Solar connectivity

Hi, I've been reading up on how solar systems work & go together..reading this forum has provided me with heaps of info.
I'm keen on putting a system together to trial at home & maybe sometimes take on the road with me.

The Solar Panels I'm looking at say they have a built in regulator, do I still need a charge controller if so how many amps?

This is how I'm thinking it will go..
120Watt solarpanel --> controller? --> battery (100ah AGM) --> inverter(300W)
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 14:54

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 14:54
What do you want it to do???

John



J and V
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Reply By: Mandrake's Solar Power- Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 15:26

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 15:26
If what you are looking at is a fold up solar panel kit - It already comes with a regulator / controller ( same thing ) - and a length of cable with alligator clips to connect to the battery terminals - The only thing wrong with them is that the regulator is at the wrong end of the cable - it should be as close to the battery as possible to avoid any voltage loss over the cable length ..

As J and V said above what do you intend to use the system for ?

Running a fridge 24 hours a day requires more power than say running a laptop for a couple of hours or recharging phone batteries etc... ...

Will you be running lights ? what kind - fluoro , LED or incandescent ..

Heaps of info is required to answer your questions with any deal of accuracy

Cheers

Mandrake
AnswerID: 397448

Follow Up By: ss--ss - Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 15:58

Sunday, Jan 03, 2010 at 15:58
Thanks for the replies.
Don't want to do much just want to run maybe 1 or 2 fluro globes(14watt each) & recharge phone batteries , also charging a laptop would be good.. I may also add a 12v fridge for camping further down the track 35l waeco or similar.

Mainly want to do this as a learning exercise , if turns out good I'll add extra batteries & panels at a later stage..
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 07:49

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 07:49
Are you aiming in the longer term for a domestic setup or a camping one? Either way you may find some useful ideas in our article Electricity for Camping.

A few thoughts -

Lighting - LEDs or flourescents are probably the most efficient but suggest have a look at 12V dichroic halogens (5W, 10W, 20W) too. Not as efficient, but far better quality light.

Recharging batteries - 12V chargers are available for most small batteries and are a much more efficient way of charging them than using an inverter. Cheap inverters are not always suitable for running the 240V chargers.

Laptop charging - strongly recommend getting a 12V charger ( < $50 at Jaycar, Dick Smith, etc) rather than using an inverter to power the 240V one. It can be done using an inverter but it would be prudent to use only a sine wave one, which will be far more expensive than the low voltage charger.

Fridge - In our camping rig, the fridge (39 litre Waeco) accounts for 2/3 or more of electricity consumption. See the above article for details.

120W of solar capacity and a 100 Ah battery - good sizing for the needs you've outlined, maybe a bit small for a comprehensive camping rig. As Mandrake says, it would be better if the controller was at the battery, rather than the panel, but for now it should work ok with it at the panel.

Suggest read the blog and come back with some more specific questions.

HTH

John
J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

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Follow Up By: ss--ss - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 13:50

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 13:50
Wow thanks John, this is a great read & I can't think of anything else to ask !!

Even answered something I was also wondering, if the output from an inverter was as lethal as a standard 240 domestic outlet :)
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