Solar part 8

The end is nigh?

Lets get to the cooler stuff here. Midnight solar has a product called an epanel. When I first looked at this my initial thought I was being up charged for something I really didn’t need, in hindsight it has been a life saver. The epanel is partially prewired at the factory saving a ton of time during installation, everything is just there and all that falls on you is putting the rest of the puzzle together. The panel is engineered to accommodate a generator connection, if your grid tied that can be added, your charge controller dead heads there, and your output to your main breaker box also connects here.

I am going to step aside for minute and explain a couple things about a charge controller, inverter, epanel, and the HAB. If you maybe recall back at my first post I mentioned this is not a novice throw together in one afternoon project? Well this is the part where is becomes pretty apparent that this is going to add more time to the overall project. I listed four items above, each comes with its own set of instructions, not one or two sheets of cautions. warnings, and by the ways! oh heck no! with the exception of the epanel all the instructions has many, many, many pages. I have spent hours reading these things only to reflect that I have no idea what they are talking about and who was tripping balls that day when they were writing these docs. These are technical manuals not how to’s. Even from instruction to instruction I found different terms for the same thing being described. I am not a Mensa, however I do know Basic Electricity and Electronics (B double E for you Navy airdale types) and consider myself fairly literate overall, many times I went for a walk just to clear my head and wrap the rest of my brain around what the manuals where trying to convey.

I will use the PV-100 charge controller as an example. There are probably 10 pages that are really a how to type of instructions with the rest of the manual diving DEEP into formulas and charts, and graphs. For you engineer types, I get it, you want to know that kind of stuff. For us laymen, not so much. I am not designing a system in so much as trying to install one. Just be prepared is all I am saying.

There were a few afternoons where I had multiple sheets of paper from 3 different manuals spread across the floor trying to figure one thing or another. And yes the dog was giving me the stink eye again! Either through will power or luck I did figure out the mess and moved forward.

Lets talk a bit about the epanel. From the images you have probably deduced that I moved what I could out of the intended install in the bathroom to the main living area.

ePanel installed on wall

The pic to the left here is an example of some of the challenges that I was dealing with. That section of the wall only has one stud behind that it to fasten to. I used three pieces of Uni-strut to hold the panel and had to either drill new holes or make others larger to accommodate the bolts. The ePanel is designed so that the inverter mounts to the front and must hold at least 125 lbs. Best I could do with what I have.








The next pic is the panel as it comes from the manufacturer.










This is the charge Controller mounted in the bathroom







I had to go through an exterior wall and back outside in order to connect back into the main feed that powers the main breaker box. This connects to the ePanel, which connects to the inverter.




The final product.













Last weekend I powered everything up, and to my surprise? it all worked! no popped breakers, no smoke, no fires. I was able to turn off an on lights! run fans! which I haven’t been able to do since I bought the place. Just one ceiling fan makes for a nice night of sleeping in the summer heat.

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