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Discussion Starter #161
Well, it was 12.4V this morning after being out all day in the sun yesterday, short trips (Costco run, etc.) but parked in the sun most of the day, and the dash cam was on all night. So the solar panel and AGM combo is certainly working. Just need to figure out why it's draining so much when it's parked underground for a couple of days. Fortunately, I wired the cam into the solar panel's regulator so it shuts off the cam below 12V.

The specs for the cam claim 380mA but that's with Wi-Fi off. I like having the Wi-Fi on because we have Wi-Fi in the garage (no security cams but Wi-Fi, go figure) and can download the video without having to pull the microSD card, which is extremely fiddly.

The behemoth, as @dwasifar calls it, LOL, is 20Hr 65Ah. My battery knowledge is about at its limit here - assuming the cam with Wi-Fi on is 700mA (pure speculation), how long should I expect to be able to run it from the battery before the battery drops below 12V (25% charge)? Of course, there's other stuff going on when the car is supposedly "off" and the battery won't start out fully charged even under the best conditions.

Next time I have custody I'll try hooking up the Watt meter...
 

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Our HOA is pretty dysfunctional and there's no appetite for spending money unless something is broken and even then it takes forever - one of the water heaters has been out since August. We bring up cameras at every meeting. I'm less concerned about what might happen to the car in the garage, though. More concerned about packages being stolen, etc. I like the idea of parking mode for when the car is parked on the street or in a supermarket parking lot and gets scraped or whatever.
Well, if you just use it for short times, you should be OK. It is the repeated overnight usage that could drain the battery.
 

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Not sure how you have the cam wired to your car. But it's presence even though drawing very little power could cause other car electronics in the car to wake up and stay awake using power.

I know on the Ascent forum there was considerable discussion about what happens if you leave the tail gate open (as when at tailgate party or whatever). Even though the lights shut after so many minutes, the car electronics remain active and draw a steady 4 amps. As a result the car battery would eventually be run down. So hard to know exactly what all can cause a battery drain...
 

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Discussion Starter #164
Not sure how you have the cam wired to your car. But it's presence even though drawing very little power could cause other car electronics in the car to wake up and stay awake using power.

I know on the Ascent forum there was considerable discussion about what happens if you leave the tail gate open (as when at tailgate party or whatever). Even though the lights shut after so many minutes, the car electronics remain active and draw a steady 4 amps. As a result the car battery would eventually be run down. So hard to know exactly what all can cause a battery drain...
Interesting...

The solar panel regulator is connected to an always on unused fuse connection in the driver side panel (can't remember which, without searching for it) and the cam is connected to the device output of the regulator (so it will be shut off if the battery drops below 12V). Not sure of the logic, exactly, but I assume that when the panel is generating power it's charging the battery and powering the cam, and when it's not generating power, the battery is powering the cam (until the battery drops below 12V).

I'm really curious now to hook up the Watt meter and see watt's really going on... ?
 

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Discussion Starter #165
I did some more tests this morning. The voltage at the battery with nothing on in the car was 12.41V. The car had been parked in the sun all day yesterday and then the cam was on overnight. So the new battery is taking up charge very well from the solar panel, when it can get it.

Then I hooked up the Watt meter to the camera and it fluctuated between 5 - 6W depending on what it was doing. So, with Wi-Fi on, it's not much more than the 380mA in the specs with Wi-Fi off. Perhaps 450mA on average.

At some point, I'll test the total drain from the car over a period of time but it seems that just the cam would discharge a fully charged 65Ah battery to 50% in a couple of days, unless it was parked in the sun.
 
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2019 Crosstrek Liimited, 2018 Outback Touring, 2005 WRX
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Your math is correct re: a 450mA draw for several days. One thing to keep in mind is that at some point, your AGM won't have enough reserve to crank that engine. I'm a ham radio operator, use solar power with dedicated regulators, etc. An AGM battery generally requires more than 35% of its rated capacity (or so) to be able to supply the 23 amps my radio draws at full power. Resting voltage can be fine, but once it reaches a certain point of discharge, it can't suppply more than the 10.98 volts the radio requires and the radio will cut out. If that happens, I have to reduce the output power of my radio until the battery charges back up. Realistically, a 20Ah battery can supply about 10Ah of useful power. That's why I have switched to a LiFePO4 battery. It's lighter by far, smaller, and has more usable power per stated Ah capacity than an AGM. For my cars, I'll switch to AGM batteries when the time is right. I've done well with these in the past (Optima).
 

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Discussion Starter #167
Thanks! The best I can think of is to set the shut off at the highest voltage possible so it won't drain the battery too much. Probably means it won't be on in parking mode all the time, unless it's parked in the sun.
 

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Discussion Starter #168 (Edited)
So, after a few more days of testing, all I've accomplished is to confuse myself...

OAK's "weekend" is Sunday/Monday (she works Saturdays) and even when she was at work on Saturday with the car parked outside all day there wasn't much sun. We didn't use the car on Sunday (so it was parked undergound) and this morning, Monday, the battery was down to 11.79V at the battery terminals with nothing on in the car. The cam had already shut off due to low low voltage but the car started at the first touch.

On Sunday I hooked up a Watt meter, inline from the battery terminals, to try to figure out what's going on. At the time, the battery was 12.08V with no load. The drain was over 40W with the car woken up (when you approach it with a fob and open a door). With the car closed up and locked and the fob far away, and the car asleep, the drain eventually dropped to only 0.2W on average. I expect there will be a spike when the fuel evaporation system kicks in but I didn't wait that long.

To eliminate the solar panel wiring and controller I hooked that up first and there was no change. However, with the dash cam on and in parking mode, it was fairly consistent at around 6W. No special wiring - at this point it's still just plugged into a cig adaptor socket, and I got similar readings when testing it directly connected to the Watt meter. That's also consistent with the power consumption in the manual and specs. Turning off the Wi-Fi on the cam appeared to make little difference. With or without Wi-Fi it fluctuates between 4.7 and over 6W.

Some questions:

1. I was shocked that the car started so well with 11.79V recorded at the terminals with nothing else on in the car (and only a 0.2W drain from my previous tests). It's about 60F here today. Some battery voltage charts I've seen for AGM batteries say this voltage should mean fully discharged but, clearly, that's not the case. Anyone have any reliable info/charts to determine the state of charge of an AGM battery from the voltage (I realize it's an approximation).

2. I'm wondering if the cig port adaptor that came with the cam may be part of the problem. Anyone have any suggestions for alternatives that may be more efficient? I forgot to check the output voltage and OAK is out in the car but I'm guessing 3-5v.

3. The solar panel controller that came with the panel seems to be working OK but I'd like to be able to shut off the cam at a higher voltage than the regulator allows. Ideally, specify the actual voltage so I can find a balance between not draining the battery too much and maximizing the time the dash cam can be in parking mode. Any suggestions?

4. What I really don't understand is why our Ring doorbell, with a Li-ion battery about the size of a matchbox, can do essentially the same thing for a month (albeit with only one camera) whereas the Blackvue cam drains a high end car battery in a few days. Any ideas?
 

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Discussion Starter #169
Well, it started this morning after hardly being used all "weekend". The AGM battery seems pretty resilient.
 

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Discussion Starter #170
Around 12.4V this evening, after a 5 mile commute, each way, and being parked in the sun all day...
 

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Discussion Starter #171
Another experiment:

I reconfigured the dash cam to only be connected to the ACC power, so it hasn't been in park mode for a few days (since Sunday). Already, the new Odyssey battery is back up to almost 12.7V, just pottering around West LA and being parked in the sun some of the time.

I'm very impressed with how well the new battery takes up charge. Just have to figure out how to handle the drain from the dash cam in parking mode.
 
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Put the charger to mine last week. I hardwired to a car the attachment for the charger which allows you to plug in rather than clip on the charger. It read 85% when I started. And gave a full charge cleanly. No apperant reduction in battery ability.
 

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Discussion Starter #173
Another gadget arrived today: Amazon.com : IS Low Voltage Disconnect, Digital Charging Timer Controller, Over Discharge Protector Module for DC 6V-60V Lithium Lead Acid Battery : Garden & Outdoor

The dashcam kit came with a low voltage shut off but it was very basic and there were only a couple of options that could be set, via dip switches. This one lets you set the low voltage shut-off precisely (within 0.1V) and the higher voltage at which it resumes power to the load (in this case a dashcam).

I've done some tests with a spare 12V security system battery on my desk and it's pretty cool. I'll install it in the Crosstrek this weekend. I'm hoping that by tinkering with the lower and higher settings I can get the dashcam working most of the time in parking mode but not if the car hasn't been driven for a couple of days to the point that it wouldn't start.

I'm guessing 12.0V or about 40% charged is a good cutoff point to start with.
 

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Discussion Starter #174
So, this lockdown has had me re-thinking the best ways to keep the car batteries charged. Road trips are not an option and even if the solar panel worked well, it has been raining all week.

The Odyssey Extreme AGM in the Crosstrek has been holding up well but with only a couple of quick trips to the grocery store and one to the vet in the last three weeks, it's now under 12V, and that's with the dash cam not set to parking mode.

Any recommendations for battery chargers/conditioners that will keep a high-end AGM battery happy?
 

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I use this on my bikes and our vehicles. Excellent maintainer. Well regarded. Won't overcharge. Perhaps have a quick-disconnect out thru the grill for easy connect / disconnect.

Battery Tender Jr. 12V:

  • Works with AGM, gel cell and lead acid batteries, as well as flooded batteries
  • Automatic 4-step charging process switches to float mode when complete
  • LED charge status indicator
  • Spark- and reverse polarity-proof
  • Automatic car battery charger connects easily to a wall outlet
  • 12' cord connects to the battery
 

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Discussion Starter #176
I use this on my bikes and our vehicles. Excellent maintainer. Well regarded. Won't overcharge. Perhaps have a quick-disconnect out thru the grill for easy connect / disconnect.

Battery Tender Jr. 12V:

  • Works with AGM, gel cell and lead acid batteries, as well as flooded batteries
  • Automatic 4-step charging process switches to float mode when complete
  • LED charge status indicator
  • Spark- and reverse polarity-proof
  • Automatic car battery charger connects easily to a wall outlet
  • 12' cord connects to the battery
Thanks @Rod H!

Funny, I saw lots of these on Amazon when I was looking for battery chargers the other day and dismissed them because I wasn't looking for something to maintain the battery in a charged state for a long time (it's impractical here - our parking spaces in the underground garage of our condo building are very far from an outlet). But I just realized that I can use it as a charger periodically and also have the convenience of the quick connect.

Also, funny, I bought the fuel stabilizer from Walmart yesterday and was looking for something else to buy to get up to the $35 for free shipping... ?
 

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This is what I use:
I like the hook that allows you to hang it from a hood latch striker.

Page 4 of the User Manual states: "Use the battery charger on 6 and 12V LEAD-ACID, GEL and AGM-type rechargeable batteries with rated capacities of 12Ah (6V) and 22-59Ah (12V), as used in automobiles, trucks, tractors, airplanes, vans, RVs, trolling motors, etc."

It's available on Amazon
 

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Discussion Starter #178
This is what I use:
I like the hook that allows you to hang it from a hood latch striker.

Page 4 of the User Manual states: "Use the battery charger on 6 and 12V LEAD-ACID, GEL and AGM-type rechargeable batteries with rated capacities of 12Ah (6V) and 22-59Ah (12V), as used in automobiles, trucks, tractors, airplanes, vans, RVs, trolling motors, etc."

It's available on Amazon
Thanks, I think I'd like more than the 800mA one for charging time.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #179
I tried a 5A BatteryTender and it only charged the Odyssey Extreme battery to 75% so now I'm trying the new NOCO Genius 5...

The Genius 5 has a VERY different charge profile so far, according to the voltage levels!

Not sure what to make of this, in the manual, or how to tell if the battery is fully charged?

If the green light is "pulsing" does that mean it's complete and "optimizing" or in maintenance mode?

299805
 

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Yeah, the last point is a little ambiguous. This (for the 3500) explains it better.
Maintenance does charge (pulsing green) from time to time to keep if fully charged, but when it is solid green then it is fully charged. I don't leave it on for too long after solid green, so can't remember it going back to pulsing green after a solid green. But I guess over time, it would, if you leave it connected all the time.

Just tonight I used my load tester to check the charge on a small motorbike battery, and then recharged it with the 3500. It went to full on green in fairly short order. But I observed with my battery tester that it stayed at 14.6V for a while (even at solid green). I checked again an hour later, and it was at 13.6V (still solid green) which I know is a float charge (normal for a fully charged battery).

I normally don't check voltages while charging, and just let it do its thing. When it is solid green, I just disconnect it. But seeing this, probably not a bad idea to leave it on a little longer to be sure it gets to the float voltage charge.
 
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