2 meters: recommendations & education...& Solar power!

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NT2C
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Re: 2 meters: recommendations & education...& Solar power!

Post by NT2C » Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:01 am

One thing to bear in mind is that if you're not getting sun directly perpendicular to the panel then the panel is not going to give you its rated power, and power levels drop off rapidly the further you get from directly aimed. Expect your panels to do about half what they're rated for and do the Dance of Joy if they do more. Also remember, watt goes out, must come in. Don't expect a 50w panel in partial sun for four hours to recharge a battery bank that's had 15 amps drawn from it for 10 hours. That panel is only going to put out a tad over 4 amps under optimal conditions, probably closer to 1.5 in your setting, so there's no way it can replace the energy used from the battery bank. I have two 100 watt panels on my comms trailer feeding a pair of 100Ah AGMs through a PWM controller and that's adequate for light comms use (a couple of dual band VHF/UHF rigs and a 40w UHF repeater) provided it's summer and there's full sunlight all day. Get a cloudy day or two and the batteries aren't getting replenished and it's only a matter of a short time before I have to start curtailing radio usage. Still, it's a viable setup for me. For you, I think a good 100w panel would be a better choice since your battery bank is rather shallow.
Last edited by NT2C on Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2 meters: recommendations & education...& Solar power!

Post by woodsghost » Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:33 am

Thanks! I'm pretty sure I only use about 5AH (60 Wh?) a week. But I got a Yagi to chat simplex with friends far away so I expect my power levels and usage to go up. That is why I'll need another battery :) Maybe more.
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Re: 2 meters: recommendations & education...& Solar power!

Post by NT2C » Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:49 am

woodsghost wrote:Thanks! I'm pretty sure I only use about 5AH (60 Wh?) a week. But I got a Yagi to chat simplex with friends far away so I expect my power levels and usage to go up. That is why I'll need another battery :) Maybe more.
Consider upping your battery game with a larger capacity battery to save on space, wiring, connections, etc.

Also, a good quality regulated power supply to power the radio is going to be cheaper than adding batteries and a solar panel. If your goal is to have your station 100% off grid then obviously a PS isn't what you want, but if you just want to use your 12vdc rig in the house then a good used PS from a hamfest might be just the ticket for you.
Nonsolis Radios Sediouis Fulmina Mitto. - USN Gunner's Mate motto
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except sailors. They will kill you and sing songs about it.

Sic quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit; occidentis telum est - Seneca the Younger, Epistles

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Re: 2 meters: recommendations & education...& Solar power!

Post by woodsghost » Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:45 pm

KJ4VOV wrote:
woodsghost wrote:Thanks! I'm pretty sure I only use about 5AH (60 Wh?) a week. But I got a Yagi to chat simplex with friends far away so I expect my power levels and usage to go up. That is why I'll need another battery :) Maybe more.
Consider upping your battery game with a larger capacity battery to save on space, wiring, connections, etc.

Also, a good quality regulated power supply to power the radio is going to be cheaper than adding batteries and a solar panel. If your goal is to have your station 100% off grid then obviously a PS isn't what you want, but if you just want to use your 12vdc rig in the house then a good used PS from a hamfest might be just the ticket for you.
Thank you. My goal is to be 100% off grid and to move towards having some lighting and environmental controls off grid too. But that is long term.

In the short term I want to learn about solar and how to do it on a small scale. My other fantasy is to someday have a backpack radio with solar charging, but that will be better served with a very different battery setup I think.
*Remember: I'm just a guy on the internet :)
*Don't go to stupid places with stupid people & do stupid things.
*Be courteous. Look normal. Be in bed by 10'clock.

“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” -Bilbo Baggins.

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Re: 2 meters: recommendations & education...& Solar power!

Post by woodsghost » Sun Apr 29, 2018 9:21 pm

Just looking for some input.

I"m thinking about this setup. 30w solar panel, a 10A controller, and wires. There are 40w and 50w versions for not much more money, but I think they might be getting big for what I can fit on my deck. I"m thinking that 30w, under ideal conditions, would let me talk and monitor all day long on a field day on a battery and using low power. I"m thinking about going off grid while car camping (so weight is less of an issue) and if something crazy happened in the neighborhood.

But I"m also thinking maybe I should just get 2x more batteries for my HT and call it a day. My Baofeng can go for days, maybe a week+, with one extended battery and little transmitting, all listening. The real goal is to have something capable of comms in a disaster, and most disasters will be over inside 7 days.

Let me know what y'all think. And in addition to wanting off grid solar power (even if minimal), I am thinking this would allow me to dabble in and educate myself on solar. But maybe that would be better for a different time. I really don't know.

http://www.ebay.com/p/Newpowa-30-Watt-3 ... 1414805813
*Remember: I'm just a guy on the internet :)
*Don't go to stupid places with stupid people & do stupid things.
*Be courteous. Look normal. Be in bed by 10'clock.

“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” -Bilbo Baggins.

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NT2C
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Re: 2 meters: recommendations & education...& Solar power!

Post by NT2C » Sun Apr 29, 2018 11:01 pm

woodsghost wrote:Just looking for some input.

I"m thinking about this setup. 30w solar panel, a 10A controller, and wires. There are 40w and 50w versions for not much more money, but I think they might be getting big for what I can fit on my deck. I"m thinking that 30w, under ideal conditions, would let me talk and monitor all day long on a field day on a battery and using low power. I"m thinking about going off grid while car camping (so weight is less of an issue) and if something crazy happened in the neighborhood.

But I"m also thinking maybe I should just get 2x more batteries for my HT and call it a day. My Baofeng can go for days, maybe a week+, with one extended battery and little transmitting, all listening. The real goal is to have something capable of comms in a disaster, and most disasters will be over inside 7 days.

Let me know what y'all think. And in addition to wanting off grid solar power (even if minimal), I am thinking this would allow me to dabble in and educate myself on solar. But maybe that would be better for a different time. I really don't know.

http://www.ebay.com/p/Newpowa-30-Watt-3 ... 1414805813
When going with a minimally sized panel you should always try to get the highest efficiency possible. Those panels you're looking at are polycrystaline, and have an efficielcy of ~15%. Monocrystaline panels, however, can hit about 20% efficiency (with 22% being about the current upper limit). It may not seem like much of a difference, and with an array that tracked the sun and which was located in the middle of the desert it really wouldn't be much of a factor, but you're starting with two disadvantages, a small panel and no solar tracking, so you want to maximize what you can.
Nonsolis Radios Sediouis Fulmina Mitto. - USN Gunner's Mate motto
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except sailors. They will kill you and sing songs about it.

Sic quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit; occidentis telum est - Seneca the Younger, Epistles

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