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float charge adapter

Discussion in 'Photovoltaics' started by Brian, Jun 22, 2004.

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  1. Brian

    Brian Guest

    My new (small) panel showed up yesterday, so I thought I'd take it outside
    and throw a meter on it to see what it puts out. Without direct sun, under
    the trees, it appeared to put out about 6v, and in the sun (at 6pm) it was
    putting out about 14v. When I lifted it up to orient it directly towards the
    setting sun, I saw 17-18v. The panel appears to be a homebuilt (thanks,
    ebay) and has a blocking diode in the cable.

    I plan to mount it on the roof of my trailer, and let it sit for a couple of
    days, but I'm wondering if there is a float or small charge controller
    somewhere that I could get to put inline so that the battery doesn't get
    overcharged. The trickle charger that I have has this capability, and I
    usually leave the charger running for a couple of hours to keep the battery
    up, and to recharge after use.

    I know that there are larger controllers out there, but are there
    controllers for 12v batteries that will maintain rather than continue
    charging? I'd also like to get something that will work with a larger panel
    for future upgrades.

    Thanks for everyone's input.. I've having lots of fun with my newbie setup.
    I think 1/2 the fun of this is dreaming about the kick ass system I'd love
    to build that would get me off the grid, and still be able to power
    everything in the house and heat the pool.

    Thanks,

    Brian
     
  2. Starbase

    Starbase Guest

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Brian"

    I too am dabbling in a bit of Solar Power, as much for the fun as the
    Potential benefit. If the panel is small (5 - 10 watt) and your battery is
    relatively large (45 amp hours or so) then you will not really beed a charge
    controller as the input will be not that much more than needed to keep the
    battery in good condition (remember the solar panel will only provide peak
    output for a fraction of the day length. I see charge controllers on e-bay
    and they are rated for the maximum amps they can handle, both from the solar
    panel (array) and to the load. Most modern charge controllers use quite
    sofisticated electronics and consume a little power themselves so if your
    battery is large enough to be continually connected to your small panel then
    you may be better off without one.

    If you google for solar FAQ (frequently asked Questions) you will get lots
    of info but I say this because my experience is limited, rather than because
    you will be able to find the information there, as a lot of repliers to
    posts keep reminding us, but if everyone found the answers they needed on
    google newsgroups would be a pretty barren place.

    Just one more thing, when the battery is fully charged the charge controller
    will simply maintain a trickle charge voltage (say 14.1 volts or something)
    you could buy a very small voltage regulator form an electronics shop which
    will do this also (LM7815? with a rectifier diode on the output to drop the
    voltage from 15 volts to 14.4)

    Regards to the group

    Chris on solar in the UK
     
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