16' Series Solar and Battery Charging help

SabreOne

New Member
Feb 12, 2021
4
0
1
SE Qld
Long story short, we purchased a 2010 Expanda 16.49 HL last week and due to pouring rain etc, the handover wasn't ideal.

The solar is a 120 watt panel, running through a Sphere Control Panel to the Battery. When the Van is parked outside, I can see the Panel indicating incoming charge to the Battery. Currently the battery is sitting at around 12.6V.

What is the maximum level of charge the Battery will take before the system stops charging, and how long would it take on a clear day, without anything being turned on?

When plugged into mains, the seller said this would alsocharge the battery, but I don't see anything on any screen of the Panel when scrolling through the pages, and again how long would this take?

Thanks in advance.
 

Drover

Well-Known Member
Nov 7, 2013
10,595
16,849
113
QLD
www.expandasdownunder.com
Try to ID your battery whether AGM or GEL and its capacity ie: 100ah etc ........................ also the model and number of your sphere unit which I assume is really only a controller for your solar panels, down near the floor somewhere there could be a black panel which would be your Setek unit, this is what controls the 12v distribution from your battery to power lights etc, this unit will also when plugged into 240v charge the battery and convert the 240 to 12v if your battery is disconnected......... often nearby will be a switch like a light switch which is the isolator between battery and Setek.............

For the Setek to charge the battery this switch must be on, when having the van in storage it is perfectly okay to have the van plugged in and charging the battery, when the battery is charged it will just trickle as needed, just make sure pumps, lights etc are turned off.... My rig the panels are in the sun and they look after the battery all the time.

The sphere will not show anything other than battery charge state as it has nothing to do with the Setek the only thing they have in common is the battery................... It is quite okay to have both units operating together................... The Setek is not capable of having a solar panel connected to it hence the Sphere system......

Once you have ID'd your gear look online for the manuals and that includes your fridge and other gear, it is always handy to have hard copies in a folder with you.................... Ask away with other questions but provide as much detail as possible with model numbers or pictures as the variety of units is large.

Other will come on with the technical details.....but suffice to say you have a basic set up that will work with little stuffing around, the more things you plug in the bigger and better it must become...............and the lighter your wallet gets.
 

Boots in Action

Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2017
1,419
1,255
113
Ferny Grove, Queensland
Long story short, we purchased a 2010 Expanda 16.49 HL last week and due to pouring rain etc, the handover wasn't ideal.

The solar is a 120 watt panel, running through a Sphere Control Panel to the Battery. When the Van is parked outside, I can see the Panel indicating incoming charge to the Battery. Currently the battery is sitting at around 12.6V.

What is the maximum level of charge the Battery will take before the system stops charging, and how long would it take on a clear day, without anything being turned on?

When plugged into mains, the seller said this would alsocharge the battery, but I don't see anything on any screen of the Panel when scrolling through the pages, and again how long would this take?

Thanks in advance.

Some straight figures @SabreOne . Battery voltage while charging with solar panel will/should only rise to around 14.3 volts (and 14.0 volts when connected through Setec when on 240 volt power) for Gel battery, and drop back to 13.8 volts when fully charged by solar or Setec..
Battery voltage for AGM battery should rise to approx 14.7 volts if possible (slightly less is acceptable if solar panel is not capable of reaching this level). The Setec will never reach that voltage and you will have to be content with just 14.0 volts. Float voltage when fully charged is the same as for Gel type at 13.8 volts or close to this figure. Batteries will NOT overcharge if settings are correct as listed.
As far as how long it takes to fully charge the van battery depends on how old, how flat and how it has been looked after. From absolutely flat (ie 50% discharged) , the Setec will take at least 4 hours at 15 amps charging rate, longer if badly sulphated (left in flat condition). Your solar panel would be flat out charging at 5 amps in good sunny conditions and as panel is on roof and flat it would be lucky to charge at that rate for more than 4 hours per day and with no shading. Working on that basis, it would take more than two days of good sustained bright sunshine to fully charge a low/flat battery, once again subject to battery state.
Battery voltage at rest after at least a couple of hours off charge and nothing on, should be in the vicinity of 13 volts for AGM and 12.8 for Gel. See charts below.
 

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SabreOne

New Member
Feb 12, 2021
4
0
1
SE Qld
Thank you for your replies above, gives me something to refer to on the weekend. There is a Switch for the Battery which I was told must be on to use 12v, as there is also another switch which I was told just be on to use 240v. I'm pretty clear with those but it's more the charging of the battery more so by 240v that I'm fuzzy on.
 

Boots in Action

Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2017
1,419
1,255
113
Ferny Grove, Queensland
Thank you for your replies above, gives me something to refer to on the weekend. There is a Switch for the Battery which I was told must be on to use 12v, as there is also another switch which I was told just be on to use 240v. I'm pretty clear with those but it's more the charging of the battery more so by 240v that I'm fuzzy on.
Hi @SabreOne , if you are connected to 240 volt power and the Battery switch is ON and the 240 volt safety switch is not tripped, the Setec battery management will charge your van battery. The battery voltage will NOT show on your solar controller and the only way to check battery voltage is with a multimeter. Measurement with such a device set at 20 volts DC and the probes on the neg and positive posts will give you a reading. I assume you can use one!! If not get a friend who can! If voltage is stable and within limits on chart after suitable time after charging, you can apply a light load such as one light and see how the voltage holds. If negligible voltage drop, it would indicate that battery is able to hold a suitable charge. However, if voltage slowly drops and keeps dropping, that is an indication of weak, or a battery in poor condition that may not be able to hold any decent charge and needs replacing.