Solar The Solar Panel Thread

mikerezny

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Sep 11, 2016
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@mikerezny, you clearly know your stuff, so I appreciate you coming in with advice also. It sounded more to me like you were providing advice on how to go about doing it safely, not that it was a terrible idea altogether?
Absolutely correct! Everything I stated was for general consideration by anyone working on low voltage systems.

There were already enough good responses to your specific questions for you to make informed decisions without me adding more.

cheers
Mike
 

Drover

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@Joves your above post was what I was trying to point out, even with your aux being compatable you would still need to tap it in to either the Pos or Neg cable from your van batteries meaning extra long cables (2mts or more )and the provision of a disconnect while also trying to tap into the solar feed and since Jayco may have batteries under a seat and controller in a cupboard meters away, the addition of such cables can be a problem, I have also seen other cables piggy backing off battery terminals as well, these would need attention also ............................. But all in all a good conversation.

I think this thread needs to be locked and a Part 2 thread started its getting too large and unmanageable, far too much good information has been buried as nobody is going to dig thru a squillion posts... or at least an index.

PS I missed the cowboy bit, where my shovel ???
 
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Apr 17, 2017
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@Joves do you mean using existing setup and using portable panels regulated output?

The first option should be okay (with fusing)

or plugging in portable panels non-regulated to your existing van regulator?

The second option not by the sounds of it as you'll overload the van regulator having both fixed and portable on at the same time.

I personally don't use the regulator on the portables as it's too far away from battteries. I prefer to have a regulator pretty close to battery.
 
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Boots in Action

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Mar 13, 2017
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Hi team,

Just want to be sure that these posts are actually in response to my questions, me being @Joves, not @Clewsy?! If not, it’ll make for a pretty funny/disastrous scenario... me taking your advice, meant for a completely unrelated topic, and burning myself to cinders!!

Seriously though, I do really appreciate everyone’s input and believe that it is all valid. If I thought I knew as much as you guys do, I wouldn’t ask the question in the first place.

@Boots in Action, I’m actually really keen to pursue your idea of two separate Anderson’s... one effectively being a solar input and the other being an output/connection to add the auxiliary battery in parallel with the house batteries. I reckon, in theory, its an ingenious idea. I think it is important to note that I am not looking for a solution that gets me the absolute best theoretical outcome possible, drawing the absolute most ah out of each battery and taking in every last watt of solar. I’m looking for an option for the occasional boost to power capability, for the odd occasion that I’m freecamping and feeling as though the current house setup might fall slightly short. If there is a way that I can get an extra day or so out of the venture by utilising the equipment I already have, then that is absolutely fine by me. I don’t really care if its not wired up in the most efficient way possible (note “efficient”, I do want it to be safe). If it buys me more powered time, then goal achieved. Your solution seems to fit that bill very nicely and, for that, I thank you.

@Drover, throughout my limited time on this forum, you’ve been a great help (I’m @Joves btw, not @Clewsy.. haha) and have always seemed to be a great voice of reason. Your input to this question has made a lot of sense and is also massively appreciated. I’ll always appreciate someone giving it to me straight and telling me “in my opinion, it’s not worth it!” My current setup may prove this to be true, which I will get into further in a bit. The main reason I’ve gone down the path of purchasing the aux battery is to power the secondary drinks fridge. The reason I’ve purchased the 300 watt solar panel is to power the aux battery. It then struck me that and extra 105ah of battery and 300 watt of portable solar seems a bit of a luxury for a plain old drinks fridge, so I wondered if there might be a way that I could ALSO utilise them both to supplement the main van’s power supply when freecamping and running only on 12 volt. The aux battery being used separately wont power my van lights or TV etc. if not connected to the actual van. This is what i’m Hoping to achieve. It seems as though there is a way, albeit perhaps not the most efficient way, which sounds great to me. I do completely take on board that the reward may not be worth the effort though. I’d have imagined that having an Anderson plug fitted to connect to a portable 300 watt solar panel, for when the van is parked in the shade and the roof panels are all but useless, would be a no-brainer though, wouldn’t it?!

@mikerezny, you clearly know your stuff, so I appreciate you coming in with advice also. It sounded more to me like you were providing advice on how to go about doing it safely, not that it was a terrible idea altogether?

Anyhow, now back onto the important parts of the topic, the practical application of what is either a genius or imbecile idea. It looks as though it might not be practical after all. Not due to the possibilities of it all, but due to my current setup. Taking a closer look at my power setup today, it appears that Jayco have installed Gel batteries, rather than AGM, as specified at the time of purchase. This is actually pretty frustrating, as it seems that this will knock the plan on the plan on the head before it has even gotten off the ground (my auxiliary battery is an AGM). I purchased the AGM auxiliary battery of similar capacity for this very reason, but stupidly did not check to make sure that Jayco had installed AGM batteries in the van, as purchased. This, i assume, makes my van batteries and auxiliary battery non-compatible for connecting in parallel, so that pretty well rules out the second Anderson connection for the time being. As for the first, to add portable solar supply to the existing roof panels, this may not be viable either. I took a good look at the setup and specs for what has been installed and I have the BMPro3 J35c. This is only rated to 28amps/450 total watts of solar input. Plus, it seems too good a system to be ripping out of a new van and replacing with an MPPT controller for this type of “once in awhile” venture.

So, it appears I have an auxiliary battery that is non-compatible to link in parallel with my van batteries (due to Jayco supplying me with different type batteries than i actually purchased) and a controller that isn’t up to the task of an additional 300 watt portable solar panel.

I guess now my main real question is if the rating of the BMPro3 should stop me from occasionally adding the extra 30 watt solar panel at all, or should I just not expect to get the full benefit from it? I thought the whole point of the controller was purely to limit the flow into the batteries. Would having a theoretical 620 watts of solar panels (even though we all know they’re unlikely to be putting out the amount of power/wattage they state even under perfect conditions at the same time) connected to a controller rated for 450 watts, actually pose a real issue? If so, I think there is still a real case for being able to add the portable panel when the rooftop panels are parked up under full shade. Am I right in assuming that, when parked in full shade, the rooftop panels will likely be putting out a low enough wattage that the 300 watt portable panel could comfortably be used to supplement?

Again, thanks to ALL for your replies.

Joves

Hi @Joves , lots of good info in all these posts as people with different levels of knowledge and experience put forward their own views, which unfortunately is NOT universal to all persons or situations. My van is small with only short runs and therefore my ideas are not necessarily suitable for you larger boys. And my charging system is the old type Setec Series III which does not compare with the BMPro 35, and having no panels on roof, all my solar panels are portable.
IMHO, no you do not want to connect Gel and AGM batteries in parallel - different chemical properties and charging algorithms. As far as the capacity of the BMPro is concerned, there is one way you could still use the extra panel (if it is worth it) by doing the following:
When the van panels are shaded you can check to see how much current is being generated by looking at the BMPRo. If you are only producing say 10A, then you do have the ability to add the extra panel as the most you could expect in perfect conditions would be approx 16A under STC. So if you allow for a mixed type panel connections and down grade the performance by say 25%, you are now down to approx 12A from the flexi panel. This added to your 10A from roof top panels would be within the limits of the controller. HOWEVER, THE LIGHT ON THE ROOF PANELS WILL ALWAYS BE CHANGING AND COULD GET MORE SUN AGAIN WHICH MAY HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO INCREASE THE TOTAL OUTPUT CLOSER TO THE CONTROLLER LIMIT OR EVEN BEYOND IT. The only other way is to connect the flexi panel to the battery if feasible and use the controller on the flexi panel. This then brings in another less than perfect situation. You have two controllers trying to monitor the van battery voltages and charging currents, according to their individual settings for max voltage and float levels. So tread your own path on this line.

Important: My humblest apologies to all concerned including @mikerezny , @Drover , @Clewsy and yourself for causing ANY confusion on these matters. In this case, I got too involved in the "battle of ideas" in trying to help. MAY PEACE NOW RETURN TO THIS SUBJECT!!
 

Drover

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On the couple of BMPro's I've fiddled with (solar controller) they have had an external anderson fitted for solar input.......... I have found in my set up that with the roof top solar running thru its controller and the portable using its own when they are connected up to the batteries they seem to run happily along oblivious to each other until the batteries get near charged and go to float mode where one controller will shut down and the other chugs along ...... when they are charging Ive unplugged either and found the difference in charge is about .0* so a poofteenth of nothing................. though most times the portable I plug in to the van controller with its own disconnected then I can see the figures easily.

My humblest apologies to all concerned including @mikerezny , @Drover , @Clewsy and yourself for causing ANY confusion on these matters. In this case, I got too involved in the "battle of ideas" in trying to help. MAY PEACE NOW RETURN TO THIS SUBJECT!!
Well I say apology is NOT accepted, I don't see an apology needed from my end, the pot needs stirring at times, so put your cowboy boots back on. We understand that your Old...lol,lol,lol, and these things happen.......lol.
 
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May 9, 2019
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Hi @Joves i think the comments are for you & not me.

Sounds like you have your answer

I'm with @mikerezny on this one. A couple of reasons, don't parrallel batteries if

1. different types of batteries gel, agm etc
2. Different size Ah's
3. Different ages (their internal impedance / resistance increases overtime)
4. Different lengths of cable or length between batteries (different resistance)
5. If you don't fuse them in the type of setup you were suggesting

Your projecta power hub doesn't have a charger in it for the solar i'm guessing?

I'd stick with keeping them seperate, i'd be surprised if you ran out of power for your power hub. And unless you use the coffee machine a lot you should be okay in the van too. Have you done a bit of free camping for extended periods already to know you need more power?

The kickass are good panels, at least the portable glass ones i have are. Haven't used or tested their thin ones.

In regards to solar, i'd personally use a seperate charger for each type of panel. the fixed and portable will have different Voltage and Current curves, you'll be most like loosing some efficiency in one lot of panels. Yes you won't be loosing heaps so not a huge deal. If you did I'd fuse the panels, not that there is any fault current from panels, in case something else goes wrong.

I'm just cautious and tend to lean on side of safety. You can't see electricity until the smoke escapes, and then it's to late.

I echo seeing spanners evaporate and people being treated for 3rd degree burns and hearing their stories of treatment in burns units, lost for words......

Batteries also can explode if not ventilated properly when they get overcharge and vent Hydrogen which is an explosive gas.
Hi @Clewsy,

Thanks heaps for your input.

Sorry for my ignorance, but when you say “fuse them together”, am I right in assuming you mean to have an in-line fuse on the positive line between them?

The Projecta Power Hub can be charged directly from solar. It has a 50amp Anderson connection and external terminals for alligator clamps. Both are input and output connections.

You’re right that we may not have any power issues/shortfalls with the current setup as is. I guess this is another case of someone getting themselves all worked up about making their van better when they don’t have enough experience with it to determine if it even needs any improving. I do foresee shade will be an issue at times with the fixed roof panels though, so am pretty confident the portable solar panel could be put to good use on those occasions.

As for using a separate charger for the portable panel, how would that look? Would there be a separate charger installed in the van and connected to the van batteries, which the anderson plug is connected to and ran out to the draw bar. Then the portable solar panel is connected to the anderson with an in-line fuse between? If this is the case, would the batteries have an issue with being charged from two sources at the same time? And would the BMPro still be able to accurately monitor the state of charge/level of discharge with a second charger attached to the batteries?

A lot of questions, I know. Sorry.

Cheers,
Joves
 
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Hi @Joves , lots of good info in all these posts as people with different levels of knowledge and experience put forward their own views, which unfortunately is NOT universal to all persons or situations. My van is small with only short runs and therefore my ideas are not necessarily suitable for you larger boys. And my charging system is the old type Setec Series III which does not compare with the BMPro 35, and having no panels on roof, all my solar panels are portable.
IMHO, no you do not want to connect Gel and AGM batteries in parallel - different chemical properties and charging algorithms. As far as the capacity of the BMPro is concerned, there is one way you could still use the extra panel (if it is worth it) by doing the following:
When the van panels are shaded you can check to see how much current is being generated by looking at the BMPRo. If you are only producing say 10A, then you do have the ability to add the extra panel as the most you could expect in perfect conditions would be approx 16A under STC. So if you allow for a mixed type panel connections and down grade the performance by say 25%, you are now down to approx 12A from the flexi panel. This added to your 10A from roof top panels would be within the limits of the controller. HOWEVER, THE LIGHT ON THE ROOF PANELS WILL ALWAYS BE CHANGING AND COULD GET MORE SUN AGAIN WHICH MAY HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO INCREASE THE TOTAL OUTPUT CLOSER TO THE CONTROLLER LIMIT OR EVEN BEYOND IT. The only other way is to connect the flexi panel to the battery if feasible and use the controller on the flexi panel. This then brings in another less than perfect situation. You have two controllers trying to monitor the van battery voltages and charging currents, according to their individual settings for max voltage and float levels. So tread your own path on this line.

Important: My humblest apologies to all concerned including @mikerezny , @Drover , @Clewsy and yourself for causing ANY confusion on these matters. In this case, I got too involved in the "battle of ideas" in trying to help. MAY PEACE NOW RETURN TO THIS SUBJECT!!
@Boots in Action, your input has been fantastic, so certainly no apologies wanted from my end. Just a big thank you to you for helping me out with some great ideas!
 
May 9, 2019
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On the couple of BMPro's I've fiddled with (solar controller) they have had an external anderson fitted for solar input.......... I have found in my set up that with the roof top solar running thru its controller and the portable using its own when they are connected up to the batteries they seem to run happily along oblivious to each other until the batteries get near charged and go to float mode where one controller will shut down and the other chugs along ...... when they are charging Ive unplugged either and found the difference in charge is about .0* so a poofteenth of nothing................. though most times the portable I plug in to the van controller with its own disconnected then I can see the figures easily.



Well I say apology is NOT accepted, I don't see an apology needed from my end, the pot needs stirring at times, so put your cowboy boots back on. We understand that your Old...lol,lol,lol, and these things happen.......lol.
Thanks again @Drover.

So, in your system, you have the permanent panels running through the onboard controller and the portable panel running directly to the batteries via anderson and using its own controller? Ie. The controller/regulator on the portable panel itself?
 
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Boots in Action

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On the couple of BMPro's I've fiddled with (solar controller) they have had an external anderson fitted for solar input.......... I have found in my set up that with the roof top solar running thru its controller and the portable using its own when they are connected up to the batteries they seem to run happily along oblivious to each other until the batteries get near charged and go to float mode where one controller will shut down and the other chugs along ...... when they are charging Ive unplugged either and found the difference in charge is about .0* so a poofteenth of nothing................. though most times the portable I plug in to the van controller with its own disconnected then I can see the figures easily.



Well I say apology is NOT accepted, I don't see an apology needed from my end, the pot needs stirring at times, so put your cowboy boots back on. We understand that your Old...lol,lol,lol, and these things happen.......lol.
Well @Drover , you always were a tough old b?@%#*% and a stirrer, but I have got used to it. Thick skin and water off a duck's back!! But I still read what you have to say even if I do not always agree. As far as messages sent/received on your phone, perhaps it is "operator fault"". lol!!
 
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Drover

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Yep @Joves I have 200w on the roof running to my controller and I have 2 external Anderson plugs on van one is a direct feed to the batteries which has an inline Maxi Fuse and can be used for regulated power from my portable panel or I can draw power for fridge, lights or whatever and the other is direct to the solar reg for unregulated power from my portable panel.... I have just used grey plugs as my extension leads 5mt and 10mt are used for various jobs and dedicated plugs would preclude that use. You just have to be aware of what you are doing...... Check out @Boots in Action as he has his well labelled, I have thought about spray painting mine red or blue, one day.....

My portable panel(120w) has a controller fitted but I have fitted an anderson to the controller as well as one which is direct off panel box, this allows me to supply regulated power to my aux battery or van battery direct or I can plug my extension lead into the unregulated plug which in turn plugs into my van solar system using the van controller.............. It can be used in multiple situations my Jeep now has an anderson under the bonnet for not only drawing power for compressor and stuff but also if I need to plug my panel in as a battery charger...... One item with many uses is always of great value off grid.

My rig doesn't have a BMPro or Setek type system, the cables from my batteries go to a Bus Bar where everything draws or provides power, which does make things easier in that batteries and chargers are in the one place and cable runs are nice and short. I have used 8 B&S cable for all leads.


Well @Drover , you always were a tough old b?@%#*% and a stirrer, but I have got used to it. Thick skin and water off a duck's back!! But I still read what you have to say even if I do not always agree. As far as messages sent/received on your phone, perhaps it is "operator fault"". lol!!
If you keep reading then eventually you will agree with me you know................................. While I do suffer from Fat Finger Syndrone with my phone at times the rotten thing will delete part of a message or just won't send, well it does send but it doesn't get there, it is a mongrel thing at times at drives me batty.....I have replied to posts only to find later bits are missing or its gone.......
 
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Apr 17, 2017
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Hi @Clewsy,

Thanks heaps for your input.

Sorry for my ignorance, but when you say “fuse them together”, am I right in assuming you mean to have an in-line fuse on the positive line between them?
@Joves , welcome, lots of good ideas here from everyone, use which ever ideas suit you best.

sorry not sure where i wrote fuse them together, in line fuse would have been the meaning in positive yes.

Not sure about the projecta power hubs if they have an inbuilt regulator on all connections, if not you would have to use the regulated portable panel output.

The kickass panels you can either just plug straight into the panels 18V and plug into a regulator elsewhere

or plug panels into the regulator mounted on the fold out legs to connect to a battery to charge it.

Which you can do for you van batteries with an anderson like @Drover has done. I have done the same. I have an 18v anderson input to a regulator and 12v anderson that can be either in or out. I did both grey standard ones and labelled, inline fuses on both.

If you power hub has an inbuilt regulator like you say then you could relocate regulator on you panel legs to be permanently mount in your van for the purpose of sending the 18v from your portables.

I agree with @Drover too that multple uses or functions are best. Depends which you use the most. I can switch 5 & 10m leads around also to suit our loads and solar. We're 9 months into a lap around and mixup free /low cost camping, staying with friends and van parks.

All depends on your usage, time off the grid and ambient temps when and where you go, heating and cooling the biggest loads normally.

Sorry not sure on the BMpro you have, they might have s shunt that counts current you might have to wire into so SOC is accurate. Someone else will have to answer that one.

I went with redarc in van and ute so i can charge while driving and they also have solar inputs. Over 600hrs of driving so far, made sense to me before we left.
 
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Boots in Action

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Mar 13, 2017
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Drovers Tip # 38........Remove stainless steel watch before working near alternator, shorted on the battery terminal of alternator, watch welded to terminal, hand cooked, arm nearly broken, head hurt from bonnet, kids learnt some new words including the neighbors.
Hi there @mikerezny , @Clewsy and @Joves , just following up on the issue of safety raised by some of you. Here is a post from the past by none other than @Drover who had a "run-in" with some low voltage electric current on his vehicle. He got off lightly in this case, but it does remind all that just because it is only 12 or so volts, with a lot of potential current available, lots of damage can be done in a short time!! Always be careful!! Sorry to remind you of past misfortunes @Drover .
 

Boots in Action

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However, you do NOT have to lose the flexibility of using the portable panel on other tasks if an Anderson plug is fitted to side of van and wires are connected in parallel with existing panel to Drifter. Flexibility is still maintained as you can decide whether to connect in extra panel at any time you please and still have the advantage and greater efficiency of all solar current (from fixed or both panels) going into the one controller in van. The bypassing of controller on portable panel is easily done by connecting an extra set of wires from output of panel (and before output from portable panel controller) and terminate with a Anderson plug. (Output via controller NOT used, but still available for other uses without changing anything). This extra wiring does not have to be removed (just not used) if charging other items. I will agree that the wiring to the Drifter is extra work but surely if @Miket351 wants the best setup and is capable of doing this, he at least knows about this better option. I admit that I am a bit of a "tech head" on these matters, and am always trying for the ultimate even if it means more work! So like you in the suggestions that you have put forward for improvement, I am only giving options.

Hello again @Drover , you know I like digging up your past thoughts and place them before you when you have succumbed to greater knowledge and different ideas. You were a reluctant follower of this idea and very sceptical about it and I did not ever think that you would do anything about it. Now I find you espousing the virtues of such a system. It is good to see that "You can teach an old dog new tricks"!!! If you come back denying such thinking, I can always bring up your reply from way back in December 2017. This forum is really a great memory bank of your thoughts of way back then. Keep up your good work in explaining what you had to do after my explanation of different Anderson plugs on back of portable panel. Cheers
Taken from post #792 of 20th December, 2017!!
 
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Thanks again everyone. Whilst confusing to me, it all sounds like great advice.

I’ve bitten the bullet and today and grabbed a few items, being:

- Victron 50Amp MPPT controller
- Pos/Neg cables with eyelets to connect between controller and battery
- Pos/Neg cables with Anderson plug on one end, the other end to connect to controller (I’m assuming this is the positive cable I should fit the in-line 40amp fuse to?)
- 5m Anderson to Anderson cable to somehow feed out to the drawbar

Looking under the van to see where and how Jayco have ran the existing cables, I must say, I’m pretty impressed with what a tidy job they have done. I’ve read plenty on this forum about sloppy workmanship in this regard, so was expecting the worst, but they look to have done a very tidy job indeed. So tidy, in fact, that I have no idea how I’m going to feed the Anderson cable through to the drawbar.

One thing that confused me a little today. Even though I have purchased the 50Amp MPPT controller, the sales guy (who was a great guy, very helpful and seemed to know his stuff) was adamant that I should still be using the portable panels controller in conjunction with the MPPT controller. He says the MPPT controller would potentially be damaged by a direct feed from the panel. I was of the understanding that the MPPT is actually just a better version of the controller/regulator that is fixed to the portable panel?
 
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Boots in Action

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Thanks again everyone. Whilst confusing to me, it all sounds like great advice.

I’ve bitten the bullet and today and grabbed a few items, being:

- Victron 50Amp MPPT controller
- Pos/Neg cables with eyelets to connect between controller and battery
- Pos/Neg cables with Anderson plug on one end, the other end to connect to controller (I’m assuming this is the positive cable I should fit the in-line 40amp fuse to?)
- 5m Anderson to Anderson cable to somehow feed out to the drawbar

Looking under the van to see where and how Jayco have ran the existing cables, I must say, I’m pretty impressed with what a tidy job they have done. I’ve read plenty on this forum about sloppy workmanship in this regard, so was expecting the worst, but they look to have done a very tidy job indeed. So tidy, in fact, that I have no idea how I’m going to feed the Anderson cable through to the drawbar.

One thing that confused me a little today. Even though I have purchased the 50Amp MPPT controller, the sales guy (who was a great guy, very helpful and seemed to know his stuff) was adamant that I should still be using the portable panels controller in conjunction with the MPPT controller. He says the MPPT controller would potentially be damaged by a direct feed from the panel. I was of the understanding that the MPPT is actually just a better version of the controller/regulator that is fixed to the portable panel?
Again @Joves , here is where the confusion occurs! What the Jaycar fellow said is not correct, or maybe you did not fully understand what he was saying. Your last sentence is absolutely correct. And you never connect two solar regulators in SERIES. Hence all the talk on this forum of bypassing any controller on panel if feeding power to another (common ) regulator. Is there any reason you bought a 50A regulator?? If you are going to just use it for the flexi panel, which will only ever produce 15 or so amps at max, that is a huge overkill!! As I am now confused because you say you have a BMPro power distribution system which can only handle 28A, how do you intend to use the Victron controller?? I hope we have not all confused you too much, but I fear there could be massive misunderstandings in play. Perhaps all this should be clarified before you proceed any further.
 
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@Joves Agreed, only use one regulator. And MPPT are more efficient and better than a PWM regulator. You just have to pay more for it.

Rather large controller the 50amp, what is the thinking there?

You might already have enough gear, just might have to add a couple of fused anderson plugs & leads to the outside of the van

With 345Ah in the 3 batteries and almost 600W of solar you could live off the grid almost indefinitely I'd say unless you use lots of power.

Is there a reason you don't want to trial what you have already and see how you go before doing any upgrades?
 
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Thanks @Boots in Action, I was pretty sure I was right in thinking that I should bypass the panel controller if connecting into the MPPT. The sales guys was definitely saying I should use both and that the MPPT wouldn’t handle the spikes in power sent out from the panel itself. I figured the MPPT would do a better job of it than the supplied panel controller, which is the whole purpose of having it in the first place, but chose not to argue the point.

Don’t be confused by the size of the controller. It really wasn’t that much more expensive in the scheme of things, when compared to a 20 or 30 amp controller, so I figured it can’t hurt to have the extra capacity, even if it is never required. By all accounts, the Victron’s are great controllers, so it’ll be handy to have if i ever do find myself wanting to upgrade the whole solar setup in the future.

@Clewsy, I definitely won’t be permanently installing anything until I know that it is required. If the current setup works fine, then it will stay as is. I know it looks as though i have 305ah in batteries and 620W of solar, however, in reality, I have 320W of solar hooked up to 200ah of battery. The extra 105ah battery is currently an auxiliary battery, which I have decided, after receiving much appreciated advice in this thread, will not be connected in parallel to the other batteries. This leaves me with 200ah of battery (100ah of useable battery really) and 320W of solar which will do sweet nothing if i’m parked up in the shade or if weather conditions are less than ideal. I really want a way of utilising the extra 300W of solar into the van system itself. The 300W will keep the auxiliary battery charged without a sweat, but I really do want the option/ability to utilise it in the van’s power supply on the occasions (which I dare say probably won’t be odd occasions) when the roof panels just aren’t cutting the mustard. I figure I can test and decide whether it is all needed before permanently installing it in the van. There is no need to run the cabling neatly through the floor and onto the drawbar at this stage. I can just take the lot with me and hook it up to the batteries if/when the need arises, then decide, depending on how frequently it is required, whether I install it all permanently.

I hope this makes sense. Or, do you think it is still overkill? The current panels are doing a great job so far, but they really haven’t been tested in shady or unfavourable conditions.

Sorry to ask again about the in-line fuse. Am I right that it really doesn’t matter where it is installed, so long as it sits between the solar panel and the solar controller? And is 40amp the right fuse to be installing?
 
May 9, 2019
84
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Sydney
Thinking about it more, in a perfect world, I’d have both the portable and permanent panels hooked into the BMPro and have an isolator switch between the two. That way, if the van is in sun, i’d use the rooftop panels. If the van is in shade, i’d connect the portable panel and switch to that. This would eliminate the issue of the combined panels being too high wattage together for the controller.
 

Drover

Well-Known Member
Nov 7, 2013
8,630
14,661
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Cooloola Coast, QLD
www.expandasdownunder.com
Hello again @Drover , you know I like digging up your past thoughts and place them before you when you have succumbed to greater knowledge and different ideas. You were a reluctant follower of this idea and very sceptical about it and I did not ever think that you would do anything about it. Now I find you espousing the virtues of such a system. It is good to see that "You can teach an old dog new tricks"!!! If you come back denying such thinking, I can always bring up your reply from way back in December 2017. This forum is really a great memory bank of your thoughts of way back then. Keep up your good work in explaining what you had to do after my explanation of different Anderson plugs on back of portable panel. Cheers
Taken from post #792 of 20th December, 2017!!


If the above was an attempt at humour it failed but was a good attempt at sarcasm and not in keeping with the ideals of this Forum in my opinion.......