Trikeman's solar installation photo diary

Discussion in 'Solar Power' started by Trikeman, Jan 18, 2014.

  1. Trikeman

    Trikeman Read Only Funster

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    Wayhaay - day one of Trikeman's solar installation diary. :BigGrin:

    Today I braved the hail, wind, rain, sleet, thunder and cold to start phase 1 of my solar installation. Needless to say I have been concentrating on the inside of the van.

    First off, where do I fit the 20amp MPPT controller? After having a good look round I (we) decided inside the large wardrobe would be the best location and as recommended by Vlad the Impaler. This is out of sight and with a short, direct run from here to the batteries.
    Phase 1 (a).
    I fitted the MPPT, fuse box and tails from the fuse box to the MPPT.

    [​IMG]

    I will be fitting the trunking from the roof down the left hand side of the controller. The trunking will carry the two 6mm cables down from the panels, exit and onto the fuse box. Then just below this, on the outbound side from the controller, via fuse box, the 6mm battery cables will go back into the trunking and down to the batteries. This way there will only be one trunking from floor of the wardrobe to the base. The cables will exit this trunking and then off along the floor (behind the drawers) to the batteries, via the second, close to the batteries, mounted fuse box.

    I then fitted some trunking and fitted the interface for the MPPT remote. The interface goes along the horizontal trunking then up the trunking at the rear of the wardrobe and exits out through the back.
    Phase 1 (b).

    [​IMG]

    I then fitted the MPPT remote controller in the high level cupboard directly behind the wardrobe, above TV etc. I spent a bit of time thinking where to put this, but the decision was made by SWMBO that 'easily got at and seen - but out of sight' was the rule. :Blush:
    Phase 1 (c).

    [​IMG]

    Weather too bad to get onto the roof, so this afternoon it's into the garage to mount the spoiler mounts to the solar panels and installing the cables from the controller to the batteries. I will do all the wiring with the fuses removed so once the whole install is done - it's in with the fuses in the correct set-up order and away to go............ I hope.
    :Doh:

    THANKS for having a look.

    Regards,

    Trikeman. :Wink:
     
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  2. SC 05 OUT

    SC 05 OUT Funster

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    Qestion

    are you not going to use the sargent loom to connect it into the main psu charger to save running cables to both the batterys
     
  3. Trikeman

    Trikeman Read Only Funster

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    I have the PSU2005 - no solar function on that one.
    Regards,

    Trikeman. :Wink:
     
  4. SC 05 OUT

    SC 05 OUT Funster

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    Shame it would have made life much easier for you . Less cables to run.
    keep the pi cs coming very interested on how it all works out
     
  5. Trikeman

    Trikeman Read Only Funster

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    Oh' its all going on at Trikeman's - Have now fitted the spoiler mounting brackets to both solar panels which are 12v 100watts, they will be wired in series (24v). I used marine grade stainless steel flange type screws. Once the brackets are bonded to the roof the stainless screws will allow me to remove the panels for cleaning underneath when needed.

    Phase 1 (d).
    Fitment of the spoiler mounting brackets to the solar panels.

    [​IMG]

    I have now fitted the twin fuse box near batteries and the cables from the controller end fuse box to the battery end. Unable to take pictures though - dark O clock now.

    I really don't think the panels will be going on the roof for a while though, this hideous weather is preventing it.
    :Angry:

    Regards,

    Trikeman. :Wink:
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2014
  6. robnchris

    robnchris Funster

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    Apparently the built in regulator in the Sargent unit isn't much cop, we have fitted a separate one on the recommendation of an auto electrician.
     
  7. Trikeman

    Trikeman Read Only Funster

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    I've heard similar too - plus the wiring is small and creates quite a resistance, OK for the on board charger but a bit small to 'squeeze' through the solar generated power. I am using 6mm cable to try to get every ounce from the panels via the MPPT.
    :BigGrin:

    Regards,

    Trikeman. :Wink:
     
  8. Trikeman

    Trikeman Read Only Funster

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    Hi All,
    Back to braving the elements - yet again. :Doh:

    Today I finished the 'lower' cabling and carried out all the tests - all passed with flying colours. Checked everything for continuity, resistances etc and all fine, put in some low watt fuses and fired the old gal up, minus the solar feeds (still not good weather to fit the panels). The remote control panel fired up too and the panel functioned as it should.
    :thumb:
    Removed the initial test tails and fitted the 6mm right through to the batteries, fused just below the controller and also at the battery end. Finished for the day now but really looking forward to what's left to do - fit both panels to the roof and drop the cables down to the controller,,,, but alas.

    [​IMG]

    Regards,

    Trikeman. :Wink:
     
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  9. dave newell lvs

    dave newell lvs Trader-Vehicle Services

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    Why are you wiring the panels in series? They will each generate around 21-22 volts typically so hooked up in series they cna go up to the low to mid 40 volt range. They'd do better wired in parallel I think.

    D.
     
  10. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    His model of Mppt regulator works better at the higher input voltage.
    I most recently have fitted panels in threes so not done one in series yet with the model I use.
     
  11. Trikeman

    Trikeman Read Only Funster

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    Hi Dave,
    thanks for getting back.

    The supplier recommended that the two 100w panels be fitted in series to up the voltage being supplied to the controller - as Andy mentions. The MPPT supplied is apparently designed to take the higher voltages. I was also surprised by being told 'in series' too.

    Dave, what would you think of this and what benefits wiring in parallel do you recon is over the 'in series' method?

    I'm always up for understanding more about solar......:BigGrin:

    Regards,

    Trikeman. :Wink:
     
  12. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    If it helps?
    At this time of year panels struggle to produce anything as they need 15 volts just to wake the regulator up.
    The higher voltage of the series connection gives the regulator something to play with where a parallel connection will output nothing at all.
     
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  13. Trikeman

    Trikeman Read Only Funster

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    Thanks Andy,
    you are a gentleman for getting back so quick and what you say makes perfect sense. :notworthy:

    I love having a go, however better understanding things, like solar, has been really rewarding.
    :thumb:

    Thanks again old chap - I can see my beer debt mounting here....:Laughing:

    Regards,

    Trikeman. :Wink:
     
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  14. StitchUp

    StitchUp Read Only Funster

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    Similar installation in my Burstner :)

    Meter
    [​IMG]

    Regulator
    [​IMG]

    2 x 200W Panels
    [​IMG]

    :thumb:

    I have a Battery Master to fit so when the leisure batteries are topped up the engine battery will be charged.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2014
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  15. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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  16. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Looks like you made the same mistake I made, under some conditions that aerial will shade the panel. Unless the picture is deceptive.
     
  17. Trikeman

    Trikeman Read Only Funster

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    This relay you recommend here, how does that actually fit on? I can see the diagram, but does fit at the leisure battery and then a cable has to be run to the cab battery? My cab battery has to be about 5 meters from the leisure batteries at least.

    Regards,,,,,,,, again, :Laughing:

    Trikeman. :Wink:
     
  18. dave newell lvs

    dave newell lvs Trader-Vehicle Services

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    Fair enough, if the reg is designed for the higher input voltage that's fine and as Andy says it does help at this time of year. Its worth mentioning though for others thinking of installing their own solar kit that most regs are not designed for the higher input voltages.

    D.
     
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  19. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    both units are connected exactly the same but do the job differently. They can be connect anywhere where the necessary connections converge
    This is usually recommended to be at the split charge relay but can be any number of places depending on the vehicle concerned.
    Many vans have a battery selector switch, this is another good option.
     
  20. StitchUp

    StitchUp Read Only Funster

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    Yes, I need to be mindful of where the sun is and try to avoid casting a shadow on the panels! The panels were fitted last summer and I've not had to hook up to charge the leisure batteries since.

    @Techno100
    I used the term 'Battery Master' loosely! I purchased a BCM12 BATTERY CHARGE MANAGER PRIME / SECONDARY CSB-2 from LeisureLines by Caravan Accessories C.A.K. Tanks. Acording to the instructions, when the leisure battery voltage exceeds 13.6v (with battery charger and solar panels) the device allows to recharge the car battery - charging current between 0.1 and 4amps. Hope it does the job.

    [​IMG]
     
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