Hello! Log in or Register   |  Help  |  Donate  |  Buy Shirts  See all banner ads | Advertise on TheSamba.com  
TheSamba.com
 
School me on Solar
Page: 1, 2  Next
Forum Index -> Vanagon Share: Facebook Twitter
Reply to topic
Print View
Quick sort: Show newest posts on top | Show oldest posts on top View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
syncro surf
Samba Member


Joined: June 06, 2017
Posts: 78
Location: Maine
syncro surf is offline 

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 2:48 pm    Post subject: School me on Solar Reply with quote

A buddy of mine just installed a solar system on his Sprinter. When I went to check the progress I was fairly blown away by the complexity of his set up.

Powered by 400 watts of panels. Can some of you experts tell me if this a crazy install or is this just what it takes? I have gathered that most vanagons run about 200 watts. Is 400 watts the issue here?

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
E1
Samba Member


Joined: January 21, 2013
Posts: 4994
Location: Westfalia, Earth
E1 is offline 

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:15 pm    Post subject: Re: School me on Solar Reply with quote

Gadget Kings will love that.

I'm simple-minded so do not.

The more crap you have, the more issues you will have ó an eternal and unavoidable truth in almost everything.

We have a 120-watt portable (highly recommend a portable if you're parked much) charging two 100aH AGMs, wired to GoWesty's 1100-watt inverter for the times we run a blender. If never needing that level of power, I'd buy a smaller inverter of maybe 400 watts to save power.

Here in the sunny West, it's enough to keep a laptop charged all day while running a 27" monitor and have enough left over to crank tunes and/or watch a movie or two on said monitor when pitch black.

Not a tech guy but have run this setup full-time for nearly five years. I paid a good installer with more cerebral capacity than I (small feat, that), and paid extra for big cable and a great isolator. I also let the alternator charge all three batteries, which saves a ton of solar time though totals an alternator every couple years.

If doing this all over I'd do it exactly this way again, though I might add a charger on those two weeks a year we have shore power.
_________________
1984 Westy-Ferrari firing at 33% capacity
I drive by the seat of my pants but then get behind on my steering
Thank You Bob Lazier, Forever Golden
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Gallery Classifieds Feedback
0to60in6min
Samba Member


Joined: November 27, 2006
Posts: 3046
Location: OR & CA (Oregon/California)
0to60in6min is offline 

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:19 pm    Post subject: Re: School me on Solar Reply with quote

Quote:
Is 400 watts the issue here?


it's not an issue...it depends on his electrical consumption...

similar to a 90hp WBX compared to a Subaru 3.0 with 200+hp... is it an issue? Very Happy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
E1
Samba Member


Joined: January 21, 2013
Posts: 4994
Location: Westfalia, Earth
E1 is offline 

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:32 pm    Post subject: Re: School me on Solar Reply with quote

The 90 isn't unless you wanna climb a hill. Laughing
_________________
1984 Westy-Ferrari firing at 33% capacity
I drive by the seat of my pants but then get behind on my steering
Thank You Bob Lazier, Forever Golden
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Gallery Classifieds Feedback
shagginwagon83
Samba Member


Joined: February 07, 2016
Posts: 2777
Location: VA/TN
shagginwagon83 is offline 

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:40 pm    Post subject: Re: School me on Solar Reply with quote

I don't think the wattage is any relevance in this situation. More wattage, more need for bigger controller to handle that.

That being said, if it is a lithium battery setup. This setup probably also charges through the alternator. I don't think lithium batteries like being over charged. So I would imagine there is some sort relay there that shuts off current once that battery us fully charged.

That being said I'm sort of new to solar and would love to see the wiring diagram for that bad boy.
_________________
Brandon
"Jo Ann" - 1983.5 Ivory Westfalia 1.9L 2wd
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Instagram Gallery Classifieds Feedback
Yellow Rabbit
Samba Member


Joined: August 31, 2005
Posts: 944
Location: NoCo
Yellow Rabbit is offline 

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:50 pm    Post subject: Re: School me on Solar Reply with quote

E1 wrote:
The 90 isn't unless you wanna climb a hill. Laughing


Whatís the rush? I donít know why you would you need more than 83 hp anyway. Very Happy

E1, what portable setup do you have? I also need to get something soon.
_________________
1985 Westfalia GL
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
E1
Samba Member


Joined: January 21, 2013
Posts: 4994
Location: Westfalia, Earth
E1 is offline 

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:56 pm    Post subject: Re: School me on Solar Reply with quote

83? WOW, mine's only 82!!! Laughing

(probably 70 nowÖ)

Edit: Not in a hurry at all, the only time I'd like more hp (torque, reallyÖ) is for heavy off road action.


Panel is from Zamp Solar in Bend. 25-year warranty, not cheap but worth the dough in my experience.

Probably has 1,000 days' use now, I'd buy another one in a minute.
_________________
1984 Westy-Ferrari firing at 33% capacity
I drive by the seat of my pants but then get behind on my steering
Thank You Bob Lazier, Forever Golden
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Gallery Classifieds Feedback
RichBenn
Samba Member


Joined: November 16, 2005
Posts: 682
Location: Lake Tahoe, NV
RichBenn is offline 

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 5:05 pm    Post subject: Re: School me on Solar Reply with quote

The smart move on solar is:
1. Reduce consumption first. LEDs are WAY cheaper than solar. You also do not probably need 110 volt appliances. Plenty of DC and hand crank appliances. nverters cost the batteries, even when there is no load.

2. Figure your needs in a 24 hr. period, then in a weekend. Typical big draw items are DC fridges, propex heater fan, followed by big hifi subwoofered audio.

3. Use an MPPT controller to eek out extra so you don't need as much panel.

4. Plan on draining your batteries only 50% down if you want them to have a normal life.

The short rule of thumb- 60 watt panel/55 amp battery- if you have no power big draw items (see number 2). 100 plus watts panels/100 aH if you have one big draw item. 200 or so watts/2 6V 200ah batteries if you have 2 or more big draws. Naturaly this will vary some, but a good starting point for what works reasonably in the small vanagon.
_________________
Rich
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
jmillsj
Samba Member


Joined: November 23, 2017
Posts: 84
Location: Denver, CO
jmillsj is offline 

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 5:21 pm    Post subject: Re: School me on Solar Reply with quote

Thatís a very nice set-up. Those are Victron Energy lithium iron phosphate batteries and they have an external battery management system, which is a lot of what you see. Itís nicely done.
_________________
1985 Vanagon Westfalia EJ25
Vanagon owner since 1995
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
r39o
Samba Polizei


Joined: May 18, 2005
Posts: 9689
Location: San Diego
r39o is offline 

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 5:33 pm    Post subject: Re: School me on Solar Reply with quote

Your buddy's system is loaded for bear.

Some of the items I can not identify.

Without a system diagram it is hard to say what all is going on BUT,

it looks like a system with more and bigger bells and louder whistles than you can fit in a Vanagon!

A lot looks networked and who knows all the charge paths and discharge circuits and not forgetting the manual (red) switch combinations.

400 watts of panels may or may not be enough for this rig.

I am impressed (depressed?) seeing all that hardware in there.

it is not inexpensive and likely way overkill for a Vanagon.
_________________
"Use the SEARCH, Luke" But first visit the Vanagon FAQ!

1990 Multivan EJ 22, Rancho trans 0.82 4th, Small Car front AC, CLKs w/ 215/65-16, homemade big brakes 303mm, Konis, Recaros, etc....

Click to see my ads for Cup holders, Subaru clutch fix and CLK wheels (no wheels currently)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
RichBenn
Samba Member


Joined: November 16, 2005
Posts: 682
Location: Lake Tahoe, NV
RichBenn is offline 

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 5:33 pm    Post subject: Re: School me on Solar Reply with quote

jmillsj wrote:
Thatís a very nice set-up. Those are Victron Energy lithium iron phosphate batteries and they have an external battery management system, which is a lot of what you see. Itís nicely done.


And.... pricy! I would love to have those, as they can be drained farther thus taking less space for the same "real" capacity, plus they supposedly last longer. But I just could not justify the cost. Too bleeding edge for my wallet.
_________________
Rich
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
syncro surf
Samba Member


Joined: June 06, 2017
Posts: 78
Location: Maine
syncro surf is offline 

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 5:39 pm    Post subject: Re: School me on Solar Reply with quote

0to60in6min wrote:
Quote:
Is 400 watts the issue here?


it's not an issue...it depends on his electrical consumption...

similar to a 90hp WBX compared to a Subaru 3.0 with 200+hp... is it an issue? Very Happy



I just meant is 400 watts the reason for the complexity of the system. I am thinking about a 200 watt system for my syncro, but I wasn't imagining anything like this. Sounds like maybe the batteries have a bit to do with it.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
r39o
Samba Polizei


Joined: May 18, 2005
Posts: 9689
Location: San Diego
r39o is offline 

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 5:41 pm    Post subject: Re: School me on Solar Reply with quote

#MeToo

I have been happy with 110ah provided by two golf cart batteries and 60 watts of panels for many years now.

That on the cheap system was like $600 added up.

That person spent kilo bucks on all that electro bling.
_________________
"Use the SEARCH, Luke" But first visit the Vanagon FAQ!

1990 Multivan EJ 22, Rancho trans 0.82 4th, Small Car front AC, CLKs w/ 215/65-16, homemade big brakes 303mm, Konis, Recaros, etc....

Click to see my ads for Cup holders, Subaru clutch fix and CLK wheels (no wheels currently)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
erste
Samba Member


Joined: March 29, 2013
Posts: 738
Location: San Francisco
erste is offline 

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:14 pm    Post subject: Re: School me on Solar Reply with quote

your buddy's setup is awesome and looks very well done, but don't let the complexity scare you away from adding solar to your syncro.

Here's a picture of my more modest setup for reference (in the middle of a stereo install so some stuff is unhooked / unfinished):
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

- Optima yellow top
- Solar Epic 10A MPPT charge controller
- Solar Epic MT-50 remote display (mounted in the side panel behind the driver's seat)
- Blue Sea Systems ACR
- Blue Sea Systems Fuse Holders
- Blue Sea Systems Fuse panel
- Kingsolar 120w flexible solar panel (not shown / mounted on roof rack) this panel gets returned a lot on amazon for minimal damage to the plastic where it cracks at the ferrules, so you can get a pretty good deal on it. Flexible panels won't have the same longevity of rigid panels though.

As you can see, everything pretty much fits under the driver's seat. If I were to add another panel I'd probably need a 20A charge controller, which is larger and wouldn't fit under the seat with the fuse panel there.

The yellow top probably isn't ideal, but I've been happy with it and it meets my needs so far.

I would point out that the MT-50 will shut everything down to preserve the battery at only like 11.5v, so you really only have 1.5-2 volts to play with, which was not the impression I got even after tons of research.

If you search this forum you'll find a lot of solar threads with wiring diagrams that will help point you in the right direction.

The one special tool that I didn't know about or have was this lug crimping tool:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003X51S00/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

good luck with your system!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Instagram Gallery Classifieds Feedback
E1
Samba Member


Joined: January 21, 2013
Posts: 4994
Location: Westfalia, Earth
E1 is offline 

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:47 pm    Post subject: Re: School me on Solar Reply with quote

Very cool build!

Are you saying your Optima holds 13.0-13.5 volts, or shows that as a surface charge in daylight?
_________________
1984 Westy-Ferrari firing at 33% capacity
I drive by the seat of my pants but then get behind on my steering
Thank You Bob Lazier, Forever Golden
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Gallery Classifieds Feedback
erste
Samba Member


Joined: March 29, 2013
Posts: 738
Location: San Francisco
erste is offline 

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 7:28 pm    Post subject: Re: School me on Solar Reply with quote

E1 wrote:
Very cool build!

Are you saying your Optima holds 13.0-13.5 volts, or shows that as a surface charge in daylight?


Thanks E1.
Max voltage I've seen off the panel (topped up in full sun without anything except the fridge being used) is 13.5v or 13.7v. I believe the MT-50 indicates it's 100% full at that point.

The van sat once for about a week and a half without being driven and it was cloudy. The fridge and CO monitor took the battery down to 11.2 or 11.5 during that time and the MT-50 stopped letting them draw power at that point. I was confused and thought something went wrong, but it's just standard operation to save the battery. You tell the MT-50 what batteries (starting / aux) are in the system and it adjusts based on those inputs.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Instagram Gallery Classifieds Feedback
E1
Samba Member


Joined: January 21, 2013
Posts: 4994
Location: Westfalia, Earth
E1 is offline 

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 8:54 pm    Post subject: Re: School me on Solar Reply with quote

Thanks, Erste. Our inverter has an alarm at 11, but it hasn't gone off for two years. We watch it closely and shut down at 11.5 as a bottom. But we use a Yeti and block ice so no draw there (and why we bought a Yeti to focus power on a monitor).

I see mid-13s in the sun, too, but it drops with the sun even with zero load. My understanding is a battery can't store much above 12.7 volts for long. Even if we do a full day of blinding charge and no load, the next morning the batteries are still only at 12.72. Ours are AGMs, seems lead acid holds either slightly more or slightly less, not sure. Our controller is a simple, on-panel unit to prevent overcharge.

If I need a long day's power and it's pouring, maybe once every 30 days, we resort to firing the "big generator," all 1.9 liters of 'er. We use very close to one gallon's gas for an hour's idle and that gets us roughly 0.7 volts of charge. Only used in moments of desperation.
_________________
1984 Westy-Ferrari firing at 33% capacity
I drive by the seat of my pants but then get behind on my steering
Thank You Bob Lazier, Forever Golden
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Gallery Classifieds Feedback
RichBenn
Samba Member


Joined: November 16, 2005
Posts: 682
Location: Lake Tahoe, NV
RichBenn is offline 

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 10:31 pm    Post subject: Re: School me on Solar Reply with quote

erste wrote:
E1 wrote:
Very cool build!

Are you saying your Optima holds 13.0-13.5 volts, or shows that as a surface charge in daylight?


Thanks E1.
Max voltage I've seen off the panel (topped up in full sun without anything except the fridge being used) is 13.5v or 13.7v. I believe the MT-50 indicates it's 100% full at that point.

The van sat once for about a week and a half without being driven and it was cloudy. The fridge and CO monitor took the battery down to 11.2 or 11.5 during that time and the MT-50 stopped letting them draw power at that point. I was confused and thought something went wrong, but it's just standard operation to save the battery. You tell the MT-50 what batteries (starting / aux) are in the system and it adjusts based on those inputs.


The MT50 is just a monitor/control interface. You can also buy a wireless interface or usb to do the same from android phones or Windows computers. The controller is what shuts off tthe batery, does the multilevel MPPT algoriths, etc. EPSOLAR (now going by Epever) is the maker of the Solar Epic controller and MT50. BTW, those other interfaces allow graphing of solar performance throughout the day, a fun thing for geeks like me.

These controllers, while very nice in most respects are poor at gauging state of charge. They kind of work while the sun is up, but the 13+ voltage is not indicative of the state of charge.

Batteries take what's called a surface charge, which gets them above the 12.7 to 12.9(some AGMs) volts a fully charged battery should read. In order to gauge the state of charge, a common technique is to remove the charging source and let the battery sit for a day, or apply a small load for 5-10 minutes. Unfortunately, that's not possible when charging, so you typically see 13-14+ volts, depending upon what state thd charging algorithm is in.

Hope that's helpful.
_________________
Rich
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
E1
Samba Member


Joined: January 21, 2013
Posts: 4994
Location: Westfalia, Earth
E1 is offline 

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 10:44 pm    Post subject: Re: School me on Solar Reply with quote

Great stuff Rich, Thanks.

One side benefit of a portable is immediate charge gratification. If I wanna know what the actual charge is, I just unplug the portable and check the inverter readout. It tends to read a few hundredths of a volt below testing the batteries (four feet of cable away), but gets me in the ballpark.

Stupid-simple can be bliss.
_________________
1984 Westy-Ferrari firing at 33% capacity
I drive by the seat of my pants but then get behind on my steering
Thank You Bob Lazier, Forever Golden
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Gallery Classifieds Feedback
Abscate
Samba Member


Joined: October 05, 2014
Posts: 14589
Location: NYC/Upstate/ROW
Abscate is offline 

PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2018 1:55 am    Post subject: Re: School me on Solar Reply with quote

That Sprinter install has at least four major workmanship flaws in the installation. This is an area best left to the pros if you donít want your Bus or Van burned up.

You cannot acquire expertise By reading the internet or looking at pictures
_________________
.ssS!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic    Forum Index -> Vanagon All times are Mountain Standard Time/Pacific Daylight Savings Time
Page: 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

About | Help! | Advertise | Donate | Premium Membership | Privacy/Terms of Use | Contact Us | Site Map
Copyright © 1996-2020, Everett Barnes. All Rights Reserved.
Not affiliated with or sponsored by Volkswagen of America | Forum powered by phpBB