FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

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Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby John61CT » Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:12 am

The only inexpensive battery banks are lead-acid, and lighter weight means lower capacity and/or won't last as long.

You should install your bank in place and never need to pick it up and carry it around.

If you can spend 7-10 times more, lithium can save weight but will not have the same capacity, still too heavy to easily cart around without a dolly.

The first step is to make a list of the devices you plan to power, along with a guess of how many hours per day.
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Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby CaleyAnn » Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:06 pm

John, Yeah, I figured I have to figure out what my nightly draw is going to be. Unfortunately for most of the electrical things I wish to purchase on Amazon, they do not seem to list power draw in amps or watts. Need one of those to figure things out. Will have to try to find a webpage that provides general power draw for various things, and just use that. I figure the stuff I purchase will actually draw less than average, as I am keeping size down.

People keep telling me to make sure I keep weight forward to a certain degree. In other words, I have to be aware of my trailer balance. From what I have seen, most builders put a box across the towing bar framework, and install their batteries and solar panel controller inside, then run the power wire from the batteries to the switch system inside. CaleyAnn
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Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby greygoos » Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:16 am

Will be camping down south this winter and dry camping part of the time. My resmed cpap runs on .7 to 1.2 amps . Will use the machine for 6 hours a night. I would like to use a fantastic fan at the same time and 12 volt reading lights for 3 hours or so. Will have to do a solar setup and dont have a clue about the size battery or the size of the solar panel? Any help or suggestions will be appreciated. Does anyone have any experience with so called all in solar generators. It was reccomended to me by the sleep center
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Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby tony.latham » Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:22 am

greygoos wrote:Will be camping down south this winter and dry camping part of the time. My resmed cpap runs on .7 to 1.2 amps . Will use the machine for 6 hours a night. I would like to use a fantastic fan at the same time and 12 volt reading lights for 3 hours or so. Will have to do a solar setup and dont have a clue about the size battery or the size of the solar panel? Any help or suggestions will be appreciated. Does anyone have any experience with so called all in solar generators. It was reccomended to me by the sleep center


I too use a CPAP.

Your fan will burn 1-amp/hour. And of course, your iron lung will eat about 6 amps. Thus you'll be using about 9 amps/night.

A Group 24 AGM battery has about 45 useable amps when new. So without charging, you could run 3-4 nights.

Here's a 160 watt folder: https://www.solarblvd.com/products/solar-cynergy-160-watt-foldable-12-volt-solar-panel-2/. They say 7 amps/hour. That and some sunshine is all you'd need for stays longer than 3-4 nights. If you are traveling ––and charging while towing–– you wouldn't need solar.

I'm failing to see a challenge here. :thumbsup:

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Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby greygoos » Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:46 am

Thank you Tony. Will be in some spots for a week or more at a time. Nice setup you pointed out.
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Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby John61CT » Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:24 pm

Get an AH counter like WattsUp (low ampacity but cheap) and actually measure your loads' total in **AH** per 24 hours.

Amps per any-time-measure is not meaningful, only as an instantaneous measure of flow rate, not a fixed quantity.

The best battery value by far is Duracell (actually Deka/East Penn) FLA deep cycle golf cart batteries, 2x6V, around $200 per 200+AH pair from BatteriesPlus or Sam's Club. Deka labeled same batts also sold at Lowes.

Even the very large powerpacks are small AH and **very** expensive. They are not "generators", marketing deception there.

The 200AH should be plenty, and spending less than $200 on storage is unlikely to get you true deep cycling quality, needed for longevity.

If you keep using your AH counter, you can keep your usage below your daily input from your panel.

100W may be enough, but I would start off with 200W, want to be ready for worst-case weather conditions.

Obviously as your usage grows, be ready to add more panels, but that 200+AH bank should be OK storage for up to 400W panels.
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Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby greygoos » Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:03 pm

Thank you John. Are the solar setups run through a sine wave or clipped direct to the battery.
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Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby tony.latham » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:58 pm

greygoos wrote:Thank you John. Are the solar setups run through a sine wave or clipped direct to the battery.


That folding system I linked has a controller within it. You just run the wires to the battery.

When you say, sine wave, I assume you are referring to an inverter. Use a 12v adapter with your CPAP and forget an inverter, your Resmed is a DC device. That black box on its 120V power cord is an inverter. Throwing another inverter in the mix eats power.

T
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Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby FM82 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:21 am

I've come to the point in my build where I need to pull the trigger on solar panel location. After reading through the thread, I'm feeling like a roof mounted panel will work for me. Hopefully anyway.

For those that have theirs roof mounted, how did you run your wiring? I've thought through all of the possible ways, and going straight down through the roof, and into the ceiling cavity seems like the path I'd be more pleased with. With that said, I came across this little jewel yesterday and it looks promising, compared to other options I've looked through.

I am still looking for other options though, and curious how others have done it.Image

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Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby tony.latham » Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:21 pm

I've been scratching my head for months on how I was going to do this on the new build.

I've settled on a 100-watt Renogy flexible ETFE panel. Here's the warranty: 25-year/80% efficiency rate /5-year material and workmanship. These ETFE panels are much different than the cheap PET panels that were famous for going south after a couple of years.

I'll be using two of these cable glands:
https://www.amazon.com/Single-Weatherproof-Curved-Connector-Campervan/dp/B01CNW72Y4/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?keywords=link+solar+gland&qid=1550170049&s=lawn-garden&sr=1-1-catcorr-spons&psc=1

They do make a double that is cleaner than the one you found:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0111RNZDY?aaxitk=IEKqXRyDfoSf9Zn4gV0FYg&pd_rd_i=B0111RNZDY&pf_rd_p=e037c154-e093-48a4-b127-477e5e294e3f&hsa_cr_id=4160316380801&sb-ci-n=asinImage&sb-ci-v=https%3A%2F%2Fimages-na.ssl-images-amazon.com%2Fimages%2FI%2F51qQl5nwz6L.jpg&sb-ci-a=B0111RNZDY

:thumbsup:

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Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby FM82 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:47 pm

tony.latham wrote:I've been scratching my head for months on how I was going to do this on the new build.

I've settled on a 100-watt Renogy flexible ETFE panel. Here's the warranty: 25-year/80% efficiency rate /5-year material and workmanship. These ETFE panels are much different than the cheap PET panels that were famous for going south after a couple of years.

I'll be using two of these cable glands:
https://www.amazon.com/Single-Weatherproof-Curved-Connector-Campervan/dp/B01CNW72Y4/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?keywords=link+solar+gland&qid=1550170049&s=lawn-garden&sr=1-1-catcorr-spons&psc=1

They do make a double that is cleaner than the one you found:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0111RNZDY?aaxitk=IEKqXRyDfoSf9Zn4gV0FYg&pd_rd_i=B0111RNZDY&pf_rd_p=e037c154-e093-48a4-b127-477e5e294e3f&hsa_cr_id=4160316380801&sb-ci-n=asinImage&sb-ci-v=https%3A%2F%2Fimages-na.ssl-images-amazon.com%2Fimages%2FI%2F51qQl5nwz6L.jpg&sb-ci-a=B0111RNZDY



Tony
Ah yes. I do like those too. I'll stash those links away for reference. Those just may be the way I go.

What about wire, Tony? What are you going with? I feel like ordering 10awg wire labeled for solar is not necessary. Although, I can't think of a place that I can pick up lower stranded 10awg wire from. I'll order it if I need to, but it would be nice to just go pick up some wiring locally. It appears that using the style that we have both looked at forces us to use 10, as apposed to a smaller solid core wire.

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Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby tony.latham » Thu Feb 14, 2019 2:09 pm

What about wire, Tony?


I'm not sure. My controller will be within 24" of the cable glands so I don't need much. Might go with something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/Super-Cloud-Extension-Connector-Connectors/dp/B074DTQ883/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=mc4+solar+cable&qid=1550173244&s=digital-text&sr=8-5

:thinking:

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Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby FM82 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 2:43 pm

tony.latham wrote:
What about wire, Tony?


I'm not sure. My controller will be within 24" of the cable glands so I don't need much. Might go with something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/Super-Cloud-Extension-Connector-Connectors/dp/B074DTQ883/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=mc4+solar+cable&qid=1550173244&s=digital-text&sr=8-5

:thinking:

Tony
Yeah, pretty much the same thing I was looking at on eBay, only longer. I suppose since I would have to order the MC4 connectors, I may as well order them with the wire. Hmm. Probably not a bad idea.

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Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby tony.latham » Thu Feb 14, 2019 5:53 pm

I suppose since I would have to order the MC4 connectors...


Doesn't your panel already have them?

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Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby FM82 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 6:24 pm

tony.latham wrote:
I suppose since I would have to order the MC4 connectors...


Doesn't your panel already have them?

T
I haven't ordered my panels yet. I was meaning if I ordered or bought locally, just the wiring alone. I'd have to order a couple of the connectors for the new wire. Am I thinking right?

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