Outdoor extension cord for solar panels

Joesv57Joesv57 Registered Users Posts: 8
Any reason I can't use a heavy duty outdoor extension cord to get power from 2-100 watt solar panels to my controller as long as the amps don't exceed the max amps allowed on the ext. cord?

Comments

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,976 ✭✭✭✭✭
    it won't be to code, and the jacket will sunburn in a year, year 2 = exposed wires.
    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 SO5-9 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/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • Raj174Raj174 Solar Expert Posts: 764 ✭✭✭✭
    Hi Joesv57,
        If the cord is a permanent installation it needs to be able to stand up to UV radiation, As long as it can carry the amperage,  I don't see why not.
    3600W PV, MNE175DR-TR, MN Classic 150, Outback Radian GS4048A, Mate3, 51.2V 344AH LiFePO4, Kohler Pro 5.2E.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,956 admin
    For folks with an RV, an extension cord for the panels while the RV is parked in shade (handy in hot climates)--Can work fine. The cord will eventually fail if left out for long periods of times (year of direct sun).

    Several things to watch out for. Make sure the panels are staked down so that the wind does not catch them (thieves are always another question).

    Second, you can argue the issue of using 120 VAC plugs on 20 VDC circuits. Just making sure that somebody does not plug into normal AC outlet.

    Always the option of using less standard AC plug, or using twist lock plugs to minimize accidental miss-connections. However, a warning on twist locks--Always the question of accidentally packing up and driving off with panels still staked to the ground--Straight plugs will pullout without damage. Twist locks will pull the wires out and/or drag your panels and ruin them.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • XizangXizang Registered Users Posts: 50 ✭✭
    If you've ever been into boating you're probably aware of the great marine cords for boats to use when plugged into shore power in marina slips.   They're designed to lay out in the sunshine 24/7, are made with fine-stranded copper wire for good conductivity and flexibility. 
  • zonebluezoneblue Solar Expert Posts: 1,218 ✭✭✭✭
    ie run the numbers on teh voltage drop. If you are using a PWM controller into 12V as so many RVs do, then youll not want to waste your production.
    1.8kWp CSUN, 10kWh AGM, Midnite Classic 150, Outback VFX3024E,
    http://zoneblue.org/cms/page.php?view=off-grid-solar


  • XizangXizang Registered Users Posts: 50 ✭✭
    edited February 2016 #7
    I'm using low voltage landscaping cordage.  It's the black high-density plastic insulated 12-gauge stranded copper wire marketed for laying out on the ground or direct burial, to run low voltage lighting and water pumps.   Run from panel to panel and to sealed plastic splice boxes to do series-parallel 24-volt feeds.  From there it's 10-gauge feeder wires hauling 24-volt homeruns to my combiner box.
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,328 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Xizang said:
    I'm using low voltage landscaping cordage.  It's the black high-density plastic insulated 12-gauge stranded copper wire marketed for laying out on the ground or direct burial, to run low voltage lighting and water pumps.   Run from panel to panel and to sealed plastic splice boxes to do series-parallel 24-volt feeds.  From there it's 10-gauge feeder wires hauling 24-volt homeruns to my combiner box.

    I've used landscape cord as well, It was available in10 gauge 10-12 years ago when I used it...

    I also used a marine cord, Thick 10 gauge cord, as thick as my thumb. 20 years ago on my sailboat and for 5 years at my cabin, I ran it before selling it with my solar array/system and it appeared fine, I still know the people I sold it to, and haven't heard of problems 4 years later. I admit while in my location, it lived mostly in the shade.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • kaipo_boykaipo_boy Solar Expert Posts: 143 ✭✭

    For running a cable across the yard, and across a short span of rock wall, I'm going to have to armor it; what types will give waterproofing as well as UV protection? they have that flexible spiral wound armor but that doesn't seem waterproof... the other type is the electrical conduit, but that seems like it would be prone to rust quickly (lots of red dirt here, somewhat corrosive to metals).

    thanks,

    walt

  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    I believe there is a type called 'direct burial' & also CabTyre (Tech?) which is for rough service, has a rubber type outer cover...
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • kaipo_boykaipo_boy Solar Expert Posts: 143 ✭✭
    Thanks Westbranch! I'll go look for it at HomeDepot...
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    It may be better at an electrical supply place if you have one there..

    here is one link,http://www.southwire.ca/en/products/oem-uf-b-direct-burial.htm should be avail to you, made in USA..

    CABTIRE   = http://www.doityourself.com/forum/electrical-ac-dc/162729-cab-tire-wire.html

     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • JohannJohann Solar Expert Posts: 245 ✭✭✭
    edited March 2016 #13
    Joesv57 said:
    Any reason I can't use a heavy duty outdoor extension cord to get power from 2-100 watt solar panels to my controller as long as the amps don't exceed the max amps allowed on the ext. cord?
    You have to be careful how far you can run such cord without having to much of an voltage drop.
    A cord may be able to run 15 amps or 20 amps, but after a few feet or so you could see how much voltage you may have lost.
    This is not only a problem with just cords but in general with wires that carry low voltages.
    Heavy duty is such an abused word anymore, where heavy duty does not mean much at all.
    Do you mean a cord that is thick? Thick cords, at least most at a time, have a cheap insulation on them and many times have a small wire conductor in them while the insulation is made of thick cheap stuff that may give you the feeling and only the feeling that the cord can carry many amps or that the insulation can handle a lot of abuse.

    A better question for you to start with would be,  what size of wire would I need to run my two 100 watt solar panels for so many feet.
    So how many feet do you have to your charge controller. You amps from one of your solar panel are about 5.3 amps if I guess right?
    What voltage are you using?

    After that you can figure out what kind of cord you want to use if you want to use a cord at all. Stranded wire in an electrical PVC pipe may not be bad and may be cheaper.

    For example.
    Voltage  12 volts
    amps     12 amps
    distance 20 feet
    AWG of wire is a #14 wich can carry your amperage of 12 amps anytime.

    But, in this example you would lose 1.21 volts or you would have an voltage drop of 10% and at the other end you would be left with 10.79 volts out of your 12 volts.........and this is after only 20 feet of #14 wire pushing 12 amps at 12 volts.


    Here is a calculator to play with http://www.calculator.net/voltage-drop-calculator.html?material=copper&wiresize=8.286&voltage=12&phase=dc&noofconductor=1&distance=20&distanceunit=feet&amperes=12&x=65&y=16

     

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