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Old 18-01-2014, 12:51   #1
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Ammeters and solar panels

Hi
What and how is the best way to wire in a ammeter into a solar panel system so I can get 1. a clear indication of what the solar panels are delivering and 2. In % how my house bank is (I know I could use volts but I like to see it in percent).

Do I put the shunt in series in the positive from the panel (I only have one large one) and the ammeter from that in parallel or is it better to take these readings directly from the house bank positive.

I have a blues seas ammeter wired into the house bank and I get both a positive and negative reading from it. Does the negative reading mean that the amps I am using are greater than the solar panel is producing?

If I want to know exactly what the panel is producing would it make sense to just put a simple ammeter and shunt into the line from the panel. I could do this for less than $100 rather.

How does everyone else wire their ammeter into their solar panel and wind turbine.

Thanks
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Old 18-01-2014, 12:57   #2
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Re: Ammeters and solar panels

Install a Battery Monitor
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Old 18-01-2014, 13:01   #3
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Re: Ammeters and solar panels

For $150 you can have everything you want with a Victron Battery monitor. Easy to install

Victron Energy Precision Battery Monitor bmv 600S Retail $186 00 | eBay
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Old 18-01-2014, 13:07   #4
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Re: Ammeters and solar panels

I am a little puzzled that the Blue Seas indicator is showing both positive and negative amps. The one I am familiar with reads either (by selection switch) the output of the panel in amps or the output of the controller in amps, ie the MPPT effect. But never negative as there should be no reverse flow through your controller.

So, try to figure that out. With the BS MPPT controller that I describe I never needed anything more to monitor the solar panel charging.

Now monitoring the total boat's DC loads is another subject and a battery monitor like the Victron is a great solution.

David
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Old 18-01-2014, 13:20   #5
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Re: Ammeters and solar panels

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Originally Posted by paralog View Post
Hi
What and how is the best way to wire in a ammeter into a solar panel system so I can get 1. a clear indication of what the solar panels are delivering and 2. In % how my house bank is (I know I could use volts but I like to see it in percent).

Do I put the shunt in series in the positive from the panel (I only have one large one) and the ammeter from that in parallel or is it better to take these readings directly from the house bank positive.

I have a blues seas ammeter wired into the house bank and I get both a positive and negative reading from it. Does the negative reading mean that the amps I am using are greater than the solar panel is producing?

If I want to know exactly what the panel is producing would it make sense to just put a simple ammeter and shunt into the line from the panel. I could do this for less than $100 rather.

How does everyone else wire their ammeter into their solar panel and wind turbine.

Thanks
If you have the shunt , wired into the battery then you will get negative and positive readings as the battery is charged and discharged. To get the output of the solar panels, wire the shunt into the negative ( thats the usual situation ) return wire from the battery to the solar panel only , ( or the battery to solar controller negative).

Dave
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Old 18-01-2014, 13:57   #6
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Re: Ammeters and solar panels

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
To get the output of the solar panels, wire the shunt into the negative ( thats the usual situation ) return wire from the battery to the solar panel only , ( or the battery to solar controller negative).

Dave
What he said....

Besides my BEP switchboard A/V/AH meter I have 4 bog standard panel meters.
One each for alternator, shore power, solar and wind/water. That way if something ceases to function you know straight way.

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Old 18-01-2014, 15:22   #7
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Re: Ammeters and solar panels

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
If you have the shunt , wired into the battery then you will get negative and positive readings as the battery is charged and discharged. To get the output of the solar panels, wire the shunt into the negative ( thats the usual situation ) return wire from the battery to the solar panel only , ( or the battery to solar controller negative).

Dave


thanks that what I thought. I will probably just put a simple analog meter in the line from the panel to the battery that will at least let me know what is coming from the meter.
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Old 18-01-2014, 22:38   #8
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Re: Ammeters and solar panels

Hello,

If you want exact readings, and performance data of your panels. A general amp meter is only showing what is happening at that exact moment.

You need to spend a bit if you want the full Monty !!!

Get a Morningstar controller with the network HUB and remote, or the lower cost is a gadget called "WattsView" that you can see the real time performance, as well as data log to your PC or MAC.

There is no $30 analog meter that will give you all the data you seek.

If you are like me, and are dependent to live off the charge from the panels. You need a good battery monitor, good controller that you are able to communicate with for all the data, or the WattsView. I have all of them !!!

Alan
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Old 19-01-2014, 00:07   #9
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Re: Ammeters and solar panels

you are trying to do 2 different things.

if you want to now the exact solar amps. put a dedicated meter and shunt on the panel wire.

the one currently on the house bank is a net reading of what is going into or out of the house bank. so yes. if it's neg. you are draining the battery. so you are using more power then the solar is putting in.

if you turn 100% of the boat loads off. you would see what the solar is doing on the house gauge (should go pos). but it's probably hard to make sure everthing is off. so if you really want exact numbers from the panel install a 2nd meter.
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Old 19-01-2014, 12:24   #10
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Re: Ammeters and solar panels

Gee, I don't remember, but I did connect an amp-meter (without shunt) to my Air-X wind (waste) and it metered correct amp in-put. However, the mppt Blue Sky 3024i charge controller I use gives me charge status including solar input (watts) and current gained voltage...trough out the daily charge cycle as do most if not all mppt charge controllers today in 2014. If you are using an old charge controller...you will find the new technology far benefiting releasing you from embarrassing questions posted here!
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Old 19-01-2014, 14:21   #11
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Re: Ammeters and solar panels

do a search for

20V 50A DC Red LED Amp Volt Auto Battery Solar Panel Meter+Shunt

on ebay

i've used one of these for each of my 3 solar panels and they work great.

See the install here: Solar Charge Meters
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Old 19-01-2014, 16:15   #12
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Re: Ammeters and solar panels

Quote:
Originally Posted by paralog View Post
Hi
What and how is the best way to wire in a ammeter into a solar panel system so I can get 1. a clear indication of what the solar panels are delivering and 2. In % how my house bank is (I know I could use volts but I like to see it in percent).



Thanks
I found digital ammeters extremely expensive. In fact its cheaper to buy the whole MPPT solar charge booster which happens to come with its own digital ammeter and shunts, and diodes!

Mine is the Blue Sky 2000e. Have. A look at it
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Old 19-01-2014, 16:16   #13
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Re: Ammeters and solar panels

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Originally Posted by smac999 View Post
you are trying to do 2 different things.

if you want to now the exact solar amps. put a dedicated meter and shunt on the panel wire.

the one currently on the house bank is a net reading of what is going into or out of the house bank. so yes. if it's neg. you are draining the battery. so you are using more power then the solar is putting in.

if you turn 100% of the boat loads off. you would see what the solar is doing on the house gauge (should go pos). but it's probably hard to make sure everthing is off. so if you really want exact numbers from the panel install a 2nd meter.
Thanks this is what I thought
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Old 19-01-2014, 16:17   #14
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Re: Ammeters and solar panels

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I found digital ammeters extremely expensive. In fact its cheaper to buy the whole MPPT solar charge booster which happens to come with its own digital ammeter and shunts, and diodes!

Mine is the Blue Sky 2000e. Have. A look at it
This is an option and is probably what I will go with.
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Old 19-01-2014, 16:34   #15
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Re: Ammeters and solar panels

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Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
I found digital ammeters extremely expensive. In fact its cheaper to buy the whole MPPT solar charge booster which happens to come with its own digital ammeter and shunts, and diodes!

Mine is the Blue Sky 2000e. Have. A look at it
Lascar do them for about $15 and then you just need a suitable shunt

Dave
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