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Old 09-23-2015, 09:59 PM   #11
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We use midnight charge controllers on the massive solar array that runs our 12 bay bus shop.

Never had a issue with them.

Nat
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Old 09-24-2015, 01:57 AM   #12
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I like it a lot. They have great tech support. I originally didn't care to much about the extra features of the Midnite, but now that I have them, it's worth it. It also saved me from feeling like a battery monitor was necessary which saved me about $180. I haven't been able to get batteries below 80% yet and I run the hot water heater (2000 watt element) for 45 mins a day which is all it takes to get 20 gallons up to temp and it holds all day. I end almost every day with 99%-100% full batteries and wake up with them at 94-96%. I wake up, run the hot water heater for 45 mins, take a shower, and then shut it off. By now the batteries are at about 87% or so between the overnight usage by the fridge and the hot water heating of the morning. The batteries are charged again by sometime in the early afternoon, depending on the sun. We haven't had a long streak of cloudy days since I got my system running, and we'll see how winter goes, but I still have another 300 watt panel I will be bringing to the system once I figure out a better way to keep the 12v system charged. I was skeptical about using an electric water heater, but so far it is working out really really well to my surprise. I was planning on using a separate solar hot water system as the primary hot water heat source, but now, it doesn't look like that will be needed. If is still needed more hot water or electricity, I could easily add another 2 300 watt panels to my rack and combiner box for a total of 1800 watts of solar panels. The cool thing is that, at this point, I can increase my power generation by 50% and it would only cost me $450 (10% of the pv investment so far). The controller, batteries, etc. al are already more than capable to handle it. I estimate I would be making around 7kwh on a good day, with 12kwh in storage. I mean, in 1 day, I could use 15kwh, and still have 33% of my battery remaining for the night...wake up and have 25%, then have it charged back to full in 2 or so days... Some would say that that only makes sense if I have a bigger battery bank. But the way I see it, I'll be making great energy even on cloudy days which means that, save a nuclear winter, the number of viable days I have for charging my batteries will be HUGE. It could be a cloudy day in december and I'll still cop a great charge. I want to be able to weld, use my power tools, compressor, etc... we will have to see once I get a new project going. I love electricity and would love to ditch the propane stove someday--it's the only fossil-fueled/manufactured energy source I can't work around in a way i like..yet..
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Old 09-24-2015, 11:02 AM   #13
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That's great to hear your electric water heating is working out so well. Is that a 24v element direct from the batteries, or 120v via an inverter..?

I recently picked up a "NuWave PIC Pro Titanium" portable induction hot plate hoping to use it instead of propane for cooking in my bus. Turns out I have only cast iron skillets and a 10 quart pressure cooker that work with it.. gonna have to get induction-compatible sauce pans to really try it out. My old-school revereware isn't magnetic.
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Old 09-24-2015, 05:43 PM   #14
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Glad the solar is working out for you.

I will be keeping a eye on this thread.

Nat
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Old 02-23-2016, 01:16 PM   #15
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Charles,
Would love to see what your battery setup is like. I think my system setup is going to be very similar to yours, I just picked up a midnight solar classic and 3 300w panels from a mutual friend (would've gone with 4 but my bus is a bit shorter and lacks the space)
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Old 03-09-2016, 06:00 PM   #16
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I have 8 Trojan T105s mounted under my bus in a underbed tool box I bought from Tractor Supply. Lets meet up sometime. Im hardly ever on here 303 9311904
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Old 07-03-2016, 06:38 PM   #17
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Hey charles, we've found a great deal on 245w solar panels used for $50 each and were thinking of getting six of them. According the place that's selling them, this charge controller is adequate: 30A AMP PV Solar Charge Controller PWM w/USB 12 Volt Solar Panel Battery RV Boat - ML Solar
30A AMP PV SOLAR CHARGE CONTROLLER PWM W/USB 12 VOLT

Would I be able to string all six panels together in series, or should I break them up to 3 and 3? And if so would that require another charge controller? We currently have one large 12v deep cycle battery and are planning to add 2 more to our system. Electronics mathematics makes my head spin. Our electricity setup is basically just two extension cords with 3 power strips wired into each, so we can plug them into either the inverter or the generator. So I'd imagine that we'd just do our solar as 12v and use the inverter? What is 24v for? Final question; how would you recommend bracketing them on?
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Old 07-04-2016, 02:09 AM   #18
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Join Date: Jun 2016
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I just posted a brief description of my 8-panel set-up in the "How did you attach your solar panels?" thread - it may give you some ideas. It's well worth spending time reading the Northern Arizona Wind & Sun forum for good solid advice on what to do and what not to do - those folk know way more about renewable energy and PV than I ever will, so I take their recommendations seriously.

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