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#150050 - 09/24/08 08:36 PM Re: Another 12v Power Question [Re: JCWohlschlag]
BobS Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/08/08
Posts: 924
Loc: Toledo Ohio
One thing to think about with on-line photo storage is to make sure you have a backup. I have on-line friends that had photos stored on a free site and the site disappeared on them if you are not paying for it, you canít expect it to be there forever. All that storage, drive space and associated hardware and net access & bandwidth cost money. If they are not making money somehow, itís kinda hard to keep the doors open.



TNSTAAFL
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You can run, but you'll only die tired.


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#150078 - 09/25/08 01:08 AM Re: Another 12v Power Question [Re: BobS]
NorCalDennis Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 01/30/08
Posts: 61
Loc: Sierra Foothills, Nor Cal
Thanks for the help. I ended up at Photobucket - which was quick and easy.

So here's the photos:

First is a shot of the solar panel with the Pigpen and chicken coop off in the back ground (and my 2 1/2 year old helper):



Then here's a shot of the store room electrical set up: You can see the charge controler (upper left corner w/ green light on), then the deep cycle marine battery (lower left), then the junction box from the battery to the fixtures (center middle), the timer for the lights in the chicken coop (upper center), and switches for the pig pen fans and lights:



Here's one of the pig pen; you can see the lights, one of the fans - the other is just out of the photo, and a pass through to the storage room in the lower left:



Last, but not least is a shot of the chiken coop light:



Please let me know what you think - any suggestions, modifications would be greatly appreciated.
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While I have long believed that I will never get old, I have come to the realization that sooner or later there will be more people younger than me.

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#150083 - 09/25/08 02:21 AM Re: Another 12v Power Question [Re: NorCalDennis]
BobS Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/08/08
Posts: 924
Loc: Toledo Ohio
Looks good, all the wiring looks to be secured well and organized.


A few suggestions for improvements.

If the system has any fuses I would figure out some kind of mounting bracket to have spares there for a quick fix without having to go hunting for them. Also a flashlight mounted on the wall with a quick release of some type would be nice. Again so you donít have to go hunt it up.

I would put the paperwork in a zip lock bag to protect it. And label the switches with a stick on label. And maybe a kill switch on the positive side of the battery.
_________________________



You can run, but you'll only die tired.


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#150097 - 09/25/08 12:25 PM Re: Another 12v Power Question [Re: NorCalDennis]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3077
Hi NorCalDennis,

Your Solar setup looks pretty darn good. The only thing I can suggest would be to put the battery in its own wooden box, to ensure that there are no exposed terminals to prevent accidental shorting of the terminals, but that is just a minor point. The angle of the Solar Panel looks a bit low. For your location a 45 degree angle would probably increase your solar cell efficiency. Also it might be worthwhile digging a concrete post into the ground and securing your expensive Solar Panel more securely to stop it from dissapearing over night.

You must have been quiet pleased after the big switch on after wiring it all up. cool


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#150098 - 09/25/08 12:35 PM Re: Another 12v Power Question [Re: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor]
CAP613 Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 06/22/05
Posts: 87
Loc: W. PA
The system looks good.
Are you useing #10 wire from the PV to the charge controler ?
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Ward

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#150101 - 09/25/08 01:24 PM Re: Another 12v Power Question [Re: CAP613]
SirJoel Offline
Newbie

Registered: 05/15/06
Posts: 39
This is a great post.

We got to follow the project from concept to completion.

I suspect, like me there were several of us out here just lurking and monitoring the progress and going I could use this info in my own setup.

I find this type of post very valuable and with the pics as an added bonus.

How much power would you be able to pull off that setup? if you needed to could you leave the fans and light on over night?

Congrats on your successful set up.

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#150114 - 09/25/08 02:55 PM Re: Another 12v Power Question [Re: SirJoel]
NorCalDennis Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 01/30/08
Posts: 61
Loc: Sierra Foothills, Nor Cal
Bob S - There is an in-line 15a fuse between the battery and the fixtures. It's located in the junction box to the fixtures, and I will tape the box of spares to the top of the junction box (great idea!) - I planned on marking the switches, and bagging up the paperwork is another great idea that I will do.

Am Fear Liath Mor - The panel is set far from the view of a passer-by. The gravel road behind the gate in the distance of my first picture is a dead end road with just a couple of neighbors down there. They would have to look real hard to see the panel. I am considering putting a chain link or barbed wire fence around the 3.6kw of panels we have in our front pasture - those are visible, and with the cost of solar going up, it could be a theft just waiting to happen.

CAP613 - Yes, I did use a 100' roll of 10 gauge wire. The wire is in conduit from the panel to inside the pigpen/store room. I was expecting to have at least 20' left over, but barely had 7 feet by the time I pulled the line. I am pretty content to have a single line from the panel to the charge controler (no splices, connections, or junction boxes)

Sir Joel - I didn't sit down and calculate the math of how long I could run all the items together. In the winter, with the battery fully charged, the system should be able to perform it's needed functions for a week without sunlight (5 hours of light to the chicken coop per day and occasional light in the store room and pig pen) Summer should be no problem running the fans during the heat of the day and lights in the evening. The panel should be able to maintin a full battery charge and run the fans during the day. I do plan to switch the lights from incadescent to leds too, and that will greatly reduce the load of the light fixtures on the battery.

Thanks for all the input as this project came together. It would not have turned out the way it did if not for the great information learned from this sight. You're all as much a part of the success of this project as I am as it was your ideas and input that helped it all come together!

_________________________
While I have long believed that I will never get old, I have come to the realization that sooner or later there will be more people younger than me.

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#150120 - 09/25/08 03:50 PM Re: Another 12v Power Question [Re: NorCalDennis]
BobS Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/08/08
Posts: 924
Loc: Toledo Ohio
Is there a low voltage cut off to protect the battery from too deep of a drain?

You can damage batteries and greatly shorten their life if you deep cycle them too far down or too many times.
_________________________



You can run, but you'll only die tired.


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#150121 - 09/25/08 04:05 PM Re: Another 12v Power Question [Re: BobS]
CAP613 Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 06/22/05
Posts: 87
Loc: W. PA
I was reading back a little insted of a wooden box for the battery perhaps a cooler would be better, it would help keep the battery warm in the winter, and being somewhat air tight would help keep any out gassing under control.

I would be interested in knowing how much voltage drop you have from the PV to the charge controler. I am in a situation where I will need to run about 100' between a PV location and where my battery is. I was thinking about going with #6 or #8 wire but if I can use #10 it makes it even more pratical.
_________________________
Ward

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#150125 - 09/25/08 05:31 PM Re: Another 12v Power Question [Re: CAP613]
NorCalDennis Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 01/30/08
Posts: 61
Loc: Sierra Foothills, Nor Cal
Bob S - There is a low voltage warning light on the Charge Controller, but not a shut off. I do have a 1000w sine wave generator that I can use to charge the battery should that light come on (& a 7500w B&S generator - seen in picture - if I need more power).

CAP613 - I have not checked to see if there is much voltage drop with the 10 guage wire. In describing my set up with the folks at Pacific Renewables Group, their recommendation was to use 10 Guage wire. So far, as soon as any light hits the panel the green 'charging' light comes on the controller, so I am guessing that the drop is minimal - but I will check just to be sure. The storage room has very open ventilation (you can see day light above the battery), so I left the battery open with the expectation that any gassing would be quickly dispursed rather than contain it.


Edited by NorCalDennis (09/25/08 05:33 PM)
_________________________
While I have long believed that I will never get old, I have come to the realization that sooner or later there will be more people younger than me.

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