Sunday, January 15, 2012

Redrawn Schematic

This new version shows the connections in more detail and better represents the actual hardware as I’ve installed it.  One thing that I had not included in the original version is the pair of “Catastrophe Fuses” that go between the panels on the roof and the charge controller.  They are not required for the system to work properly, but they are a good idea.  With the fuses in place the system has a fighting chance of surviving a lightning strike to the panels.  While the panels themselves would likely be destroyed, the fuses popping may save the charge controller, batteries and inverter.  The charge controller does have its own fuse as does the inverter.  But I still think it’s a good idea to have fuses in line between the panels and other equipment.

The way this system is wired the meter that I have installed will tell you just how much juice the panels are producing.  It will also tell you if that juice is being used (the open circuit voltage with no load is roughly twice the working voltage under load) and if there’s no voltage when there should be, IE: the sun is shining on the panels and they should be making electricity but aren’t, then the catastrophe fuses need to be checked.  This meter is totally optional.  The system will work just as well without it being there and it’s easy enough to take this same reading with a hand-held meter.  I just got tired of taking out my meter every time I wanted to check the panels and so I installed one into the system permanently.

My next project will probably involve a small wind turbine.  I have a few ideas…

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