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Thread: Got a solar panel, now what? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
02-18-2019 12:44 PM
Explainist in re charge controllers: the solar panel that puts out 21 volts may really put out 14 under a cloud. you need that to insure you have enough to charge a battery. the charge controller knocks that excess voltage down. it's the smart part of a smart battery charger, minus the transformer and rectifiers

PWM: simple old technology. one PWM, one battery, one panel. I run my surveillance system, and one monitor, off one solar panel per location. I use them as car chargers, and I am building a perimeter monitor for the ~12 acre property that has all remote sensors powered by solar

MPPT: run many solar cells in series for input, run a bank of batteries for output. large scale installations, many dollars

the single leading cause of fires in solar installations: failure to properly torque the bolts feeding many amps from cells or to batteries. finger tight is not enough. lock washers on both sides, crank it down past snug to "idiot tire changer with an impact wrench" tight.

experiment: put the solar cell in sunlight. put a voltmeter across it. note the voltage. completely cover one cell within the panel. watch the voltage go to zilch. the cells are in series. if one gets obscured the panel is a waste of effort. that one cell becomes a resistor. they need an unshaded environment to function.
02-17-2019 05:09 PM
charliemeyer007 I bought 20 W of cells/kit off e-bay cheap some time back. The goal was to make up a folding panel that would fit inside a 50 Cal ammo can, with the tablet and a battery charger.

In the mean time I have been looking at roll/folded up type units in the 100W range for the INCH cart. The regular 100 W panels could be attached to the BOV roof.
02-17-2019 05:02 PM
weaselrunner I had been thinking of one of the backpacking set ups that fold down for the bob. But this was too good to let it go into the dumpster. Good to start learning with for later down the road.
02-17-2019 03:33 PM
KLF You could add some led lights in some rooms, wired to the battery bank. Then you would not need to run generator just for lighting.
edit: yea, I forgot to press post button because I was watching a pretty good tv series :D
02-17-2019 03:04 PM
charliemeyer007 Great price. So you tested it and it works? 70W isn't a lot but better than nothing. Battery sealed lead acid or a deep cycle from like walmart. Charge controller. DC outlets. DC powered battery charger for Eneloops in AA,AAA and more. Perhaps the car charger for your laptop.

I have several hundred W of panels. A small bank of storage batteries.

I bought a Lenovo charger for my laptop - had to change the chargers output plug to fit computer $15 vs. $50 for the correct one. I bought the NiteCore D4 charger with the extra DC cord. Will do 4 AA/AAA at a time, 2 D cells, and 18650's using AC or 12 V. I also wired in some LED 12-30 VDC work lights for my HAM radio area, the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom.
02-17-2019 02:31 PM
CrypticCRICKET You'll need a storage battery to take the charge from the panel and also a charge controller. I see charge controllers on Amazon that now have USB ports so that could eliminate a piece of hardware using one of these. Here's a link.

One of the 10 amp or 20 amp blue controllers on that page would more than get it done. $10-$13. The only reason that I include 20 amp draw controllers is that even though you never draw 10 amps from them, 10 amp controllers seem to be less hardy in my experiences with inexpensive charge controllers.
02-17-2019 01:51 PM
Got a solar panel, now what?

We had some panels that came in at work that were a special order for a customer. One was shattered and one only had the housing bent a little. I got the one with the bend. Now what do I do? It's 1350 x 345 x 40 mm. There is a small housing on the back with 2 cables coming out. The specs are
module type m70w
max power 70w
max power current 3.26a
max power voltage 21.5v

I brought it home with the thoughts of wiring it up as a charger for cell phones, tablets, batteries, etc for power outages. One less thing to plug to the generator and the price was right. Thanks

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