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Old 11-07-2014, 03:07 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by hotfishtacos View Post
Alan, the 250 watt panel he offered has too high a voltage for me. I want to stay with the appx. 17 volt output so he is looking again.
I was thinking that if you found a 250 watt panel in the lower voltage range, then sign me up - I want one. But as you have found out, those higher wattage panels generally come in the 36-40v range, which is not too useful. The primary benefit of the higher voltage panels is the smaller gauge wire (less $$) that can be used with them.

But there is one solution to that particular dilemma. It would be to use a DC-DC buck regulator (aka buck converter). That device can cut the voltage in half and at the same time double the amps. No power lost, except a % of efficiency which is usually tolerable. In fact, the DC-DC buck converter is the brute force half of a MPPT controller. (The brainy half being a small computer similar to what is used in the GoPower controller).

But if you don't want to experiment, then a pair of 125 watt, 17-20v panels will give you exactly the same useful power. But if you do want to "play" then get that 250w panel and a DC-DC converter in the 300w range from eBay for about $40US and have a ball.

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Old 11-07-2014, 03:13 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by alanmalk View Post
I was thinking that if you found a 250 watt panel in the lower voltage range, then sign me up - I want one. But as you have found out, those higher wattage panels generally come in the 36-40v range, which is not too useful. The primary benefit of the higher voltage panels is the smaller gauge wire (less $$) that can be used with them.

But there is one solution to that particular dilemma. It would be to use a DC-DC buck regulator (aka buck converter). That device can cut the voltage in half and at the same time double the amps. No power lost, except a % of efficiency which is usually tolerable. In fact, the DC-DC buck converter is the brute force half of a MPPT controller. (The brainy half being a small computer similar to what is used in the GoPower controller).

But if you don't want to experiment, then a pair of 125 watt, 17-20v panels will give you exactly the same useful power. But if you do want to "play" then get that 250w panel and a DC-DC converter in the 300w range from eBay for about $40US and have a ball.

--
Alan
Alan, I would probably go down in wattage to maybe 140-160 watts and possibly a portable mount like I indicted earlier. I could also move one of my 95 watt panels to the front top of the 19 and put a new 160 in its place on the back top area. First I need to see if I need any more charge capacity. My conservative estimates tell me I have plenty now.
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Old 11-07-2014, 03:16 PM   #43
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... First I need to see if I need any more charge capacity...
I was under the impression that having excess charge capacity was like having excess money or beer.



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Old 11-07-2014, 03:38 PM   #44
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I was under the impression that having excess charge capacity was like having excess money or beer.
I think buying excess solar capacity is a little like paying for a lot of beer, then pouring some of it down the drain when it turns out to be excess. Having more than needed is good, but maybe buying way too much is not entirely desirable...
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Old 11-07-2014, 04:38 PM   #45
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Actually having excess solar capacity seems like a good idea. The ability to meet demands when you need it and when there is sufficent solar radiation is ideal . The output from the photovoltaic system is regulated by the controller in response to variable energy requirements.
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Old 11-08-2014, 01:14 AM   #46
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More capacity, more options. I would never complain that I was not using all the power at my disposal.
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Old 11-08-2014, 02:10 AM   #47
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What is excess capacity on a sunny day in southern latitudes in midsummer might be just right for someone on a cloudy day in late fall up north. I would suggest taking your location and camping habits into consideration. For example, I live in the Pacific Northwest and want to be able to go out early and late in the year. It is guaranteed to be cloudy and raining some of the time. I'm planning on a lot of panels. I've been delighted to see what hotfishtacos has done since I may need extra panels and batteries and it's nice to know a system expansion like that has been done. I figure after my first year as an owner I'll know if and by how much I need to expand .
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Old 11-16-2014, 07:56 PM   #48
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Well, we got back from a week of camping at Morro Bay so I pulled the Dometic 4.3 refer and microwave to make room for the new Nova Kool unit. I rough cut the opening and disconnected the two 120 volt outlets for the refer and microwave. Notice that there was no insulation or baffles behind the original refrigerator. I was pleased to see that the 12 volt supply wires for the Dometic refer are 10 gauge which is perfect for the new refer. For now I am going to plug the end of the old gas supply line. Longer-term I would like to pull it out. Here are some pics;

Pulled the Dometic 4.3 Refer


Pulled out the microwave


Rough cut opening


Tomorrow I will start the finishing cuts. When the new refer will fit into the opening I will purchase some polyiso insulating board and insulate the back area.
Steve
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Old 11-16-2014, 08:24 PM   #49
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Thanks for the update Steve. Lookin' good so far, no surprises.
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Old 11-16-2014, 11:22 PM   #50
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Great start. Love seeing the detail photos of the hidden spaces. Lots of folks will be following your progress with interest.

Ron
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