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Author Topic: Solar, am I on th right track?  (Read 20904 times)
W8JX
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Posts: 5794




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« Reply #15 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.
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KG6YSF
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« Reply #16 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.
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"Rangers Lead The Way!"  "Sua Sponte"   "Litalis Velox Silens"
When all else fails ham radio is there!
FT2900, FT8900, VX6, Ft60, TS940SAT, Drake TR7, MFJ 969
W8JX
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Posts: 5794




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« Reply #17 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.
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KD0WZW
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« Reply #18 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)
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W8JX
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« Reply #19 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.
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KD0WZW
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« Reply #20 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. 
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KG6YSF
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Posts: 91




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« Reply #21 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 
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"Rangers Lead The Way!"  "Sua Sponte"   "Litalis Velox Silens"
When all else fails ham radio is there!
FT2900, FT8900, VX6, Ft60, TS940SAT, Drake TR7, MFJ 969
KD4LLA
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Posts: 459




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« Reply #22 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
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N4KD
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Posts: 134




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« Reply #23 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
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KG6YSF
Member

Posts: 91




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« Reply #24 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.       
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"Rangers Lead The Way!"  "Sua Sponte"   "Litalis Velox Silens"
When all else fails ham radio is there!
FT2900, FT8900, VX6, Ft60, TS940SAT, Drake TR7, MFJ 969
KG6YSF
Member

Posts: 91




Ignore
« Reply #25 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.

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"Rangers Lead The Way!"  "Sua Sponte"   "Litalis Velox Silens"
When all else fails ham radio is there!
FT2900, FT8900, VX6, Ft60, TS940SAT, Drake TR7, MFJ 969
KG6YSF
Member

Posts: 91




Ignore
« Reply #26 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 
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"Rangers Lead The Way!"  "Sua Sponte"   "Litalis Velox Silens"
When all else fails ham radio is there!
FT2900, FT8900, VX6, Ft60, TS940SAT, Drake TR7, MFJ 969
KD0WZW
Member

Posts: 35




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« Reply #27 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.
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N4DSP
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Posts: 148




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« Reply #28 on: December 24, 2013, 11:34:09 AM »

Why do you want a 'solar' powered station in the first place?
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KD4LLA
Member

Posts: 459




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« Reply #29 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
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