All Blog Posts (98)

Electricity usage trend - 4 years

I have been working on reducing my consumption for about 2 years now and in the last year have added solar to the mix. Below you will see the usage trends for my PG&E electric bill. Starting with the most recent and I highlight the highest month of that year.

From a high in Jun-July2009 of 1252kwh to a high in Jun-July2011 of 855 kwh. That's a reduction of 397 kwh. (Update) New lowest usage was the last bill May-June…

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Added by Raymond Dias on June 12, 2012 at 3:37pm — 1 Comment

Tucson Az Crew meet

I would like to propose a meeting of those in Tucson Az on this group any takers?

Added by Ken Bolin on May 29, 2012 at 12:59pm — 2 Comments

Solar n00b - my experience with solar - PG&E bill Update

How it Started:

I started down the solar road looking for a way to have power while camping. I didn't want to use a generator due to noise so I began looking at various portable solar projects out there. There where lots of already packaged systems some small others more ambitious but they all had a high cost. I also didn't know a lot about solar itself other than the obvious 'sun shines on us during the day". I began reading blogs, doing searches and collecting links that held my…

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Added by Raymond Dias on May 17, 2012 at 2:00pm — 2 Comments

To Ban or Not to Ban, that is the question!

Renewable Ray here, site administrator for the Harbor Freight 45 Watt Solar Panel Kit Community.

I have been getting a lot of private messages from members about a few things and I thought I would create a blog post to touch on a few of those.

Probably the biggest complaint I have been getting is that myself or another administrator [oh yes, they are lurking out there] has edited a members post. Well, sorry but that won't change for so many reasons. One of them…

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Added by Renewable Ray on May 15, 2012 at 11:57am — No Comments

Solar Power....Brian Dessauer's system



There is my system in the back! I bought a warranty with it. I;m looking forward to putting it up. I was really impressed with the packing of entire system. They did a real good job being sure everything stayed…

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Added by Brian Dessauer on April 30, 2012 at 4:30pm — No Comments

Charge Controller Fuse

I have had a hard time finding a replacement 4 amp fuse for my charge controller. I have looked at many auto/hardware stores. Most have 3 or 5 amp but not 4 amp.  Has anyone used a 5 amp with out anyproblems or damage?

Added by Bob Walls on April 21, 2012 at 5:28pm — 2 Comments

Charging an 24 sla battery

would  like to charger a 24v sla currie e-bike battery by solar panels. I tried doing it with an  ( inverter contected to 12 v battery) inverter connected to elecrtic charger that came with the battery but I failed and damage the electric charger. The SLA battery take a 1.8 amperes for 6 to 8 hrs charge. If I could I would like to go from solar charger to battery having the panels providing the charge.

Added by Alonzo Slade on April 14, 2012 at 5:03pm — 1 Comment

90599-D

Well I may have used my last HF coupon for a kit today. Took advantage of an inside track coupon and bought one final metal frame kit. I've become friends with one of the cashiers, when the kits would go out the door she would say something like 'the guys love `em.' Well after a breif conversation about the changes she wasn't so sure anymore.

This gives me 10 15w panels in total. And the truth is where I use them amorphous makes more sence. So I should have the amps I need now. The…

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Added by John J. on March 4, 2012 at 5:57pm — No Comments

Regulator?

Hi, this is what happens when you get in a hurry.  The blog doesn't make sense.  Let me try again.  I bought a 45w solar kit from HF.  It was a return & was $140.  When I opened it, it did not have a regulator.

On "E-How" they tell you how to hook up solar panels to keep batteries charged, since I dry camp this sounded great.  Since my solar kit has no regulator and the directions on "E-How" don't mention a regulator, do I need one?  Thank You for helping.    Jean

Added by Jean McIlvanie on February 18, 2012 at 2:16pm — 1 Comment

Plugin inverters

     Does anybody know about the plugin grid tie inverters ? You know the ones the plug into a light socket ? Are they safe and are they legal ?

Added by Bob Davis on February 18, 2012 at 12:10pm — 5 Comments

Is there a way to heat an above ground pool with a 45 watt solar unit?

I know next to nothing about solar.  have been reading this blog for knowledge.  It does look pretty complicated, should I just call someone that does it for a living?  I like to try to do things like this to learn though.

Added by Marcia Behnke on January 26, 2012 at 3:27pm — 5 Comments

"45 Watt Solar Panel Kit" ? Why is this kit called a "45 Watt" kit? Why not...say a... "30 Watt" kit?

I have never measured more than 30 watts. The greatest voltage was 14.5 and the highest current was 1.9 amps. If Watts = Volts * Amps or in this case 14.5 * 1.9 = 27.6 Watts. This reading was obtained 12:30 PM on June 20, 2011.  Though many other readings were close, this was the highest seen during 2011.

NOTE: Current was kept flowing to the battery bank as long as additional load was added to keep the Charge Controller Cuttoff Voltage at 14.5 or below. The current flow being…

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Added by Anon E mouse on January 2, 2012 at 11:11pm — 32 Comments

Using System?

Good day

I have the 45 watt system with 2 - 12 volt deep cycle batterys and a 2300 watt converter.  My question is, my system sets idle most of the time and just sits there doing it's thing, keeping the batteries charged up and ready to go, is this bad for anything by not using it?  I bought this for an o my good situation, thanks everyone!

Norm

Added by Norm Murphy on December 23, 2011 at 8:00am — 2 Comments

wiring from solar panel to charge controller

using #10-2 copper stranded wire 35 ft long from 30 amp charge controller to 9 harbor freight 15 w panels is the #10 wiring OK with that setup.

fred

Added by fredhoth on December 16, 2011 at 2:59am — 2 Comments

Need Schematic for TPS-55-4A-02 Charge.Controller

Hi, I need an accurate schematic for the HF 45 watt controller.

I have three controllers and 9 15 watt panels connected in parallel on the South facing balcony of my condo with an Isc of between 7 and 9 Amps full sun at about 22Vdc.The CC is connected to 2 12V Deep Cycle batteries in parallel.

I saw a blog for the schematic, but the download was not available when I clicked on it.

I like the little controllers, but I want to modify some components so it can handle 10…

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Added by Jack Arouu on December 6, 2011 at 11:26pm — 10 Comments

stupid question?

ok all.... new here, just bought a three panel system.

first of few questions,

1- should I run ALL my lights, etc off the box provided?  I keep popping a fuse.  I have two batteries tied together.

OR - can I run the inverter off the batteries direct?  So.. in short, can I run appliances (for lack of better words) off the batterys and the box provided?  I know the box is a "regulator" to first make sure I dont over charge the batteries, and also to make…

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Added by Matt Goldschmidt on December 6, 2011 at 4:40am — 10 Comments

Batteries. 12 Volt vs 6 Volts

I have been reading up on what betteries are best. The 6 Volt model L16 keeps popping up as the most reliable and longest lasting. Hold on, wait just a second please. I am still picking myself up off the floor after seeing the price per battery. The cheapest I fould is $227.00 for just one. Unfortunately it is at the lower end of the amp/hour scale. The really juicy ones are running about $357.00. Yeah, I want those, about a dozen please. Anybody know where to get these cheaper? Are they…

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Added by Kevin Egan on November 19, 2011 at 10:09am — 13 Comments

Sla battery

Hi members , I purchased a 35 amp hr battery to use with my solar set up to run the lights in my garage. The battery is rechargeable according to the Battery shark website. Does that mean it is a deep cycle battery? And how will this hold up to the cold in an unheated , ,detached garage. Does this type battery need to be ventilated? Thanks for any help

Keith

Added by Keith Blouch on October 9, 2011 at 8:02am — 3 Comments

Wiring in series versus parallel question?

I have a few questions about wiring harborfreight panels in series.  We have 3 sets ( 9 panels).  I need to know if I can tie them in series to bump up the voltage from 12 to 36.  We have a well at a ranch and a submersible DC pump that will accept up to 48 volts.  We do not want to use the panels to charge batteries to run the pump.  Instead we want to tie the panels directly to the pump and install a foot valve ( a valve that will shut the power off to the pump when the 1000 gallon water…

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Added by bart on October 5, 2011 at 9:14pm — 2 Comments

BZ 250 .... Great Start for a Beginner like me

For best battery charging performance with Model MPPT250, configure the solar panels for 24 volts nominal>   MPPT250.pdf

Added by eddie a ybarra on October 1, 2011 at 5:30am — 2 Comments

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