Another Question for Solar People

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Another Question for Solar People

Postby nosambos » Fri Jun 03, 2011 7:20 pm

My father sold solar systems so I have some misc. stuff lying around. This unit is labelled charge controller. What do I do with it? Can I use this? I have a Trace 799 series inverter. I know it is overkiller but should I bring it or buy a smaller unit? What gauge wire runs between the panels and from the panels to the controller and such? On another note, can I use a three pin 12V computer fan for a swamp cooler? Thanks for the info.

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Re: Another Question for Solar People

Postby gyre » Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:34 am

nosambos wrote:My father sold solar systems so I have some misc. stuff lying around. This unit is labelled charge controller. What do I do with it? Can I use this? I have a Trace 799 series inverter. I know it is overkiller but should I bring it or buy a smaller unit? What gauge wire runs between the panels and from the panels to the controller and such? On another note, can I use a three pin 12V computer fan for a swamp cooler? Thanks for the info.

The controller is typically used to control the power from the panels and charge batteries.
There are other types.
You need more info to use it, I think.

I don't know the specs on the trace 799.
If the output is suitable and the efficiency curve is good enough in the load range you need, no reason to not use it.

More info is needed to suggest wire gauges.
Same for the fan.
If the voltage is suitable, it will work.
You may want one that is fairly weatherproof.
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Postby some seeing eye » Sat Jun 04, 2011 8:59 am

This unit is labelled charge controller. What do I do with it?


What you have looks to be home built and with no documentation - very much in the Maker tradition, but essentially impossible to reuse. Charge control is also dependent on the battery type. Maybe it's a piece of solar history though.

I have a Trace 799 series inverter. I know it is overkiller but should I bring it or buy a smaller unit


I believe that was made by Xantrex, still very active, and owned now by a much larger company. You can contact them for the original documentation. If it is grid-tie, you need to understand how to use it grid independent. A pure sine wave inverter is not necessary for most playa power uses.

What gauge wire runs between the panels and from the panels to the controller


Wire size is determined by Amps and the allowable Voltage drop. On the playa, the distance between the panels and the charge controller, batteries and inverter should be short, so standard size wires determined by NEC tables should be fine. But keep in mind that direct sun heats wires with dark insulation, de-rating the insulation. With just a little reading, anyone can become expert enough on Volts, Amps, Watts and Ohms.

Suggest http://ae-zone.org/email-list/ (if you post, your email address appears in the clear, so use a disposable one) Also suggest meeting up with a solar group in your area or with the AEZ group on playa before spending too much money.

The Maker community around Make Magazine is also a great DIY resource for copy-exact projects.
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