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 > Not solar again ?

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wanderingbob

monticeeo, fla

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Posted: 12/02/21 02:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I ain't gonna do it , but I am Curious . In the course of a year I pull 3 different trailers and I was wondering : My pickup has a metal topper like the phone companies had in the past , if I put 3 or four hundred watts of panels on top of the topper to charge the 4 golf car batteries on the front of my trailer , where would I put the controller , close to the batteries or close to the panels . A portable suitcase panel would not work as we may leave the trailer all by its lonesome and I am to lazy to tote the suitcase . We work craft shows and sometimes the trailer and truck can not be near each other . Also would it hurt the panels when I unplug from the trailer for a day ? Where does all that electric that I ain't catchin , where do it go ?

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 12/02/21 03:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi,

If you disconnect the panels from the charge controller no damage occurs.

If you disconnect the battery bank from the controller there is a good chance of letting the magic blue smoke out of the controller.


Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, 556 amp-hours of Telcom jars, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

Boon Docker

Mountain Foothills of Southern Alberta

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Posted: 12/02/21 03:04pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you are using 3 different trailers then I would leave the controller with the panels instead of having a controller with each trailer.
There is no "electric" produced if the panels are not connected to a controller and battery.
It does not hurt the panels if they are not connected to the trailer. They just sit there idle and do nothing.

CA Traveler

The Western States

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Posted: 12/02/21 05:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wire the panels in series and use a MPPT controller next to batteries to reduce wiring loss.


2009 Holiday Rambler 42' Scepter with ISL 400 Cummins
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Bob


Skibane

San Antonio, TX

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Posted: 12/02/21 05:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

wanderingbob wrote:

where would I put the controller , close to the batteries or close to the panels.


Close to the batteries usually works best, so that the controller is actually measuring the voltage at the batteries (instead of the voltage at some point along the wiring that may be different due to losses in the wiring itself.)

Some controllers have a separate battery voltage "sense" connection that allows you to run a second wire to the batteries just to measure their voltage without the effects of losses in the main current-carrying wires - in which case you can mount the controller just about anywhere.

naturist

Lynchburg, VA

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Posted: 12/02/21 06:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

wanderingbob wrote:

Where does all that electric that I ain't catchin , where do it go ?


Same place all that horsepower from your truck engine goes when you turn it off. I.E., it isn't being created, so goes nowhere.





3 tons

NV.

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Posted: 12/02/21 06:26pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OP says, “Where does all that electric that I ain't catchin , where do it go ? ”

The panels will merely have the ‘potential’ to produce, but won’t produce unless the power has somewhere to go.

3 tons

KD4UPL

Swoope, VA

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Posted: 12/02/21 07:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There are several charge controllers that will be damaged if the battery is disconnected with live PV still connected. I don't remember which models but I have run across them over the years. Whatever charge controller you get you will need to read the instructions to see if this is the case.
I would put the controller with the batteries. Are the batteries on all 3 trailers the same or are they different sizes, types, brands, etc.?
You may need to program the charge controller differently for each battery bank to get optimum charging. Yes, generic settings will work well enough but specific settings will be better.

time2roll

Southern California

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Posted: 12/02/21 07:51pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Put the controller close to the battery and you will have no issues. A quick connect between the panels and controller would work fine.

Where does the electricity go? Same as a battery with nothing on the terminals or a wall outlet with nothing plugged in. The electricity does not move unless you attach a conductor.


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Gdetrailer

PA

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Posted: 12/02/21 08:39pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

3 tons wrote:

OP says, “Where does all that electric that I ain't catchin , where do it go ? ”

The panels will merely have the ‘potential’ to produce, but won’t produce unless the power has somewhere to go.

3 tons


Actually, the panels when not connected to anything WILL "produce" a VOLTAGE at the panel terminals when sun is shining on them.

But when no LOAD is connected (battery, controller or light bulb) there just will not be any CURRENT flowing.

This can be easily proved by connecting a volt meter to any solar panel with sunlight on it and nothing else connected.. If panel is good, you should see a voltage reading up to the rated voltage listed on the panel.

Same idea as a battery whether it is a dry cell (D, C, AA, AAA), lead acid battery, AGM, Lithium.. They all will have a voltage at the terminals if they are good and/or charged.

With that said, some controllers will have a specific hookup requirement which may need batteries connected first and then the solar panel.

Best to read and understand the controller manual before making connections.

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