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Old 08-14-2007, 06:35 PM   #1
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Re: Solar power rolecall

I went to Canadian Tire and saw out of the corner of my eye a 5.5W 400mA solar charger, about the size of a normal piece of paper. It trickles charges my Deepcycle batteries....keeping them at fullcharge. Ive only had it for a couple of days but ive noticed that my lights and appliances run longer.....and the added benefit is a much longer battery life since fulldischarges on deepcycles mess with it.

My next project is a solar heater/cell....with a hot water tank for the sink and maybe some more batteries. I heard scientists have perfected the paper battery....maybe i should wait a little while...
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Old 08-16-2007, 01:18 PM   #2
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Re: Solar power rolecall

Quick summary of our solar & wind-powered stup:

Power inputs:
4 x Kyocera KC120 panels
1 x Southwest Windpower Air-X turbine (400 watts peak output)

Power Storage:
4 x Trojan L16H 6 volt, wired in series/parallel for 12 volts in/out

Power distribution, conversion:
Exeltech 600 watt inverter
Paneltronics 12v fused power panel
Morningstar Tristar 45 amp charge controller
Bogart Engineering Trimetric system monitor
Copper, stranded wire throughout.

For context...we live full-time in our bus, and I work from it 5 days a week using a computer and satellite-based internet connectivity.

Pictures & details:
http://seanf.smugmug.com/gallery/1554587
http://seanf.smugmug.com/gallery/1641984
http://seanf.smugmug.com/gallery/1652473
http://seanf.smugmug.com/gallery/1642992
http://seanf.smugmug.com/gallery/2161573
http://seanf.smugmug.com/gallery/2167676
...there may be other pics, but our conversion log is chronological, so topics are scattered around different dates.

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Old 08-17-2007, 09:06 PM   #3
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Re: Solar power rolecall

I personally wouldn't waste my time with Group 31 marine batteries. In essentially the same footprint...for the same money...you can have some golf cart batteries that will have the same number of amp hours and will hold up WAYYYYYYYY better. Just my $.02 (I sell batteries).
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Old 08-17-2007, 10:30 PM   #4
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Re: Solar power rolecall

8D deep cycles are another good choice. The funny thing is that the deep cycles don't have much more reserve capacity than the regular cranking batteries. Nevertheless, I would probably use the deep cycle version over the cranking version.

Oh...and don't worry about keep batteries warm. Worry about keeping them charged. A fully charged battery won't freeze until -92* F. A battery that is 50% charged, however, will freeze at about -20*F so the state of charge makes a HUGE difference. Besides, discharged batteries that sit get sulfation on the plates and then they fail to work. Keeping batteries cold will reduce their rate of self discharge which leads to a lower risk of sulfation. Outside with the negative cable disconnected and a Deltran Battery Tender is the way I store my batteries.
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Old 08-19-2007, 08:25 PM   #5
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Re: Solar power rolecall

Quote:
Originally Posted by bender477
SeanF , thats a nice setup you got there , how many total watts are your panels ? is the battery bank sufficient ? im planing on buying another solar kit for a total of 90Watts and a row of about 6-10 marine deep cycle gr31's and i'm wondering it it will be enough for our live in needs .
Thanks. The panels are 120 watts each, rated at 7.3amps max each (going from memory here) ....however, I've seen 35 amps going to our battery bank for short periods, when the panels are tilted correctly and there are some scattered clouds. "Edge of cloud effect" I think it's called. Anyway, it's another good reason to up-size the wiring a bit. There are tables for working out wires size for a given max amperage and wire run length.

We find the battery bank to be sufficient for our needs. I work on a PC w/flat screen 40 hours a week, along with internet. We use 12volt LED lighting (and also the Sylvania Dot-It lights with rechargeable AAA batteries...they last a long time), a 12volt Nova-Kool fridge, a small 12volt DVD player for movies, and a car stereo for kickin out the jams...the stereo is also the sound system for the DVD player.

The turbine has been helpful in the winter months, but I dont think it's been a life-saver. It does cause a humming sound in the bus, so it gets switched off at night.

We do live in the 4-corner states of the southwest, so sunshine is plentiful. If we lived elsewhere we'd probably have a backup generator or more panels.

Sean
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