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eHam Forums => Station Building => Topic started by: KG6YSF on October 19, 2013, 08:42:11 PM



Title: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: KG6YSF on October 19, 2013, 08:42:11 PM
I am looking at setting up solar to power my station. What I am planning is to get a 70W panel and a 10a controler. I Have already purchased 2 115ah marine deep cycle batteries. I plan on a second panel in a year.
My station consists of a Yeasu FT-8900, a Drake TR7 and a MFJ 969. I operate about 4hrs a week tx and about 100hrs rx.
I will add some LED lighting to provide light for the desk.

Drake: 35a max at full tx, 3a rx
Yeasu: 10a at full tx power, 1.5a or 2a rx
MFJ 969: Just a light is being driven for the swr/power meter
LED lights: 12v 0.06a, 10 modules

So you think I have a reasonable plan? I am wanting to be able to operate even if the power is out which happens frequently come winter from a few hours to a few days. As well when the fire season is in we can be out of power for days at a time due to the fires. I would love to get a 200w array with an eight battery bank but that isn't feasible for me in less than probably 5 years. One panel and 2 batteries a year is about what I can do. If you who have experience with solar think that this will work to start with than I will continue, if not tell me if it is attainable with out much more initial cost.

Thanks all,
73's


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: N7BMW on October 20, 2013, 12:55:28 AM
With batteries in parallel it is best to use the same type and age batteries and parallel them from new.  As batteries age they will have different internal resistance and unequal batteries will end up discharging from the stronger to the weaker just bringing the whole bank down. 

It is also best to not discharge the battery bank to less than 50 percent charge.  The shallower you discharge them the longer they will last.  So with two 115 AH batteries no more than 115 amps should be drawn out before recharging.  The proper way to measure a battery's state of charge in to measure the voltage of a fully rested battery - one that has not been discharged or charged for 24 hours.  This is a difficult thing to do with an actively used battery bank.  You can also measure the specific gravity of the electrolyte.  An amp-hour meter is a ballpark figure.   It works on a sampling algorithm and cannot track the rapidly changing load of an SSB or CW transmission.

A single 70 watt (5 amp) panel is just a trickle charge.  Depending on your location a good rule of thumb is six hours full output from the solar panel per day when you have 12 hours of daylight.  The panel will only produce full power around noon unless you plan to constantly angle the panel towards the sun.  Also, at best 85 to 90 percent of the power recharges the battery - the rest is lost to heat.  That 70 watt panel is good for about 25 AH per day, in the tropics, as long as the sun shines.  The farther north or south of the equator you go, the less you can depend on that output. And of course shorter winter days mean less power.  Stay away from so called self regulating solar panels.  There must be a voltage differential for power to flow.  The open circuit voltage of the panel must exceed 15 volts (18V is better) if you are going to get a full charge. 

I lived aboard a sailboat for many years and depended on solar for most of my power.  I could get 5 years out of a set of batteries by following what I wrote above.

73,

Brian




 


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: K8AC on October 20, 2013, 05:42:59 AM
The current draw you listed for the Drake TR7 in transmit mode is incorrect.  The max draw key down will be 25A, not 35A.


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: W4KYR on October 20, 2013, 07:49:27 AM
Unless you use a voltage booster, you won't be putting out 13.8 volts into the transceiver, that may or may not be an concern but something to consider. Some radios do not perform well at 12.4 volts, I ran my Icom 730 on a deep cycle battery and the ham at the other end said it sounded like my rig was FM-ing.


In addition to solar,... you might want to look into the feasibility of using wind power as well.
A quick Google search showed a 450 watt wind generator cost $489. A Solar panel set up for 450 watts cost $2200. It looks like when you get into up to several hundred watts, wind power might be the best way to get additional power for the least amount of money.

5 year battery life sounds about right (if it is properly maintained), something to consider in the overall budget of things and figuring cost per year average. Assuming each battery is $100 each (for simplicity sake) x 2 = $200. The batteries will cost you $40 a year to replace at the theoretical end of life cycle x5. Figure in inflation too, that $100 battery could cost $110 each in 5 years..so figure that in too.

Experimentation is the key. But for starting out, solar is the way to go. Sounds like you are on the right track. Good Luck


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: KG6YSF on October 20, 2013, 01:24:08 PM
Thanks all for the input. I was going on memory of power needs for the radios. I added a little for the HF to be safe.
I understand that a 70W panel is small however I have seen smaller setups work. I just don't know how well. I also have a generator for emergency power. I usually use it for the fridge and freezer, that being said it is a 5k unit so it can do more. I am located in a very rural area of N. Cal so we get good amount of sun on a daily average. I have thought of a wind generator as well. I just have to save a long time to get that done.  I am financially way below the average budget of most hams as I have found out over the last few years. I wont rant on that, I will go ahead and do the best I can with what I have.
I thank you all again.
73 


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: KD4LLA on October 20, 2013, 02:59:37 PM
I have a 60 watt solar panel (3 amp output) going to (10 amp capable) controller at a river side cabin on my farm, powering lights and a ceiling fan.

What I have found is that the battery never get fully charged @3 amps.  I now realize I should have purchased two more (60 watt) panels, a total of 180 watts.  I wouldn't try to use two batteries, I tried bigger batteries, but the bigger battery has a higher resistance and would not fully charge either.

In other words, how long will it take you to charge you battery @3 amps?  Your average day is 8 hrs of sun (w/ out tracking).  Generally I have found it takes 8-10 hrs to charge a auto/ marine battery @10 amps.

After replacing and charging batteries five times, in ten years, I finally bought a Honda generator...

Mike


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: KG6YSF on October 24, 2013, 06:02:12 PM
I found a Qualcomm model: CXPRS051 power supply with battery backup.It still puts out power with the battery disconected which I figured would need to be don so as not to have battling batteries What I am wondering is since it puts out 12v 5.19a can I get or build a charge control switch to work with this item to allow me to charge my deep cycle so I can use the radio. Would a 10a solar charge controler work for that or is there a way to make a voltage gate to do the same thing, ie. open and charge until a set value is reached and then shut off, for less. I have seen $10 charge controlers but I don't know if those are junk or not. So let me know what your thoughts are and if you know of a scematic would you please point me to it?

Thanks,
73


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: KG6YSF on November 04, 2013, 10:29:08 PM
After a lot of reading, talking to solar techs and They all agreed that a 50w panel at 2.7amps and the 115ah battery should handle the needs of my operating habits. They said that I could run two batteries in a bank with the panel and charger I bought.  I have a plan to buy a battery every other month until I get four. Then buy a second 50w panel to add to the system. Once that is done I am thinking of making a wind generator. I am thinking of using a small 12v DC permanent magnet motor as the generator. Buying a prop, nose cone and a hub from an Air-X micro wind generator, aluminum square tube and plate as boom and tail. Run that to the battery bank and use it to power an inverter for what ever is needed at the time.   


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: N7BMW on November 05, 2013, 12:04:30 AM
KG6YSF, re-reading your original post I have an alternative suggestion.  Skip the solar and wind for now.  Get a ten amp smart battery charger.  230 AH of battery should be able to provide power when the AC power is out and a multi step battery charger should cost far less than solar and/or wind generation.  Save your money and evaluate where to go from there. 

Your home made wind generator may not be a good idea.  An AirX is pretty much useless unless you have consistent winds of at least 15 knots.  Your home brewed generator will be far less efficient.

Repeating from my earlier post.  Paralleled batteries should be the same brand, capacity and age.  Buying an additional battery every other month will shorten battery life and battery capacity.  Save up your money and buy the whole battery bank at one time.


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: KD0WZW on November 05, 2013, 07:19:01 AM
  I have a plan to buy a battery every other month until I get four.

I would re-think this if I were you.  There are two issues here, 1, adding 4, 12 volt batteries in parallel makes it easy to charge/discharge them unevenly.  You will end up cooking one battery while the others go under-charged.  Also, you should never mix batteries of different ages.

I would look at getting a couple GC2 (golf cart) batteries.  They are 6V and you can series them together to get your 12 volt bank.  You will want to charge them with around ~20 amps of current to keep them happy.


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: W8JX on November 05, 2013, 08:23:27 AM
With batteries in parallel it is best to use the same type and age batteries and parallel them from new.  As batteries age they will have different internal resistance and unequal batteries will end up discharging from the stronger to the weaker just bringing the whole bank down. 

The ONLY time I have seen a battery bring down a bank is when one developed a internal short. Never seen a problem otherwise. They do not need to be closely matched.


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: KD0WZW on November 05, 2013, 12:52:01 PM
With batteries in parallel it is best to use the same type and age batteries and parallel them from new.  As batteries age they will have different internal resistance and unequal batteries will end up discharging from the stronger to the weaker just bringing the whole bank down.  

The ONLY time I have seen a battery bring down a bank is when one developed a internal short. Never seen a problem otherwise. They do not need to be closely matched.

the problem is when charging and discharging.  You can wire the banks to draw on the positive on 1 side, negative on the other, but one battery will still get pulled down more than the other because the resistance through that parallel circuit is different than the others.  Then when the bank charges, the batteries that weren't pulled down as much get over charged.  This can be due to variances in the batteries, or more commonly, in the cabling for each parallel battery.  I've built, maintained, and fixed a fair amount of solar setups that have had this exact problem, my own included.   It's somewhat easy to catch this early with FLA batteries because you will see that they require vastly different amounts of distilled water at their maintenance periods.  The best bank layout is one that minimizes parallel connections through use of lower voltage cells in series to attain your desired bank size.


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: W8JX on November 05, 2013, 05:18:31 PM
With batteries in parallel it is best to use the same type and age batteries and parallel them from new.  As batteries age they will have different internal resistance and unequal batteries will end up discharging from the stronger to the weaker just bringing the whole bank down.  

The ONLY time I have seen a battery bring down a bank is when one developed a internal short. Never seen a problem otherwise. They do not need to be closely matched.

the problem is when charging and discharging.  You can wire the banks to draw on the positive on 1 side, negative on the other, but one battery will still get pulled down more than the other because the resistance through that parallel circuit is different than the others.  Then when the bank charges, the batteries that weren't pulled down as much get over charged.  This can be due to variances in the batteries, or more commonly, in the cabling for each parallel battery.  I've built, maintained, and fixed a fair amount of solar setups that have had this exact problem, my own included.   It's somewhat easy to catch this early with FLA batteries because you will see that they require vastly different amounts of distilled water at their maintenance periods.  The best bank layout is one that minimizes parallel connections through use of lower voltage cells in series to attain your desired bank size.

Never seen it happen once. It is not a problem. I have used mixed dual batteries in SUV's and plow truck for years and never had a mismatch problem.


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: KG6YSF on November 05, 2013, 08:04:20 PM
I have never had problems with mixing batteries on the Jeep either. I drove class A trucks for years and never had an issue with it either how ever I have seen a bad battery kill a good one but when connected together. As for the addition of batteries in this instance I have to get them this way because it is the only way I can afford to do this. Buying the Panel and charge controller will cut me really short this month. I live on Veterans Affairs Disability so money is real tight all the time. I am lucky if I can  get $75 in one month for entertainment. I have been in contact with the manufacturers' tech support and they say that this should not be a problem. However they did say that they do not recommend more than two of the batteries that I am using per panel. So I will only get one more battery. That will give me 230ah of batteries with a 50w 2.78a solar panel. Probably wait till next year to buy another panel to add to the system and then two more batteries. And yes they will be spread out over several months. I am going to get the parts and assemble the higher amp, probably a 20amp, controller myself as a fun little project.

73s


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: KD0WZW on November 06, 2013, 06:50:31 AM
are we talking mixing batteries in vehicles here, or in a deep charge/discharge solar applications?  They are two totally different scenarios and use different batteries for each.  If you're using a couple mis-match batteries in a vehicle to run your radios, yea I agree no problem, but when you're talking about pulling your battery bank down to 50-60% on a nightly basis (and recharging it fully the next day hopefully) these mis-matches become a very big issue over a few months time.

Here is a good read if you want to parallel the banks together, along with some different ways to wire the bank. 

http://www.smartgauge.co.uk/batt_con.html

anyways, just my .02c.  To the OP, you will want to charge your bank with a plug-in charger occasionally as 2.78a is only a 1.1% rate of charge and the bank won't be very happy with that rate, ideally you'd like to be in the 8-10% range.

I'm not sure where you are getting your gear from, I've had good luck with solarblvd.com, solar-electric.com and also the alte.com store.  I've found the best prices on panels at solarblvd.com and run some of the Solar Cynergy panels that power my cabin.  solar-electric.com also has a great forum on the subject that will keep you busy reading for weeks should you desire.



Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: W8JX on November 06, 2013, 07:08:58 AM
are we talking mixing batteries in vehicles here, or in a deep charge/discharge solar applications?  They are two totally different scenarios and use different batteries for each.  If you're using a couple mis-match batteries in a vehicle to run your radios, yea I agree no problem, but when you're talking about pulling your battery bank down to 50-60% on a nightly basis (and recharging it fully the next day hopefully) these mis-matches become a very big issue over a few months time.

As long as you do not mix battery types you will not have a problem.


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: KG6YSF on November 07, 2013, 07:09:17 PM
One I do not run unmatched batteries. I will however run batteries that have same spec but are of different age by less than a year. My Jeep batteries get run down quite far fairly regularly. That being said I regularly anymore is the one or two 4wheeling trips I make a month. Almost every time the winch gets used and fairly hard, more than once I've had to have a boost to get the engine fired back up. I'm not just running around on the forestry roads, when I am wheeling with my friends someone almost always gets home piggy-back on a truck or trailer. That being said I run two yellow top Optima's. So yes, I am hard on batteries in my Jeep. 10k winch, dual air compressors, lots of lights (28 halogens), FT-2900 mostly on medium power except for the occasional in the way back hills. 12V refrigerator. The type of lights I need for what we do are ridiculously expensive if you get equivalent LEDs, roughly $800 a pair.

Now for the batteries for the solar they will all be the same Kirkland 115ah marine deep cycle, just bought a few months apart. I can't see how acquiring one every other month could be that bad. We are only talking about 4 batteries in eight months, hopefully. A second panel within a year. I will say that as of yet I haven't heard or don't remember hearing if two 12v panels of different wattage and or amperes can be hooked together. If it would work together I would like to add a 100w 12v panel if it would work. I have bought a Renogy mono-crystalline panel 12v 50w panel. The gentleman I spoke with at Reel Goods said it should be fine and maybe even over kill for what I am doing and for the amount of usage I demand. Ultimately I would like to have 10a charge available.


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: W8JX on November 08, 2013, 05:17:56 AM
One I do not run unmatched batteries. I will however run batteries that have same spec but are of different age by less than a year. My Jeep batteries get run down quite far fairly regularly. That being said I regularly anymore is the one or two 4wheeling trips I make a month. Almost every time the winch gets used and fairly hard, more than once I've had to have a boost to get the engine fired back up.

You should consider a third battery. You should run a separate pair deep cycle batteries that power winch and then have main battery for vehicle. You can have the winch batteries charge from main buss but able to isolate them. Optima's are a bit over rated and do not have best capacity for this. Deep cycles have a high amount of acid and this gives you greater reserve capacity. A snow plow is very hard on a electrical system too because its motor/pump can be used a lot and it can draw about same as a wench. I have always used unmatched batteries and never had a problem. I usually replace main battery every 2 or 3 years and move it to second place battery. I never wait for failure.


I will say that as of yet I haven't heard or don't remember hearing if two 12v panels of different wattage and or amperes can be hooked together. If it would work together I would like to add a 100w 12v panel if it would work.

You can used different sized panels but you should use separate controllers for each one.


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: KD0WZW on November 08, 2013, 05:34:08 AM
as long as the panels have similar voltages, you should be fine.  To be safe you could fuse the smaller panel (in case there is a short, the larger panel could overload the smaller)


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: W8JX on November 08, 2013, 07:44:47 AM
as long as the panels have similar voltages, you should be fine.  To be safe you could fuse the smaller panel (in case there is a short, the larger panel could overload the smaller)

Still unless their matched, their internal resistance can vary and one panel pull other down and not yeild total possible power out. I would use controllers.


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: KD0WZW on November 11, 2013, 07:57:57 AM
as long as the panels have similar voltages, you should be fine.  To be safe you could fuse the smaller panel (in case there is a short, the larger panel could overload the smaller)

Still unless their matched, their internal resistance can vary and one panel pull other down and not yeild total possible power out. I would use controllers.

if the VMP of the panels is simlar (within 10%) you will have no problem.  Almost all "12 volt" panels will be between 17 and 18 volts for the VMP rating. 


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: KG6YSF on November 13, 2013, 08:48:03 PM
Alright the day is here. I have all the necessary items at this point to install the system. I know where the panel is going to be mounted, I have the battery in a box outside of the window of my "shack," so can I mount the charge controller in the box or is there a explosion/fire hazard related to it being in the battery box as I am using lead acid batteries. I figure I needed to ground the panel for lightning protection, however what else needs to be grounded? I have heard people say to ground the batteries to a good ground, grounding stake or cold water pipe to the battery negative; that doesn't seem like a good idea to me but this is all new to me so I need the knowledge of the Elmers. I bought four ground rods for this project. Is #10 wire too small for 100 foot run from panel to charge control? The panel is 3amp when shorted. That is what I am using to wire the radios to the batteries. I asked about the charge controller being in the battery box to get it further from the radios for the purpose of limiting RFI. I will put it on the wall next to the desk otherwise. I will have to bury the wire so I am using 1" plastic conduit. It will only be about 6" under the surface just so it is protected from the mower and critters.
FYI: When I add a second panel it will be another identical to the one I have or a 100W of the same brand.

Well thanks for the help all I really appreciate it.

73
Jason 


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: KD4LLA on November 17, 2013, 05:28:49 PM
After a lot of reading, talking to solar techs and They all agreed that a 50w panel at 2.7amps and the 115ah battery should handle the needs of my operating habits. They said that I could run two batteries in a bank with the panel and charger I bought.  I have a plan to buy a battery every other month until I get four. Then buy a second 50w panel to add to the system. Once that is done I am thinking of making a wind generator. I am thinking of using a small 12v DC permanent magnet motor as the generator. Buying a prop, nose cone and a hub from an Air-X micro wind generator, aluminum square tube and plate as boom and tail. Run that to the battery bank and use it to power an inverter for what ever is needed at the time.   
A 50 watt solar panel will never charge one battery enough, much less four batteries.  Evidently you didn't read my prior comment.  I have already tried using a bigger battery.  I got a battery that is twice the size of a normal auto battery and it has more internal resistance.  Hence, it didn't fully charge or last any longer.

Maybe by now you have added more panels, as that is what one needs, more charging amps.  3 amps (for an average day of 8 hrs) will not charge a battery that is also being used.  Other thing is all wiring needs to be as short a run as possible.  Every foot of wire is basically a resistor, whether it is a 12v from the panel or a 120v from the inverter to the radio.

Mike


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: N4KD on November 20, 2013, 08:33:11 AM
Take a look at what was done here - http://www.solorb.com/elect/solarcirc/fourkits/. Lots of very good information in the links on that page, as well as specs, etc. I bought the Cirkits charge controller and putting it together was a snap. I got monocrystalline solar panels from Tmart.com. Quick shipping from a domestic warehouse. Not bad prices, either.

vy 73,
Dave N4KD


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: KG6YSF on November 23, 2013, 10:57:28 PM
KD4LLA: Yes I read your post. Unfortunately I had already bought the battery. I purchased a Renogy 50W mono-crystalline Solar panel with 2.7A output. I will hopefully get a second panel and hopefully a 100W panel if possible when I do it. After the panels have been upgraded then I will look at more batteries. At that time I will look at different batteries to run a second bank to the other battery or see if I can sell it to a boater here on the lake. At that time what should I look for to have a better battery bank. Remember I am looking at about $75 to $100 dollars every other month to put into pleasure items.

N4KD: Thank you for the site I will definitely try to keep them in mind as I will look at a controller that i can grow with. I have seen the page before so to here from someone who has used them is quite helpful. So what do you think of the finished product? Is it very noisy? I have been thinking of where to mount my controller so I don't get any more noise than necessary. I thought about mounting it in the battery box, an old Igloo 160qrt  cooler, I didn't know if it would be a problem because of the off gassing of the batteries though at 2.7A that shouldn't be a problem. It would be nice if I could put it on the wall of the shack and and not worry about it.

Well tomorrow the panel gets mounted, the battery box went into place today as well as wiring of the HF and the UHF/VHF wires got lengthened so that they will reach the box. The floor got a new whole put in it, to the wife's she grin, for routing the power wires. The once again, to the wife's she grin, a 1" whole was put in the wall just below the eves to rout the coax through. I will calk the wholes after the appropriate lines are run through their perspective wholes. And last but not least the HF wire dipole will be strung with the aid of a neighbor's man-lift. 35 feet in an oak on one end and the top of an aluminum mast, that my j-pole is on, on the other end also 35 feet. I am going to use a pulley and a small lead ingot( +/- 1.5 lbs) on the mast end to keep tension on the dipole while allowing it to move with the sway of the tree. The center ballun will hang from a second tree.       


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: KG6YSF on November 27, 2013, 06:17:07 PM

You should consider a third battery. You should run a separate pair deep cycle batteries that power winch and then have main battery for vehicle. You can have the winch batteries charge from main buss but able to isolate them. Optima's are a bit over rated and do not have best capacity for this. Deep cycles have a high amount of acid and this gives you greater reserve capacity. A snow plow is very hard on a electrical system too because its motor/pump can be used a lot and it can draw about same as a wench. I have always used unmatched batteries and never had a problem. I usually replace main battery every 2 or 3 years and move it to second place battery. I never wait for failure.


Unfortunately there is not enough room under the hood of the Jeep CJ, and Wrangler style vehicles for three batteries and the engine. With the two batteries in a custom made battery tray and like many do a V8 engine swapped in. Actually once you put a V8 in you can no longer run the factory belt driven fan and have to convert a fan from another vehicle or pay the exorbitant price for the after market ones. You really have to start "shoe horning" stuff in.



Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: KG6YSF on December 10, 2013, 06:16:15 PM
Okay finally got back to this project. Weather and physical conditions didn't allow it till recently. I am connecting the controller to the battery and panel, there were no instructions, there is three different sets of connections. One marked for the panel, one marked for the battery, and the third for "load." My question is should the radio be connected to the "load" connection on the controller or the battery where I have it connected?

Thanks 73s,

Jason 


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: KD0WZW on December 16, 2013, 10:36:14 AM
connect the radio right to the batteries.  The load connector can be used, but it's better to just go direct to the batteries.


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: REMOVED_ACCOUNT_2015-01-09 on December 24, 2013, 11:34:09 AM
Why do you want a 'solar' powered station in the first place?


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: KD4LLA on December 24, 2013, 07:06:22 PM
Okay finally got back to this project. Weather and physical conditions didn't allow it till recently. I am connecting the controller to the battery and panel, there were no instructions, there is three different sets of connections. One marked for the panel, one marked for the battery, and the third for "load." My question is should the radio be connected to the "load" connection on the controller or the battery where I have it connected?

Thanks 73s,

Jason 

Hmmm, nothing since the 10th of December...  I hope you didn't connect your radio to the "load" terminals on the controller.  You don't want your radio to draw power thru the charge controller.

I would not worry about "grounding", as this is a low voltage system.  If lightning strikes the panel or battery box, do you really think a 10 ga piece of wire is going to help?

Mike

Mike


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: KD0PGM on January 20, 2014, 06:57:07 PM
Quote
Hmmm, nothing since the 10th of December...  I hope you didn't connect your radio to the "load" terminals on the controller.  You don't want your radio to draw power thru the charge controller.

Is this really true?  What are the "load" terminals for then?


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: KD0WZW on January 21, 2014, 06:58:52 AM
you can run off of them, but at limited amperage.  It's much better to just hook direct to the battery bank.


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: W4KYR on January 21, 2014, 08:52:18 AM
Quote
Hmmm, nothing since the 10th of December...  I hope you didn't connect your radio to the "load" terminals on the controller.  You don't want your radio to draw power thru the charge controller.

Is this really true?  What are the "load" terminals for then?


Lights and fans.


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: K0JEG on January 24, 2014, 12:25:05 PM
Quote
Hmmm, nothing since the 10th of December...  I hope you didn't connect your radio to the "load" terminals on the controller.  You don't want your radio to draw power thru the charge controller.

Is this really true?  What are the "load" terminals for then?


Lights and fans.

Some also have a low voltage disconnect and even dusk-to-dawn switching based on solar voltage.


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: KG6YSF on April 07, 2014, 09:59:42 PM
Okay sorry it has been so long. I did not connect the radio to the load terminal of the charge control. I have how ever been using the radios quite a bit. I was able to use them during a day and a half without power. That is exactly why I wanted it on solar. The solar panel does a very reasonable job keeping up with the load consumption. I average about 3 hrs radio time a day and the battery is always usably charged.
I am going to add two more batteries this summer. Hopefully in the fall a second identical panel. We do have a average of 3 to 4 times a year of 1 to 2 days of power outages. Some times do to wild land fires and the solar set up is just the ticket. We also live in an area that is prone to earthquakes so solar gives us the ability to operate for ARES and personal needs during times natural disaster and power outages that are as simple as just an inconvenience. We love it.


Title: RE: Solar, am I on th right track?
Post by: W4KYR on April 08, 2014, 05:43:43 AM
The solar panel does a very reasonable job keeping up with the load consumption. I average about 3 hrs radio time a day and the battery is always usably charged.
I am going to add two more batteries this summer. Hopefully in the fall a second identical panel. We do have a average of 3 to 4 times a year of 1 to 2 days of power outages.

Look into wind power as well.