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Post Info TOPIC: Solar panel and deep cycle battries setup.


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Solar panel and deep cycle battries setup.


I know pretty much what camping fridge i am going to get, waeco cfx40.

I have $1500 for the buying of a batt/s solar panel and a MPPT, i am only on a pension so funds r tight i am using my savings to make this happen, i may be able to push a lil more.

It will be used to run the fridge for the most part and some led lighting at night, i do have a lil back up genny already, what i was thinking was a 300w panel on the roof so it can be detached bring to the ground and setup on an solar panel sun tracking system, and maybe a small folding one for a bit extra.

Any and all advice on what i may need and if i am dreaming trying do it with my lil budget.

Cheers Darren...



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A significant part of the cost of solar is paying for someone else to do what you can do yourself with a bit of study and advise.
I suggest a bias of more solar, less battery and a good quality regulator.
DIY you should be comfortable with a very good system for under $1500.
Cheers,
Peter

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The wiring up side of things i should be ok with, i dont mind a bit of DIY.

I will only have a 4x4 with a tray roof rank, for the most part up there will be the genny spare tire gas bottle and 2 20lt jerry cans...



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Hi Darren :)

I think you can comfortably do what you want for your money if you shop wisely and do it yourself.

My suggestion is do not even consider a 300W panel. It is too big and heavy and certainly to take down and put up again. I assume you are not Hercules biggrin I suggest if buying new, you should only buy 100w panels for various reasons fixed or not. I have found 80W panels are excellent for portable sets. If you get some shade the ones in sun will continue to work OK.  And you can just plug in some extra one or two and use them on the ground. A bit more wiring but not hard to do.  No need for a tracker just move them several times a day to face the sun, if your power is down,  if the power is up them no need to worry much. Do not buy the folding ones, just use normal ones for half the price. Fit your own cables and plugs. Make the cables oversize to minimise losses. Look on Ebay for marine cable or your local boating shop. The tinned copper wire is excellent.  Get a SS wire cable made up for security too and a lock.

What battery were you thinking of. I use a 140Ahr AGM and it is OK. from here  https://www.aussiebatteries.com.au/

The MPPT solar reg ebay aussie seller. say Tracer 40A size, plenty available;  https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/EPever-4210AN-Tracer-40A-MPPT-Solar-Charge-Controller-Regulator-MT50-Meter-4210A/302342796223?hash=item466508f3bf:g:7kcAAOSwhhFbdSX8

If you want some cheaper solar panels then you can pickup house panels for a good price. People are upgrading and throwing away good panels for a song. Look on Gumtree. Make sure they are working OK and the older Aussie made ones are good, some later Chinese cheap ones are not. They are often about 150-200W. And using a MPPT regulator they will work well for 12V charging.

How's that for a start,

Cheers jaahn 

 

 

   

 



-- Edited by Jaahn on Thursday 17th of October 2019 04:38:19 PM

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I was looking at a 120amp min battery and those 140amp would be rite up my ally.

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For $1500 you could put one of our 100Ah lithium batteries, a solar regulator and probably around 200w of folding portable panels. You could also add alternator charging to avoid having to drag the generator with you, maybe even sell it to fund the project.

T1 Terry

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aimless traveler wrote:

I will only have a 4x4 with a tray roof rank, for the most part up there will be the genny spare tire gas bottle and 2 20lt jerry cans...


 Much too much weight up there.

Why all the fuel? And leave the genny at home.

I much prefer set and forget for the solar panels. Fit as many as you can.

 The other charging option is direct from the alternator. That is a big genny that can be very useful and no extra weight or fuel.

Cheers,

Peter



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The extra fuel will be for my trip from here to Darwin, it may be over kill but i would rather safe not sorry, yes i understand top heavy...

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T1 Terry wrote:

For $1500 you could put one of our 100Ah lithium batteries, a solar regulator and probably around 200w of folding portable panels. You could also add alternator charging to avoid having to drag the generator with you, maybe even sell it to fund the project.

T1 Terry


 T1 you you had me with lithium haha, i had looked into them but always through they out of my rage for my basic setup, all that you have said above is what i was 1st looking towards what i want, i was of the thinking i would be spending at least a week at a time when i go fossicking at each place and being in one spot for so long at a time what you have spoke of would not do for my needs but if it can i am all ears.

I should add i will be charging some batteries for the gold detector laptop and fone as well as i type this i am already thinking is i am setup to charge off the alternator i can run the car to charge if need be so yes maybe a genny would not be needed...



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Peter_n_Margaret wrote:
aimless traveler wrote:

I will only have a 4x4 with a tray roof rank, for the most part up there will be the genny spare tire gas bottle and 2 20lt jerry cans...


 Much too much weight up there.

Why all the fuel? And leave the genny at home.

I much prefer set and forget for the solar panels. Fit as many as you can.

 The other charging option is direct from the alternator. That is a big genny that can be very useful and no extra weight or fuel.

Cheers,

Peter


 142kg on my roof including roof rack. I remove fuel, 50L max, asap & put solar panels, 15.3kg (120 watts), in the car for corrugated roads. I have worked seriously hard to reduce weight as much as possible replacing a roof platform with a second pair of cross bars, net saving 16.4kg. Spare wheel tie down crossbar has been drilled to reduce weight.

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50L fuel custom holder, custom 6x20watt solar panel, Victron 100/20 mppt, 4x26ah battery, 28L super insulated fridge, TPMS, 3 compressors heatsink fan cooled 4L air tank after cooler, 2x1kg ABE.



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My mantra, "jerry cans are for emergencies not to save a few bucks". The decision to go Lithium is yours. It's a lot extra to outlay unless you need to save weight or you want a decade plus before

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Oops, cont'd. My 2x140ah, charged primarily with DCDC, run fridge, lights and gadgets for 6-7 without solar and cost far less than $1500. I rarely drag out the solar and it's only 160w. My Hilux with factory canopy carries fridge on slide, two spares, one Jerry can, tools, spares, cooking needs, swag, tent, stretcher, tables and chairs plus various tarps, poles, jacks, recovery gear. No roof rack.

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Hi Darren smile

My opinion. The alternator is the best charger you have and you should use it and perhaps can ditch the genny. So the reality of the alternator is this. If you drive every day then it will be the best and solar less important. If you want to stay for a few days you used the solar and you do not need to start the car. Enough solar and you can sit till the food and water runs out !! If the weather turns bad then just run the car for an hour or so to top-uphmm but some extra solar will keep the batteries going even with not much sun.

If you have a 'smart' alternator you might need a DC to Dc charger but if you have an older fixed voltage alternator you can use a VSR to charge the batteries, Google up these options or ask here. 

Jaahn

     



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aimless traveler wrote:
T1 Terry wrote:

For $1500 you could put one of our 100Ah lithium batteries, a solar regulator and probably around 200w of folding portable panels. You could also add alternator charging to avoid having to drag the generator with you, maybe even sell it to fund the project.

T1 Terry


 T1 you you had me with lithium haha, i had looked into them but always through they out of my rage for my basic setup, all that you have said above is what i was 1st looking towards what i want, i was of the thinking i would be spending at least a week at a time when i go fossicking at each place and being in one spot for so long at a time what you have spoke of would not do for my needs but if it can i am all ears.

I should add i will be charging some batteries for the gold detector laptop and fone as well as i type this i am already thinking is i am setup to charge off the alternator i can run the car to charge if need be so yes maybe a genny would not be needed...


 We have set up a few gold prospectors vehicles and they are all happy with the way their system works now where it often let them down when they had AGM batteries. Running a small inverter for battery charging is no problem, you could even run one big enough to power a microwave, but you would need to be very judicious of just what you had left in the battery and the solar conditions before you got too carried away.

A friend by the name of Peter Manins ran his motorhome and used the microwave from a 100Ah lithium battery, but he is a very smart cookie, ex CSIRO and also a very handy innovator and had made some incredible mods to his Mercedes Sprinter before he upgraded to a 4 x 4 truck base motorhome. All I'm saying there is he new what to watch out for and how to utilise roof space to maximise his solar. When he ran AGM batteries he added an extra panel that pivoted out from on top of another panel where it was positioned for travelling, yet this still only gave him around 2 days freedom camping before he had to run the engine to top up the battery or simply move on. The inverter and microwave use wasn't even in his dreams back then. Once he upgraded to lithium (under the guidance of an early adopters group we formed) he no long ran out of power, rarely needed to deploy the extra panel and was able to add the 1500w inverter to power the microwave among other things.

If you have been gold prospecting very long you would know the other people that are gold prospector lithium users, PM me if you want any of their names and I will contact them to make sure it is ok with them to contact you or you contact them.

 

T1 Terry 



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Hi Darren smile

I think that Terry is a bit obsessive about lithium batteries. Good yes, expensive yes, prone to poor outcomes if not correctly set up yes. So if you want to just use your fridge, use a few lights, charge the detector up and the computer and phone and perhaps run a radio or TV if close to town then a modest AGM will work. Do the charging while the sun is shining and no battery used for that. I do that OK and so do lots and lots of people. You get a meter to monitor the battery and if things go bad you stop using the extra power. Works for most people for power or food or fuel too.

If you want to run a microwave or toaster or aircon then spend lots more and go for it. Your choice.hmm  

So get a VSR or DC to D charger, what ever you need, an AGM, and say 2x100W panels on the rack and another one or two for portable, with a Tracer MPPT reg. wire it all up with heavy wire and good plugs so it is easy to use. When it is sunny and the day is long the fixed panels will keep you going. Just add the others as needed and you can also chase the sun by moving them if needed. Not high tech or rocket science.smile

Jaahn   



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I guess the difference is fit and basically forget or constant monitoring and adjust the lifestyle to suit the battery. 200Ah useable for 16kg and takes up less space than a 100Ah deep cycle AGM. It is within the budget and ticks the boxes, but in the end it is your money so you spend it how ever you like :)

T1 Terry

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When you know your installation, you don't need to constantly check Terry. I assume your Lithium installs feature a reporting element to a smart phone ? So does my AGM install.

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dabbler wrote:

When you know your installation, you don't need to constantly check Terry. I assume your Lithium installs feature a reporting element to a smart phone ? So does my AGM install.


Does that tell you the cell voltage of each cell in each battery? Does it give you a warning when you drop below a certain voltage and/or state of charge? Does it disconnect the battery to save its life if the voltage goes too low or a cell voltage does too low or if the state of charge goes too high or a cell voltage goes too high? Handy is you aren't with the install or within 100mtrs of the Victron 712 BMV.

Basically, does you AGM system self protect even if you are not there, or just send a Bluetooth message if you are within range? You say you know your installation, but if you don't know the cell voltages then you don't really know enough about your installation to know all is well or if something needs attention and your system wouldn't know if a cell within any one of the batteries was at risk of being damaged and disconnect the battery without your input. The difference between true peace of mind and the old "what I don't know can't hurt me" principal.

 

T1 Terry 



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So EXACTLY how much is this 100Ah Lithium Terry, can we parallel them, what is its/their maximum discharge current, and what is the warrantee peiod?

No BS, no spin, just some facts will do.



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Never parallel lithium batteries, you are just asking for a very expensive headache. Our 100Ah battery can deliver what ever load you place on it, there is no upper limit. The limit is voltage drop and if/when the load is great enough to pull any cell voltage below 2.8v the battery will be disconnected. We generally use 300 amp mega fuses but we have fitted 500 amp mega fuses where big loads from multiple inverters in parallel are involved. Voltage drop starts at around 2.0CA or 200 amps per 100Ah advertised capacity but that voltage drop at the terminals will only be around 0.2v to 0.5v, most of the voltage drop still occurs through the cables, fuses and connections. I've watched a 300 amp ANL fuse slowly melt the centre plastic shell under a 320 amp load, this was the reason for switching to mega fuses with their better contact area etc.
As long as you have the T1 lithium BMS system running at all times, we offer a 3yr renewable warranty. Bring the system back after 3 yr and we will clean all the cell terminals and links and retreat them with anti corrosion compound, memory charge and memory discharge clear the cells and do a capacity test at the manufacturers specified rate of 0.5CA (50 amps per 100Ah or discharged to 0%SOC over 2 hrs) and give you a graph of how the cell voltages faired during the test to verify the cells/battery is still at 100% capacity or what ever the capacity they return (every one so far has still been better than 100% even after 8 yrs full time service) We then offer another 3 yrs warranty and so one. The 3 yrs isn't one of those "you missed the 3 yr service so warranty is void" things, we have had some we haven't seen back here for 6 yrs or more, systems we fitted in the front yard back in Lake Illawarra, but they still come up after a service and we are happy to still offer the 3 yrs warranty. If a cell/battery has been deliberately abused it shows up real quick under the manufacturers load test by a noticeable voltage drop of that cell under load. We say deliberately because the BMS does have a bypass switch, but it must be deliberately switched and it is the owners responsibility to reset the switch to the BMS protection position after recovering from an over/under voltage/ SOC shut down of the system. If the owner bypasses the systems BMS then it is the owner who has taken over the roll of being the BMS. Humans aren't famous for not watching things like a hawk for long periods, so as soon as the system shut down parameters have been cleared we advise the system owner to reset the bypass switch to the full BMS protection position.

No spin, just what we do and what we offer.

T1 Terry

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Never parallel lithium batteries,......So, if the OP installs 100Ah and then decides he would prefer 200Ah, TOUGH. He has wasted his money. Not a problem with AGM.

every one so far has still been better than 100% even after 8 yrs full time service ......Meaning that, like some other brands, they are under rated before initial supply to camouflage the depreciation in performance with age. 

No spin. biggrinbiggrinbiggrin

And the price for this magic battery is .. still a secret?

Cheers,

Peter



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I'll stick with my simple system of monitoring while I have a simple system. It works faultlessly for me and meets my demands and uses, which from the sound of things, are very similar to the OP's. The hard cold reality is it costs a lot of dollars for a system that to monitor every little thing because it has to monitor every little thing. Horses for courses. Someone struggling with high power demands, maintaining legal GVM or ATM and/or space, is probably better suited with Lithium. The OP hasn't much except budget. Terry, your points are well suited to an open ended discussion but the discussion is quickly narrowing down as the OP gives more info in response to our comments.

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Peter_n_Margaret wrote:

Never parallel lithium batteries,......So, if the OP installs 100Ah and then decides he would prefer 200Ah, TOUGH. He has wasted his money. Not a problem with AGM.

every one so far has still been better than 100% even after 8 yrs full time service ......Meaning that, like some other brands, they are under rated before initial supply to camouflage the depreciation in performance with age. 

No spin. biggrinbiggrinbiggrin

And the price for this magic battery is .. still a secret?

Cheers,

Peter


You are good at reading things that aren't written there Peter. If the original 100Ah battery needed to upgraded to a 200Ah or what ever capacity, it's a matter of repacking the battery with one old cell and one or more new cells in parallel through each of the 4 cell groups that make up a 12v battery. Still only one battery, just a bigger capacity, all built at cell level not battery level. Understanding of the subject is required to realise why this is the only way to build lithium batteries. 

As far as deceptive practice, seriously Peter, you are going to complain about paying for 100Ah and getting that much more that it still has more than 100Ah after 8 yrs ....... I think you are just looking for something you think might be bad about the product without actually thinking too hard on the subject.

As for the price, already gave you one ages back, each set up is custom built because there are no 2 identical RV's with 2 identical power requirements that suits the owner. It's not uncommon for the partner that thinks they know their energy needs to be over ruled by the one who actually uses most of the appliances that require the power wink 

 In general, the minister of war and finance is much happier to release the funding for something that will make the travelling less of a punishment and more of a pleasure and it makes it much easier to have extended holidays when both parties are enjoying themselves rather being restricted in what they can use in the kitchen and when they can use it.

 

T1 Terry



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dabbler wrote:

I'll stick with my simple system of monitoring while I have a simple system. It works faultlessly for me and meets my demands and uses, which from the sound of things, are very similar to the OP's. The hard cold reality is it costs a lot of dollars for a system that to monitor every little thing because it has to monitor every little thing. Horses for courses. Someone struggling with high power demands, maintaining legal GVM or ATM and/or space, is probably better suited with Lithium. The OP hasn't much except budget. Terry, your points are well suited to an open ended discussion but the discussion is quickly narrowing down as the OP gives more info in response to our comments.


I quite agree, horses for courses. My replies were based on the budget allowed and the reliability factor required due to the owner being away from the rig gold prospecting for long periods out in scrub away from places he can plug in or get help if it all goes pear-shaped.

Deep down, I doubt many of us really enjoy having to pamper to the needs of a battery pack and would much prefer it to just look after itself the majority of the time and just call for help if it needs it. We also want the peace of mind that the $$ investment is self protecting, not many are these days. If you have the money to get it right the first time then it soon pays for itself because it doesn't need to be replaced a few yrs up the track.

 

T1 Terry

 

 



-- Edited by T1 Terry on Saturday 19th of October 2019 04:48:48 PM

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Darren wants to buy a battery, not a "custom build", so it is clear that Terry can't or won't do that, even if he told us the price for his "magic" battery.
Here is a link to some AGMs which I believer are quality products at very reasonable prices. Anything that you can do with a Lithium battery, you can do with AGMs.
www.batteryvalue.com.au/
Victron controllers are good quality products too.
Cheers,
Peter


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Peter_n_Margaret wrote:

Darren wants to buy a battery, not a "custom build", ........
Here is a link to some AGMs which I believer are quality products at very reasonable prices. Anything that you can do with a Lithium battery, you can do with AGMs.
www.batteryvalue.com.au/
Victron controllers are good quality products too.
Cheers, Peter


 Hi smile

I am just suggesting the two items above, as they are what I use currently and find them OK. Those ones you reference are probably just as good but i have no experience with them. I also have a Victron reguator in a different application and indeed believe it is better than the Tracer but it will cost more for an equivalent amp rating with a meter readout. So I have referenced budget items which i found work OK.

There are plenty of MPPT regulators on the market which are fake and are really just cheap normal PWM regulators. Even from Aussie retail sales outlets. 

I look at batteries like mobile phones. I do not regard them as an end in themselves like a lot of people do even on here. They are a tool to use as I want. I need one to make calls and receive calls and do it as widely as possible. So do I get an Iphone or a Samsung. I own a blue tick cheaper Samsung. I am happy even if I cannot boast about the magic things it might do, that I never found a need for !! Sorry to say I do not keep track of the cell voltages on my phoneaww Same idea with batteries, if they do what you want and last a reasonable time for a reasonable price, then out in the bush that is enough for me. biggrin   

Jaahn 



-- Edited by Jaahn on Sunday 20th of October 2019 07:58:43 PM

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aimless traveler wrote:

The wiring up side of things i should be ok with, i dont mind a bit of DIY.

I will only have a 4x4 with a tray roof rank, for the most part up there will be the genny spare tire gas bottle and 2 20lt jerry cans...


Hi Graham smile

The discussion got carried away perhaps. 

I sent you a Private Message. You can access them by looking up the top right side where it says LOGGED IN AS ------ Private message. Click on that

Jaahn 



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Peter_n_Margaret wrote:

Darren wants to buy a battery, not a "custom build", so it is clear that Terry can't or won't do that, even if he told us the price for his "magic" battery.
Here is a link to some AGMs which I believer are quality products at very reasonable prices. Anything that you can do with a Lithium battery, you can do with AGMs.
www.batteryvalue.com.au/
Victron controllers are good quality products too.
Cheers,
Peter


You will of course back that statement with your wallet Peter biggrin Don't ya just love those that have never actually used a lithium battery yet sprouting great heaps of "knowledge" about what they can and can't do no

 

T1 Terry 



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T1 Terry wrote:

 


You will of course back that statement with your wallet Peter biggrin  


 And I have.

I recently replaced the 9 1/2 year old (and still working) Fullriver AGMs with those Newmax AGMs now happily running the house (including the electric blankets, the bread maker and the hot water service and all the other stuff) and sometimes being charged direct from the alternator of the Perkins, something you say can't/shouldn't be done with Lithiums, despite others doing it satisfactorily. 

I considered Lithiums very carefully, but eventually decided the cost and the risk was far too high for the weight reduction benefits they would give me. The AGMs continue to do everything we need to do.

The Perkins also has a new 125Ah NPP AGM crank battery replacing the 9 1/2 year old (and still working) 120Ah Fullriver.

Are you saying that AGMs will not do everything that Darren wants to do with ease? I am. And at a cost that is well below any Lithium option.

Cheers,

Peter



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Anything that you can do with a Lithium battery, you can do with AGMs.

This was the statement you made and I asked if you were going to back that up with your wallet Peter. I do understand that fear of the unknown can blur the vision for the future for some people, but believing that everyone suffers with the same problem is a rather distorted view of things and makes your opinion skewed by your own personal fear of a technology you do not understand. You have chosen to attack rather than embrace new technology on some fronts, but seem prepared to accept and use new technology on other fronts. You use a mobile phone rather than the wall mounted unit with the wind up handle, this is from the same era of technology as the battery technology you support, as for the computer rather than mailing a letter .......

 

So, back to your statement, I'll throw down the challenge, I'll put up a 100Ah lithium battery against one of your new AGM batteries and go head to head and let you prove that AGM 's can do anything a lithium battery can do .......

 

T1 Terry



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