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Old 04-01-2016, 05:12 PM   #21
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Name: Gordon
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Tim,

See? There's another reason to mount your panels up on the roof! Cats, dogs, small children, feral pigs, etc., they all love solar panels.

Seriously, I read that even a small shadow like a flag pole will drastically reduce your output.


Great story! Thanks for sharing that.

Gordon
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Old 04-01-2016, 05:29 PM   #22
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Tim,
Certainly no need to apologize. Very easy to be misled by our instruments. Looking forward to your dry-camping test results.
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Old 04-01-2016, 05:49 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redbarron55 View Post
It's like it was a CAT a lytic converter
Beautiful....coffee came out my nose, on reading this. Great thread, so happy seeing how fascinating this subject has become. Sort of gives me a kick, learning about solar, the way computers did it for me, in the early 90's.
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Old 04-01-2016, 09:46 PM   #24
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Oh wow. Well, if it's a cool day, a cat will often seek out a warm spot to lie down. Black solar panels would be warm! I suggest propping your panel at enough of an angle to discourage animals, and you'll probably have a better angle on the sun at the same time.
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Old 04-02-2016, 08:22 AM   #25
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To wrap things up and in the interest of full disclosure I report that this morning the Tracer finally showed 98-100% SOC (it jumps back and forth between the two readings). To be fair, the Tracer is a $35 meter and the Trimetric a $175+ setup with the shunt. Both appear to work fine and are accurate for instant readings of charging.


I installed the Trimetric with the intent of installing the 30 amp Bogart controller at some point if I wanted to add a third panel (300 watts total). If two panels do what I need I may put off that purchase and just keep on with the 20 amp Tracer controller.
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Old 04-02-2016, 09:19 AM   #26
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I was interested to read you have a MPPT controller verses a PWM one. I am just about to upgrade my solar controller for this season and was planning to get the PWM one as it is supposed to help batteries last longer among other things. It also happens to usually be slightly cheaper. I'm curious to know why you preferred the MPPT controller. What advantages did you see?
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Old 04-02-2016, 06:16 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by ckayaker View Post
I was interested to read you have a MPPT controller verses a PWM one. I am just about to upgrade my solar controller for this season and was planning to get the PWM one as it is supposed to help batteries last longer among other things. It also happens to usually be slightly cheaper. I'm curious to know why you preferred the MPPT controller. What advantages did you see?
It has actually been quite a while since I bought this setup. I got a little ahead of myself buying stuff before being ready to use it. Seems like the MPPT should more efficiently use the power from the panels. Bogart seems to think MPPT is not worthwhile and PWM is fine.
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Old 04-02-2016, 06:49 PM   #28
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The way I understand it, a PWM controller will use its pulsing ability to reduce the solar panel's voltage output to the voltage desired for charging the battery; if the voltage is being stepped down from, say, 17V to 14V the potential of those 3 extra volts is wasted. MPPT controllers can convert most of that extra voltage into extra current (I'm over-simplifying somewhat) to hasten charging a little bit.

I've read that although MPPT will squeeze out this little bit extra charging current, the MPPT controller will also have a little more loss because it uses a bit more energy in order to function than a PWM controller would use. The general feeling is that for small solar systems there's no net advantage to MPPT, but with 400W-500W or larger systems the MPPT should definitely come out ahead.
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Old 04-02-2016, 08:37 PM   #29
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I can't remember if it has been mentioned' but a $10 hydrometer can tell your battery's state of charge without all the guesswork of possible faulty meters.

https://images.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=...6878aL.jpg&f=1
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