10 comments on “Solar Power Solutions

  1. MW provided this link to a LED solar tracking circuit/controller. The idea is to get an old large satellite dish with the mount and drive motor included. Remove the dish and attach your solar panels. Buy the LED tracking controller board and power it off of your 12V battery bank. This way your panels will track the sun from dawn to dusk, maximizing your solar power output. What a great idea MW !!! Below is a link to the controller board, which only costs $35 and a youtube video that explains how to assemble, test, and install the controller.

    Link to controller board – http://www.redrok.com/led3xassm.htm#led3xc3
    This site also has a ton of invaluable schematics, component data, circuit explanations, conversion tools/calculators, and more!

    Youtube video for installation/setup …

  2. I may have found my inverter. It’s made by Milwaukee and is rated for 3000W continuous – 6000W peak output. Milwaukee Power Supply 3000 6000 Watt Peak Power Inverter 12V DC to AC 110V. Amazon and other dealers sell these for around $250.

    Also, the Optima Yellow Top deep cycle batteries are looking very attractive for several reasons. Great customer reviews, top and side posts, sealed design, takes a lot of abuse and last for years, and of course, the high current delivery. Two of these just might work to power my well pump. Here’s a customer review link from jeepforums…

    http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f208/optima-yellow-top-770082/

  3. We’re looking into the advantages and disadvantages of using modified sine wave VS true sine wave for powering a pump. While modified sine wave inverters produce DC current at the peaks/lows of the waveform, since the pump is cooled by water, it might still be an option. Question is, will it greatly shorten the lifespan of your submersive pump. Advantage is that modified sine is cheap, while true sine wave inverters @ 3000W start at around $800. My next homework project is to find out how to build a filtering circuit on the AC side of an inverter, to smooth out the sine wave. Then I might be in business. Below is a video showing what a modified sine wave looks like on an osciloscope…

  4. Energysupply and I have both been working towards the same goal – a solar PV submersive water pump off-grid solution. Our research has been extensive, and we have found out this for certain: one size does NOT fit all !! There are so many variables to be considered – The area of the world you live in, the flow and pressure you expect to get, different voltage systems, picking the right inverter and pump, and all of this depends greatly on each particular well.

    With that being said, I have found several problems with my first and revised plans. Based on our new findings and research into solar PV systems, I will have to modify my plans again, eliminating some components and adding some others. I will leave my old plans available, so that others can see where the plans were flawed. As soon as I have a 3rd revision of my well pump plans, I’ll make that available.

    Some mistakes I’ve made: Using a step-up transformer will not work well with a modified sine wave inverter (it’s a huge coil) and would require about 25% more power because of loss. It would be better to (1) go with a 24/48 volt system with a 220V inverter, OR replace my pump with a 12V or 120V specialty pump. I also need to reconsider using a large cap on the input side of any inverter, as the current surge will most likely shorten the life of any inverter.

    It still appears that one 200W solar panel can do the job. I’m still leaning towards the Optima yellow top deep cycle batteries, maybe up to 3 of them. I’ve also decided that a storage capacitor would be better suited on the OUTPUT side of the inverter, to assist with starting the pump. This way the surge won’t be taken by the inverter. There is one more little benefit to this: There will be a large current surge when the pump TURNS OFF, which I can use to recharge a large AC cap.

    Comparing notes with energy, it seems our most important decision will be the type of inverter and pump we choose. In the next few days, energysupply will be providing some VERY valuable information on startup current, operating current, flow rates, etc based on his particular well and pump. Hopefully this will give us a great baseline to improve on. I’m very eager to see his results. More to come on this project as it develops, and I hope others might find this thread useful.

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