Solar panel design help
General Topic
Contributors to this thread:
skookumjt 14-Aug-21
tm 14-Aug-21
Pop-r 14-Aug-21
spike78 14-Aug-21
JSW 14-Aug-21
spike78 14-Aug-21
WapitiBob 14-Aug-21
bb 14-Aug-21
Jim Moore 17-Aug-21
Habitat 17-Aug-21
From: skookumjt
I work for a company that makes hard sided modular hunting blinds. We would like to develop a solar system to offer with the blinds to operate 12v lights, charge cell phones etc.

Anyone on here have some advice on who could help us find a source for an existing system or help us design our own? We're pretty good at mechanical design and manufacturing but don't really have any experience in this area.

I know many here have worked on similar systems for campers, trucks, camps, etc. Any advice would be appreciated.

From: tm
First thing to consider is the amount of sunlight your blind will be exposed to. It would be easier to use 1 like Moultrie has to keep the batteries on their cameras or feeders charged, but you might need several in a series to accomplish what you mention. A small panel would be easy to mount or supply along with the blinds, but you would need to be able to have a charging monitor to prevent over charging a battery, or phone. Something as simple as a car charging port wired correctly would do, but you would need to find a 12 volt solar panel or a 12 volt battery with a charge controller. Personally I would be a little afraid of fire or frying a phone, tablet, or whatever. They do manufacture backpacks with solar chargers integrated. Nice idea, but it may take some design work to make it work out.

From: Pop-r
I'm not an electrical engineer by any means but I don't believe what you're wanting to do is a huge hurdle at all. Someone here will be more than able to help you out I figure. Might even call a solar panel company and they might even assign you an engineer to design the system for you if you only use their products.

From: spike78
Correct me if I’m wrong but you would have to 1) Position the blind to face South and 2) make sure you have no tree canopy above. That seems difficult to me but I may be wrong.

From: JSW
I sold and installed thousands of solar arrays. Direct sunlight is ideal but you can make do with partial sunlight as long as you aren't asking for more power than can be supplied. Keeping a battery charged to supply small devices like cell phones and a small LED that would only be used while getting in and getting out doesn't require much. You would be charging a little all day long and the drain is minor.

Ideally, the panel would face south at about a 45 degree angle so you maximize the fall/winter sunshine. It would not be hard to make a swiveling bracket of some sort to make it adjustable. A sealed 12v feeder battery and 20 watt panel would probably be enough.

From: spike78
Just like control will solve crime yeah ok

From: WapitiBob
Call Zamp like everybody else does.

From: bb
I have built quite a few systems to run Scoreboards. I generally buy most everything from Northern AZ wind and Sun. They are also very helpful with design

From: Jim Moore
I used to maintain some backup battery systems supplying 24 VDC voltage to microwave comms. Pretty simple really. Ours used 8 arrays, and I can't remember the wattage. they were the 2 X 3 foot variety. Those arrays fed a charge controller that kept the batteries charged to 26.3 volts. You could set the voltage and current output of them. Set it for equalize charging, then set it for float voltage. We used twelve, 2 volt flooded lead acid batteries. That said, you don't need anything that extensive.

JSW nailed it though. If what I am reading about your needs, I would think just an RV solar system would work. Hook it to a deep cycle 12 volt battery or if you really want some extended run time, two 6V RV batteries series connected. No controller needed. It is pretty much a float voltage system.

From: Habitat
ESPI makes one that keeps UPS batteries charged off a smaller panel,The 100 W panel I have for my farm building works good but the controller fan uses alot of juice because it's warm inside the building.I just got another panel and am adding another battery from windy nation

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