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Thread: The Solar Energy Thread

  1. #61
    Member Dustin da DnB Soulja's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Goatchella View Post
    Ok guys , I've never fucked with solar power. I know about electronics and usage. I know about music and live production. Never had to mix the two. Here's my set up.

    The XPower Powerpack 1500 is a portable power system that produces household electricity for products rated at 1500 watts or less. A clean and quiet alternative to a generator, the XPower Powerpack integrates a 60 Amp/hour AGM battery with a 1500-watt inverter and produces a 3000-watt surge. This system is built to run a range of appliances such as a standard size refrigerator and microwave oven, and office equipment such as a computer, monitor, and fax machine.



    I extended the battery bank with an additional battery, might add more after testing

    Concorde PVX-890T Sun Xtender, sealed AGM deep cycle battery,12V, 102Ah




    A 50 watt solar panel to keep the battery charging

    RAMSOND 50 WATT MONO CRYSTALLINE SOLAR PANEL



    Solar charge controller

    HQRP Solar Power Controller 10Amp 150W with Digital LED Display





    I am using this to run a self powered single 15" pa monitor rated at 500 watts. I tested the speaker at the store and it's loud as fuck without going even a quarter of the volume. I'm assuming this means I'm only using 100-150 watts of power.
    If anyone has any advice about amp hours and power usage please chime in.
    We're trying to untz over here and I want to know if I should expand my battery bank and /or solar panel bank.
    Thanks
    How many volts is going to be coming out of your 50watt solar panel? How long does it take to charge your battery pack connected to a regular house hold wall? You should have a solid 12-13v coming out of your panels, basically what it's like at your house. Should work, but you may only get a few hours of out of your battery pack when the sun isnt up.
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  2. #62

    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    I've tried those little portable solar chargers with built in batteries at coachella and they don't seem to work really well IME. it charged fine 1 or 2 times and then just wouldn't charge via solar and I had to use my car. I don't know if it was the heat or if it got banged around, but I was very disappointed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Courtney View Post
    Yeah, a non-folding solar panel isn't really in the cards for me, because I'll be flying in. Portability is key.

    But if I was still living in Los Angeles, I would totally go all out

    Courtney, if you really want a folding solar system with a battery I think this might work really well and for the price of the
    GoSolar set up you linked, you could get 3 of them.

    I've done a little testing with this one and it seems to work really well.



    they have another that has 4 panels instead of 2, but I figured 2 would be enough especially since another camp mate has the exact same setup.
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  3. #63
    old school Goatchella's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    for use with

    Inverters & Portable Power Systems
    If you are intent on buying a marine or deep cycle battery at some point as part of an inverter, battery and charger system to provide power for your equipment outdoors, then there are a few things you need to be aware of when calculating battery life, capacity, losses and discharge rates etc.

    These issues are mostly covered in my sections on inverters, batteries and busking power, so have a read through them to get a better understanding of the different variables involved. You might then want to do a few calculations and see if this sort of set up is the right option for you.

    In this section we’ll go through the basic things you need to consider and then work through some simple calculations to help you get an idea of how to go about choosing your system.

    Here are some units of measurement you might need to know before you start.

    Battery Capacity in Amp hour (Ah)
    Current drawn in Amps (I)
    Time taken in Hours (H)
    Voltage of power source in Volts (V)
    Power in Watts (W)


    Battery Ratings, Variables and Losses
    An approximate measurement of a battery’s ability to provide energy i.e it’s charge capacity, is it’s rating in ampere hours (Ah) or amp hours.

    So a 100 Ah battery will produce 100 amps for 1 hour.

    This capacity can be divided up any way you choose.

    100 Ah could produce 1 amp for 100 hours, or 50 amps for 2 hours, 4 amps for 25 hours or 25 amps for 4 hours etc.

    Battery capacity (Ah) = Current drawn (I) x Time (H)

    or you could cross multiply and get..

    Time = Battery capacity / Current drawn

    Current drawn = Battery capacity / Time

    So when choosing a battery for your set up, you need to know how many amps you will be drawing and for how long.


    There are other things that also need to be taken into consideration when calculating a battery’s useable capacity.

    When you discharge a battery by consuming the power stored in it, you should never discharge it beyond a certain point, otherwise you risk damaging it’s future storage capacity.

    The maximum discharge level depends on the type and quality of the battery.

    A true deep cycle battery from an RV, golf cart or forklift truck etc. can be expensive but should have a discharge capacity of up to 80%. Leisure batteries and marine batteries will be much less at around 50%, but no matter how good the battery is, if you want it to last and not pack up after a few months of use, it is generally accepted that you should never discharge a battery by more than 50% of it’s capacity.

    You must also take into account, the battery’s listed ‘amp hour rating time’ when you buy it, and the speed that you intend to drain the battery when you use it. These two factors can dramatically affect the battery’s capacity. These are covered in my page on batteries.


    Inverter losses also come into the equation when selecting batteries. This is also covered in my section on inverters and worked through in our calculations below.

    Batteries are usually sold in voltages of 6v, 12v or 24v

    To work out how much power you can get out of a battery you can use the equation..

    P = V I

    Power (Watts) = Voltage of battery (V) x Current drawn in amps (I)



    The world’s first manned plane powered by 160 AA conventional dry-cell batteries. Produced by Japan’s Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.


    Worked Example
    Say we were in need of a power set up for a small outdoor gig and we needed enough power to enable us to play for at least 4 hours.

    Firstly we work out how much power we will be using at our gig by adding together the power consumption used by each piece of equipment.

    I have given an example of how to do this in my inverters guide.

    Say the power consumption of all our gear put together is 400 watts rms (per hour)

    Batteries become less efficient as they get older and the level of inefficiency really depends on the way you look after them. If you choose to take this into account you can always add an extra percentage (15 – 35 %) to your power consumption needs for a future buffer.

    In this example we won’t worry about that too much, purely for the reason that we are not going to be drawing 400w constantly for the whole 4 hour event. As we are dealing with live music, the power consumption will vary greatly with volumes and song breaks etc. and as our batteries will be newly purchased, they should perform well.


    As stated previously, for longevity it is unwise to discharge any battery to below 50% of its full capacity, even if it is a deep cycle battery capable of being discharged by up to 80%

    So if we need to get 400 w of power using only half of our battery’s stored energy, it means the full capability of our battery bank should be able to supply at least 800 watts an hour over that 4 hour period. This would leave us with half a tank by the end of the event.

    Needing 800 watts capacity to run our gear, and using a battery – inverter set up, we must also to take into consideration the inefficiencies of the inverter, this is explained in my inverter calculations guide.

    Allowing for inverter efficiency of 90%, therefore using an inefficiency factor of 1.1 we would need to put

    800 x 1.1 = 880 w

    into the inverter to get 800 w out the other side.

    So all in all, we need to buy a battery that can deliver 880 watts per hour for 4 hours. This will allow us to compensate for inverter losses and to only have to discharge the battery to 50% every time we use it to power our gig rig.

    If we purchase 12 volt batteries and need 880 watts for 4 hours, then we can work out the Ah rating of the batteries we need to buy.

    Battery Capacity (Ah) = Current in Amps (I) x Time (H)

    We need to establish the current drawn (I) by our system.

    P = V I

    Power (watts) = Voltage (V) x Current drawn in Amps (I)

    I = P/V

    880/12 = 73.333 amps

    So our battery capacity in Ah would need to be

    Battery Capacity (Ah) = Current drawn (A) x Time (H)

    4 x 73.33 = 293 Ah



    In this instance, you would need to have around 300 Ah of battery power to do the job, cover losses and take care of your battery life.

    You could achieve this with 3 x 100 Ah 12v batteries connected in parallel, giving you 300 Ah at 12v.

    See my page on connecting batteries in series and parallel to find out how.


    You might find in reality this gives you a much greater capacity than you actually need as we’ve originally calculated for a constant supply of 400w. The noise levels and power used in a live music situation is going to vary greatly over time so your average draw is probably going to be less than you have designed for.

    In a live situation though, having a greater battery capacity than you need is never a bad thing.


    More Compensations to Watch Out For
    One thing you may have to watch out for is your ‘amp hour rating time’. This subject has been covered on my batteries page. We will assume the capacity figures we are given for the batteries we buy will be rated under the 8 hour amp rating time and not the 100 hour rating time. This means our batteries’ labeled capacities are accurate for our needs as they were tested and rated in similar circumstances to how we intend to use them.

    (Had they been rated under the 100 hour amp rating and not the 8 hour time, then we might have had to compensate our final capacity by up to 20 %)

    Also, as our batteries are to be drained to half their capacity over a 4 hour period (simulating an 8 hour full discharge) we don’t have to compensate for an excessive or quick current drain. Peukert’s law suggests that consuming a battery’s charge at very high current rates (i.e draining the whole cell in 1 hour) can reduce the capability of a battery by anything up to 50%.

    In our case, none of the above conditions need to be considered. As long as you are aware of them, you can take steps to compensate if they arise in future.


    The Easy Method
    Let’s not forget the easy method of doing things. Using a clamp on ammeter, which you should be able to get for around £20, set your equipment up in your own home and measure the current draw on a normal household supply. Use the results and a few power equations to calculate the correct sized batteries for your needs.

    Now you know what sort of battery bank you’ll need, go and check out my inverter page. You’ll also need to find a good charger to keep your batteries topped up.

    If you need to step up your power requirements to greater levels, then increase the amount of batteries you use or if you’ve got the cash, go out and buy your self a honda gas generator.

    By the end of my power guides, you should have a good idea of what will best suit your needs.
    Last edited by Goatchella; 02-16-2012 at 04:51 PM.

  4. #64
    old school Goatchella's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    My brain hurts.

    Basically that says to run 400 watts for 4 hours.

    300AH battery bank
    And it takes 160 watts of solar panel to charge the bank in 5 hours of light. With power to spare for a box fan and a Bose iPhone durin the morning.


    Boom!

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    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    I've used deep cycle batteries quite a bit (polo fields, playa, gorge). Ill take a swing. Enjoy.

    85 Amp hour deep cycle batteries, known as group 24. Costco and wal mart are your best chances. Get a plastic battery box too. 400 watt max inverter should be fine.

    That battery can be drained down to 40 percent. Thats 650 watts of use. Inverter efficiency is 80-90 percent. That brings the watts down to around 550. Roughly. If you purchase two, double it.

    That runs a 13 watt cfl light bulb for 50 hours. Or a 200 watt pa speaker at half volume for 5 hours. I do a little bit of both. Pm me with questions, as you can see I thoroughly enjoy this shit.

  6. #66
    old school Goatchella's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    I was told to use AGM batteries, so I can charge them in non vented areas, position them any way I want, maintenance free (no adding water or acid) no spills or explosions, no hydrogen gas created from exposed cells expanding.


    My inverter is contained inside the xantrex powerpack 1500 (see parts in previous posts)
    That is an inverter, ac/dc charger,65ah battery all in one unit on wheels. I'm going to expand it by adding 3x 100 ah batteries.
    Making my total of battery bank 365ah.
    A typical 6-volt golf cart battery will store about 1 kilowatt-hour of useful energy (6 volt X 220 amp-hr X 80% discharge = 1056 watt-hours). Since this would only power two 50-watt incandescent lamps for 10 hours (2 X 50 X 10 = 1000 watt-hours), your alternative energy system will most likely require wiring several batteries together to create a battery bank.
    So I'm guessing 12v x 365ah x 80% discharge= 3.5 kwh

    500 watt speaker at half volume is 250w + lazer and lighting 50w or ( 300w x 10hrs= 3000 watt hours)
    That leaves me 500 watts alone to run my box fan and Bose system during the morning.
    150watts of solar panels should bring the charge back at 5 hrs of direct sunlight.


    I'm untzing all weekend unless there is 80% cloud cover or the sun shuts off.
    Last edited by Goatchella; 02-17-2012 at 07:07 AM.

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    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    Agms are great. And expensive. My whole system is under $100. I think you'll find that solar is not an efficient investment on the polo fields. Your money is better spent buying another battery. Do you have 150 watts of solar panels? I'm worried about someone fucking with mine while I'm in the venue. I save all my expensive toys for the burn, better piece of mind on the playa. I usually see max watts from my panels for. 90 minutes. Bell shaped curve before and after. Not as much juice as I'd hoped. Those xantrex things are great. I just build my own for 1/4 of the price.

  8. #68
    old school Goatchella's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    I'm gonna lock up everything but the solar panels.
    Yes I have a 50watt panel and gonna go buy a 100 watt.

    Since I need to lock everything up, I need AGM. I never said this was a budget system.


    Hold back nothin for bass and lazers. I'm stoked that I won't need a genny. I'll be using this for the Ben and desert parties, car camping and maybe use it to run a small aero spinich garden.I'm really interested in off grid living so this will give me a lil hand on experience.
    Last edited by Goatchella; 02-17-2012 at 09:44 AM.

  9. #69
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    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowchella View Post
    Agms are great. And expensive. My whole system is under $100. I think you'll find that solar is not an efficient investment on the polo fields. Your money is better spent buying another battery. Do you have 150 watts of solar panels? I'm worried about someone fucking with mine while I'm in the venue. I save all my expensive toys for the burn, better piece of mind on the playa. I usually see max watts from my panels for. 90 minutes. Bell shaped curve before and after. Not as much juice as I'd hoped. Those xantrex things are great. I just build my own for 1/4 of the price.
    What kind of panels ya got?

  10. #70
    Member wstsidela's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    I wanna see your setup when you're at Coachella
    Quote Originally Posted by Goatchella View Post
    I'm gonna lock up everything but the solar panels.
    Yes I have a 50watt panel and gonna go buy a 100 watt.

    Since I need to lock everything up, I need AGM. I never said this was a budget system.


    Hold back nothin for bass and lazers. I'm stoked that I won't need a genny. I'll be using this for the Ben and desert parties, car camping and maybe use it to run a small aero spinich garden.I'm really interested in off grid living so this will give me a lil hand on experience.
    "Well, that's just like, you know... your opinion, man"

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    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    Glad to see others have portable power addictions. I have the harbor freight 45 watt kit. More like 28 watts. I'm lucky to get 120 watts of power on a clear day. Takes 4 days to recharge my deep cycle. You're doing it the right way and I applaud that. Would love to come check out your setup on the fields.

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    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    Costco just posted what appears to be a quality 100 watt panel for 279. Do you have a solid charge controller?

  13. #73
    Coachella Junkie faxman75's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    For those just looking for more cell phone juice, the best bet is what goat said. Amazon and ebay sell Chinese knock offs of just about every cell phone brand usually for about $5 each. I've been using them for years. They get about half the juice in most instances but still. Having about 6 extra batteries for $30 will cover you and then some.

  14. #74
    Member Dustin da DnB Soulja's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowchella View Post
    Glad to see others have portable power addictions. I have the harbor freight 45 watt kit. More like 28 watts. I'm lucky to get 120 watts of power on a clear day. Takes 4 days to recharge my deep cycle. You're doing it the right way and I applaud that. Would love to come check out your setup on the fields.
    How many amp hours is your deep cycle?

    I have the same kit and have you tried charging 2 things at once with the converter that comes with the kit? The power may be continuous so I was trying to figure out if I charged something through usb in the front if it take juice from the back for the battery.
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    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Dustin da DnB Soulja View Post
    How many amp hours is your deep cycle?

    I have the same kit and have you tried charging 2 things at once with the converter that comes with the kit? The power may be continuous so I was trying to figure out if I charged something through usb in the front if it take juice from the back for the battery.
    Yeah the leftover juice will charge your battery. I have some group 24 85 ah batteries

  16. #76

    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    I know nothing about this stuff, so I was hoping one of you could help me. I found both of these things on this thread, and it appears on the picture that I can connect them. Anyone know for sure?
    I want to have this: http://www.amazon.com/Wagan-2485-200...pd_sbs_auto_14
    charged by this: http://www.amazon.com/Sunforce-50013.../dp/B001D6GYLO

    Is that possible? Thanks guys, I am a total Newb at Solar power.

  17. #77
    Member Dustin da DnB Soulja's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by stupidhead4 View Post
    I know nothing about this stuff, so I was hoping one of you could help me. I found both of these things on this thread, and it appears on the picture that I can connect them. Anyone know for sure?
    I want to have this: http://www.amazon.com/Wagan-2485-200...pd_sbs_auto_14
    charged by this: http://www.amazon.com/Sunforce-50013.../dp/B001D6GYLO

    Is that possible? Thanks guys, I am a total Newb at Solar power.

    That solar panel you posted will never get enough juice to remotely charge the battery, you're going to need a heavier set up, MUCH HEAVIER if you want to charge that battery.
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  18. #78

    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Dustin da DnB Soulja View Post
    That solar panel you posted will never get enough juice to remotely charge the battery, you're going to need a heavier set up, MUCH HEAVIER if you want to charge that battery.
    What do you suggest? I am very unfamiliar with this stuff. So the set up can't be too complicated

  19. #79
    Member Dustin da DnB Soulja's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by stupidhead4 View Post
    What do you suggest? I am very unfamiliar with this stuff. So the set up can't be too complicated
    What do you need/want power for?
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    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    Got everything ordered. I'll take pics when I hook it up.
    Gonna test it out in te desert in a couple weeks.

  21. #81
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    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowchella View Post
    Costco just posted what appears to be a quality 100 watt panel for 279. Do you have a solid charge controller?
    Yeah I have a charge controller, 50watt panel and 100watt panel.
    1500 watt Inverter, ac/dc charger, 365 ah AGM battery bank.

    Just need to wire the battery bank, wire the panels and charge at the wall. I'll run te whole rig and time how many hours I can run the system. I'll keep bumping till I discharge 80%.

    I'm doing math for 300 continuous watts. My system (as far as I have calculated which doesn't mean shit) will run for 10 hours at 300 watts. The math in the bold i posted earlier shows this system being more than enough for 400 watts for 4 hours. The panels can recharge that with 5 hours direct light a day.
    I might buy a killAWatt to read watt usage and mark the volume on the pa.
    Last edited by Goatchella; 02-21-2012 at 02:48 PM.

  22. #82
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    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    Solar untzing

    Solid

  23. #83

    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Dustin da DnB Soulja View Post
    What do you need/want power for?
    Charge our cell phones (group of 7), and a small setup of computer speakers and a sub. Maybe power some x-mas light during the night time. Nothing crazy. Will this 200w power dome last the weekend w/o a recharge? http://www.amazon.com/Wagan-2485-200...pd_sbs_auto_14

  24. #84
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    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    No sir

  25. #85
    Member Dustin da DnB Soulja's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by stupidhead4 View Post
    Charge our cell phones (group of 7), and a small setup of computer speakers and a sub. Maybe power some x-mas light during the night time. Nothing crazy. Will this 200w power dome last the weekend w/o a recharge? http://www.amazon.com/Wagan-2485-200...pd_sbs_auto_14
    Definitely will not, but, you can charge it up during the day/morning if you bring the wall charge, if you guys are waiting in shower line you can all keep an eye out for it.
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    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    Take two of them, and a bicycle chain. One will be in camp, while the other is locked up at charging station, plugged in & charging, of course.

    Quote Originally Posted by stupidhead4 View Post
    Charge our cell phones (group of 7), and a small setup of computer speakers and a sub. Maybe power some x-mas light during the night time. Nothing crazy. Will this 200w power dome last the weekend w/o a recharge? http://www.amazon.com/Wagan-2485-200...pd_sbs_auto_14
    "Well, that's just like, you know... your opinion, man"

  27. #87
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    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by wstsidela View Post
    Take two of them, and a bicycle chain. One will be in camp, while the other is locked up at charging station, plugged in & charging, of course.
    I would probably do this or just buy 2 possibly cheaper deep cell batteries.
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  28. #88
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    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    Last year's charging station had places where you could it lock up. You could always chain it to the closest car - they're only a couple of feet away - then run an extension cord over to the charging station. That's what I'm doing
    "Well, that's just like, you know... your opinion, man"

  29. #89

    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    Anyone used these: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...00_i00_details

    Bought a couple..should be enough

  30. #90
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    Default Re: The Solar Energy Thread

    Okay similar to StupidHead's question. Group of about 10 people charging various phones (mainly iphones), small computer speakers (6-20 watt), and an array of LED christmas lights (6 watt/ length x4).

    Set Up
    18w 12v solar panel
    7 amp controller
    600 CC amp 12v car battery
    400 watt power inverter
    attached voltage meter to regulate charge level when not attached to amp controller.

    Will this be sufficient in running the aforementioned items?
    Also, is it safe to run the solar panel without the amp controller for a couple of hours just while we are running the speakers or charging phone as to not use up the battery and still have it charging. I measured the peak voltage output of the solar panel to be at 18v non-regulated on a clear day. I noticed the battery charged a lot quicker and/or maintained the volt reading when running electronics, i just want to make sure i am not messing up this car battery.

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