My first solar attempt...

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My first solar attempt...

Postby shootr » Sun Mar 25, 2018 4:49 pm

I found an open box deal for a 50w solar starter kit ($86) so figured it was time to try.

I've wanted one to keep the deep cycle topped off, as well as recharging when we're boondocking.

Came with the 2'x2' panel, 20' pair of 10ga leads, the simple controller, and other bits and pieces.

Went together easy enough - put a "regular" plug on the controller side so it is easier to disconnect and store the leads and panel when traveling. Took about 4 hours to bring the battery up to 12.8V from 12.3V - seems pretty good.

Going to do some testing with running the fan all night and seeing where that takes the battery - then if the battery can recover in a day of sunlight. ImageImageImage
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Re: My first solar attempt...

Postby Bill n Robi » Sun Mar 25, 2018 8:18 pm

Looks good. I use an 80w system on dual 12v batteries so yours should do you in sunny Arizona.
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Re: My first solar attempt...

Postby John61CT » Sun Mar 25, 2018 8:20 pm

Proper Absorb stage only starts after battery hits 14.6V or whatever your setpoint is.

Likely another 4+ hours after that to get to true 100% Full.

Need an ammeter to check.
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Re: My first solar attempt...

Postby shootr » Mon Mar 26, 2018 11:48 am

John61CT wrote:Proper Absorb stage only starts after battery hits 14.6V or whatever your setpoint is.

Likely another 4+ hours after that to get to true 100% Full.

Need an ammeter to check.
I've got a SnapOn battery tester I'll throw on it tonight. The charge controller gives me pause.

This morning (in the dark before work-everything still hooked up) I was getting 80% capacity reading at 12.4v indicated. That seems to jive with the charts I've Googled. It does not have any programming available - for what I paid I'm sure it's just enough to keep from overcharging and depleting at night.

Yesterday a simple cigarette lighter plug in meter was within 0.10 volts of the controllers reading.

I'm assuming a semi-accurate "capacity" reading comes from the battery "resting" and equalizing after a charge session? I really wish I knew terminology better, lol.

FYI - the battery is brand new - went into service March of this year with a manufacture date of February 2018.

We rarely run the battery down hardly at all - maybe charge the phone, some led reading lights, and last time judicious use of bed warmers - it's just nice to have the capability and I'm a geek tinkerer...
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Re: My first solar attempt...

Postby tony.latham » Mon Mar 26, 2018 12:02 pm

Dead quiet and free fuel.

:beer:

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Re: My first solar attempt...

Postby John61CT » Mon Mar 26, 2018 12:56 pm

Again, you need an ammeter to check trailing amps to know when it's truly full. Batt manufacturer will give the specs.

Voltage is never an accurate indicator of State of Charge, forget garage gear with deep cycling.

But I'm talking a quality deep cycle bank, with a cheap 12V batt from Big Box, hardly worth the trouble.
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Re: My first solar attempt...

Postby Bill n Robi » Mon Mar 26, 2018 3:22 pm

You are correct. When the battery rests the charge equalizes / travels down the plates, it will read less the next day after charging.
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Re: My first solar attempt...

Postby Dale M. » Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:42 am

As side note keep an eye on those battery cable "clamp on" terminals... IF they start to corrode it will make battery maintenance and power use miserable.... They should be kept clean and protected with a anti corrosion grease....

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Re: My first solar attempt...

Postby KTM_Guy » Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:30 pm

Nice setup. Looking forward to hear who the testing goes.

Here is a link to a better connector, plug. Never a good idea to use an AC plug for anything that is not AC.

https://www.delcity.net/store/Small-Tra ... 801393.t_1

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Re: My first solar attempt...

Postby absolutsnwbrdr » Wed Mar 28, 2018 6:42 am

For future reference... Standard MC4 connectors between the solar panel and charge controller, and then I always use Anderson Powerpoles for all other DC connections. :thumbsup:

The Powerpoles are a little tedious at first, but once you start using them you'll never look back. I typically use the 45A powerpoles (15A and 30A are same red/black housing but with smaller contacts), and use the same cheap crimper that I got to do the MC4 connectors. Decent video on Powerpoles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzLvdR6X81k
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Re: My first solar attempt...

Postby rkanz » Wed Mar 28, 2018 8:30 am

This is a source of Zamp/ SAE connectors and sidewall port.

http://www.solarseller.com/low_voltage_ ... nsions.htm


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Re: My first solar attempt...

Postby John61CT » Wed Mar 28, 2018 1:21 pm

SAE connections are for low amps, IMO 6-8A only, and are prone to corrosion over time.

Anderson type connections are **way** better, tightly spec'd for specific current ratings, designed for lowest resistance and self-maintaining as you use them.

The fact they 'force' you to learn how to crimp properly is a pro, not a con.

Or just order properly terminated custom wiring lengths from genuinedealz.com
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Re: My first solar attempt...

Postby shootr » Wed Mar 28, 2018 2:21 pm

KTM_Guy wrote:Nice setup. Looking forward to hear who the testing goes.

Here is a link to a better connector, plug. Never a good idea to use an AC plug for anything that is not AC.

https://www.delcity.net/store/Small-Tra ... 801393.t_1

Todd
Thanks everyone for the better info on connectors. Just a little background of my (probably faulty) reasoning:

* I was trying to find some locally available weatherproof 2-lead connectors in the 10ga size to best match the existing wire in the panel leads - but couldn't (without investing in new crimpers) - and I wasn't planning on doing any more beyond this so it was hard to justify the investment.

* With the low amperage/voltage, I figured the surface area of the prongs on an AC plug would have been sufficient to minimize any resistance and/or losses over a sub-20' run.

* I was also assuming a 12ga or smaller wire/connector would create a "choke point" (negligible?) with the rest of the 10ga run.

Again, thanks for taking the time to add to this conversation - I just like learning all I can for future reference!
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Re: My first solar attempt...

Postby KTM_Guy » Wed Mar 28, 2018 3:04 pm

I have been looking at the Anderson set. If I do take the plunge I’ll hook you up. It will be another month or two before I’m at that stage.

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Re: My first solar attempt...

Postby shootr » Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:55 pm

Sounds like a deal - if you let me treat you to a trip to the trap range!
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