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Solar Panel Power To The Yurt

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Old 04-23-2012, 02:16 PM   #1
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Default Solar panel power to the yurt

Next month I am going to pick up one of those starter solar kits at harbor freight and use them to charge a couple of marine batteries just to use for LED lights in the yurt and perhaps a radio here and there. Will post some pics once I get it all set up.

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Old 04-23-2012, 03:51 PM   #2
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You mean one of these:
Solar Panel Kit - Save on this 45 Watt Solar Panel Kit

What kind of marine batteries are you considering? I think you should also look at putting two large 6v golf cart batteries in parallel. They will give you more amp hours (Ah) which might come in handy at some point down the road.

Based on a really quick search the price is about the same but a 6v battery like these will have 232Ah and a marine battery like this only 66 Ah.

The difference being the lower 6v unit is not good for a starting battery which you don't need. Even other marine batteries for trolling motors are usually only up to 100Ah.

If you choose the right batteries now, you can keep adding to the bank of them over time and with time have enough to power some larger power needs using an inverter.

Please post back what you learn about this so we can benefit from your research!
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Old 04-23-2012, 03:54 PM   #3
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I found some other links to discussions on this:
6V vs 12v batteries - Fiberglass RV
Batteries: 6v Vs. 12v? - Forest River Forums
Amp Hours on Joining Two 6v Batteries to Make 12v . . . - Cruisers & Sailing Forums

I was wrong, you don't double the Ah in parallel but they still end up giving more power.
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Old 04-23-2012, 04:11 PM   #4
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Actually I do believe you double the AH when you hook them in parallel. The more batteries you have, the more storage you have. When you connect them in series, you increase the voltage not the storage. With the golf cart batteries, you would have to hook up 2 of those batteries in series to deliver 12 volts, but you would keep the same AH rating 232 hours.

The marine batteries I was looking at were here:

Marine Deep Cycle/RV Battery, Group Size 29HM- DieHard-Automotive-Batteries-Marine Batteries

115 AH each, in parallel would be 230 AH, so would be the same in price basically.. However, if I got the golf cart batteries, I would have to buy 4 batteries, hook each set of 2 in series, then those series together in parallel to achieve greater AH.. At least that is how I understand it, but I could be wrong.

Fortunately there is a battery store right across the street from Harbor Freight so I can ask them. That solar kit you mentioned, I have a coupon to drop the price to $149.00. Really can't beat that!
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Old 04-23-2012, 04:19 PM   #5
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Based on what I have read in the past I think larger 6v is the way to go. You can put 2 6v in series and get 12v, so you don't need 4 of them, just two. That still offers the same power but I think the 6v will last longer. Ask the battery store what they recommend.

Keep in mind you might want to add a few more down the road so putting the money into what will work better as you add-on.
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Old 04-23-2012, 07:28 PM   #6
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Ryan Williamson I was thinking more along the lines of THIS type of deep cycle marine battery...
Buy Autocraft Marine 12-Volt Marine/RV Deep-Cycle Service Battery 27DC-2 at Advance Auto Parts
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Old 05-03-2012, 07:31 AM   #7
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I got the solar panels for my yurt from harbor freight yesterday and assembled them here at home.. It was cloudy and well into the late afternoon but I turned it on anyway.. It was delivering 15 watts even in those conditions. Not bad! I have to say, I expected the panels to be smaller and lighter but was pleasantly surprised to see they were well made and hefty. The PVC frame they give you is actually pretty decent, but the legs that attach to it are flimsy and I think would only work if you live somewhere that has absolutely no chance of snow.

I was fortunate because my uncle found a coupon for the set that saved me $40!

I ended up buying an Exide Nautilus NG-31 battery that has a 115 amp hour (20 hour) rating. I decided in the end to start with one and see how much power one battery will give me and also see how much I like this one before I go buying more.

After reading hundreds of reviews on the solar panels, I have come to the conclusion that the included power controller is not the best. After reading the directions I see they recommend you manually turn it off once the batteries are completely charged. I'm sorry, but this is the 21st century, this needs to be automated, especially since I am only at the yurt on weekends and vacations. So I went on reading a bunch of other reviews to find a decent yet affordable charge controller.. I settled on the HQRP solar charger. That should arrive today at some point.

I hope to get this installed Saturday at the yurt and finally have power for lights, the radio, and battery chargers!
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Old 05-03-2012, 03:56 PM   #8
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You can get cheap 12 volt lights (any car lights would work) and they wouldn't require the inverter. Same with the radio. In fact... I might have an old car stereo here, you could hook up. Then you wouldn't need the inverter except to charge your phones and stuff and could shut it off when not in use. I also think I have a Coleman lantern here you could use up there. It uses the Coleman fuel It would be GREAT for outside... and it's BRAND NEW... NEVER USED!
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Old 05-03-2012, 05:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rinny2 View Post
You can get cheap 12 volt lights (any car lights would work) and they wouldn't require the inverter. Same with the radio. In fact... I might have an old car stereo here, you could hook up. Then you wouldn't need the inverter except to charge your phones and stuff and could shut it off when not in use. I also think I have a Coleman lantern here you could use up there. It uses the Coleman fuel It would be GREAT for outside... and it's BRAND NEW... NEVER USED!
I have a radio up there that hooks into the DC adapters in the controller (not the inverter) and I have two DC lights already. I would love the Coleman though if you have no use for it.
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Old 05-03-2012, 05:56 PM   #10
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Here is a video of the setup:

solar-setup.mp4

I did change the inverter hookup directly to the battery instead of through the charge controller.. After reading up a bit, I found that the 760 watt inverter would burn out that particular charge controller.
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