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Old 10-18-2016, 02:47 PM   #11
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Or am I overthinking this. (That's what I usually do.)
You're overthinking it. No real concerns, I wouldn't leave cut wires connected to panels lying around, but normal MC4 cables have protected ends, so you can't accidentally short them out or something.
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Old 10-18-2016, 02:58 PM   #12
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Hey nice work so far!!!
Thanks for taking the time to post this install thread. Really looking forward to seeing how it completes.



*** Jumping ahead of things a little bit here.....I have a question revolving around the installation of solar panels in general: Are there precautions that must be taken to prevent the panels from generating any current until the entire system is installed and wired fully?

Curious if people cover the panels with masking tape (or something else, maybe cardboard or some blankets?) to "keep them from going hot" while you're still wiring up the system. It seems that most people would likely be installing this rooftop solar in an outdoors setting....and during the day....when sunshine would be falling on the panels, and causing the panels to make wattage/current......all while you're attempting to swing them into place, bolt them down and hook up wires......

Anyone see where I'm going with this?

Or am I overthinking this. (That's what I usually do.)
I don't have the instructions in front of me but, as I understand it, you're just supposed to connect the charge controller to the battery/batteries before you connect the panel(s) to the charge controller.
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Old 10-18-2016, 06:14 PM   #13
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Just remember that they are live if there is any sunlight on them. Touching the power wire to bare metal will cause a short, sparks, etc. I guess it would pretty easily kill a panel. As Rob said though, most these days have MC4 connectors on them so no issue.

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Old 10-18-2016, 09:25 PM   #14
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You can short a solar panel without issue, that's how you get the Isc spec (current at short circuit) and the open circuit voltage (Voc) is well below anything harmful until you get a few wired up in series.
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Old 10-18-2016, 09:40 PM   #15
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Looks good so far. I worked with Unistrut for years but never knew it came in Aluminum until Robb used it. It's nice to see you getting back to where you were but, actually, I think you will be far ahead. I'll be interested in seeing what kind of current you get there in sunny California................................
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Old 10-18-2016, 10:07 PM   #16
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Looks good so far. I worked with Unistrut for years but never knew it came in Aluminum until Robb used it. It's nice to see you getting back to where you were but, actually, I think you will be far ahead. I'll be interested in seeing what kind of current you get there in sunny California................................
I'm interested to see this too Jeff. With the two flexible panels on the old van, in full sun during Summer, they were producing 11.9 amps. It'll be interesting to see the difference, if any, between the flexible and rigid panels.

The old system had a remote meter that recorded/stored minimum and maximum amps in, which was handy. This new charge controller doesn't have that feature; it just tells me how many amps are actually being sent to the batteries. I guess Robb's clamp meter could tell us max amps in though? Of course, the sun is a lot lower now than it was when I got 11.9 on the old setup in late May. Hmm.

Either way, I should be in very good shape. My fridge draws 2.4 amps, furnace fan 2.1 amps, and all lights are LED. Probably could have gotten by on one panel, but already thinking about adding a third down the road...in fact, I'm wiring for that in advance.
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Old 10-19-2016, 12:14 AM   #17
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Nice! Subscribed. I love reading stuff like this as it'll help me with the install on my future van.
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Old 10-19-2016, 07:24 AM   #18
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I'm interested to see this too Jeff. With the two flexible panels on the old van, in full sun during Summer, they were producing 11.9 amps. It'll be interesting to see the difference, if any, between the flexible and rigid panels.
I'm betting you'll get the same. 11.9 out of two 100w panels is about the best I've done. If you're getting that reliably I'd be pretty happy.

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Old 10-19-2016, 04:09 PM   #19
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I'm betting you'll get the same. 11.9 out of two 100w panels is about the best I've done. If you're getting that reliably I'd be pretty happy.

Yep, if I get anywhere near 11 or 12 I'll be perfectly happy.

Things are on hold for a couple of days. I had to order two new Ancor Marine though-deck wire seals a little bigger than the ones I had.
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Old 10-20-2016, 10:26 PM   #20
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Looking good!

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