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Thread: Solar Tracker 5 - Various Questions

  1. #1
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    Solar Tracker 5 - Various Questions

    Solavei
    Hi,

    First of all thanks for all of the great information you have made available!

    Couple of questions:

    I have seen it said that the Solar tracker series will pass the electricity straight to a load if it can handle it before draining the batteries.
    This may be a dumb question but how does it do this?

    The solar panels are connected to the solar tracker then to the batteries and the inverter is then connected to the batteries. There is only one pathway for the electricity to flow along so how does the solar tracker control whether the current is going to the batteries or straight to the inverter?

    Im not that familiar with electricity so it may be a simple misunderstanding on my part but I would like to understand it better.

    I would understand it if there were separate cables, i.e the solar tracker was connected to the batteries through one set of cable and then to the inverter through another, but I dont see how it works with there only being one "pathway". Maybe its a bit like water that always takes the easiest path, but in several comments on this topic I have seen you say that this is the solar tracker 5 that controls this.

    I am currently designing an off grid solar system for a house Im building with the help of a guy that does this for a living. I am pretty set on going with the solar tracker 5 series (s80a24).

    I sent my solar guy your website and info about the solar tracker and he wrote back saying that the only difference is that your chargers charge to a higher voltage and that all higher end solar chargers now can be set to charge to whatever voltage you like...

    No doubt he hasn’t taken very long to look into it which is why when I meet up with him I would like to be able to tell him what is different about your chargers.

    My question is, apart from the topping off at 15.1v what is different about your chargers and the way they charge?
    How do they charge and how is this different to MPPT/PWM ?

    I have watched and re-watched battery secrets, battery rejuvenation and Solar secrets but being a noob obviously this info takes time to set in and I wont fully understand it until I start playing with some batteries.

    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    not sure if this applies/ you car dose this all the time

  3. #3
    Networking Architect Aaron Murakami's Avatar
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    guyzzemf is right, your car does do this all the time anyway. The alternator is hooked to the battery and so is all of your electrical loads. However, the battery doesn't power your lights, etc... your alternator does. The battery only starts to power something if your alternator can't produce enough for your loads.

    The solar charge controllers are connected to the solar panel and to the battery, but your inverter or any other load connected to the battery is also directly connected to the charge controller. When you turn on a load, it will preferentially draw it from the charge controller first so you get to use your solar energy first and the battery will only start to power the load if your load exceeds what the charge controller is outputting from the panels. This is quite normal behavior.

    Our charge controllers appear to deliver more to the battery from the panels than any other charge controllers so they're more efficient. Our controllers also cut back on the current properly as it gets to the higher voltages more effectively than the controllers that can be adjusted to charge to higher voltages so you won't heat up the batteries with our controllers like the others. This is important because any heat generated is electricity that is not creating a chemical change in the battery and is therefore treating the battery like a resistor and that isn't good. Our chargers not only deliver more electricity to the batteries from the panels than other controllers, but more of that electricity delivered to the battery actually does translate to chemical changes and is evidence by the fact that batteries charged with our controllers are cooler. That alone will will extend the life of the batteries.

    The other charge controllers use a lot of complicated electronics to do their job, but with Bedini's circuits, they are built in a way that they self-regulate what they do. What I mean is that to accomplish the above, it's an intrinsic part of the design automatically without digital devices to instruct the electronics what to do. For example, with the Bedini SG, it is an intrinsic part of the circuit design for it to self-trigger and automatically get to the highest speed taking everything into account - the magnets, the spacing of the magnets, gap between magnets and coil, resistance of the resistor at the base of the transistor, etc... there is no need for a chip to be programmed to tell the transistor what to do - it is all automatically accounted for in the intrinsic design of the circuit and for the most part, the solar charge controllers are that way too. They're all analog components and there is less chance of failure compared to the complicated circuitry of other company's charge controllers. Bedini's circuits are beyond elegant in their design and function and I wish I could elaborate but its difficult without giving away any proprietary info on them.

    Some controllers that allow you to boost the voltage is not meant for normal operation. They say that, but for the most part, many are that way so you can charge all the batteries up and equalize them periodically because the controllers never charged them properly to begin with. Our controllers push the batteries to those voltages if there is enough sun in the course of normal operation without overheating the batteries - there is no option to reduce the voltage it will push the batteries. We don't want anyone using our controllers to have the option of charging their expensive batteries incorrectly by undercharging them and am disappointed that the other companies do. I'm of course biased but I've heard too many horror stories of money down the drain for batteries from using all of these other technologies including the high end ones you mention. We of course can't guarantee how much sun will shine, but for whatever sun you do get, you will receive the maximum benefit from it.

    MPPT is a band-aid technology and I believe is explained in the Free Solar Secrets book, which you mention reading. I'd recommend re-reading that section. The same people that claim MPPT is a good technology and that they can charge the batteries to any voltage they want are the same people that tell you that crystalline panels are more efficient than amorphous panels, but they are not aware that laboratory test conditions are completely different from the conditions you will experience in the real world on your home.

    The other companies have been selling charge controllers that push to 14.8 or so max for many years so that tells me that they have never understood lead acid battery chemistry to begin with - now for the last so many years, they're suddenly giving options to push the voltage higher than what they have always claimed was safe... that is very interesting to me.

    The S80A24 is a real powerhouse and you'll be very happy you have one. We have a customer in Siberia who has purchased quite a few of these from us. I believe he is probably reselling them to his friends but anyway, they're the only charge controllers that ever truly charged his battery bank and he has used all the state of the art MPPT controllers, ones with adjustable voltages, etc... and still, nothing has given him the results that our charge controllers have given him.

    http://teslachargers.com/products/so...olt-lead-acid/

    If you have other questions, you can email them to the email on the banner at http://teslachargers.com.

    I hope some of that helps.

    Aaron



    Quote Originally Posted by Luke-es View Post
    Hi,

    First of all thanks for all of the great information you have made available!

    Couple of questions:

    I have seen it said that the Solar tracker series will pass the electricity straight to a load if it can handle it before draining the batteries.
    This may be a dumb question but how does it do this?

    The solar panels are connected to the solar tracker then to the batteries and the inverter is then connected to the batteries. There is only one pathway for the electricity to flow along so how does the solar tracker control whether the current is going to the batteries or straight to the inverter?

    Im not that familiar with electricity so it may be a simple misunderstanding on my part but I would like to understand it better.

    I would understand it if there were separate cables, i.e the solar tracker was connected to the batteries through one set of cable and then to the inverter through another, but I dont see how it works with there only being one "pathway". Maybe its a bit like water that always takes the easiest path, but in several comments on this topic I have seen you say that this is the solar tracker 5 that controls this.

    I am currently designing an off grid solar system for a house Im building with the help of a guy that does this for a living. I am pretty set on going with the solar tracker 5 series (s80a24).

    I sent my solar guy your website and info about the solar tracker and he wrote back saying that the only difference is that your chargers charge to a higher voltage and that all higher end solar chargers now can be set to charge to whatever voltage you like...

    No doubt he hasn’t taken very long to look into it which is why when I meet up with him I would like to be able to tell him what is different about your chargers.

    My question is, apart from the topping off at 15.1v what is different about your chargers and the way they charge?
    How do they charge and how is this different to MPPT/PWM ?

    I have watched and re-watched battery secrets, battery rejuvenation and Solar secrets but being a noob obviously this info takes time to set in and I wont fully understand it until I start playing with some batteries.

    Thanks for your help!
    Aaron Murakami





    You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” ― Richard Buckminster Fuller

  4. #4
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    Hi Aaron,

    thanks for your lengthy response.

    Im pretty set on getting one of your charge controllers, I just have to try and figure all of this out a bit more because obviously the guy that is setting up the solar for me is being done out of the profit on the charge controller...

    dont know what the car alternator bit is about...

    Im about to re read solar secrets.
    thanks again!

  5. #5
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    Good, thorough, detailed explanation, Aaron.

    Car alternator bit is an analogy designed to aid your understanding of the system. To spell it out:
    Car Alternator = Solar Panels,
    Car Electrical Loads (lighting, motors, solenoids, defog, etc) = Inverter &/or other loads,
    Car Battery = Storage Battery.

    Get it? Don't expect an installer to get it. You're right - they like to push their products & will get Very upset if they learn that they need to ditch their entire arrangement with their supplier - a relationship which has probably taken quite some time to develop & establish.

  6. #6
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    Hi Barrie,

    Yes now i get it, thanks... The alternator passes the electricity to the loads before it goes to the battery. I was missing the context and thought it was a random spam comment.

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    Just a quick update on this...

    So I had a meeting with my solar guy yesterday and he said everything Peter L. says that your average technician says, dont go 12v, dont by any means go series parallel etc and dont do silicon amorphous.

    Unfortunately I dont have enough knowledge on this subject to be able to debate him but he is open to working with me if I decide to get your charge controller.

    Another question unrelated to the charger but related to the series parallel connection on page 28 in solar secrets pdf. My solar guy says the exact opposite of what you guys say. He says that if you go series parallel that the batteries wont ever charge properly... Again I dont know enough about this to debate him all I know is that you guys say that its better. You say that that way "hardwires equalization" into the bank and he says it doesnt.... Ugghhh

    thanks again for your help!

    Could someone please explain how the "hard wiring" method(page 28 solar secrets) you recommend works and why it is better than say a series connection. I have read and re read that part in the solar secrets book but there isnt much explanation of why or how it works.

  8. #8
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    You can get rid of the solar guy & DIY it. I hear it's big in the States to do it that way. It'd be difficult for him to do what you want when his mind-set is in open rebellion.

    It's best explained by someone like Aaron, but I'll give it a go. Firstly, there was an update to the diagram in Solar Secrets. Did you get it? It simplifies the connections.

    When connecting batteries in series, it's just like stacking plates. You really, really don't want to stack plates. There's just 3 plates in a 6V SLA Battery (SLAB for short), which is the smallest SLAB you can get. There's 6(?) plates in a 12V SLAB & 12(?) plates in a 24V SLAB. Now, the more plates you have INSIDE each battery, the more likely you will be to get sulfation, which kills batteries. So, instead of raising the voltage first, by series stacking, then paralleling to increase capacity, you should parallel first to increase plate surface area (capacity), then series just 2 banks together to get your 12V. You don't need 24V systems anymore, as the latest pure sinewave inverters are so high in efficiency that they negate any real gains of having a 24V system. Maybe you can draw the two schematic diagrams out to prove it to yourself. Paralleling batteries increases plate size, whilst each series connection stacks plates.

  9. #9
    Networking Architect Aaron Murakami's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luke-es View Post
    Just a quick update on this...

    So I had a meeting with my solar guy yesterday and he said everything Peter L. says that your average technician says, dont go 12v, dont by any means go series parallel etc and dont do silicon amorphous.

    Unfortunately I dont have enough knowledge on this subject to be able to debate him but he is open to working with me if I decide to get your charge controller.

    Another question unrelated to the charger but related to the series parallel connection on page 28 in solar secrets pdf. My solar guy says the exact opposite of what you guys say. He says that if you go series parallel that the batteries wont ever charge properly... Again I dont know enough about this to debate him all I know is that you guys say that its better. You say that that way "hardwires equalization" into the bank and he says it doesnt.... Ugghhh

    thanks again for your help!

    Could someone please explain how the "hard wiring" method(page 28 solar secrets) you recommend works and why it is better than say a series connection. I have read and re read that part in the solar secrets book but there isnt much explanation of why or how it works.

    Hi Luke,

    12 volts is to extend battery life.

    Amorphous is best if you can get them in the right specs because you get power in low light conditions and they beat crystalline hands down in real world tests, period.

    Our charge controllers will still work regardless of the panels you get.

    Your solar guy is giving you really bad info if he says don't parallel and series the batteries. If you have a 12 volt battery, the middle cells can and will go bad. If you have 6 volt batteries in 12 volts strings and parallel those to up the amp hour rating, you help prevent the middle cells from going bad because you do "hardwire the equalization" into the bank. It is better than not doing it and I doubt your solar guy has ever done the test to find out.
    Aaron Murakami





    You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” ― Richard Buckminster Fuller

  10. #10
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    Solavei
    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Murakami View Post
    Hi Luke,

    12 volts is to extend battery life.

    Amorphous is best if you can get them in the right specs because you get power in low light conditions and they beat crystalline hands down in real world tests, period.

    Our charge controllers will still work regardless of the panels you get.

    Your solar guy is giving you really bad info if he says don't parallel and series the batteries. If you have a 12 volt battery, the middle cells can and will go bad. If you have 6 volt batteries in 12 volts strings and parallel those to up the amp hour rating, you help prevent the middle cells from going bad because you do "hardwire the equalization" into the bank. It is better than not doing it and I doubt your solar guy has ever done the test to find out.
    Hi Aaron,
    Need some enlightenment on the 'Hard wire the Equalization' does it mean that the cell deterioration ( in middle) is redirected to the side ways of the cells.. please explain this..
    Rgds,
    Faraday88.

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