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Tag: Electrical

Remote Monitoring of Solar Charger

by on Sep.25, 2014, under Electrical

Over the labor day weekend, I installed a new add-on for my Midnite Solar Charge Controller.  It is called a Whizbang Jr.

Basically, this allows the charge controller to measure the actual current directly into and out of the battery, without worrying about what loads I might have turned on at any point in time.

This allows the charge controller to make better decisions on when to stop charging on any given day, putting less strain on the batteries.  It also will allow me to more effectively monitor the actual state of charge of the batteries, rather than guessing based on battery voltage.  But that part hasn’t been added to the software, yet.

I haven’t grabbed any photos of my install yet, but here is a generic one that I’ve borrowed from the manufacturer…

Whizbang Jr.

Whizbang Jr.

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Battery Maintenance

by on Aug.12, 2014, under Ranch Maintenance

While waiting for the scrap lumber to burn down, I did battery maintenance.

First, I let the solar panels charge until the charger went into float mode (about 1:00 pm that day).

Then I checked that the water level was above the plates of the battery (it was in all cells).  I had not filled the batteries since May, so I was concerned, but all was well.

I checked the initial voltage on each battery. They were all in the 6.53 – 6.55 range (I wrote them down, but didn’t capture the figures in the snapshot I took to bring back to town).

Next, I put the charger into equalize mode. I ran in that mode for about an hour, but for the last 15 minutes or so, it had clouded up, so wasn’t fully effective.  I’ll have to run another equalize charge next time we come up.

Finally, I let the system go back into float mode, and measured the voltages and specific gravity for each cell.  All were in the good range (1.265 is usually considered 100% charged).

Battery # After Equalization Float Voltage Cell 1 SG Cell 2 SG Cell 3 SG
1 6.55 1.265 1.265 1.265
2 6.54 1.265 1.265 1.265
3 6.56 1.265 1.265 1.265
4 6.56 1.265 1.265 1.265
5 6.52 1.265 1.260 1.260
6 6.56 1.260 1.265 1.265
7 6.56 1.260 1.265 1.260
8 6.53 1.260 1.260 1.260

 

Checking Specific Gravity.

Checking Specific Gravity.

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More Solar Equipment Work

by on Apr.27, 2014, under Electrical

I made it up to the Ranch on the weekend of April 11th. I had four goals on this trip:
1. Install a temperature controlled fan in the solar equipment box
2. Open the place up after winter
3. Replace the water pump for the cabin
4. Collect pictures to support creation of a how-to guide for the Ranch

Fans Installed in Solar bay

Fans Installed in Solar bay

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Solar Installation – Part 3

by on Sep.16, 2013, under Electrical

Once the exterior of the job site boxes was complete, the next step was to bolt them to the porch deck.  I used carraige bolts to minimize the chance of someone removing them from the outside.

Next, I started work on the interior.  The equipment was set in place and moved around until a satisfactory arrangement was found.

Finding positions

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Solar Installation – Part 2

by on Sep.16, 2013, under Electrical

Once the ground wire was routed from the panels to the ground, they were attched to the ground lug in the combiner box.  This box is used to combine the outputs of the two strings of panels into a single pair of wires going to the charge controller.  There are circuit breakers installed, mostly to use as switches to isolate any problems.

Combiner box installed

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