OK. Onward we go. Let's talk about wires and wiring. Basic. Run wires from Panels to Charger, from Charger to Batteries.
While I have been known to cut the odd corner here and there, wiring should never be one of those corners. It is really important to select the right type and size (gauge) of wires for each wire run segment.
|Click to Enlarge!|
As you can see, this is a bit complex to look at. If we look at each segment separately, it becomes MUCH easier to digest.
First, we have to select the wires from the panels to the charge controller. Not too hard. The size is simply based upon the voltage, amps and distance. Here is a quick wire sizing calculator:
|Notice the heavier wires coming out of the fuse block.|
So, now that we have the panels wired to the fuse block (1 fuse per panel) we have to wire the fuse block to the Charge Controller. I have 3 sets of positive and negative wires going IN to the fuse block and I wanted to have 2 (1 positive and 1 negative) coming out. This was easy. The fuse block gave me two large terminals to connect to and I used MUCH larger gauge wire to connect to the charge controller. The fuses are inline with the POSITIVE wiring from the panels and the NEGATIVE wires are tied together at a terminal on the fuse block. Since the wire run was very short (<1ft) I used some extra 2/0 AWG from the battery run.
**Warning Light Science Content!!**
Why an MPPT Charge Controller? What the heck is it, what's it DO?!?
Well, that's a good question. M.P.P.T stands for Maximum Power Point Tracking this is a fancy way of saying that it can figure out how many volts your panels are producing and convert it to more usable charging current (AMPS) when the Voltage exceeds what the battery needs to charge it. It's good for me, since I have panels that are around 36-44 Volts, I can start charging earlier in the day and longer into the afternoon/evening. Nothing is free, however, you cannot get more WATTS out of a panel than it will produce.At best, you can generate around 20% more charging during a given day. For me that was really important since I didn't have enough roof real estate to keep adding panels.
**End Science Content**
So now we've got power to the controller! Yay! What are we going to do with it? In PART 5 we will talk about Inverters, transfer switches, battery wiring and making the system co-exist with what you have now. Everything has to play nice together!
Until Next time,
Be Seeing You...Down the Road,
Rich "The Wanderman"
Read Part 6 of this series.
Read Part 5 of this series.
Read Part 3 of this series.
Read Part 2 of this series.
Read Part 1 of this series.