Solar Power Part 2

Sneakers

Just sneakin' around....
So it's been a bit over 2 years since the Solar project. It was (still is) a great success, but I got the urge to build a new portable system, a little lighter, more capable, better hardware. I really like the old system I built, but the 100Ah lead-acid battery is contained within the case, so it's heavy and a bit awkward. I have an old camera case I no longer use, so I'm building a new system containing only the electronics and keeping any batteries external. Also designing it to use both lead-acid, and LiFePO4 batteries which are significantly lighter and have a better power output curve.

Got a few parts today, a Victron solar charger with BlueTooth, and a shunt with power meter. The on/off switches I used last time were poor quality (had to epoxy them together so they didn't separate..) so I ordered some from BlueSea marine. Watertight and multiple mount options, rated at 300 amps. Overkill, but I'm designing-in more capability for the future. Increasing the solar panel input connectors and wiring from 15A to 20A, the inverter from 1000w to 2000w.

The Victron controller is nice. Set it up on the bench, picked it right up on the Android phone app. You can configure any option via the app and get current values, history, and it even graphs the volts/amps/watts.

So... one more project... :lol: Like I don't have enough to keep me busy.
 

PrchJrkr

Long Haired Country Boy
Ad Free Experience
Patron
What kind of output do you get from the original setup? You may have said it, and I'm too slow to realize it. What type of devices have you powered with it and how many amp hours does it store? Blue Sea does distribute quality merch. :yay:
 

Sneakers

Just sneakin' around....
The original has a 1000W 120VAC inverter on a 100Ah 12VDC AGM battery with a 270W solar panel @24VDC nominal. It was designed to run a small fridge, lights and USB rechargers. A fridge would run at least 36 hours without solar. I designed that one to easily add external batteries to increase the Ah. The fridge could draw 1200W on startup surge, so I was pushing my luck. Manufacturer said the inverter can handle a 2000W surge, but for only 40ms, basically nothing.

The new system will start off with the same 100Ah lead-acid battery, but will eventually up it to 1000Ah LiFePO4. The 2000W inverter (yet to be spec'd) can handle 2 house fridges plus lights, etc..., if you stagger the startups. The new solar controller can handle 100VDC and 35A from the solar panels, currently only have the one 270W 24VDC panel. Again, the intent is small and portable, so longer run times is the goal vs. high power demands.
 

Gilligan

#*! boat!
PREMO Member
Will the new panels fit the frame the old ones are in? I’m keen to see how this one comes out...want to put something like that on our camping buggy.
 

Sneakers

Just sneakin' around....
Will the new panels fit the frame the old ones are in? I’m keen to see how this one comes out...want to put something like that on our camping buggy.
Haven't spec'd out any new panels, using the same one I had. Just building the solar generator to be able to accommodate more/larger panels if I want. The Victron can handle 3000W (100VAC @ 30A) , but designing for 2000W (100VAC @ 20A) to keep wire sizes down.

Had a bit of trouble getting the panel out of the frame. It had been sitting in there since last fall and seems to have gotten a bit of oxidation. Took a pretty good effort to remove the panel. Could probably use looser tolerances.
 

Gilligan

#*! boat!
PREMO Member
Had a bit of trouble getting the panel out of the frame. It had been sitting in there since last fall and seems to have gotten a bit of oxidation. Took a pretty good effort to remove the panel. Could probably use looser tolerances.
Take that up with engineering dept. The fab shop just followed the drawings. :razz:


Clean the oxidation off with stainless steel wool and then wax the surfaces with good old fashioned carnuba car wax.
 

JEFF69Z28

Well-Known Member
So it's been a bit over 2 years since the Solar project. It was (still is) a great success, but I got the urge to build a new portable system, a little lighter, more capable, better hardware. I really like the old system I built, but the 100Ah lead-acid battery is contained within the case, so it's heavy and a bit awkward. I have an old camera case I no longer use, so I'm building a new system containing only the electronics and keeping any batteries external. Also designing it to use both lead-acid, and LiFePO4 batteries which are significantly lighter and have a better power output curve.

Got a few parts today, a Victron solar charger with BlueTooth, and a shunt with power meter. The on/off switches I used last time were poor quality (had to epoxy them together so they didn't separate..) so I ordered some from BlueSea marine. Watertight and multiple mount options, rated at 300 amps. Overkill, but I'm designing-in more capability for the future. Increasing the solar panel input connectors and wiring from 15A to 20A, the inverter from 1000w to 2000w.

The Victron controller is nice. Set it up on the bench, picked it right up on the Android phone app. You can configure any option via the app and get current values, history, and it even graphs the volts/amps/watts.

So... one more project... :lol: Like I don't have enough to keep me busy.
What do you do with the batteries when they no longer work
 

Sneakers

Just sneakin' around....
What do you do with the batteries when they no longer work
The lead acid batteries can be turned in anywhere that takes batteries, or taken to a metal salvage yard. I've gotten some good money there.

I don't have any lithium batteries yet, but they have a minimum 20 year warrantied life, so hopefully by the time they expire there will be a way to recycle them.
 
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