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Old 11-05-2014, 11:58 PM   #31
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The light bulb can draw more or less depending on your choice.
Good idea, the light bulbs as an adjustable load; but rats, there goes another dollar.

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Battery specific gravity is much more accurate then voltage, you'll see if you test with the 'real thing' (a reservoir). Voltage moves much quicker then specific gravity.

Mel
Awful hard to take a specific gravity from my SLA batteries.

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Old 11-06-2014, 12:42 AM   #32
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...trying to optimize a given panel's output seems to me to be an exercise best left to the obsessive-compulsive.
...
Your points are all valid - I just didn't want to get quite so deep into the subject.
Fair enough. As long as no one concludes that it is okay to combine panels of different nominal voltages... since real-world panels are expensive so while finely optimizing output is probably not worth doing, at least using them roughly appropriately is well worthwhile. As far as the part of this experiment involving two different voltage panels is concerned, that really just means using the same nominal voltage for all panels... easy!
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Old 11-06-2014, 01:06 AM   #33
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Good idea, the light bulbs as an adjustable load; but rats, there goes another dollar.



Awful hard to take a specific gravity from my SLA batteries.

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I was going to say find a battery in a clear 'jar'. Then you can see the bubbles form, like watching water boil, and have a visual of the process8)

I like to 'see' things if I can.

Mel
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Old 11-06-2014, 10:48 AM   #34
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I was going to say find a battery in a clear 'jar'. Then you can see the bubbles form, like watching water boil, and have a visual of the process8)

I like to 'see' things if I can.

Mel
Deal. Send me one of these:
:
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Old 11-06-2014, 12:12 PM   #35
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I'll try to quantify 'the benefit of white paper in front of a vertical panel' tomorrow. Maybe worth the effort to put a reflector (snow??) on the ground, vs. grass or dirt.
Ran the above experiment this morning at 9:30am on my lawn.

For the test I used my home-made 6v panel propped up at roughly 90 degrees with the sun at perhaps 40 degrees above the horizon. (Staying vague and making guesstimates because that's how I'll do it in the real world.) The little gold thing on the left side of the panel is a two ohm power resistor.

Results:
Using an automobile windshield reflector, power to the resistor (substitute for a battery) - 1.2 Watts.

No reflector - .7 Watts.

(You can see the voltage-amperage readings in the photos.)

Conclusion:
Somewhat surprising increase in power - 60% boost. Just from using a reflector (aka, windshield heat shield, sun shade, etc.). Of course, as sun angle and panel angel vary, the % improvement will vary, too. Moral of the story - between late fall and early spring, if you have a portable panel and want to use it, prop it up against your trailer, and if you have a windshield sun shade or something shiny, use it for an extra boost.

Hope that helps.
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Old 11-06-2014, 12:22 PM   #36
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Alan - thanks for all your interesting backyard research. Looks like you are having fun with it.
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Old 11-06-2014, 12:24 PM   #37
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Nice job, Alan. Total pragmatism. Thanks.

Don
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Old 11-06-2014, 12:46 PM   #38
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Would it be possible, if there there is permanently mounted solar, to create a tripod type gizmo and attach the reflector to reflect on the panel?
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Old 11-06-2014, 12:53 PM   #39
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Would it be possible, if there there is permanently mounted solar, to create a tripod type gizmo and attach the reflector to reflect on the panel?
If you are as nutty as I am, then yes. But my wife would veto that in a second flat!

In the "real world" something sticking up in the air shaped like a reflector would catch the wind and cause considerable damage rather easily. Best place for a reflector IMHO is on the ground.

To imagine what it would look like, look at my first photo and swap the position of the reflector and the panel.

Here is one done on a large scale:
Pictures: Spanish Solar Energy

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Old 11-06-2014, 12:57 PM   #40
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Ha!
Actually, I did think about the wind and it would have to be done on a very still day. Also, there may be ways to anchor. I don't know anything really--just posting before thinking.
p.s. Interesting article on Spain's solar, thanks!
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