Friday, 26 October 2012


The wiring for the solar panels was completed today and the array is now providing a small amount of energy to the domestic battery bank.  There would probably be more power if it was sunny instead of grey, drizzly and overcast!
Using a small length of scrap aluminium right angle extrusion I’ve made eight leg.  Each has a rubber door stop screwed on the base.  The ‘legs’ have been bolted to the corners of the two 100w solar panels to lift the panels clear of the roof.   The panels will be positioned inline and horizontal at this time.  Hopefully we will be able to find the additional funds at some future date which will enable me to make a tilt/swivel mounting.
The next task was to fit the M4 solar plugs to the ends of the cables that have been run from the solar controller through the ceiling of Waiouru to the entry box on the roof.  Special care was taken to ensure I crimped the correct solar connector to the right cable.  Getting positive and negative reversed would be embarrassing!
The panels now look like this……
The price of panels has been steadily falling for the past six months but we wouldn’t want some light fingered person to walk off with then so I purchase two bike security extension cables from Halfords.  One has been run through the mushroom vent located between the panels and the looped ends of the cable have been padlocked to each panel.

The cables will get tidied up when the roof isn’t so wet and slippery.
I was somewhat concerned to see there was no power at the Tracer MPPT solar controller.  However after reading the manual (which I should have done first… it’s a man thing!) I realised the controller required a minimum of 8 volts from the battery before it would activate.  This was solved by diving into the engine compartment and inserting a 30A fuse into the solar cable fuse holder <spark – crack>.  Obviously there was now power in the circuit!
The remote panel for the Tracer controller came to life and I was able to program it.
The panels are producing 15 volts
The domestic battery bank is delivering 13.4 volts and using 0.6 amps.
As the domestic bank is already fully charged and Waiouru is on shore power, it’s unlikely the solar panels will contribute much in the way of energy at this time.
The second plastic coated steel security cable has been threaded through the 3 Fold ladder and secured to the roof with a 3rd padlock.
None of this will deter a determined thief!  We’re still looking for some 2mm aluminium checker plate for our folding gang plank.  There is some on Ebay I’m watching.

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