My Solar Weekend

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My Solar Weekend

Postby Socal Tom » Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:23 pm

I fought the urge as long as I could, and I bought some solar stuff. A cheap Amazon PWM solar controller and a 50W panel. This weekend cooled off enough that I headed out to the desert for a test run.
My main power user is the Waeco CF 35 fridge ( about 10 watts per hour), other big power users are a Pogoplug that I've converted to a media server that runs on 12V ( 5 WpH), ( and the converted IKEA ioder lights in my galley (8WpH). By my calculations I need a bigger panel than this to keep up with my stuff, but surprisingly it went pretty well. Of course the battery was fully charged when I arrived on Friday night, but it was dark, and I ran the galley lights and the Media server for a couple of hours before turning it. It was a cool night, so the fridge didn't have to work really hard, and battery voltage was around 12.5 when I got up in the morning. I set up the panel and by 8am the sun got to it and power started flowing in. By about 1pm the battery voltage was 13.7, which is the cutoff for the solar charger, so charging after that just kept the battery topped up. I put the panel away about 5 pm, as the sun got too low to do much. This morning the battery was at 12.3V, a bit lower than yesterday but with similar sun, I think it would have gotten back up to 13.7 v. The dog kept me up all night, so when he made me get up at 5:30, I decided to pack up and go. Its been a while since I boon docked, and it was great.
A few notes: Because I'm using a cheap PWM solar charge controller I really only get about 35 watts out of my 50w panel. If I didn't have a cloud free, shade free location, my results would have been a lot less, and I would have needed more panel to make up for it.

Either way, Its nice to know that I can coast by on one panel until Santa can fit another panel in his budget.
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Re: My Solar Weekend

Postby bdosborn » Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:32 pm

:thumbsup: :thumbsup:

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Re: My Solar Weekend

Postby NorthEGPhoto » Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:31 pm

I built a combination panel out of one 50W polycrystaline panel and one 50W monocrystaline panel in series. To test it, I had it outside set up on a sunny day and hooked up to my MPPT charge controller and just a normal boat battery. I was able to do some soldering with my 60W iron at full temp and at the same time I charged my phone and ran my laptop. I never saw the voltage dip, even when I stressed my laptop out completely. They say you need a lot of panels, but honestly, it is surprising just how far they go.

And yeah, I chose to mix my panels because apparently one type works better in cloudy conditions and the other in sunny. Maybe not true, but can't hurt.
"In the morning, the light is golden, in the midday 'tis time to nap, and in the evening the light returns. Into the night the stars shine brightly, now if only the moon would stay out of sight." - Some photographer
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Re: My Solar Weekend

Postby Socal Tom » Fri Oct 27, 2017 5:56 pm

NorthEGPhoto wrote:I built a combination panel out of one 50W polycrystaline panel and one 50W monocrystaline panel in series. To test it, I had it outside set up on a sunny day and hooked up to my MPPT charge controller a

And yeah, I chose to mix my panels because apparently one type works better in cloudy conditions and the other in sunny. Maybe not true, but can't hurt.

The Mono's are more efficient ( smaller for same power), the Poly's supposedly are more tolerant of sun angle and clouds etc.
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