Playing with Solar - Page 5 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-17-2014, 06:16 PM   #57
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Name: RogerDat
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Originally Posted by Myron Leski View Post
Here's my home-boy "kit." Two panels booked with hinges plus support brackets.
A little heavy, yes. Polycrystalline Panels by ML Solar, draw latches by Lowes.
Do the panels stay in the case or is the case just for convenient transport? Either way that looks like a nice set up.

In a 13 ft. Scamp it can be tricky to find a place to stow a good sized panel for transport, two panels in a case opens up some additional possibilities.
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Old 11-17-2014, 07:46 PM   #58
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Thanks. Does take a few minutes to set up.
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Old 11-18-2014, 02:13 PM   #59
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Solor controller issue

Thank you Bob and Deb,

It's amazing what one finds when looking for something else. The more you look, the more you find!

I also received a response from Net Meter Solar regarding whether or not the parameters can be adjusted. as stated in their listing. They confirmed that they can not be adjusted. The up and down buttons are only for scrolling through the menu.

They seemed to be fairly knowledgeable about solar systems and didn't feed my a line, so it occurred to me to asked them about the use of my Honda 1000w generator to recharge the battery if the weather was bad and not sufficient charging from solar panels, and if the charging would damage the controller.

Their response was:
Dear jim,

Regarding the subject of external charging source our experience has been mixed. We have some customers who have reported problems with the unit operating in RVs and have the AC power hooked up which damaged the controller. But we also have other customers that have been using it that way with no reported problems.

If you put a disconnect switch between the battery and controller that would definitely do the trick. But if you are going to do that I would recommend you getting a STDP switch and disconnect both the battery and solar panel from the controller at the same time. You only need to disconnect the positive of the battery and the positive of the panel by connecting them to each set of pins. The switch would have 4 pins with two set of isolated switch lines. It would not be good to have a charge controller connected to a panel with no battery.

What is your intended use for the system? What is the load and how many panels are you going to have?
- net meter solar
Wow, so it looks like any other charging source whether from a generator, shore power with converter & charger, or power line from tow vehicle could damage some solar controllers.

Has anyone had any experience or heard anything about this?

I contacted Renogy regarding their PWM30LCD controller. Their manual says, and they confirmed it in a phone call, that the battery can be charged with a generator with no damage to the controller. Looks like that's another issue to be checked before buying a controller.
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Old 11-18-2014, 02:25 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by Scamper Jim View Post
If you put a disconnect switch between the battery and controller that would definitely do the trick. But if you are going to do that I would recommend you getting a STDP switch and disconnect both the battery and solar panel from the controller at the same time. You only need to disconnect the positive of the battery and the positive of the panel by connecting them to each set of pins. The switch would have 4 pins with two set of isolated switch lines. It would not be good to have a charge controller connected to a panel with no battery.

That is VERY good info and some I had not heard before. With my currently planned wiring setup a switch such as he describes would entail more wiring than I want to do. Also, I plan on pretty large wire from the controller to the battery and a suitable switch for that size wire may not be feasible. What is feasible are fuses that can be pulled and/or just unscrew the wing nut and take the wire off the battery. Of course one should “kill” the panel array to the controller first THEN the controller to battery line. Oh well, maybe the Sun will always shine and this will not be an issue.
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Old 11-18-2014, 02:52 PM   #61
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I suspect that the design of the controller determines whether it can be used at the same time as another charging source. My GoPower controller is permanently connected to the battery & has survived paralleled with both the converter & the tow vehicle charging at the same time.

If a solar controller cannot deal with multiple battery charging sources, I'd look for a different brand.
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Old 11-20-2014, 08:23 PM   #62
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Handyman Bob knows solar. I read all of his blogs and designed a system that works. Perhaps I over engineered the system but I wanted to be able to go off the grid for extended periods of time. I also can't say enough for the products that Bogart Engineering make. They make the Trimetric battery monitor and they now make a charge controller that works with their monitor. It is programmable but I am using one of the canned programs and it works great charging my 2 - Trojan T-105s. It also has a temperature sensor that even compensates for temperature change. Nothing fancy but I have found them to work superbly. One thing I have learned that has helped me and that is if you want to learn about solar and batteries listen to the people that are living off the grid. Their systems work - they have to.
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Old 11-25-2014, 02:45 PM   #63
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While at the RV store yesterday, I checked the box of a GoPower controller. It said that it is "Reverse Charge Protected".

That is perhaps the type of language or something similiar, in the specs that should be checked to avoid a controller that can be damaged by a generator or other secondary charging source.
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Old 11-25-2014, 08:04 PM   #64
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We live off grid full time except when out with one of our trailers. I couldn't be bothered to put together a good system. We use a 100 Watt folding suitcase type with sketchy pwm controller and it works just fine for our needs and I suspect would for most people with only single group 24 or 27 batteries. The best route to go is conservation and have an idea of what power you are using.
Now what wouldn't I do
1. Replace the nice mc4 connectors that come pre-wired with the system and replace with regular wire. Ideally you should be using stranded copper wire not solid copper..
2. Mount the controller near the battery but not over it it's lithium ion or possibly agm but definitely not flooded lead acid - you take a chance of corroding the charge controller with the gasses.


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