I hooked up a toggle switch for when its in storage plugged in to keep it charged.
     
  15. larold

    larold Member

    Im thinking of using the diode idea to connect the alternator to the house batteries.
     
  16. H2H1

    H2H1 Senior Member

    yep Jimmy that was what I was thinking of. But I am beginning to think this guy is a spammer or seller. What is he talking about is all what is for sell. Not a word about camping or camp grounds, NOTHING
     
  17. larold

    larold Member

  18. larold

    larold Member

    Who? Me? I'm just posting stuff that i've actually done to my rv.
     
  19. Pancanbob

    Pancanbob Senior Member

  20. scottb80

    scottb80 Member

    Hi everyone! Lots of good advice here. What I've done as an experiment, is to run a 12" wire with alligator clips from the plus side of the coach batteries to the chassis battery. Before hooking it up, I measured current flow with an ammeter and got less than 300 milliamps going into the chassis battery. So far, all the batteries are being charged by shore power and are doing well. I just have to remember to monitor the water levels in the 6V coach batteries, which tend to get low after a couple of weeks. Thanks again.
     

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