What would a basic setup consist of?

JetMechJetMech Posts: 71Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
I had a few more ideas bouncing around and I got to wondering: just what makes up a basic 12v setup? I know it would consist of a 12v solar panel, and a battery, but what else is required to power a 12v appliance, day or night?

Comments

  • westbranchwestbranch Posts: 5,112Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What would a basic setup consist of?

    if you think of your car as an example, you need some wire and a fuse panel between the battery and the 'unit'.

    But before you get to that point you need to determine how much power you will use ( in watts or amps x volts) and time ( in hours) you wish to make of the 'unit'.

    As to the panel(s) and battery this is determined by the above determined consumption...

    Eric
     
    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
  • SolarJohnSolarJohn Posts: 202Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: What would a basic setup consist of?
    JetMech wrote: »
    I had a few more ideas bouncing around and I got to wondering: just what makes up a basic 12v setup? I know it would consist of a 12v solar panel, and a battery, but what else is required to power a 12v appliance, day or night?


    Don't forget the Charge Controller, panel mouning hardware, lightning protection, wire and electrical hardware.

    There are many optional items you can consider, but I don't know enough about your application to make any recomendations.

    John
  • JetMechJetMech Posts: 71Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What would a basic setup consist of?

    Good list so far! I'm not looking at a specific application yet, just trying to understand what the basics are and what parts would need to be increased for bigger apps.
  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 8,002Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What would a basic setup consist of?

    You need to have some sort of idea of the size of your planned load, to come up with the Quantity or Size of parts.

    PV panels
    Charge controller
    Wires
    Inverter
    Breaker Boxes & Breakers (AC & DC)
    Batteries (if not grid-tie)

    You can't expect a 60 W panel to run a full household of appliances.
    6,000 W of panel is overkill for a summer cabin.

    64W transportable panel w/battery & Controller shown in clickable thumbnail
    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 ,

  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,139Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Re: What would a basic setup consist of?

    And depending on size of system, distance of run, amount of power needed, and devices to be run--you may also consider using an Inverter.

    12 volt distribution is difficult (a drop of 1 volt from wire run/fusing can be problematic). And most "12 volt" appliances are designed for use in a car where the voltage is around 13-14 volts... Real voltage in a storage battery based system is from ~10 volts to ~15.5 volts--not many "cheap" 12 volt appliances can handle the range.

    Using a well designed inverter takes care of the wide 12 volt range and the 120 VAC output takes care of sending the power longer distances. And 120 VAC (or whatever is your local AC line voltage/frequency) devices may be easier to find vs 12 volt appliances.

    There are additional losses associated with using an inverter--but it easy to design for (roughly another 20% capacity required).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • JetMechJetMech Posts: 71Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What would a basic setup consist of?

    Well, what got me thinking about this was that I finally got a separate 10 gallon mixing tank for my saltwater aquarium. I mix the RO water and the salt in it and when I'm ready to do a water change in my tank, I have the water ready to go. Only down sides are the water needs to be stirred and it's cold. Rather than plug any more things in at my house, I thought about maybe a single panel to run a small heater and pump. Even if they only ran during the day, that would be fine. I found them for 12v applications but using an inverter would be much easier. That way I could use a "normal" aquarium heater and pump. As far as a battery/night-power setup goes, I was just curious about how a battery would tie in.
  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,139Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Re: What would a basic setup consist of?

    Hmmmm.... Solar battery is OK for learning how best to work with solar in your home... But it is not going to save you any money unless you are paying well north of $1.00 per kWatt*hour for your electricity (including batteries, replacements, etc.).

    And using solar electric for heating the tank is another $$$ sink vs using a solar thermal panel of some sort to heat your tank.

    And, you have issues if you expect this to work 24/7 during bad weather (no sun)... Backup AC charger/fail-over/generator?

    You are in Connecticut? Do you have good sun in your area or do you have local fog/marine layer problems which can also kill solar production too.

    In any case, 1) conservation, 2) accurately measure your loads, 3) define the system requirements (loads, time, backup power, etc.)...

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • JetMechJetMech Posts: 71Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What would a basic setup consist of?

    The sun here is pretty good, just less in the winter. 24/7 wouldn't be a requirement since it isn't a necessity, just a convenience. The tank heater would be a 25w heater at most, just something to bring it up a few degrees. Anyhow, it's all just a thought. I'm not ready to invest a couple hundred dollars on a panel for fish water just yet.
  • JetMechJetMech Posts: 71Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What would a basic setup consist of?

    Is there a schematic available that would show how this setup would be wired? Starting with a panel and ending in a 110v outlet. With and without a battery in the loop would be best. Thanks again!
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: What would a basic setup consist of?

    i made a little MSpaint doodle for you, you may also want to add disconnects for things like the batteries if you wish

    1237solar.PNG
  • JetMechJetMech Posts: 71Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What would a basic setup consist of?

    Perfect! I appreciate it!
  • nielniel Posts: 10,311Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What would a basic setup consist of?

    mm,
    nice little drawing. i will note that the power out will not be taken from the controller in most cases excepting for a few that allow for such like an lvd tap. most 12v power is taken from the battery directly. as you had mentioned the disconnects, these may be placed in many places along with more fuses/circuit breakers.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: What would a basic setup consist of?

    yeah in which case the terminal strip and power inverter would be connected across the battery instead of an output from the charge controller
  • JetMechJetMech Posts: 71Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What would a basic setup consist of?

    Is that drawing assuming a 12v panel?
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: What would a basic setup consist of?

    yes, basically the only things different for a 24/48v system would be a higher voltage panel, storage battery, and inverter
  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 8,002Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What would a basic setup consist of?
    JetMech wrote: »
    Is that drawing assuming a 12v panel?

    A panel to charge a 12V battery, needs to output about 18 - 20 Volts
    a 12V deep cycle battery needs nearly 15V input to become fully charged. A couple of volts get lost in the charge controller, and after the panels bake in the sun for a while, their voltage drops a bit too.
    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 ,

  • lamplightlamplight Posts: 368Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: What would a basic setup consist of?

    so true.. when i started trying to run my office pc off 12v, finding the components to do it wast a (big) problem, but running a largish load at the end of 30' of cabling was causing too many voltage drops.. inverter investment simplified everything!

    i will say that most car laptop chargers work just fine at these varying voltages, its what i use to charge my laptop . also if anyones interested i picked up one of those IGO chargers and it runs my (other webserver) laptop directly off 12v no problem during all charging stages.. but again these two are pretty close to the battery bank.
    BB. wrote: »
    12 volt distribution is difficult (a drop of 1 volt from wire run/fusing can be problematic). And most "12 volt" appliances are designed for use in a car where the voltage is around 13-14 volts... Real voltage in a storage battery based system is from ~10 volts to ~15.5 volts--not many "cheap" 12 volt appliances can handle the range.
  • JetMechJetMech Posts: 71Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What would a basic setup consist of?

    OK, now for an example. If I want to charge a set of batteries to run some landscaping lights, perhaps 3 strings for a total of no more than 500W, how would I determine what size panels and battery bank to use? I would be using an inverter (500W I assume) so that I don't have to change the lights over to DC and can use the stock timers.
  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 8,002Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What would a basic setup consist of?
    JetMech wrote: »
    OK, now for an example. If I want to charge a set of batteries to run some landscaping lights, perhaps 3 strings for a total of no more than 500W, how would I determine what size panels and battery bank to use? I would be using an inverter (500W I assume) so that I don't have to change the lights over to DC and can use the stock timers.

    The first thing is the landscape lights will use a transformer to convert your 120VAC to 12VAC for the lights. Now it's kind of silly to just waste 15% of your power in making an inverter warm.

    How many hours a night do you want the lights to run ? 6 hrs, 12 hrs. 16 hours in the winter, when recharging light is short ?
    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 ,

  • JetMechJetMech Posts: 71Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What would a basic setup consist of?
    mike90045 wrote: »
    The first thing is the landscape lights will use a transformer to convert your 120VAC to 12VAC for the lights. Now it's kind of silly to just waste 15% of your power in making an inverter warm.

    How many hours a night do you want the lights to run ? 6 hrs, 12 hrs. 16 hours in the winter, when recharging light is short ?

    So as long as I leave the original incandescent bulbs in, I should just leave it at DC?
    I'm hoping to keep them on as much through the night as I can without getting too carried away. I don't get home from work until after 1 am, sometimes later and having the lights on would be nice.
  • n3qikn3qik Posts: 741Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: What would a basic setup consist of?

    It may pay to change the lamps to LEDs. This will in turn save on battery size and panel size. What type of outdoor lamps are you using??
  • JetMechJetMech Posts: 71Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What would a basic setup consist of?

    I don't have them yet, I'm still WAY in the planning stage. I need to rebuild my shed and since it gets plenty of sun I thought I'd setup something small with it. My plan is to power some landscape and deck lights in the yard. I'm not sure how many, but probably about three sets. Although LEDs may be better, I don't know if that would be right away. From what I saw the bulbs are a bit pricey, especially if I need to get a few sets' worth.
  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 8,002Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What would a basic setup consist of?
    JetMech wrote: »
    From what I saw the bulbs are a bit pricey, especially if I need to get a few sets' worth.

    LED Holiday Light sets, and a 50W 120 mod sine wave inverter. At less than 5W per string....
    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 ,

  • JetMechJetMech Posts: 71Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What would a basic setup consist of?
    mike90045 wrote: »
    LED Holiday Light sets, and a 50W 120 mod sine wave inverter. At less than 5W per string....

    Good idea, but not exactly what I'm looking for.
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