New to the group. To lay the groundwork for the question:
- We have a 50 amp fifth wheel.
- We bought the unit used from a private seller, very happy overall.
- The solar / Victron was installed by the seller or he had it done.
- We have 4x Battle Born 100ah LifePo4, 4x 190W solar panels, 2x MPPT, SmartBMV and the Victron 12/3000/120-50
- We (the wife, the dog and I) are fulltimers, three months now!
We have been, in the past three months, mostly on shore power, and always on (confirmed) 50 amps. We found that one of the monitor panels (not listed above) showed us at 30 amps continually. Reached out to seller, he indicated that if I had the inverter on, I'd be limited to 30 amps. Turned it to Off, and I'm back to 50 amps and I can run the air conditioners. Excellent for the Texas heat we'd been dealing with.
Two days ago, we relocated to a park, and were fortunate enough to park in the shade. Sure, solar will be very much reduced, but that's okay: we have 50 amps.
Tonight...the generator kicked on. Turns out we ran down the batteries to 50%. Direct DC usage in the rig, like lights, whatever else is straight DC, ran them down. With the Victron set to off, the shore power doesn't recharge the batteries. If I turn the Victron to just "Charger" (not Inverter), it will recharge the batteries, but I will still be limited to a 30 amp system.
This feels wrong to me. I'm a programmer, have been for 30 years. I'm decent at debugging, but I haven't examined all the the wiring and gotten a deeper understanding of the layout. It just feels wrong that it's this way.
When we have good sun, the batteries always get charged up the next day, even on cloudy days. We've been here, in the shade, for... two full days, I think.
I'm trying to determine if one or more of the following are true:
- Is this a standard solar implementation scenario? That there is only ONE possible charger/converter to replenish the batteries installed at one time?
- Is there a possible wiring / schematic / system design oversight or bug. (I don't have a schematic yet, I have reached out to get one, if available.)
- There would have been an original charger/converter installed on the rig, before the Victron, etc. was installed. Does anyone ever have that still wired into the system?
- Really, my only choices are "have sun" or "be limited to 30 amps even when 50 amp shore power is available"? This cannot be right.
I'm trying to determine that, if the Victron being on limits me to 30 amps, is there a different way to charge the batteries when on shore power? I know my question might be difficult to many without y'all knowing more about how it's wired up. But I'm hoping I kept my questions as free of the implementation as possible and focused on generalizations, and typical scenarios.
For the moment, there's a chill coming into the area tonight and I don't need two A/C's. I'm okay with the 30 amps for now, and I'll get my batteries replenished. Not a long term solution.
I truly appreciate any help anyone can put forth, or any education I can glean out of your answers. I did do extensive research into solar, DC, AC, converters/chargers, inverters, MPPT, etc. before we bought the rig. I feel sort of comfortable in my general knowledge. I was a little sad I didn't get to do the install myself so I'd REALLY know it, inside and out, but the deal was just too good to pass up and our seller was a pleasure to work with. But I lack the intimate knowledge that installing it myself would have gained.
Thanks in advance for any assistance.
- Will B.
Somewhere in Kansas at the moment.