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Old 09-02-2010, 07:35 AM
Optimistic_Pessimist Optimistic_Pessimist is offline
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Hi All,

As I'm going to purchase an off grid set-up I would be very interested to hear which brands/models are particularly well made/durable, as replacement post SHTF may be tricky. . .

Which brand/models have you used for

Solar Panels
Deep cycle batteries (AGM ones)
Pure Sine Inverter
Charge Controller

Cheers,
OP
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Old 09-02-2010, 07:50 AM
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Kyrocera make good panels. Trace (now xantrex) make good, reliable charge controllers and inverters. I read that the original designers from trace started outback inverters. I have not used their stuff yet but it is worth looking at.

Surrette makes good long life batteries. I know that AGM batteries are easier to maintain, but they do not have the same life expectancy. You might want to think that decision again.
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Old 09-02-2010, 07:51 AM
KODIAKHERSHEY KODIAKHERSHEY is online now
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Just starting to research this area. The only input I have is the batteries. I'm told the Trojan deep cycle T-105 is very good. I'll be watching your thread for other input. Thanks, and good luck.........
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Old 09-02-2010, 08:23 AM
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here is a piece of advice on building a solar system ..first off read everything you can get your hands on

second ask a 1000 or more question and get diff answers to the same question

third sit down and really plan out what appliences you are going to be wanting for a off grid system

fourth sit down and look at the cost of building that system in a piece meal fashion or all at one time .

this is the last buy top of the line items when it comes to solar

remember this one saying pay once cry once when opening the wallet to buy the system.. buy cheap and open the wallet a lot and cry a lot when replaceing the cheap items that failed at the wrong time in your solar system '

and good luck on the build..
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Old 09-02-2010, 08:51 AM
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I have 12 kyrocera 85 watt all 12 volt running through two trace (now xantrax) c-60 charge controllers with led readouts, which then feed to my battery bank of 18 T-105 6 volt batteries , which are in series and parallel. Every two 6 volt batteries in series then produces 12 volts witch connect the the next two wired in parallel and then on and on forming battery banks. Then from there, through a very heavy duty fuse into my Trace 1224 inverters with 120 amp battery chargers which also allow me to run a large back up generator to charge the batteries on bad weather days. I am not saying that is the best, but having lived off the grid for about 15 years, I find this works well. Also it is pretty easy for the average guy to wire and install all himself, and also to add panels as nec with little or no problem.
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Old 09-02-2010, 09:17 PM
Optimistic_Pessimist Optimistic_Pessimist is offline
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Hi Nadja,

thanks for the detail - exactly what I was after. Can I just ask why you went with 18 x 6v batteries in parallel/series rather than 9 x 12v ones? Was there a specific reason, or did you simply have cheap/easy access to them?

Thanks again for your very useful post,

OP
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Old 09-03-2010, 02:47 PM
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Make sure you read everything because installing a solar system is a long term commitment and you want to get the best up to date technology.

There are about 10 top brands that have been around for abou 15+ years and so they are the ones leading the way.
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Old 09-03-2010, 07:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Optimistic_Pessimist View Post
...Can I just ask why you went with 18 x 6v batteries in parallel/series rather than 9 x 12v ones?..
Great question!

Assume two identical types of batteries, and both have exactly the same mass. Therefore, in the 2x6V system, each cell mass is double the 1x12V cell.

The power of an entire battery bank is dependent upon its weakest cell.

Therefore, any given cell in a 2x6V can degrade twice as much and still maintain the same apparent performance level.

A solar system has very high amperage demands for long periods of time. In general, batteries are purpose design and built. The current 6V battery has been designed and built for this use.

In pure science theory, there would be no difference between the two systems. In fact, since the internal 12V cell connections could be optimized by design and manufacture, the extra external connections on the 6V system could be the weaker link of the two systems. As soon as cost, profit, and warranties enter the equation, things get different fast.

Hope this helps!
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Old 09-03-2010, 09:03 PM
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Optimistic Pessimestic I used the t-105, because I was framing a large house for one of the people who own the solar companies in my little area. I talked with Matt about it over several weeks, and he finally convinced me to stay away from the 12 volt, (15 years ago) I have had a few problems , but isn't that always the case, we call it a learning curve nowadays, but overall , I have been quite pleased. I see many people using the 12 volt over the years in the solar stores and crying because they will need to throw them away and buy 6 volt deep cycle batteries. A friend of mine just had to replace his 8 t-105's, but heck, they were 13 years old. I pay roughly $125.00 each for them, but, he found a heckof a deal in phoenix for $75.00 each. Worth driving down the mountain for. Never dawned on me, but he called a few golf courses. Of course, as they are used in golf carts. Hick Industries, yes , the boys that were formally Trace Solar , now own Outback. But they are really high end. The invertor needs to be coupled to one of their charge controllers which is about 750.00 after you buy their inverter at about $3,500.00 and then a "wiring unit" on the other side witch is also very expensive. Work well, except when they don't. Real down side, is that after talking with a few people, they are so complicated to set up, you will almost always have to pay the "solar" guys a wheel barrow full of money to come out and set it up. Everytime we get a lightning strike within say 1/4 mile or so, your invertor senses this and shuts down resulting in having to set it back up again. Mine takes about 20 seconds, and my wife can do it with no problem. Make sense to you ? Hope so
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Old 09-04-2010, 10:42 AM
Optimistic_Pessimist Optimistic_Pessimist is offline
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Nadja - yep makes sense and I appreciate the extra info.
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Old 09-04-2010, 02:00 PM
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Never even noticed it until just now, but arn't you down under people on a different power then us ? Seems to me your on 50 hertz while we are on 60 hertz, also we are on 120 volt and it seems to me you are on the same system as England, 220 volts ? Make damn sure of your power requirements before you buy anything. Hey, do you all still drive on the wrong side of the road LOL Just funnin ya. Good Luck on your solar.
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Old 09-04-2010, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nadja View Post
Never even noticed it until just now, but arn't you down under people on a different power then us ? Seems to me your on 50 hertz while we are on 60 hertz, also we are on 120 volt and it seems to me you are on the same system as England, 220 volts ? Make damn sure of your power requirements before you buy anything. Hey, do you all still drive on the wrong side of the road LOL Just funnin ya. Good Luck on your solar.
Don't forget the cute little switches on every power out let. Most appliances will run on the slower frequency and DC DC converters don't care much at all. But the higher voltage will really get your attention.
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Old 09-05-2010, 12:24 PM
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Optimistic... Extra info is free, what you do with it will cost you if you don't do your research..... Good Luck on your solar adventure
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Old 09-05-2010, 05:44 PM
Optimistic_Pessimist Optimistic_Pessimist is offline
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Driving on the "wrong side" according to you USA guys isn't too much of an issue. . . it's managing to do it upside down thats the problem!
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