Solar Installation – Part 1


Solar Installation – Part 1

by rdpecken on Sep.16, 2013, under Electrical

In mid-September, I went up to install the remaining pieces of the Solar Installation. These included the charge controller, inverter and batteries.

Solar Equipment installed in job-site toolbox

Prior to hauling the equipment up there, I worked on the panel installation into a steel job-site box. This is intended to increase security for the equipment, as it is installed outside of the cabin. The job site boxes will double as a bench seat on the porch, letting the occupant sit up a little higher so he can easily see over the porch railing.

The installation panel consists of a sheet of 3/4″ plywood, cut to fit the interior of the box. It is attached to the box with two sets of latches, one set used as a hinge. So the panel can swing from horizontal (when working on the equipment) to vertical (in operation for ventilation).

Fitting the panel for vertical position
Determining the hinge position

We bought the job-site toolboxes from Home Depot. Unfortunately, they did not carry the correct size padlock for proper operation. I cannot emphasize the importance of having the exact type of padlock (Master No. 5) for the locking mechanism. Since Home Depot did not have the correct size in Mesa, I bought something close. It was close enough to get the latch to lock, but in the wrong position. The result was one ruined latch and two ruined padlocks.  I spent about 3 hours trying to unlatch the stuck mechanism, finally giving up and sacrificing the stuck latch. I will have to use a welder to make a repair later.

Lock stuck in incorrect position.

After getting the box unlocked, I picked up another (different) incorrect lock from Home Depot in Flagstaff. This time I knew what to look for in fit, and determined that they would lead to the same type of problem. Finally, I went to the Home Depot in Kingman, and they actually had the correct No. 5 padlocks called for. After installing these, the mechanism worked perfectly.

The first thing I worked on after arriving at the Ranch was the grounding for the solar panels. I had brought some #6 bare copper grounding wire. Starting at the top of the panels, I drilled holes and installed grounding lugs on each panel. Going all around the outside in one run, then over the edge of the roof and down to the ground.

Grounding Lug
Ground Wire
 Continued in Part 2…



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