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My original batteries from early 2017 are finally starting to sag and its time to replace them. (often at 10-11 volts at start time, 8-9 after plugs/turning over)

What is the largest battery group size you have installed with reasonable accommodation? I have one of the larger factory alternators (300 amp I think) and often run a lot of accessories off of it.

Also, I am thinking of getting a solar panel or two for charging. Problem is, two batteries, so if I charge one, the other will get less voltage. Has anyone put any thought into this situation? Two panels, two charge controllers? Battery disconnects when topping them off?
 

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I cover the roof of my camper when we got home blocking the roof solar, so I ordered a 50w panel kit from amazon. I mounted it on the side of the garage and hooked an extension cord from the panel to the 10amp control. I then cut the 2 wires off a old battery charger and hooked them to the control then to one battery. I have 4 batteries and it equalizes them all if the sun shines for a while the reason I know this is the charge control for the roof solar also says 14.4 volts and 100% during the day.
 

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If you're looking at your voltmeter immediatly after start up, your alternator hasn't kicked on yet. Give it a minute.

After running the heater grid and turning over a massive diesel engine, it's gonna read low without the alternator sending it some juice.
 

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Your alternator is only connected to the passenger side battery anyway. They’re wired parallel so what goes into (or comes out of) one applies almost equally to the other. Sorta like two cups connected by a hose at the bottoms. Connecting a charger to one battery will bleed over into the other almost equally.

Fisker and some BMWs have solar roofs to charge the batteries nominally while the car is parked and seems to work fairly well - at least til the photovoltaic panels start to go. But with aftermarket trickle charge kits it’s much easier to fix a bad panel than with OEM structural integration. I’ve seen folks with their pappy-caps (or camper shell, or topper, or whatever y’all wanna call it) or toolbox lids mounted with PV chargers. The toolbox size ones seem to work fairly well to keep an auxiliary battery topped off (and bleed a bit to the main batteries wired in parallel) for powering an inverter in the toolbox.

Buddy of mine went to the off-road expo west last year and saw a bunch of folks with improvised campers under pappy-caps powered by solar panels covering the cap roof. We’re talking mini fridges, small HVAC units, small laptops for movies, small kitchen appliances, stuff like that. Pretty neat.


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personally with so dam nay gadgets on vehicles today, all vehicles should have built in panels in the roof's of things to help maintain charge things when parked!, as gadgets draw when parked now, more than ever!
 
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