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captainpalapa avatar image

Victron 3000, 30 amps vs. 50 amps, Shore vs. Solar, Batteries not charging when off, of course

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.


charging batterysolarampsshorepower
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2 Answers
captainpalapa avatar image
captainpalapa answered ·

(Written two days ago, scroll down for today's info and resolution, within this same post.)
Last night, I reached out to Victron directly, after spending a night sweating with no air conditioner and no DC power for lights, etc. (More importantly, no DC to run the thermostats, which could've run my AC units because I have 50 amp shore power!).

After swapping screen shots and more today with someone in Victron Sales, this was their conclusion:

I can see it (the Multiplus -ed) connected to AC input and charging as one would expect when in Charger Only mode. Nothing will happen (including pass-through) if you have turned the unit to OFF with the CCGX.  The Multi thinks you want it OFF, so it opens the input relay and shuts off.

Therefore, my original assumption was correct: I can have 50 amps or I can have charged batteries, but not both. We are still "in the shade" and at 2:35pm only getting 95W. I'm keeping lights off to maximize charging. But you have to have DC to start the generator so I couldn't do that last night. Jumping it would get it started, but not keep it on, for whatever reason, whenever it wants to shut down.

I am having a tech come out to where we are (middle of Kansas) either today or (more likely) tomorrow. I am going to determine what it will take to put the original charger/converter back into place so that if I have shore power, I can have batteries getting charged, too. If the Victron MultiPlus has to be on to charge the batteries and if it's on I only get 30 amps, then that is a DESIGN / PLANNING flaw. I'm a programmer, it would be like saying you have have your mouse work or your keyboard work, but not both at the same time. I just can't agree with this installation.


Today's post and PROBLEMS SOLVED.

Well, it appears that my problems have been resolved. Indeed, as expected by myself and other posters (here and other forums), the original converter/charger was still here, behind a false wall that hides a lot of plumbing and the ATS and...another big electronics box. The tech, after I explained everything, and that my basic problem was "Shore power doesn't charge my batteries", he and I went looking.

Tracing the power cables, it turns out that there was an empty breaker for it, to which it had been disconnected from. And that it wasn't "plugged in". (Weird that there's just a plug for it.) He reconnected the breaker, plugged it in, and now I have shore power battery charging capability. Flipping the breaker, we watched the voltage jump a bit on the DC circuits, as expected. (I had thought that ALL DC input only went to the battery, but he said that there's a cord going to the DC panel, but also to the battery. That still confuses me. Unless it's just all shared.)

He only charged a little over an hour's labor. Most of that time was spent just trying to understand the existing system. (As a programmer, I get it, you can't just start diving in!) Repeatedly, he'd stop, shake his head and say "why'd they do it this way?" regarding the Victron installation. After the Victron sales guy said, basically, "if the Multiplus is off, it does nothing, not even passthrough", I knew that I am completely reliant on sunlight to power the batteries. Now, if I have shore power, I get what I needed. I'm ready to survive when the machines (and/or Skynet) darken the sky.

We got no low voltage alarms last night, and we stayed on the 50 amp shore power. (We had been flipping over to the inverter, using only a single air conditioner to be safe. Unless I didn't remember to change soon enough, and started getting alarms before bedtime, in which case the inverter wouldn't WANT to turn on, like the night before, ugh.) Without the help I received, primarily here, very active, for future reference (http://www.rvnetwork.com/topic/139328-we-can-have-50-amps-or-i-can-charge-my-batteries-on-30-amps-but-not-both/), I might not have really understood what I needed the tech to do. With that discussion thread, and getting the real info from Victron, I knew exactly what I needed. (And the tech fixed my sliding screen door on our little side patio, too, that I kept trying to put back on incorrectly after I knocked it off.)

I'm very impressed with the fact that everyone tried to chip in, offered suggestions AND general knowledge. I have learned more about RV electrical systems, simply due to this problem, than I had expected. I know it sounds a bit rude, and I don't know how to word it differently, but if you're looking for electrical assistance, maybe turning to that RV forum would get more people chiming in. Here, only @Jwfrary even offered assistance (and I thank you for that!). I would've hoped that Victron staff (not sure if he is) would've been more active here, in addition to more community.

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jwfrary avatar image
jwfrary answered ·

Will,

sounds like for some reason be it component or wiring related the input on the units been limited to a 30 amp input current.

Assuming the wiring checks out there’s no reason it can’t be 50 amp. However it may have been done to prevent the generator being overloaded.

If you have a gx device you should be able to see the current limit there.

If not and I suspect not when you talk about a charger only switch, you have the multi control panel which has current limiting functions in several ways quite well explained in the manual. (And you can use it to limit current depending on power source)

The other option is that it has been set like that in the multi plus and you will need a mk3 device and victron connect or ve.configure to then work out how it’s been set up.

As your an RV and a pluggable installation you should not have ESS or other assistants like that running just to mention it!

Hope that gives you something to go on.

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