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Old 05-30-2012, 03:53 PM   #1
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Simple Solar Charging (Opinion)

I have bought components for my solar charging system on my Sabre Silhouette 320fqds 34.5' bunkhouse 5th wheel with two 6v batteries.

1. AmSolar 100w solar panel with mounts and wiring (6mm2)
2. Solar Cynergy 60W solar panel with mounts/wiring (#10)
2. AmSolar roof junction box
3. Morningstar Sunsaver Duo 25A with Remote Meter (will get temp wire)
4. 1 or 2 30 amp inline fuses
5. #6AWG wire rolls (black/red)

I plan to mount the panels flat on roof toward front, over cargo bay, then run panels to j-box (#10). I will then run down through roof into linen closet into cargo bay adjacent to front battery bay where I will place the controller using the #6AWG, twisted, and then sheathed with black corrugated plastic sheath, probably only 20' max run if that. This is Home Depot stiff individual wire not rated for outdoors, but will be run inside from combiner box.

#6AWG from controller through wall to battery, only about 2'. So I will have 160w of solar that should have < 1% voltage drop based on my calculations that should provide close to 9 amps at peak.

Should I use the stiff #6AWG or buy a set of 8/2 jumper cables and just use them from the combiner to the controller? Difference would be .92% (#6) vs. 1.21% (#8) voltage drop. Sunsaver Duo takes #6 max at terminals.

So far I am into my 160w system for about $770 with a 800w Samlex Modified Sine Wave inverter with battery clamps. Yes, I could have probably spent a couple hundred more and bought a yamaha 2000w generator, but I already have a 1000w generator and a Schumacher 40amp smart charger.

Thanks,
Gman
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:22 PM   #2
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Sounds like a good system, when I did my system I used #4 Welding Cable. It was nice having the flexible wire. You will enjoy the silence as your batteries are charging.
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Old 05-31-2012, 09:18 PM   #3
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What are the voltage drop calculations, 10ga wire is a bit light depending on your distance unless you are going to be wiring the panels in series. Goal is less than a 2% voltage drop.
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Old 06-03-2012, 03:57 PM   #4
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If your going solar and really want it to work for you and not just waste money read this blog. No I'm not affiliated just very impressed with the information contained in the blog. http://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/r...-quick-answer/
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:20 AM   #5
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In my opinion (what you asked for), The fact that you did not indicate use of MPPT technology, further study is warranted.


Ed
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:38 AM   #6
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I was unable to get the 60 watt solar panel as they were sold out, but decided to spend a little more and bought a Kyocera 130w panel instead, so I will have the AmSolar 100 + Kyocera 130.

230 watts of panel to charge two 6v and a spare 115 or 125 amp hour deep cycle 12v that I will use to power an inverter for watching tv and charging phones.

I will try and take photos as I go, hope to start this weekend.

Gman
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Old 06-06-2012, 03:18 PM   #7
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Based on my experience, you are very close. I would probably use larger wire from the CC to the batteries. Something in the #x/0 range, probably #2/0 welding cable as it's flexible. Costs more but then you definitely don't waste power in the wire losses. I just did an install and used #6 stranded from the roof junction to the CC. I found that to be a nice compromise. The wire was not too stiff to work and the cost didn't break the bank. I bought two pieces of 20' for $22. I know it works.

As for MPPT. Way more cost. If you have low voltage panels and can get away using the PWM CC then do it. You can buy another panel for the cost delta between the two controller types. I know, what about the future? If you design and build your system correctly in the first place you probably won't need to do anything with it in the future.

Based on experience with two systems I would rather have more low voltage panels and the PWM. But LV panels are harder and harder to come by.

Thanks,

Kelly
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:56 PM   #8
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Got system installed. Still have some tweaking to do. Used #6 from c-box on roof to cc, and #6 to battery. I would like to use #4, but Sunsaver Duo only takes #6 max.

I may get Trimetric meter down road and replace Morningstar meter with it, maybe xmas??

















Panels are rated for 13.05 amps peak, meter read 12.94 peak amps, and in half a day read 70.10 ah and counting. I'm sure some is lost actually going into battery, but still pretty good.

If my voltage drop calcs are right, I am at just under 2% total.
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:29 AM   #9
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Nice looking install. Very clean. Down the vent stack? Hmmm. I hadn't thought of that but when I was drilling down next to mine I managed to penetrate the stack at the top and actually snaked the wired down into it before I realized I'd made that mistake. Nice tight grommet at the bottom to keep the gasses out makes sense. And no hole drilled in the roof. I suppose the insulation on the wire won't deteriorate over time as there really isn't anything that toxic. Hmmmm. I think I might like that...

Too bad about the limitation on the wire size from CC to batteries. It's there where a problem (not a problem, but less efficiency than you want) will be. But it looks like that's only a couple of feet at most so maybe no biggie...

Are you able to adjust the output voltage on the CC to something like 14.8V for bulk charge? That's what you want to ensure full charge on the batteries.

Father's day is this weekend. Maybe someone will buy you the Trimetric! You will know more about your world with that. But you are probably correct: this dog will hunt!

One more thing: in the interest of demonstrating how easy this is, please give us some idea how much time you spent doing the install. And perhaps you total cost.

Thanks, I know you had fun!

Kelly
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Old 06-13-2012, 03:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kellylipp View Post
Nice looking install. Very clean. Down the vent stack? Hmmm. I hadn't thought of that but when I was drilling down next to mine I managed to penetrate the stack at the top and actually snaked the wired down into it before I realized I'd made that mistake. Nice tight grommet at the bottom to keep the gasses out makes sense. And no hole drilled in the roof. I suppose the insulation on the wire won't deteriorate over time as there really isn't anything that toxic. Hmmmm. I think I might like that...

Too bad about the limitation on the wire size from CC to batteries. It's there where a problem (not a problem, but less efficiency than you want) will be. But it looks like that's only a couple of feet at most so maybe no biggie...

Are you able to adjust the output voltage on the CC to something like 14.8V for bulk charge? That's what you want to ensure full charge on the batteries.

Father's day is this weekend. Maybe someone will buy you the Trimetric! You will know more about your world with that. But you are probably correct: this dog will hunt!

One more thing: in the interest of demonstrating how easy this is, please give us some idea how much time you spent doing the install. And perhaps you total cost.

Thanks, I know you had fun!

Kelly
I have about a grand into it with a 800w samlex modified inverter. I could have done it cheaper, 6 hours for install. About $4.34/watt including all hardware and the inverter. I bought the AmSolar Go100 kit, which I am regretting a little, because they sell the panel for $189 vs. the $300 I spent on the kit (wire/mounts/etc.).

Looking back, I would much rather have had the GrapeSolar panel (which is what AmSolar sent) with the MC4 connectors, much easier to deal with in my opinion than the splicing they prepped the panel with. I could have saved $100 on the 100w panel.

Right now, if I was to do it over, I would buy two GrapeSolar 100w panels at $189 ea. and a $45 Sunsaver charger. Add a couple hundred for wire/parts/fuses/crimps/screws/sealer/ties/etc. You can do a 200w system for about $700-&750 with shipping costs etc. For another $200 you can add a Trimetric meter. I only exceeded this by a couple hundred with the inverter, but still, I'm a little disappointed in my lack of efficiency, I could have had the Trimetric for the additional cost of the Sunsaver Duo meter and the AmSolar panel kit.

I think the Sunsaver Duo is able to be connected to PC and adjusted...I may look into that.

The fuse I bought at Walmart in the automotive speaker dept for $11.

I can shorten some of the wires a little, and based on my calculations, can add another 100w panel and still have 2.7% drop from array to battery. Right now I am at about 1.85%. My system/wire will max out at three panels and about 18.5 watts, anything over that will be over 3%. Anyway, 230 watts is way more than I needed, I would have been happy with one 130w panel.

I guess I could buy a couple more fuses and use them right after the charge controller as splices, they take up to #4 gauge wire, I can then use my #4 through wall to battery....$22 more dollars for #4 to battery, I may do this, I will have to drill my hole larger.

Gman
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