Solar setup questions

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Old 10-04-16, 04:58 PM
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Solar setup questions

Hello, newbie just signed up today. I've setup a simple solar panel, 2 batteries, charger 20a, and 2 12 volt light bulbs. Just using for illumination at present. When I turn on both lights they go off. Individually they work fine. My question is: Do I need 2 charge controllers? One for each bulb? Or am I missing something on the controller setup? Thanks. We just experienced 3 days of black out, no electric power on the entire island and I want to set up my rig for future events or just for when the lights go out which is quite frequent.
 
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Old 10-04-16, 06:35 PM
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What are the specs of the controller? What kind of light bulbs are you using?
 
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Old 10-04-16, 06:51 PM
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A basic solar setup...........

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Old 10-05-16, 05:00 AM
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If your system works with one light on I suspect your lights draw too much current. You may have a bad connection. Bad or undersized batteries or the batteries may not be charged. O, you may simply be using lights that draw too much power.
 
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Old 10-05-16, 07:51 PM
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Specs

2 12 volt, 25 watt bulbs, connections OK. 20A solar control charger. 2 car batteries ( new ) 1 small 25 watt solar panel. When connected to the solar control charger the light work only one lite at a time. However if I connect the 2 bulbs to the batteries they work fine. But when hooked up to the controller when I light 2 they both go off. I go look at the controller and see the battery symbol on low, empty. But if I measure the voltage on the batteries it's ok. I live in Puerto Rico, lots of sun. Thanks for the answers so far. Do I need a separate controller for the other light also?
 
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Old 10-05-16, 08:08 PM
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As per my diagram..... your small 25watt solar panel cannot run two 25watt bulbs. You need to connect the solar panel to the controller to the batteries and then to your bulbs. The batteries will deliver the power you need to run the bulbs..... not the solar panel.

Attachment 71561
 

Last edited by PJmax; 10-06-16 at 07:21 PM.
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Old 10-06-16, 04:35 AM
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Follow the diagram Pjmax provided. The solar panel and charge controllers only job is to charge the batteries. The batteries power your lights.
 
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Old 10-07-16, 07:32 PM
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Thank you for the diagram. The controller I use has a place for the load and shows a bulb icon. I had it exactly as Pjmax explained and it worked great. I had a cheapo controller before and got a better one. So I will just attached the bulbs again to the batteries instead of the controller. Will reply later, have more questions but let me do some rewiring.
 
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Old 10-10-16, 06:39 PM
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Works fine now

Thanks all for the help. Got the 2 bulbs working at once. Installing another battery tomorrow and will get an inverter very soon. It is quite cool to turn on the lights and know you are not paying the electric company for it's use. Have more questions as I continue to setup my rig. Hope you can help along the way. Much appreciated on this side.
 
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Old 10-10-16, 08:08 PM
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Keep in mind that a 24 watt solar panel will be slow in recharging two batteries. As your demand on the system grows..... think about adding more solar panels.
 
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Old 10-13-16, 05:39 PM
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Inverter

I'm continuing my solar setup. Today I got my inverter rated at 2K watts ( pic enclosed ). So far I have 3, 12 volt car batteries secured outdoors, protected by a roof. They are wired in series and connected with car battery cables B&R. My question is about the placement of the inverter.

Should I keep the inverter as close as possible to the batteries or can I run wire ( around 20 feet ) and have the inverter in the kitchen were it's main purpose will be to run the refrigerator when power goes out, which occurs a lot here?

I will be getting some more panels soon. What would you recommend a few more 25 watt ones or a 100 watt single unit?
 
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Old 10-13-16, 07:13 PM
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So far I have 3, 12 volt car batteries secured outdoors, protected by a roof. They are wired in series
You hook them in parallel not series.

Car battery's don't like to be charge/discharged often. Your best off to get deep cycle battery's.

Preferably 6 volt golf cart battery's. You hook those in series. You will get about 225 amp hours from them. But discharge rates are 50% so about 110 AH's.

Should I keep the inverter as close as possible to the batteries
Yes. And connect with the thickest cable that fits to the invertor. #2 wire???

I will be getting some more panels soon. What would you recommend a few more 25 watt ones or a 100 watt single unit?
What ever you get you want to hook them up so you get max voltage. Example I have 1 250 watt panel that produces 30 volt.

With that said ( and I dont know what controller you have) You would want a MPPT controller. It turns the extra voltage to amps. With the higher voltage panel you will start recharging the batterys sooner in the morning right when the sun comes up. The PWM controllers will not charge until they see more then 12 volts.

This is why with 12 volt panels you may need to hook them up in series to get the extra volts..

But its all dependent on what controller you have..

I have this cheapo chinese unit.

ECO-WORTHY 20A MPPT Solar Charge Controller 12V/24V |Eco-worthy

Its an MPPT and does what it says.

Now the other thing is to know what to charge your batterys at. I manually set these voltages on that MPPT controller.

My 12v deep cycles charge at bulk at 14.7 volts. That dumps maximum amps. ( 20 amps max into the batterys non tapered)

Then when the batterys reach 14.7 volts it goes into absorbtion stage. This still charges at 14.7 volts but the amps get tapered.

Then when batterys get to about 1 to 2 amps left and amps dont lower anymore after an hour it goes into float @ 13.7 volts.

Hope this helps you some..
 
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Old 10-13-16, 09:29 PM
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So far I have 3, 12 volt car batteries secured outdoors, protected by a roof. They are wired in series
Is the input voltage of the converter 36v? If it is 12v they need to be paralleled.
 
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Old 10-14-16, 05:09 AM
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As the others have brought up. You must know the voltage of your system. Solar panels and inverters come in different voltages. Your's must match. 12 volt is common for small systems or when you will run 12 volt devices but larger systems and especially those that feed only an inverter will use a higher voltage like 36 or 48 volts.
 
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Old 10-14-16, 06:01 AM
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Inverter

Thanks for the prompt replies, correction: my batteries are wired in parallel, my mistake. I am in the process of installing the inverter today. I wanted to have it in the kitchen but I see I should have it as close to the battery bank as possible with heavy duty cables. Can I then have a long extension cord going into the kitchen? My concern was having it in the garage that has 3 open sides. I guess I can build a protective housing for it if I can't have it in the kitchen.
 
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Old 10-14-16, 10:51 AM
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Low voltage DC is not good for traveling long distances. That's why the battery cables on a car or jumper cables are so big. So, you want the DC wires from the solar panels to the charge controller and then to the batteries and then inverter as short as possible. After the inverter you'll have 120 volt AC which can travel long distances easily. If your inverter is truly capable of 2'000 watts then you'll want a heavy extension cord, idealy 12ga.
 
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Old 10-14-16, 06:04 PM
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setup cont.

Continuing my solar setup and as per your advise I placed the inverter as close as possible to the battery bank and connected it with the large, short cables it came with. Then I made my own 22 foot extension cord with the heaviest gauge I could find. That led to the kitchen and after making a 1/2 hole through concrete block I threaded the extension cord into the kitchen where I wired a receptacle for 110 v. Went to the inverter, turned it on and went to the kitchen were I plugged in a power drill. What a thrill to hear and that drill purr. Next phase will be adding more solar panels.

I do have a question about grounding the inverter. I have a tool I use to see if the receptacle is wired correctly. Basically 3 lights with a plug. It indicated an open ground. So I'm guessing I have to ground the inverter? Have included a picture of setup but, it looks slanted to the left, I uploaded it the correct portrait side up, anyway Thank You for the continued support and guidance.

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Last edited by ray2047; 10-14-16 at 07:14 PM. Reason: Rotate and enlarge image.
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