Experiments with solar panels - Page 2 - Escape Trailer Owners Community

Go Back   Escape Trailer Owners Community > Escape Tech > Escape Systems | Water, Waste, Charging & Propane
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 11-05-2014, 10:45 AM   #11
Commercial Member
 
tractors1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Hillsboro, Oregon
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21 - "Felicity"
Posts: 2,326
Quote:
Originally Posted by dave macrae View Post
I am not personally interested in dealing with a portable panel , but a friend of mine engineered a adjustable tilting bracket for his roof panel that works really well. I will
See how we do with the factory 160 w setup next year and go from there
We picked up our 21 with the 160w a couple of months ago and I've very pleased with the charging that continues as Oregon moves into fall/winter. Output is less, but even on gray cloudy days it still feeds my big single 12V.
__________________

__________________
Charlie Y

Need custom storage to your design? Don't drill holes!
www.RVWidgetWorks.com
tractors1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2014, 11:23 AM   #12
Senior Member
 
Vermilye's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Oswego, New York
Trailer: 2016 Tacoma Off Road, 2017 21
Posts: 2,283
From my experience using 2 controllers, I'd stick with one. I added a portable panel to my built in GoPower 95 watt system, feeding the 160 watt portable through the trailer connector. In full sun both worked fine, however when the trailer was parked in shade, the GoPower & built in panel still managed to produce 14.5 volts (at a trickle of current). While I don't have a easy way of proving it, I believe the high voltage fooled the portable panel controller (which was in full sun). While the portable panel was capable of producing 8.5 amps, it produced less than an amp.

My solution was to add a connector to the portable panel & the trailer so that I could go directly from the panel (bypassing the controller) to the input of the GoPower controller. Since the trailer is in storage, I haven't had a chance to pull the batteries down enough to see if this solved the problem, but I suspect it will.
__________________

__________________
Jon Vermilye My Travel Blog
Travel and Photo Web Page ... My Collection of RV Blogs 2016 Tacoma, 2017 21
Vermilye is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2014, 11:52 AM   #13
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: North Van., British Columbia
Trailer: 2014 Escape 19
Posts: 3,290
Quote:
Originally Posted by tractors1 View Post
We picked up our 21 with the 160w a couple of months ago and I've very pleased with the charging that continues as Oregon moves into fall/winter. Output is less, but even on gray cloudy days it still feeds my big single 12V.
That sort of sums the situation up. A flat mounted roof panel is less efficient because of the mounting and, also likely, due to the difficulty of cleaning it. But, and it's a big but, at some amount of wattage efficiency becomes a non-issue if even a technically inefficient output still does the job.

I think the diode thing is still around because for those of us who originally were using smaller panels year round did add a diode to prevent overnight discharge. Because the panels were small no charge controller was used.

Ron
Ron in BC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2014, 12:12 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
santacruzer's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Santa Cruz, California
Trailer: 2014 Escape 19
Posts: 686
I was going to wire a second, portable panel into the GoPower Controller of my 17, but never got around to it before selling the 17 because threading the wire and connecting to the controller always seemed a daunting endeavor. I'd think about it over a beer, and postpone!

With the 19 (due to arrive any moment!) I had Reace place the controller down by the inverter switch and converter, and install a thru-hull port. Wiring the second panel into the controller should be a snap, now I just need to research portable panels.
__________________
2009 Tacoma Crew Cab, TRD 4WD
2007 Tundra Double Cab TRD 4WD
2014 Escape 19
2007 Norwegian Elkhound "Baxter"
santacruzer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2014, 12:34 PM   #15
Senior Member
 
alanmalk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Arvada, Colorado
Trailer: '21 - 'Velocity'. Tow: Toyota Tacoma V6, 4X4, manual.
Posts: 547
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
... I think the diode thing is still around because for those of us who originally were using smaller panels year round did add a diode to prevent overnight discharge.
Ron
Backflow through the panel is something I can measure easily - and did so just now.

Using my 3v and 6v in series to simulate a 9v panel with no diodes and applying 8v to the positive terminal, I measured 13 milliamps of backflow. It is reasonable to scale this up to a 18v panel (ETI) and a well charged battery of 13.8v and speculate that very little would lost to backflow if the ETI panel had no blocking diode.

But applying a voltage to the terminals that is higher than the panel rating results in a current measured in amps - not milliamps. (I didn't want to stress my cells so I stopped at 11v and .5 amps.) Totally unacceptable...

Conclusion: The single panel from ETI would pull out a trivial amount of electricity in the summer from a well charged battery - if it didn't have a blocking diode. In winter or under a cover, the same panel might pull an unacceptable amount of charge out of a weakly charged battery. But in a multiple panel situation it could pull most, if not all, the current out of the second panel - again - if installed without a blocking diode. So that one dollar blocking diode is cheap insurance.
alanmalk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2014, 04:39 PM   #16
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Yellow Springs, Ohio
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19
Posts: 544
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
From my experience using 2 controllers, I'd stick with one. I added a portable panel to my built in GoPower 95 watt system, feeding the 160 watt portable through the trailer connector. In full sun both worked fine, however when the trailer was parked in shade, the GoPower & built in panel still managed to produce 14.5 volts (at a trickle of current). While I don't have a easy way of proving it, I believe the high voltage fooled the portable panel controller (which was in full sun). While the portable panel was capable of producing 8.5 amps, it produced less than an amp.

My solution was to add a connector to the portable panel & the trailer so that I could go directly from the panel (bypassing the controller) to the input of the GoPower controller. Since the trailer is in storage, I haven't had a chance to pull the batteries down enough to see if this solved the problem, but I suspect it will.
Hi Jon,

That's been my thinking all along, but when I talked with the GoPower guy he was thinking mostly about their portable units with the included controller. He said in effect that whichever controller is putting out the highest voltage, it will be the one feeding the battery. I can't really fault that logic, but I do prefer the idea of running everything through the existing built-in controller so I have one place to monitor what's going on. Sometime maybe you could point me to the bulkhead connector you used to connect through the wall. I like their portable units, since they hinge already, and I would be inclined to just bypass the built-in controller.

Parker
Parker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2014, 04:43 PM   #17
Senior Member
 
dave macrae's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: St.Albert, Alberta
Trailer: 21 ft November 17th
Posts: 844
I get that there are limitations such as trailer parked in a shady area but wouldn't it just be easier and more reliabe to have as big a panel on the roof as is reasonable and perhaps with a mount that can be tilted rather than having multiple planels and controllers.
__________________
MacRae, 21ft
2016 GMC Yukon SLT
St.Albert Alberta
dave macrae is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2014, 04:45 PM   #18
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Yellow Springs, Ohio
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19
Posts: 544
Quote:
Originally Posted by alanmalk View Post
Conclusion: The single panel from ETI would pull out a trivial amount of electricity in the summer from a well charged battery - if it didn't have a blocking diode. In winter or under a cover, the same panel might pull an unacceptable amount of charge out of a weakly charged battery. But in a multiple panel situation it could pull most, if not all, the current out of the second panel - again - if installed without a blocking diode. So that one dollar blocking diode is cheap insurance.
So it sounds like a Schottky diode or similar between each panel and the controller would be a good idea.
Parker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2014, 05:10 PM   #19
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Burlington, Vermont
Trailer: 2014 17b/RAV4 (sold) 2012 Chevy Colorado
Posts: 422
use of refllectors to increase solar panel output

I am concerned that our flat mounted 160 watt panel will be able to keep our two 6v batteries charged this winter in the PNW where the maximum sun angle will be about 20 degrees. What about using a reflector adjusted to about 65 degrees to reflect solar energy directly onto the panel?
yardsale is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2014, 05:30 PM   #20
Senior Member
 
gbaglo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: North Vancouver, British Columbia
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B - "Toad". '08 Toyota RAV4 V6
Posts: 10,735
I have a half dozen large mirrors ( up to 2' x 4' ) mounted on a trellis in my garden. They reflect sunlight back onto the raised bed.
Been there for about six years.
I've noticed no improvement in my tomato crop.
__________________

__________________
2009 Escape 17B "Toad"
2008 Toyota RAV4 V6 Sport
North Vancouver, British Columbia

What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?
- Bertolt Brecht
gbaglo is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off






» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:02 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.