header pic

header pic
A Hard Life Fighting Hurricanes

7/5/18

Shadows and Solar

Adventure Location:Decatur, Al.
Adventure Date:July, 2018
Click a pic to enlarge it.

It is time for a solar and shade report. Supposedly even a little bit of shade on a solar panel nearly kills the output. So the OFM Teams decided to put that concept to the test. Why? you may ask. Because we have been boondocking for 3 to 5 months each year for the last three years and keeping batts charged is important to that lifestyle.

We have been camped in this dense trees campsite for a couple of months now. It never gets really bright. The Castle has been running with the convertor hooked to the 120 volt system so the panels have not had to work much if any to keep the batteries charged.

On the Castle, unhooking or hooking up the convertor to the 120 volt is as simple as unplugging the convertor from the dedicated circuit at the wall plug.

Converter Plugged In


Since rolling time is about four weeks away, we decided to test the boondocking systems to be sure they were ready for rolling again. The Castle was put into full boondocking mode about two weeks ago including unplugging the converter. With all the shade we expected to get very little charging from the highly filtered sun since we are deep into some tall trees. See the pic.

Deep in the Shade, nice for the A/C.



It has been a real eye opener for the OFM. Our two 95 AH AGM batts would drop a bit at night and early morning as was expected. We expected to get a little bit of charging  but eventually run down to the point that we needed to reconnect the 120 volt to the converter to bring the batts back up to full.

Every evening about 2200 we would check the voltage reading and every evening it was about 12.7 volts for the batts. Every day by noon they were reading 13.02 volts, otherwise known as fully charged again.

So after two weeks of electrically boondocking here in the trees, our solar panels are getting the recharge done very easily in spite of all the shadows on the panels. We do not know why or how but we are very glad that the solar electrical charging system is doing an excellent job.

Having plenty of power while boondocking is really important while trying to have tooooo much fun.

14 comments:

  1. That is a one nice campsite! Glad your solar panels are in tip top shape to continue to have too much fun while boondocking.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That shade and air conditioning is very important right now.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Did those results surprise you? I have a delusional friend in southern California that has solar on his home and tells me it would never work in Indiana ... where my roof faces a wide open sky to the east.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have been seeing simular results in the shade with the 180 watt panel on The Van's roof.

    ReplyDelete
  5. That thing about solar panels losing all, or nearly all, of their power output if shaded a little bit is leftover from the very early days of solar. It's misinformation that won't die. Modern panels have cutoff diodes that prevent it. Higher quality panels are affected less than cheapies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the update Ted. I am glad you are still going strong. I do miss your blog.

      Delete
    2. Welcome, Barney. I sometimes miss my blog, too. :) I'm still traveling with my cat and currently the camp host in a small, popular campground 9000' up in the middle of the Colorado Rockies where it's cool.

      I should add about the solar panels: bargain basement imports and old used ones might lack the newer technology, so your readers should be wary of "good deals".

      Delete
  6. Glad that the test worked out for you and now you have a better idea how things will work for you.

    ReplyDelete
  7. From the looks of your campsite I'm rather amazed that you're getting more than a handful of amps a day out of your panels. But then again I'm always surprised how many amps I can get out of mine on a totally overcast day,I figure there's Some kind of voodoo going on.

    I see your leaving Alabama in about a month, and I know how hot it must be there, are you heading somewhere north where it's cool in August ?

    Tom

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nope. Basically headed to my trusted eye doctor in Rockport Texas. I will be there until I get my medical nuisance corrected.

      Delete
    2. Where is somewhere cool in August and not more than 5000 feet elevation??

      Delete
    3. I see, going to a doctor does make sense.

      Well now that you asked, Denver is barely above your limit at 5300 feet and is fairly comfortable. It does get into the 90s for a few hours in the afternoon but with the very low humidity and nighttime temperatures in the 60s it's still very tolerable. I myself have stayed here a couple of summers and have never turned on the air conditioner in the Arctic Fox. But the downside for you would be pretty much any direction you head leaving Denver will be going up.

      Tom

      Delete
  8. I once parked under a light at Walmart and my panels were charging my batteries at night. It's amazing what good panels and AGM batteries will do.

    ReplyDelete