120w From Sunstore - Self fit

Discussion in 'Solar Power' started by Dave and Ginny, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. Dave and Ginny

    Dave and Ginny Funster

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  2. Busman

    Busman Funster

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    Yep that's the kit I bought off them in August, it really is straight forward fitting it just take your time
     
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  3. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    I'm looking at improving our solar setup and note the controller that comes with the kit is PWM which depending on which website you look at is generally though not be not as good as MPPT. Here is some info: http://www.victronenergy.com/blog/2014/07/21/which-solar-charge-controller-pwm-or-mppt/
    But, on another website a different company said they thought PWM was fine for installations up to 200W and above that MPPT was better. You pays you money I suppose but I will probably go with MPPT.
     
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  4. Busman

    Busman Funster

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    Yep I went with the MPPT
     
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  5. ukbill

    ukbill Funster

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    check out the ebay kits much cheaper
     
  6. ukbill

    ukbill Funster

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  7. ukbill

    ukbill Funster

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  8. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    Last edited: Nov 6, 2014
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  9. ukbill

    ukbill Funster

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  10. Dave and Ginny

    Dave and Ginny Funster

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    Thanks for all the replies. It's all a bit of a minefield and you get what you pay for I guess. We have used our motorhome for three years now, no solar or LED lights and a single 130 ah leisure battery. We have never had any issues until in northern France this autumn when we were using a lot of aires, not a lot of daily travel and very occasional EHU. From rough calculations and a bit of guesswork, I think the 12o set up will eliminate further problems.
     
  11. gillnphil

    gillnphil Funster

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    Best thing you can do for wild camping. Dead easy to fit as well. I have fitted MPPT and PWM, cant tell the difference.
    Dont worry about drilling hole in the roof, you can see the stars, just kidding, make it small and seal it properly.
    Phil
     
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  12. TheCaller

    TheCaller Funster

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    In response to the PWM vs MPPT controller question, a lot depends on when & where you want to tour.

    If you only need power in the summer in the UK & either lay up the van in winter or head for Spain, then the difference between the performance of the two types of controller will not be all that great, especially for less than 200W of nominal panel output. The additional cost of an MPPT controller may not be justified unless you simply must extract every last bit of available power from your panel(s).

    If you tour all year round in the UK or spend much time in Northern Europe or Scandinavia, you need to extract power in low temperatures, low sun angles & low light levels. In these circumstances panel output voltages can drop so low as to be near or even below battery voltage, at which point no useful charging will happen.

    You can compensate for this by wiring pairs of panels in series rather than in parallel, thus doubling the available output voltage in any given light condition. The controller thus has to be capable of handling twice the maximum output voltage of your chosen panel. Good quality MPPT controllers such as from Victron Energy (see DBK's link above) are capable of doing this. Sadly, the new MPPT controller just introduced by Schaudt won't handle the maximum output voltage produced by a pair of parallel wired 80W panels, as it's only rated at 32V max input. Otherwise it would have been an ideal solution for the many continental vans fitted with the Schaudt Electrobloc series of 12V management systems.

    As far as I know, Victron are the only controller manufacturer (apart from Schaudt themselves) to provide the recommended data link cable to stop an Electrobloc being confused by the additional charging source provided by solar panels.

    There is a further advantage of series wired panels if the layout of the van dictates a long cable run from the panel to the controller. The voltage drop in the cable will be much reduced at the higher voltage.
     
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  13. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    In the last paragraph of the link I posted there is another link to a more detailed paper where Fig 15 shows the relative performance of PWM/MPPT with respect to cell temperature which is interesting. Of course in winter there isn't much sun anyway but if you want to make the best of what little there is it looks like MPPT is the way to go.
     
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  14. Borderland

    Borderland Funster

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    This is a very helpful thread as I am also looking at solar panels for charging battery and not sure what to choose.
    Thank you to everyone for making useful comments.
     
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  15. TheCaller

    TheCaller Funster

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    That should have read 'a pair of series wired' of course. :doh:
     
  16. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    I am not an expert so forgive me if this is incorrect, but surely 2 x 80 watt panels wired in parallel would not have an open circuit voltage in excess of 32V. I have the PWM Schaudt unit LR1218, rather than the newer MPPT LRM1218, but the installation instructions for mine say it can handle for example, 5 x 55W panels: i.e. 275 watts in total. This assumes an open circuit voltage of 22V per panel and a nominal current output of 3.2A per panel (5x3.2 = 16 amps which is within the 18 amp maximum of the LR1218.
    Similarly, my 135 watt panel has an open circuit voltage of 22.1V at 1000 watts/sq.m.
    Would not 2 x 80W panels wired in parallel still have an open circuit voltage of around 22V but a current delivery of around 2 x 4.5A = 9A in total; well within the capabilities of either the LR1218 or the LRM1218.
     
  17. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    Sorry, was just writing my response above whilst you were posting your correction.
     
  18. TheCaller

    TheCaller Funster

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    Sorry - further error.
    It's not Victron that do the datalink cable for the Electrobloc, it's Votronic. The good news is that the Votronic MPPT controllers also accept a 50V input, so are suitable for pairs of panels wired in series.

    See here for a suitable model. 114euro ex. works + Vat
    This would accept either 2 x 80W or 2 x 100W
     
  19. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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  20. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    I think that is the main reason for not buying a kit Jim. I find it better to sauce each item separately. That way you can do your own quality control.
     
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