Amp . meter

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  • March 31, 2016 6:46 PM
    Reply # 3922158 on 3889865

    Well in my last post on this thread I said I was all over the place , but here is what I finally landed on for batts .  6 volts for house and a 12 volt starter batt . I will be getting the solar panel prolly next month as that batt. tab was over $400.  I'll keep you posted, Mark .

  • April 04, 2016 1:00 PM
    Reply # 3928584 on 3889865
    Deleted user

    Mark :

    The panel and controller you noted should work? (but you will be stuck with only 140w max) so if mounted fixed it should be getting 19Ah day and 30 Ah if movable.  In any case it should allow you more time between motoring. A side note: 2 hrs on the motor is unlikely to get 100% on the bat and more likely brining you up to 97 to 98% charge+/- even if the alt does not seam to be charging. The solar is slower and if matched with the loads can get you to 99.9% or mostly full charged. For most of us around 4PM.

    Suggestions, On your next trip before solar, use your multi meter to check the usage (cell, TV, etc) and mark down how many hr's you run them at that current draw. Then when planning  $$$ for solar you can match it up,  so fixed mount = panel watts/12V = (Amps max) next  * 8hr / day * 30% sun ave angle = your load /day in amp hours.

    If you need a little bit more than a fixed install, then make the panel mount so you can tilt it. This can double the output if you change it every hour, but if just twice a day you can get 10 to 25% more out of the panel as angle does mater.

    Best of luck:


    I am not sure how much Battery you went with;  Last I read was 160Ah +/- which would match up well with the 140Watt Panel, but if you are adding refrige etc. you will need more Ah. which just means when you add more panels the charge controller will need to be changed to a larger one as they do not parallel. 

    Last modified: April 04, 2016 1:02 PM | Deleted user
  • April 04, 2016 3:28 PM
    Reply # 3928887 on 3889865

    Hi Norm , the batts. are in and all charged up , I'm still working on securing them . I got side tracked for a week because I helped a friend do a bottom paint job , anyway I bought two 6 volts  232 AH each . And one 12 volt starting battery .

    I didn't have to wait on the panel and controller as my buddy gave me some money for helping him with the bottom job ( I told him he didn't owe me anything but he insisted ) so here is what I bought , a 100 watt monocrysitalline  semi flexible , I'm not going to flex it. I got It because it weighs only 4 pounds . I plan to make a movable frame that will clip to the life lines and then I can stow it when under way , or not we will see . For the controller I went with the Genasun 10.5 amp. MPPT . I chose this one for it's simplicity and performance . I know there are others with multiple functions , but I feel pretty good about this one . I will keep you posted on performance .  Thanks , Mark .    

    Last modified: April 04, 2016 3:31 PM | Anonymous member
  • April 04, 2016 4:32 PM
    Reply # 3928936 on 3889865
    Deleted user

    Sounds great!

    One item I did not note: is the weight of the traditional panels, mine are around 16# ea. which is not great, the 4#'s is much much better. 

    It sounds like you are well on your way to having a pretty great system. Just take care of the water levels, and watch for corrosion on the connections (clean and make sure they are tight) and have fun.

    I would be interested just how many Amps the flex panel produces (test at some point during the day when the Bat is low 12.5 or below)  above 12.5 the controller may reduce the flow as to not overcharge .  

    my 12 year old 80watt panels do about 5.2 +/- Amps/ea at 14.5v on there best alignment = hand aligned and not mounted. Also at full sun, no clouds or smog.

  • April 05, 2016 9:26 AM
    Reply # 3930461 on 3889865

    Here is the panel I bought It is made by Sunpower , I have never heard of them I went to their  website and found they are a US .Co and have been in business for quite some time  . Optimum max amp . output is 5.7 . The 100 w glass panel I was looking at weighs over 20 lbs!  Mark .

    Last modified: April 05, 2016 5:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • April 15, 2016 6:58 PM
    Reply # 3965363 on 3889865

    I think I got burnt on the solar panel , I don't think it's a Sunpower as it doesn't say Sunpower on it and it's made in China . No big deal . I made a frame for it out of Oak, it clips to the life line and has a strut going down to the Yankee car "T" track . Anyhow I got it all wired up , and no smoke or sparks  . On the controller , I was instructed to install a jumper (supplied)  because I'm using flood batts. as opposed to a lithium  batt . this jumper puts the controller into equalization mode 14.5 volts ! This makes me a little nervous , when I first hooked up the panel the batts. were at 12.3 volts in only 2 hrs. the controller went to float mode , but the controller was still putting out 14.5 volts ,  It was a long day and I had to shut down the operation , I forgot to check voltage with the panel off . Also with the panel not hooked up to the controller I put the volt multi meter to it , I got 20.7 volts but then when I switched over to amps. I got zero , I should have got something like 5.7 amps , so I'm concerned about that . But the thing is charging like crazy .   I will use and observe more , but so far I'm really amazed at this stuff .   

  • April 18, 2016 5:27 AM
    Reply # 3967995 on 3889865


    The Genasun is a good controller.  If you have flooded lead acid (FLA) batteries, then 14.5V is the charging voltage, then float is 13.7V.  Your battery manufacturer will have specs for these, but this is very close in general.  FLA are more tolerant of voltages if the controller is a bit off the recommended specification.

    By the way, unless you have an induction ammeter, the only way to measure current is with a shunt; which is wired into your digital multi-meter (DMM) for low current levels.  So, if you want to measure current you MUST remove a lead and place the DMM in SERIES with your panels in the circuit with the controller, else you will measure 0A because the DMM is a "perfect" resistor [infinite resistance] in parallel to your panels; which as you may have found is hardly useful .. :)

    That book I recommended will help more on this if you are confused.




  • April 18, 2016 9:03 AM
    Reply # 3969068 on 3889865

    Thanks for the words Tyler , that put me at ease . Today will be the first day I have it running all day . I'l be checking for that magic float number .

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