Adding extra solar

Discussion in 'Solar Power' started by Robert Clark, Jul 24, 2016.

  1. Robert Clark

    Robert Clark Funster Life Member

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    Hi guys

    I already have 2 solar panels, which were professionally installed.(with two Victron controllers)

    Am now considering adding a further panel myself.

    Is it purely a case of connecting directly to the leisure batteries, or do I somehow have to take the existing solar into account?

    Are there likely to be comparability issues between different solar equipment?

    Can you have too much solar - I have 320ah of batteries and a 2kw inverter

    Any suggestions for kit suppliers?

    Would appreciate any suggestions / comments?
     
  2. funflair

    funflair Funster Life Member

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    Hi Robert

    I have seen the question asked before "can you have too much solar" and I don't believe anybody suggested "yes" my only comment was as long as you don't exceed the maximum charge rate of your batteries and that's not going to happen with 320ah.

    We have 320watts feeding 320ah of Gel batteries and 2kw inverter so very similar set up to what you are aiming for, yes you will end up a lot of the time with more power than you need but you will appreciate the extra on a grey day.

    You don't say if your current set up goes straight to the batteries or via your van panel to count amps in and out etc, if yours already go direct I would just add more. You could run two panels into a Votronic MPPT controller and that would give you the S+ feature which will switch a AES fridge over to solar running from your hab batteries (check where your fridge is fed from currently).

    We certainly don't have any issues but run two votronic controllers, each solar controller will just see the battery voltage and react accordingly, ours get to a point where one controller decides that the battery terminal voltage is high enough for it to go to sleep and let the remaining one do the work if you wanted to ask votronic I found their technical help via Email to be spot on.

    Martin
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2016
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  3. Robert Clark

    Robert Clark Funster Life Member

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    Hi Martin
    Thanks for your input
    I believe that the existing solar goes direct to the batteries.
    Hadn't thought about connecting to fridge, thank you

    Robert
     
  4. funflair

    funflair Funster Life Member

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    It's just one light signal wire to your S+ if you have a modern fridge or a signal wire plus a diode if you have an older AES like ours that only has D+.

    Martin
     
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  5. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    I believe that solar panels are like cold beers in the fridge...

    You can never have too many.

    But, of course, they all must go through the charge controller which has to be rufty tufty enough to cope with their collective (maximum) output.

    JJ :cool:
     
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  6. peterc10

    peterc10 Funster

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    Do you need them Robert? Is Lis hitting the coffee too much?? :D
     
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  7. Robert Clark

    Robert Clark Funster Life Member

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    Many a true word spoken in jest Peter
     
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  8. Robert Clark

    Robert Clark Funster Life Member

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    Hi JJ
    My two existing panels each have their own individual controller
    My extra panels would have their own controller too - so I'm assuming there would not be a problem ?
     
  9. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    ...I wouldn't think so... but...

    my Hymer doesn't have any modern electronic stuff... I have a panel which shows me the voltage of either the leisure or engine battery and the amps in or out of the leisure batteries.

    20160724_111242.jpg

    I am puzzled why you have separate controllers for each panel though... is this so if one controller fails you have the other one still working?

    JJ :cool:
     
  10. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    Not sure why you have two regulators, is your battery bank split?
    The normal way of adding an additional panel is to parallel the panels (providing the regulator can handle the power) easily achieved on the roof with MC4 connectors, having 2 regulators without knowing how they are wired complicates things.
     
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  11. Robert Clark

    Robert Clark Funster Life Member

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    The existing panels were installed by Vanbitz

    I understand that the two panels are individually controlled because they are individually connected to the batteries in parallel, which I'm guessing may be more efficient.

    Our MH control panel can monitor solar if you use the 'Carthago' approved controller. We're using Victron so can't use this feature.

    As such each panel is independent of the other and has no connection or integration with the on board electrical monitoring, other than battery voltage.
     
  12. Robert Clark

    Robert Clark Funster Life Member

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    We have one bank of 4 batteries
    The original 2 were moved from their locker to the garage and a further two were added. Has worked fine over the last year, however just want a bit more resilience in case of poorer weather or increased consumption.

    I was thinking of adding another single panel, with its own dedicated controller and a new connection to the leisure batteries.

    Do you think that having multiple controllers will confuse things ?
     
  13. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    You seem to have a wierd setup if it has two panels with two controllers. One controller of a suitable spec can be connected to umpteen panels. If you can post a picture of them it should show if you can add a third panel to one of the existing controllers. I can't see why you need to buy a third controller. The new panel can be connected in series or parallel with an existing panel. Victron recommend in series, or at least that's what the instructions on mine say. It may be different for other controllers or panels.
     
  14. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    Some Victron's have outputs that work with Elektroblocks I would have thought it could be possible to work with a CBE charger, could be worth talking to Victron.

    Should be OK, no different to having the alternator supplying a charge current with a solar regulator connected, the highest voltage will take priority.
    Does appear complicated why have three regulators when one will do the job adequately.
     
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  15. Robert Clark

    Robert Clark Funster Life Member

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    Does this help?

    image.jpeg
     
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  16. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    Connected in series is slightly more efficient if both panels have a clear view of the sky, in practice they are better in parallel as if one panel gets some shade on it the other panel will continue producing full output.
     
  17. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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  18. peterc10

    peterc10 Funster

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    We had better get some more coffee in for Thursday then ;)
     
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  19. Robert Clark

    Robert Clark Funster Life Member

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    So the question is
    Can you connect multiple controllers to the same battery?

    Edit - Just read @Lenny HB previous post

    Thanks Lenny - my thoughts were the same
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2016
  20. Abacist

    Abacist Funster

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    https://www.victronenergy.com/uploa...roller-MPPT-75-10,-75-15-&-MPPT-100-15-EN.pdf

    Your Victron controllers are each capable of having 200 watt input from solar panels so unless you existing panels are larger than 100watts then you could just add another panel in parallel to one of your existing panels and an existing controller would cope with it so no internal wiring just a couple of Y pieces on the roof to join into the existing cabling by the seem of it.

    However why did Eddie fit 2 panels and 2 controllers - does he know something we don't know about the controllers or does it just make good sense in case one fails the other keeps going and so gives you some redundancy?
     
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