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I completed the solar portion of my system yesterday and as of this posting the system was under the suns power.

We are waiting to see if this will carry the charge overnight. Keeping our fingers crossed.

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Back to the drawing board. It appears even though the water pump draws 45 watts and 0.32 amps, the inverter seems to be the weak link here. It draw a lot more amps than the current solar system can keep up with. After dark the system seemed to run about 1 1/2 hours before stopping. This is unacceptable and we will figure out something else.

It may well be that the inverter senses the voltage and when the voltage drops too low it shuts down to keep from badly damaging the battery by draining it down too far.

Also, when you convert to 12 VDC, the pump is actually going to be drawing closer to 3.75-4 amps so once you add to it whatever extra draw the inverter is causing, then the 45ah batter might maybe on a very full charge get through the night before being drained half way down, however if your battery wasn't able to be fully charged while also driving the pump then it isn't really a shock that it wouldn't make it through the night.

See solar power set ups need to be way over sized (if you have say a 45 watt solar panel, it isn't going to be able to run a 45 watt pump and also charge a battery at the same time)  I expect you will probably need at least a couple more panels and another battery or two to really make it viable for complete off grid 24 hour operation.

Why not simply use a 12V pump, and eliminate the inverter?

TC you are a wealth of knowledge and we all appreciate that about you.

What you said, made perfect sense and since I was running the system all day on the panels, how could the battery fully charge for night time operations? Never thought about that.

Also, I am running the inverter off of the solar panel kits regulator and wonder if it should be directly connected to the battery instead? Right now I switched back to FPL power until I can sort out my next step. Maybe, ac during the day and solar at night?

I don't feel the least bit bad about my solar panel investment because here in Florida we loose power quite often during severe weather conditions. So my set up can be used as a back up source of power for our system and (with a bigger inverter) might be able to make coffee or run a small oven or microwave for a short period of time.

In the mean time I will see what I might do to increase the longevity of my stored solar power for night time operations.

Regards,
Bob


TCLynx said:

It may well be that the inverter senses the voltage and when the voltage drops too low it shuts down to keep from badly damaging the battery by draining it down too far.

Also, when you convert to 12 VDC, the pump is actually going to be drawing closer to 3.75-4 amps so once you add to it whatever extra draw the inverter is causing, then the 45ah batter might maybe on a very full charge get through the night before being drained half way down, however if your battery wasn't able to be fully charged while also driving the pump then it isn't really a shock that it wouldn't make it through the night.

See solar power set ups need to be way over sized (if you have say a 45 watt solar panel, it isn't going to be able to run a 45 watt pump and also charge a battery at the same time)  I expect you will probably need at least a couple more panels and another battery or two to really make it viable for complete off grid 24 hour operation.

Do some reading up on relays since you might simply use the solar to charge your batteries and set up with a relay so that when mains power goes out, it will switch and power your system off the battery for as long as it can or until the mains power comes back on.

See I have a relay set up so that my air pumps run off mains power normally but when the power goes out I have a battery (that is kept trickle charged off mains) that will power the air pump for at least 24 hours.  If we do have a power out for very long I will need to be sure to bump the charge up to recharge the batter before switching back to trickle charge.

It is important to test/excersize the battery every month or so to make sure the backup will serve when needed.

Jon,

I have read a lot about 12 volt pumps not being nearly as reliable (burn up quickly) as their ac counterparts. I did however consider that when I first was contemplating a solar power supply. Thanks for the suggestion.

Jon Parr said:

Why not simply use a 12V pump, and eliminate the inverter?

Hi,  What I do is run an inverter because if the voltage drops below a certain point the inverter will shut off an issue an alarm.

To compensate for times like winter when we get less sunlight I put a harbor frieght timer on the circut ( $20.)  that runs the pump only during the day, and I let the air pump run 24/7 because.

Just another idea.    The 12V pumps I had burnt up after about 3 months of use, the quietone pumps have been going over over a couple years with no issues.

Ok, I'm trying to regurgitate this from memory (I think Mad German deserves the credit for me picking this up)

If you are running the DC pumps directly off the Solar and batteries, then as the voltage rises and falls, it takes it's toll on the pump (when the voltage drops below 12 V the pumps are basically browning out which I guess tends to burn them up.)  So that would be the reason that those 12 V bilge pumps tend not to last long when people hook them up to a battery and solar panel (seeing as the solar panels are often not big enough and the battery banks often not big enough, the installs often subject the poor pumps to regular low voltage conditions which shortens their life.)

So, if you are going to do this, you need more solar panels and more batteries than you might fist thing are necessary or you will find the 12 V pumps burning out or the inverters giving alarms about low voltage or simply stopping.

UPDATE: Sunday I charged the battery only and ran the system off of commercial power. Maybe today, after work I will see what the battery voltage reads and see if it is fully charged.

If it is I will try and run the system over night again, however I think if it lasts all night then the battery will surely be close to drained and I will have the same issue as the first day I tried it with the battery less than fully charged. Maybe adding a second battery would help?

I will keep you all posted.

TCLynx said:

It may well be that the inverter senses the voltage and when the voltage drops too low it shuts down to keep from badly damaging the battery by draining it down too far.

Also, when you convert to 12 VDC, the pump is actually going to be drawing closer to 3.75-4 amps so once you add to it whatever extra draw the inverter is causing, then the 45ah batter might maybe on a very full charge get through the night before being drained half way down, however if your battery wasn't able to be fully charged while also driving the pump then it isn't really a shock that it wouldn't make it through the night.

See solar power set ups need to be way over sized (if you have say a 45 watt solar panel, it isn't going to be able to run a 45 watt pump and also charge a battery at the same time)  I expect you will probably need at least a couple more panels and another battery or two to really make it viable for complete off grid 24 hour operation.

lets start with your inverter; what type, size, and no load current draw?  Inverter technology leaves many people in the dark, literally.  The more you can educate yourself the better you will be.  Got to run, will check back latter

 

Terry,

It's a Coleman 200 watt inverter. http://www.amazon.com/Coleman-PMP200C-Continuous-Power-Inverter/dp/...

Terry Clark said:

lets start with your inverter; what type, size, and no load current draw?  Inverter technology leaves many people in the dark, literally.  The more you can educate yourself the better you will be.  Got to run, will check back latter

 

You may also want to try a Whale GP6512 pump. It is a 12 volt that only uses 15 amps and moves about 16 liters per min. or about 60 gallons at a 9 foot head.

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