Flexcharge Night Watchman Question

RedNeckSolarManRedNeckSolarMan Solar Expert Posts: 34
Hello everyone, I have question for you guys, I was looking for 12 DC timer to turn my lights on at night. I was searching online and see some 12 DC timers that are expense and for something for my small solar system, I don't know be worth it or not. I happen come across an Flexcharge Night Watchman on Flexcharge's website, and reading about it, it sounds what I am looking for, turn on lights when it gets dark and off in morning. My question is, it stats that its easy to wire up, which it does look easy. But my lights are connected to inverter, so how would you wire it up with the inverter. (Pretty much control the inverter to turn on and off the lights) If anyone has any ideas or comments please let me know and thank you everyone for feedback in past. I am learning alot about solar system and its cool. :D

Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Flexcharge Night Watchman Question

    It's a matter of getting the Voltage and current right.
    The Flexcharge handles 12 VDC up to 10 Amps. That's only 120 Watts and likely won't be enough for your inverter & 120 VAC lights.
    A solution here would be to use the Flexcharge unit to control a relay capable of handling the higher current which would either turn on the the inverter & lights or just the lights if you wanted the inverter on all the time for other reasons.
    Another would be to rip out everything you've got and switch over to 12 Volt lighting, but that is probably more trouble and expense than it's worth.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,698 admin
    Re: Flexcharge Night Watchman Question

    I am a big fan of motion detector lights... Much less power usage (waste) and better for security (you are not spotlighting your personal property and bright lights turning on attracts attention).

    If you want a timed inverter control--Look at the MorningStar 300 watt TSW 12 volt inverter--It has a remote 12 volt On/Off input that you could connect to a timer (or even a DC motion detector?).

    Sending 12 volt power any distance is expensive and difficult. Using 120 VAC and LED security lights is much easier to wire longer distances, instant on, and low power usage (my Costco motion detector LED lights are still ugly blue/white light--not very good for "landscape" lighting unless you want your landscape to look dead).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • RedNeckSolarManRedNeckSolarMan Solar Expert Posts: 34
    Re: Flexcharge Night Watchman Question

    Thanks for info about Flexcharge Night Watchman, and about Morningstar inverter. Pretty much I am running rope light on my balcony. I may for now is run my inverter 24/7 and put a ac timer to control the lights, the inverter does have safety switch to turn off if its too low on battery or something is wrong. And look into flexcharge 12 volt dc programable timer, its expensive for my system but it maybe worth it.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,698 admin
    Re: Flexcharge Night Watchman Question

    If you use an AC timer--Beware that most inverters are not that accurate in their output frequency... Being off a few minutes per day is probably the norm.

    There are timers that turn on at dark and turn of in 2/4/6 hours--That would take care of the drifting time issue. Here is one type (know nothing about unit or company) that uses a photo cell and an "on time" timer.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • RedNeckSolarManRedNeckSolarMan Solar Expert Posts: 34
    Re: Flexcharge Night Watchman Question

    My friend seen my system and see what I am looking for to control the inverter, when he brought to my attention that companies make 12 dc volt rope light and its better than 120 vac rope lights. He told me where to get it for better and lower cost, which is cool. And easier to hookup with my Morningstar Prostar PS-30, on charge controller, there is port for dc load. If I would change the rope lights and take out the inverter all together. My two questions is, one is with my math, the Flexcharge Night Watchman could work, (I think) and two how would I hook it up, I have something in my head of how but its questionable.
  • jleblan1jleblan1 Registered Users Posts: 5
    Re: Flexcharge Night Watchman Question

    I just installed my first solar power system for lighting my yard at night. I found it easier to just have a completely 12v system. My charge controller has a timer function built in. Im using LED lights with e27 bases in some jelly jar fixtures. Each LED uses 1.8 watts and puts out 160 lumen. Each bulb has 2 cree xp-g emmitters. I found the bulbs locally at a RV supply shop for 13 dollars a pop. Im pleased with the light im getting out of these.

    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150588048812469.402635.504672468&type=1&l=093cc6edd7
  • ortiesdadortiesdad Registered Users Posts: 3
    Re: Flexcharge Night Watchman Question

    Hi...I'm just starting to fool around with solar and decided to go with the 'plug n play' Harbor Freight solar setup for on my little barn down at the bottom of my yard. I have a few goats and some chickens and thought that I'd like to setup a water harvesting system and use a 12v pump and then some LED lighting to put around the pens. I've purchased the Flexcharge Night Watchman but unsure as to how this is wired. The Watchman has three wires-red, black and yellow. According to the diagram, the red is + and the yellow goes to the light. It shows the black just kinda hanging out there. My 12v light sockets has two-screws; one being gold and one being white.

    I'm hopeful that I can run these in a series...from the battery, through the Flexcharge Night Watchman and then from socket to socket for possibly a set of five lights.

    Any suggestions is greatly appreciated!!!

    Dave in PA
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,698 admin
    Re: Flexcharge Night Watchman Question

    I would guess the black goes to battery ground (negative). But, I could not find any on-line documentation.

    Regarding the light socket--You probably have to get the LED you will be plugging into the socket to verify the polarity. Without seeing the socket and the LED lamp information--I cannot safely tell you how to connect everything up. Guess would be Gold="+" and Silver="-" ... But LED's are so new and designed to connect to existing sockets--It is not good to guess.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • MichaelJMichaelJ Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
    Re: Flexcharge Night Watchman Question

    Hi, ortiesdad,

    The Nightwatchman has the wiring connections on the front of the unit. Red positive, black negative, and yellow is positive to the load. BB is correct. I use 12vdc LEDs and 12vdc cfl. The black goes both to battery negative, and load negative. The Nightwatchman is tolerant of less than direct sunlight, so mounting it inside near a window works well.

    Mike
  • ortiesdadortiesdad Registered Users Posts: 3
    Re: Flexcharge Night Watchman Question

    Hi MichaelJ and BB...thanks for the info. I can't wait to get out there and try to get my Night Watchman hooked up along with a short series of LED lights. I hope it doesn't provide too much of a 'romantic glow' that my goats start having a bunch of babies!!

    I was quite surprised when I logged on today to see that I already had two-replies to my question...so greatly appreciated!

    Dave in PA
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,698 admin
    Re: Flexcharge Night Watchman Question

    We try to get a couple answers/questions up early--If anyone goes a few days without an answer--feel free to bump the thread. Sometimes we think somebody else may have a better answer/more information so we pass the first time.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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