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Rubicon Solar Power Experience

Discussion in 'Power Systems' started by Cruiserdrew, Jul 4, 2015.

  1. Cruiserdrew

    Cruiserdrew SILVER Star

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    The temp compensation is for long term. It ramps the voltage down when it's hot and up when it's cold, which reflects the relative efficiency of the underlying chemistry with changes in temperature. For a week at a time it will be plenty close enough and I would not worry about it.

    That 6 ga will tend to minimize voltage/conduction losses, and my bet is your system will work perfectly.
     
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  2. cc93cruiser

    cc93cruiser CRUZAHEAD

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    Nice! shhh, I won't tell anyone that is a harbor freight cutting board your using on that charge controller, ha (at least it looks identical like one I bought from H.B.)... Yea, I think I might just wire the morningstar next to fuse block, I don't plan to power anything but arb fridge, so the minimal charging efficiency loss you mentioned won't be too noticeble..
     
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  3. Cruiserdrew

    Cruiserdrew SILVER Star

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    It's actually a highly specialized cutting board, with "solar ready" features built in. It has special cross linked polymer in a high density array. Very difficult to obtain. I will sell you one for $100, and that's a steal. :D
     
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  4. cc93cruiser

    cc93cruiser CRUZAHEAD

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    SOLD, payment method prefered?:rofl:.. Thanks for all the input...
     
  5. DickM

    DickM SILVER Star

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    Looks a lot like the one I cut up for drawer slides-imagine specialized, and dual purpose:hillbilly:
     
  6. cc93cruiser

    cc93cruiser CRUZAHEAD

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    Fellas 1 more question regarding my solar project using the morningstar sunsaver solar charger. Andy, you mentioned that you have a mobile solar system where you can use on different rigs.. I wanted to detach the solar panel when not in use which would be 90% of the time (only needing panel installed when out in boonies) but I wanted to keep my solar charger wired with my aux fuse block at all times.. Like this I can wire quick disconnects from my charger to panel when needed.. Will there be any issues with my charger wired to aux fuse block without panel installed/wired?

     
  7. Cruiserdrew

    Cruiserdrew SILVER Star

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    Shouldn't be a problem, but you'll keep the electronics of the charge controller on all the time. RVs do this. But I have not tested this. If you're backfeeding through your panel, just pull the fuse when not in operation. Then everything is off.
     
  8. cc93cruiser

    cc93cruiser CRUZAHEAD

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    Will do... Perhaps I can install a relay and on/off switch for charger too....We'll see....Thanks again for reply...
     
  9. cc93cruiser

    cc93cruiser CRUZAHEAD

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    Well, here is my setup...... I hope we are gtg with charge controller in the cab instead of under the hood.... Instructions say maximum of 10 ft away from battery..... Time will tell.

    20170423_093001.jpg
     
  10. Cruiserdrew

    Cruiserdrew SILVER Star

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    Have you tried it yet? Sun's up!
     
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  11. cc93cruiser

    cc93cruiser CRUZAHEAD

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    Haven't taken delievery of panel yet. Will report back..............Totally off subject but I posted a video on youtube of a run we did more than 10 years ago.. I think you make a quick cameo in it towards the end.... lol... slow vid, but never before seen footage of norcal wagons run..;)
     
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  12. Cruiserdrew

    Cruiserdrew SILVER Star

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    I remember that trip. Weather was sort of crappy all weekend as I recall.

    Funny, I still wear that jacket and hat.
     
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  13. Cruiserdrew

    Cruiserdrew SILVER Star

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    Some new solar for 2017.

    New Grape 180 watt panel from Home Depot. I used this panel not because it's the best panel but because it was a good price $199 when I bought it. HD varies the price day to day, but at $199 for 180 watts was decent and the warranty is with Home Depot which has two stores within 3 miles from me. If you look at the 80 in the background, it's sporting last year's Rubicon 160 watt panel, still working great and used extensively in Arizona earlier this month.

    IMG_0610.JPG
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2017
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  14. Cruiserdrew

    Cruiserdrew SILVER Star

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    Rack details:

    Rick (I think @Inverness) here on ih8mud designed these gutter mounts. They are designed to work with 80/20 extruded aluminum crossbars making for a super strong and modular system. The mounts are stainless, with stainless hardware. Infinitely adjustable, very unique and trick. As far as I know, only Rick, @TrickyT , and myself have a rack like this. Anyway, clever design by metal master Rick, and because it fits 80/20 material, everything 80/20 makes can be adapted to the rack. I have even adapted an awning, which I will show later.

    The panel can tilt up to 45 degrees to the front or rear to maximize solar harvest in marginal conditions.

    IMG_0611.JPG

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    IMG_0613.JPG
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2017
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  15. Cruiserdrew

    Cruiserdrew SILVER Star

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    Victron BlueSolar 75/15 mppt controller with bluetooth:

    There is a whole thread running on this controller and I can't recommend it enough. Anyway, I share the controller between trucks and so did not hard mount it. Instead, it's mounted on a poly board (seriously used a cutting board) with the bluetooth transmitter attached. I have an 8 ga marine dual wire attached to the inside fuse panel (which is under the passenger seat). Everything plugs together with Anderson Power Poles. The panel wire can be anything down from the roof, to the controller, The controller charges the battery by backfeeding through the interior panel. Works great as you can see in the screen shot below. This is with the panel flat on the roof, about 2 pm, slight overcast sky.

    IMG_0615.JPG

    IMG_0616.PNG
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2017
  16. opg4759a

    opg4759a KB6FJ /AE SILVER Star

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    I would like to see how you are doing the tilt up for the panel, since, I've been looking at doing this as well once I start getting my rack and panel for my 60.

    Would you foresee any wind loading issues if you offset the panel to the left or right to allow for a long item like an Oztent on the rack as well?
     
  17. Cruiserdrew

    Cruiserdrew SILVER Star

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    My tilting arrangement is extremely basic and low tech, so be aware.

    Basically, the panel attaches to the rack with quick release pins (Square hitch pins). I have an an android app called "solar panel tilt" that calculates the optimum elevation of the panel to maximize daylight power harvest based on lattitude and date. The calculator assumes your panels are facing straight south as well. I keep a compass in the truck center console to line up north/south when parked.

    To set the tilt, I have some precut risers the correct height to give me the correct solar angle. So to set, I make sure I am parked north/south, then release the north pins, insert the riser and re-insert the pins. The panel pivots on the south pins. Low tech, basically free and takes about 2 minutes to set up and take down. I posted this picture previously from Death Valley waiting for the sun rise-this is 24 degrees if I remember right:

    [​IMG]

    I'm sure there is a more trick way to do this, but this works perfectly well for the 2-3 trips where I'll be stationary more than 24 hours. Most of the time, the panel can make more power than I need even flat on the roof, and no tilt is needed.

    At Rubicon this year, I'll be parked at Buck Island for 4 days and will be running 2 refrigerators and will set it up for optimal power harvest.

    A really clever person could build a tilting and rotating system that would update it's position all day long, while optimizing the light harvest each moment. Kind of like the MPPT of positioning. But that's way too much work. I have been thinking about a lazy susan type thing with automated struts but that's introducing way more complexity than is needed to run a couple of 12 volt fridges, charge some batteries and run some camp lights.
     
  18. concretejungle

    concretejungle SILVER Star

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    Oh, nice, loving the blue tooth monitoring!! I got to get in on that!
     
  19. jfrench

    jfrench

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    GREAT thread.

    It's probably quite a simple answer but I'm electrically challenged. Biology was not too bad, nor was math, but physics...

    I have 12v starting battery in my UZJ100 and 12v house battery in my AT Chaser trailer but 24v starting batteries in my BJ74. I want a setup that I can use interchangeably between all systems. What do I do? Is it as simple as getting a charge controller that works with both 12v and 24v systems and making sure I have enough wattage in panels?

    I need to get a power meter to determine how much I need but currently the trucks would be powering an Engel 45 and charging of phones/tablets. The trailer battery will handle 12v electric blankets for the :princess:s and some LEDs +/- a water pump and personal device charging. As previously mentioned, expandability will be important as power needs (wants) increase.

    Thanks in advance
     
  20. Cruiserdrew

    Cruiserdrew SILVER Star

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    Not as simple as you might think. You need a panel with a VOC (Voltage Open Circuit) above 36-40 volts or more, like a house type panel. Or, more realistically, you need two "12 volt" panels (12 volt panels have a VOC around 21 volts) wired in SERIES. Many charge controllers can do 12 or 24 volt systems. The Victron MPPT controller discussed here can handle both 12 and 24 volt systems and senses the system automatically.

    If you want a folding panel(a good place to start), look for two 60 watt panels, get some hinges and make a folding panel. THen wire them in Series, and you're all set. If you really want to use power hogs like electric blankets, get a bigger battery bank for the trailer. If you want a permanent install, you need to look at how much real estate you have to install it.

    It will be worth it to learn your power needs. Then size your trailer batteries to that, and size your solar to your batteries. A general rule of thumb is that every 100 amp hours of storage battery, needs 100 watts of charging. With your current set up you could start with a 120 watt system as described and go from there.

    One thing to also keep in mind is that your alternator can make more charging current in an hour than your panels can make in a day, so if you're moving every day, you don't really need any solar. You also should look at up sizing the wires that charge your trailer battery from your alternator. With better wiring, you'll have less voltage drop, and thus faster charging of your trailer batteries while underway.
     
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