SOLAR Panel 285W

RAW

Full Member
#1
Dear All,
Soon (hopefully) the new Solar Panel will be going on Sylvia's roof.
In testing we have found an output of about 30V in cloudy low lux conditions which seems pretty good.
Sylvia has ONE leisure battery at low'ish 70 AMP Hr rating, though relatively new. Leisure battery is in front of Sylvia in Engine bay, in the picture it has a yellow strap around it to the side of the radiator Fan
20190522_171651.jpg
The Panel is 285W Max Output and the charge controller is Victron MPPT 30/100 and I am wondering how best to add another battery into the Mix to try and get the best off-grid time possible without a need for a plug-in on site(s). Any help or advice appreciated regarding wiring and battery types and locations for batteries
20190617_102428.jpg
Thanks in advance
Robert
 

Squiffy

Full Member
#2
Hi Robert,
My set up is with a 120w rigid panel cheap of ebay £80 at the time admittedly 4 years ago, with a cheap £10 controller feeding a 110ah leisure battery, we are avid TV watchers ( At least I am ) and lit up like Blackpool most of the time. Previously (In another van) we did not have a solar panel but a 1000i Honda generator which we frequently had to use, however although we still carry the generator for emergency use we have never in the last four years had to use it. We are presently in Switzerland on a France/Switzerland tour and have not plugged into shore power once, in short with 285w/ 9amp solar panel I wouldn't be too concerned. As for the 2nd battery I am not familiar with your vehicle lay out but where ever you put it connect them up together with 20amp plus wire anything greater than 20/30 amp is a waste as you should be using a 20amp fuse to safeguard the wiring in any case. Phil
 
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RAW

Full Member
#3
Hi Robert,
.... As for the 2nd battery I am not familiar with your vehicle lay out but where ever you put it connect them up together with 20amp plus wire anything greater than 20/30 amp is a waste as you should be using a 20amp fuse to safeguard the wiring in any case. Phil
Hi Phil, thanks for the fuse tips and info, very helpful. Van is an old Talbot Talisman 4 berth, practical really for just two adults although 2 smaller people are OK in it as well. So Sylvia is well fused anyway by the looks. Having had a chat with @wildebus I am going to go for a single larger 160AH Leisure battery which should go well with the Panel and controller and hopefully give me plenty of off grid time. No TV in the van but work on web stuff so often using laptops and phones plus other IT stuff.
 


#4
The cheap £10 controlers are no good as they are not mppt,vectron will turn the excess voltage into amps to fill battery,with such a lage solar panel at least two or three 95 or 110 ah batterys will be required to soak up all that current.
this unit will also put one ah into starter batter.
solar duel a.png
 

Squiffy

Full Member
#5
Maybe so Trev but I thought for £10 I'd try a cheap PWM out and see as opposed to a very expensive MPPT, I had read all about the difference between the two, to be perfectly frank I have as I stated earlier never had to use the Honda since, so in my particular case I've saved money and I'd suggest that for the average off grid motorhome a cheap controller is all thats needed. Phil 🤔👍
 


Edina

Administrator
#6
I fitted a cheap pwm controller to a 100w panel on a narrowboat. Could smell something burning and the controller, while not flaming, was too hot to touch and had scorched the panel it was screwed to. The wiring and fusing was all correct and of sufficient size, so put me off the cheapy controllers.
 
#7
I fitted a cheap pwm controller to a 100w panel on a narrowboat. Could smell something burning and the controller, while not flaming, was too hot to touch and had scorched the panel it was screwed to. The wiring and fusing was all correct and of sufficient size, so put me off the cheapy controllers.
It is not a precise method, I tend to evaluate things partly by their physical case and design.
When it comes to electrics and especially anything with electronics in it (which nowadays is just about everything!), the device needs to be able to dissipate heat and run as cool as possible, not just for safety reasons (though that is paramount) but also for long life.
The best kit tends to be physically larger then their poorer alternatives I have found, and the case designs tend to look more 'industrial' with cooling vanes as part of the casing.
 


Squiffy

Full Member
#8
My cheapo has a deep vane aluminium heat sink, so I must have been lucky 😜 Phil.
 


#10
At the moment i have a cheepo in use pumping out 14.7v and working well,but think the vectron will be in place soon.
solar control a.png
 

RAW

Full Member
#11
I think the 285W panel and the Victron MPPT 30amp will go well with the new battery i am getting from @wildebus
Although 285W in good conditions may output more power than needed I understand that the Victron MPPT controllers are smart and won't overcharge any batteries. For anyone interested i am getting 160AH Leoch to go into the Van. This should give me what I need I hope
 


#12
You are definitely safe from any overcharging issues. With the victron MPPT you can setup the voltage and charging parameters really precisely to suit the battery.
If you have the Smart Solar MPPT you can also add on a Bluetooth 'smart battery sense' device which will tell the solar controller the battery temperature constantly and the controller will adjust the voltage output accordingly (cooler the battery, the higher voltage it wants for charging) for the ultimate setup.
As standard, the controller will read the ambient temperature at the start of the day and use that throughout that day. It cannot adjust from its own built-in temp probe as the controller will warm up as it gets to work and would skew the output if it used that temp reading.
 


#14
Dear @wildebus
The Victron Controller is a Bluesolar 30/100 Datasheet is here

Can't see if it would be compatible with this though ?
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Victron-...-meters-for-MPPT-Solar-Chargers-/302679865369

Any ideas ?

Cheers
Hi,
Nope, it would need to be the SmartSolar rather than the BlueSolar to work with the Smart Battery Sense. (it has to talk to the built-in Bluetooth module and so would not interface with the Bluetooth dongle that is available either (at least not with the current firmware))
 

RAW

Full Member
#15
Hi,
Nope, it would need to be the SmartSolar rather than the BlueSolar to work with the Smart Battery Sense. (it has to talk to the built-in Bluetooth module and so would not interface with the Bluetooth dongle that is available either (at least not with the current firmware))
Oh OK, As I understand it the one I have is bluetooth with an app on the phone, can the battery monitor not be integrated via the BT App on the phone or android device ?
Cheers
 
#16
Oh OK, As I understand it the one I have is bluetooth with an app on the phone, can the battery monitor not be integrated via the BT App on the phone or android device ?
Cheers
I know it makes little sense with the naming, but the SmartSolar has built-in Bluetooth, and the BlueSolar has no Bluetooth.
If you CAN connect to it from the Victron App, then you must have the SmartSolar or the add-on Dongle. :cool:

There is a similar confusion with their Mains Charger naming.... The 'Blue Power' has no bluetooth, and the 'Blue Smart' has built-in Bluetooth.

What I know Victron IS doing is phasing out the non-Bluetooth units. The AC Mains 'Blue Power' units are now discontinued and on the MPPT Solar Side, the latest units, such as the 100/20 is available only as a SmartSolar version.

What I said before about the Smart Battery Sense not working with the Bluetooth Dongle is out of date, which is good (y) They must have updated the software to make it compatible.
It works by you creating a "Smart Network" between the MPPT controller and the Battery Sense - see this page here - https://www.victronenergy.com/live/victronconnect:ve-smart-networking.

I've added this to the van I am just redoing the electrics on - the Smart Battery Sense is sending Battery Temp and Voltage to the Solar Controller, and just Battery Voltage to the BMV-712.
 

RAW

Full Member
#17
Thanks for the clarification, I am not at home but had a look at the bad photo I took of the Victron
victronbs.jpg
So as you say it is a Blue Solar and having done a bit more research then it seems like, again as you say, that there is no Bluetooth. Bummer.
I guess for monitoring then I will have to get myself one of these
https://www.victronenergy.com/accessories/ve-direct-bluetooth-smart-dongle

Or a VE Direct USB lead which I could maybe get to work on a Raspberry PI

Interesting.....
 
#18
Thanks for the clarification, I am not at home but had a look at the bad photo I took of the Victron
View attachment 1419
So as you say it is a Blue Solar and having done a bit more research then it seems like, again as you say, that there is no Bluetooth. Bummer.
I guess for monitoring then I will have to get myself one of these
https://www.victronenergy.com/accessories/ve-direct-bluetooth-smart-dongle

Or a VE Direct USB lead which I could maybe get to work on a Raspberry PI

Interesting.....
Of the two options, a dongle would be overall more use I would say as you can do the monitoring from your phone directly. You could also then get the Smart Battery Sense for optimizing the charging to the temperature.
However, as you say, the VE.Direct to USB can be used to connect to a Pi - that is handy as well and quite addictive to review your solar :) You can also connect the device to a laptop with the same lead (not at the same time of course) to configure the controller parameters.
 

RAW

Full Member
#19
Looking on EBAY the battery monitor and BT dongle come in at around £80 for both so have asked Ian at Xerogrid for a price as would like to kinda act local and he is a reseller for Victron and Outback power

Cheers
Robert
 

RAW

Full Member
#20
USB LEAD and battery monitor and a Raspberry Pi would likely be IRO of £100 BTW
 
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