piclist 2005\08\30\182246a >
Thread: Possible problems using solar panel to power PIC
picon face BY : John Nall email (remove spam text)

Olin Lathrop wrote:

>>> Smarter in what way?  It sounds like the existing systems works.  What more
>>do you want it to do?

Certainly a fair question.  As it is presently set up, the solar panel
(when active) either charges at full capacity or else it does not charge
at all.  This is because it is controlled by a hard-wired  "charge
controller" which monitors the battery voltage.   When the battery
voltage reaches 14.3 volts (that figure is adjusted by a pot on the
controller) then the current flow is shut off.  For this particular
small panel that is probably OK, because the maximum charge rate is 3.2
amps.  However, I have some 15 amp solar panels up under the house, and
once things get to working right then I would replace the small panel
with a large panel.  The recommended way of charging the battery is not
to do an all or nothing charge, but to taper off as the battery voltage
begins to rise.  So that is where the smarts would come in.  This is
nothing particularly new -- I have a Heart battery charger on the boat
which does exactly that.  But it requires shore power, and right now I
do not have shore power available.  The charge controller  that I have
would certainly work -- but with the 15 amp panel it would not be as
good for the battery bank as tapered charging.  I have $500 worth of
golf-cart batteries on the boat and would like them to last their
maximum life.  Not only for the money, but also because taking 8
golf-cart batteries out of a sailboat and replacing them is a heck of a
hard job.  :-)


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Subject (change) Possible problems using solar panel to power PIC

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