Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sol / Rally / ???

Started sorting out all of the newer panels I have connected now. I'm still using pallets and they work so well that's what I'll always use for them more then likely. There are way too many panels to try and set them up on some kind of solar tracking, but for now not even cloudy days are a real problem. Maybe a weeks worth would be though. If worse comes to worse I can go out a couple of times a day and prop the pallets up in different directions to get the most out of them, but I haven't had to do that since I started adding the extra panels.

After I first started adding some of the newer panels I wired them directly to the battery bank and left the others to run through the Harbor Freight charge controller. Didn't take long to figure out that wouldn't work, because I woke to the inverter squawking a couple of mornings. I wasn't out of power yet either morning and fortunately the sun started giving me more power before the inverter had a chance to cut out. After that I bypassed the controller and wired all panels directly to the battery bank and used ME as a controller by keeping tabs on the voltage and disconnecting some of the panels when the voltage got to high. That turned out to be a hassle so I got to thinking. (Believe it or not) It finally dawned on me that the controller wasn't working because it was getting a false reading from the panels going directly to the battery bank and kept shutting off the other panels. Yesterday I moved the other panels off the ground and added three more pallets on the south side of the battery hut for them. I rewired all of the ones that were going straight to the battery bank in to the controller like they should be and all seems to be doing well. I still have another 10 panels to add to that bank so will have to add several more pallets before I add them. I've actually got two battery banks now, but the other one is two of the older batteries with about 200 Watts of panels running to them for this trailer.

There's the Ride for Trails bike Rally going on at the BBMI this weekend. I took the camera when I went in earlier this afternoon for supplies and thought there would be a lot of bikes there to take picture off. Turns out that most were out on a Poker Run of something like that and there just weren't many bikes there. I was invited to go to the feet at BBMI by my neighbor about 6:00 and tole him ok, but the more I thought about it I decided agsainst that and stopped by his place on the way back to tell him not to stop to pick me up. I guess I'm going in to another one of my antisocial moods? BTW I hear that every single room at BBMI is booked and looks like most of the RV park is taken up to. Haven't seen it this full in a long time. Of course it will probably be the same way for the chili cook off though.

I'm seeing a lot of this where between the lack of rain until it was too late and high wind a lot of the Yuccas are going south and blowing over. There have been no blooms at all around here yet and I'm sure there won't be this year either. Dang! There goes some good desert food that I won't be getting this year!

Moonrise over 9 Points last night.


  1. I guess I'll figure all this solar stuff out at some point. We are bringing the RV down next month and staying a week on the property. I am going to try and rig something up then. May be calling you. Hope you're in a social mood by then. I will bribe you with home made cookies or beer... Which works for you?

  2. Terry, it all depends on which kind of mood I'm in. Cookie mood, Beer mood or antisocial mood. ;) I'll help you if I can.

  3. I really like that last picture. Good job David.

  4. DD, I guess I had a steadier hand this time.

  5. David - When we first connected our solar panels to the batteries we ended up "boiling" the batteries, or that's what it sounded like. Obviously too much charge entering them...

    Since purchasing a new charge controller things have been running sweetly :)

    How's your arm? You been silent lately and I was getting worried :)

  6. Wow tffnguy, you have a lot of power on those pallets. I can see why you don't need to have them tracking. What is the total watts of all your pannels? I know you will get it all wired like you want and have lots of power. I don't think you will have too many long cloudy spells either. Matter of fact, you could use more clouds!

  7. Dani, if you have enough solar panels and aren't using the power and no controller it sure can boil the batteries. Before I moved the newer panels to pallets by the old array I had those panels wired to jumper cable clamps. I checked the voltage several times a day and when they started over charging I'd disconnect the newer panels and come in here and fire up everything in here to take care of that. Now that I have them wired in to the controller I don't have to do all of that and its working fine.

    My arm is ok now and only the two bite marks are left. They hardly itch anymore. No need to worry about me I just have a lot more irons in the fire now that the weather is cool enough to be outside. I have different priorities now so don't do near as much blogging.

    lou, I think the total is real near 1200 watts (maybe over that), but I have that split between the two banks and still have a couple of hundred watts I haven't even added yet. Still there is way more than is needed to charge the main bank even with running about everything in here while it is charging. When I get an electric fridge I'll need all of them though.

  8. David you have come a long way in your journey. I remember when you had very few panels and a string of LED lights in the dungeon and I was so worried about you especially in the middle of winter.

    Things are looking up for you. Glad to hear the arm is doing well.

  9. MsB, when I first moved in the dungeon I didn't have any solar other than a little 5 watt battery charger which was actually useless. I used the alternator on the falcon to keep the old battery bank charged. Took 20 minutes a day to keep the bank charged and a lot of gas. Then came the gas powered charger to replace the falcon which sure helped on the gas cost and then finally the solar panels started coming. I'm in good shape on them now.

    This trailer is much better in the winter than the dungeon, but its so large and not very well insulated so I can't afford to keep it warm, but at least I can keep it well above freezing. ;)

  10. That is a beautiful picture of the moon!

    I'm impressed with your solar array and a little envious. 1200 watts!

  11. Roughin, Guess I'm just real lucky on the panels.