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Solar Guru's please.....


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#1 OFFLINE   mtnkwby

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Posted 26 August 2018 - 08:56 PM

My son added a 100 watt solar panel on the S&S with a RENOGY PWM30CC controller.  I've been told that I can add another 100-150 Watt panel to the system...correct or not?  The S&S is a 28 year old TC and its power needs are pretty basic.  It it safe to think that 250 watts of solar and 2 T-105's should be enough for it for extended boondocking?


Edited by mtnkwby, 27 August 2018 - 10:32 AM.

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#2 OFFLINE   Chief 2

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 02:15 AM

I see no reason why you couldn't add another panel to your set up. The controller is going to take the available power and "control" how much is sent to the batteries. Having the two 6 volts and the panels will give you plenty of power for off the grid boondocking. If there is a lot of power consumption such as running the heater for long periods of time it may struggle to keep the batteries up especially during overcast days.



#3 OFFLINE   RichConley

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 05:28 AM

http://www.renogy.co...ller-Manual.pdf

Correct.  That controller manual shows a maximum PV input power of 320 watts.



#4 OFFLINE   Wanky

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 06:18 PM

I concur with everyone.  Your controller should be able to take another similar panel.

 

I have about ~200W and two similar batteries.  The Trojan Batteries have been with me for over 7 years, with semi-annual distilled water top ups.  Great battery choice.

 

You asked if this is enough for boondocking.  Well, the best answer I can give you is it depends how many trees are above you.  If you typically park where there is little obstruction on those panels, you'll be charging somewhere around 10A - 15A continuous for at least 8 to 10 hours a day.  But, my wife and I tend to pick shaded sites, and these might give us an hour or two of full sun.  We tend to squeak by, but that was after a fridge mod to our Norcold fridge.  We still run a top vent fan made my Maxxaire all night, and a 6 cu ft fridge.

 

Once we are done camping in the shaded site, even if our batteries are down around 11V (which I don't recommend you do very often), a 200W system will fully bring them back to full charge in about a day or two.

 

Enjoy the silence.  I have been using solar for about 7 years now, and I'll never go back to a generator.  But, I don't live where I need AC, either.



#5 OFFLINE   Optimistic Paranoid

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Posted 28 August 2018 - 02:22 AM

Which leads to the alternate approach.  If you DO camp under trees much of the time, you might be better off CARRYING your second panel and using a longish cord to set it out in the sun.


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#6 OFFLINE   mtnkwby

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Posted 28 August 2018 - 11:13 AM

Yup...thought about that too.


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#7 OFFLINE   mtnkwby

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Posted 01 September 2018 - 04:07 PM

Wow, has this turned into a rabbit hole....lol. 

 

According to Renogy I can run up to five 100 watt panels in parallel with this controller, that's as close as possible that I can get to 30 amp charging capabilities of the controller.  We found out that we can run the whole unit on less than 20 amps on 110 volts when we were in Oregon.  We were plugged into a dedicated 20 amp circuit the whole time we were there and had no problems. I blew the breaker once when I was trying to test a space heater while the AC was on.  So I think that a 2,000 watt inverter should run the unit during the day, even if we need to run the AC for awhile, I may need to add another bank of batteries in the long run, but I'll start with one set.

 

 

The plan is...

1.  Replace the heater with a catalitic

2.  Replace the single group 27 battery with 2 T-105's

3.  Add 3 more 100 watt panels to the roof

4.  Add 2,000 watt 110v inverter in old heater spot

5.  Rewire 110v system for inverter/shore power ability.


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#8 OFFLINE   Chief 2

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Posted 02 September 2018 - 03:58 AM

I'm not sure you can run the AC off the inverter without draining your batteries fast. Heck running the refrigertaor off the batteries will kill them in just a few hours.



#9 OFFLINE   Optimistic Paranoid

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Posted 03 September 2018 - 03:20 AM

The current necessary to START the compressor on an A/C can be as much as five times higher than the current necessary to keep it running once it starts.  My prediction is that a single pair of batteries will get sucked down so fast trying to provide that much current that the inverters low voltage cut-off will kick in and shut the inverter down before the A/C can start.

 

I am aware of a few people who successfully run their A/C off their batteries - for a while, at least.  They all have three things in common:

 

1:  Huge battery banks.

2:  Huge solar arrays

3:  a 3,000 or 4,000 watt inverter


Regards

John

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#10 OFFLINE   KnightEagle

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Posted 08 September 2018 - 03:17 AM

Toasters and coffee pots don't like inverters


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#11 OFFLINE   mtnkwby

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Posted 09 September 2018 - 04:02 PM

Toasters and coffee pots don't like inverters

 

Coffee isn't a worry, but we do use a toaster oven a lot.


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#12 OFFLINE   amcclaran

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Posted 11 September 2018 - 10:35 AM

coffee bean grinders are big energy suckers too. But hey, we discovered that we can actually BUY pre-ground coffee!! Who Knew??

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#13 OFFLINE   mtnkwby

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Posted 11 September 2018 - 09:48 PM

coffee bean grinders are big energy suckers too. But hey, we discovered that we can actually BUY pre-ground coffee!! Who Knew??

 

 

Hahaha.......


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#14 OFFLINE   Bedlam

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 05:42 AM

coffee bean grinders are big energy suckers too. But hey, we discovered that we can actually BUY pre-ground coffee!! Who Knew??

A hand turned pepper mill works as a coffee grinder.


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#15 OFFLINE   amcclaran

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 06:07 AM

Pepper Grinder! Great Idea.

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#16 OFFLINE   atchafalaya_man

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 08:57 PM

The current necessary to START the compressor on an A/C can be as much as five times higher than the current necessary to keep it running once it starts.  My prediction is that a single pair of batteries will get sucked down so fast trying to provide that much current that the inverters low voltage cut-off will kick in and shut the inverter down before the A/C can start.

 

I am aware of a few people who successfully run their A/C off their batteries - for a while, at least.  They all have three things in common:

 

1:  Huge battery banks.

2:  Huge solar arrays

3:  a 3,000 or 4,000 watt inverter

 

A bit of a hijack, but this is to add a fourth item that may help in operating an A/C unit with batteries.   There is an electronic device that has been developed to assist with compressor startup.  It is not a simple 'hard start capacitor' but rather a $300 microprocessor device.    I recently installed a "Mico Air Soft Start device" that 'learns' the position of the compressor and 'spoonfeeds' amperage through the M.A. to the compressor during startup.   Thus, instead of needing a slug of amperage to begin spinning the compressor, startup amperages are vastly reduced and fed in segmented batches, depending on the crank position of the compressor.  Again, it's not 'just a capacitor'.   I own 3 generators, being a Yamaha 2000, a Yamaha 2400 and the newest generator to arrive on the scene, the new Honda 2200 watt generator.   The Yamaha 2000 uses a 79cc engine, while the new Honda uses a 121cc engine taken from their dirt compacting machines.   There is no comparison between the two as the displacement makes the Honda loaf along by comparison.   Prior to installing the device, I did some Yamaha tests since this was the generator that had trouble starting the A/C through the years.   I also spent money on the latest Honda 2200 after the device was installed.   This Youtube is my compilation.    Do some research on the Micro Air and judge for yourself.   I am sold on the M.A. and Honda 2200 as the perfect pair for solving past problems.  On batteries and through an inverter, I don't know.     https://www.youtube....h?v=TRieM96olPs



#17 OFFLINE   mtnkwby

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Posted 16 September 2018 - 04:01 PM

Still doing research...I need to find out who makes the battery box for the Rugged Mountain 11RL.  That will handle 2 6v batteries and is a bolt in unit, all I have to do is cut and reinforce the hole for it.  Not worried about the AC, as I do have a jenny...might get a newer inverter unit.


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#18 OFFLINE   Wanky

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Posted 22 September 2018 - 01:09 PM

I work in an industry that have used solar in some commercial applications, and I have one on my camper.

 

The solar controller I have has a way you can connect it to a laptop, and actually see what is going on, and look at the charging history, etc.

 

My ~200W system is entirely roof mounted.  The idea of having your panels so you can move them around in your site, if trees are present, is a good idea, as long as you have a way to store the panels during transit so they don't get damaged.  The benefit of having them on the roof is you don't worry about them when you're packing up or moving.  My system will provide around 15A continuous charge in the middle of the day into a 12V battery bank.

 

Power is measured in watts.  Your 20A circuit on a 120VAC plug is capable of delivering 2400W.  Your controller can use up to 500W.  a 500W solar system will provide this power under absolute ideas conditions, which means it's noon, and your panel is pointed at the sun, not just on flat on the top of your rig, during the time that the sun is fully out, during the day.

 

My camper has the fridge divider heater disconnected, which by itself used 10 to 12W continuous.  We know that our solar system under trees can typically deliver enough juice to keep us going forever with lights, a fridge, and a Maxxaire adjustable roof fan running at 30% or slower all night.  All of these devices add up to a power budget of around 10 to 15W continuous, or about three quarters of an amp at 12V, according to the controller (it measures what is being drawn out of the system, as well).

 

When you start thinking about running a microwave, air conditioner, or any other full size appliance, the game changes very significantly.  There is a reason houses that are off grid have their entire roof covered in panels.

 

The solar panels are just the charging element of the power system.  If we think about using something like an air conditioner, microwave, or anything that draws 1500W of power (I have no AC experience, but a quick internet search shows that even a small one would draw at least 1500W of power) If you just look at the batteries, the Trojan T125s that I have two of to give me 12V have reserve capacities that diminish as power draw goes up.  Their specs are 132 minutes of reserve at 75A, so if you draw 900W of power out of the system, you will go from fully charged batteries to dead batteries in a bit over 2 hours.  The characteristics of these batteries is the slower you pull current out of them, the better they are at lasting, so a 450W draw means you can at least double reserve capacity.  You can run additional sets of batteries to get additional capacity, and to improve how much of the charge you are generating gets used.  Batteries have charge rates, and you can run into the situation where your solar system can't "dump" the power into the batteries quickly enough due to battery capacity.  If I were to set up a system for AirCon, I'd look at a minimum of 4 of the T145s, if you have room.  This would allow you to run the 1500W air conditioner for about 145 minutes, leaving some room for the conversion efficiency of your inverter.  (Keep in mind that the conversion from 12VDC to 120VAC comes at a power conversion "cost").  The next problem is the initial startup draw of the air conditioner.  The one example I found on the internet draws 4200W on startup.

 

So, if you have 500W of solar, that can charge your system for half the day, you kind of have 500W for 12 Hours "banked".

 

So, in essence, if you have a small AC unit that draws 1500W, and it is running continuously, you would have enough jam to run it for 4 hours, assuming no "startup" penalty.  The efficiency of both your solar controller, and your inverter will play into this, and the more batteries you have, the better things will be.

 

Hope this helps.  If anyone else finds errors in my math, my apologies.  But I checked a few times, and this seems reasonable.  I hope this helps you out.






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