Classic Winnebagos & Vintage RVs!

Topic Boards => Coach => Topic started by: MSN Member on March 16, 2009, 07:35 AM

Title: Everything Solar - All member topic
Post by: MSN Member on March 16, 2009, 07:35 AM
Sent: 9/16/2002
 
Hi!  I have a solar-powered motion detector flood light I use on the RV when I camp out in the desert, and because it works so well I'm looking into expanding use of solar power.
   I can get a 50-watt panel with regulator for about $350.00, which I think would be sufficient for my on-demand water pump and coach lights, w/o having to run that very loud free-standing gen.  The ultimate goal will probably be to do away with the gen entirely, which I could do easily if I wasn't spoiled by (still a bit hard to believe, lol) microwave cooking miles from the nearest power line.  And maybe a bit of tv to keep up on the news.  (ok, ok...actually to keep up on the Gilmore Girls).
  Has anyone had experience using solar power in their RV?  I'll get a book on it sooner or later, (I'm already checking them out)but nothing is quite like first-hand experience.  For example, would I run into any conflict if I DID run the gen while the solar was still connected?  Any hints about the wiring?  When I do look at a total conversion to solar, what wattage would be sufficient for the micro and tv, and should I wire ALL the solar together or try to have individual supply panels?  And can the batteries handle all of this ok?  (Both batteries are brand new and good quality)
   I understand most solar panels in RV's are connected to make 200 to 500 watts, and if that's what would work best I won't try the "50-watt-panel-at-a-time" route but smash open the piggy bank and get it all in one.  But is it worth getting that extra wattage, just for micro and tv, if  the 50 watt panel can handle everything else?? Also, the question of what converter I would need comes up, and would it change if I went to the higher wattage?
I'm sure a good book will answer some of these, but again I really value first-hand experience.  Any ideas/comments?  All will be appreciated! 
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: AC-Craig on March 16, 2009, 07:35 AM
I do not currently use solar, but am researching it for my house and RV. In the RV, I would run only DC appliances. Changing DC current to AC current requires an inverter and is pricey, more than I would want to pay to run a microwave oven.
Most everything else you can buy can be built to run from DC power.
Also, do your homework on batteries. RV deep cycle batteries are not the same as solar deep cycle batteries. AC-Craig
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: MSN Member on March 16, 2009, 07:36 AM
Thanks for the info.  I didn't know there was a difference between solar and RV deep cycle batteries...  So, using a solar panel to keep my RV deep cycle batteries fully charged isn't workable?  Or maybe just isn't advisable?
  Yes, I pretty much DO do the homework first.
The battery shop where I just bought my two new batteries~vehicle and deep cycle~ is also the place with the solar setup for sale, so I'm a bit curious why they didn't mention that possible problem.  I'll go back and ask.
  It's amazing how FEW solar info books are out there...  Barnes & Noble only had one in stock; (I could order several) Borders had two, but one was strictly for installing solar in new house construction.  The public library is my next stop...
  When I was considering the solar set-up, the man at the battery shop said I could just run some #10 wire from the solar regulator straight to the batteries to keep them charged, and he said my goal of running the 'on-demand' water pump and coach lights would be easily met by the 50-watt panel.
  I'll look for more input here;   and return to the battery shop for more info;   and make a run at the public library, so between these sources I hope to learn whatever I might need to know before embarking on the Solar Power journey...
Thanks for the input!  I do appreciate it... 
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: AC-Craig on March 16, 2009, 07:36 AM
There is a ton of stuff on solor energy on the internet. I am a member of the MREA- Midwest renewable energy association and they sell books and have a web page as well as others. Home Power Magazine is a good resource as well.
As for the batteries, it depends on usage. The lead plates in a normal RV or car battery is a porous cell lead plate. The real solor deep cell batteries are solid lead plates. For camping on the weekends, an RV deep cycle battery will be fine, but if you are a full timer, a higher quality battery might be a good idea. And which ever battery you have, keep the batteries charged and don't run them down below, I think 80%, of the full capacity. I am still learning this subject as well.  Kraig  (AC-Craig)
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: MSN Member on March 16, 2009, 07:37 AM
Thanks for all the comments!  I printed out a lot of stuff from phred's info, and will check out some of the other sites after I digest some of this.  From what I gleaned from quick scanning, it looks as if I could use that 50-watt (and regulator) panel for my water pump and interior coach lights, w/o too much problem or expense, but if I want to use my microwave I'll be getting into mucho bucks and equipment, from inverter to more panels and gauges and controls...~sigh~
  Solar sounds like what I'll probably be getting into sometime in the not too distant future, but for right now I won't go beyond perhaps a combination of that 50-watt panel and the noisy generator.  We get so much sun here in Nevada it seems downright un-American not to use it, but I'll need to digest a lot more info before I start shelling out the BIG $$!!     
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: MSN Member on March 16, 2009, 07:37 AM
After looking over all the info, one glaring fact emerges:  I simply don't have anywhere to put all the batteries I would need to go totally solar.  I can do the 50-watt panel, maybe even go to 75 watts, to keep the water pump and interior lights going w/o either running the vehicle or using the exterior Gen, but the microwave isn't worth all the additional expense.  Especially since I just now bought brand new batteries, both 12v deep cycle and vehicle, and everyone says the 6v would be better.  W/O that 12v deep cycle, I would have room for about 4 6v batteries, so maybe in a few years when this battery is showing it's age I'll consider that.  For now, it seems my options are:  Take the generator and microwave both, or leave both at home.   
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: MSN Member on March 16, 2009, 07:37 AM

An update, just in case anyone is following all of this...    I found my battery shop would swap the new 12v deep cycle battery for two deep cycle 6v batteries, (with me paying the difference, of course)so I did that.  I installed them and am in the midst of installing a 120w PV panel from RVsolar.  As long as I don't use the microwave, this 120w system should take care of my electrical needs. I ignored the #10 wire they included with the kit and went to #8, even though I really don't have any great distance to run it.  I figured if #8 size wire is better than #10 for a long run, it's probably better for short runs also.
  I am also installing a catalytic heater, needing only the connecting hose between the old connection and the new heater.
  With all this new stuff, I'm looking cross-eyed at the old converter/charger.  I'm pretty sure it's Original Equipment, and has over-charged my batteries in the past. I want to replace it with newer electronics, but I want to include a decent battery charger with it.  Anyone replaced their converter?  I'm looking at the ones Campers World has, but I don't know if it's worth it to get their best, that 'Statpower Truecharge 40+', but it may be serious overkill.  Anyone have it?  My other choice might be the 7200 so many people seem to like (at about 1/2 the cost).
   Any comments/suggestions??  All appreciated!!   
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: Collyn down-under on March 16, 2009, 07:38 AM
Because at least half of all motorhome owners free-camp (boondock??) a great deal of the time solar is used very extensively in Australian RVs.

Unlike what appears I understand to be US practice, many use 240 volts AC via an inverter (as with most of the world we do not use 110 volts).

My own fully off-road vehicle is set up like that and runs a satellite telephone (essential in the outback), 70-litre fridge, heaps of lights etc. It runs from two by 80-watt solar modules and has not run out of power once since 1996.

My home, in Broome (north west Oz - latitude 18 degrees) is 1250 miles from the nearest city (Perth) and has no facilities except bore water. Home which we built ourselves, is a hi-tech steel and glass structure. It has all 240 volts standard appliances - fridge, dishwasher, washing machine etc, about 30 outside and inside lights, spa etc. Everything runs from solar. We do not use a generator. It even runs an extensive irrigation system.

We generate about 12 kW/hr/day and do not run out of power at home either! A very large number of Australians living outside our main cities have systems like mine.

From the sale of my books and feedback from the USA it seems we use use solar very much more extensively -possibly because we obtain a govt rebate of 55%.

Unlike US practice we not use 24 volt very much. It's fine for small cabins - but I believe thinking along 24 volt lines is hugely holding back the more extensive use of solar.

I hugely admire Phred's writings and generosity with his time -but do not feel they reflect current thinking. It's not greenie power any more!
Collyn 
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: melyash on March 16, 2009, 07:38 AM
If your looking for a charger to run off AC and not solar, then Xantrex is the way to go. It is a multistage inteligent charger. Can do multiple banks of batteries as well.  As for books, I do suggest "Managing 12 volt systems, by Harrold Barre.19.95 from amazon.  The book also has examples and diagrams of systems with solar and a generator. It breaks out what you need, and WHY you need it, and explains it in a logical sequence. He goes thru everything from a small RV with one or two days dry camping to Cruising Yachts with weeks of power available. Harrold does all the explanation in a logical fashion, so you can start visualizing what you need for your rig by the examples he shows in his. He gets into everything from why the alternator/voltage regulator on your rig is not the optimum system to solar, to intelligent chargers, to wind power. Matt 
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: Collyn down-under on March 16, 2009, 07:38 AM
Its easy to think in watts - watts = volts X amps so if we speak of 700 amp/hours we must know trhe voltage for it to be meaningful. I assume tho you have 12 volts?

We get about 210 amp/hours/day - but we use a 48-volt battery system - that equates to about 850 amp/hours at 12 volts.

Modules- currently 28 by 64-watt Uni-Solar. These are the ones to use if you live somewhere hot as they do not lose output as they warm up.

Whilst accepting 12 volt stuff generally more efficient, it's extremely difficult to run at that voltage (or even 24 volts) in a big home, as the cabling needs to be huge to avoid volts drop. We have a large property with a need for power in various places so here again the only choice is (our) 240 volts, 50 Hz.

If you consider that voltage drop is likely to be 5% - yet a really hi-tech inverter is 94% efficient - the difference is next to nothing - altho I accept totally your argument re fridges - most domestic ones are energy gobblers - we use a NZ designed Fisher & Paykel which draws about 1500 watt/hours/day. Also hugely bigger range of equipment.

Yes - we use compact fluros extensively - they use 25% of the energy for the same light output as incandescent.

Where you do need to be careful is water pumping. We use 48 volt dc motors and match punp very carefully to load.

A lot of my stuff was originally experimental as I write books on this subject - mostly RV oriented.

OKA engine is military version of the British Perkins 4 cyl. 4 litre turbo -diesel. Truck has 1875 mile range before refuelling - as some of our desert tracks may involve 1000 miles betrween any source of fuel (or anything come to that!) its comforting to have a good reserve.

Chassis is Australian designed and made, massive box section. Axles are US-made DANA, gearbox is Spicer and transfer box is Chrysler.

Have a look at my website
www.caravanandmotorhomebooks.com (http://www.caravanandmotorhomebooks.com)   Colyn Down Under
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: Collyn down-under on March 16, 2009, 07:39 AM
It's not uncommon to have only 10% or so lees solar input with flat mounted solar modules. It is because solar irradiation is often diffuse. Highest input is usually on a bright day with the odd low cloud. Some sunlight gets bounced back from earth and reflected back again from the clouds. I live only 400 metres from the Indian Ocean and it's very common here.     Collyn down-under
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: Collyn down-under on March 16, 2009, 07:39 AM
I have written this piece in two parts. The first is an overall view. The second part contains technical explanations and data to back up that overview. I would appreciate feedback - as to whether it aids, or hinders access. As it will be reproduced also in the USA I have used the term 'RVs' throughout.


WHAT SOLAR MODULES REALLY PRODUCE
Solar modules can and will only produce the output claimed by their manufacturers if they are used in specific circumstances. Typical RV usage is not one of them.
Outputs vary from type to type, but in typical RV installations most solar modules produce a bit over 70% of their apparently claimed output. Many modules have a small panel on their rear face that shows what they actually produce. For an '80-watt' module this is usually about 58 watts.
Whilst this may seem misleading it is defendable. (The explanation is technical and is provided in the second part of this piece).
Two Main Types of Module
There are two main types of solar module: for the purpose of the first part of this explanation they may be seen as Uni-Solar and the Solarex Millenium series, and the rest. One type is not inherently better than the other. They simply have different characteristics that cause them to be more effective in some conditions than in others.
Most solar modules produce less power as they heat up - as much as 20% in seriously hot places like the north of Australia, and they start losing this power from only a few degrees above freezing. Uni-Solar and Solarex Millenium modules use a different technology. They produce slightly more power as temperature rises.
Because the power output of most solar modules falls as they get hot, from around 35 degrees C (95 F) onward, a 64-watt Uni-Solar module produces much the same output as an 80-watt most anything else. The same ratio is probably true of the Millenium modules, but I have no direct experience. As they are about 15% cheaper in most countries this can sometimes be a considerable benefit
Uni-Solar modules are also less affected by partial shadowing. If most panels are shadowed by an area even as small as a human hand, they lose virtually all of their output. Uni-Solar modules lose only that area shaded. It is claimed that some (but not all) Kyocera modules are also more shadow tolerant.
No solar module will work in complete shade. I need to spell that out because after I stated (elsewhere) that solar modules produce a small output under high-intensity full-spectrum light, this rapidly turned into 'Collyn says they even work under street lights'. They don't.
The above would appear to be an overwhelming argument for Uni-Solar and Solarex Millenium. This is not necessarily so. Their heat advantage is only really worthwhile above 25 degrees C (77 F) or so. And a big downside for many is that, because they are less efficient, they are much larger (40% or so) than other modules. That's why I use two Solarex 80-watt modules on my OKA truck, and 28 by 64-watt Uni-Solar modules on my 5 hectares (about 10 acres) at home.
In practice it is safe to assume that you will get 58 watts from an 80-watt most-anything module, and about 55 watts from a 64-watt Uni-Solar module.
The amount of energy you will capture each day can be readily worked out by taking the true output of the modules (or about 72% of what it says on the marketing brochure) and multiplying that by so-called the Peak Sun Hours typical for where and when you are going. Maps showing this can obtained from meteorological offices, but their's need translating, and (for Australia) from all of my books. Peak Sun Hours are explained below. It is also obtainable for most areas from various Internet sites, but whilst there if you search hard enough for it, it is surprisingly hard to locate for the USA. (If any American reader is having problems re this, email me your latitude and longitude plus nearest city and I'll try to assist).
Ideally solar modules should face the sun, but flat roof mounting is surprisingly effective. Whilst modules can be carried loose, they are readily stolen. In my experience it is not worth arranging for tilting or tracking systems except in the extreme south of Australia, or the more northern part of the USA. Adding about 20% more module capacity will make up for any loss.
Heavy cloud and rain cuts output by 50% or more. The highest output is typically on bright days with scattered low cloud. The sun shines down, is reflected from earth and bounced down again from those clouds.
Because most modules are heat-sensitive it pays to mount them so there's an air space beneath. Less important with Uni-Solar and Solarex Millenium, but air space provides useful heat insulation in the vehicle.


Technical Stuff
Solar modules are tested using 'Standard Operating Conditions.'
These specify cell temperature of 25 degrees C. Note that this does not mean ambient temperature. It is the actual temperature of the cells, and in sunlight this corresponds to about 5 degrees C.
The output of solar modules is obtained by plotting curves of voltage and current and from these using whatever combination of those two parameters gives the highest 'number'. In practice this tends to between 17.0 - 18 volts. Thus a module that produces 4.7 amps at 17 volts is rated at 80 watts.
Power being P = IV, that module will produce 56.4 watts at 12 volts - and 65.8 volts at 14 volts.
In other words module output is partially a function of the voltage developed across the load.
The industry's 'Standard Operating Conditions' (SOC) measures output at a cell (not ambient) temperature of 25 degrees C at an irradiance of 1 kW sq.m. As this equates to an ambient temperature close to 0 degrees C, the SOC may better be regarded as 'Standard Test Conditions'.
Manufacturers do however also quote a separate NOCT (Nominal Operating Condition Temperature).
This gives an indication of the actual cell temperature at 20 degrees C ambient, but at 80% of the irradiance of SOC operating conditions, a wind speed of 1 m.s, and the back of the module enclosure open to atmosphere. Under these conditions the NOCT is typically 47-49 degrees C. temperature - or looking at it another way, the cell is likely to be 25-30 degrees C hotter than ambient temperature.
Mono- and poly-crystalline modules lose output at a rate of approximately 0.4%-0.5% per degree C above about 5 degrees C (voltage drops considerably, current rises slightly). Thus at 30 degrees C ambient, output of modules using that technology is likely to be 15% down (ie. over and above the loss due to working at 12-14 volts).
Amorphous technology modules (Uni-Solar/Solarex Millenium) tend to be increase output very slightly with rising temperature.
The current output of modules is usually shown in the technical data. It may be shown as ISC (short circuit current), or as operating current. The latter is the figure to use. True output is the operating current times the operating voltage. It must then be corrected for temperature.


This is actual data from the rear panel of an 80-watt module.

Whilst it is rare for modules to produce their full rated output (Pmax) it is possible to achieve it (or very close to it) when driving a load (such as a water pump) that will operate at the voltage at which peak output was tested. It can also be achieved by using multi-point tracking systems that, in effect act as an 'electrical torque converter' and 'swap volts for amps' (actually a dc/dc converter). So whilst people tend to be confused by the rating system, it's both technically credible and legal.
The term Peak Sun Hours (PSH) is not my invention! It's used extensively in the photo-voltaic industry but does not seem widely known by engineers in other disciplines. In effect it's the number of hours of midday sun on a clear day equivalent to the irradiation for that day. One Peak Sun Hour equals 1 kilowatt/hour/square metre.
Full details of what can be run from solar, required module and battery capacity, installation (probably rather more than you wanted to know!) are in my books - and in brief on my website.
This article is copyright Collyn Rivers, Broome 2003. Email: collynr@bigpond.com
www.caravanandmotorhomebooks.com (http://www.caravanandmotorhomebooks.com). It may reproduced on non-commercial Internet sites free of charge providing this last paragraph, including addresses, is included in full.
 
Re watts. These are generally easier to work with as you can discuss electrical energy without needing continually to quote the voltage.

One watt is one amp times one volt. So to convert watts into amps in my article, divide by 12. Thus 58 watts (in a 12 volt system) is 4.833 and a lot more 3s amps).

My own 28 Uni-Solar module system produces a maximum of 12,000 watts hr/day. In terms of amps (at 12 volts) this would equate to 1000 amp.hrs/day. In practice, because it's a 48-volt system with inverter to 240 volt AC, it churns out 250 amp.hr/day (you see why it's easier to use watts!).

The 28-module array produces about 2% more output when its 110 degrees F, than it does at 65 degrees F (a very cold day for us).
Collyn down-under 
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: MSN Member on March 16, 2009, 07:40 AM
Check out www.RVSolarElectric.com   
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: mightybooboo on March 16, 2009, 07:40 AM
Just got back from my 4 day camping trip,except for a leak in rear window(that was new) all went well.Got the solar tested in real time. Im 150/watts ,8.9amps max.  Pulled 8.1 amps max, not bad for flat mounted panels.  My shortcoming is having 1 12volt battery, need more amp/hr storage, panels had no trouble keeping the batt fully charged.  The batt problem is where to mount em, compartment just sux size wise.  Sounds like a welding job will be next on the power list.  LOVE THAT SOLAR!!!
BooBoo 
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: DanD2Soon on March 16, 2009, 07:41 AM
Sent: 4/5/2004 7:57 PM

Several years ago, I finally jumped into solar with both feet (after nearly a year of research & penny pinching) I tried to read everything I could find about PV (Photovoltaic) Panels, battery Banks, Inverters, Charge controllers, system sizing, wiring techniques, tilt vs flat mounting and the dozens of other questions that pop into your mind while you're reading. I found Phreds poop sheets and Bill Laudeman's comments (ClassicRv Advocate) real helps in getting me started on the right path. Also advice from RV Solar, Northern Arizona Wind & Sun, Home Power Magazine and Great Lakes Energy Systems. All had tons of useful info online just for the reading. Theirs & other links appear at the bottom of this message.

I bought my system components from folks who know RV applications and are readily available at the other end of a phone line, and I followed their installation instructions as close to a "T" as possible. When in doubt, Err'd in favor of safety - in other words - Used heavier wire, smaller fuses, dielectric grease on every electrical connection, etc. I have a heap more money in my power system than I paid for the 2 Soon & not sorry about a dime of it. Like Ron Popeil says, I "Set it & forget it."

My onboard inventory includes:

Battery Bank - 8 Trojan T-105 6Volt batteries with "water miser" battery caps connected as 4 sets of 2 @ 12VDC (880 AmpHours) with 4/0 copper welding cable. Water Miser caps recombine the explosive hydrogen and carbon dioxide gasses back into water before it gets out of the battery - I check the water every couple of weeks but seldom have to add any.

Solar Panels - 5 Kyocera Panels: 2-120Watt originally installed in spring 2002 & 3-125Watt added a year later in spring 2003 - 615Watts rated total. Actual output is about 35 Amps @ 17 VDC most of the daylight hours typically putting 300-350 AmpHours back into the battery bank.

Charge Controller - Trace C-40 Regulator - chose this 40 Amp controller from the git-go to allow for planned 5-120W panels whose theoretical output would be 35.5 Amps. A good charge controller is a must between your panels & batteries - will charge them correctly, even equalize them, and never "fry" them!!!

Inverter/Charger - Heart (now Xantrex) Freedom 30 - 3,000 Watt (3 KW) combination inverter & 140 Amp charger. 3KW continuous output is equal to my Kohler Genset. All external 110 vac power whether Shoreline or Genset goes through this unit. When you are plugged in or on the generator, that power "passes through" this inverter and it "taps off" a portion of the supply to run its Battery charger - IF that external power is interrupted (i.e. somebody pulls the plug) the inverter picks up the load so fast that our TV picture doesn't even flicker. And when plugged into Shoreline or Genset it recharges Batteries at as high as 140 Amps with a fully automatic 3 stage tapered charge so as not to "Fry" them. This unit also has the ability to Equalize the batteries - really important to long Wet Cell Lead-Acid Battery Life.

Remote - Heart Link 1000 Model - REALLY is the HEART of the system - Monitors system, controls inverter/charger functions & displays system status. Good remotes can be bought @ $150, the Link 1000 is $300+ - Programmable, it comes preset (default base settings) for all kinds of system parameters, it senses battery temperature and adjusts charging for battery temp, type & bank size, Inverter Temp, a battery saving shutdown voltage feature (will shut down the inverter at a safe level of bank usage instead of draining them dead), has L.E.D. digital display that will monitor, amps in/out, Amp Hours remaining, Chassis Battery voltage, etc.

More than you wanted to know maybe - Less than you need to know maybe.

The system is sized such that the useable portion of the battery bank (usually between 1/3 & 1/2 of the 880 AmpHours = 290-400 AmpHours) can be replaced by daily solar collection capacity and if collection is reduced because it's cloudy, we just use a little less power or run the Genset for a while to make up the difference. I can park wherever I want without external power, in relative silence - What a joy! We're careful with power, but don't hesitate to use whatever we want, Microwave, TV, Frig, lights, computer, (Net. connected through cell phone), scanner, coffeemaker, vacuum - it's nice! Real Nice! I have $4978 in this system and wouldn't trade the Freedom it provides for anything else I can think of.

I used the 2 SOON to live in when I travel away from home as an IBEW electrician making me a Part-time Full Timer. So when it's hot out, I'm done working and in need of a shower, boondocking along a river, listening to the towboat skippers on the marine channels, and watching herons & eagles fly by... I've been known to turn on the A/C for an hour or so, while I shower, dry off, get a cool one out of the frig, put my feet up and "shake off" the day. Man! Ain't technology something?

All that said, hope it stirs others to share their system experience/woes - always glad to help any way I can - Useful links below...

Solar

General:

Phed's Poop Sheets - Index http://phrannie.org/phredex.html

Panels:

Sierra Solar Systems Online Store http://www.sierrasolar.com/index.html

Systems:

Home Power Magazine: Home Page http://www.homepower.com/
RV Solar Electric Inc: http://www.rvsolarelectric.com/
Alternative Energy Systems - Great Lakes: http://www.greatlakes-energy.com/
The Solar System http://www.mrsharkey.com/solar.htm
Noel's Package http://www.rvsolarelectric.com/package.htm
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: Laplaya on March 16, 2009, 07:41 AM
I too have been peeking into solar/led stuff. Originally for our sailboat but after having purchased our unnamed & unsexed Winnie I am thinking about applications for that as well.
For anyone interested I found a decent site (in Canada) that has lots of equipment as well as real people on the other end of the phone !!
They also say somewhere that they love a challenge and to give em a call.
Here's the addy.
http://www.wsetech.com/businessprofile.php (http://www.wsetech.com/businessprofile.php)

AL
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: ibdilbert01 on March 16, 2009, 07:41 AM
"Battery Bank - 8 Trojan T-105 6Volt batteries"

Where did you manage to place these in your RV?
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: MSN Member on March 16, 2009, 07:41 AM
Thats a lot of batterys,I've run up to 4 for the house/inverter system.I use the charger thats built-in the inverter when pluged in or the engine alternator when driving to charge the battery bank.This works out good for how I use my motorhome.A Heart Freedom inverter has been running in my 1970 F-17 bago for over 10 years and works great.The OEM AC to DC  converter was bad anyways,now I don't have one or need one.I love the freedom to park anywhere and and have AC power with out a generator running.
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: DanD2Soon on March 16, 2009, 07:42 AM
Hey Gang,

I thought I had put a link to the battery bank project photos in here somewhere, but I can't find it either - so here it is: http://rides.webshots.com/album/552091800woWBis (http://rides.webshots.com/album/552091800woWBis)  This project album was put on my webshots pages back when our CW pages / MSN accounts were limited.  Now that we have the space, I will attempt to copy it over to my albums here on CW soon.  Meanwhile, this hint, Most of the webshots photos are High Resolution and can be viewed in really great full screen detail if you click on the "Full size" heading at the top right of the frame - your Browser Back Button returns you to the album.

Also - I just checked all the clickable hot links in Reply #14 & they're all working - surfing those links will start anyone a great education in solar/wind/alternative power.

Good Luck - DanD
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: ibdilbert01 on March 16, 2009, 07:42 AM
DanD, wow, that looks like a perfect setup!!!!   I'm very impressed!   I just bought 2 uni-solar 64s, and plan to buy two more.   My original plans were to just have two or four golf cart batteries.  I'm looking at controllers now, probably will go with a MPPT controller if I can find the pocket change.    I live with a financially embarrassed checking account.
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: DanD2Soon on March 16, 2009, 07:42 AM
Sounds like a plan, Tim.  Curious about using the thin-film 64's instead of higher wattage conventionals.  Keep us posted & pictures!  We're all pulling for you.
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: ibdilbert01 on March 16, 2009, 07:43 AM
"Curious about using the thin-film 64's"

Well, probably a mistake on my part, due to lack of experience and to be all honest, there is a lot of information on solar setups, but not much on the durability let alone real life experience.    The unisolars are advertised as unbreakable, and seem to rate fairly well in shaded areas.   However they rate poor in watt per size.   Not thinking of how many obstacles are on the roof of my winnie, I assumed I had plenty of space to work with.  My assumption as normal was a bit off considering the uni-solar 64 watt panels are 4.5 feet tall, and 2.5 feet wide.  I want a total of 4 on the roof, and I do have the space, but that leaves me with not much room to grow.  I'm amazed how much solar panels cost, this can become an expensive hobby.   
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: DanD2Soon on March 16, 2009, 07:43 AM
Tim, There's no such thing as wrong with these things - There's just different ways to get there! Don't worry about it - you've made a start & that's great!

You're right.  I thought there was a lot of clear space up on the roof until I started looking for places to put the panels.  tehe & ohwell.   Most modern PV panels have built-in reverse current protection diodes so they can be hooked in parallel without worries about one backfeeding another which also means you can mix & match panel types.  Your charge controller couldn't care less where the current is coming from as long as it doesn't exceed the controller's rating.  So - If sometime in the future, you chose to add one or two 135 watt panels to the two 64's you have, all that's needed is to splice their output into your existing controller feed.  The important thing at this point is to save up that "pocket change" until you can afford to get a charge controller that is sized to what you want your future system to be - It's well worth the wait!  If your roof can hold 4-64's it could also hold 2-64's + 2-135's, or it could hold 4-135's.  Roughly (4-64's) = 16 amps | (2-64's + 2-135's) = 23 amps | (4-135's) = 30 amps.  All I'm suggesting is that with the 2-64's you already have, a 25 Amp charge controller would easily handle what you have now , Plus giving you the option of adding 2 more of whatever you can afford or will fit. And or course a 30 or 35 Amp controller would allow for any possible configuration you could bolt to your roof.  Ah - the dreams!

Not so pretty, but here's a pic of 2 Soons' roof - http://www.classicwinnebagos.org/Coppermine/displayimage.php?album=76&pos=8
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: ibdilbert01 on March 16, 2009, 07:43 AM
I went ahead and took your advice on the controller and bought a 30 amp for future growth.   Doing a little research I found out that I could use a multi meter to test the panels output in amps.   Each panel showed about 21.5 volts, and about 3.3 amps.     The controller I bought is a MPPT style and its input can be anything from 12 to 60 volts and can be configured for a 12 volt battery pack.   I'm thinking about mounting the uni-solar panels near the back of the RV, as this summer I will also take your advice and buy two higher wattage style panels and will want to mount them in the front.   I have a feeling solar can be addictive.
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: DanD2Soon on March 16, 2009, 11:56 AM
No doubt about Solar addiction!  It's similar to the one we all catch when we get caught up in our "Classic" RV beasts...

Solar technology is growing by leaps & bounds and although I'm happy as a clam with it, my system is 7 years OLD.  I've been reading about your MPPT controller technology - really cool - don't think it was nearly as advanced or even available when I assembled this system.  Keep us posted on your progress - You're fast becoming our new Solar Guru!
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: ibdilbert01 on March 21, 2009, 04:23 PM
Yay!  Installed the panels today!  Flat panels on a curved roof, neat.     :)clap   Of course no sun today!   :laugh:

(http://www.classicwinnebagos.org/Coppermine/albums/userpics/10026/DSCF1674.JPG)

The solar charge controller should come in Monday!   Getting excited! 
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: ibdilbert01 on March 23, 2009, 07:40 PM
Sigh...    Stupid is as stupid does.  And stupid I are.   I hooked the controller up backwords and am fairly sure I now have a 30 amp paper weight.   Oh well, I emailed tech support, maybe they will sell me a new mainboard, if not, guess I'll have to order another one.    :'(
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: Oz on March 23, 2009, 07:49 PM
 :'(  Dude, I'm so sorry to hear that.  It must've just made you want to just whack yourself in the head with a tire iron... I've been there many more times than I care to admit.  Still, you'll come out on top and all those interested in solar power will continue to learn and benefit from your experiences.

(And... I'm not sure... let's see those pants again  :laugh: )
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: DanD2Soon on March 23, 2009, 08:00 PM
Me too! Tim - I'm hoping there's a protection circuit of some kind built in.  Good luck.
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: 89Elanden on March 24, 2009, 10:14 AM
All this info on solar is something I can really get into and hooked on. Have'nt laid out the $'s for any equipment yet, but have been scoping out where everything can go. Battery bank under dinette seat etc. Kicking myself a little though, had the golf cart batteries last year and gave them away. Someone had given us an old golf cart that didn't work, I was gonna tinker with it, but ended up giving it away along with the new batteries that I had gotten with the cart. Oh well.
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: DanD2Soon on March 24, 2009, 11:35 AM
Here's is a good place to begin the solar homework - http://phrannie.org/phredex.html   
& caution, charging batteries give off poisonous and explosive fumes so if battery bank is inside the RV, the compartment Must Be well vented to the outside and well sealed from the inside.   
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: 89Elanden on March 24, 2009, 02:22 PM
Yeah got that site saved in "my favorites" already, I understand the need for caution in regards to the battery situation. I believe I can seal and ventilate the area I have in mind so as to be as completely safe as possible. Thanks for the advice.
Rick
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: DanD2Soon on March 24, 2009, 04:53 PM
If you can do both, seal & ventilate an inside location like your dinette seat, you'll have the best of both worlds.  My battery bank is protected from the weather but not protected from the outside temperatures.  Which means I have much less storage/power available when it's really cold outside.
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: ibdilbert01 on March 24, 2009, 06:16 PM
Some Good news!  8)

I got in touch with Tech Support at Rogue Power Technologies and they were more than helpful!  I explained that I was at fault and hooked it up backwards, and they are having me send the unit back in and they are going to repair it.   The person whom I've been working with is really up front and seems to want to make sure that he has happy customers.  Here is part of his reply...

My priority is making sure that everyone who buys my products has a good experience. I feel that this is the best way to build a reputable brand name. Also, I understand how tight money is right now and so I'd like to see if we can get you a working controller without making you another $300 poorer.

So, I'm going to pack up my 30 amp paper weight and send it off for repair.   :)ThmbUp  I'll keep you all posted. 


Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: DanD2Soon on March 25, 2009, 03:44 PM
Gell Cells!  Perfect Solution For 89Elandan and Laplaya.  I'd been thinking about what a perfectly "green" solution having solar power on a wind driven vehicle like Laplaya's sailboat was, but I kept bumping up against the negative of having lead acid batteries on a vehicle that could be turned over - brain fart on my part - gell cells!  Geez.

The benefits of belonging to CW's community just never end - do  they?

And Tim, if your Controller guy has a website, give us a link to it.  I'd go out of my way to do business with someone who thinks like that!
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: ibdilbert01 on April 01, 2009, 07:03 PM
The company name is Rogue Power Technologies.  http://www.roguepowertech.com (http://www.roguepowertech.com)

I got an email this morning with a tracking number, my 30 amp paper weight will arrive the 8th, hopefully no longer a paper weight.  He even said he would continue to honor the 5 year warranty.    :)clap
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: DanD2Soon on April 02, 2009, 05:31 PM
That's just Great!  
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: ibdilbert01 on April 08, 2009, 09:16 PM
The freshly repaired controller arrived in the mail today!   To my surprise I hooked it up right and it appears to be working, or at least it turned on.  Its dark outside so currently the device is in sleep mode.   8)

There is a 30 day log built into the device, so I will be able to tell how well it did when I come back from work tomorrow.    I'm excited.    :D   I'll be sure to post pictures this weekend. 

***Update***

Sigh, we keep getting rain and no sunshine, but the log shows that it did charge the battery to full.   Good thing the battery was almost full to begin with.   :laugh:

(http://www.mywinnebago.com/qdig/qdig-files/converted-images/New%20Images/med_info.JPG)
 
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: 89Elanden on April 11, 2009, 01:52 PM
That is sooo cool. Too much else going on for me this year to tackle the solar idea, but next year, yea buddy. Have you posted any pics of the solar panels??
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: tiinytina on May 05, 2009, 06:50 PM
Gone to the Dawgs will be making the leap to solar!  Found a prepackage "kit" deal at Costco today $289 for 12V 60Watt system RV ready! http://www.sunforceproducts.com  Now to figure out how to mount it without poking too many new holes in her roof! And how to figure out where/how to run the wiring. 

I have 2 last year new marine deep cycle 12V batteries currently and I think there is room for one more. We don't do any boondocking as of yet but Gone has been our home next to home for multiple power failures and one remodel...  our house sumps are 12V so she will become a backup to keep that deep cycle recharged in a pinch too!

Don't know when we will get this project up and running, lots of things on the to-do list at this point....
and yes I'll post pix when we do!
Tina
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: Arberg0 on May 05, 2009, 07:13 PM
i take it this is it

http://www.sunforceproducts.com/prodinfo/specs/60WSolarChargeKitSheet.pdf


william :)ThmbUp
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: ibdilbert01 on May 06, 2009, 08:47 AM
That looks to be a fantastic deal!   I think you'll find it very satisfying the first time you charge your batteries off the sun!    8) :D :)  Can't wait to see the pictures!!!!
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: tiinytina on May 06, 2009, 03:36 PM
The inverter is under the fridge but my batteries are on the other side directly opposite under the kitchen sink... guess I can just run the charging wires under/through the chassis...  Will be in her this weekend so will crawl around. Will also have Brad around for a second opinion! Don't know that I wll bring the kit with me though... no where to put it except to strap it to the roof! ...

Yes William that is it the 60W four panel system....

Tina

Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: DanD2Soon on May 06, 2009, 06:50 PM
Tina, if there's a sink there oughta be a vent up a nearby wall - might be shared with a bathroom/shower.  Anyway, if there is one, its usually in a hollow wall and there may be room to feed the panel wires down the wall along side the vent pipe.  My charge controller is actually mounted on the bathroom wall because we ran the wires alongside our bathroom vent.  Good Luck!
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: ibdilbert01 on May 06, 2009, 08:03 PM
My inverter is in the closet next to the fridge, and my batteries are just behind the bathroom behind the driver.   I dropped my solar panel wires down the fridge vent and onto the back of the inverter, as the inverter has 2/0 wire going to the batteries.   
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: tiinytina on May 07, 2009, 01:58 PM
we haven't opened up the box to look at what we face doing yet... time for a question... I am a plumber's daughter not electricians... Does the inverter included in this solar kit replace the one already in the rig? Like I said no clue what type of inverter is in the rig  and box just says "invertor"...  really need to open the box but don't want to do that until I have time to install it so I won't loose parts or have pups chewing things up...

Tina
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: ibdilbert01 on May 07, 2009, 03:29 PM
Well, that depends.   If the current inverter is big enough to meet your needs, then you don't need to swap it out.    Most inverters are measured in watts, the larger the number the more you can run off of them.   

There are two main types of inverters, Pure Sign wave, and Modified Sign wave.  So you'll see a PSW or a MSW usually printed on the inverter itself.   PSW inverters are the most expensive and they simulate a true AC wave that you would find in your home.   MSW inverters produce a square wave, or a stepped wave, some applicances do not like to run off of that kind, but they are the most common and the cheapest.   For example sometimes a MSW inverter will cause lines to run accross your TV, or make your microwave hum louder than normal.

So if you have a PSW inverter, you'll probably most deffently want to keep that one.     But in general, larger is better.   
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: mightybooboo on May 12, 2009, 07:38 PM
All I can say is CRAIGSLIST.

Buy the name brand panels,ie,solarworld,BP,kyocera,sharp,unisolar,siemens,mitsubishi,etc.Buy cheap plastic China junk and you will unfortunately have junk in just a couple years IF LUCKY.

However,watch Craigslist and you can get QUALITY panels as low as 1 dollar/watt for used panels.

A ten year old used panel has decades of use left in them as long as it isnt the very first panels like the Arco Solars that turned brown.

What I just got on Craigslist,thats 1 dollar/watt!....And plenty of ads for 1.25/watt to 3 dollars for some very very nice used panels.Type in the word SOLAR on the craigslist search
-----------------------------------------

Siemons sm55 solar panel - $55 (Indio)

Date: 2009-05-08, 11:33AM PDT


This panel measures 51 inches by 13 inches,Is 17.4 volt,55 watts...used
Please call:
    * Location: Indio
   
(http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d109/mightybooboo/spuds/th_3n33k63odZZZZZZZZZ958c09bee3ea4fa13.jpg) (http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d109/mightybooboo/spuds/3n33k63odZZZZZZZZZ958c09bee3ea4fa13.jpg)[/QUOTE]

Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: mightybooboo on May 12, 2009, 07:41 PM
Tina,if you can return that setup.You are going to be hugely disappointed.It is very poor quality.

Sorry to say but thats real money and I hate to see you get burned.

Cheap and CHINA is plain bad news in solar.You ONLY want top line name brands,rest will die very quickly.
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: tiinytina on May 12, 2009, 07:57 PM
Thanks for the heads up... Actually I was thinking of taking it back because I don't have space on the roof without breaking the panels up... there are so many vents etc...  so will have to measure to find one that will fit. I still have the reciept....

Tina
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: mightybooboo on May 12, 2009, 07:59 PM
YEA! Glad I was able to post in time.  ;)
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: tiinytina on May 13, 2009, 11:39 AM
all returned... was a bit confuddled at first because "SunForce" is actually out of Quebec.... but yes, alas, Made in China....  I'll start surfing ebay and craigslist for a used one in MD... and a trickle charger I can rig that shuts down once the batts are full up.

Thanks!! I love this club!!!
Tina
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: mightybooboo on May 28, 2009, 08:43 AM
Another Craigslist panel,Kyocera,supposed to pick up tonight at 7pm,hope guy comes thru and sells it to me as agreed upon....

Check out the price from the first post on this thread....

From: nvdesertrat0775
Sent: 9/16/2002
 
   I can get a 50-watt panel with regulator for about $350.00,

-------------------------
Craigslist
Solar Panel and Pump - $65

Solar panel  45 watt output and pump is a sure-flo 2.8 g.p.m .12 volt dc both in excellent condition.the panel easily runs the pump in daylight.

(http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d109/mightybooboo/spuds/3k83pd3l9ZZZZZZZZZ95ra6323c5a84af16.jpg)

(http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d109/mightybooboo/spuds/3n53m33l5ZZZZZZZZZ95r88364b9f90c514.jpg)

(http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d109/mightybooboo/spuds/3n13k83o9ZZZZZZZZZ95r5ef11fd2631d11.jpg)

Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: DanD2Soon on May 28, 2009, 01:04 PM
Got my fingers crossed for ya BooBoo!
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: ibdilbert01 on June 01, 2009, 09:31 PM
On my trip into MD a few weeks ago I got to test my setup.  I hadn't had a chance to run new gas lines so I ran my fridge on AC the whole time.  With 2 golf cart batteries I could get almost 12 hours runtime on the fridge.   This worked out perfectly, as it kept the fridge cold through the night, and traveling through the day my alternator could get my batteries charged for the next night.   The solar helped slow down the discharge process as well.   

Now my current configuration is 4, 6 volt 225ah golf cart batteries. Interesting enough  I can run my AC on full for about an hour and a half before the inverter shuts down.  Mainly curiosity made me try it. 

I had to lower my battery bay about 3 inches to accommodate the batteries, but I managed to fit all 4 and the chassis battery in the compartment.   

Its a fine configuration if I'm going to travel every day to charge my batteries, as 128 watts of solar is not enough to recover a deep cycle in one day.   So, back to the drawing table, I'll be adding some more panels, and welding up a nice little metal frame/rack to mount them on the roof.
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: mightybooboo on June 02, 2009, 02:09 AM
Guy flaked out on me,oh well,I counted it too soon.

Sure do love solar though,its just the greatest.Our dream is offgrid property,water source,solar,wood stove and electric vehicle for our retirement years.

Good job Ibdilbert on your growing system,WTG!  :)clap
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: labbie1 on June 13, 2009, 11:40 AM
Ok I am new at this so if I sound extremely uninformed its because I am.  we would like the freedom to not have to worry about hook-ups or a generator for our 1975 Indian but here is the catch my husband has a couple of health problems and we definately need enough power for the AC, fridge and a 110 line for his CPAP machine at night. The fridge definately needs to work for his medication, and the AC and CPAP go hand in hand. Without the AC he is unable to get a seal on his CPAP mask rendering the CPAP useless and since he has frequent periods of apnea (fancy term for he quits breathing in his sleep) it is extremely important that he has power. Our coach currently does not have either a generator or solar and while we like the idea of solar we definately have to make sure the power is there. Since either one is going to be an investment how about some feedback on the subject?
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: ibdilbert01 on June 13, 2009, 12:43 PM
I'm a huge fan of solar, however if I had those medical conditions, I would buy a nice quiet generator.    

It takes a large bank of batteries just to run the AC over night, and then it takes a large amount of panels to charge that bank during the day, providing there is enough sun to charge them back up to full.   You'll also need a large enough solar controller to handle all the panels.  And, there needs to be enough roof space to mount all the panels needed to charge your batteries. 

On top of that, you have to have a large inverter, and your CPAP machine might require a PSW Inverter, those cost even more than a standard MSW Inverter.  

I think you'll find a nice quiet generator will be more reliable, easier to install and cheaper.

Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: mightybooboo on June 15, 2009, 02:48 AM
agreed,you will need 20,000 worth of solar to run an AC reliably,ballpark estimate but it will be hugely expensive.

I vote for a super quiet honda or kawasaki genny and some 4000 watters MAY run an efficient AC.Run your refer on gas,or get a super efficient solar powered refer,1500 to 2500 range cost.

Genny is your answer,get a QUIET one,and a NAME BRAND and do it right,dont cheap out,dont get a construction type noise maker either,many places are very down on loud gennies.
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: mightybooboo on June 29, 2009, 05:18 AM
So we were talking about used solar,here's what I posted elsewhere on my latest score,WOOHOO... >>!!
----------------------------------
2 dollars a watt!!!

Yep,considering new is 4.35/watt best price I did good.They are Seimens and Kyocera,2 of the best made too!Thats about 3500.00 dollars of panels for 1420.00.
794 watts.
Very nice savings there. (http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d109/mightybooboo/spuds/boumcy.gif)

Got off of Craigslist.

It puts me half way to my goal of 2000 watts worth.This is enough to power a freezer,TV and sat and a few lights.

4 of em were pretty dirty...

click to enlarge
(http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d109/mightybooboo/spuds/th_dd2.jpg) (http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d109/mightybooboo/spuds/dd2.jpg)

(http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d109/mightybooboo/spuds/th_dd1.jpg) (http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d109/mightybooboo/spuds/dd1.jpg)

They cleaned up darn nice though,this is what I wound up with.
794 watts includes the free broken glass 50 watt panel for 1420 dollars.

(http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d109/mightybooboo/spuds/th_dd6.jpg) (http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d109/mightybooboo/spuds/dd6.jpg)

(http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d109/mightybooboo/spuds/th_dd5.jpg) (http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d109/mightybooboo/spuds/dd5.jpg)

(http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d109/mightybooboo/spuds/th_dd3.jpg) (http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d109/mightybooboo/spuds/dd3.jpg)

..........  :)clap
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: mightybooboo on June 29, 2009, 05:36 AM
Sounds like a plan, Tim.  Curious about using the thin-film 64's instead of higher wattage conventionals.  Keep us posted & pictures!  We're all pulling for you.
The unisolars are hugely popular in areas with high heat because they actually perform better when they get hot ,the opposite of every other panel out there.
And their build quality is superb.

BTW,thats the same company,Ovonics,that developed the battery for the EV-1 electric car that had 140 mile range,bought out that division of Ovonics by GM,who sold it to the oil company that shelved the only successful NiMH battery for an electric car,never to be produced again.
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: mightybooboo on June 29, 2009, 05:47 AM
I have a feeling solar can be addictive.
Y!
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: mightybooboo on June 29, 2009, 05:52 AM
Here's is a good place to begin the solar homework - http://phrannie.org/phredex.html   
& caution, charging batteries give off poisonous and explosive fumes so if battery bank is inside the RV, the compartment Must Be well vented to the outside and well sealed from the inside.   
My friend Tioga George has his batteries inside the rig with never a hydrogen gas buildup problem,our RV's are FAR from airtight.

Of course,there is a theoretical risk....but HE hasnt had any problems.Take that with a grain of salt and measure your own risk quotient.

http://blog.vagabonders-supreme.net/
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: ibdilbert01 on June 29, 2009, 09:52 AM
Oh wow!!!!   Thats going to make the perfect setup!   I'm starting to drool!   
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: ibdilbert01 on June 29, 2009, 11:26 AM
The unisolars are hugely popular in areas with high heat because they actually perform better when they get hot ,the opposite of every other panel out there. And their build quality is superb.

I'm actually pleased with the unisolars performance.   I'm getting an average of 7 to 8 amps charge (Noon, Northern Ohio) on the two 64 watt panels, using the MPPT controller.  On cloudy days I've even seen it at 3 amps, I'm very amazed by the shade tolerance.  However their size is their neagative.    Almost 3 feet by 5 feet and only a 64 watt panel, not very good at all for an RV.  Eventually I want to supliment the panels with something as nice as your panels.   

BTW,thats the same company,Ovonics,that developed the battery for the EV-1 electric car that had 140 mile range,bought out that division of Ovonics by GM,who sold it to the oil company that shelved the only successful NiMH battery for an electric car,never to be produced again.

Wow, thats really cool knowledge!  I had no idea!  I have a bit of a facination with green cars.  (Not that I'm grean, I'm just cheap).

Jay Leno has a 1913 Electric Baker car that came with origional Edison Batteries.  The origional Edison batteries are kinda cool, as they have an abnormally long life.  Long enough that Leno claims he can still charge and use his origional batteries.  The other cool quality of the battey was how fast you could charge them.   Pretty much as fast as you wanted too, as it didn't harm them.  Shopping places set up battery stations in NY back in the early 1900s so you could shop, and recharge your car.  A few of the Edison chargers would fast charge your car in as little as 45 mins.
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: mightybooboo on June 29, 2009, 01:19 PM
Yes,the batteries are one of the most fascinating parts of the renewable energy saga.

With the NiMh battery pack Ovonics was able to patent the SIZE of the pack,and nobody else could put together a battery pack large enough to power a car,then when the Oil Company got a hold of it they were able to squash it completely.

Also GM bankrolled Ovonics on its development,but it came from PUBLIC money from the governments Hi Tech auto initiative.So we paid for it,GM owned it,and ultimately became oil company property.OUR battery,amazing!!!!!Totally disgusts me how in bed our government is with the oil companies to the detriment of WE THE PEOPLE.Its just Traitorous IMO.

So when the next push came for electrics NiMh was a non entity and they had to go to a different tech,hence the LiIon development.And it does have an advantage on weight but theyve yet to prove it has anywhere near the proven lifespan of the NiMh  which had been real world tested in utility electric company's fleets of electric trucks out to 150,000 miles.

But for whatever reasons they dont have such narrow patents on LiIon that did in the NimH.Thats LiIons biggest selling point,they cant squish it like they did the NiMh.

As I ramble on though just think,these new super batteries are going to make it into our own solar /wind,hydro home systems before much longer and imagine the improvements that will make to our systems.

We live in truly technologically amazing times dont we?!
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: ibdilbert01 on June 29, 2009, 01:46 PM
just think,these new super batteries are going to make it into our own solar /wind,hydro home systems...

And I can't wait, as my electric car is using 570 pounds of Lead Acid, and is only giving me 50 to 70 miles depending on how I drive it.   Not to mention draining them that low will shorten their life as well.   Storage technology seems to be on the brink of improving, and its been needing improvement for a long time. 
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: mightybooboo on June 29, 2009, 01:53 PM
I'm actually pleased with the unisolars performance.   I'm getting an average of 7 to 8 amps charge (Noon, Northern Ohio) on the two 64 watt panels, using the MPPT controller. 
Yup,Ive never heard from a Unisolar owner who didnt say just what you did,great product but large size.If I come across Unisolars on sale I will buy em.Im buying to set up an offgrid home system we eventually want to get.Imagine,you can shoot holes with bullets thru a unisolar and they keep right on working,amazing product!

I am MPPT controller too,I have a BlueSky (Formerly RV Power Products) 20 amp on the Winnie.They changed their name and moved into the home market,also a very good controller too.
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: mightybooboo on June 29, 2009, 02:01 PM
And I can't wait, as my electric car is using 570 pounds of Lead Acid, and is only giving me 50 to 70 miles depending on how I drive it.   Not to mention draining them that low will shorten their life as well.   Storage technology seems to be on the brink of improving, and its been needing improvement for a long time.
O WOW!!! Electric car is in my dreams wish list,thats going to be my retirement vehicle,charged on my own panels.

Would love a Chevy Volt!

Ever seen this AWESOME electric tractor? Does that thing rock or what!
http://www.brookssolar.com/news/electricTractor.html

http://www.flyingbeet.com/electricg/

Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: ibdilbert01 on June 29, 2009, 02:41 PM
Ever seen this AWESOME electric tractor? Does that thing rock or what!
http://www.brookssolar.com/news/electricTractor.html
http://www.flyingbeet.com/electricg/

Odly enough, the internet is looking smaller and smaller.   A guy where I work was at one time looking for an Allis-Chalmers tracter to attempt one of these conversions.   He had pulled up some of the sites and showed me the conversions.  Very cool!!!

My electric car is actually a 1976 CitiCar, made by Vanguard Sebring in florida.   A VERY tiny little car, nothing more than an over sized golf cart.
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: mightybooboo on June 29, 2009, 03:23 PM
Odly enough, the internet is looking smaller and smaller.   A guy where I work was at one time looking for an Allis-Chalmers tracter to attempt one of these conversions.   He had pulled up some of the sites and showed me the conversions.  Very cool!!!

My electric car is actually a 1976 CitiCar, made by Vanguard Sebring in florida.   A VERY tiny little car, nothing more than an over sized golf cart.
Yep,citicar came to mind when i read that,they are cool!
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: mightybooboo on June 29, 2009, 03:25 PM
Yep,citicar came to mind when i read that,they are cool!
I like the Gorilla ATV too,but expensive.Heard they stopped making em and sold the company?
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: mightybooboo on June 30, 2009, 02:22 AM
Hmmmm....panel guy with the 2 dollars a watt called again,he has 480 watts/6 panels more but they are multicrystallines and I prefer the mono's,not sure if I should take the sure thing and have 1500 watts towards the 2000 I want or should I hold out for mono's and risk losing out.

TOUGH decision,I'll let you all know what happens. Hm?

What do you folks think? Darn hard to pass up 2 dollars a watt!
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: mightybooboo on June 30, 2009, 02:54 PM
This is Tioga Georges in rig battery bank,a picture and a link to the story of his battery bank.

double click for maximum enlargement
(http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d109/mightybooboo/spuds/th_06-30-2009A_Copy.jpg) (http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d109/mightybooboo/spuds/06-30-2009A_Copy.jpg)


http://vagabonders-supreme.net/deepcyclebattery.htm
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: ibdilbert01 on June 30, 2009, 10:01 PM
What do you folks think? Darn hard to pass up 2 dollars a watt!

Thats a hard price to find, seems cheap to me.    I'm actually keeping  my eyes peeled for another Uni Solar 64, and a Uni Solar 32.     That would cover the back half of my RV.   Then somewhere on the front, I'd like to stick a higher wattage panel like what you have been buying, and a water panel.    I almost always end up parking  where the front of my rig gets the most sun.   
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: mightybooboo on July 01, 2009, 12:18 PM
Its literally 'cool' too how the panels keep the heat off the roof and out of our Rv's,yet another benefit of solar panels.

I tell you the rig I enjoy most here is DanD2Soons solar setup.The professional installation quality and top quality products/size is a whitepaper on how to do it right.Just an absolute thing of Beauty.

Very nice job you've done Dan if Ive neglected to say so before,and I think I have.

Hail the Solar,my kind of Nuclear power!

LOL,am I a solar advocate or what,LOL!  >>!!

BooBoo<------"Must get a Life!"  :laugh:
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: DanD2Soon on July 05, 2009, 04:16 PM
 :-[ aw shucks BooBoo - thanks.
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: Froggy1936 on July 12, 2009, 09:53 PM
Heres another Solar Outfit that will send ya a free catalog with a lot of info on Solar                                                      (incl  prices)                                                                            RV Solar Electric PO Box 25313 Scottsdale AZ 85255  480 443 8520  rvsolarelectric.com      Frank  P.S. same outfit reccomended by Jim
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: mightybooboo on July 22, 2009, 07:18 AM
2 dollar/watt solar panels,refer and freezer costs

Soooo....just got another 800 watts approx. of panels at 2 dollars/watt off of Craigslist.Let me just say this,used panel prices are outrageously cheap right now,just spend some time looking and reap huge savings!

So now its time to crunch some usage/cost numbers in putting them to use.

OK,solar refer and freezers.Look at this,the standard voltage mains/grid powered whirlpool(made by Woods in Canada) is almost twice as large as sundanzer but costs 500 bucks(todays price) and only uses 345 kw/hrs vrs 140 for sundanzer.So would need about 200 watts panels for almost twice the size vrs 75 for sundanzer.Panels would be 250 dollars more(extra 125 watts),including inverter losses, pretty close at 2 dollar/watt panels.

So 750 for whirlpool vrs 1200 for sundanzer and almost twice the size.

These cheap panels really are skewing the numbers for costs of appliances.The newest energy star freezers/refers are INCREDIBLY efficient,our 1999 freezer,same size as sundanzer 8.1 cf uses 297 kwhrs.Its a whirlpool too(Woods in Canada)

These conclusions sound about right?

..............  :)
------------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.enn.com/top_stories/article/37711
Whirlpool Chest Freezers
Whirlpools makes a very energy efficient chest freezer, model number EH151FXR (similar models are EH151FXQ or EH150FXQ). This 14.8-cubic-foot freezer is rated at 354 kWhrs per year. The average cost to run this freezer for year is $29, according to Energy Star.

Though it requires manual defrosting, it sport a number of other features including an interior light and a temperature alarm. Its key-eject lock means that the freezer can only be opened when the key is pushed in and turned — a safety feature helpful in homes with small children. Four baskets (two upper, two lower) make it easier to organize the contents — especially on the lower level.

It’s available from Amazon for $405.

Sundanzer Freezers
The most efficient DC-powered chest freezer is the SunDanzer. This eight-cubic-foot capacity freezer has an exceptionally low energy consumption — it uses around 140 kWhr / year. It incorporates the highly efficient Danforst compressor. It also has a super-insulated cabinet that is wrapped in four inches of polyurethane. Because it runs on either 12 or 24 volts DC, the SunDanzer freezer is mostly used in off-grid homes or in remote locations, because a 75 watts solar panel and and two six-volt golf cart batteries can power the freezer.
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: ibdilbert01 on November 30, 2009, 12:35 PM
A Reply to another members questions...

A)How many watts to run a roof ac  1500?

It depends on the size and age of your AC Unit.   The old rule of thumb was 1500watts for a 15k BTU AC unit (12.5amps).   I also would take a gamble that a 10K BTU Ac Unit would only use 1000watts (8.3amps).

B)how many watts to run a small refrig( 2.5 cf)  750?

That is a hard one to answer too.   It really depends on how well the manufacturer has designed the fridge and what components they have used.  I would imagine you could expect 150 to 300 watts on a mini fridge.    A good tool to have is a "Kill-A-Watt" Meter.   You can find them at Harbor Freight as well.

(http://www.killawattplus.com)

You plug this meter into an outlet, then plug your device into it and it will tell you how many amps/watts the device is currently pulling. 
 
C) how long will two or three trolling motor batteries last, running a 2500 watt inverter, for the above.  1) alone
             2) with 45 watt harbor freight solar panel.

Math can get tricky with this question.  Most Trolling batteries will have an Amp/Hour rating on them.  And some people say you really shouldn't deplete the battery past 50%, however I run mine down to 20%.  There is also another issue that complicates things, Peukerts Law.  A bit hard to explain, but to put it simply the more amps you pull, the less capacity your batteries will hold.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peukert%27s_law

For example, I found out last summer that I could run my AC on high with 4 golf cart batteries (500ah) for about 1 hour before the inverter shut down when the batteries depleted.   With 8 golf cart batteries (1000ah), I was able to run it full blast for a little over three hours.  As you can see doubling the batteries gave me 3 times as much run time on the AC because of Peukerts Rule.   

With 8 batteries, I can run the AC through the night if I'm easy on the thermostat.   The next issue is getting the batteries charged back up the next day. 

The HF Panels are rated at 45 Watt, about 2.5amps in a perfect world.  2.5amps is normally considered a trickle charge.  If your battery is 100ah and is completely dead, it will take 40 hours of sunshine to recharge not including any loss due to poor efficiencies.  (100ah/2.5a=40hr)

D) can you supplement the above from the chassis alternator?

Alternators have one minor flaw that isn't talked about much, their continuous rating.   A 250amp alternator might only be able to handle 250 amps for 10 to 15mins, after that it will most likely overheat and fail.   In a regular vehicle situation, this isn't an issue as after 10 to 15 mins your battery is almost charged and the regulator will start to taper back.    But if your charging a large amount of batteries that can take the full 250amps for large amounts of time, you will kill your alternator.   I read last year that there are a few companies making sort of an amp regulator for alternators, this spring I will look into this for my configuration.

Also an appliance such as a 15k BTU AC unit that requires 12.5amps at 120volts AC will require 125amps at 12v, not including the loss in your inverter.  It will require very large wires going from your alternator, inverter and batteries.  I used 1/0 welding cable on mine and even they get warm when running the AC. 

A few more things to consider, Motors and compressors require 3 times their rated wattage for startup.   My 1500/3000 watt inverter would not start my 15k BTU AC, but my 3000/6000 watt inverter does the job.  Inverters now days are sold as Modified Sine Wave inverters and Pure Sine wave inverters.   Pure Sine Wave inverters cost more, but give out a much cleaner power output.   Some devices such as battery chargers, motors and even some microwaves will not run with a Modified Sign Wave.

When trying to figure out Watts, amps and voltage, just remember PIE.

P=I/E

P=Watts
I=Amps
E=Volts

Helpful Links:

The 12volt Side of Life (http://www.ccis.com/home/mnemeth/12volt/12volt.htm)
Battery Information (http://www.batterystuff.com/tutorial_battery.html)
Inverter Information (http://www.windsun.com/Inverters/Inverter_selection.htm)

Some Solar information:

Solar panels are usually one of the three.

Monocrystalline
Multicrystalline (Polycrystalline)
Amorphous (Thin Film)

In general regarding efficiency and price is directly related, Monocrystalline is the best, multicrystalline is second best, and amorphous is on the bottom.    Most of the cheaper panels you see on the market today are amorphous, thin film usually painted on glass.    They will get the job done, but usually require more space per watts than any other panel.  The majority of panels imported from China are also thin film.

Monocrystalline cells are cut directly from a sylicon nugget, Multicrystalline cells are peices of the nugget, up close the cells look like glass partical board.

Space might not seem like an issue at first, but get on the roof with your tape measure and make sure nothing is in the way.   I picked up two US Solar panels for my RV, and they are rather large in size, I might be able to fit three more on my roof but that would be pushing it.   They are 64 watts a panel, and a total of 5 would be 320 watts.   However I've found monocrystalline panels that are much smaller and 96.2 watts.   Due to their small size I can easily fit 9 on my RV, 865.8 watts.   Depending on your needs, you can see size can be important depending on your available roof space.
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: mightybooboo on January 09, 2010, 09:08 PM
Great Post Dilbert.

I got my last used monocrystalline panels for 1 dollar a watt,and nephew got a bunch of Unisolar 64's for 60 cents/watt!!!!

Craigslist folks,thats where the bargains are.

Regarding appliances....Energy Star appliances are almost as efficient as the very expensive sunfrost style freezers/refers that use the Danfoss compressors.With the prices plummeting on panels its now reasonable now to use much cheaper Energy Star appliances.

New panels can be found right now for less than 2 dollars a watt!!

This is a solar opportunity right now as prices have never been anywhere near this low for top name panels,so if you are thinking of going solar,DO IT NOW,may never have this chance again.
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: mightybooboo on January 09, 2010, 10:29 PM
Another thought......

You want to go solar but dont think you can hook it up?

Buy those panels NOW and just store em.Then when you go to a jam ya'll can get together and cobble the system up.All you do is mount the panels,run wires from them thru a fuse to the charge controller and from there to a fuse to the batteries and the 12 volt side is done. If you want 120 volt you get an inverter and run the wires from the battery to a fuse then to it,POOF,120 watt power.Its very simple.

Cool thing about panels is storage is like putting food in the deep freeze,they dont age one bit,they only age out in the sun.
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: mightybooboo on January 09, 2010, 10:34 PM
Btw,my next project is to solarize my pickup.It has a metal shell that I want to mount a couple Unisolar 64's on.Then put a charge controller in the side drawers and wire to 4 AGM 12 volt batteries I have,then wire a cheapo 1500 watt inverter.

POOF! Plenty of 12 volt storage on board,enough power to jump start the Cummins Diesel with em,plus 120 volt power anywhere.

Gotta LOVE it!

Going with the unisolars because of their strength from damage,you can shoot a bullet thru em and they still work,and no glass on em that can shatter.

Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: ClydesdaleKevin on August 26, 2012, 06:47 PM
Anyone have the solar article Dave posted for me once...which I can't find...written by this fulltimer RV solar guru that seems a bit of a know it all, but makes a lot of sense?

Also, is there a difference between an "On Grid" panel, and an "Off Grid" panel?

Also, what is a darn good charge controller that can handle a 27 volt output, stepping it down to the required voltage for a 12 volt system, and also handle 470 watts of panels?

Thanks guys!

Kev
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: gadgetman on August 26, 2012, 07:33 PM
Morningstar  makes some great controllers, The best one for an rv is their dual bank controller but its rated at 30 amps max, They will handle 25% more amps for short periods. 470 watts will exceed that. You need a 40 amp controller for that wattage. Over 30 amps and you are pretty much in the mppt controller market which are way much higher in price.

I split my system and used 2 of the dual contollers, 135.00 each with the inside remote panels, kinda nice because if something happens I still have a working system at half the wattage.

Mppt controllers do a better job of maxing out your panel watts just because of how they work. You can mix panel voltages and it handles that. But....... it is best to use panels of the same voltage so one lower voltage panel dosent drop the voltage of the other panels. Also buy the highest voltage panels for 12v that you can, usually 17.xx to 18.xx but if you are using a mppt controller you will be using higher voltage panels, thats what mppt controllers are all about.

On grid , off grid  no real differance except the voltage output. most so called on grid panels and the high voltage ones.
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: ibdilbert01 on August 26, 2012, 07:46 PM
Might want to look into the TriStar-MPPT-45 by Morningstar.

They also make a non MPPT (PWM) in 45 and higer as well, but personally, I would try to fit a MPPT into the budget. 

http://www.morningstarcorp.com/en/products (http://www.morningstarcorp.com/en/products)

Keep your roof capacity and the weight of the panels in mind!
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: gadgetman on August 26, 2012, 07:48 PM
perfect, I was just fixing to post the same info :)

Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: ClydesdaleKevin on August 27, 2012, 06:48 AM
Thanks guys...that is what we wanted to know.  Looks like the one that will work with the panels we are buying is the MPPT Tristar 45...and yep, its the expensive one...although I found one place that has them for 366.00.  Too bad Best Converters doesn't carry Morningstar products!  I like doing business with them, and they usually have the best prices.

Also, the MPPT Tristar 45 can handle 3 of these panels, at over 700 watts of solar, according to their string calculator...its a thought, although it might be overkill, and a third panel wouldn't fit where I plan on putting the frame I designed that can be tilted 4 directions when parked.  I'd have to put a third panel up front with its own frame, so not sure if I'll go that route.  It would be nice though...with that much solar it can be crappy weather or slightly shaded and we'd still have so much charging power we'd hardly ever have to run the genny.

I found the solar link that Dave sent me once...its http://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/the-rv-battery-charging-puzzle-2/ (http://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/the-rv-battery-charging-puzzle-2/)

This is one damn good informative link about solar I tell ya.

So we decided to wait to pick up the panels until after next weekend since then we'll be able to afford the charge controller as well, and the wiring of course, and the 2 more golf cart batteries for a total of 6. 

This week I'm buying Patti her Splendide washer/dryer at a Camping World.

So what do you guys think?  Should I pick up the 2 panels at 470 watts max output, or should I take the plunge and spend the extra 300 bucks and have 705 watts of max output?  Its just over 1 dollar a watt for brand new panels, and I doubt I'll find a deal on them like this again.

Lastly, has anyone ever heard of Canadian Solar, and do they make a decent panel?

Thanks guys!

Kev
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: gadgetman on August 27, 2012, 08:10 AM
Dont know about canadian solar, I would put as much solar up as you can afford since you have 6 "wow" batteries. They say you want a max of 13% charge rate of your battery bank.

Not sure on your amp hours but I assume its about 330 ah so thats about 43 amps. Your 705 watts will give you about 50 amps at 14v and 705 watts will work well on cloudy days. You really dont need to tilt the panels. They work fine flat, even more so with all the sqft you will have in panels. Mine are flat and do great and put out max watts just fine. Granted tilting will give you a little more but with 700 watts you wont have to tilt them :)
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: gadgetman on August 27, 2012, 03:22 PM
BTW thanks for the link. That is a great article and pretty much covers it all. Smart guy. I read a lot before I put my solar on and pretty much did it they way he states but , It took a lot of time and many many articles and info searching. That gives it all in one spot !!  :)clap :)ThmbUp :)ThmbUp :)ThmbUp
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: ClydesdaleKevin on August 30, 2012, 07:57 AM
So the verdict is in...only 3 panels will fit on the roof, instead of 4.  And I'm going to flat mount them using 4 inch aluminum angle stock as both the frame and mount...it will allow 3 inches of air and wiring space under the panels, distribute the weight of the panels across a greater area of the roof, and give me a very secure mounting to the roof.

Also definitely going with the Morningstar MPPT 45 controller, since it will handle 3 panels perfectly.

Now, to find the time to go get the panels!  Busy 3 day weekend coming right up!

Kev
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: gadgetman on August 30, 2012, 10:53 AM
Another mounting choice is the flat track that electricians use in buildings that has sliding bolt plates you pop in, it comes in 1.5 in and 3/4 in. It limits the holes in the roof you have to drill and makes a nice spot to bolt future stuff on the roof without more holes. Its heavier than the aluminum but sure makes a nice bolting surface for stuff.

Also pay very close attention to anything that will shadow even a small section of a panel before mounting.
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: ClydesdaleKevin on August 31, 2012, 05:50 AM
Thanks Gadgetman.  I have to go to Home Depot this morning for a few more sticks of wood...my employee accidently cut up some that was set aside for the bigger catapults I have to build today, so I have to make the early morning trip so I can get everything done.  While I'm there I'll walk up and down the rows and try to get some alternative ideas for the mounts...maybe be able so save some money on something like the electricians track you are talking about.

So I'm assuming that just brackets attached to all the bolt holes on the frame that is already on the solar panel won't be strong enough?  Am I right in assuming that the frame has to be supported by another frame, or is the frame strong enough that is already on the panel to mount it to brackets I can attach to the roof?

Kev
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: ClydesdaleKevin on September 25, 2012, 08:10 AM
The entire solar panel project is finished!  705 watts of Canadian Solar panels on the roof with a Van Tech air foil in front of the first panel, a Morningstar Tristar MPPT 60 amp charge controller, all the wiring, 2 80 amp DC breakers and a fuse block that doubles as a wiring block (both courtesy of Blue Sea, which you can get at any West Marine store), and a remote meter.

Storage is 6 Interstate deep cycle golf cart batteries wired to 12 volts.

Because I had to install the charge controller horizontally instead of the recommended vertical wall mount, I installed a 48 volts muffin fan that blows cool air across the heat sink of the controller.  Its wired directly through the solar panels after a 1 amp fuse, so it runs during the day and shuts down at night when its not needed.  Even in the shade where we are right now the fan runs just fine.

The remote monitor says I had a maximum voltage yesterday of 32.5 volts coming from the panels, and that is under the trees and in the shade where we are parked right now.

Pictures coming soon!

Kev
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: gadgetman on September 25, 2012, 02:46 PM
amps amps amps amps    :D  volts really dosen't say much :)  But add the amperage to it and tell the voltage. Now there is a story ! :)
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: ClydesdaleKevin on September 26, 2012, 06:17 AM
Logged data on the monitor says she put out 3.2 amps max yesterday...not very much, but we are under heavy tree cover with hardly any direct sunlight on the panels at all.  I'll let you know how she does when we're in full sun later this week.

Kev
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: gadgetman on September 26, 2012, 08:28 AM
You have a huge battery bank, if you want to see what the solar can really do, wait till about 11 am to 2 am and crank up the draws. Turn on everything you can to load the batteries. This will cause the controller to crank out the available amps for the sun at the time.

Batteries charged up and little load, the system will just idle at almost no amperage. Your system should easily give you 250ah - 350ah a day. That's a lot.   :)clap
Title: Re: Everything Solar!
Post by: ClydesdaleKevin on September 27, 2012, 06:07 AM
We've got an almost 800 mile trip coming up starting this Friday, so I should be able to see what this system is capable of pretty quickly.  We'll be making the trip in 2 days, using the inverter at night, and the last day we'll roll into the parking lot of the Renfaire while its still daylight and park for the night...then make camp on Sunday.  Should see what she can do in the full sunlight of the rest area and the parking lot.

Kev