It’s 5:40 on Saturday morning, we have been running on our new lithium batteries since 4 o’clock yesterday, the only thing we have done different is that we ran the boiler overnight for some heat and to maintain hot water. So I left the old inverter on all night supplying power to cover our 120 volt requirements. So I watched television until 10 o’clock last night, the satellite receiver recorded a number of items overnight for later viewing, the microwave clock, the clock on the Bose Wave still on, and no need to reset this morning, my phone charged overnight, the only difference overnight than the last few nights, was no 900 watt electric heater and because the coach refrigerator is not on a circuit that the inverter energizes it is running on propane.
So what are the numbers, this is why we have spent all this money for lithium…so the sun set at about 5:30 last night and sunrise is 7:20 today, so we have an hour and a half before any sun will hit the panels, the boiler is set to keep the coach at 60 or 14 degrees, and our overnight temperature was 49 or 9 degrees so not too chilly. The battery voltage is 12.9 volts, now to put that into perspective our old battery bank would have started at dusk last evening at 12.6 volts and without the inverter on overnight would have been 12.0 or less this morning. While I presently have no way of knowing the power draw at any given time overnight, I think it’s pretty safe to calculate that if we averaged 20 amps, and we have 14 hours of darkness that our over night power draw should have been close to 280 amp/hours. When I disconnected the shore power at 4 o’clock yesterday the battery bank was at 99% or just 2 amp/hours from full, so to get a accurate as our present measuring can get at the first sign go solar production I will record the numbers.
Ok dawn is upon us, and the solar controllers just picked enough light to trigger the charging of the batteries! So here are the numbers on the control panel this morning Voltage 12.8, Battery capacity 37%, 229 amp/hours from full. Well these numbers tell me a lot, the voltage is good, with voltage like that no issues with any equipment, no alarms and such, the 37% battery capacity says that the 600 amp hours worth of batteries we purchased is the correct power supply for our needs (only have 400 amp/hours in use right now) and the 229 amp hours tells me that we averaged 16.36 amps of load for the fourteen hours, below the 20 amps I expected our average would be.
Now we get to see how well the solar can recharge our batteries, our position is not the best for producing power, we are facing north so there is no advantage to tilting our panels, and we are partially shaded by a tree. So my expectations are not high but we well see what we get, keeping in mind that we are still using power during our ten hours of sunshine.
So today I’m hoping to complete the new inverter programming, and then I can start to install, the first step will be running all the new wiring for the control panels up through the coach to the designated cabinet so stay tuned….