more solar questions

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013 at 17:02
ThreadID: 100007 Views:3002 Replies:4 FollowUps:5
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hi crew, got a alloy camper on daul cab with roof top tent & 240watt solar panels up top, the panels charge 2 marine batteries & run 2 / 40lt engels, 1 on freeze. the batteries are also charged by vehicle through daul battery regulator when travelling. the solar panels do have a regulator at the panels, but only has led lites ? the system works really well , but i am sick of constantly looking if batteries need futher charge ( on wet or overcast days when they need the vehicle to top them up) what else can i put into the system to reduce the need to oversee the battery charge problem. got to be another easy plug in controller ? cheers
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Reply By: auzinomad - Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013 at 17:33

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013 at 17:33
Why not fit a dual battery monitor, I'm sure I've seen one that would do the job with a bit of easy wiring at BCF

AnswerID: 502625

Follow Up By: ray t1 - Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013 at 17:43

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013 at 17:43
thanks ron , will look into that. cheers
FollowupID: 779124

Reply By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013 at 17:56

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013 at 17:56

I'm not a fan of controllers on the back of panels. They are usually pretty minimal and because of where they are they may need a long run of cable to the battery. That's the exact opposite of what you really want. The cable between controller and battery should be as short as possible, and if it is long should be of heavy gauge to minimise voltage drop. I'm thinking 8 gauge (=8 B&S, =8 AWG, about 8.4 sq mm of copper)

However, if what you have is working really well and you're happy with it, then why change? Unless you want a better result than what you already have then don't worry about another controller, just install a battery monitor system as per the previous reply.

If you want a better controller, then think about a 20 amp MPPT and bypass the controllers on the back of the panels.



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AnswerID: 502627

Reply By: Ross M - Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013 at 22:16

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013 at 22:16
G'day Ray
Jaycar sell digital voltmeters QP-5586 which work on the supply voltage they are reading.
Around $25 and they draw 8milliamps while be used with a selector switch to select one or the other battery. Reads to one decimal place ie 12.7 reads 8 - 30 volts.

They also sell an amp meter which QP-5588 and reads 0 to 50 amps

I use two of these voltmeters. an usually let them run full time.


Ross M
AnswerID: 502651

Follow Up By: Ross M - Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013 at 22:18

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013 at 22:18
De "d" key not there sometimes, sorry!
FollowupID: 779151

Reply By: Member - Sonshine - Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 10:51

Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 at 10:51
I have a set of folding Solars, but the supplied regulator (with the LEDs) failed. I replaced with another which also gave problems. I then went to a more robust panel mounted regulator PV Charge Controller MP-3722 available from Jaycar. As you will see on the link, it has a LCD display to show the current charging currents and voltages, as well as total AH input for the day.

I used 8B&S cable via Anderson to plug to my car, van or both. This gives only a small voltage drop over the cable run at full current (5 Amps from memory)

Seems to work fine - am self sufficient for power, at least in Summer ;)

AnswerID: 502676

Follow Up By: JohnKT - Friday, Jan 18, 2013 at 14:30

Friday, Jan 18, 2013 at 14:30
I have a solar setup and I wish to replace some existing cable with 8B&S. The issue I have is that the input to the device I am powering requires a cig plug. I figured to connect the new 8B&S cable to a cig socket I would use a SB50 Anderson plug and double (or triple) the small cig socket cable copper to a size where it will fit the Anderson plug. The entry to the cig socket is too small to take 8B&S.
Is this an acceptable solution or is there a better way to go?
The use of some of the small cable on the cig plug would to some extent overcome my reason for using the 8B&S cable to lower voltage drop but I intend to use only a very small run with the cig cable.
Thank you for suggestions, John.
FollowupID: 779418

Follow Up By: Member - Sonshine - Friday, Jan 18, 2013 at 22:58

Friday, Jan 18, 2013 at 22:58
Hi John,

Assuming you dont also need to plug the "device" into a cig lighter socket, have you thought about cutting off the Cig Lighter plug and fitting an Anderson plug?
FollowupID: 779485

Follow Up By: JohnKT - Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 11:30

Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 at 11:30
Had thought about that but wanted to preserve the cable as, in other situations, I would plug the device (a frig) into the cig socket in the car boot to run the frig while driving. It might br better to buy an extra cable for that purpose and modify as you suggest.

Thanks for your reply, John.
FollowupID: 779516

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