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How far away from the battery can I locate a 10 watt solar panel.

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  • How far away from the battery can I locate a 10 watt solar panel.

    "And still have effective charging for a 12 volt battery? Mighty mule has a circuit on the control board to regulate charging.."Sleep draw" is 25mA and "Active draw"is 2 to 5 amps..
    Asked m.m. if for purposes of good sun exposure I could put the panel 50 feet from the controller...Said no problem, just keep it in the sun...16 gauge, stranded, direct burial dual conductor low voltage wire came with the kit..only 10 feet..Shopping for more and one seller of another gate opener..ghost I believe..said not to put it, the solar panel, more that 20 feet away from the battery or you would have to add another panel...At 100+ bucks each, I'm trying to avoid that...There are some online voltage drop calculators, which I don't have a clue how to work...Thx.."

    ^^^
    Posted this question on another site...excellent responses including a link to this site..and a link to a voltage drop calculator
    https://www.calculator.net/voltage-drop-calculator.html

    Used this data per reply..
    And I used 16 awg wire..

    Enter the wire type, wire size (use 12ga for example, you can enter others), the voltage (use 17v....a 12v solar panel typically puts out 17-18v no load), phase (use DC), then your distance, leave the amp load at 1 and hit 'calculate'. You'll see at 50', the drop is minor, using 12g wire

    I plan on renting a trencher and to run the wire through plastic pvc...which is recommended by mighty mule...So trying to get it right...

    Do the numbers look reasonable?...thx..flood

    Volt.JPG

  • #2
    Hi 51Flood, welcome to the forum. Since you need to buy more wire anyway, a 50-foot circuit of #10 will give you only a bit more loss than 10 feet of #16 (0.1 ohm vs. 0.08 ohms).
    Last edited by sdold; 01-20-2019, 12:14 AM.

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    • #3
      Thanks sdold....Bought 100' of low voltage from lowes...the kind you would hook sidewalk lights to...
      Neat site. I've considered hooking up enough solar to run my nebulizer...

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      • #4
        Originally posted by 51flood View Post
        Thanks sdold....Bought 100' of low voltage from lowes...the kind you would hook sidewalk lights to...
        Neat site. I've considered hooking up enough solar to run my nebulizer...
        In your case that wire is rated for the 12 volts that you are running, For the benefit of other readers who might be hooking up of serial strings of panels it might be necessary to use wire rated for 600 volts.

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        • #5


          In your case that wire is rated for the 12 volts that you are running,



          Most of the low voltage wire I'm looking up is rated for 150 volts. FYI
          2.2kw Suntech mono, Classic 200, NEW Trace SW4024

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Ampster View Post

            In your case that wire is rated for the 12 volts that you are running, For the benefit of other readers who might be hooking up of serial strings of panels it might be necessary to use wire rated for 600 volts.
            16 gauge, stranded, direct burial dual conductor low voltage wire..10 ft came with the kit....That is whats on the 100' roll I bought...
            Pretty fresh understanding volts. Is anyone saying this wire I am going to use is not correct?


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            • #7
              Originally posted by 51flood View Post

              16 gauge, stranded, direct burial dual conductor low voltage wire..10 ft came with the kit....That is whats on the 100' roll I bought...
              .......
              Is anyone saying this wire I am going to use is not correct?

              As sdold said, if you increase wire gauge to 10 AWG you can go 100 feet with only the same voltage loss as 10 feet of 16 AWG. Correct? It depends on how much voltage loss your equipment or you can tolerate.
              FWIW, I would use 10 AWG stranded THHN wire that will be easier to pull through the conduit than the heavy jacket of direct burial cable.

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              • #8
                "Active draw"is 2 to 5 amps. On a 10W panel it will be a miracle if you get anywhere close to one amp. Given that is likely a PWM, voltage loss will have almost no effect.

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                • #9
                  From what I've read..mighty mule used to offer a 5 watt solar panel with their "kits"...But apparently there were complaints of battery's not being strong enough to move the gate...

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ampster View Post

                    As sdold said, if you increase wire gauge to 10 AWG you can go 100 feet with only the same voltage loss as 10 feet of 16 AWG. Correct? It depends on how much voltage loss your equipment or you can tolerate.
                    FWIW, I would use 10 AWG stranded THHN wire that will be easier to pull through the conduit than the heavy jacket of direct burial cable.
                    Guess I need to pull out the ole physics book...Thought it would take less effort for current to travel through a thinner wire...16 awg vs 10 awg...

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 51flood View Post

                      Guess I need to pull out the ole physics book...Thought it would take less effort for current to travel through a thinner wire...16 awg vs 10 awg...
                      I would look for a basic electric circuit theory manual.

                      The bigger the wire the lower the resistance which makes it easier for the current to travel and results in less losses and lower voltage drop.

                      The smaller the wire the higher the resistance which causes more losses, heat and higher voltage drop.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SunEagle View Post

                        I would look for a basic electric circuit theory manual.

                        The bigger the wire the lower the resistance which makes it easier for the current to travel and results in less losses and lower voltage drop.

                        The smaller the wire the higher the resistance which causes more losses, heat and higher voltage drop.
                        Thanks...Makes be wonder why mighty mule didn't put a bigger wire in their kits which include a solar panel...

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                        • #13
                          Another thing..the 10 watt solar panels wiring is integral to the panel...There is no place to disconnect the 16 awg wire and replace it with 10 awg...Does it make much difference if a bigger wire is connected to a thinner one?...ie..

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 51flood View Post
                            Another thing..the 10 watt solar panels wiring is integral to the panel...There is no place to disconnect the 16 awg wire and replace it with 10 awg...Does it make much difference if a bigger wire is connected to a thinner one?...ie..
                            There are two reasons to have wire that's "big enough." The first is that the wire needs to be large enough to carry the current without overheating. Your 16 awg is fine for that. The second reason for going bigger is to minimize losses. Even though the wire may not overheat, you'll lose a little power in every foot. Having a couple feet of #16 at the panel would be fine since it's a small part of the run.
                            Last edited by sdold; 01-24-2019, 08:59 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by sdold View Post

                              There are two reasons to have wire that's "big enough." The first is that the wire needs to be large enough to carry the current without overheating. Your 16 awg is fine for that. The second reason for going bigger is to minimize losses. Even though the wire may not overheat, you'll lose a little power in every foot. Having a couple feet of #16 at the panel would be fine since it's a small part of the run.
                              I think the problem is how far can the OP mount the solar panel from the battery with the wire that was sent with the package. I would have expected that Mighty Mule would have provided that info

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