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Old 01-27-2011, 11:01 AM   #43
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Well, all the wiring and meters and stuff are in, and the panels are mounted to the roof. Once it gets a little warmer out I need to put some Dicor lap sealant on the mount feet and the junction box.

Then I'm just waiting for those dang solarlok connectors. A place is custom building the connectors I need, attached to a length of 10ga UV wire.

You would think the panel dealer would stock jumpers with the appropriate connectors.

Anyhow, once I get it wrapped up, I'll put together a video of the system and install.
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Old 02-04-2011, 04:45 PM   #44
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Well, here's how it turned out, if anyone is interested.

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Thank you all for the helpful advice. I think I came up with a system that will work well for me, at a good value for the investment. I couldn't have done that without the tips.

I think I need to set the voltage differently on the trimetric. It isn't showing 100% charge, which I think is my setting it below the absorption voltage, not taking into account the reduction the charge controller makes for low temperatures.

Also, the trimetric shows .1 amp draw with everything off. I could see a couple computers drawing a few miliamps when not on, but this seems high to me?
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Old 02-05-2011, 08:13 AM   #45
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Good looking work and nice videos. There is a huge sense of accomplishment after installing your own solar system.

After watching the videos I got 'flashbacks' of all the prep and thinking the process through that we must take when setting up our system.

Congratulations and welcome to the Solar Family!
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Old 02-05-2011, 09:28 AM   #46
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Jeff,

Remember that you are dealing with a 500 amp capability, so being within .1 amps is amazingly accurate. Besides, you can have that much just going away through things like the thermal elements in circuit breakers and through wire insulation. The meter has three settings (TRImetric) that all have to be in synch before it will be accurate. Up to volts setting, dropped below amps setting & counted amp hours charged back in, using an assumed efficiency. Charge efficiency factor is a real guess, and it changes over time. You must set the meter to level 3 programming (P7) to be able to change that (P10). Default is 94%. if you don't see 100% when the batteries are actually charged (hydrometer), then that % factor is off (set too low). You want it just a bit pessimistic, forcing you to overcharge a bit before it shows full, but 94% is low for anything except old batteries. My five year old Trojans are running at better than 98%. Most 6V Interstates run about 2 or 3% lower. Yours?? Play with it.

You have my phone number if you want help with this. Ralph @ Bogart will also help, but he is a busy guy.
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Old 02-05-2011, 09:28 AM   #47
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JeffinTD

Nice videos
A few comments from my experience installing several PV systems over the years
1 - The Morningstar Tristar MPPT 45 has a RS232 serial connection - Used for Firmware upgrades (the MPPT controller has an upgrade for the processor you should consider installing, plus the TS-RM-2 meter has a upgrade again I suggest you install it), user configuration is far advanced from the dip switch settings. Try the MSView application and the MSload then Solar Guppy has a realy nice real time system that connects to it as well
2 - As I suggested earlier the RD-1 relay driver would add a nice proactive alarming capability to your system, mine lights warning lamps and then drives sonalert alarms when things are out of norm. You will not be looking at the control panels all the time.
3 - I run the Trimeter 2025-RV in Level 3 adds a lot more data to the display, suggest you try playing with Lvl 3 operation
4 - Glad to see others use 6 feet per panel as I always do
5 - 100ma draw is typical, if the radio is not switched off it draws some current, how about CO2 detectors, etc.

Guess the train is not to far away from the house
Enjoy your system
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Old 02-05-2011, 09:39 AM   #48
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Just another note
I run both the 500amp shunt and a 100amp shunt via a manual high current Perko switch. The 500amp is good for 95% of the time when I need really accurate measurements I switch over to the 100amp shunt. I do not suggest you add another shunt as I did just a note. I can see current draw down to 1 ma now and have found lots of interesting information with the additional resolution.
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Old 02-05-2011, 05:42 PM   #49
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Thanks for the info everybody.

I thought about a 100 amp shunt, since I have no plans to run a big inverter. I may unhook the neg cable and take a reading with my multi-meter with everything shut down (including the LP and monoxide detectors) and see what it is really drawing.

The stereo does indeed draw power when off, especially in cold conditions it can be like an amp. I wonder if it has a heating element in it, as I've noted the display doesn't read right when you apply power to it in sub-freezing temps. After a while the display comes on and the draw drops. I installed a toggle switch next to it to kill power to the stereo all together since I rarely use it. It gets rid of that draw, and since I travel the presets are of no use, and I don't use that clock (not a handy place, and I've got a wireless indoor/outdoor temp type battery powered clock).

I'll have to look into the software upgrades.

I saw the stuff in the trimetric about the assumed efficiency factor, but haven't had a chance to play with the advanced levels. I may also look at the tristar manual to see how much it reduces voltage in cold temps. I may just have the bulk charge voltage setting too high on the trimetric for this weather.


This project sure took more time than I had intended, but I think I did OK...
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Old 02-05-2011, 11:19 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffinTD View Post
I may also look at the tristar manual to see how much it reduces voltage in cold temps. I may just have the bulk charge voltage setting too high on the trimetric for this weather.
You have this backwards. The voltage needs to be higher with cold temperature & lower with hot. There is a chart in the Tristar manual showing this. I have been seeing 15.1 - 15.2V on my Trimetric all week, while I have the bulk (in the Tristar) set at 14.8V. Morningstar's temperature compensation is a bit more aggressive than Trojan recommends, but it works great. I am a nuts & bolts guy, not an electronics wizard, so I see no reason to mess with the factory programming defaults in a Tristar. Why complicate your life by "fixing" something that already works so well? I didn't see which bulk setting you used, but 12.6V is good for those 12V marine batteries. Then, set the "charged parameter" voltage (P1) in the Trimetric at 14.4V. This setting has nothing to do with when the meter reaches 100%. That is controlled by the charge efficiency factor that I talked about earlier. It is the rate that the meter uses when counting amp hours, knowing that you must put back more than you took out because batteries are not 100% efficient.
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Old 02-06-2011, 08:45 AM   #51
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Bob,

Check it out - changing the temperature compensation is really easy
Several setup screens enable dozens of options


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Old 02-06-2011, 12:20 PM   #52
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KJINTF:

I have looked at this and I know it can be easily changed. You miss my point. It ain't broke; don't fix it. One of the guys I installed for spent weeks playing with his Tristar and then decided that all he had done just complicated his life, not made any real difference and put it back to default settings (which is exactly what I told him when he started asking about how to change the settings). Another thing; doing things like custom programming on RV systems that may be on the other side of the county when something goes wrong is not good practice. I recommend only off the shelf products that work without playing with them for days. Set the dip switches & you are done. If people want to buy a complicated toy and spend their days fussing with it that is fine for them and for you. I just want things to work with a minimum of fuss and that is what the majority needs. Most of the people in this RV world don't need to know & don't want to know. They just want electricity when needed.

This is one of the reasons I don't like Blue Sky controllers and Xantrex Prosine inverter/chargers. Too complicated.

You are just scaring the technology challenged. Discussions about such things belong over in the Technologies Forum. Take it over there.
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Old 02-06-2011, 03:55 PM   #53
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OK, I do have it backwards... Doh! I knew that if I would have engaged my brain.

I did set the converter on equalize when it read full. I think I'll try adjusting the charging efficiency on the trimetric when I get time.
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Old 02-06-2011, 05:19 PM   #54
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My point exactly
One size does NOT fit everyone - my #12 shoes do not fit others - same as my charge controller settings - each and every installation is different and REQUIRES it's own configuration no way for a few simple switch setting to get that job done correctly - at best it is a compromise
I thought you were interested in the temperature compenstion adjustments - guess not - Just trying to help
Guess I should not bother to try and help anymore
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Old 02-06-2011, 08:56 PM   #55
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I appreciate your having posted the kinds of adjustments you can make via computer.
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Old 03-09-2011, 11:38 AM   #56
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Well, I got back from a trip to Quartzite and Welton Arizona.

Quad riding was excellent, and the weather was good until the trip back (ended up running chains on truck and trailer).

Anyway, I camped in the BLM area by Quartzite and an open area by Welton, and the solar charging system seems to really work well.



Out in the BLM land I noted a bunch of rigs have lots of solar, but a few still run a generator, where I seem to have way more power than I can use.

I am quite pleased with the performance I'm getting from this system. Thanks again to everyone who helped me along.
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