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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Folks, sorry to post this here, but you all are such a great source of information, I figured I'd get the straight scoop here. :)

I've a Sunsei 1200 Solar panel that I'm going to use to charge the main automotive battery in my RV. That model of panel is a little overkill for the automotive battery and was designed to charge deep cycle coach batteries. A call to the tech support where I bought it (Cananda) told me that it is overkill, but won't be a problem if I put a controller on it to keep if from overcharging. I have one so that isn't a problem. Tech support also told me to just wire my starting battery in parallel with my deep cycle coach batteries (+ to + to + and - to - to -) and hook the + from the controller to the + of the first battery and the - from the controller to the - of the last battery. This will force a trickle charge through all three batteries.

My question is simply this, will it be a problem hooking a standard battery in parallel with two deep cycle batteries?

Any assistance and advice will be appreciated.

Thanks Much!
Uncle Chan

(EDITED) Folks, forget this. The more I think about this, the more it ain't going to happen. Why? Different types of batteries. Different ages of batteries. Different uses for each battery bank. Deep cycle setup to run coach and inverter/converter/charger goes to it. Automotive battery will just start the rig and run those things associated with engine. I will hook the solar panel up to the starting battery to ensure a full charge when I need it and just let it end there.

Thanks much! UC
 

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most RV's i have seen have an isolator between the engine and house batteries. this keeps you from killing the engine batt with the coach accessories, but you can charge the house batts from the engine alternator. i am not sure i would want to defeat that feature to use the charger on all 3. :shrug
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi broncobum,

Thanks for the reply. I can charge the house batteries with the alternator. But my problem is my engine battery drains slowly. Don't know why. Don't really care. That's why I got the solar charger/controller. I was concerned about having all of that solar power going to waste and thought about what the techie told me. Then I got to thinking, no way!!! I'll just hook it up to the engine battery. At some point, I''ll get a Sunsei Model 400 and go directly to the engine battery and hook the model 1200 to the two deep cycles. :)

thanks again!

U.C.
 

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Truthfully, I would just buy a second controller... Use one controller for the vehicle batteries, and one for the coach batteries, hook both controllers up to the solar panel. As long as they are tied into different controllers, they won't be in parallel(95% positive, but you can e-mail me the paperwork on the controllers if you want me to check to be sure), and you can still charge both off of the solar panel source voltage.

Don

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That is a great idea Elmo!! The controller was inexpensive to boot!

Second controller, on the way!

UC
 

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No, you can't do that with the controllers unless they specifically have an isolation feature built in.

Get an isolator, tie the charge controller directly to that, and then the isolator to the three batteries. 1in-3out isolators are reasonably cheap, and you only need a very low current one to do it.
 

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Throw the controller/solar charger on the house batteries. Most RVs I have seen have a switch that ties the house batteries to the starting batteries temporarily as an internal "jumper cable". So you keep the house batteries charged, and if the engine battery is dead or low, just hit the switch and crank the motor on up...
 

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No, you can't do that with the controllers unless they specifically have an isolation feature built in.

Get an isolator, tie the charge controller directly to that, and then the isolator to the three batteries. 1in-3out isolators are reasonably cheap, and you only need a very low current one to do it.
I thought most controllers were isolated by design, at least the ones I've seen/used, but that's why I put the whole "95% sure" disclaimer in my statement. But yeah, if they are not stated as isolated, you would need one of those too.

Because it's an RV, and probably not used much, I would still work it this way instead of just relying on a "jump" feature between the starting and coach batteries.

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Because it's an RV, and probably not used much, I would still work it this way instead of just relying on a "jump" feature between the starting and coach batteries.

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I would agree for the most part. As with most electronically controlled powertrains, losing power to the computer never does you any good. I'd think if it's got a separate start/house battery setup, it's probably already got an isolator on there, and in which case, you could just use the solar charger on that, with a diode if need be.

But the paralleling option is actually very common on boats as well, because they usually have separate crank/house batteries too. There's a switch on the dash 99% of the time, and a few of them are just tied right to the ignition so they automatically latch while you're cranking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ours has a seperate crank battery from the house batteries. The inverter/converter/charger charges the house batteries, but not the crank and the crank drains on me. I do have a switch on the dash to jump the crank with the house batteries. I would rather NOT do that unless I had to. I'll put the solar charger on the crank and let it go at that. The house batteries don't seem to drain much.

Thanks all.

U.C.
 

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Uncle Chan, I respect your opinion. The main reason I suggested my plan was because the house batteries are at least 2 deep cycle batteries...not very cheap to replace, whereas there are less crank battery(s) and they're not deep cycle, and therefore cheaper. If I had to replace batteries, I'd rather replace the one or two crank batteries rather than the entire bank of house batteries. But, if you're only having trouble with the cranks, that'll work too...
 

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Ours has a seperate crank battery from the house batteries. The inverter/converter/charger charges the house batteries, but not the crank and the crank drains on me. I do have a switch on the dash to jump the crank with the house batteries. I would rather NOT do that unless I had to. I'll put the solar charger on the crank and let it go at that. The house batteries don't seem to drain much.

Thanks all.

U.C.
Ah, well if it's commonly hooked up to a shore line, get a nice cheap little isolator and throw the crank battery on the charger too.

They must have the system wired all kinds of ****ed up... I don't have a doubt in my mind they do, I've seen all kinds of wild shit on boats and campers.

If the engine alternator charges the batteries, as in both the crank and house batteries, but the shore power charger/inverter doesn't, there's an isolator on there.

What I'd do, is get a two in/two out high current isolator, and wire it up. That way regardless of what's doing the charging, EVERYTHING gets charged completely, and you don't have to worry about solar panels and all that crap, unless it sits for a while off of shore power.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
bronco4life, could you show me a link to a web site that sells the two in/two out isolator you're referring to? I'm intrigued.

U.C.
 
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