Battery Master and solar panel

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Battery Master and solar panel

Post by chrisroberts37 on Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:16 pm

I am thinking of adding a solar panel on the roof of my 1996 symphony to charge my leisure battery and then fitting a battery master to keep the van battery charged as well. I understand that the battery master will only allow the current one way, what bothers me is, will it interfere with the alternator which also charges both batteries.
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Re: Battery Master and solar panel

Post by bikeralw on Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:19 pm

No, fit and forget.
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Re: Battery Master and solar panel

Post by Paulmold on Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:20 pm

I have same setup on Nuevo with no problems for 3 years now. Best thing we've done, not had a flat battery since.

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Re: Battery Master and solar panel

Post by Gromit on Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:54 pm

Paulmold wrote:I have same setup on Nuevo with no problems for 3 years now. Best thing we've done, not had a flat battery since.
Me too for two years, and on the previous van for four years.

100% agreement with Paul and Al.

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Re: Battery Master and solar panel

Post by matchlessman on Thu Apr 27, 2017 4:46 pm

Same here, worked a treat on my last vehicle.

However, even better..... it is possible to get solar panel controllers that can split the charge between the batteries. I have one on my current van. By default it was set to send most charge to the leisure battery (80 or 90% from memory) but it can be switched to 50/50, which I have it on whilst parked on the drive. One less potential source of a fault and saves the cost of a separate device.
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Re: Battery Master and solar panel

Post by -mojo- on Thu Apr 27, 2017 6:15 pm

matchlessman wrote:However, even better..... it is possible to get solar panel controllers that can split the charge between the batteries. I have one on my current van. By default it was set to send most charge to the leisure battery (80 or 90% from memory) but it can be switched to 50/50, which I have it on whilst parked on the drive. One less potential source of a fault and saves the cost of a separate device.

Up until quite recently, all of the Sargent controllers with built-in solar regulator had this type installed.

It's different, but it's not better in every circumstance. The ability to select the ratio is good (though on the Sargent it's not so easy to do as supplied from the factory), but the downside is that, because the controller effectively switches solar output between batteries on a "time slice" basis, if a battery is already fully charged, its proportion of the solar panel output is effectively wasted.

The Battery Master can make use of excess charge on one battery by effectively allowing it to "overflow" to the other. But, until the first battery approaches full charge, the second battery will get nothing. So... different but not necessarily better...
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Re: Battery Master and solar panel

Post by Gromit on Thu Apr 27, 2017 6:33 pm

-mojo- wrote:
The Battery Master can make use of excess charge on one battery by effectively allowing it to "overflow" to the other. But, until the first battery approaches full charge, the second battery will get nothing. So... different but not necessarily better...
Is that strictly true Mojo?

Far be it from such an electronics numpty as me to challenge you, but I understood it to work on the differential between the two batteries of a couple of volts or so. If the vehicle battery was (say) two or more volts lower than the habitation battery, power was taken from the hab to the vehicle battery, whether or not the former was near fully charged.

I could be wrong of course - it has happened! hugegrins  Whistle1

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Re: Battery Master and solar panel

Post by Mike187 on Thu Apr 27, 2017 7:38 pm

That is how I though how it worked Dave, although like you not an electrician. The battery master monitors the voltage at the battery terminals and if the vehicle battery voltage drops below 0.75 volts of the leisure battery it takes charge from the leisure to the vehicle battery. So if you put the leisure on charge the voltage jumps up above the the 0.75 volt difference and the battery master starts transferring power to the vehicle battery whatever the state of charge of the leisure battery.

The solar controller on th EC328 splits the charge between the batteries depending on the set percentage, and as Mojo says not easy to change. I fitted a display on mine and it shows both batteries being charged all the time on solar. If the first battery becomes fully charged then it transfers the charge to the second. In this case the battery master does nothing.

I have had a batterymaster fitted and since then have been investigating how it works and come to the conclusion for my use it is of little use as I keep the van in storage so not on electric hook up.

As said I'm not an electrician and in electrical bumpy corner with Dave, and would be happy to be corrected by more knowledgeable people on here.

Mike
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Re: Battery Master and solar panel

Post by bikeralw on Thu Apr 27, 2017 7:54 pm

To quote from the limited instructions that came with my unit;
'When the leisure battery voltage exceeds 13.6 volts (battery charger or solar panels) the device allows charge to pass to the vehicle battery (through the leisure battery).
When the leisure battery voltage is lower than 12.5 volts, the vehicle battery charging is deactivated.'
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Re: Battery Master and solar panel

Post by -mojo- on Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:15 pm

Gromit wrote:
-mojo- wrote:
The Battery Master can make use of excess charge on one battery by effectively allowing it to "overflow" to the other. But, until the first battery approaches full charge, the second battery will get nothing. So... different but not necessarily better...
Is that strictly true Mojo?

Far be it from such an electronics numpty as me to challenge you, but I understood it to work on the differential between the two batteries of a couple of volts or so. If the vehicle battery was (say) two or more volts lower than the habitation battery, power was taken from the hab to the vehicle battery, whether or not the former was near fully charged.

I could be wrong of course - it has happened! hugegrins  Whistle1

No. you're right. What I said was too much of a simplification. What actually happens will depend on the state of charge of both batteries, plus a number of other factors such as the exact way in which the cabling has been done.

The example I gave is if the leisure battery is significantly depleted. Under those circumstances it's likely that the solar panel won't lift its voltage high enough above the vehicle battery voltage for any charging of the vehicle battery to happen.

When the charge state of the leisure battery rises enough for its terminal voltage to go above the "trigger" voltage difference for the Battery Master, some charging current may start to flow to the vehicle battery, but the bulk of the panel's charge will still go to the leisure battery.

[Edit: I should add that a "typical" Battery Master install almost certainly places the leisure battery at an advantage compared to the vehicle battery. That's because typically the solar panel connects directly to the leisure battery via relatively large cables (6mm2 in my case). The cable from the Battery Master on to the vehicle battery is typically longer and relatively light gauge, so there will be a significant voltage drop along its length when charging current is flowing. This alone will favour charging of the leisure battery.]
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Re: Battery Master and solar panel

Post by Gromit on Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:05 pm

Thanks Mojo.

I'm quite chuffed at being right - even if I don't fully understand why I am!  snigger

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Re: Battery Master and solar panel

Post by biffobear on Fri Apr 28, 2017 7:45 am

To quote a well known DJ "Wise words mate" snigger
Gromit wrote:Thanks Mojo.

I'm quite chuffed at being right - even if I don't fully understand why I am!  snigger
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