• Welcome to Homesteading & Country Living.
    We are glad you came to visit.
    Ads in your way? Register/login and read with less ads, or ask how to get rid of them.

Solar Energy

Help Support Homesteading Forum:

Meerkat

Awesome Friend
Neighbor
HCL Supporter
Joined
Dec 3, 2017
Messages
14,170
Well Viking seems the ' socialism ' is spreading now to other places. I watch a young couple who live on sailboat who were in Costa Rico a few years go, and had to have permits to anchor there and only for short periods. We watch them for entertainment mostly since good entertainment is hard ot find now.
If we were younger we'd do the same thing..
Here they are figuring out best wiring for their new catamaran sailboat , interesting test they are performing. Parallel or series.
@Bacpacker ,start at 8 mins into video last 3 mins to save time. Very interesting.
 

Supervisor42

Formerly known as Supervisor42
Neighbor
Joined
Dec 16, 2017
Messages
3,193
Location
Louisiana
@Bacpacker ,start at 8 mins into video last 3 mins to save time. Very interesting.
Nice of them to do 'real-world' tests showing how only an 8" x 8" shadow can completely knock out the output.
Also nice of a pesky cloud to show up while they were filming.;)
I had 2 small panels in the back yard under test for 2 years.
The mockingbird adopted them as his favorite place to perch.
While he sat up there and 'mocked' me (pun:D) I'd watch the charge current drop to zero.
...and then there was the bird-poop:(. You'd think the rain would wash it off, right?
Not if it gets baked in place with the hot summer sun firstgaahbrickwall100.gif
 

Supervisor42

Formerly known as Supervisor42
Neighbor
Joined
Dec 16, 2017
Messages
3,193
Location
Louisiana
Keeping panels clean is a big deal. Even a layer of dust from a dirt or gravel road will lower the output.
Exactly what my tests showed.
Everybody brags about how great they work right after they get a system installed new.
A year later, not so much.
People spend $30,000 and cover one whole side of their roof with panels and then realize they have no way to get up there and clean them. (no, you can't walk on them:()
Planning is everything.
 

Meerkat

Awesome Friend
Neighbor
HCL Supporter
Joined
Dec 3, 2017
Messages
14,170
Nice of them to do 'real-world' tests showing how only an 8" x 8" shadow can completely knock out the output.
Also nice of a pesky cloud to show up while they were filming.;)
I had 2 small panels in the back yard under test for 2 years.
The mockingbird adopted them as his favorite place to perch.
While he sat up there and 'mocked' me (pun:D) I'd watch the charge current drop to zero.
...and then there was the bird-poop:(. You'd think the rain would wash it off, right?
Not if it gets baked in place with the hot summer sun firstgaahView attachment 33142
SuperV tha was surprising ,huh? But this couple had solar on theri motohome for several years and for some reason didn't have as much a problem.:dunno:.
I guees that Mocking Bird is like the bear.Ours does it too and tried to beat up the birds in the window of the van. And he loves our holly tree berries, the thug attacks everything that gets near that tree.
 

viking

I know a lot of things, but master very few
Neighbor
HCL Supporter
Joined
Jan 8, 2018
Messages
551
Location
S.W. Oregon
Well Viking seems the ' socialism ' is spreading now to other places. I watch a young couple who live on sailboat who were in Costa Rico a few years go, and had to have permits to anchor there and only for short periods. We watch them for entertainment mostly since good entertainment is hard ot find now.
If we were younger we'd do the same thing..
Here they are figuring out best wiring for their new catamaran sailboat , interesting test they are performing. Parallel or series.
I think I mentioned this before, but the reason I did series was for the higher voltage to make up for any line voltage drop for the distance from the array to the battery shed, by paralleling the four series panels it gave me a good amount of amperage for taking care of heavy duty battery charging. This solar backup system has been put to the test the past few days as with the snow that we had, the power has been knocked out a number of times. Our friends down the road told me that when they went to town, there were big branches down everywhere as well as trees, the snow wasn't but about 4" but it was heavy. The power company and phone company has been very busy and I heard that at the peak there was over 19,000 homes without electrical power and because there are so many back roads around there are still a lot of homes without electricity. In hearing about all the places people can go for food and warmth, I get the feeling that even though a large amount of people live in rural areas, they are just not prepared, so if you are, be grateful that you've learned how to be prepared.
 

Meerkat

Awesome Friend
Neighbor
HCL Supporter
Joined
Dec 3, 2017
Messages
14,170
I think I mentioned this before, but the reason I did series was for the higher voltage to make up for any line voltage drop for the distance from the array to the battery shed, by paralleling the four series panels it gave me a good amount of amperage for taking care of heavy duty battery charging. This solar backup system has been put to the test the past few days as with the snow that we had, the power has been knocked out a number of times. Our friends down the road told me that when they went to town, there were big branches down everywhere as well as trees, the snow wasn't but about 4" but it was heavy. The power company and phone company has been very busy and I heard that at the peak there was over 19,000 homes without electrical power and because there are so many back roads around there are still a lot of homes without electricity. In hearing about all the places people can go for food and warmth, I get the feeling that even though a large amount of people live in rural areas, they are just not prepared, so if you are, be grateful that you've learned how to be prepared.
Viking I had lots of help from peopel like you on the P.S. site we came from to here. I forget all the names but your one I remember who helped us get our solar package together.:Thankyou::thumbs:
 

SheepDog

Awesome Friend
Neighbor
HCL Supporter
Joined
Dec 3, 2017
Messages
4,258
Location
SE Washington State
So they only tested the amps in both tests. I would have wanted voltage tests too because your power is voltage times the amps, The amps will be higher in parallel but the voltage will always be higher in series. The charge controller will work better with yoltage as it will convert higher voltage to more amps if it is higher than battery voltage.
I don't think they completed the test.
 

Supervisor42

Formerly known as Supervisor42
Neighbor
Joined
Dec 16, 2017
Messages
3,193
Location
Louisiana
I don't think they completed the test.
They completed enough of the tests to realize just the shadow from their sail boom on one of the panels was enough to reduce their charge power into the battery to effectively zero.:eek:
If they had blocking diodes between panels in parallel, they would still have 50% power even if one of the 2 panels had shadow on it.
But they didn't. They had them hardwired each way.
They were counting on the internal diodes in the panels and it don't work that way.:rolleyes:
 

viking

I know a lot of things, but master very few
Neighbor
HCL Supporter
Joined
Jan 8, 2018
Messages
551
Location
S.W. Oregon
So they only tested the amps in both tests. I would have wanted voltage tests too because your power is voltage times the amps, The amps will be higher in parallel but the voltage will always be higher in series. The charge controller will work better with yoltage as it will convert higher voltage to more amps if it is higher than battery voltage.
I don't think they completed the test.
Actually, there is a lot of things to consider before even starting a solar project, like I mentioned before, when we were wanting a solar system for our motorhome I asked a lot of questions even after doing my own research, AM Solar of Eugene, Oregon gratefully gave me the info I needed to have a very good system on the motorhome, as well as designing and building the backup solar system for our home and that's why I try to pass on what I have learned. Our solar system, so far, has done everything I wanted it to do, this past week we've had many power outages, some that lasted all night into the next day and during these outages it ran two good sized refrigerators, one small and one large chest freezer, 200 watt slow cooker for 5-6 hours, LED lights, a flat screen TV and DVD player. Of course, if things went SHTF level, we wouldn't be running a lot of extras because we would want to have the batteries kept above 50% charge so that the following day the system could top off the charge or if the sun's totally clouded there will still be enough power for small things.
 

Meerkat

Awesome Friend
Neighbor
HCL Supporter
Joined
Dec 3, 2017
Messages
14,170
They completed enough of the tests to realize just the shadow from their sail boom on one of the panels was enough to reduce their charge power into the battery to effectively zero.:eek:
If they had blocking diodes between panels in parallel, they would still have 50% power even if one of the 2 panels had shadow on it.
But they didn't. They had them hardwired each way.
They were counting on the internal diodes in the panels and it don't work that way.:rolleyes:

Yea SuperV ,whatever that means:D. :lil guy::thumbs:
 

viking

I know a lot of things, but master very few
Neighbor
HCL Supporter
Joined
Jan 8, 2018
Messages
551
Location
S.W. Oregon
Solar panel internal diodes are generally in all solar panels, the diodes protect the panels from back feeding electricity generated by other panels in an array, like when one or more panels are shaded, those would be protected by diodes. Diodes stop the flow of electricity in a reverse direction, that's not to say that current can't flow the opposite direction because it can if reverse current voltage limits are exceeded, I've seen parasitic battery discharge from alternators where their diodes may have been faulty, that's why it's not a bad idea to disconnect a battery in a car or truck if you don't use it frequently, some newer vehicles don't take kindly to having power disconnected to their computers so a trickle charger is often a good thing to be using, instead of disconnecting the battery. This electronic age we live in can present a lot of tricky situations, that's why I tend to like the older not so high tech cars, trucks and appliances. I don't have computer screens in our vehicles, I barely tolerate the computer I'm using right now, actually I hate the dang thing and will probably never own a touch screen model again.
 
Last edited:

SheepDog

Awesome Friend
Neighbor
HCL Supporter
Joined
Dec 3, 2017
Messages
4,258
Location
SE Washington State
The cells in a solar array are just diodes. Large surface area diodes but electrically the same. They do put protection diodes in series with a back voltage (reverse polarity protection) of at least 200 VDC. but each diode has a voltage drop of 1/2 volt which is roughly the same as the output from one cell. Put too many "protection" diodes and you diminish the output. I have used glass covered diodes as light detectors and to power "hot' mics and "hot" receiver circuits. The drawback is that while a single diode produces about 1/2 volt they produce only about 1-5 mA (.001 to .005 amps) in the brightest sun.
 

viking

I know a lot of things, but master very few
Neighbor
HCL Supporter
Joined
Jan 8, 2018
Messages
551
Location
S.W. Oregon
Since this is coming from a Martian than I'll agree., :thumbs:" Women are from Venince ,men are from Mars".:I agree:.:D
What's interesting is that I didn't have to read that book to know what it was all about, yeah I have to deal with that difference on a daily basis, you'd think I'd have learned better by now, but sometimes it's like walking through a mine field. I am a Martian, I'm not sure there is an AAA to take care of that.
 

SheepDog

Awesome Friend
Neighbor
HCL Supporter
Joined
Dec 3, 2017
Messages
4,258
Location
SE Washington State
Wow! you mean men and women think differently?
First women think in parallel and men think in serial.
Men rarely take things said as a personal remark and women tend to personalize what they hear.
Women freely admit that they operate on an emotional response and men go to great lengths to hide that by finding reasons for their decisions. (humans are emotional beings)
Men, generally, do little to understand themselves or others - they just accept or dismiss. Women, generally, spend their lives working to understand their own feelings and those of others.
Tell a man that he looks like he may have gained a little weight and it just means that his pants fit tighter.
Tell a woman that she looks like she may have gained a little weight and she feels like you just said she was fat.
Feelings matter but more for women than men.
 

viking

I know a lot of things, but master very few
Neighbor
HCL Supporter
Joined
Jan 8, 2018
Messages
551
Location
S.W. Oregon
So yesterday being about 70 degrees and the forecast for potential of snow in the next few days, I used the nice weather to top off the electrolyte in the battery banks, it took 5 gallons of distilled water, last time I topped off was Nov. 2019. All cells still had a safe amount of electrolyte over the plates and that's after numerous power outages during that time period. This solar back up system has exceeded my expectations and I'm a very happy camper.
 

Bacpacker

Awesome Friend
Neighbor
HCL Supporter
Joined
Dec 4, 2017
Messages
4,265
Location
East Tn
So yesterday being about 70 degrees and the forecast for potential of snow in the next few days, I used the nice weather to top off the electrolyte in the battery banks, it took 5 gallons of distilled water, last time I topped off was Nov. 2019. All cells still had a safe amount of electrolyte over the plates and that's after numerous power outages during that time period. This solar back up system has exceeded my expectations and I'm a very happy camper.
How many batteries does your system use Viking? 5 gallons sounds like a lot of water to me.
 

viking

I know a lot of things, but master very few
Neighbor
HCL Supporter
Joined
Jan 8, 2018
Messages
551
Location
S.W. Oregon
20 batteries, 4 per bank for 1025 amp hours at 24 volts. When I get trough filling all the batteries I use close to a gallon of water to rinse off the top of the batteries so there is no splashed acid around to mess up the cable ends.DSC00004 (1).JPG
 

viking

I know a lot of things, but master very few
Neighbor
HCL Supporter
Joined
Jan 8, 2018
Messages
551
Location
S.W. Oregon
Just so you know, the batteries are setting on the remains of a pickup bed liner and I rolled on some bed liner type stuff to seal the plywood behind the batteries to the bed liner and I used a rain gutter at the front edge to collect the rinse off or acid, just below the center of the gutter I used a hole saw to cut a hole through the floor to put a 2" ABS drain pipe down so any water/acid would just drop harmlessly on the ground below the shed, it works just like I wanted it to. I have an old 120 volt computer fan pulling air from under the floor at the other end of the shed to keep constant positive air pressure in the shed to two vents just behind the batteries so that no hydrogen gases build up in the shed, under heavy discharge of charging of batteries, explosive amounts of hydrogen are expelled from battery vents, I've had a battery on my tractor explode and it was scary, I thought someone was shooting at me, thankfully I didn't get hurt and the acid didn't get on me. It was a lesson well learned, as to what can happen.
 

Latest posts

Group Builder
Top