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I saw there really wasn't a topic for this, with society becoming increasingly aware of their carbon footprint or lessoning their impact on the environment.  Maybe this would be a good place to share info, knowledge, experience, equipment, suppliers, setup etc on solar applications......

In the next few weeks I'll try posting some basic solar info and general rules of thumbs, As and if this progresses, get into the sizing of equipment, types of equipment, pumps, panels, inverters, chargers, lighting and storage systems.

 

Hope to hear from others as well as input or questions.

Thanks

the mad german

 

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I never disconnect anything.  My off grid solar system charges while discharging every day.  However, I discharge through an inverter and timer- whether that makes a difference, I don't know. 

Dave Durkin said:

From the initial research I did, one sore point is the inability to charge the battery at the same time it is discharging to operate a device like a water pump.
@George: My guess is its a factor of the charge controller but don't know. Maybe TMG can pipe in and confirm or deny this as an issue. I wouldn't be overly surprised if I am wrong.
Apparently some inverters have circuitry that shuts off a discharge if the battery is depleted below a level. This would make it dangerous for AP should a pump and aerator turn off after dark when it is unattended and bacteria are consuming O2 at an elevated level.

Source: http://www.solar-facts.com/batteries/battery-charging.php

This stuff is more complicated than it looks at first blush.

Dave,

it would be dangerous for the fish (if the system is running heavy) if the pump/aerator or whatever turns off because of the inverter sensing the low battery condition but letting the battery completely go flat several hours later and having the pumps/aerators turn off isn't really much better since then you not only loose the fish but also the battery may also need to be replaced and in some situation other electronics might also be damaged.

Better bet would be to have a big enough battery bank that you are not running the risk of having the batteries go flat nightly even if there are a few cloudy days.

I agree with what TC says, 1 of the reasons, my system works well is because of the excessive battery capacity for what little consumption I use.

Kind of 1 of the drawbacks of a solar set-up is the expense of batteries/charging setup. So its always better to go  the extra mile especially when it involves a risk such as the fish. If not 1 would be better staying with AC power with which an extended power outage can wreak as much damage. kind of 1 of the reasons I went with solar, in case of power outages. But again if you're not going to go the extra mile on a system whether it be primary or a backup it could end up costing more in the long run.


 
TCLynx said:

Dave,

it would be dangerous for the fish (if the system is running heavy) if the pump/aerator or whatever turns off because of the inverter sensing the low battery condition but letting the battery completely go flat several hours later and having the pumps/aerators turn off isn't really much better since then you not only loose the fish but also the battery may also need to be replaced and in some situation other electronics might also be damaged.

Better bet would be to have a big enough battery bank that you are not running the risk of having the batteries go flat nightly even if there are a few cloudy days.

George, you can still charge while discharging.

Its really a matter of sizing and capacity. If solar systems weren't capabale of doing this, none of the large scale systems would work.

So you want your charge to be at least 1 to 1 1/2 times minimum as much more then your draw if not more, otherwise you'll gain nothing nor will you be able to keep up unless its during peak hours only. Which would mean your system would only work 3-6 hours a day, and at that rate it really wouldn't be considered a self sustaining solar set-up but a limitied energy savings device...and very limited at that.

Thus the reason for the oversizing of batteries to give you the extra power needed during offpeak hours and continued use at night.
 
George said:

I never disconnect anything.  My off grid solar system charges while discharging every day.  However, I discharge through an inverter and timer- whether that makes a difference, I don't know. 

Dave Durkin said:

From the initial research I did, one sore point is the inability to charge the battery at the same time it is discharging to operate a device like a water pump.
Thanks for clearing that up MG.

Yes, I do that.   

On another note, my system, as is, will not pump 24/7 indefinitely.    In the event of a long term power outage, I'll reduce pumping.  The charger I have, although advertised to detect low battery and automatically kick on, doesn't do that, why, I don't know.  Every few days I manually start the charger.  If anyone has a charger that is proven to automatically come on when needed while being intermittently charged through a controller and while discharging, please let me know what you are using. 

the mad german said:

George, you can still charge while discharging.

Another thing 1 needs to remember is being a system is solar, solar doesn't mean 12v. Panels depending on the size, brand, and peak time of day can have an output up to 42vdc.

Its the charge controller that drops the voltage back to around 12vdc to prevent damage via overcharging.
 
txdurk said:

Thanks for clearing that up MG.

I've had that happen a couple of times, both instances was due to bad connnection, instead of bolted on connections I was using the clamp on style like for jumper cables which is common and usually whats including on a small  solar system setup.

Some of these chargers will kick out/off if they detect no device to charge or don't see a battery.

Try cleaning the post and using bolt on connections if thats not what you're presently using, It can be an inconvenience but might prevent whats going on in your situation.
 Or you might have a bad battery or battery bank within the system shorting out which is showing a charged or excessively charged system.
 George said:

Yes, I do that.   

On another note, my system, as is, will not pump 24/7 indefinitely.    In the event of a long term power outage, I'll reduce pumping.  The charger I have, although advertised to detect low battery and automatically kick on, doesn't do that, why, I don't know.  Every few days I manually start the charger.  If anyone has a charger that is proven to automatically come on when needed while being intermittently charged through a controller and while discharging, please let me know what you are using. 

the mad german said:

George, you can still charge while discharging.

Add Bolt on connections -  presently using clamps, although all connections are very clean.  This might be the cure.  Thanks.

the mad german said:

Try cleaning the post and using bolt on connections if thats not what you're presently using

I have been building a new aquaonic system which I plan to power by solar energy. I received my 12v 45Ah battery yesterday and plan to hook up my system tomorrow. I would be glad to post some pictures of the system I am using and a list of the items being used on this project.

Bob

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