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GaryS1953

Michigan

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Posted: 02/12/18 12:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi All - I currently have 2 12 volt 165 watt panels wired in series on the front part of the roof on our small 5th wheel camper. I have a 3rd panel with the same specs I'd like to install when the weather get's better here in Michigan, but I'm unsure of the best way to install it. The only available real estate for the 3rd panel is at the rear of the camper. I can envision scenario's where the rear will be in shade, but the front is not, and vice versa. I have a 40 amp MPPT controller, and I believe with only 3 panels I HAVE to wire in series, or change them all to parallel, but that would entail replacing existing wiring, and thicker wiring, 8 or 6 gauge rather than the 10 gauge I have now. My thought was maybe I could put in some sort of 3 way switch so that all panels would be connected, or just the front, or just the rear. Does that make sense, and if so, can anyone recommend a switch to accomplish it?


Gary in Michigan
2014 Chevy Silverado 1500 Double Cab 5.3 Liter V8
1996 Coachmen Catalina 25' Fifth Wheel
495 Watts Solar, 40 AMP Renogy Tracer MPPT Controller.

2oldman

Blanding UT

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Posted: 02/12/18 12:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Before the switch thing, I'd check the panel specs for bypass diodes. It isn't always a death sentence for series panels.

I'm a big fan of series and would like to have you stick with that. I'd go the switch route rather than change to parallel.

full_mosey

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Posted: 02/12/18 12:15pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We need to know Voc info.

Voc per panel?

Voc of MPPT?

HTH;
John

GaryS1953

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Posted: 02/12/18 12:31pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

2oldman wrote:

Before the switch thing, I'd check the panel specs for bypass diodes. It isn't always a death sentence for series panels.

I'm a big fan of series and would like to have you stick with that. I'd go the switch route rather than change to parallel.


All 3 panels are the same specs, with bypass diodes, and the 2 front so far have seemed to be fairly immune to intermittent shading. Not sure how they will be if one whole panel is completely shaded.

2oldman

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Posted: 02/12/18 12:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

GaryS1953 wrote:

Not sure how they will be if one whole panel is completely shaded.
You could blanket one of your 2 panels and see how it reacts.

Lwiddis

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Posted: 02/12/18 12:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The videos I've seen and reading led me to install my three panels (front mounted) in parallel. Tito's was one of them. Not that much difference series vs. parallel. But I do plan to install one more in the back via 10 gauge to the combiner box. I too felt the back end of my TT would be shaded more than the front. 165 watt panels in parallel should give you plenty of volts for the controller to "shave off" and stuff the batteries.


2015 Winnebago 2101DS TT & Tahoe LTZ, 300 watts WindyNation solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL flagpole for US flag. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, USF&WS, state & county camps. Bicyclist! 14 year Army vet - 11B40 then 11A - old MOS 1542 & 1560.


BFL13

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Posted: 02/12/18 12:44pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Easier? Put the third panel on with its own PWM controller and just parallel that controller onto the battery bank with the other controller on there now.

The two arrays will not affect each other, and the two controllers will add their amps, however many amps each that is at the time.

Do set each controller to the same charging voltage though. (So make that PWM one with adjustable voltage or else set your MPPT one to the PWM's.)

BTDT


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on Ford E350-460-7.5 Gas EFI

GaryS1953

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Posted: 02/12/18 01:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

full_mosey wrote:

We need to know Voc info.

Voc per panel?

Voc of MPPT?

HTH;
John


Don't have the exact specs in front of me, just know they are all 12 volt, same size, 165 watts, 9 amps approx max, with bypass diodes. Controller is a 40 AMP Renogy Tracer MPPT.

Thank you

2oldman

Blanding UT

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Posted: 02/12/18 01:18pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

GaryS1953 wrote:

Controller is a 40 AMP Renogy Tracer MPPT.
According to what I find, that controller should be good to near 100v.

GaryS1953

Michigan

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Posted: 02/12/18 01:21pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

2oldman wrote:

GaryS1953 wrote:

Controller is a 40 AMP Renogy Tracer MPPT.
According to what I find, that controller should be good to near 100v.

Yeah,I knew the controller was adequate, just trying to prevent possible shading problems by maybe finding a way to isolate shaded panels.

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