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Old 03-12-2019, 03:02 PM   #1
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Battery panel question

We have talked a lot about batteries and how FLA batteries should ideally stay above 50% SOC to avoid damage. Other than a fancy battery monitoring kit, many trailers like mine come with a cheap looking control panel which shows the approximate battery level.

So, my question is this: when the control panel is showing the battery level as empty, is it denoting 0% SOC? Or is it programmed with FLA cells in mind and showing empty as 50% SOC?
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Old 03-12-2019, 06:33 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hart_family View Post
We have talked a lot about batteries and how FLA batteries should ideally stay above 50% SOC to avoid damage. Other than a fancy battery monitoring kit, many trailers like mine come with a cheap looking control panel which shows the approximate battery level.

So, my question is this: when the control panel is showing the battery level as empty, is it denoting 0% SOC? Or is it programmed with FLA cells in mind and showing empty as 50% SOC?

Good question.
It might be a better solution to add your own battery level meter to match your new battery(s), that way you know for sure.
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Old 03-12-2019, 07:21 PM   #3
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Totally understand and agree. But I was still curious to know how those basic factory panels are set up.
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Old 03-12-2019, 07:57 PM   #4
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I'll add to the confusion, my panel appears to show 3 different voltages under the lights, although they are completely contrary to every chart on batteries I've ever seen. 12.3 is around 70% and 11.2 is near dead. I put that meter in the category with the holding tank lights, there's no reason to ever push those buttons.

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Old 03-12-2019, 08:41 PM   #5
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Haha! Good to know.
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Old 03-12-2019, 10:24 PM   #6
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It's also good to understand that after you turn off a load the batteries will seem to recover a bit. This is known as a surface charge and will cause those cheap battery indicators to show a higher charge than you actually have. FWIW, those battery level indicators are useless. The only real way (practical) is through the use of a good battery monitoring system.
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Old 03-13-2019, 07:47 PM   #7
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State of Charge Voltage

Measuring battery voltage in order to determine its state of charge is not a simple task. There is one voltage profile when charging. There is another when the battery has been stable for 4 hours. Stable means neither charging nor discharging. Many people are impatient and wait only 30 min. The third profile is when the battery is being discharged. There are formulas for this third profile, but they include measuring the current as well as the voltage.
The overly simple control panel lights seem to assume the batteries are being discharged, but the lights do not account for the current flowing either into or out of the battery.
There are many stable voltage profile tables available. I will try to attach one. This table assumes there has been no charging or discharging for 4 hours or so. You need a digital voltmeter to measure this ($20 at local hardware store) The battery should be disconnected from the TT circuits since you canít know it is stable without.
You can install better battery monitoring systems that make all the necessary calculations. The better BMI would measure both voltage and current and keep track of current in and current out. It would have a microprocessor to calculate the SOC. I am at a loss to recommend one.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Charging SOC Table.pdf (161.0 KB, 23 views)
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Old 03-13-2019, 08:01 PM   #8
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I use this battery monitoring system and it's pretty good!
This is a Canadian site so prices are in Canadian dollars.

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Old 03-13-2019, 08:03 PM   #9
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Or this guy
https://www.solar-electric.com/blsedivoampm.html
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Old 03-13-2019, 09:37 PM   #10
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Am I all wet?

I've been thinking about this for 6 months. Did buy a unit to protect the trailer's systems from bad ac coming in. Just haven't mounted it yet. But I also bought the meter that reads all sorts of stuff that's been happening with the entire system.
But that will be a story whenever I get around to installing both.

I know I have 210 Amp hours in the batteries. I know that 50% is 105 amp/hrs. So I have only 105 amp hours worth of electricity to use before charging.

OK...now here is where I may get into trouble...you seniors can help me out.

If I use a radio that draws 2 amp/hrs for 15 minutes. Then I've used 1/4 of 2 which is .5 amp/hrs of juice. If I use 6 lights for 4 hours, that's 1amp each X4X6...which is 24 amp/hrs. With me so far? If I keep an approximate record of usage...just a little note throughout the day. By the end of the day I should have a general idea of how much juice I've used. When I reach the approximate 105 amp/hr figure, I know it's time to charge regardless of what the little meter says.

This thinking eliminates the surface charge that can creep into the calculations and really isn't or shouldn't be taken into account anyway as it's not "real"...at least as far as determining available charge.

And...it should give a pretty good indication of how you are doing in saving energy, very useful if you like to boondock.

So why don't we do the math more often? It's not hard to do...??

Curious....

P.S. you could even look up the equipment you have, and make a chart of what they each use per hour.....go from there.
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