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Old 03-04-2015, 19:37   #31
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Re: Pulling The Trigger..Installing Solar

I have been considering a Chinese solar setup with bang for buck being very important. We have the alternator for a backup if something does fail, and with a 2 year old, will be avoiding long passages for a while.

$300 - 3000W Inverter

$576 - 720W (30A) 24V solar panels (3 qty)

$250 MPPT charge controller 50A 12v/24v

Total: $1126 for 720W and room to expand to 960W if needed.
Does anyone see any flaws with this setup other than questionable inverter/controller quality?
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Old 03-04-2015, 19:58   #32
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Re: Pulling The Trigger..Installing Solar

I found the big issue with some cheap inverters is that they draw 1 amp or more, just being hooked up and on.

I actually carry a spare 2500 watt PSW inverter that draws 4 amps at idle. That's almost 100 AH, a day. I swapped it for a xantrex PSW2000. It draws <.5 amps.

You need to find the idle current, of any inverter you shop for.

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Old 04-04-2015, 08:18   #33
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Re: Pulling The Trigger..Installing Solar

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Does anyone see any flaws with this setup other than questionable inverter/controller quality?
The charge controller is rated for 700 watts and you have 720 watts of panels.

I have no idea if that matters.
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Old 04-04-2015, 08:29   #34
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Re: Pulling The Trigger..Installing Solar

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The charge controller is rated for 700 watts and you have 720 watts of panels.

I have no idea if that matters.
Generally, you can go over on wattage with an MPPT controller. It just won't use it. A decent way to overpanel because you know you'll almost never get 100% of a panel's rated output. Lots of folks had panels that were over 30A Imp hooked to a Rogue MPPT - it was fine.

Now with a cheap Chinese MPPT, dunno. Some of the really cheap "MPPT" controllers aren't, and are horrible.
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Old 04-04-2015, 09:53   #35
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Re: Pulling The Trigger..Installing Solar

Try the SPS Solar Panel store: Welcome to the Solar Panel Store - Renewable Energy from the Sun I chose the Carmanah over the Kyocera For about an extra $20-30 each, but better efficiency, and the Morningstar MPPT controller. Still in process of installing.
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Old 04-04-2015, 12:35   #36
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Re: Pulling The Trigger..Installing Solar

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This is one of the important points: you can start the Honda when it best suits your optimum charging regime. You cannot have this with solar panels.

So, to put it in lay charging terms: 100Ah solar NOT = 100Ah genset. Because you cannot 'switch on' the panels when it best fits the batteries' acceptance rate.

Also: Honda is shinning every day ...

b.
This is an easily solved issue with a larger battery bank. You could go a few days without sun and still have plenty of reserve power.

I also changed my power usage habits when I added more panels to my trailer. I had so much excess power I bought a portable 110v ice maker that makes 40 lbs of ice/day, I just run it during the day and get roughly 20-22lbs/day. All major power loads get run during the day, which makes sense, I'm not going to run big loads at night.
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Old 04-04-2015, 13:50   #37
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Re: Pulling The Trigger..Installing Solar

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...
I had so much excess power I bought a portable 110v ice maker that makes 40 lbs of ice/day, I just run it during the day and get roughly 20-22lbs/day.
No way! I want to make ice! How many watts are your solar panels?
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Old 05-04-2015, 11:58   #38
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Re: Pulling The Trigger..Installing Solar

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No way! I want to make ice! How many watts are your solar panels?
I only have 465w on that system, it's on a trailer, so it doesn't have a lot of the continuous draw systems that a boat might have, like autopilot, instruments, etc.

I do keep 3 TVs with 2 or 3 DVRs either on stby or powered up, but that's it for daytime items aside from the ice maker.
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Old 05-04-2015, 12:31   #39
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Re: Pulling The Trigger..Installing Solar

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Originally Posted by gathem View Post
I have been considering a Chinese solar setup with bang for buck being very important. We have the alternator for a backup if something does fail, and with a 2 year old, will be avoiding long passages for a while.

$300 - 3000W Inverter

$576 - 720W (30A) 24V solar panels (3 qty)

$250 MPPT charge controller 50A 12v/24v

Total: $1126 for 720W and room to expand to 960W if needed.
Does anyone see any flaws with this setup other than questionable inverter/controller quality?

Looking over your selections, I would strongly recommend against the HF inverter, it specifically states "not for marine use." I'd look for a trusted brand rated for marine use and with a very low current draw on stby.

The solar panels look like a great deal, they'll actually provide closer to 46-48 amps in direct sunlight, and more than 30 amps most of the time.

The solar controller - I have no experience with that model, the specs on it look pretty good. On one hand, I've recommended a well known brand like the Morningstar MPPT 60 amp controller, but by the time you get the unit and remote display, you've spent about $660, which is $425 more than the other one, and I've been pleasantly surprised by a $100 controller, so it's up to you. I'd verify the front panel readings with a good DMM in terms of input voltage/current and output voltage/current and if the numbers make sense (watts in = watts out x 97%) then it's doing what it's supposed to do.

However, if you feel it's not really an MPPT controller or not as efficient as advertised, don't hesitate to start the refund process and send it back, Ebay is getting very good at protecting customers these days.
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Old 05-04-2015, 13:28   #40
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Re: Pulling The Trigger..Installing Solar

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This is an easily solved issue with a larger battery bank. You could go a few days without sun and still have plenty of reserve power.

(...)
If there is extra space for extra batteries. Yes.

If there is extra load cc. Yes.

If you want extra batteries (cost, etc.) Yes.

And if you are going to accept premature death / loss of available capacity of the bank. Yes.

Getting more batteries solves some challenges but creates new ones. Choose your challenges.

Getting better batteries (e.g. gells) is another solution to the same challenge.

Getting litiums etc would actually solve the issue best, however, at the highest cost too.

Choices, choices.

b.
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Old 05-04-2015, 16:08   #41
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Re: Pulling The Trigger..Installing Solar

I chose 810 AH of cheap golf car batteries. They only lasted a little over 4 years but that is full time living on battery.

I replaced the bank last year for under $800. I feel that $200. a year is well worth it for full time electric costs.

Lithiums were entertained but the costs and associated monitoring equipment put me off, along with being able to pick up GC2 batteries, almost anywhere.

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Old 05-04-2015, 18:13   #42
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Re: Pulling The Trigger..Installing Solar

'Installed 4 panels for total of 360 watts rated parallel wiring to 500 Watt MPPT controller to charge 8D AGM house battery. Out in the middle of the Pacific this was enough to run the AdlerBarber refrigeration with two vertical trays of ice cubes inside evaporator hardened up every 5 hours with fresh MahiMahi filets tucked in to freeze AND the panels ran the Raymarine EV400/Autonav hydraulic linear drive autopilot. It was a delight to see the little red LED light show "float" was achieved before the sun went down.
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