Do I REALLY need a charge controller?

Discussion in 'Power - Site Power/Batteries/Generators/Solar' started by skeetercampsintexas, Feb 28, 2016.

  1. skeetercampsintexas

    skeetercampsintexas Active Member

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    So, if you saw my previous post about my feeder light I've finally finished up my little prototype. I have no idea what kind of wattage this solar panel is putting out. It was free-cycled from my FIL. I'm powering these 18 LEDs by two 6 volt lantern batteries in series. The batteries provide power to a simple on-off switch that then runs to a 12V PIR and onto an unfused set of wires that go straight to the leds. Yes, yes, I know, it's a bomb waiting to go off. I'm not finished yet, eventually there will be a fuse. But my biggest question is, if this thing is living outdoors, obviously in the sun, am I going to have to figure out a way to squeeze a charge controller in my ammo can? What will happen if I dont? Simple overcharging of the batteries?
     
  2. skeetercampsintexas

    skeetercampsintexas Active Member

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    [​IMG]

    Here is a picture of the set up if it helps anyone ad far as the solar panel is concerned. Still gotta glue my strips down as well, don't judge my electrical tape [LOL]
     
  3. speckhunter80

    speckhunter80 Well-Known Member

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    With that small of a panel...probably not.
     
  4. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    What is the chemistry of the batteries you are charging?
     
  5. skeetercampsintexas

    skeetercampsintexas Active Member

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    Truthfully Tom, I don't know. They don't say on the packaging. They're "super heavy duty" so I'm assuming they're zinc-chloride batteries.
     
  6. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    Standard lantern batteries can't be charged.
     
  7. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    not if the lights use more power than the panel 'puts back'.

    I'd measure the total led amps and estimate how many hrs on.
    I'd measure the panel amps and estimate the daily power.
     
  8. skeetercampsintexas

    skeetercampsintexas Active Member

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    Fair enough tom. I can always grab a rechargeable feeder battery. I know the leds are drawing 20ma per strip of 3, total of 6, so 120ma. How does one go about measuring the output of the solar panel?
     
  9. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    with a volt meter set to amps, probe the two wires coming out of the panel
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hey1QZkYFSQ
    needs to be a blue sky kind of day!

    put the meter in the circuit to measure led amps ----O----


    make sure your meter is setup for amps, I'm guessing ~0.15A from the panel.

    use a multiplier of 4 or 5 for a horizontal flat panel, 4 in winter, 5 in spring maybe 6 in summer, tilted, use 6. If the panel 'makes' 0.15A in full sun, then 6 X 0.15 = 0.9 AmpHrs/day.
     
  10. Haybale

    Haybale I'd rather be camping!!

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  11. skeetercampsintexas

    skeetercampsintexas Active Member

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    Great idea haybale. There are plenty of people using "all night lights". Personally I don't want some yahoo driving by seeing a green on all night and decide to come check out my area. The PIR has worked great so far and will also limit the time on for the lights. My idea here was that while hunting I can just sit and wait for the lights to come on. If you've ever sat in the dark, dead silent, for a number of hours you know that all your senses can easily play tricks on you. Leaving it out for a good amount of time will get the big critters used to the lights coming on and shouldn't spook them after a week or so. For me, it's a confirmation that game is within 20 feet of the sensor.
     

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