The Solar System: Wiring and Parts

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(Information and diagram via Backwoods Home.  If you’re thinking of messing with this stuff and building one of your own, don’t be stupid.  Go to the page and take his advice.)

Here’s the basic wiring diagram for any 12V off-grid system.  The panels run through a charge controller to store the charge in batteries.  In theory I could be running a lithium chemistry but then I have to worry about modifying the charge controller to a lithium charging profile.  Since the weight is only a mild concern, I’m sticking with lead. I’m also running the system at 24V, so I’m going to be making some changes to the wiring, but the basic strategy and safety will still be in place.

You then run an AC inverter off the 24V lead pack to power your AC devices…  in my case, a lithium charger.  My Turnigy charger, by the way, is powered by 12VDC, so when I balance charge I can tap straight off the 12V batteries.

The wiring couldn’t be simpler.  I’ll be running fusing and switching as shown in this diagram, plus I’ll be running big Anderson connectors so I can store the inverter and charge controller safely under cover.  Simple though it may be, as this page explains, it still has to be safe, and the best way to do that is to meet standard code.

Here’s the basic idea when you add an AC inverter:

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2 responses to “The Solar System: Wiring and Parts

  1. Could you hang the inverter off of the circuit between the charge controller and the batteries? I think this is what Lightning Motorcycles does in their charge van. That way, you’re not always running the current through the batteries (when you’re using the panels and drawing power through the AC inverter).

    • I’m pretty sure I could do that. Thanks, Tango, I’ll check it out!

      edit: I’ve been told the batteries act as capacitors, and are needed for the system I’m using. Lightning might be using a snappier setup, I guess.

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