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Solor lighting system for neighboorhood enterance Sign

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  • Solor lighting system for neighboorhood enterance Sign

    I want to know if anyone knows of a good resource for a solar lighting supply company to power a few small floods for an entrance sign. We will need solar a solar panel, battery with waterproof enclosure and lights. I want to get good, high quality stuff that will last in the elements. The Lowes/HD stuff just wont cut it....

    Thanks

  • #2
    Do you have a $10,000 budget? You are going to need it. Much less expensive to hire an electrician to come out and run AC power.
    MSEE, PE

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    • #3
      $10,000 budget? Nope. Unfortunately there is no AC power available in the area where the sign will be going...

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      • #4
        So what is your budget? Using budget and off-grid solar together in a sentence is an oxymoron. When you decide to take something off-grid, budget goes out the window with the bath water/ You basically volunteer to pay 10 times more than you have to pay the rest of your life, or until you get connected back to commercial AC power.

        Very fist thing you have to do is determine how many watt hours a day you will need. After that, then we can help you and give you some idea of what you are looking at. But you will not like it.

        FWIW [B]Watt Hours = Watts x Hours. [/B]For you that means count the number of lights, times the number of watts each light uses times the hours the lights will be on in a 24 hour period. Example 3 x 75 watt flood lamps x 12 hours = 2700 watt hours.

        Budget $2000 per 1000 watt hours. Half of that cost will be in batteries you get to replace every few years.

        Good Luck
        Last edited by Sunking; 12-18-2016, 02:01 PM.
        MSEE, PE

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        • #5
          Lowes and Home Depot carries them. Getting one with enough solar panel and enough battery to run all night will probably cost around $300. Flag pole lights will also probably work.

          For a large sign you may need 2 or 3 lights.

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          • #6
            Good luck with any off the shelf hardware. Our power plant had a remote walkway which needed lighting. They kept buying stuff that lasted up till a big storm hit. Then all the parts went flying presumably back to Kansas. We gave up and ran AC power to the area.
            Cheaper in the long run.
            Dennis
            SE5000 18 each SW185

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            • #7
              Well our budget sure isn't $10,000 to light up a few 10w led's for an enterance sign. Out town spend around $2000 to light theirs up and I think that 1/2 of that was labor.

              i found these that seems to be fair priced and in our budget but need to see if anyone has any knowledge of the quality. It looks decent with a nice aluminum battery enclosure. You can also specify how much sunlight you get and how long you want to keep your lights on at night.....both of which reflect on the price....

              http://www.mrsolar.com/solar-sign-lighting-kits/

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              • #8
                That kit looks decent enough for a pre engineered kit if you can just plug and play. Stuff just costs if you are not doing it all yourself. I use a couple of that exact Morningstar controller for lighting and they are far better than a lot of crap that is out there (and a lot more expensive). Indicates they are not likely skimping on quality Go for at least 50W even if the calcs say half of that will work

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by wildduk View Post
                  Well our budget sure isn't $10,000 to light up a few 10w led's for an enterance sign. Out town spend around $2000 to light theirs up and I think that 1/2 of that was labor.

                  i found these that seems to be fair priced and in our budget but need to see if anyone has any knowledge of the quality. It looks decent with a nice aluminum battery enclosure. You can also specify how much sunlight you get and how long you want to keep your lights on at night.....both of which reflect on the price....

                  http://www.mrsolar.com/solar-sign-lighting-kits/
                  What gets my attention on those kits is the size of the panel wattage as low as 10 watts with the Imp = 0.58Amps but the battery is rated 35Ah. That panel is 1/6th the amount of charging amps needed to keep that 35Ah battery happy. Standard sizing would be C/10 for charging amps or at least 3.5 amps for that battery or about 70 watts of solar panels.

                  With that small panel wattage in most of those kits you will kill that battery in a few days because it will never get charged back up.

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                  • #10
                    Thx. I would think that they wouldn't sell many if the battery died within a few days. However I know nothing about this and that's why I'm posting here. I'm assuming that you could probably pay more to upgrade the panel. I like the system and it appears to decent relatively inexpensive alternative to the big box store option. I was just hoping for a site where these type of components were available for sale and I could pick and build my own system.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by wildduk View Post
                      Thx. I would think that they wouldn't sell many if the battery died within a few days. However I know nothing about this and that's why I'm posting here. I'm assuming that you could probably pay more to upgrade the panel. I like the system and it appears to decent relatively inexpensive alternative to the big box store option. I was just hoping for a site where these type of components were available for sale and I could pick and build my own system.
                      I would agree that selling something that doesn't last would get them some bad press but based on basic knowledge of battery charging you still need about 3.5 amps for a 35Ah battery. So while those kits may provide enough battery to keep the lights on for X hours each night they do not provide enough panel wattage to recharge that battery each day.

                      You don't have to listen to me it is your money and your sign. Go get what the seller of those kits tells you will work and then have fun.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by wildduk View Post
                        Thx. I would think that they wouldn't sell many if the battery died within a few days.
                        No but discharging your battery daily will destroy them very quickly. Heck they sell cigarettes, booze, and ganja because they are good for you right and do ho harm? Every solar kit on the market is has a dreadfully undersized battery. They do that to get their foot in the door and sell you a proper size battery and panels when you discover that.

                        A properly designed system the battery should last at least 4 days. It is done that way to maximize battery life, CYA for a cloudy day, and you should not ever discharge th ebattery more than 50% because if you do, it wears the battery out real fast. So even with 4 day capacity only gives you two days run time. More than one cloudy day and your done until recharged.

                        It is your money, now go learn what happens.
                        Last edited by Sunking; 12-18-2016, 11:10 PM.
                        MSEE, PE

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                        • #13
                          We've got these 13W flood lights, I've had good feedback from customers, I have one who used 2 to light his outdoor horse riding rink in NH. www.altestore.com/store/ligh...-white-p10533/. Go to the documents tab to see the spec sheet for lumens et al. Without knowing where you are, or how long you will run them, it's impossible to say what size system you would need to power them. So to take an imaginary scenario and we can modify it later with your facts, 1 light, 6 hours on, let's say 3 sun hours in winter.

                          13W x 6 hours = 78 watt hours (Wh). 78Wh / 3 sun hours / .6 losses = 43W. I'd round up to at least 50 or 60W. For battery bank, 78Wh x 4 days autonomy x 1.3 temperature compensation (again, don't know where you are so how cold it will get) x 2 (50% DoD) / 12V = 67Ah deep cycle battery. Add in a nice lighting controller like the Morningstar SL-10L-12V, a battery box and solar panel racking, and you've got a sweet little setup. Again, if your scenario is different from the one I described, the sizing can change dramatically.
                          Last edited by Amy@altE; 12-19-2016, 12:45 PM. Reason: Been away a while, just learned the no http rule, removed.
                          Solar Queen
                          altE Store

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by wildduk View Post
                            I want to know if anyone knows of a good resource for a solar lighting supply company to power a few small floods for an entrance sign. We will need solar a solar panel, battery with waterproof enclosure and lights. I want to get good, high quality stuff that will last in the elements. The Lowes/HD stuff just wont cut it....
                            I'll take a swag at the components you'll need.

                            First a good battery. I'd go with a Victron 90ah LiFePO4; they'll last longer than lead acid in outdoor cyclic applications. That's around $1000.
                            Next solar. I'd get a single ~300 watt 60 or 72 cell panel. Around $300.
                            Next charge controller. The Kid is a good one; it will also provide the lighting control signal you can use to turn your lights on and off. Around $300.
                            Relay to turn lights on and off. $10 from Digi-Key.
                            Fusing, cabling, disconnects about another $50-$100.

                            Weatherproof enclosure I will leave up to you.

                            The above system will give you about 20 watts of light a day for about 12 hours a night, and will run for about 5 days with no sun. If you are in an area with dismal winter weather, get another solar panel.

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                            • #15
                              Sun Eagle and SunKing, I'm not saying your are not correct. I am simply trying to get an understanding on solar and the type of system required. I don't know anything about solar but am starting to learn.

                              Amy, Thanks for the thorough explanation. That is why I joined this forum to get some good help, not get chastised about pissing away my money...

                              I don't think I would need the lights your selling as I'm just trying to illuminate a sign. Here is what I'm trying to accomplish.

                              Sign located in northern GA. It gets occasionally in the high 20's at night. But usually in the low 40's in the winter Sign will have 6 lights. I'm thinking maybe the 5w LED floods. We really don't need much light at the location. We would like them to be on for 10-12 hours each night.

                              Now as far as how much light the area gets I'm not sure. I guess 3 hours... Can you set up a system for a worse case scenario, and if you get more sun, then your just better off???

                              Thanks

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