FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Anything electric, AC or DC

Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby friz » Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:22 pm

This is about as simple as it gets. 50w panel from eBay with the controller on the back. Direct to battery under camper. I set down my cocktail every once in a while to reposition the panels.Image

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
The "Sin Bin"
150133
User avatar
friz
The 300 Club
 
Posts: 336
Images: 2
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 10:01 pm

Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby tony.latham » Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:55 pm

Going by our tent camping we hardly ever camp in the same place more than two nights, then move to another area, might be a hour drive or 6 hours. That would give time to catch more sun. Would I be better of just charging with the TV? I was planning on putting in a 7 pin connector.


Yes, wire your vehicle/camper to charge while you're driving. I see no reason you'd need to add solar if you're on the move that often––except for this: Adding a small panel that will keep your battery topped off and healthy while it's parked is a good idea.

Image

Tony
Image
User avatar
tony.latham
Silver Donating Member
 
Posts: 2370
Images: 17
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:03 pm
Location: Middle of Idaho on the edge of nowhere

Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby John61CT » Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:51 pm

KTM_Guy wrote:Have the panels got better with less that full sun and shadows?

Even if they did, not enough that their mounting could get away with actually causing any!

Let's say in the old days a leaf, twig or bit of bitd poop caused total production to fall by 90%.

And then recent changes means with the same partial shading it drops by 75%.

Yes improved.

But you still want to avoid the shading.

Engineering a tiltable mount can double output, now that would be worth it!
John61CT
500 Club
 
Posts: 504
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2016 4:36 pm
Top

Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby KTM_Guy » Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:05 pm

John61CT wrote:
KTM_Guy wrote:Have the panels got better with less that full sun and shadows?

Even if they did, not enough that their mounting could get away with actually causing any!

Let's say in the old days a leaf, twig or bit of bitd poop caused total production to fall by 90%.

And then recent changes means with the same partial shading it drops by 75%.

Yes improved.

But you still want to avoid the shading.

Engineering a tiltable mount can double output, now that would be worth it!


I guess I don't understand solar at all. My thinking was if 1/4 of the panel was in full shade you would still be getting full output on the 3/4 still in full sun light.

I was thinking to mount the panel on the roof where it could be removed and moved into the sun. Then my wife reminded me when we just outside of Death Valley last year we stopped to get gas and something to eat. There was a nice 4 Runner parked next to us that had a panel mounted to the roof rack with SS hose clamps. When we came out there was a cop and the owner and no solar panel. They just cut everything and were gone and the is a busy area. The cop said the last few years it was Yetti type coolers, this year it's solar panels.

We could alway put it on the bed, and that would be the first thing out. But one of the main must haves of having a TD is easy to be able to stop and take a nap, and that might be at a rest area or Walmart parking lot. We enjoy photography and there are time we would get up at 4:30 to drive somewhere to get the good morning light and sunrise. That was tough with a tent when I was younger and now I'm old. And I have been wanting to do some Astro nigh landscapes.

Okay no last question. How durable are the thin bendable panels? Could it be stored under the mattress? Probably a 6"-8" memory foam. Maybe a piece of cardboard or 1/8" plywood to help protect it? Then pull it out when needed and plan on spending some time in the sun.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
User avatar
KTM_Guy
Teardrop Advisor
 
Posts: 62
Images: 2
Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:50 am
Location: Mesa, AZ near Usery
Top

Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby John61CT » Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:16 pm

KTM_Guy wrote:My thinking was if 1/4 of the panel was in full shade you would still be getting full output on the 3/4 still in full sun light.

No you need to get 100% of the cells area in direct sun to have a chance of getting anywhere close to rated output.

Any shadowing at all, even a film of pollen or dust can **drastically** reduce output.

Very common to hear a 10% shadow causing in effect zero output.

Depends on panel and controller tech, ratio between them, serial vs parallel, bypass diodes etc, but these thing make only slight differences compared to the critical need of preventing any shading in the first place.

And cleaning them often depending on conditions.

And as I said, just tilting can double output compared to flat, especially away from the equator or in winter.
John61CT
500 Club
 
Posts: 504
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2016 4:36 pm
Top

Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby John61CT » Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:23 pm

KTM_Guy wrote:How durable are the thin bendable panels? Could it be stored under the mattress? Probably a 6"-8" memory foam. Maybe a piece of cardboard or 1/8" plywood to help protect it? Then pull it out when needed and plan on spending some time in the sun.

First, they are designed to only be slightly curved at install time, but on a rigid unbending surface.

Never allowed to flex in use, they will quickly break.

Framed rigid panels (30+ pounds each) can easily last decades, maybe average ten years in mobile use.

The "semi-flex" ones if perfectly mounted, heat allowed to escape from under, maybe 2-3 years if your lucky.

As portable "suitcase style" likely a lot less.
John61CT
500 Club
 
Posts: 504
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2016 4:36 pm
Top

Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby Socal Tom » Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:40 pm

KTM_Guy wrote:[

I guess I don't understand solar at all. My thinking was if 1/4 of the panel was in full shade you would still be getting full output on the 3/4 still in full sun light.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk


A solar panels, is a collection of individual silicon cells that each make about 1/2 (.5) of a volt. However, a typical 12 volt panel will contain 36 cells wired in series to produce about 18 volts PEAK output. If you shade one of those cells you lose the voltage from that cell. So once you've lost about 6 cells out of the 36, the voltage has dropped to is too low to charge a battery effectively, that's assuming all the others are working at peak power, which only happens at noon during a full moon if you hold your tongue just right.
Socal Tom
Donating Member
 
Posts: 1002
Images: 9
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:21 am
Location: San Diego Ca
Top

Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby friz » Wed Dec 20, 2017 6:33 pm

Socal Tom wrote:
KTM_Guy wrote:[

I guess I don't understand solar at all. My thinking was if 1/4 of the panel was in full shade you would still be getting full output on the 3/4 still in full sun light.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk


A solar panels, is a collection of individual silicon cells that each make about 1/2 (.5) of a volt. However, a typical 12 volt panel will contain 36 cells wired in series to produce about 18 volts PEAK output. If you shade one of those cells you lose the voltage from that cell. So once you've lost about 6 cells out of the 36, the voltage has dropped to is too low to charge a battery effectively, that's assuming all the others are working at peak power, which only happens at noon during a full moon if you hold your tongue just right.
What this guy says. My 50w panel has to be in direct sun to give me enough voltage to charge my battery. If the sun drops behind a cloud, i lose almost all electrical pressure. The angle of my panel also makes a huge difference.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
The "Sin Bin"
150133
User avatar
friz
The 300 Club
 
Posts: 336
Images: 2
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 10:01 pm
Top

Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby KTM_Guy » Wed Dec 20, 2017 7:24 pm

Makes total sense now. I was thinking the cells added up to make amps not volts. More like milliamps.

Think I'll wait and see what our power needs are and figure out what I need.

Thanks
Todd


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
User avatar
KTM_Guy
Teardrop Advisor
 
Posts: 62
Images: 2
Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:50 am
Location: Mesa, AZ near Usery
Top

Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby Socal Tom » Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:17 am

FWIW this moring, Dec 22, 2017 Grape 50W solar panels are going for under $65 each. I put a pair of hinges on 2 of these and made a "suitcase" 100W panel set.
https://smile.amazon.com/Grape-Solar-GS ... nels+grape
Tom
Socal Tom
Donating Member
 
Posts: 1002
Images: 9
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:21 am
Location: San Diego Ca
Top

Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby CaleyAnn » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:05 pm

Bruce, Thanks for posting this. I am one of those Newbies who knows basically nothing, but am trying to convert a very small cargo trailer so I have a place to sleep and seek refuge at night. A 12 volt system is a must for me. I do not want to fool around with a generator. I always have problems with those, and never have been able to figure out why they quit in order to get them fixed. They are expensive in the long run when you have to keep taking the generator in to a shop to get it going again.

Did anyone mention a good solar panel that can be had on Amazon. I haven't gone through this thread yet, but am hoping someone will suggest something before I go blind reading everything. :-) CaleyAnn
CaleyAnn
Teardrop Inspector
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:11 am
Top

Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby tony.latham » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:29 pm

CaleyAnn wrote:Bruce, Thanks for posting this. I am one of those Newbies who knows basically nothing, but am trying to convert a very small cargo trailer so I have a place to sleep and seek refuge at night. A 12 volt system is a must for me. I do not want to fool around with a generator. I always have problems with those, and never have been able to figure out why they quit in order to get them fixed. They are expensive in the long run when you have to keep taking the generator in to a shop to get it going again.

Did anyone mention a good solar panel that can be had on Amazon. I haven't gone through this thread yet, but am hoping someone will suggest something before I go blind reading everything. :-) CaleyAnn


I've had good luck with Solar BLVD. Here's a folder that should meet your needs:

https://www.solarblvd.com/products/solar-cynergy-160-watt-foldable-12-volt-solar-panel-2/

It's a plug and play. Just hook it up to your battery.

Tony
Image
User avatar
tony.latham
Silver Donating Member
 
Posts: 2370
Images: 17
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:03 pm
Location: Middle of Idaho on the edge of nowhere
Top

Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby bdosborn » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:51 pm

tony.latham wrote:
I've had good luck with Solar BLVD. Here's a folder that should meet your needs:

https://www.solarblvd.com/products/solar-cynergy-160-watt-foldable-12-volt-solar-panel-2/

It's a plug and play. Just hook it up to your battery.

Tony


I've used Solar Bld too although its been years since I bought anything from them. A folding panel is definitely the way to go if you want plug and play.

Bruce
2009 6.5'X11' TTT - Boxcar
Image
Boxcar Build
User avatar
bdosborn
Donating Member
 
Posts: 4242
Images: 450
Joined: Wed May 05, 2004 11:10 pm
Location: CO, Littleton
Top

Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby Socal Tom » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:59 pm

I bought my last panel from Walmart.com. The price was really good. I got 2 x50w and made my own suitcase.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Socal Tom
Donating Member
 
Posts: 1002
Images: 9
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:21 am
Location: San Diego Ca
Top

Re: FAQ:Solar Panel without the Technical Stuff

Postby CaleyAnn » Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:37 pm

Those panels are out of stock right now.

What I really would like to do is purchase a system; something that is complete, and plug and play. In other words, minimal knowledge to get it up and running.

I know many suggest AGM batteries, but those are really heavy. What I would like is a solar generator system that includes everything to be that plug and play system. I see some that are really costly, but there have to be some that are in the range of around $500. Has anyone seen something like this. I prefer shopping on Amazon. My problem is I just do not know how to search for something I am unfamiliar with.

If the above isn't practical, then maybe someone could list the components available on Amazon that will work together. My setup will be 12VDC only. I do not want 120VAC. I'm just a bit frustrated trying to figure out stuff like solar power. But I know that if I am 35 miles from anything, I need some kind of power setup. CaleyAnn
CaleyAnn
Teardrop Inspector
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:11 am
Top

PreviousNext

Return to Electrical Secrets

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Scotter and 3 guests