General trouble with calculations
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As a newbie, I'm having a little trouble with some math... Was hoping someone here could help with some basic questions.
Example:
1 Compact flourecent 10W, 140mA
Deep Cycle 105 Amp Hours
350watt DC to AC inverter
2 15watt PV panels and a 7amp charge controller.
estimated 2 good hours of sun per day.
What other variables if any do you have to take into account in order to answer the following questions.
1) How long can you run this 120v CF while maintaining 80% reserve on the battery. If that 80% recommendation even applies to an off the shelf marine deep cycle.
2) Consumption of amps per hour
3) Charge rate? i.e. if battery is 10% depleated, how many days of charging are necessary with 2 hours of sun on the dual 15 watt pannels?
4) Is there substantial loss with the inverter and how is that calculated?
5) are the figures basically halfed if a second CF of the same wattage is added to the example?
I'm sure I am missing some key pieces of info but basically I am trying to come up with a graph or calculation that says with 1 CF bulb (10W 140mA) running for 1 hour, < X > amount of amps have been consumed and < Y > amount of time is required with < N > number of 15watt panels in order to get the battery back to starting level.
Are there specific technical numbers that I'm missing from this?
Any help is greatly appreciated. We are just starting out and being able to understand the above example would help us out greatly.
Thank You
Dave
Example:
1 Compact flourecent 10W, 140mA
Deep Cycle 105 Amp Hours
350watt DC to AC inverter
2 15watt PV panels and a 7amp charge controller.
estimated 2 good hours of sun per day.
What other variables if any do you have to take into account in order to answer the following questions.
1) How long can you run this 120v CF while maintaining 80% reserve on the battery. If that 80% recommendation even applies to an off the shelf marine deep cycle.
2) Consumption of amps per hour
3) Charge rate? i.e. if battery is 10% depleated, how many days of charging are necessary with 2 hours of sun on the dual 15 watt pannels?
4) Is there substantial loss with the inverter and how is that calculated?
5) are the figures basically halfed if a second CF of the same wattage is added to the example?
I'm sure I am missing some key pieces of info but basically I am trying to come up with a graph or calculation that says with 1 CF bulb (10W 140mA) running for 1 hour, < X > amount of amps have been consumed and < Y > amount of time is required with < N > number of 15watt panels in order to get the battery back to starting level.
Are there specific technical numbers that I'm missing from this?
Any help is greatly appreciated. We are just starting out and being able to understand the above example would help us out greatly.
Thank You
Dave
Comments

Re: General trouble with calculations
Dave, there is a bit more info needed for the board members to give you good feedback:
1. It sounds like you are using all 12 v equipment...right?
2. what are the specs of the panels?
3.what brand and model of charge controller are you using? Is it MPPT ?
As for your graph/spreadsheet, for a starter you need to use the formulas
Watts = volts * amps
ie 120 w = 12 v * 10 amps or 120 v * 1 amp
and Amps = watts / volts
these should get you started on your calculations.
cheers,
Eric
KID #51B 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A EPanel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DDWRT Rtr & Bridge,
Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & EPanel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
West Chilcotin, BC, Canada 
Re: General trouble with calculations
The bottom line with what you have listed is that you most likely won't be able to run anything at all.
The major reason is that the inverter is using up more power than your panels will produce all by itself.
On the other hand, if you used a 12 volt CFL and ran directly from the battery you could get about 5 hours. 
Re: General trouble with calculations
Just making a couple of quick assumptions about your panels, inverter etc, I wouldn't be at all surprised if this set up will require at least one hour of full sun, for every hour the CF is on. That also assumes the inverter will be off when the CF is not in use. By off, I mean actually disconnected from the battery, as some, or most with an on/off switch continue to offer a small drain on the battery even when turned "off". Your system is relatively small, so every wee bit of drain will have a big impact.
This is not an exact answer, just a rough ball park figure of where you are with your system, giving you an idea of where you go from here.
Cheers and all the best.
Wayne
PS: Windsun posted while I was building my post, so got ahead of me. I would go with what Windsun is saying. 
Re: General trouble with calculations
I've got some addition info/specs that may or may not help.
The inverter is vector 300watt 700peak similar to this one
http://www.safehomeproducts.com/shp2/sc/shopexd.asp?id=158537
however its an older model and has slightly less output.
If I understand the replies previously posted, then am I to assume when this inverter is ON and is powering a 10w CF at 120V its really drawing its full rated output, even though a 120V CF draws way under 300watts? When I have used it in the past, I do disconnect the inverter completely from the battery when the light is not on because I figured that there was at least some draw on the battery even with the light off.
Charge controller is from Northern Industrial tools that came with the panel. Nothing fancy and not mppt.
http://www2.northerntool.com/product/200265524.htm
Panels are also marketed under northern tool and are each 15W
http://www.amazon.com/NorthernIndustrialToolsWattagePanels/dp/B000K2HNZS/ref=pd_sim_auto_shvl_title_2/10393346664347865
Battery is a 12V marine deep cycle with a label of 105 amp hours
I'm also confussed by windsun's reply. Lets assume for a minute that If I went with a 12v CF instead of this inverter/120V AC setup, you mentioned that I'd get about 5 hours?
windsun>>>On the other hand, if you used a 12 volt CFL and ran directly from the battery you could get about 5 hours.
Is that 5 hour figure you mention based on going from 100% charge to 80% charge on the battery? Seems like a VERY small number given such a small draw and a large marine battery.
Maybe I have completely missed the mark here... I was really striving for was a very small (portable) setup that would run at least (1) 120V CF for an estimated 1224 hours per weekend, and be able to charge the deep cycle during the 5 week days. At the time when I ordered the PV panels, I could only afford two 15W so that was a complete guess on my part.... but I may have totally misunderstood the inverter piece of the puzzle. In my own mind, a 10W CF was going to be such a small draw that I could afford to have some efficiency loss on the inverter. I did NOT think that a 300W inverter would draw its entire 300W if it was only powering a 10W light. My other assumption which also may have been WAY OFF was that even with some efficiency loss by going from 12V DC to 120V AC was that a large marine battery (designed for a trolling motor) would be MORE than enough to power a 10W CF light for an amazing amount of time. 
Re: General trouble with calculations
(apparently, my original post yesterday never completed loading, but I see my comments were reflected in other replies  you need an hour of sun for every hour of light use, you have very tiny panels)
You can get some higher efficiency 12VDC CFL's here: http://stores.ebay.com/GlenergySolarLightingandPower I have used them in the past.
You could also eliminate the charge controller, get a refund, and add another solar panel. The 2 small ones you have will not supply much actual power, and stand no chance of damaging a large deep cycle battery, as long as you add water once a month.. Their full current is less than normal trickle charge. 15 watts @ 12v is only 1.2A It's unlikely you will ever see full output from the panels.Powerfab top of pole PV mount  Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head  XW6048 inverter/chgr  Iota 48V/15A charger  Morningstar 60A MPPT  48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series) 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole  Midnight ePanel  Grundfos 10 SO59 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run  Runs off PV 
 Midnight Classic 200  10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array 
 VEC1093 12V Charger  Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger  SureSine  Sunsaver MPPT 15A
solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMRSolar
gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMRLister , 
Re: General trouble with calculationsroadrash1970 wrote: »1 Compact flourecent 10W, 140mA
Deep Cycle 105 Amp Hours
350watt DC to AC inverter
2 15watt PV panels and a 7amp charge controller.
estimated 2 good hours of sun per day.
...
1) How long can you run this 120v CF while maintaining 80% reserve on the battery. If that 80% recommendation even applies to an off the shelf marine deep cycle.
* Input : 2 * 15W * 2 hours sun/day = 60 Watthours/day
.............20% * 12V * 105AH = 252 Watthours.
* Efficiency: without MPPT, say 80%. Your inverter is modified sine, efficiency around 90%, battery charge/discharge efficiency 90%. So, overall, say 60%.
* So, your total energy input is : 252 + 60*0.6 = 288 Watthours.
* Output 10W.
How long: 288 WattHours / 10W = 28.8 hours.2) Consumption of amps per hour
So, it would consumes 0.92 AH per hour.3) Charge rate? i.e. if battery is 10% depleated, how many days of charging are necessary with 2 hours of sun on the dual 15 watt pannels?
How long : 126 WattHours / (60*60% eff.) = 3.5 days4) Is there substantial loss with the inverter and how is that calculated?5) are the figures basically halfed if a second CF of the same wattage is added to the example? 
Re: General trouble with calculations
If the following article is to be believed
http://www.fieldlines.com/story/2004/10/2/145353/321
then the efficiency of an inexpensive MSW inverter is low at the extreme low end of its power curve. I'm sure that's what the others were thinking instinctively when they recommended using 12V DC lights and skipping the inverter. 
Re: General trouble with calculations
Right, efficiency reduced with much lighter load. Apply 0.64/0.9=0.71 adjustment factor for the above figures then.
28.8 hrs > 20 hrs
3.5 days > 4.9 days
might still fit the bill with existing equipments, or use a 12V CFL as suggested or pick a 50W car lighter plug inverter to be more efficient then.
GP 
Re: General trouble with calculations
Thank you very much to everyone who has posted or will post. These calculations do help. When thinking up this system, instead of using very accurate numbers, I rounded everything with what I assumed was a large factor for error...
I rounded the .140mA light up to a full amp per hour figuring that was enough to cover any loss in the DC to AC conversion.
12V x 105ah = 1260 watt hours. In order to keep the battery at 80% or above the maximum I should use is 20% of that total, which is 252 watt hours.
So, using that calculation I've got a total of approximately 25 amps and 252 watt hours to play with on any given weekend, while maintaining a discarge level not more than 20% of the total battery.
That should equal a maximum usage time of.
1 light for 24 hours or 2 lights for 12 hours. (approximate)
Now comes the part about putting the energy back into the battery? I picked the two hours of useable light per day as a pretty conservative guess and again I figured that there was enough of a margin of error here that putting between 50 and 60 watts back into the batt per day during the week, would be enough to recover.... By the time friday rolled around again, I would be back at 100% charge on the battery.
An example such as this:
Sat: 1 light, 12 hours @ 1 amp per hour 12amps 120wh
Sun: 1 light, 12 hours @ 1 amp per hour 12amps 120wh
Total for weekend 24 amps and 240watt hours
Estimated In
Mon:2 15W panels 2 hours, 60watts. (5 amps, 50 watts)
Tue: 2 15W panels 2 hours, 60watts. (5 amps, 50 watts)
Wed: 2 15W panels 2 hours, 60watts. (5 amps, 50 watts)
Thurs: 2 15W panels 2 hours, 60watts. (5 amps, 50 watts)
Fri: 2 15W panels 2 hours, 60watts. (5 amps, 50 watts)
Total in for the week +25amps, +250watts with charging being halted by the controller if its reaches 100% prior to Fridays.
So...to me, that scenario works under the following conditions
1) that I factored in enough error on the CF light drawing a maximum of 1 amp per hour of use. Including any power lost in the inversion process as well as the inverter itself.
2) battery is kept efficient i.e (temp)
3) I factored in enough error with the two panels being able to put in at least 5 amps and 50 watts back into the battery per day... again factoring in some efficiency loss
This is all very good stuff and thanks to everyone for chiming in on it... By the summer of 08, we are really hoping to get a much larger and "purpose built" offgrid system installed at our remote cabin... i.e. 100w pv panels, batteries designed for solar, high end inverters and charge controllers but since we ran out of $$$ actually building the cabin, the system we are discussing here was a very temporary system to get us some "clean" and safe lighting.
I will use some new found info like the inverter specs to work up a worst case scenario on the actual consumption side (68% efficiency at 15w load) and put in a larger margin of error if necessary.
Do most agree with the above numbers? Doable or not doable? 
Re: General trouble with calculations
Look like you have got those equipments. Don't know if it's worth it, but saving all the troubles and headaches and use this solar security light
(if the link doesn't work, just go to the main sight and search for "solar security")
GP 
Re: General trouble with calculations
BTW, I do want to stick with inverters and learn the ropes with 120V conversions as that is our primary goal. I don't want to go down the road of 12V appliances or lights. 
Re: General trouble with calculations
You may want to consider a 'hybrid ' system of 12 v lights and 110 v ac appliances. There are some real advantages to this as long as they are planned for... IMHO 12 v for lights is it...
I dont remember just when they started, within this year, but there are several strings on the 'hybrid system ' topic... weighing the pros and cons
Cheers
Eric
KID #51B 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A EPanel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DDWRT Rtr & Bridge,
Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & EPanel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
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