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Old 05-16-2018, 07:32 AM   #1
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Solar Show and Tell

Please post pictures of your solar installations, panels, controllers, layout with screen shots of your output monitors and a description of your system on this thread so we all can learn from prior installations.

I just self-installed a set of four AM Solar SP100 panels with mounts, a Victron 100/30 SmartSolar controller and a Victron Smart Battery Sense. These components were installed in a series-parallel configuration using the factory pre-wire and Zamp rooftop box on a 2017 FC25FB. 28' of AM Solar 10/2 was used on the roof, the Zamp rooftop box, and the factory 10 gauge to a switch and then on to the controller. 2' of 6 awg was used to connect the controller to a breaker and then on to the positive and negative buses inside the Airstream . A Victron Battery Smartsense was connected to the battery terminals to report battery voltage and temperature to the controller over Bluetooth. My plan is to test this configuration over the summer while traveling across the U.S. from east-to-west and north-to-south and post my results (good, bad, or ugly) on this thread. If the this configuration performs unsatisfactory, it can easily be reconfigured into a full parallel setup with an additional 30' of 10/2, a rooftop combiner box and 30' of 6 awg.

Here are pictures of my installation and screen shots of its performance monitor for the first four days of use. The first day the controller was installed without the PV. The second day the PV was powered up late in the day so its was bulk charge until dark. The third day the system completed topping off the battery without any usage. On the fourth day the PV was turned off, the battery was drained to 12.17V under load, then the PV was turned on at noon on a perfectly sunny Florida day to achieve 357 watts of peak PV and 23.9 amps of battery charging.
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Old 05-16-2018, 11:33 AM   #2
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More results on mostly cloudy day

Today is a rare mostly cloudy day in Tampa Florida. So I wanted to see how the solar performs in clouds. You can see a picture of the cloud conditions and then a picture of the output from my 400W solar system. Under full cloud in shadowless light, the system had 73 watts of PV and 5.5 amps of charging. Then when the sun came out of the clouds, the system peaked at 409 watts of PV and 30.1A of charging.

To obtain these results, I turned on the overhead lights, inverter, two tvs, radio, tv antenna, bathroom and shower fans, two fantastic fans and rangehood fan on the battery that was resting in float mode. So I learned you don't need to drain the battery to test solar output, you just need to crank up the amp load by turning everything on.

Here is the picture of the results:
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Old 05-17-2018, 09:55 AM   #3
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Old 05-18-2018, 09:51 AM   #4
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Shading results

Today is a hazy sunny day in Tampa Florida and the best day to test partial shading on my series-parallel configuration before leaving on the cross-country trip. It was 10:30 am when conducting this test in my driveway, under the same tree as the installation pictures in the first post of this thread.

Shading one panel of the four dropped the wattage from 279W to 165W and the battery charging amps from 21.4A to 12.8A. Doing this same test out on the street where one or two panels in the same series could be shaded produced the following results: full sun 250W/18.5A, one panel shaded 179W/13.3A, two panels shaded 158W/12.3A. Since those pictures had significant glare and similar results, I didn't post them. In full shade the wattage dropped to 22W and the charging amps dropped to 1.6A. Note to self: better to park in the sun than in the shade!

I look forward to posts of your solar installations with output results under varying conditions so we can all learn from each-others configurations.
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Old 05-23-2018, 03:20 PM   #5
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It's 5:15 pm in Tampa FL with three panels in full shadow and one in full sun for this time of day. Output is 30 Watts with 2.2 Amps of battery charging.
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Old 05-23-2018, 04:22 PM   #6
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I recently replaced my old factory solar controller with an Victron smart solar along with the BMC-712 monitor. I haven’t had it out of the storage facility to start recording readings. What numbers should I be seeing in full sun? Depends on the panels right? I have the one 55 watt panel.
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Old 05-23-2018, 05:55 PM   #7
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I believe switching out the controller to a Victron will improve your results. If you didn't upgrade the output wires to your positive and negative bus bars, I would replace that section of wire with 6 awg and put in an ANL fuse, or a breaker, one size larger than the amperage of your Victron controller. With these improvements, I would expect to get 55 Watts and 5 Amps of battery charging in the bright Texas sun.

Let us know if this upgrade improved your results. It definitely sets your system up for additional panels. I don't know anything about mismatched panels if you are thinking along those lines.
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Old 05-23-2018, 10:35 PM   #8
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this is my setup with the same system parts except the solar panel.

i am waiting for a good a sunny day to install the solar on the roof

this is my 160W panel
http://www.heliene.ca/products/detai...,10,20,581,729
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Old 05-23-2018, 10:50 PM   #9
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Solar Show and Tell

Complete 100% grey-day overcast today on the Oregon coast. I was only getting 400 watts output



Full write-up for our “kill it with capacity” 800watt, 600ah ‘Victron Stack’ install to follow ......
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Old 05-24-2018, 11:19 AM   #10
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Solar Show and Tell

Quote:
Originally Posted by wulfraat View Post
Complete 100% grey-day overcast today on the Oregon coast. I was only getting 400 watts output



Full write-up for our “kill it with capacity” 800watt, 600ah ‘Victron Stack’ install to follow ......


Why did you get both the Victron CCGX and the Multi-Control? Is there something that both combined offers that the CCGX can not do?
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Old 05-24-2018, 11:33 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AirMiles View Post
I believe switching out the controller to a Victron will improve your results. If you didn't upgrade the output wires to your positive and negative bus bars, I would replace that section of wire with 6 awg and put in an ANL fuse, or a breaker, one size larger than the amperage of your Victron controller. With these improvements, I would expect to get 55 Watts and 5 Amps of battery charging in the bright Texas sun.

Let us know if this upgrade improved your results. It definitely sets your system up for additional panels. I don't know anything about mismatched panels if you are thinking along those lines.
I didn't, just reused existing wiring. i'll keep your suggestion in mind. Installing 200 Watt panels within the next two months. I'll fine tune from there.

thanks
Mike
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Old 05-24-2018, 01:53 PM   #12
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Solar Show and Tell

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Originally Posted by tabney0315 View Post
Why did you get both the Victron CCGX and the Multi-Control? Is there something that both combined offers that the CCGX can not do?


Setting the shore power current limit is much faster with the multi-control as it has a simple dial (I have a small honda genset and provides some but not all the AC amps needed when running the AC, microwave, etc at the same time), so I leverage the multi-plus power assist feature.

Also the remote on/off/charge only switch on the multi-control is much more convenient than raising the bed and using the switch on the multi-plus itself.

Power assist on the multiplus is a wonderful thing

The CCGX is the most convenient way to view system inputs and outputs, and with the WiFi dongle you can leverage VRM portal for online access.
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Old 05-24-2018, 02:01 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by wulfraat View Post
Setting the shore power current limit is much faster with the multi-control as it has a simple dial (I have a small honda genset and provides some but not all the AC amps needed when running the AC, microwave, etc at the same time), so I leverage the multi-plus power assist feature.

Also the remote on/off/charge only switch on the multi-control is much more convenient than raising the bed and using the switch on the multi-plus itself.

Power assist on the multiplus is a wonderful thing


Ok. Just making sure I wasn’t missing something. I have the CCGX only and use it to remotely switch the multiplus on/off/charge only and can set the current limit but its a couple clicks away.

How often do you change the current limit and how do you use it? Let’s say you are using the Honda EU200, would you set the current limit to 15 amp and if you needed to pull 20 amps it pulls 5 amps from battery?
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Old 05-24-2018, 02:35 PM   #14
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Complete 100% grey-day overcast today on the Oregon coast. I was only getting 400 watts output



Full write-up for our “kill it with capacity” 800watt, 600ah ‘Victron Stack’ install to follow ......
Nice! As the charter member of the "overkill engineering" mindset, that looks really great, tidy, and obviously is very efficient. No more than a few square inches of roof going to waste!
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