Solar advice please

wernerdp

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Joined
Apr 10, 2016
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81
Hi

I want a solar setup , only to run the laptop, Samsung 24 inch monitor and a LTE router .

How does it work , can I leave it for weeks , and then when the power goes just plug in an extension cord . And all good to go

Some advice on what is needed and approximate pricing please
 

Sinbad

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Jun 5, 2006
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Hi

I want a solar setup , only to run the laptop, Samsung 24 inch monitor and a LTE router .

How does it work , can I leave it for weeks , and then when the power goes just plug in an extension cord . And all good to go

Some advice on what is needed and approximate pricing please
If you just want backup, why bother with solar?
 

wernerdp

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Apr 10, 2016
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81
If you just want backup, why bother with solar?
Here in the platteland one of the transformer's had blown a while back , we where without electricity for 6 days , the generator is expensive on petrol and the noise stays in your head for weeks there after :)
 

Arthur

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What you need is a battery and inverter to change the battery's DC to 220/240VAC (like mains power).

Size of battery depends on how much power you draw for how long.

There are two main ways you get power into the battery:
1. From the grid, which works 24/7.
2. From a solar panel, which needs sunshine.

Both these charging methods also need circuitry to ensure you charge the battery according to spec, else you damage or destroy it.

If you want this setup just during load-shedding, get a UPS. It has everything you need in one portable box. Make sure it has enough battery to handle your load and duration.

Getting a solar panel or two to keep your battery charged is much more expensive and much more trouble.

My $0.02.
 
Last edited:

Arthur

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Ah, your reply to Sinbad was posted while I was typing on my phone.

If you want to run those devices for days rather than a few hours, then a few batteries and solar panels make sense. You'll also need a solar charging controller/regulator and an inverter to get 220VAC out of the system.
 

wernerdp

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Thank you for the reply , sounds like big effort to get it setup , here I was thinking you buy a ready made kit for your needs and it is plug and play
 

Chuckmyster

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we have had countless posts and discussions on this type of setup for the last year and more with many forumites like @RedViking and @Sinbad and many others contributing very useful ideas.

but to be as basic as possible you need something like this and just add a solar panel to it to keep it charged during the day in the event of load shedding

The key point is pure sine wave as your electronics will just love you more in the long run
 

thechamp

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Thank you for the reply , sounds like big effort to get it setup , here I was thinking you buy a ready made kit for your needs and it is plug and play
It really isn't a big effort.
 

Moto Guzzi

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Apr 24, 2004
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678
Hi

I want a solar setup , only to run the laptop, Samsung 24 inch monitor and a LTE router .

How does it work , can I leave it for weeks , and then when the power goes just plug in an extension cord . And all good to go

Some advice on what is needed and approximate pricing please
Look at what the 4x4 camping adventurers do, you probably find usefull proved info from them.
 

chemfis

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Just a heads up, anyone thinking of using solarpanelenergy in Vanderbijlpark just be warned that their after sales service is non-existent and their warranty is not honored.

Paid R80000 for a small solar panel setup end October 2018, 3 weeks ago the inverter malfunctioned with a code 09 error (soft bus start failure). Numerous calls to the company failed to get any response, they just said they would call me back. Eventually spoke to one of their technical guys yesterday, said I have to bring them the inverter (as far as I know any work I do on it invalidates the warranty) and then they would fix it, but I would have to pay for it unless it was a manufacturer fault (which it can't be because it worked for 11 months). No other options given, no apologies, no solutions...................
 

Steamy Tom

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Jan 23, 2019
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Thank you for the reply , sounds like big effort to get it setup , here I was thinking you buy a ready made kit for your needs and it is plug and play
there are probably small "kits" that will include everything, but it isn't that simple.

absolute cheapest simplest way would be:

small inverter (pref sinewave but you could possibly get away without it or add in an inline ups) - your load will be small, that is probably less than 300W i guess at peak, you should decide if you want to cater for slightly bigger. so imo minimum 600W inverter.

then battery, ultimately you want to go for Lithium/super capacitor etc but for your application it is mental, here a gel or deep cycle battery will do you just fine, its lifecycle will not be great though. if the inverter is 12V you could get away with 1. 12V x 100AH = 1200W - divide that by 2 for a 50% depth of charge and you are sitting at 600W which gives you about 2hrs run time at your 300W load (note these are just rough numbers)

then you need a solar charge controller and a panel(s) to charge that battery and run loads. if you have a bigger array than your need for battery charging it means you can run while you charge, thus you can also then effectively run without the battery restriction while there is sun. To work this out take an estimate that you need to charge your battery in 5hrs of sunlight, to replace 600W in 5hrs you need at least 150W an hour (i have bumped it a bit to cater for some losses). so if you want to run at the same time you need at least 150W + 300W = 450W worth of panels.

imo 2 x 250 worth of panels would do nicely and you would very likely have some room to charge a phone etc. for that you would need at least a 20A pwm charge controller. (it would be preferable to go mppt but we are trying to keep costs down here and not exactly aiming for the ideal)

so
~600W inverter
1 x 12V 100Ah "deep cycle" battery
1 x 20Amp pwm charge controller
2 x 250W panels
Cabling, fusing + mounting brackets

The options are so diverse it is mind boggling.

if you want a kit form this would work well. though imo they are under speccing the solar capacity. nice inverter and charge controller though. you could get more or better building it up though.

 
Last edited:

Steamy Tom

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Just a heads up, anyone thinking of using solarpanelenergy in Vanderbijlpark just be warned that their after sales service is non-existent and their warranty is not honored.

Paid R80000 for a small solar panel setup end October 2018, 3 weeks ago the inverter malfunctioned with a code 09 error (soft bus start failure). Numerous calls to the company failed to get any response, they just said they would call me back. Eventually spoke to one of their technical guys yesterday, said I have to bring them the inverter (as far as I know any work I do on it invalidates the warranty) and then they would fix it, but I would have to pay for it unless it was a manufacturer fault (which it can't be because it worked for 11 months). No other options given, no apologies, no solutions...................
"Axpert"? isn't error 9 a common clone issue?
 

wernerdp

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Apr 10, 2016
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Wow , thank you , I had to read your response twice :)

Yes the laptop is about 110W , then monitor and router , 300W should be good

That link is awesome , must say the prices are relative
 

Steamy Tom

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Wow , thank you , I had to read your response twice :)

Yes the laptop is about 110W , then monitor and router , 300W should be good

That link is awesome , must say the prices are relative
glad i could help. you should head on over to powerforum if you want to learn more, lots of knowledgeable people there. some highly opinionated about certain brands but in general some really knowledgeable people.

as a starting out point it is good to ask these things:

what do i need to run - i.e what is my load
how long do i need to run it - what back up time do i need

from that you can size your inverter and battery. once you know that you can size your solar in order to run and recharge.
 

IdlePhaedrus

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Yes the laptop is about 110W , then monitor and router , 300W should be good
You might also be interested in something like this:


Just add batteries and solar panels.

A good place to ask for advice is powerforum.co.za

There's plenty of places that sell kits (Sustainable can be a little on the pricey side), so also do some googling.
 

PUP Backup

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Jan 30, 2019
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100
Hi
I want a solar setup , only to run the laptop, Samsung 24 inch monitor and a LTE router .
You don't need an inverter for these devices.
If the monitor has a power adapter you can use a low voltage UPS. (The laptop should have it's own battery)
This is more efficient and a lot cheaper.
My backup unit is made for backing up routers (@R750) but can also be used for other devices. Send me details of what you want to keep running..
 

Chuckmyster

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i was in Communica this afternoon and see these back in stock again
just connect 2 batteries and a solar panel up to 1000w to it
it will use solar power to keep it charged and use Mains power to charge when there is no solar
Pure Sine Wave :thumbsup:
 

PUP Backup

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Jan 30, 2019
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i was in Communica this afternoon and see these back in stock again
just connect 2 batteries and a solar panel up to 1000w to it
it will use solar power to keep it charged and use Mains power to charge when there is no solar
Pure Sine Wave :thumbsup:
Like I said this is overkill and hellava expensive for this application..
You don't need an inverter!
 
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