Cheap 50W Panel Test - Ongoing

RAW

Full Member
I got myself one of these from EBAY to have a play about with, I am thinking of putting on dash in the Van and perhaps getting more than one

I was pleasantly surprised by the output on a dull day behind a dirty Window
This was taken yesterday morning around 10:30 am
Meter_Test_20V.jpg
Solar_Location_window.jpg
The Sky above
TheSKY.jpg


So on a cloudy day through a dirty window, there is an output of about 20V - I do not see why the Panel is sold the way it is sold though as plugging the cigar lighter into your vehicle socket would not be the best idea nor connecting the crocodile clips to the battery.
There is a PWM controller shipped with this, but a cheapish Chinese one, rather than one of the better ones that @wildebus reviewed here and there is no cable to connect the Panel to the controller unless you chop off the croc clips or the cigarette lighter adapter.

The controller is the Generic one that is mentioned here in the PWM vs MPPT testing that was carried out by David (@wildebus )
The Panel does output 5V from the USB port as well and the output from that seems pretty poor in terms of current.

The Controller also does not output much Current from the USB ports which suggests that it is really ineffective. As soon as a load over 0.54Amp is applied the voltage drops down to around 3.5V so the USB charge circuitry is naff

So today when I tested I noticed I was getting 0.13AMP of charge current from the 50 Watt Panel through the PWM Controller
20200316_090636.jpg


Also I determined the PWM Load with a USB test device as below
20200316_135401.jpg


Hope you find that of some interest, use, let me know. Cheers
 

Nabsim

Full Member
not got my thinking head on at the moment but is that right, only 0.13 amps at 20v? My panels are 12v so I never see anything like 20V but I thought it should equate to over 2 amps? Like I say not got my thinking head on at the moment though
 
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RAW

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P=IV

In my case

P = 0.13A x 20V = 2.6W
However Solar levels are low with much cloud cover and panel facing North

In bright sunshine I think i would expect
50W = 2.5A x 20V
So in bright sun would get maybe a 2.5 Amp flow from Panel and Charge Controller with NO LOSS , however that particular Charge Controller is NAFF so I don't think I would be likely to get anything like that from it, would be lucky if I got 2 AMP to charge the battery bank with that Charge Controller.
 

Nabsim

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See, did say i didnt have my thinking head on, I was reading your 20v as 20w then dividing by 12v to get over 2 amps. Its tough being me at times ha ha ha
 
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RAW

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So whilst on this testing subject YT brought this video to my attention which looks at the charge controller which appears pretty similar to the one I got with the panel

Quite liked that video so as the chap does more solar stuff I may be looking at more of his videos
 

wildebus

Full Member
not got my thinking head on at the moment but is that right, only 0.13 amps at 20v? My panels are 12v so I never see anything like 20V but I thought it should equate to over 2 amps? Like I say not got my thinking head on at the moment though
Neil, your "12V" panels WILL hit 18V-22V (depending on the panels) when working. My 4 x 12V Panels (so nominally 48V) run at around 88V (so 22V per panel).
That 50W panel will have a peak output to the battery of around 4A if running at full harvesting. This time of year, maybe half that at high noon?

EDIT: those numbers assume a good MPPT controller. With a PWM unit, take off 30% so maybe expect around 1.3A tops at noon?
 
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RAW

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That 50W panel will have a peak output to the battery of around 4A if running at full harvesting. This time of year, maybe half that at high noon?
That's good to know, interestingly since I bought the Panel that is on test, the EBAY Seller has put the price up now to £41.99 Buy it now - which is £9 more than I paid for it about a week ago

Bearing that in mind, if I was to get a second panel then I would now be more inclined to go for these:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/55W-12V-Flexible-Solar-Panel-with-marine-grade-self-adhesive-boats-yachts/282225669580
 

Edina

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wildebus

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Further to this - I have now connected the Victron MPPT 100/30 to get some better data out of the 50W flexible Panel
I am having some issues though getting the charger to turn on, unless it is just not possible in the way I am trying to achieve it ?? @wildebus ???
For More read https://community.victronenergy.com/questions/45115/charge-state-is-off-turn-on-remotely.html
Are you trying to change the setting by the Remote Console? That is not possible.
For VE.Direct devices, just about everything (maybe EVERYTHING?) shown in the Remote Console is informational only and not changable in that tool. You need to use Victron Connect or controls on the devices themselves to change settings.

If you are seeing the State as "Off" there are two possibilities:
1) The controller has not detected a input voltage >5V higher than the battery and so woken up
2) The charger is turned off in the settings ("Charger Enabled" is not enabled) - This is the situation you have I think.

I don't know if there is any way to re-enable the charger via a jumper or switch on the controller or if you have to plug in the BT Dongle and have to go via Victron Connect, but I know you cannot (at present) use the Remote Console.

*The only device I know of that you CAN fully control the state of via Remote Console is the Multiplus/Quattro Charger/Inverters - but that was only a recent thing that required an update to the Venus OS and firmware upgrades to the Device as well and is connected via VE.Bus rather than VE.Direct.
 

RAW

Full Member
Are you trying to change the setting by the Remote Console? That is not possible.
YES


If you are seeing the State as "Off" there are two possibilities:
1) The controller has not detected a input voltage >5V higher than the battery and so woken up
2) The charger is turned off in the settings ("Charger Enabled" is not enabled) - This is the situation you have I think.
I turned charger to OFF when I was removing it and disconnecting battery in Sylvia, OFF for maintenance. So as you have clearly pointed out, as has a member of the Victron Community, I cannot alter the settings without connecting to the MPPT 100/30 with either my phone over the BT dongle or another device, maybe the Venus GX but don't have one.
THANKS for you help @wildebus
 

wildebus

Full Member
YES



I turned charger to OFF when I was removing it and disconnecting battery in Sylvia, OFF for maintenance. So as you have clearly pointed out, as has a member of the Victron Community, I cannot alter the settings without connecting to the MPPT 100/30 with either my phone over the BT dongle or another device, maybe the Venus GX but don't have one.
THANKS for you help @wildebus
Venus GX or RPi will make no difference, it is still not possible via Remote Console.

Being able to change settings on VE.Direct kit via the Remote Console would be really handy but either by device limitation or software design choice, can't be done. Will that change? who knows as Victron have a policy of not pre-annoucing stuff like that.
 
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RAW

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So it seems now with the 100/30 plugged in that the Solar Panel is making so little power as to even record anything (sad face) so this 50 Watt Panel may just provide the smallest trickle charge to a battery but would be better to use a less Powerful Solar Controller perhaps
Screenshot_20200322-131615.jpg
 

wildebus

Full Member
So it seems now with the 100/30 plugged in that the Solar Panel is making so little power as to even record anything (sad face) so this 50 Watt Panel may just provide the smallest trickle charge to a battery but would be better to use a less Powerful Solar Controller perhaps
View attachment 2200
I have a few 40W or 50W panels (can't remember which - I had both sizes but sold some). I will wireup a test setup with one of those, a Victron 100/20 and a battery to see how it goes.
Might even do it this afternoon as nice and sunny outside and need some fresh air really!
 
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RAW

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. I will wireup a test setup with one of those, a Victron 100/20 and a battery to see how it goes.
Great Idea, am tempted to move the Battery and Test Set up I have to South Facing; but the South facing Window has lead in so will cast a shadow. Can't set up outside as don't have cover south facing and could easily get rained upon. If you have any panels to get rid off then I am after another semi flexible 50w one ? Also will likely get the Cyrix for the alternator to leisure side Split charging from you or would it be better to get a DC to DC charger for that set-up when the leisure side will have quite a few 12V batteries there ?
 

wildebus

Full Member
Got the setup done but my battery was too charged up so ran a tyre pump for a while to use some power :)

My panels are in fact just 30W ones (I must have got 30W and 40W, not 40W and 50W), so have one connected now. facing the sun, but there is a tree in-between so the branches are diluting the effect somewhat.
They are Rigid Glass panels from Victron rather then flexible ones.

some quick screenshots ....
Point in time first
1584890569797.png


And a little bit of trending
1584890492590.png
1584890517615.png


So working pretty well as I would expect given time of day/year and tree shading effect.


VSR or B2B - it really does depend of style of use of your van and battery size.
The only time there is a simple "get a B2B" answer is if you have the budget for it AND your battery size means you would never want to exceed the capacity of the B2B. If you have say a 110Ah Lead Acid Battery, a 30A B2B is perfect. If you have a 220Ah bank, then a 30A B2B could be too small for quite a while and a 60A B2B, while the right size, is a big cost jump).
Still fine-tuning my Combo B2B/VSR setup (got a simplied design) which, if it works as I expect, will be ideal for a big battery bank and can utilize the relay on the BMV-712 for optimum performance (and be significantly cheaper than either a high-power B2B or a CTEK 250S with Smart Pass.

Also - and you won't really want to hear this ... - I suggest you check the alternator before choosing. On your age of van (just like my age of van), the Alternator outputs were not massive to start with, and 20 odd years down the line will not have helped, so you might find you can't even drive a bigger B2B? I have this with mine I suspect and if I want a high output Split-Charge system will need to replace it I think (I currently max out at around 50-55A)
 
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wildebus

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Just put away my setup ... trees willbe blocking the sun until dark. I'll set it up again tomorrow morning (assuming not raining) and see what a whopping 30W panel can achieve on an early spring Scottish day :)
 
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RAW

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VSR or B2B - it really does depend of style of use of your van and battery size.
So 3 x Bosch 110 AH LB and 1 x 160AH LEOCH AGM
Checked them on tech data sheets and charge rates are similar so won't be an issue in set up
Alternator, no idea, Van at garage. All brakes needed doing and one front ball joint

The B2B I am thinking might be a better investment as would move it to a newer van if and when that happens rather than a VSR which I would probably just leave in the Van when I sell her. Also I am wondering if with 4 LB's in the Van I should maybe swap it all round to a 24V System as you once suggested ?
Cheers, Robert
 

Nabsim

Full Member
... VSR or B2B - it really does depend of style of use of your van and battery size.
The only time there is a simple "get a B2B" answer is if you have the budget for it AND your battery size means you would never want to exceed the capacity of the B2B. If you have say a 110Ah Lead Acid Battery, a 30A B2B is perfect. If you have a 220Ah bank, then a 30A B2B could be too small for quite a while and a 60A B2B, while the right size, is a big cost jump).
Not sure about some of this, my 30amp B2B seems to work great with my 200ah lifepo4. What you put would say I should have greater than 60ah or am I reading it wrongly (quite possibly)?
 
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