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Old 10-30-2014, 09:04 PM   #121
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K.I.S.S. is also my favorite rule.

Did a field test in the back yard this afternoon.
  • Morningstar remote display (MRD) at dinette at 2 PM solar panels showed 5.08A, no load in trailer, and Xantrex was showing 13.0 volts.
  • At 3 PM MRD showing 3.90A, 6.90Ah and 5.12A MAX. Xantrex showing 14.2 volts and then the MRD jumped to 4.60A.
  • I then turned the fridge onto battery power, 3 dots. Xantrex drops to 13.1 volts.
  • At 3:10 PM the MRD battery display indicated 12.85; 7.00Ah; 12.34 min. and; 14.30 max.
  • At 5 PM the (unmoved) panels were now in the shade and the MRD is showing .04A, 12Ah and; 5.2A MAX, and battery at 13.08 volts.

I should mention I was expecting the Morningstar remote's 32 page instruction booklet to be some serious stuff but that booklet turns out to be 9 pages of English, the rest in other languages. Very disappointing and no, I have not yet become comfortable with what I just listed above.

Unpacking the panels was quick. Connecting up the support brackets a tad slow but no problem. Panels set to default position of 30°. Using the outdoor carpet makes sense. My connectors and that 30 feet of 10 gauge wire proved a little ornery but very manageable.
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Old 10-30-2014, 10:41 PM   #122
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
so laying flat is not bad at all.
Not at all, it's a compromise, not the most efficient but works. The other compromise position is inclined and oriented South. It doesn't work for as many hours in the day but it's more efficient when it's working. (insolation)

Myron, good first test. You missed your time today of maximum output for your location so the readings will be a little lower than you can expect tomorrow at 12:50, your local noon.

For a fixed panel mount it's pretty much like the warning for UV exposure. Maximum intensity between 10 and 2.

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Old 10-30-2014, 10:57 PM   #123
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Ron... You will, of course, post pix of your tube-in-a-tube-on-an-adjustable mount.
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Old 10-31-2014, 01:07 AM   #124
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Of course, I post photos of everything I make

I've been actively looking at panels and trying to decide what the trade off between 100W and 150W is on the ability to mount on a fully adjustable mount.

One note of caution for portable panels. I lost mine at the Moab meet when a freak gust of wind flipped them over and smashed them. They were pretty heavy panels and the last thing I ever expected is that wind would send them flying.

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Old 10-31-2014, 03:50 AM   #125
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If anyone is getting in deep enough into care about the best angles, at the bottom of the page this link goes to are a Solar Angle Calculator and Solar Irradiance Tables.

Solar Calculator | Irradiance and Angle Calculators

Of course if you use the readings for New Mexico but drive to BC all bets are off.
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Old 10-31-2014, 09:41 AM   #126
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Didn't know your panels got broke at Moab...bummer that! Wondering now if I should pack a cinder block, or a custom tent peg anchor as a hedge against it happening to me.

Very usefull stuff, Pad. In the spirit of KISS for now think I'll rely on eyeballing the sun for orientation.

I really wanted 160 watts but settled for the two 50 watt panels because of their smaller size, lower price, and I could always buy a third 50-watter, later. Oh, and because Corrales Dave's doing just fine with his 85 watts kit.
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Old 10-31-2014, 10:20 AM   #127
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I always like to do more with less. So when my portable solar panels arrived I used the attached legs but was frustrated with the flimsy construction and difficulty closing the panels with the legs often catching on the cable. Also the panels were quite heavy, even with the handy carrying handle.

Off with the legs and a quick adaption to an available bag chair. Now I have reduced the weight of the panel and am using something that has another purpose, plus I already carry the chair. The angle turns out to be just about correct and it is easy to drag and move.

I was concerned about the wind catching the panel so with some holes drilled into the panel and some heavy cord loops I used some gear ties that I found at Target to loop the panel into the chair.

Everything is easily ported and setup.
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Old 10-31-2014, 10:55 AM   #128
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Quote:
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I really wanted 160 watts but settled for the two 50 watt panels because of their smaller size, lower price, and I could always buy a third 50-watter, later. Oh, and because Corrales Dave's doing just fine with his 85 watts kit.
I really think this should be adequate. I can't see going much bigger myself. Right now I rarely use anything, and do fine with 4 nights without topping up the batteries, and when I feel like I may need it, I have deployed my single 40W panel, and it helps quite a bit.

Unless your electrical usage is really high, I would think a total of 100W would be more than adequate, especially if you can optimize their performance.
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Old 10-31-2014, 11:58 AM   #129
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Didn't know your panels got broke at Moab...bummer that!
Yes, when most of us went out for dinner a real freak blast of wind blew through. It disrupted a lot of people's stuff. What's even more puzzling is that before we left I moved them several feet back and as well as being supported by the stand they were also resting against the tongue box.

I wouldn't carry the extra weight of a cinder block but in areas prone to wind gusts I'd consider taking them in or using something at hand to protect them.

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Old 10-31-2014, 01:30 PM   #130
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fudge_brownie View Post
I always like to do more with less. So when my portable solar panels arrived I used the attached legs but was frustrated with the flimsy construction and difficulty closing the panels with the legs often catching on the cable. Also the panels were quite heavy, even with the handy carrying handle.

Off with the legs and a quick adaption to an available bag chair. Now I have reduced the weight of the panel and am using something that has another purpose, plus I already carry the chair. The angle turns out to be just about correct and it is easy to drag and move.

I was concerned about the wind catching the panel so with some holes drilled into the panel and some heavy cord loops I used some gear ties that I found at Target to loop the panel into the chair.

Everything is easily ported and setup.
Paul, I have those Gear Ties and they are handy for all kinds of things. Secure lower doors for travel. I even wrapped a cell phone with one and made a hook to hook over the flip-down table to plug into a 110 there. They grab the phone well.
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