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 > Solar Power 101

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Mello Mike

Mesa, AZ

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Posted: 02/04/12 09:48am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I recently completed writing a short piece on the basics of RV solar power. Feedback on the content would be greatly appreciated.

Solar Power 101

* This post was edited 02/04/12 10:33am by Mello Mike *


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KJINTF

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Posted: 02/04/12 10:40am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Mike

Looks like a good start
What is it you are trying to accomplish with the primer?

There are several technical inconsistencies and miss leading statements
Happy to send my comments to you directly

Check your explanation of how solar panels generate voltage / power....
PWM controllers do not vary their operating frequency only their duty cycle
MPPT controllers charge the battery via a PWM operation after the front end array scan and buck conversion.

Ken


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Posted: 02/04/12 11:14am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice article, my suggestions:

Clarify 30% efficiency as that's misleading. Change to 10% and higher is possible under limited special circumstances.

Clarify that a 12V panel is for a 12V battery and the actual panel voltage is about 17V. Ditto 24V. Newbies get confusted by this.

"If your system is small, and is used perhaps six to eight times a year, then a PMW will more than suffice." This is misleading for a properly setup PWM system can be quite good for extended use. Also if I recall you said PWM controllers for up to 60A were available - handly small for a RV.

I'd like to see the battery section improved. Many RVers think that a marine deep cycle starting battery is a deep cycle battery. Explain that a marine deep cycle battery is slightly better than a starting battery but not nearly as good as a true deep cycle battery for RV house usage. And while there are 12V deep cycle batteries they are costly and not easy to find.

Personally I don't give the 2 12V vs 2 6V redundancy suggesion much credit. If a 12V battery shorts, kiss both batteries goodby. If a 12V battery opens the other battery won't last long but you will have some redundancy. Your example is interesting but a mechanically destroyed battery - OK I get it you still have the other battery available.

Please take the above as trying to be helpful for your nice article.


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Posted: 02/04/12 12:11pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Good job Mike. I liked the write up. I took the liberty of adding your installation website HERE.


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Mello Mike

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Posted: 02/04/12 05:15pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks, gentlemen. I appreciate the feedback. Good stuff.

KJINTF,
The purpose of the article is to provide a basic understanding of how a solar system works in an RV. Nothing too detailed, just enough to make one dangerous.

Mike

BFL13

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Posted: 02/04/12 05:35pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Good write-up.

I think the diagram at the start should show a representative battery fuse/CB at the pos post.

The two 6s vs 12 should specify two 12s to make it a fair fight.


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kab449

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Posted: 02/04/12 07:13pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Mike:
From an absolute newbie with no solar experience at all I thought the article was well written, easily understood, and gave me enough of information to make me want to explore this subject further.
Good job.


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Mello Mike

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Posted: 02/04/12 08:36pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BFL13 wrote:

Good write-up.

I think the diagram at the start should show a representative battery fuse/CB at the pos post.

The two 6s vs 12 should specify two 12s to make it a fair fight.


Great point about the fuses/CBs. I've always used them in my solar and inverter installations but left them out of this writeup.

Mello Mike

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Posted: 02/04/12 08:37pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

kab449 wrote:

Mike:
From an absolute newbie with no solar experience at all I thought the article was well written, easily understood, and gave me enough of information to make me want to explore this subject further.
Good job.


Thanks, Kab. That's exactly what I was hoping for when I wrote it.

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Posted: 02/06/12 12:21am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Good that you did say use a wire size chart but then you go on to say that "most professional installers use 10-2 and 8-2", implying that that is OK. In my opinion, that is too small of a wire size for most installations unless your using a higher voltage panel or series wired array.


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