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Old 06-18-2020, 06:11 AM   #43
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Or if you spend a few dollars more, you can get the Victron 150/60 or 150/70. I am running three 38 VOC panels in series on one.
I use 10 gauge wire to the solar controller which is pretty easy to run.
Others had already convinced me that 2 controllers downsized was better than a single point of failure and only 1. So I got two 100/50. The next step up is $200 more each (plus return fees on these). I can still run 10 guage wire to at least my roof junction or all the way down, if I want a bigger hole. No requirement to parallel connect on the roof.

Now, going to have 1500w, 15 panels, 3 in series, 5 parallel, 2 MPPT 100/50 controllers (one controller has 2 parallel, other has 3 parallel sets...still under 50 amps). If I was really planning on parking somewhere for a very, very long time, I could get three more panels and have looked at mounting them on the window awnings...pre-tilted
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Old 06-28-2020, 05:47 PM   #44
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Put the mounts on the roof and decided that I could do even more with a creative layout and a few places where 200W panels will fit. Decided on some Rich Solar 200W (5 of them). My total will now be 2400W.

Perhaps getting a little closer to the possibility of at least one AC running. With my 2800W inverter, this means that full capacity (which we know the panels will never really do laying flat), I could run the inverter almost flat out from sun alone.

I know that one of my ACs run at 15amp and 18amp. Could probably run one.

Does anyone else use the Victron 100/30 and run it really close to the 100v? The open circuit on these are 24v....would love to run 96v system, since the MPPT are rated for that. Would mean a fairly low amperage of 12a per circuit.
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Old 06-28-2020, 05:57 PM   #45
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I'm not sure, but I think there are 120VAC mini-splits. My 1-ton home mini-splits are 240 but draw only 5 amps. So a 120VAC 1-ton unit should only draw 10 amps ... a bit more if a lower SEER. I haven't looked yet, hopefully, there are 120VAC units from a trustworthy manufacturer. Though these things are so cheap, a modest life would be tolerable. My home units are SEER 29 but I would not expect to find one suitable for the RV at more than SEER 20.
yes....Pioneer makes a very nice 120V unit that is available in 9K or 12K

We plan to have a 2 zone system in our DP which is why we decided to go with the 240V set-up!!
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Old 06-29-2020, 05:13 PM   #46
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Don't know if this thread is fizzling out or if I've overdone my questions. Once I get this all done, I promise to answer other solar newbies questions

AFter laying out my roof with the mounts, I could see a configuration that would allow me to add some 200W panels and nearly get my rooftop to 2400W, but this is in combination with 100w panels. I've done some reading and research and see that you need to be matching amps and voltage of the panels or else the whole series can be dragged down to the lowest value in either.

My question is this, I was purposefully getting 200W panels that match the voltage and are exactly twice the amperage. It was (and still is) my assumption that 100W panels in parallel then put in series with a 200W panel would be just fine. Am I missing something?
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Old 07-01-2020, 07:07 AM   #47
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yes....Pioneer makes a very nice 120V unit that is available in 9K or 12K

We plan to have a 2 zone system in our DP which is why we decided to go with the 240V set-up!!
Paul, You are running 1600W. What are you using for the solar controller?

When I asked the question of a tech support person for Victron distributor and I stated that I want to do about 2200-2400w he stated that I would need "many more" solar controllers....I have two Victron 100/50 already. I thought for sure that would be enough, but apparently I have to mega size? What are you using for 1600W?
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Old 07-01-2020, 06:55 PM   #48
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Paul, You are running 1600W. What are you using for the solar controller?

When I asked the question of a tech support person for Victron distributor and I stated that I want to do about 2200-2400w he stated that I would need "many more" solar controllers....I have two Victron 100/50 already. I thought for sure that would be enough, but apparently I have to mega size? What are you using for 1600W?
50A * 12V = 600W per controller. That's four 100/50s for 2400W. Victron actually rates it at 700W in the datasheet.

They of course make larger controllers, like the 150/100 if you want to stick with the Victron line and want to have fewer of them.

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Note the 150/100 is rated for 1450W@12V. It's also rated at 5800W@48V. That's one of the many advantages of higher voltage systems.
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Old 07-01-2020, 10:04 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by gsgriffin View Post
Paul, You are running 1600W. What are you using for the solar controller?

When I asked the question of a tech support person for Victron distributor and I stated that I want to do about 2200-2400w he stated that I would need "many more" solar controllers....I have two Victron 100/50 already. I thought for sure that would be enough, but apparently I have to mega size? What are you using for 1600W?
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50A * 12V = 600W per controller. That's four 100/50s for 2400W. Victron actually rates it at 700W in the datasheet.

They of course make larger controllers, like the 150/100 if you want to stick with the Victron line and want to have fewer of them.

Attachment 291663

Note the 150/100 is rated for 1450W@12V. It's also rated at 5800W@48V. That's one of the many advantages of higher voltage systems.
Actually I am currently running 1600W@12V with the VIctron 150/100 and it is slightly over paneled assuming you can make 100% from all the panels, but I have not reached max output yet.

But..........I know I would be upgrading my battery Bank as well as the Inverter/chargers in the future, which is now next week and we'll be converting the Battery Bank to 24V, so theoretically I can now run 2400W at 24V though that controller.

Could I have used multiple controllers?......Yes!
Did I need to use More than one Controller?....No!
Should I have used more than one controller....that depends

In any case, I may just add another 800W of panels, but I'll probably wait until I do the AC upgrade and remove the roof AC units, and I should be able to get more watts out of that roof space.
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Old 07-02-2020, 04:51 AM   #50
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Actually I am currently running 1600W@12V with the VIctron 150/100 and it is slightly over paneled assuming you can make 100% from all the panels, but I have not reached max output yet.
Thanks!! That is the kind of real-life usage that I really needed to hear. I will get two more 100/50 (not "many more") to make a total of 4 with a max output of 2800W. Since I'm not tilting the panels and don't plan to park the RV tilted to the sun either , I would expect that with the rare exception of us being parked directly under the sun, we will not get the full output possible from even 2400W panels.

This will actually help me break up all the panels and combinations that I have on the roof so series of like panels could go to a single controller. I also saw in the footnote that running more watts into these won't break them....they extra is discarded according to a footnote on the specs sheet. So, rather than buying "many more" controllers, 4 will get me to the finish line.

What was tripping me up was the usage of the term "Nominal PV Output" which is kinda an industry term I suppose. They could have said "Maximum PV Output".
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Old 07-08-2020, 08:02 PM   #51
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This will actually help me break up all the panels and combinations that I have on the roof so series of like panels could go to a single controller. I also saw in the footnote that running more watts into these won't break them....they extra is discarded according to a footnote on the specs sheet. So, rather than buying "many more" controllers, 4 will get me to the finish line.
Yes, quite rare to get even full rating. Though last week, camped at 7400' elevation I saw 665W from six 100W Renogy panels. And this was after a dust/sand storm turned the panels brown ... and a brief rain consisting about about 200 drops per panel cemented the dust/sand onto the panels. I've seen this in the same location before. But, yes, very rare and not worth planning for.

BTW, while spending three weeks in that 7300' heavenly location, I generated a spreadsheet that uses solar data from NREL's PVWatts model (for a location that I frequent in the winter when solar is not plentiful) to examine options for battery capacity and solar capacity. I generated it to confirm how much solar I need to add to add an electric fridge (Danfoss compressor) to my electrical load. Input includes night and day AH usage and similar. The spreadsheet tells you how many days per year (or season or month) will require generator usage because the battery or solar falls short (usually after 2 or 3 days of inclement weather). Increasing battery capacity and/or solar capacity reduces the generator run events (solar is far more effective once you have the right about of battery). If you are spreadsheet-savvy, PM me with your email address and I'll send it to you. The spreadsheet includes input for A/C use which, of course, creates generator run events in the summer rather than in the winter (in spite of twice as much solar production). The spreadsheet is easy to use ... once you've entered NREL solar data for the location(s) you will visit when needing A/C or electric fridge AH.
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Old 07-09-2020, 09:50 AM   #52
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Almost ready to install

Great thread that will hopefully help others looking to install a larger solar setup on their rigs themselves. I know that I looked for good guides, but most were for fairly small configs.

Now that I've found a great and easy way to get the wires down to my basement right next to the inverter, I'm wondering if there is good reason why I shouldn't connect the to the HUGE leads that I have coming from the batteries to the inverter?

This is where the power needs to end up if running the inverter and where the batteries are charged from when on shore power. I know that battery sensors must go straight on terminals to the batteries, but if I wanted to run from solar directly, this would seem to be the best place to mount my controllers....right above the inverter and not in the battery bay next to this.
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Old 07-09-2020, 10:40 AM   #53
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I went the simple way, on one string, three 320 watt 40 volt panels in series [120 volts] into a Victron 150/60. !0 gauge down to controller.
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Old 07-09-2020, 04:25 PM   #54
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very much enjoyed the thread. would love to see a sketch of your final installation. Thanks
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Old 07-09-2020, 11:24 PM   #55
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Great thread that will hopefully help others looking to install a larger solar setup on their rigs themselves. I know that I looked for good guides, but most were for fairly small configs.

Now that I've found a great and easy way to get the wires down to my basement right next to the inverter, I'm wondering if there is good reason why I shouldn't connect the to the HUGE leads that I have coming from the batteries to the inverter?

This is where the power needs to end up if running the inverter and where the batteries are charged from when on shore power. I know that battery sensors must go straight on terminals to the batteries, but if I wanted to run from solar directly, this would seem to be the best place to mount my controllers....right above the inverter and not in the battery bay next to this.
The short answer is that it doesn't matter much. Since the wires will be heavy enough to carry the current and limit voltage drop from either the solar controllers or the battery, there won't be much difference in losses and voltage drop regardless of where the inverter, battery, and solar controller are. Looking at it another way, yes, the A/C will often be running hard when the sun is well up and the power may as well be delivered from the solar controller(s) to the nearby inverter. But, on occasion, you will be running the A/C when you return at sunset from an outing, and in that case the inverter will be drawing power from the batteries and would ideally be close to the batteries. And when the A/C is not running and solar is producing, you want the solar controllers close to the battery. So, you can't optimize for all the possibilities. There's no optimum and the losses are small in any event if the wires are all adequate. Group the three as close as is practicable.
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