Solar Panels Are A Great Alternative To Generators And Rv Hookups
- RV hookups in trailer parks. Basically, it’s a charging station.
- Generators which use gasoline, diesel, or propane.
- Alternator, which is built into the engine of an EV and charges the battery while you are driving.
- Solar panels. They are a great addition to an alternator, as they supply you with energy when you stop along the way. They became a solid alternative to RV hookups and generators since they produce no sound or smell, require almost no maintenance and pay for themselves over time.
Solar Panels In Series Of Different Currents
In this method all the solar panels are of different types and power rating. The individual panel voltages will add together as before, but this time the amperage will be limited to the value of the lowest panel in the series string, in this case 1 Ampere. Then the array will produce 19 Volts at 1.0 Ampere only, or only 19 watts out of a possible 69 watts available reducing the arrays efficiency.
We can see that the solar panel rated at 9 volts, 5 amps, will only use one fifth or 20% of its maximum current potential reducing its efficiency and wasting money on the purchase of this solar panel. Connecting solar panels in series with different current ratings should only be used provisionally, as the solar panel with the lowest rated current determines the current output of the whole array.
Diy Home Made Battery Maintainer Buck
Connect solar panel to battery with a buck-boost converter set to 13.5 volts.
If you just want to maintain a battery in full charge condition, there is a way to connect any high-power solar panel to your batteries without danger of over-charging and damaging it internally.
A buck-boost converter accepts DC voltage input and the user can limit the DC output voltage. This buck-booster model takes up to 30 volts, so perfect for a single solar panel.
If you set the output volts to a typical float voltage 13.5V the battery will stay in tip-top condition in complete safety.
Wind the output up to 14 volts and the device will increase the charge current if you need it but remember to monitor it and dont leave it connected indefinitely.
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Connect Charge Controller To Your Battery
- PWM-regulators are cheap, but they are suitable only when the voltage of panels is slightly higher than the voltage of a battery. They simply cut down the voltage to the level of the battery.
- MPPT-controllers are more sophisticated and expensive. They convert extra voltage to electricity, so you barely lose any of the generated energy.
What Kind Of Solar Charge Controller Do I Need
Remember I talked about the Maximum Power Point of a solar panel? An MPPT charge controller adjusts its internal resistance to match that of the panel, thereby drawing maximum power from the panel safely.
The chart below shows results of a MPPT vs PWM solar charger tests I carried out on a lead-acid deep-cycle battery MPPT shoed an increase in power of 22%:
Solar Panel Configeration
MPPT solar charge controllers are proven to be about 30% more efficient than PWM, so will charge your battery 30% quicker.
PWM controllers are more primitive and cheaper. It depends if youre looking for maximum efficiency or if you have plenty of time to charge your batteries.
Check out this page on DIYSolarShack to read a detailed comparison MPPT vs PWM Test.
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Battery Depth Of Discharge Chart
Percentage State Of Charge
Battery terminal volts
So you can see that the battery is fully charged at 12.73 volts and 90% charged when the voltage reads 12.62 volts.
Once the voltage drops down to 12 and under, a lead acid battery is pretty much discharged and should be charged up as soon as possible to avoid damage.
Note that the voltage reading should only be measured after the battery has not been used for at least 3 hours, so there is no chemical activity within the cells.
When Mixing Solar Panel Sizes Is Not Advised
Same solar panels as last time, but if the three 200w solar panels were wired in series and the 100w solar panels were wired in series, then those series strings were wired in parallel, by all of the same math weve been using for the previous however-many diagrams, we would end up with 60V at 10A for the 200w series string, 40v at 5a for the 100w series string, and 40v at 15A for the total array. We installed 800 watts of solar panels and by using watts law of V x A = Watts we can see that 40 V * 15A equals 600W for 75% array efficiency. This means, of the 800 watts of panels installed, we can expect to see only 600w of power heading into the charge controller under ideal conditions, which means that the two 100w panels are effectively useless in this array and by just using the 3, 200w panels in series, we could expect the same amount of power output with fewer panel
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Connect The Battery To The Charge Controller
Note: At this point I put on my gloves and safety glasses because places like Advanced Auto Parts recommend wearing them when working with batteries.
Follow the instructions in your charge controllers manual for connecting it to the battery. Ill show you how to connect the charge controller I used, the Renogy Wanderer:
Connect the negative battery cable, the one without the fuse, to the – battery terminal on the charge controller.
Connect the positive battery cable, the one with the fuse, to the + battery terminal.
Connect the battery cables to the battery terminals negative first, then positive. Before connecting the positive cable, I like to touch it to the positive battery terminal because sometimes there will be a little spark.
Your charge controller should turn on or light up to indicate the battery is properly connected. For instance, mine has a light that turns on.
The battery is now connected!
At this point, your manual may tell you how to program the charge controller for your battery type, voltage, etc.
Mine has a button which I can press to indicate battery type. It defaults to sealed lead acid, which happens to be the type Im using. So I just kept it at the setting it was on.
What Does Wiring Solar Panels In Parallel Mean
When solar panels are wired in parallel, the positive terminal from one panel is connected to the positive terminal of another panel and the negative terminals of the two panels are connected together.
The positive wires are connected to a positive connector within a combiner box, and the negative wires are connected to the negative connector. When multiple panels are wired in parallel, it is called a PV output circuit.
With parallel solar panels, the positive terminal from one panel is connected to the positive terminal of another panel and the negative terminals of the two panels are connected together.
Wiring solar panels in parallel causes the amperage to increase, but the voltage remains the same. So, if you wired the same panels from before in parallel, the voltage of the system would remain at 40 volts, but the amperage would increase to 10 amps.
Wiring in parallel allows you to have more solar panels that produce energy without exceeding the operating voltage limits of your inverter. Inverters also have amperage limitations, which you can meet by wiring your solar panels in parallel.
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How Do Charge Controllers Interact With Each Other
Charge controllers sense the internal resistance of a battery and send their current to the battery terminals based on the resistance of the battery. If the battery is at a low state of charge, the resistance will be low and the charge controller will charge in bulk mode.
If the resistance becomes higher, the charging current will decrease because the battery is almost full.
If two or more charge controllers charge the same battery, the battery will be charged quicker. The multiple charge controllers will not compete with each other because they all sense the same internal resistance of the battery. If charge controller A puts in 100Watts, charge controller B will also put in 100Watts.
When you program your charge controller you can add the cutoff voltage in the software. That means if your battery reaches a pre-defined voltage, it will stop charging. You can tell charge controller A to charge to 12 volts and charge controller B to charge to 12.8 volts. This is not needed but is good to know because one charge controller might stop charging if it reaches that point, and you will be wondering why that is. Also, if the wires of charge controller A are a bit longer, it might enter float mode earlier than charge controller B because of the voltage drop.
If the charging current becomes too high, the internal resistance of the battery will change because of the heat generated. The charge controllers will then reduce their power input to the battery.
Pattern : Connection In Series
The solar panel connection of the batteries in series is made by always connecting two or more identical batteries. To connect the solar panel with the batteries in series, connect the positive pole of each battery with the negative pole of the next.
We have connected in series 2 batteries from 12V to 100Ah. At the output, we will have a voltage of 24V equal to both batteries. A total capacity identical to that of a single battery .
The series connection of the batteries with the solar panel allows the sum of the voltages of every single battery to be obtained at the output. The capacity of battery power is the full capacity.
The series connection is used to optimize the efficiency of our system. Because we are interested in building a solar system with the lowest energy losses.
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What Does It Mean To Wire Solar Panels In Series
Just like a battery, solar panels have two terminals: one positive and one negative.
When you connect the positive terminal of one panel to the negative terminal of another panel, you create a series connection. When you connect two or more solar panels like this, it becomes a PV source circuit.
Solar panels are wired in series when you connect the positive terminal of one panel to the negative terminal of another.
When solar panels are wired in series, the voltage of the panels adds together, but the amperage remains the same. So, if you connect two solar panels with a rated voltage of 40 volts and a rated amperage of 5 amps in series, the voltage of the series would be 80 volts, while the amperage would remain at 5 amps.
Putting panels in series makes it so the voltage of the array increases. This is important, because a solar power system needs to operate at a certain voltage in order for the inverter to work properly.
So, you connect your solar panels in series to meet the operating voltage window requirements of your inverter.
How Many Appliances Can Be Powered By Portable Solar Panels
Portable solar panels used in outdoor camping may not require high voltage for applications. Therefore, the small movable solar panel would be sufficient to charge your gadgets.
Energy consumption determines the solar panels needed to produce an adequate amount of energy for the appliances.
Heating appliances consume more energy hence you may require bigger batteries and large size solar panels to generate the necessary power.
You can check the voltage specification given on the appliance to understand how much energy it will consume per hour. Based on the calculation, you can predict the requirement of the energy source.
The new generation solar panel comes with an easy installation system. You can upgrade the panel anytime and increase the overall output without needing much equipment or change in the existing system.
You should consult with the manufacturer and understand the upgrading process before buying a solar panel. Check for the parallel and Series wires connection on the board.
Once you know the basics of connecting the solar panel, you can add more solar panels later, making it more efficient.
Connecting solar panels in an immense array would not be complicated once you understand the core system. You can increase the capacity by adding more systems to the design and enjoying clean, free energy.
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Connecting The Ac Power Inverter
The inverter is the one responsible for converting the DC to AC. It can be connected to the battery. You should never connect the inverter in the load section of the Controller.
From the Invertor, you can then connect your appliances as shown in the picture above. Make use of an extension If you have multiple appliances. If you have appliances that consume DC, connect directly to the battery as demonstrated below. The image as well summarizes what we have been talking about today.
I hope this procedure helps you set up your own solar renewable energy without difficulty. As for the sum total of this project, the cost varies depending on the solar panels chosen, the type and number of batteries, the type of charge controller and the type of power inverter as well. Below are estimates of what each item costs. Read Also: Simple HomeMade Renewable Electricity system
What Happens When Different Solar Panel Sizes Are Wired In Parallel
If we were to wire all of these panels in parallel, solar panels in parallel adds their amperages while their voltages stay the same. This means we would add 8A + 8A + 5A + 5A for a total of 26 amps heading to the charge controller. Now, although the volts stay the same in a parallel wired array, since we have different panel voltages, we must use the lowest common denominator, which is 20V. So we have 20 volts at 26A amps heading to the charge controller.We installed 600 watts of solar panels and by using watts law of V x A = Watts we can see that 20 V * 26A equals 520W for only 86% array efficiency. This means, of the 600 watts of panels installed, we can expect to see only 520w of power heading into the charge controller under ideal conditions.
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Connecting Multiple Charge Controllers To One Battery Bank
As you probably already know, you can wire solar panels either in series or parallel.
If you change the wiring you can change the way voltage or current behaves:
- In series, the current stays the same while the voltage adds up.
- In parallel, the voltage stays the same while the current adds up.
Here are some reasons why you might want to add another charge controller:
- You want to add more solar panels to your system.
- You want to add a panel with a different specification than the one you already got.
- You want to separate panels from each other because they receive shade at different times of the day. For example on a boat.
How Does Wiring Solar Panels In Parallel Affect Its Volts & Amps
Here we see four 100w solar panels wired in parallel, which means all of the positive wires are connected and all of the negative wires are connected. Since Wiring solar panels in parallel adds their amperages while their voltages stay the same, we would add 5+5+5+5 amps to get a total of 20 amps at 20 volts heading into the charge controller. We installed 400 watts of solar panels and by using watts law of V x A = Watts we can see that 20 V * 20A equals 400W for 100% array efficiency. This means, of the 400 watts of panels installed, we can expect to see all 400w of power heading into the charge controller under ideal conditions.
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Connect The Solar Panels With Charge Controller
The wire from the solar panel will be too short of reaching your charge controller. Extend it with this wire so you can take advantage of that sun-soaked goodness! When wiring, try a series connection first. Place your battery as close to the charge controller and panels for less loss in power during transmission. If theres an extra length on one end, cut them down off at equal lengths dont waste all that sunshine just because some wires were longer than others!
How Does Wiring Different Sized Solar Panels Together Affect The Array Voltage & Amperage
- Solar Panels wired in series gets their voltages added while their amps stay at the lowest amperage of the panels in series.
- Solar Panels wired in parallel get their amperages added together while their voltages stay at the lowest voltage of the panels wired in parallel.
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