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Old 06-06-2022, 04:50 PM   #1
BeeGeeSHO
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Default Looking for guidance on my first solar setup

Hey folks,

I'm trying to wrap my head around what's the most current best practice for a solar install. I've read through many of the previous solar installs, but can't help but notice that some of the threads are over 10 years old. My goal is to install 2 x 100w panels on the rear shell of my 3124KS with a 100ah SOK LiFePo4 in the rear garage storage. Advise & even links would be GREATLY appreciated. Thank you.

Here's a list of what I supplies I do have:
  1. 100ah SOK LiFePo4
  2. 2x Renogy 100w panels
  3. Renogy Corner Bracket Mount x2
  4. Battery Cables x2 12 guage (1 male/1 female connector)
  5. 20ft 12 guage x2 (1 male/1 female connector)


List of equipment that I still need, looking for recommendations:
  1. MPPT Controller (30 amp? Empower Tracer? $120...hoping to stay under this price point, but will budge if needed)
  2. Cord management
  3. Solar connectors y-branch


Solar setup and questions
  • Series or Parallel?
  • What guage wires? (everthing I have is currently 12 guage, but will repurchase if advised since most came with a kit)
  • Remote meter (MT50? Necessary?)

Best Charging practice? (I have wildkat installed, Auxiliary charger?)
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Old 06-06-2022, 07:50 PM   #2
Wavery
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Location: San Diego, California
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by BeeGeeSHO View Post
Hey folks,

I'm trying to wrap my head around what's the most current best practice for a solar install. I've read through many of the previous solar installs, but can't help but notice that some of the threads are over 10 years old. My goal is to install 2 x 100w panels on the rear shell of my 3124KS with a 100ah SOK LiFePo4 in the rear garage storage. Advise & even links would be GREATLY appreciated. Thank you.

Here's a list of what I supplies I do have:
  1. 100ah SOK LiFePo4
  2. 2x Renogy 100w panels
  3. Renogy Corner Bracket Mount x2
  4. Battery Cables x2 12 guage (1 male/1 female connector)
  5. 20ft 12 guage x2 (1 male/1 female connector)


List of equipment that I still need, looking for recommendations:
  1. MPPT Controller (30 amp? Empower Tracer? $120...hoping to stay under this price point, but will budge if needed)
  2. Cord management
  3. Solar connectors y-branch


Solar setup and questions
  • Series or Parallel?
  • What guage wires? (everthing I have is currently 12 guage, but will repurchase if advised since most came with a kit)
  • Remote meter (MT50? Necessary?)

Best Charging practice? (I have wildkat installed, Auxiliary charger?)
Here is some nice conduit for your cables
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...e?ie=UTF8&th=1

This double sided tape works well for securing your panel brackets to the roof
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

You will want to wire the panels in series for 24V input to the MPPT controller. This will also allow you to maybe add more panels in the future.
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Old 06-07-2022, 08:22 AM   #3
rickst29
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Location: Reno, NV
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Default I advise that changes be made in your plan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BeeGeeSHO View Post
Hey folks,

I'm trying to wrap my head around what's the most current best practice for a solar install. I've read through many of the previous solar installs, but can't help but notice that some of the threads are over 10 years old. My goal is to install 2 x 100w panels on the rear shell of my 3124KS with a 100ah SOK LiFePo4 in the rear garage storage. Advise & even links would be GREATLY appreciated. Thank you.

Here's a list of what I supplies I do have:
  1. 100ah SOK LiFePo4
  2. 2x Renogy 100w panels
  3. Renogy Corner Bracket Mount x2
  4. Battery Cables x2 12 guage (1 male/1 female connector)
  5. 20ft 12 guage x2 (1 male/1 female connector)


List of equipment that I still need, looking for recommendations:
  1. MPPT Controller (30 amp? Empower Tracer? $120...hoping to stay under this price point, but will budge if needed)
  2. Cord management
  3. Solar connectors y-branch


Solar setup and questions
  • Series or Parallel?
  • What guage wires? (everthing I have is currently 12 guage, but will repurchase if advised since most came with a kit)
  • Remote meter (MT50? Necessary?)

Best Charging practice? (I have wildkat installed, Auxiliary charger?)
In no particular order, here my responses:

Best Charging Practices: The WildKat is pretty good. It can definitely be used in 'GEL/AGM, mode, resulting in slightly low maximum battery voltage (which is more healthy for the battery, but leaves you with 92-95% maximum capacity instead of "100%" maximum capacity). If you mount the Pendant, you can also invoke "Boost mode" via push-button, if you anticipate extra heavy battery usage - or are charging from a generator for a limited time.

An 'Empower' Tracer? 'Tracer' MPPT solar Charge Controllers are made by a Chinese company, 'EpEver'. They have many products within the 'Tracer' family. In my opinion, (and it's well researched), the 'AN' and 'XTRA'controllers are not very reliable, and even a bit unsafe for the case of LFP battery strings.

The discontinued 'BN' Series was superior, and much more costly for EpEver to manufacture. I recommend this USA seller's all-in one package, at a considerably higher price than you're willing to pay: https://www.ebay.com/itm/142623868984. Currently $174.96, and he has only 6 units left. It includes the MT-50 monitor, which is mandatory for configuring LFP battery parameters.

One SOK 100Ah pre-built battery pack: That battery, limited in use between 15% and 93% "State-Of-Charge", provides for about 78Ah of actual use before recharging becomes mandatory. You might be doing this backwards, in starting from a desired solar configuration and then deriving the resulting battery. The correct order would be to start from your maximum daily battery usage, and your minimum nights and days between 'good charging opportunities, to derive the battery bank size -and then configure your solar to charge the batteries in a reasonable time.

I will recommend that you look to a battery bank size of at least 200Ah ("12V"), and perhaps build your own. A single SOK costs around $550. You can build a 230Ah battery pack for around $600-$750, depending on the BMS which you choose to buy and the kind of fuse you install.

My own 230Ah battery pack has a fast-acting class-T fuse, which would cost you > $70 to replicate. The cells are also placed within a "compression" case, perhaps improving lifespan from perhaps 4000 cycles to 7000+. Those components cost another $80, and added considerable building time. The cells themselves cost $486, from here: https://www.docanpower.com/index.php...product_id=434. I recommend a brand-new BMS design, the JK "B2A8S20P-H", which costs $120, but ships slowly from China. Here: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/3256804034358347.html.

That BMS includes a battery "heater" circuit, which becomes active whenever the "charging" has been shut down because of low battery pack temperature. That can be connected to a motorcycle-seat heating pad, https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B084YXXM2P/, to allow connection of a charger in freezing weather. The BMS automatically switches from "pack heating" to "battery charging" when the temperature probes have recovered to an acceptable temperature.

DISCLOSURE:I recently was given this BMS, at no cost, to become its first "user-owner" outside of China, in exchange for testing and reporting of test results.

The SOK "Smart BMS" has no configuration tools, and has occasional frustrated reports of shutting down unexpectedly (over at diysolarforum). It's not even in the same ballpark as the new JK machine.
- - -
Wavery is building a battery using the cells, and with the compression feature, at the time I'm writing this. Our only differences are in the fuse being used, and the BMS. (He is using a DALY Smart BMS, which is also very configurable and reliable - that was the previous BMS on my battery pack, and I sold to him.)

A picture of my battery pack, with the DALY BMS installed is shown within this Thread: https://www.trailmanorowners.com/for...ad.php?t=20898
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TM='06 2619 w/5K axle, 15" Maxxis "E" tires, swing hitch, 'Factory' plumbing protector. 480W flex solar panels, EP-Solar MPPT 'BN3215'. CR-1110 E-F/S fridge (compressor).
220aH LiFePO4 batteries, PD 4655L "WildKat" Power Converter, 1500 watt-3000 peak Inverter. 36 Volt "TV-to-Trailer Power Option", using the MPPT.
TV= 2007 4Runner ("Sport" v6 w/XREAS, Prodigy, 'Robin' WDH. 36V Bargman switch. Our TM Travels Out West:
http://visitedstatesmap.com/image/AZ...NVORUTWYsm.jpg
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