Small Solar setup

Kosmik

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Arb question, hope its in the rightish place as I actually couldn't find a solar segment on the forum but maybe I'll slip a sonoff into the circuit to make it all good.

Anyway....

I'm looking at doing a small solar setup in my garden for my external lights. I mentioned in another thread, that I have these nice old lampposts which are already on CFL with daynights globes but I have another idea. I built my kids a small tree house/platform thats luckily in the middle of my garden, with a lamp post next to it and a second light about 5 meters away. These used to be powered via my pool pumps db but it appears that some rodent has nommed the wires underground and I don't feel like redoing it. So, with a recent alarm upgrade, I have a spare 12V/7AH battery lying around. I've bought a small 12V/10A solar control charger and a 20W panel which I plan to hookup to a box mounted under the tree house. From there I will feed the two lights for night and the charger even has a USB segment so I may put a small hub in there to be leveraged while entertaining.

My question is, the wiring is pretty simple: panel, battery, and lights all to charger which has a controllable timer. Now, many folks have said, wire a fuse between the components which I am looking to do but the draw on the lights is going to be really minimal ( LED globes so expecting around 3-5W max power ). Is it worth fusing the lights? And do I need to use high load normal house wire as the circuit is only going to carry 12V max and about 1A? Would normal ripcord be fine? Even the panels max ouput is only just 1.3A
 

Rocket-Boy

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I would fuse between solar and charge controller and also between battery and charge controller.
Its a small system so its super unlikely anything major can go wrong.

Personally I would use normal ripcord but Im not super clued up on mm/AWG ratings required so someone like @Steamy Tom would be better suited to answer that.
 

Lupus

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I was thinking of doing the same for wireless keypad that chews through batteries and some small pond water pumps. I was looking at a 50w panel though, also isn't that just a solar regulator not a charger?
 

Kosmik

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I was thinking of doing the same for wireless keypad that chews through batteries and some small pond water pumps. I was looking at a 50w panel though, also isn't that just a solar regulator not a charger?
Nope.

Charge Controller -> https://www.takealot.com/solar-charge-controller-sk10a/PLID47826388
Panel -> https://www.takealot.com/solar-panel-20w-sosolar/PLID46868258


Yes I know there are other suppliers but it worked out cheaper getting the controller and panel from T after shipping and I wanted the timer/day night so nicer to go with an integrated solution for me. The controller can handle 10A so I can easily upgrade the panel later if I want to broaden it out.

I would fuse between solar and charge controller and also between battery and charge controller.
Its a small system so its super unlikely anything major can go wrong.

Personally I would use normal ripcord but Im not super clued up on mm/AWG ratings required so someone like @Steamy Tom would be better suited to answer that.

Same thoughts.
 

Sinbad

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Arb question, hope its in the rightish place as I actually couldn't find a solar segment on the forum but maybe I'll slip a sonoff into the circuit to make it all good.

Anyway....

I'm looking at doing a small solar setup in my garden for my external lights. I mentioned in another thread, that I have these nice old lampposts which are already on CFL with daynights globes but I have another idea. I built my kids a small tree house/platform thats luckily in the middle of my garden, with a lamp post next to it and a second light about 5 meters away. These used to be powered via my pool pumps db but it appears that some rodent has nommed the wires underground and I don't feel like redoing it. So, with a recent alarm upgrade, I have a spare 12V/7AH battery lying around. I've bought a small 12V/10A solar control charger and a 20W panel which I plan to hookup to a box mounted under the tree house. From there I will feed the two lights for night and the charger even has a USB segment so I may put a small hub in there to be leveraged while entertaining.

My question is, the wiring is pretty simple: panel, battery, and lights all to charger which has a controllable timer. Now, many folks have said, wire a fuse between the components which I am looking to do but the draw on the lights is going to be really minimal ( LED globes so expecting around 3-5W max power ). Is it worth fusing the lights? And do I need to use high load normal house wire as the circuit is only going to carry 12V max and about 1A? Would normal ripcord be fine? Even the panels max ouput is only just 1.3A
The fuse isn't to protect the lights. The fuse is to protect the wiring and other components in the event of a short circuit.
 

Kosmik

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The fuse isn't to protect the lights. The fuse is to protect the wiring and other components in the event of a short circuit.

I was going to put a fuse on the + of both the panel and the battery as those two would carry the most and it would protect the charge controller and the battery from short. I suspect though that the controller has fuses as well as it acts as the bridge between everything rather than directly wring say the lights to the battery.
 

Kosmik

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Sweet, panel and charger arrived today so will play at home and maybe setup on the weekend.
 

Gaz{M}

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Twin and earth is cheap enough. Why not use that? It's rated for at least 10A even 1.5mm2.
 

Kosmik

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Twin and earth is cheap enough. Why not use that? It's rated for at least 10A even 1.5mm2.

Pretty much what I got. 1.5mm for wiring the panel and battery to the controller, lights will have a small busbar with the 1.5 but the individual lights will be run with 0.5 as they will have single LED globes ( 3w/4w ).
 

chromedome

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Probably a stupid question, but won't the 10A charge controller rate be to high for a single 7Ah battery?
 

ToxicBunny

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This is actually a very interesting idea that I might steal in the not too distant future.....
 

Kosmik

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So I got my little setup working in my dining room with the panel against a window, charger, battery, and bulb. Did a full test run last night ( dusk to dawn setting ), worked perfectly. The battery was charged at 13.5V ( overcharge ) which dropped quickly to 12.8V , from there it dropped till when I checked it this morning to 11.9V after running the whole night from around 6 pm. I'm using an ACDC Dynamics 3W LED DC Bulb as a test.

I struggled to find bulbs and the current shortage doesn't help so considering adding a "mini" inverter for the circuit to make it 220V AC compatible. Lots of instructable to make your own small ones ( 30W or so ) or I found this little one online.


I plan to run two bulbs off this thing so I'm not sure if it will have enough power for both to last the night, may have to look at a second battery. The charger is rated 10A so no problem there and the panel is outputting 13V-14V in shade in the dining room so I'm not seeing a charging issue if I add a second battery in parallel. The little charger is also rated for a 24V system.

I'll take some pics tonight.
 

Gaz{M}

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11.9V is totally dead for the battery and it won't last 2 weeks.
 

Kosmik

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11.9V is totally dead for the battery and it won't last 2 weeks.
Charger still reckons its half full though. I see they say you should only allow it to drop to 12.2V so I'll check the settings and see the range. Unless I'm reading the wrong voltage possibly. It's an old alarm battery so no worries if it dies while playing.
 
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