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Old 03-10-2010, 11:18 PM   #29
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Gen dissaray,

My only concern with your calculations for days between charging is that I have been told to try to never discharge a conventional battery below 70% for good overall battery life. I think you were using 50%.
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Old 03-11-2010, 09:06 AM   #30
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nice collection of information

Here's a good link on mppt chargers

and one on battery cycles vs life, based upon flooded batteries.

The latter article does a fine job explaining the impact of frequent deep discharges, or regularly only drawing down the batteries 5 percent. Happy medium is apparently between 10 and 50 percent, and occasional discharge to 80 percent is not problematic.
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Old 03-11-2010, 09:49 AM   #31
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After being nudged some to look at AM solar and being told the AM100 panel should be able to be mounted lateral to the fantastic fan, I am giving them consideration. I especially like that the panels don't have to be bolted on!

Option I
: The RV solar set up I was looking at was 2 panels (85 + 55 watt) for a total of 140 watts. Cost $900. Downside, the gopower GPR 25controller may not be as great as the vendor claims.

Option II. AM Solar 100 watt panel, Heliotrope controller HPV 22B $854

Option III. AM Solar 100 watt panel, HPV-30DR charge controler, HPV-30DR Solar Monitor. $1,184
Additional 100 watt panels for option II and III $468. (I have room for up to four)

I could see spending a bit more to get the controllers right upfront, but this would mean starting out with one panel and adding on later. How goofy would one panel look (remember this would be mounted lateral to the fantastic fan)?

A question for the electrical gurus: other than Option III allowing more panels, is there $300 of performance difference between the options?
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:28 PM   #32
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Is anyone using the HPV-30DR charge controller system that AM Solar is selling?
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Old 03-14-2010, 12:55 PM   #33
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My advice would be that if you have a limited budget, to put your money in the photovoltiac panels before buying a high end charge controller. This would particularly the case when you are using the system on a regular basis.

Although there may be a big difference in controllers, no controller can put more juice into the batteries then the panels put out. MPPT controllers may be more efficient under certain circumstances, such as very cold temperatures, but under normal conditions you'll get more bang for your buck with more panel capacity.

Controllers are just voltage regulators, some may be more precise, and have fancy readout displays, the real difference in performance would be when the unit is reducing the output when the batteries are at or a near to fully charged condition.

In fact, if your charging amperage is less then 10% of your batteries capacity you can wire it direct, with a diode to prevent a reverse current draw at night, without a controller without danger of damaging your batteries, the disadvantage would be increased evaporation of the batteries fluid when the batteries are in a fully charged condition.
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Old 03-14-2010, 01:32 PM   #34
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Quote:
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Controllers are just voltage regulators, some may be more precise, and have fancy readout displays, the real difference in performance would be when the unit is reducing the output when the batteries are at or a near to fully charged condition.

In fact, if your charging amperage is less then 10% of your batteries capacity you can wire it direct, with a diode to prevent a reverse current draw at night, without a controller without danger of damaging your batteries, the disadvantage would be increased evaporation of the batteries fluid when the batteries are in a fully charged condition.
So are you saying that with my two 125 amp batteries (250 total) so long as the input from the panels is under 25 amps I don't even have to have a controller?
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Old 03-14-2010, 04:48 PM   #35
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Option II. AM Solar 100 watt panel, Heliotrope controller HPV 22B $854
That AM Solar 100 seems a little high even at its current sale price of $379 ($3.79/per watt)? I'm sure it's a good unit though.

I'm looking at a Kyocera KD215GX-LPU on sale for $559 ($2.60/per watt). I haven't did my diligence on it yet, so I'm not recommending, just looking so far. Weighing in at 40 lbs, it's twice as heavy as the AM Solar 100, which is another thing to consider. It's good for 50/psf snow load, and 130mph winds!
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Old 03-14-2010, 04:56 PM   #36
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That AM Solar 100 seems a little high even at its current sale price of $379 ($3.79/per watt)? I'm sure it's a good unit though.

I'm looking at a Kyocera KD215GX-LPU on sale for $559 ($2.60/per watt). I haven't did my diligence on it yet, so I'm not recommending, just looking so far. Weighing in at 40 lbs, it's twice as heavy as the AM Solar 100, which is another thing to consider. It's good for 50/psf snow load, and 130mph winds!
Its 59x39 inches, I guess it could set sideways across the top. Other than that, I cant imagine where it would fit. It also appears to be for residential use, would it hold up to RV usage?
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Old 03-14-2010, 05:31 PM   #37
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It's 18" wider but only 2" taller which works for me. Surviving the road is a real concern of mine as well. I need an 80 watt panel for a completely unrelated project and I hate to go buy one and miss a chance to upgrade what's on the stream.
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Old 03-14-2010, 07:21 PM   #38
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So are you saying that with my two 125 amp batteries (250 total) so long as the input from the panels is under 25 amps I don't even have to have a controller?
I don't recommend it, but it could work without frying your batteries, you could skip the diodes and have an on-off switch to turn off at sunset to prevent reverse power drain.

Of course, a multistage charge controler with temperature compensation and all the bells and whistles would be best, and could be added at a later date.

It's hard to imagine that you have room for 400 watts on top of your Airstream, I've got a 75 watt and a 43 watt on my Sovereign 21' for a total of 118 watts, it could probably accomodate another 75-85 watt panel alongside the skylight and vent.
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Old 03-14-2010, 07:41 PM   #39
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It's hard to imagine that you have room for 400 watts on top of your Airstream, I've got a 75 watt and a 43 watt on my Sovereign 21' for a total of 118 watts, it could probably accomodate another 75-85 watt panel alongside the skylight and vent.
That is definitely a concern I have. IF the AM100 panels can be mounted outside the fantastic fans, then two can go behind and two in front of the AC.

Eventually, I would want a larger battery bank as well
I am also trying to work out where a larger battery bank might work. Maybe street side under the bed, not sure there is enough space there without measuring though. And then, venting is an issue too.
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Old 03-14-2010, 07:51 PM   #40
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Don't you think that mounting these panels from side to side on the curved roof is going to look a little bulky? And what about all that weight up there and the wind resistance when towing? And you travel a lot!!!(I'm really jealous about that).
All that expense and weight and you rely on a very bright sunny day each and every day.
I think that fuel cell I mentioned sounds better all the time.
And it is green technology as well.
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Old 03-14-2010, 07:53 PM   #41
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Can't you use AGM's without offgassing issues? I'm not sure.
Lithium Ion batteries give large storage capacity with no offgassing but they are expensive. Oh and they are light weight for the capacity.
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Old 03-14-2010, 07:59 PM   #42
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Don't you think that mounting these panels from side to side on the curved roof is going to look a little bulky? And what about all that weight up there and the wind resistance when towing? And you travel a lot!!!(I'm really jealous about that).
Al
I dont think I explained what I meant well. I was saying that I wanted to mount the panels along side (street and curb) of the vents. One set in front of the AC and one behind. The panels would be running lengthwise with the trailer body not cross way. I dont have any idea about the wind resistance but I think lots of people have four panels on the roof. I could be wrong, but that is my understanding.

I am going to let someone else work out the issues with fuel cells, I dont want a different generator which is what those seem to amount to.
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