G'day from Loomberah

Say g'day and tell us a little bit about yourself if you wish. If you have a wind or solar power system, big or small; flaunt its specs here!

Re: G'day from Loomberah

Postby ElectricEd » Fri Mar 05, 2010 1:34 pm

G'day Gordon,
What are you using for controlling the tracking of your panels?
Brightest spot in the sky?
Time?
Regards,
Ed.
Grid Connect PV: 8 x Sharp 167W panels Fronius 2KW Inverter
Backup PV: 2 x Sharp 130W panels 12V 730AH batt, Selectronic 1.5KW Inverter
SHW: Edwards 3 panel passive
Tanks: 12,000L & 23,500L Tankmasta
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Re: G'day from Loomberah

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Fri Mar 05, 2010 2:46 pm

LEDs sensing the brightest spot in the sky.
The linear actuators driving the arrays use very little power, usually just a second or 2 of an amp or 2 every minute or so. When it is cloudy they can hunt around the sky a bit more for the brighest spot, but the power use is still negligible.
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Re: G'day from Loomberah

Postby ElectricEd » Fri Mar 05, 2010 2:58 pm

Hi Gordon,
Thanks for that. I couldn't see any sensors in your photos.
I was thinking of using a couple of LDRs in some short tubes with the ends cut on an angle facing east and west. Then using the analogue inputs on a HC11 microcontroller sensing the relative levels of the LDRs to drive some FETs that are across the Pan buttons on a satellite dish controller.
How are you driving your setup?
Grid Connect PV: 8 x Sharp 167W panels Fronius 2KW Inverter
Backup PV: 2 x Sharp 130W panels 12V 730AH batt, Selectronic 1.5KW Inverter
SHW: Edwards 3 panel passive
Tanks: 12,000L & 23,500L Tankmasta
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Re: G'day from Loomberah

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:35 pm

ElectricEd wrote:How are you driving your setup?


I'm using a sensor from Dave Harvey in Cowra plus linear actuators:
http://campatracka.com/Sensorkit.html

I've been doing some testing for him of sensors on which I suggested some modifications over his standard sensor units - horizontal parking at night and in strong winds.

My large array now has 12 panels on it- quite a large area exposed to the wind. My weather station recorded 56km/hr gusts on Tue morning (when I wasnt home), but everything seems to have survived perfectly well thanks to the wind parking.
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Re: G'day from Loomberah

Postby ElectricEd » Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:00 pm

Thanks again.
I see from Dave's webpage that he only has units for 12v at the moment. Bummer. My drive unit motor is 36v from a DISeqC1.2 positioner, so it looks like I'll have to reinvent the wheel.
Grid Connect PV: 8 x Sharp 167W panels Fronius 2KW Inverter
Backup PV: 2 x Sharp 130W panels 12V 730AH batt, Selectronic 1.5KW Inverter
SHW: Edwards 3 panel passive
Tanks: 12,000L & 23,500L Tankmasta
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Re: G'day from Loomberah

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:05 pm

My actuators are 36V, but run ok on 24V, and I have run them from 12V in the past too... they just move a bit slower then ;)
You could email Dave, I am sure he has 24V units, see:
http://axetracka.com/shop/axeshop.html
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Re: G'day from Loomberah

Postby Poundy » Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:08 am

Hi Gordon, long time no see - I've been on the periphery of the MTB scene for a few years, how about you?

Me, I'm planning my PV install on the roof of our place in Sydney.
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Re: G'day from Loomberah

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:06 am

Hi Poundy, I hardly do any racing these days, too much travel involved, as there isnt anything on nearby. I still ride a lot though, did home to Tamboroora via an overnight stop in Merriwa just over a week ago, and am averaging a bit over 200km/week this year.
I guess you saw my solar installation ;)
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system performance data

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Sun Jun 06, 2010 12:59 pm

I'm setting up some data logging for my system, and here's a 24 hour log from yesterday, showing Voltage, PV/Wind input current and load current, I'll add more later. Data is collected by a Graphtec GL200. I've annotated most relevant bits to hopefully make it a bit more comprehensible. The green Amps scale applies to both the solar array outputs. You will need to click on the attachment then click on it again to view it at full size (in Firefox at least, not sure about IE).
It's probably mostly of interest for off-grid people, those who are grid connected may dispair at all the "wasted" power when the batteries are in aborption/float ;) That will be partly rectified once I have the hydro electric storage system plumbed up.
The batteries have been a bit low for the past couple of weeks due to continuing cloudy weather (10C and heavy overcast at 12:30pm as I write this), so have spent almost no time in float since mid May.

The 24 hour graph is made up of 12 X 2 hr sections pasted together, the logging software doesnt allow any more than a screen grab, and squeezing 24hours into the small window means much detail is invisible. I was logging at 1 sec intervals, but can go down to 100msec if needed. Even at 1 sec interval, some start-up current surges dont show up very well.

A few interesting points:
There was quite a lot of cloud around, particularly in the afternoon, so the batteries were not in float for very long, ~5 minutes, but it was the 3rd best day in 3 weeks.

The daily summary from the Outback FM-80 connected to the 2.19kW array shows 7.0kWh were produced for the day, with a peak current of 78.2A (2.10kW) which is in good agreement with the data logger, although I have noticed the FM80 only records peaks that last a couple of seconds or more- so the data logger generally records slightly higher peaks. I used about 7 kWh for the period according to the pulse meter on the switchboard. It beats me how some households can use more than 10X that in a day!

The currents displayed in both charging regulators are reasonably close to the accurate data logger values- usually within 1A over their whole range. The voltages displayed are not so good, especially the BlueSky SB50, which can be over 1V off, due to scale and zero point errors.

The "zoomed in" view around 12:30pm shows some current peaks due to a small MIG weld I had to do before painting some steel, and a bit of angle grinder use. The peaks get lost in the 2hr window views.
The question was asked in another thread- how much current does the welder draw- and here it's around 180A (0.9mm (gas) wire, 18.5V). Thats on top of a base of around 60A due to the bench top oven that was roasting some home grown sweet potatoes at the time ;) The largest loads of the day coincided with extended cloudy periods, so really knocked the battery voltage down. 23.5V * 180A = 4.2kW draw on the batteries just due welding.

Turning the freezer to 6 during the day, and back to 3 at night means it doesn't come on at all during the night. The fridge insulation isn't so good, but turning it up in daytime and down at night still does greatly reduce the frequency and duration of compressor running time. I've been doing this since I first bought this place and was running on a couple of 60W panels, now I have solid evidence of its value :)
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Re: G'day from Loomberah

Postby Tracker » Sun Jun 06, 2010 7:42 pm

ElectricEd wrote:I see from Dave's webpage that he only has units for 12v at the moment. Bummer. My drive unit motor is 36v from a DISeqC1.2 positioner, so it looks like I'll have to reinvent the wheel.


At the risk of putting my 2 bobs worth in, don't forget that you can readily buy 12 to 24V switchers that are very efficient. .. .. . I suspect that 36V would not be out of the question, but the obvious market is for 24V.
They could be made cheaply enough. that they could just go in line with a 36V actuator and run from switched 12V

Gordon-Loomberah wrote:I've been doing some testing for him of sensors on which I suggested some modifications over his standard sensor units - horizontal parking at night and in strong winds.


Years ago , I looked to make a tracker for some silly old panels. At the time, my research seemed to suggest that the simplest sensor is based on two sensors (led or ldr) either side of an opaque shield..(usually a square of pcb).. . . ie one sensor has to be in shade at all times (except when face on to the sun).

'tis good to say Hi !
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