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Thread: Got my solar power off-grid system up and running (finally)

  1. #11
    LHBA Member loghousenut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StressMan79 View Post
    Don't remember but I think ac switches are OK up to 50 volts dc.
    Not that one.
    Every time I have strayed from the teachings of Skip Ellsworth it has cost me money.

  2. #12
    Congrats, Paul!

    Just curious, what batteries did you go with?

  3. #13
    LHBA Member kahle's Avatar
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    OK, so now I feel stupid, yeah I remember being told to make sure I got an MPPT charge controller way back when. So, I'm shopping for one now for this little system and I find that there's a number of really cheap ones and some really expensive ones and they all say they do exactly the same thing. But now I'm suspicious. I only need to handle about 40 V max input and about 10 amps max output. Got any recommendations?

  4. #14
    LHBA Member kahle's Avatar
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    Ah Longhare. I went with 4 Full River DC224-6 AGM batteries. These are 6 volt 224 Ahr batteries but they aren't the flooded type. The AGM (Glass Matt) batteries won't freeze on me over the winter. My PV setup is out in an unheated garage up in the mountains and it gets durn cold up there at night. Years ago I actually froze a flooded lead-acid battery but that was probably more because I had let it discharge than an actual problem with the ambient temperature. Anyway, I wanted to avoid that issue tis time round. The batteries are connected in series to make one 24v battery.

  5. #15
    LHBA Member rreidnauer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kahle View Post
    OK, so now I feel stupid, yeah I remember being told to make sure I got an MPPT charge controller way back when. So, I'm shopping for one now for this little system and I find that there's a number of really cheap ones and some really expensive ones and they all say they do exactly the same thing. But now I'm suspicious. I only need to handle about 40 V max input and about 10 amps max output. Got any recommendations?
    Yugo and Mercades say they do exactly the same thing too.

    Recommendations? Think ahead. 40v in, 10a out . . . . . . . . . for now. What about in a year or two when you want to add panels and get more power?

    I wouldn't rush out to buy an MPPT controller at this point, just so you have the best. See how your system performs for you for now.

    BTW, AGM batteries can freeze too when left discharged, but other damage is done to the battery any time of the year by sulphation when left below 75% SOC for extended periods.
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  6. #16
    LHBA Member hotshotrucking's Avatar
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    very interesting info, most I don't understand but aside from many who believe the grid will go down across the country which is a strong possibility just the shear cost of electricity at today's rate and what it will be lets just say 5 years down the road. I went online to read up on the cost of a system and pulled out my current bill and at the top in message it said they were requesting a rate increase. As many of you stated the cost of the panels has dropped, and there seem to be some tax breaks on purchases state & federal. If I retire or when I retire (approx 10 yrs) I just cant imagine spending 25% or more of my income to light my home so yes I'm going to research a solar system in hopes of enjoying my freedom.
    I noticed the system that is rated for my current usage but what kind of life expectancy do you expect to get? the one I looked at has a 25-year reliability and warranty, and would be 32 260 watt solar panel system. I'm sure I could go with less but this system says it would more than cover me with 5 hours of average sun light each day. I'm going to continue to research the panels but you guy's that are on them up and running I'm sure have learned a lot the sites don't tell you.

  7. #17
    LHBA Member rreidnauer's Avatar
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    Stay away from thin film panels and short of a big hailstorm, the panels will probably outlast you. My solar panels are 25 years old and I have seen them produce 15% over rated power recently. A well cared for battery bank can last 20 to 25 years. (Edison batteries last indefinitely) Buying reputable brand name products would probably be the wise move.
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  8. #18
    LHBA Member StressMan79's Avatar
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    Edison batteries have 2 major down sides.

    1. Getting them is not easy.
    1.5 most equipment is made to run on lead acid
    2. This is bc ldac charges AND discharges @ around 2 v/cell. Charging nife cells occurs@1.7 v. Discharge happens @ 1.2.
    A. You have to make a 12v inverter operate fron 10-22v, not 11-15.
    B. You lose that delta v in efficiency. 1.2/1.7=70.6% right off the bat.

    Sent from my Galaxy S4 using Forum Runner

  9. #19
    LHBA Member rreidnauer's Avatar
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    Yup, if you get hung up on efficiency, then you won't like the Nickle-Iron Edison batteries. They also experience more idle energy losses than Lead-acid, but as long as they provide the power needed, who cares? My panels are also lower efficiency compared to today's panels, but I really doesn't matter. All the efficiency factor means is they produce more wattage per area. All I care about is they produce the wattage they say they will, and that I have enough power for my needs.

    The 12 volt argument is pretty mute, as any whole-house system would never be operated at that voltage. More likely 48 volts or higher, and with that, makes matching Edison cells to an inverter/charge controller that much easier.
    All my bad forum habits I learned from LHN

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  10. #20
    LHBA Member StressMan79's Avatar
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    Indeed. Except you pay for each watt you get, say $1000 assuming 100%, you'll need $1300 to run nife batteries.

    And 12 volts was only an example. I have a 24v system. Cheap inverters and leds are available... any higher and you naad green energy products... read expensive

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