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Old 06-05-2009, 01:37 PM   #1
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solar confusion

So I have poked around looking on posts here (ie viewtopic.php?f=14&t=2942 ) and all indications are that I can hook multiple panels in parallel to feed into the electrical charging system (I have the "prewire" setup from SMB with the Bluesky Solar Boost 2000E etc).

Upon talking to a solar panel vendor, they told me that doing that is putting more voltage into the system then it can accept. For example, for 2 panels, you should have a 24v system not 12v. He said I need to get a combiner box, which basically combines the output from the panels into one 12v stream which then gets fed to the charger etc.

I did neglect to tell him that I had the Blue Sky controller. Does the Blue Sky controller handle the situation?

I am no electrical wizard so thus my confusion (ignorance?)....

thanks in advance!
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Old 06-05-2009, 02:20 PM   #2
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Re: solar confusion

Hooking up in parallel doesn't increase voltage - it increases amperage.

Hooking up in series increases voltage. Blue Sky controller can't convert down from higher voltage - you'd need something like the MorningStar MPPT controller for that. But Blue Sky CAN handle the higher current (amps) from a second panel - it's rated for 25A, and your panels are probably rated max 10A each. So connect + to +, and - to -, to create a parallel circuit. No combiner box, no 24V system.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Series_and ... l_circuits for more info on series and parallel circuits.

Cheers!
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Old 06-05-2009, 02:33 PM   #3
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Re: solar confusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjeffrey
Hooking up in parallel doesn't increase voltage - it increases amperage.

Hooking up in series increases voltage. Blue Sky controller can't convert down from higher voltage - you'd need something like the MorningStar MPPT controller for that. But Blue Sky CAN handle the higher current (amps) from a second panel - it's rated for 25A, and your panels are probably rated max 10A each. So connect + to +, and - to -, to create a parallel circuit. No combiner box, no 24V system.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Series_and ... l_circuits for more info on series and parallel circuits.

Cheers!
Mike.
Thanks Mike!

So if I have a 2nd prewire connector (SMB put in 2 for me), I could not use both prewire plugs simultaneously (ie 2 separate panels) as that would be in series? In other words, I can only use one plug or the other as long as the panel(s) feeding thru the plug in use are in parallel and not above the capacity of the controller?
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Old 06-05-2009, 03:57 PM   #4
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Re: solar confusion

You'd have to ask SMB how they're wired. I would assume that they're wired in parallel, since SMB uses the Blue Sky controller, and the second solar prewire is meant to allow you to put a second panel out in the sun (in addition to the one on the roof). They wouldn't expect you to unplug the first one in order to plug in the second.

Just give them a call if you're unsure - they're always very helpful!

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Old 06-05-2009, 08:00 PM   #5
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Re: solar confusion

If they were in series wouldn't the outside plug have to have a jumper to make the built in panel work?

Also when you're in the sun sometime put a voltmeter across the outside plug, I'd be curious to see if you're picking up voltage.
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Old 06-06-2009, 12:12 AM   #6
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Re: solar confusion

Jage, I seem to remember seeing a jumpered cover for a prewire somewhere.... I don't think either of our prewires are that style, but I think they have built them that way.....

....or I dreamed it maybe...... these pain meds are nice....
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Old 06-06-2009, 01:43 AM   #7
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Re: solar confusion

SMB solar panels and exterior solar plug(s) are wired parallel. Determine which prong on the exterior solar plug is positive (+), and which is negative (-), and connect the wires from the solar panel(s) accordingly. You should have been supplied with the male connector pigtail for the exterior plug(s). If not, contact SMB so you get the correct connector(s). Depending on the year of your van, the connector on the side of your SMB, and the one on the PH roof should be the same type.

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Old 06-06-2009, 08:41 AM   #8
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Re: solar confusion

John strikes again......

I bet it was that pigtail I am remembering!! Wheeew, thanks!
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Old 06-16-2009, 08:14 PM   #9
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Re: solar confusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Kalmbach
SMB solar panels and exterior solar plug(s) are wired parallel. Determine which prong on the exterior solar plug is positive (+), and which is negative (-), and connect the wires from the solar panel(s) accordingly. You should have been supplied with the male connector pigtail for the exterior plug(s). If not, contact SMB so you get the correct connector(s). Depending on the year of your van, the connector on the side of your SMB, and the one on the PH roof should be the same type.

John K.
That's what I got from them.
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Old 06-17-2009, 02:32 PM   #10
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Re: solar confusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Kalmbach
SMB solar panels and exterior solar plug(s) are wired parallel. Determine which prong on the exterior solar plug is positive (+), and which is negative (-), and connect the wires from the solar panel(s) accordingly. You should have been supplied with the male connector pigtail for the exterior plug(s). If not, contact SMB so you get the correct connector(s). Depending on the year of your van, the connector on the side of your SMB, and the one on the PH roof should be the same type.

John K.
That's what I got from them.
me too! Tho I had to remind Jonathan F. a few times about it and actually had to "remind" them for the 2nd one while there for my orientation.
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