Okay, I will talk about the 100 Watt Solar Panel experiment, but first a lovely shot I took myself yesterday, simply to make you jealous.
Yep, those are real mountains and this view is why I keep coming back to Tunnel Mountain.
Okay, first of all here is what I have to work with, they system is simple, first you have the Solar Panel, (AKA Big Boy). Here is a shot of his front and back (you can figure out which is which)
We have some cables (note the nifty connectors). First of all this is 10 gauge wire, something I didn’t expect but the thicker wire means we lose less energy from the solar panel.
Those wires go to the charge controller box. The Charge Controller regulates the power going to the battery and also to the load. The concept is to protect the batteries. Since you can overcharge your batteries (and damage them) you can also draw too much from them, thereby letting them get too low and also damage them. The charge controller will make sure that everything is hunky-dory.
Next we have cables going to the battery itself. Again this is 10 gauge wire so as to ensure no energy loss.
At the end of the wire going to the positive terminal on the battery we will install a resettable breaker. This is just in case something goes wrong and wires cross or the battery (or load) tries to draw too much current, this little box will cut off the flow of current.
Okay, first let’s get it all assembled . . . tighten this, attach that . . . done.
Okay, so I attached the wires to Ace to charge him up.
He wasn’t discharged that much as I had him connected to the old solar panel during the day and up to Trea’s batteries during the trip. His little battery meter read 70%. Big Boy agreed . . . See.
In the above picture you will see that the green light by the “Solar” that means that the solar panel is connected properly and giving energy. The green light by the “Load” means that whatever I have connected to the “Load” terminals is working okay (I have no load connected).
The load is where you would connect your Inverter, the Inverter is the box which turns the DC Voltage from the batteries (or solar panel) into AC power, you know the stuff you need to run your laptop or other household appliances.
The three red dots in the dots in the middle are a sort of charge meter, it lets you know how charged up your batteries are. They read that Ace is not fully charged, but not completely dead. There are models which have a more accurate and more detailed readout of this, for my purposes, this model was fine.
Okay now we wait and let it charge up. Since this is a campsite, time has little meaning so I didn’t record how long it would take but eventually not only did Ace say he was fully charged up, but also Big Boy agreed that he was charged. So the system works, and works well, see.
The system will cut out when the batteries are fully charged and can't take anymore. I didn't let it get that far as for me, I just wanted to prove that the system worked and ensure that Ace was charged up. It did that. the first day that I leave Ace and Big Boy alone in the car will truly test the system out. Just like the first evening I connect Big Boy up to Wanda to charge her batteries. While I don't want to do this in winter, the system works and works well.
I was and am still very impressed with the quality of the products, the prices, and the service I got from www.solarwholesaler.ca They are a Calgary company who are not only able to compete in this market but have great stuff and doing it at unbelievable prices. Trust me, if you are looking for solar, check these guys out, don’t worry, they ship. While I haven’t tested it, I am sure they will actually answer the phone and talk to you.
I also went for a few bike rides and cleaned up around the truck and trailer. I have more to do today, but I will get it done and rest for the weekend. I tested my little TV Tuner stick I bought for 10 bucks from China and it still doesn’t work, even though my real TV could pick up 4 channels. Ah well, such is life, some stuff works, some stuff doesn’t.