After A LOT of searching, reading, and trying to wade through arguments on various discussion boards I think I found some good information and thought I would share.
This site describes controllers, and most importantly the difference between the THREE types. I assumed wrongly that if it wasnt MPPT
that it would still have multistage charging
until I bought my sunforce charger
and couldn't figure out why my batteries never got fully charged. (I am a little skeptical about the 10-30% gain from MPPT
they quote on this site)
Charge Controllers for Solar Electric Systems
Next site I think I may have found a thread here, but its a good recommendation. Discusses the importance of wire gauge, voltage drop, short runs of wires, placement of a charger
, among a lot of other things. It is for RVs but most of the information is relevant.
The RV Battery Charging Puzzle « HandyBob's Blog
lastly a wire gauge calculator. to calculate voltage drop. Apparently 3% from panels
to charger, and 1% from charger to batteries seems about right.
American Wire Gauge table and AWG Electrical Current Load Limits with skin depth frequencies
I hope this save some people some time and headache looking for information. In particular, Handy Bob may have opinions but he explains why, and when they are appropriate, not just a "THIS IS THE ONLY RIGHT WAY" attitude.
If anyone else has any good solar/charger/battery information sites, I could use a bit more information.
Thanks for the website!