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Video How to Tell if Solar Panel is Charging the Batteries
05:18   |   51K+ views   |   today at 16:24


  • today from Deb in Gilbert Arizona Deb
  • writes this I have a 2002 Motorhome how
  • do we tell if the solar panel is really
  • working to charge the batteries we put
  • in for new house batteries recently and
  • couldn't keep them charged for very long
  • I just want to see if the panel is
  • working the RV was used when I got it
  • and I am new to the RV world thanks in
  • advance
  • Deb well Deb anything with 12-volt DC or
  • any with electrical period 120 volts AC
  • or 12-volt DC in order to tell anything
  • if it's working in the field that
  • professional technicians are taught to
  • always measure in other words you have
  • to have the correct measuring devices a
  • voltmeter in some cases an ammeter we
  • use quite a few different types of
  • electrical electrical test devices in
  • the shop to determine if a system is
  • working or if there's a problem many
  • many solar panel installations in RVs
  • come equipped with a charge controller
  • if yours does not have a charge
  • controller I urge you to upgrade and to
  • install an aftermarket charge controller
  • there's quite a few of them out there
  • there's a couple that I really recommend
  • which we'll get to in a second but
  • without a charge controller the only way
  • to do it is to measure and if you're not
  • in tune with the 12-volt DC system or if
  • you have don't have an understanding of
  • troubleshooting that which most our
  • viewers do not to a certain extent then
  • I would again recommend that you take
  • this to a professional to have it have a
  • trouble shot and to have it gone through
  • to analyze exactly what's wrong a quick
  • way to determine it if you have a voto
  • meter that you can measure voltage with
  • is that you can measure the voltage at
  • the battery during an evening
  • when there is no Sun and then during the
  • heat of the day when the solar panels
  • are fully exposed to the Sun measure
  • that voltage again make sure everything
  • is turned off inside the coach they use
  • this 12 volt DC a lot of components in
  • an RV especially a Motorhome uses quite
  • a bit of 12 volt DC current to run even
  • the automatic operation of the of the
  • refrigerator even though you're powering
  • the heating element with AC 120 volts AC
  • when you're plugged into the Shore power
  • it still takes a healthy 12 volt battery
  • system in order to control the flow of
  • the energy through that through that
  • refrigerator so we use the DC system
  • quite a bit in just about everything we
  • we use in our RVs in our coaches so one
  • of the things you can do is measure the
  • voltage if you have a charge controller
  • already I'm not sure which one you have
  • you can follow up with me and I'll be
  • able to analyze your system a little bit
  • a little bit in more detail later but if
  • you have a charge controller many of the
  • sophisticated charge controllers come
  • with a display panel this is really cool
  • this is what I like about these
  • aftermarket panels you'll be able to
  • determine by looking at the display
  • panel exactly how many how many volts is
  • actually pushing how much current
  • through the system to fully charge or to
  • charge your batteries now you may also
  • have another battery problem you may
  • have a battery drain hopefully those
  • batteries when they were installed knew
  • that they were fully charged rarely does
  • our new RV batteries in our coaches
  • receive a healthy full charge so their
  • batteries are kind of put in a hole to
  • begin with make sure you don't have a
  • battery drain again this takes some
  • specialized training as far as
  • determining amperage draw or a drain on
  • a battery if you're a handy person and
  • you have moto-meter you can least
  • measure the voltage at the battery to
  • see if it goes up during the heat of the
  • day if you have a way to measure the
  • current flow which is what we would do
  • in the shop if we were to troubleshoot
  • your exact system so follow up with me
  • Deb and tell me the brand of motor home
  • you have how many solar panels you have
  • you only use the singular word panel in
  • your question so I'm assuming
  • have one and you may be under sized as
  • far as your solar panels a little
  • trickle charge going in may or may not
  • have any lasting effect on the health of
  • the batteries if you don't if you've got
  • a big bucket you're dripping dripping in
  • water a little bit it's not going to
  • fill up that water tank very very very
  • efficiently so you may be under sized on
  • the array of how many panels you have in
  • the array but a good charge controller
  • sophisticated charge controller will be
  • able to give you those measurements that
  • you need if you don't have the
  • individual instruments to measure by but
  • in the shop determining a good system
  • versus a bad system or a faulty system
  • we measure we have to have actual
  • measurements to to determine exactly
  • what's going on so send me another email
  • Devin let me know how many panels you
  • have and how big the batteries are that
  • you put in there in other words how big
  • is this bucket we're trying to fill so
  • the capacity of the battery the size of
  • the panel all those into the equations
  • whether or not you have a healthy solar
  • solar system
  • you

Download subtitle


Deb from Gilbert, Ariz., wants to know: How do we tell if the solar panel is charging the batteries on our 2002 motorhome? Gary Bunzer, aka the RV Doctor, responds, explaining the roles of charge controllers and voltage meters.


motorhome house calls rv doctor gary bunzer rv maintenance fmca rv electrical system solar panels 12 volt dc rv batteries charge controller voltmeter measuring voltage

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