Not getting great sunlight lately

I am not getting great sunlight lately. The shadows from the fully greened trees are causing problems for me. I have two strategies to fix this.

  1. I am going to try collecting solar power from another side of my apartment. I will do that tomorrow if I don’t get a charge.
  2. I am going to have to buy more solar panels. Ideally I’d like to get a 250W panel so that in 4 hours of sun I could charge up my 1kW solar generator. If I could charge in 4 hours that would be enough to supply my needs.

Now the problem with #2 is that a folding solar panel that is 250W is something I haven’t been able to find. I found a Chinese company that said they had a folding 300W panel, but I have never heard of the company or brand. In addition it is expensive, so at that price I would rather go with another Merlin folding panel. I can’t risk giving a company I have never heard of money for a panel I don’t know will work, and even if it does work, how can I get support in the future for it? Too many risks for me.

It is clear that since I can’t get 1 250W folding panel, I will need to use two panels to get 250W. Since I have one 100W panel, I could buy the 170W Merlins folding panel, and theoretically get enough power to fill up 1kw of power each day in a 4 hour period. However I am also looking at their semi-flexible panels, which will also give me more power at 230W which would be even better from a speed/efficiency point of view.

It isn’t an easy decision what I will do, but either choice can work. They both cost roughly the same, so the main thing is their durability and output. The folding panel is more durable, but the semi-flexible is more powerful. Difficult choice huh?

Anderson powerpole connectors are my favorite for Solar Power

If you are doing solar you probably will like Anderson PowerPole connectors. I have decided these are the connectors that I want to use and currently using now.

Part of the reason for this decision is that I had to use them to use my current Lion LT solar generator. I had never used them before. As you can see they are divided into colors and each color is clearly labeled with the polarity it carries. What this means is that it is easy to remember which is positive and which is negative. You don’t have to know much about electricity to know that the color should plug into the same color.

One of the other neat things about this is the design of it. If you look carefully on the side you will see a rectangle of plastic that pokes out of the side. What this means is that you can uncouple the red side by sliding it from the front to the back and switch the side it is on. You can not only change the side, but you can change the direction of the plug. So this means that you can plug it into a wide variety of cables. I rather enjoy moving these adapters. It is fun to have that flexibility and design.

What I like about this the most though is the size of the cable. I shared before how I bought an adapter that was a huge diameter. I didn’t have much choice because that was an unusual adapter at both ends. However with this the cable is so small and it directly helps me. I am able to close the window and have a very small/almost closed profile of the window. That means that it allows even less air into my room, and during Winter will significantly make the energy loss less. I have also ordered some insulation that I will use to seal the gap and I don’t expect any air intrusion when I hang out the panels. The adapter cost me $20 but it will save hundreds in energy/heat not wasted and also quieter due to the noise being muffled.

The other adapter/cable I bought cost $100 for all the adapters I needed to make it work, but it is not wasted money. It will be a great backup cable, or cable if I need to use it outdoors. It also let me experience other types of connectors like DC 5.5mm, MC4, and Anderson SB50. Those are interesting, but have their own pros/cons. I like this one the best.

Once I plugged it in I also noticed that the solar generator charged up faster than it did in the past. Therefore I have to conclude that all of those adapters and the much longer length must have reduced the amount of voltage/current running through it. With DC is is always recommended to keep the distances as short as possible to minimize losses so now I have done this. I am so pleased with how this is working out.