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Old 09-21-2015, 01:12 PM   #1
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My Large Solar Setup

I thought I'd do a thread about my solar setup. I haven't seen any on here as big as mine, and I think some of the products/methods I used might make some people have a better understanding or get some ideas of their own about solar power.

Quick Stats:
2 fully independent systems:

12V system with 1 300 watt panel into a PWM controller into an 8D battery in the original battery location. I use this system for the 12v lights, the starting and running of the bus, the water pump, composting toilet vent fan and ceiling vent fan.

24V system with 3 300 watt panels into a Midnite Classic 150 charge controller into a 24V battery bank consisting of 8 6v lead acid batteries with 12kwh of capacity into a tripplite inverter with 2400watts of continuous output. I run my fridge, 20 gallon hot water heater, house lights, computer, electric tea kettle, air conditioner and whatever else 120v stuff I want. I seem to generate about 4kwh a day easily.


The bus has 4 300watt Trina panels mounted on the roof using a racking system made by Unirac


The panels are combined in a rooftop combiner box made by Soladeck, right now, Im just stringing all 3 panels in series for the 24v system and the 12v panel just has a home run MC4 straight to its charge controller. I only use the buss bars and combiners for the 24v system.





All my DC wiring for the 24V system goes through this box where my inverter and charge controller connect to the batteries. I have a shunt for measuring my ah in an out of my house batteries. Every run of wire has a breaker on it and the charge controller has arc and ground fault protection built in.





Scored a nice little AC breaker box. Hard to find these new anymore



All buttoned up



Right to left: 12V system charge controller, 24v system charge controller, 120v breaker panel, 24v breaker panel, inverter

The cables from the 24v battery bank are 0000gauge with 00 gauge battery interconnects--all the same length. The wire from the inverter to the DC box is 00 gauge as well. BIG WIRES=Good life
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Old 09-21-2015, 01:26 PM   #2
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Great info.

I look forward to updates.

Nat
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Old 09-21-2015, 05:56 PM   #3
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charles_m: None of your images are working. I would love to see what your setups look like!
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Old 09-21-2015, 06:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m00py View Post
charles_m: None of your images are working. I would love to see what your setups look like!
no they are not.
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Old 09-21-2015, 09:23 PM   #5
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Same here.
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Old 09-22-2015, 11:05 AM   #6
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Sorry guys! Stupid image hosting. bleck!
Attached Images
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Old 09-23-2015, 01:04 PM   #7
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I've noticed that the 300watt panel is overkill for the 12v system. I knew that would be the case so I think I'll be eventually changing my setup to be where all 4 panels feed into the 24V system and then use a step-down 24v-12v transformer or some such device to maintain the 12v side. This will be my first winter in the bus and I want to make sure I am making the best of my setup. Does anyone have experience in this? I was thinking of using a cheap PWM charge controller and just hook the 24v batteries up to the solar input side of the CC and the 12v batteries up to the batt side. I cant think of why this wouldn't work.
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Old 09-23-2015, 01:06 PM   #8
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24V 7.5A DC Input Battery Chargers for 12 volt Lead Acid and SLA Batteries from PowerStream

I like this, but it seems too expensive for only 7.5amps of charging
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Old 09-23-2015, 02:35 PM   #9
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Powerstream is not so far from me and I've done business with them a few times. They're good people. That said, I can understand the reluctance over a $185 charger.

Above you listed "12v lights, the water pump, composting toilet vent fan and ceiling vent fan" as the 12v loads. (also charging the starting battery, but things could be simplified somewhat if we ignore that battery and let it charge some other way) With no house loads running on it, the starting battery could probably sit for weeks or months and occasionally be topped off with a conventional battery charger run off your inverter.

You could look at a basic dc-dc converter to run those loads directly and shave some money off. The PST-DC/2812-8 ($160), or several options ranging $39-$130 here and there might be interesting.

Call Powerstream and ask for tech support to help select a product for your application. They've been pretty helpful when I have spoken with them in the past. They're in the Mountain time zone.
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Old 09-23-2015, 08:17 PM   #10
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I'm looking to use the same charge controller from midnight. Any issues with it or is it as good as it sounds? Done lots of reading but never heard any reviews from actual owners...
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