Running on DC power

Discussion in 'Designing, building, making and powering your life' started by frosty, Aug 18, 2005.

  1. frosty

    frosty Junior Member

    Jul 5, 2005
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    not yet been too busy with goat related jobs

    the two big panels are BP 68W ........ we bought them second hand they are a set that fold together ........ the red one is ex telstra ( our formerly govt owned telephone company - announced yesterday it will be privatised :twisted: ) dont want to know how the previous owner "aquired" a testra panel :roll:

    the other 4 the same are Solarex 52W that we did actually buy new back in 1998 when we first got interested in solar

    the scungly looking on is a 38w panel we bought second hand ......... it seems to work ok bu could be part of the problem

    althought lately everything seems to be working better so it may have just been because it was winter

    the wire is 6sqmm

    but what is a combiner box and bus bars ? :? :? :? we have neither could this be our problem .......... our wires are just wired together

  2. christopher

    christopher Junior Member

    Jul 9, 2005
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    I have what is called a combiner box, with 6 circuit breakers, one for each panel. That way if one panel shorts out, it pos the circuit and desn't burn and backfeed all that power through the panel.

    The bus bars are where all the power goes. Battery connected by two heavy cables to bus bars, charge controller to bus bars, loads from bus bars, etc. This keeps your batteries from getting what I call "spaghettie effect".

    There are two bus bars, one positive, one negative, and I have mine in a UL listed Powercenter made by an American company called "Outback". They make great stuff. I find their equipment to be top notch, and ALL of the systems I am building are based on that Outback powercenter as the heart. the bus bars are connected to circuit breakers for loads, a main disconnect and then heavy gauge cable to the inverter (and then more 110 AC breakers after the inverter and before the AC loads).

    Bus bars are older technology, but my original systems here on the farm didn't have them. It makes wiring easier. Combiner boxes are newer, and many electrical codeds in the US call for them. I use them to avoid the "coffee table" panel, a burnt panel good for being a coffee table! An installation I did last year was to replace a Mickey Mouse system that some bozo installed, buring a panel out and placing the charge controller where rain would get it. TYhe controller was dead, and the batteries wer sulfated. The panel will be a real, genuine coffee table for one of the researcher cabins here.....

    I don' think your problem is related to absence of bus bars, but you COULD fuse every positive wire between the panel and the charge controller, which would serve as an overcircuit protection, and then find a good, strong solid connecting piece to gather up your cables before they go to the controller.

    Anyway, I just sold two larger solar systems (small by Richards standards) of 600 watts a piece to two NGOs, and they were both designed around Outback powercenters. I will install them next month (YAY!).

    D'ja check the panels individually to see if one or more of them is toast, or has a bad connection?


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