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Add solar power to 1987 Coleman Popup

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  • Add solar power to 1987 Coleman Popup

    I'm in the process of adding solar to a Coleman pop up trailer. The previous owner added a 12v water pump and standard faucet but most of the electrical was outdated or a little sketchy. I had 6 new 75amp hour SLA batteries that I had picked up new at a good deal last year and had kept changed up. I decided to go with a Midnite Solar Classic 150 charge controller, VMAXTANKS 20 amp charger/maintainer, an AIMS 2000 watt pure sine wave inverter (got a good deal on it), 8 100 watt Renogy panels and all the stuff needed to finish it off.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    What is the Make, Model and Voltage of those 6 x 75AH SLA Batteries?
    How do do have those six (6) batteries connected?
    Picture ?

    Can you change/set the Absorb Voltage or the Float Voltages on the Vmaxtank 20A Charger?

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    • #3
      They were originally OEM batteries without mfg stickers from a company that uses them for sump pumps. They are 75ah 12v and about the size of a group 24. The float and charge of the VMAXTANKS charger are preset and I don't think there is a way to modify it. It is rated up to a 500ah battery bank and has 7 stages. I have all 6 batteries wired together with 0/2 gauge wire and I'm pulling the pos I e and negative from opposite sides of the bank to keep it ballancer. I have installed 30 amplease fuses on each 10 gauge line for solar coming in and combine them into a block that runs into an 80 amp breaker then goes to a 300 amp rated switch to kill solar power. The power coming out of the Classic goes into a 100 amp breaker an another 300 amp rated switch to kill power between the battery bank and charge controller. I have ano 80 amp breaker leading to another 300 amp switch before it gets to my DC fuse panned. I have another kill switch leading to a 200 amp breaker into the inverter. I have two sets of 12v fans (inlet and exaust) tied to a thermostat that will kick on to cool down the batteries, inverter and charge controller. I have a shore/off/inverter switch running to a 110ac plug for a 2.5G water heater (mostly intended to run directly off of plug in but can be switched over to running in the inverter if needed). Panels are running at 80 volts 400 watts in two runs. Since it all fito into a small area (was a bench that contained the converter and you would push the wire into the side) so space for the entire setup was a premium and why I went with some items rather then a full size version (no room for combiner box or inverter with larger built in charger).
      Attached Files
      Last edited by AZJoe; 10-13-2017, 05:11 PM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by AZJoe View Post
        [...] 8 100 watt Renogy panels and all the stuff needed to finish it off.
        Are all eight permanently mounted on the roof? Do you utilize tilt? Do you have [plans to have] any umbilical ground mount panels. I really like what you've done, especially with the physical restrictions.

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        • #5
          That many batteries, in parallel should have buss bars and equal length cables if you want to have any chance of balanced charging. Smart gauge has a great site full of battery info. Here's the page on wiring up parallel battery banks.

          http://www.smartgauge.co.uk/batt_con.html
          Last edited by littleharbor; 10-13-2017, 06:35 PM.
          2.2kw Suntech mono, Classic 200, NEW Trace SW4024

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          • #6
            The wires on the batteries are connected all the way around with equal length cables with positive and negative being pulled from opposite sides. I do not have room for a bus bar system, and did the best I can with space. All of the panels are remote mounted, not a fan of having to put my trailer out in the sun and run the panels at 80 volts to limit loss over the 10 gauge marine wire

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            • #7
              I'm using SAE connectors with 10 gauge to run into the side of the trailer (twin set on the left side in the outside picture). I did run a bus bar for the earth ground system that tie into the trailer frame and 120v ac ground system. The shore power cable has an in-line GFI protector (since you can't trust random power anywhere). All of the 120 AC plugs thru out the trailer are GFI protected and run off of the inverter except for one GFI plug right next to the single plug thathe runs the battery charger.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by AZJoe View Post
                The wires on the batteries are connected all the way around with equal length cables with positive and negative being pulled from opposite sides. I do not have room for a bus bar system, and did the best I can with space. All of the panels are remote mounted, not a fan of having to put my trailer out in the sun and run the panels at 80 volts to limit loss over the 10 gauge marine wire
                The problem you are going to have is that the end batteries will take the majority of the charge, while the 4 inner batteries will get less. The outer batteries will tend to get fully charged while the inner ones never will. This imbalance will cause your battery bank to fail in relatively short order. When the time comes to replace your batteries you should consider using 6 volt batteries. Not sure you can get 6- 6 volt golf cart batteries in that space, though. Do you really need that much battery capacity for that small trailer? 4, 6 volt golf cart batteries can be configured in series/parallel which when using the, opposite, diagonal wiring method will give you a much better balance in charging.
                2.2kw Suntech mono, Classic 200, NEW Trace SW4024

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                • #9
                  I had read that blog about the proper way to wire batteries before I made this set up. I've used 6v golf cart batteries before on solar projects but opted for the SLA because the batteries are housed inside the camper with no venting directly outside and the exaust/inlet fans are only on when the DC system is powered up. When the trailer is in storage, I'm planning on keeping it plugged in to shore power so the battery charger can work. It has enough space to circulate air inside while in storage but I would not want to do that with FLA batteries that need to vent out of fear ofor building up gases.
                  I have decided to add 3 extra wires to directly join all the batteries so it should help further ballance the system. Thank you for your comments on my project.

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                  • #10
                    You are welcome. Keep in mind They do make 6 volt Deep Cycle AGM batteries.
                    2.2kw Suntech mono, Classic 200, NEW Trace SW4024

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by littleharbor View Post
                      You are welcome. Keep in mind They do make 6 volt Deep Cycle AGM batteries.
                      I'll keep that in mind, but I'm going to keep using the SLA batteries I have and tweak the system to make sure they are all getting a balanced chaege.

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                      • #12
                        I ended up making up extra cables to tie all of the batteries directly to the copper distribution blocks. Should give me ballanced charging. I also installed a huge Anderson connector to attach a custom set of jumper cables.
                        Attached Files

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                        • #13
                          This is an very interesting connection pattern between the batteries.

                          There is a Red Wire from Copper Plate to 5 of the 6 batteries, but no Red Wire to the middle left battery
                          There is a Black Wire from Copper Plate to 5 of the 6 batteries, but no Black wire to the the middle right battery

                          You have "opposite diagonal" the center pair, we "opposite diagonal" the outer two batteries.

                          Is your design really symmetrical?

                          It appears to be a strange combination of ...
                          Method 2 - Almost "Opposite Diagonal" but not exactly
                          Method 3 - Almost "Star" but not exactly
                          as shown here...
                          http://www.smartgauge.co.uk/batt_con.html

                          You design "favors" the middle pair of batteries for both charging and discharging.
                          Last edited by NEOH; 10-16-2017, 10:25 AM.

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                          • #14
                            The copper plates are attached to the two batteries that lack a cable connection. The outer batteries that are furthest away from the positive or negative connection have a total of 3 cable connections to the top to make sure they have the least ammount of resistance possible (this would be the 3 batteries furthest away from the copper plate). The battery on either side of the copper plate is connected directly to the copper plate and the next battery in line. The cables that connect are almost identical in length (hence why some cables look overly long).

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                            • #15
                              I was having problems with voltage drop under a heavy inverter load. I decided to switch things around and put six 6volt golf cart batteries with 230 amp hours each. I'm planning on using a busbar and 3 of the 0/2 cables of equal length. I do need to figure out venting (ordered two battery vent kits on Amazon, battery spacing, and what I'm doing about my battery charger). I have a charger rated to 500 amp hours and a bank that has increased to 690 amp hours. I have a second identical 7 stage charger made by VMAXTANKS.
                              Attached Files

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