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Posts: 89
Location: New Mexico USA zone 6
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Ebo David wrote:Sorry that I was not able to find/get a copy myself.


Scroll up almost to the top of this page.  The download is there, just not as obvious as it might be.  Look for the light blue bar across the screen.
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Posts: 47
Location: Whitehorse, YT; hardiness zone 1b (Can)
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Yahoo!  Downloaded successfully!
Thank you, guys!
 
Posts: 10
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Combing through 100 youtube videos with 1000 affiliate links on off-grid solar systems was making me dizzy.
Thanks, Ben Peterson, for the plans and the simple explanation of the off-grid solar system. Totally worth the money.

We want to build a version of this system, but we are on a tight budget. For that I have a question:

Is it possible to use only 3 batteries and 3 solar panels and upgrade later? And if we need more than 600W could we upgrade? Like use 10 batteries and 10 solar panels?

Sorry for the noob question. Thankful for help.

Best,
Tilman
 
pollinator
Posts: 130
Location: 48°N in Normandie, France. USDA 8-9 Koppen Cfb
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Hi Dan,
Saw you hadn't received a reply to your question. Now, I'm no expert, but I did design and install the system for the boat we lived onboard for 6 years - and we never once had to run the engine to charge the batteries. Which was pretty useful when we had 18 days (and nights) at sea powering nav systems, computers and lights, with an engine we couldn't use. Anyway, my understanding is that whilst you can add on solar panels (up to the capacity of your controller, and then add controllers for more panels) ideally, your battery bank is best if it contains batteries of the same age and quality as old batteries within a system can pull down the performance of new ones. I'm talking here about lead acid and AGM - I've no experience with edison or gel. So, if it was me, I'd spend as much as I could on batteries, and then add on more solar later. If you're on-grid, and your solar array is insufficient to fully charge the bank, you could charge them/top them up via that.  Also, with AGM/lead acid/gel, you'll prolong their life if you dont discharge them below 50-60% so whatever the capacity of the bank, you have only half or less of that available to use.
As I said I'm no expert so others may be able to give you a different take on it.
Regards
Lesley
 
Dan Tilman
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Hi Lesley,
Thanks for your reply. In the meantime I have built a solar system similar to the one in the book. 4 x 100 watt panels, 4x 100aH batteries, 4x 20v charge controllers and a 2200 watt inverter.

It powers our tiny house with lights, outlets for phones, computers, printer, and even the washer.

I’m really happy about the system. But I have one question:

How to you tell what percentage the batteries have?

Maybe somebody can help.

Best regards,
Tilman
 
lesley verbrugge
pollinator
Posts: 130
Location: 48°N in Normandie, France. USDA 8-9 Koppen Cfb
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Well done1 Great feeling to have constructed something that works and all by yourself!

You'd need to add a battery monitor.  There are various types around fThe one I use is Smartgauge altho a UK company, they ship worldwide. It's basically plug and play and very accurate. We needed the accuracy because of the systems we were running - a home system needs to be reliable too, but the house wont end up on a reef if the batteries are dead LOL. I liked the smart guage because it didn't need any other parts to make it work, there's no voltage drop, and no loss of accuracy over time.  The website link has some good technical resources.

Nowadays there's a much wider choice of monitors including wireless I believe.

Regards

lesley
 
pollinator
Posts: 410
Location: North central Ontario
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Dan Tilman wrote:Hi Lesley,
Thanks for your reply. In the meantime I have built a solar system similar to the one in the book. 4 x 100 watt panels, 4x 100aH batteries, 4x 20v charge controllers and a 2200 watt inverter.

It powers our tiny house with lights, outlets for phones, computers, printer, and even the washer.

I’m really happy about the system. But I have one question:

How to you tell what percentage the batteries have?

Maybe somebody can help.

Best regards,
Tilman

state of charge monitors for small 12 volt systems are notoriously inaccurate. Voltage at rest is your best easiest indicator.
This chart is pretty good depending on what type of batteries you have. This is for a flooded deep cycle
https://images.app.goo.gl/RMXCiCq6j1QnkieV6

Out of curiosity why 4 charge controllers? Each will have a standby loss so usually you get one that can take the input from all 4 to minimize losses...
Cheers,  David
 
lesley verbrugge
pollinator
Posts: 130
Location: 48°N in Normandie, France. USDA 8-9 Koppen Cfb
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can't make the quote thing work so posted below LOL
 
lesley verbrugge
pollinator
Posts: 130
Location: 48°N in Normandie, France. USDA 8-9 Koppen Cfb
52
hugelkultur forest garden chicken food preservation solar rocket stoves
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David makes a good point. Smartgauge doesn't go out of sync with the batteries like most of the others do and an added bonus is no shunts needed, so no voltage loss from those. It displays voltage as well as charge status.

I wondered about the number of controllers too, given the panels are only 100W. What Ampage are your controllers Dan? Not criticising just interested (yeah ok, being nosy!)

Lesley
 
Dan Tilman
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Thanks for the tips for the smart battery monitor. I will look into that. I have used these very simple solar charge controllers. I believe they are 20A

20A Solar Charge Controller Solar Panel Battery Intelligent Regulator with Dual USB Port 12V/24V PWM Auto Paremeter Adjustable LCD Display https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072MMDY4F/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_wzs7Eb3VRF4MX
 
Dan Tilman
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Hi David,
I used four charge controllers, because it was what they did in the solar station pdf. Each solar panel has its own.
 
lesley verbrugge
pollinator
Posts: 130
Location: 48°N in Normandie, France. USDA 8-9 Koppen Cfb
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if you check the specs of your panels it'll give you their output in Amps -probably 6amps each?

6A+6A=12A then add safety margin (25% of 12amps =3A) 3+12=15Amps

6 + 6+ 6=18 +25% (4) = 22 which is higher than the 20 amp rating of your controller.

so, you could safely run two panels through each of your controllers - if you wished to. :o) (or if one of them stops working, you dont need to panic, just wire it into one of the other controllers)

The main advantage of a separate controller for each is that  (if your controller offers it) you can see the individual performance of the panels and spot errors/problems. You can't identify a dodgy panel if there are multiple panels wired through one controller.

Davis is right, there are voltage losses with every item/fuse/connection your current passes through, but, your system works for you and that's what matters after all!

regards
Lesley
 
lesley verbrugge
pollinator
Posts: 130
Location: 48°N in Normandie, France. USDA 8-9 Koppen Cfb
52
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Thank you for making this a freebie via the dailyish email. It's much appreciated. I particularly enjoyed seeing the build of the structure.

Understand now why Dan used one controller per panel  - but, if you look closely they are 7amp controllers, so, if you're using a 20amp controller like Dan did, then you'd need only one per pair of panels as calculated above.
 
Posts: 7
Location: Skiathos, Greece
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Hello ! Thank you sooo much for this freebie <3
I've been trying to download it for the last half hour and the download fails every time... I don't know if it is because the file is very big and my connection quite slow and busy (I'll try again tonight) or if there are too many people trying to download it right now or if there is another problem... Does anyone else have the same issue ?
 
Ilektra Kou
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Location: Skiathos, Greece
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Ilektra Kou wrote:Hello ! Thank you sooo much for this freebie <3
I've been trying to download it for the last half hour and the download fails every time... I don't know if it is because the file is very big and my connection quite slow and busy (I'll try again tonight) or if there are too many people trying to download it right now or if there is another problem... Does anyone else have the same issue ?



So, it seems my connection was the issue, as I went to a friend's house to download it and it was ok. Thank you again
 
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