Solar powered shacks

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Solar powered shacks

Postby VK5PJ » Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:44 am

Hello,
I am embarking on a long term project to reduce the electricity usage of my radio shack. A recent power bill highlighted that my usage may have gone over the top with 3 radio left on all day, along with a PC and GPS for 10MHz stabilisation for WSPR..

A recent advert on VKHAM has allowed my to buy some building blocks from a fellow ham here in S.A. This consists of three 12v solar panels (2x 80W and 1x 140W), 4x 100AH GEL deep cycle batteries and 2x 150AH vented lead acids batteries (from a bank closure I believe) and a charge regulator. Also included was a small wind generator, the sort you find on pleasure boats along with its own charge regulator.

Well I am not the first and probably not the last to try this so would be interested to hear from others who may have ventured down the solar path as to how it went for you and any pitfalls you found that I might be able to avoid :mrgreen:
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Re: Solar powered shacks

Postby VK7HH » Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:53 am

Hi Peter,
I highly recommend find ex-grid tie solar panels from Gumtree or from a solar installer (give them a call). Usually they pull them out for one reason or another and are happy to sell them for $50 a pop for sometimes up to 250W panels. I bought several down here years ago, so for $200 you can get a 1kW system.

I also use Fangpusun charge controllers (equivalent to Victron but chinese). They seem to be RF quiet, well at least the one I got was (blue).

Regards
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Re: Solar powered shacks

Postby VK5PJ » Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:34 pm

Hi Hayden,
how did you go managing the higher DC voltage from the grid tied panels as I belive they are in the 30V range?

I will have about 1.5KW of them soon as we are removing a small solar system to put in a new 5KW system :crazy:
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Re: Solar powered shacks

Postby VK7HH » Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:43 pm

Hi Peter,
The charge controller I have allows up to 100V on the solar input. There are some model of controllers that allow up to 150V or more so you can put a decently sized series string on them.

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Re: Solar powered shacks

Postby VK5PJ » Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:32 pm

Hello
for those interested, this site seems to give a good break down of those chinese solar regulators that Hayden mentioned.. will have to check on the models of the regulators I have...

http://www.quan-diy.com/misc/scc/fangpusun.htm
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Re: Solar powered shacks

Postby VK7HH » Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:41 pm

That is the model I have -

http://www.quan-diy.com/misc/scc/fangpusun.htm#blue

The 100/50 blue... I got it from Aliexpress.
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Re: Solar powered shacks

Postby VK5PJ » Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:20 pm

the charge regulator I have is a Power Tech MMPT 30A MP3735, which looks to be the same as Jaycar sell... looks like I am limited to 12V solar panels for the time being while I get things going.. now all I need is some panel mounting hardware from some where in VK5 than can adapt to two different panel thicknesses.
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Re: Solar powered shacks

Postby VK2CSW » Mon Oct 01, 2018 8:10 am

Keep an eye on these guys.

https://www.4wdsupacentre.com.au/products/solar.html

They import Chinese stuff but the 110w fixed (as opposed to folding or mat type) panels are around $110 to $120.

They seems to do price cycles with a discount and free shipping appearing from time to time.

I have bought a bunch of non-solar stuff from them and it all arrives within a few days.

Cheers
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Re: Solar powered shacks

Postby VK6ZFG » Mon Oct 01, 2018 12:25 pm

Hi

I have been using solar systems for some time.

The current solar system consists of a bank of solar panels which is connected to two battery banks separated by some distance but interconnected by heavy cables. The main bank being in the shed and a smaller sized one in the shack. I use two identical voltage regulators, one at each location. These are set to operate at identical voltages so to charge the load end that needs it. These are modified kit regulators I purchased from Oatley Electronics (K009?). The voltage response has been made much for sensitive and switch very fast. Basic temperature compensation has been added along with some additional bypass capacitor filtering. They produce no electrical interference. There is also a SMPS set to a low voltage charge the batteries should the voltage drop too low. This SMPS required extra filtering even though it is sold for use on commercial radios sites. It was found to produce electrical noise under some part load conditions.

I also periodically use solar power when at Bremer Bay for lighting , fridge radios etc. Initially I used to take the shack regulator down there but as this was inconvenient so a purchased a commercially made 30A regulator. This provides easy adjustment of voltage points but provides nowhere near as close battery voltage regulation as the modified ones. It does however provide for a load cutoff which is handy to avoid running the batteries too low.

The commercial 30A solar regulator generated very high electrical noise levels all the way up from the AM broadcast band at its slow switching rate. Pass capacitors have been added for each trip to resulting in progressive noise reductions. The noise left last time was is in the low MF frequencies but hopefully next trip will show that this has been fixed too.

The commercial 30A solar regulator operates in the negative line unlike the other ones in the positive line making the two types incompatible with each other. It is not possible to have a mixed system using the same solar panels.
73s
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