New solar install.... - Page 6 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-05-2011, 09:47 AM   #71
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Name: Jim
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isn't it awesome overcast and your producing your own energy. im sorry but its only just begun for you. you will continue too add change and invent more and more for your trailer. I really like the looks of the panel and the fact it may just fit on the rock shield
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Old 10-05-2011, 09:55 AM   #72
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The Test

For the test I have 7 LED bulbs, each with 64 LEDs, 1 incandescent bulb, and three muffin fans running to put a load on the battery.

I have shut off the Converter so the only thing charging the battery is the Solar Panel.

At full sun the Sunflex solar panel is designed to provide about 2.3 amps of charging current. On this overcast day the peak I've seen so far is 1.4 amps. Hopefully this afternoon will be brighter.
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Old 10-05-2011, 12:24 PM   #73
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The Results

It's worked well.

Since the sky cleared the panel has produced 1.4 amps for most of the test. This is probably realistic since solar panels are rated for the June 21st overhead sunshine.

I ran all the loads for about an hour or so, simply to drain the battery a little. I figure the current draw of the load was about 4 amps or so, significantly greater than the solar panel's ability to supply current.

I than shut off the loads. The battery had dropped to 12.45 volts. I now have the panel fully recharging the battery.

The temperature of the panel is 98 degrees F, I can comfortably put my hand on it, similarly uderneath the panel, only a degree higher at 99F. Of course it is in the mid 60s today. This gives about a 35 degree rise.
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Old 10-05-2011, 08:06 PM   #74
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I'm very pleased with the panel and bought a second 40 watt panel tonight. When the second one comes in about a week I'll permanently mount both to the roof. I now have an assortment of through rough connectors, courtesy of a nephew and will select one.
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Old 10-06-2011, 12:35 PM   #75
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Solar Controller - 10 AMP

Solar Panels require a solar controller. Their primary function is to send current to the battery to keep it charged. It monitors battery voltage and senses if the battery needs charging. If it does need charging it sends the solar panel output to the battery.

We bought ours on EBay some 4 years ago; I saw it today for $19.50 with free shipping. It is rated for 10 amps. Since the combined maximum output from our panels is 4.6 amps this should be more than adequate.

It is probably the simplest, most basic controller you can buy. It does not provide a reading of current or voltage level.

You can see it on the EBay site. If any one would like to see the manual I have it in a PDF file.

10A Solar Panel Charge Controller Regulator 12V/24V st | eBay
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Old 10-06-2011, 06:19 PM   #76
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Mppt

Norm,
Optimum operating voltage of your panel is 18V so at this voltage you could boost charging current by about 30% using MPPT controller. Prices of MPPT controllers are getting reasonable for example this one for ~ $27. 12V/24V 10A MPPT Solar Controller WS-MPPT15 | Wellsee Solar Products Manufacturers In China

I like your choice of using flexible monocrystalline panels. Before installation of my rigid solar panels with VHB tape I thoroughly cleaned both surfaces with MEK.

George.
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Old 10-06-2011, 07:49 PM   #77
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George, Thank you I was not aware that there was newer technology, I've had that controller for years but anything that can improve delivered power is worthwhile. I'll look into this class of controller. As well cleaning the surfaces before application of tape is important.

Thanks again.
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:21 PM   #78
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Norm, I have this page bookmarked to use as my guideline when I get my egg. I love the idea of those thin, lightweight solar panels.

I do think I will mount mine so they can be tilted, though, as we like to boondock in Florida in the Ocala National Forest in the winter and there are no hookups there.

I was reading Tioga George's blog today and was amazed at how big a difference being able to tilt the panels can make. Here's what he wrote:

Quote:
9AM - Tilting solar panels
A check of Mr Sunny's incoming power from solar panels showed only 5 amps/hour. It would take 14 hours to recharge the solar battery bank at this rate! The Sun has been traveling lower in the sky. Time for us to go up on MsTioga's roof and tilt the solar panels!

Rechecking incoming power after tilting and 15 amps/hour were coming in.

Tioga George Blog
The link content changes daily so for people reading after today, go to the October 6, 2011 post.
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Old 10-06-2011, 09:03 PM   #79
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Tilting and efficiency

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharon G View Post
Norm, I have this page bookmarked to use as my guideline when I get my egg. I love the idea of those thin, lightweight solar panels.

I do think I will mount mine so they can be tilted, though, as we like to boondock in Florida in the Ocala National Forest in the winter and there are no hookups there.

I was reading Tioga George's blog today and was amazed at how big a difference being able to tilt the panels can make. Here's what he wrote:

The link content changes daily so for people reading after today, go to the October 6, 2011 post.
I think George's tilts versus efficiency numbers are a little exaggerated. George’s claim is 5A (I don’t know why he is using A/hour units) at no tilt, 15A with tilt and maybe 22A later. Perhaps what George observed was early morning versus midday amperage output. See attached table for more realistic numbers: Solar Panels Orientation and Output

Tilting flexible panels could be challenging.

George.
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Old 10-06-2011, 10:36 PM   #80
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Tilt

Certainly if you are seeking maximum output from your solar cells, tilt and even better, tracking are required. For me I would rather 'add an additional panel' than bother with tilting or tracking. I like the streamlined look and towing efficiency of a flat roof.

Here in NH the sun is comparitively low in the sky and our panels are operating at about 60% efficiency around mid day. Certainly tilting the panel would help early morning and afternoon efficiency, probably requiring adjustment more than once.

For us the addition of tilt hardware is not worth the effort though I now it may be for someand is for others. Our goal is for the panels to bring the battery back to full charge, replenishing what we used during the evening. To make this job easier we have all LED lighting except one bulb.

On days we camp we require enough solar output to recharge our battery during the day. If we are camped, normally we are not around our trailer during the day and use little power during the day (nor would we be there to adjust the panels).

On days we drive, about 70 out of 300 this year, tilt is valueless. As well we have the ability to charge from our tow vehicle as we drive as well as the Solar Panels as we drive.

If you're going to buy flexible panels, tilt would be more difficult. Though these panels are flexible they're not that flexible.
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:07 PM   #81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
...... For me I would rather 'add an additional panel' than bother with tilting or tracking........
For us the addition of tilt hardware is not worth the effort......
Ditto,
George.
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Old 10-07-2011, 02:23 AM   #82
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George, TG's figures do look very optimistic when compared with that chart. I appreciate that info because I was pretty boggled with his reported results.

Norm, adding another panel does make a lot more sense than messing with tilt hardware.

Thanks to both of you for the reality check. I tend to go overboard on everything, and am really trying to learn that sometimes less really is more!
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Old 10-09-2011, 02:35 PM   #83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeR View Post
Norm,
Optimum operating voltage of your panel is 18V so at this voltage you could boost charging current by about 30% using MPPT controller. Prices of MPPT controllers are getting reasonable for example this one for ~ $27. 12V/24V 10A MPPT Solar Controller WS-MPPT15 | Wellsee Solar Products Manufacturers In China
As with most things, you get what you pay for with cheap controllers from China.

http://www.wind-sun.com/ForumVB/showthread.php?t=9482&highlight=Wellsee//

A good MPPT controller is expensive so it rarely makes sense to use one on a small system, as opposed to just buying more PV panel. Morningstar makes good PWM controllers that only cost a little bit more than than the eBay controllers. Google "Sunsaver" for more information.

Bruce
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Old 10-09-2011, 03:03 PM   #84
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MPPT Solar Controllers.

Bruce.

I now understand that the strength of a Maximum Power Point Solar controller (MPPT) is designed to maximize battery chargering current. It is basically an intelligent DC to DC converter. It produces an output that takes the energy output of the solar panel and converts it into a new voltage level that will get the most power into the battery.

Maximum Power Point Tracking Charge Controller

Is there some technical reason that you are opposed to the model that George has suggested? I'm trying to learn.

Thank you,

Norm Milliard
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