The Question Post!

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  1. August 8, 2009

    Im an iphone coder so i may mix and match iphone questions with this topic, solar energy. Seeing how you’re an electrical engineer…My dad and I have a company in Honduras, we sell solar panel systems and solar hot water heaters (the vaccum tube type). The solar systems we set up for homes and offices is mostly just to run the lights. Normally we wire the panel to the controller, to the batteries which then feed the inverter and the power lines from the inverter are taken to an auxiliary squareD panel next to the main panel from the street. The circuits we want to run on solar power we disconnect from the main panel and simply run those lines to the aux panel next to it. Since the aux panel is fed by the inverter lines, whatever circuits we remove from the main panel and hook up to the aux panel are running off of solar power.

    There is also a variant here, for example in my house i have this setup but the lines from the inverter run into an IOTA ITS30 AutoTransferSwitch. Also a live line and neutral from the grid power taken from the main panel enters the same ITS30 switch. And then a line from the ATS runs into the aux panel. What this does is simply switch from one power source to the other depending on value. So the ATS feeds the aux panel with power from either the inverter/solar or from the main panel/grid. From what i understand, it basically checks if (solar) [solar utilize] else [grid utilize] 🙂 to use a programming example…

    So i have a few questions on this matter:

    1. The ATS works fine but when the inverter is powered on, obviously our circuits are getting power from the batteries but when this voltage drops below a certain level, the inverter starts beeping to warn. Then after it reaches that critical level, the inverter shuts off to protect the batteries and of course the grid power come on. I know this because i tried it once, but only once, because its annoying to hear that beep 🙂 So i was just wondering if you have any experience in these kinds of setups.

    2. Our setups are usually one or two 210W panels (12V 17A~). Our batteries are 6V so we use pairs in parallel to make 12V series. Solar chargers are either 12-24V and our inverters are 12V. So at the moment, because our inverters are 12V, we must use 6V pairs of batteries, 12V controllers and panels in parallel to add the Amps when we have 2 panels = 12V and 34A. But our controllers and inverters also have an AMP limit. So if we wanted to hook up more than 2 panels, im thinking the amperage would go so high that the controllers wouldnt stand up to the power production.

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