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Solar Panels on a Solectria

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  • Michael Conn
    I am thinking of putting 800 watts +/- of solar panels on a roof rack on my Solectria. I have lots of ideas on what I would like to do, most of which are
    Message 1 of 9 , Sep 11, 2007
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      I am thinking of putting 800 watts +/- of solar panels on a roof rack
      on my Solectria. I have lots of ideas on what I would like to do,
      most of which are probably wrong. So, I'll list some facts and
      desires. Anybody interested, please chime in.

      1. Ideally, power from the panels would show up on the A/H meter.
      2. I suppose a custom charge controller is needed.
      3. I have 13 each lead acid batteries with a pack voltage of 177v.
      4. If I input 177 volts DC at the same point as the charger output,
      with a charge controller, will it work? Will it drive while charging
      or not drive, like when it is charging?
      5. 65 square feet seems like a reasonble limit of what I can support
      over the car. Monocrystallines seem to put out about 13 watts/square
      foot, which totals 845 watts.
      6. I know I could damage the controller, batteries, maybe even the
      motor, charger and solar panels if I really tried.

      Any ideas?

      Thanks,

      Michael Conn
    • Jerry Pohorsky
      Hi Michael, The generally accepted wisdom is that putting solar panels on the roof of your house makes sense while putting solar panels on the roof of your car
      Message 2 of 9 , Sep 11, 2007
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        Hi Michael,

        The generally accepted wisdom is that putting solar panels on the roof of your house makes sense while putting solar panels on the roof of your car does not.

        A 4 x 8 sheet of plywood is 32 square feet. You are talking about something twice that size. The aerodynamic drag of having something like that on a roof rack would most likely cancel out any benefit. (Not to mention the ugly factor).

        As you suggest, the wiring and matching of the charging requirements vs: the output of your panels will be difficult to get right. Not sure what the output voltage of your panels is, but typically solar panels put out a fairly low voltage. Not sure if you would have enough panels to get to 177 volts.

        On your home, you have a more predictable environment and thousands of other homes have already been done, whereas with the car top solar, you would be sort of a pioneer. People often justify the cost of a solar installation on their home by calculating the cost of their annual electricity bill and hoping to zero that out. Then divide that into the cost of the solar system and you get the number of years until it will pay for itself.

        What many people don't realize is that you can also eliminate the fuel bill on your car if you drive an EV and charge it at home. Here in California the way that works is that you get a time-of-use meter from the electric company and apply for a special time-of-use rate tariff.
        This allows you to sell your surplus power during the peak afternoon time at a rate of around 30 cents per kWH. At night the rates drop down to about 12 cents per kWH and you charge your EV on the cheaper electricity. Several people I know are then able to zero out their electicity bill AND their fuel bill so the system break even point occurs much sooner. The formula for this is PV+EV = success.

        Sometimes the initial cost of the system is a barrier for people. There are often rebates and you can take out a home equity loan and pay the money you used to give to your utility company to the lender instead. Of course if you don't own your own home, this may not make sense. For those that do, it is hard to beat that feeling of energy independence that comes from going solar.

        On the roof of your car, however you don't have any of these benefits. You really need to calculate how many watt-hours per mile your car uses and how many watt-hours per day your panels could generate to see how futile a car-top solar installation is. Most people who have done this find that they can get far less than 5 miles of range out of an entire sunny day.

        Adios,

        Jerry Pohorsky
        Electric Auto Association
        Silicon Valley Chapter President


        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Michael Conn
        To: solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2007 9:12 PM
        Subject: [solectria_ev] Solar Panels on a Solectria


        I am thinking of putting 800 watts +/- of solar panels on a roof rack
        on my Solectria. I have lots of ideas on what I would like to do,
        most of which are probably wrong. So, I'll list some facts and
        desires. Anybody interested, please chime in.

        1. Ideally, power from the panels would show up on the A/H meter.
        2. I suppose a custom charge controller is needed.
        3. I have 13 each lead acid batteries with a pack voltage of 177v.
        4. If I input 177 volts DC at the same point as the charger output,
        with a charge controller, will it work? Will it drive while charging
        or not drive, like when it is charging?
        5. 65 square feet seems like a reasonble limit of what I can support
        over the car. Monocrystallines seem to put out about 13 watts/square
        foot, which totals 845 watts.
        6. I know I could damage the controller, batteries, maybe even the
        motor, charger and solar panels if I really tried.

        Any ideas?

        Thanks,

        Michael Conn





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • ldr214
        Mike, Sounds great but... Why not put the panels on your residence assuming it has a better solar orientation than the roof of your car. A car roof is pretty
        Message 3 of 9 , Sep 11, 2007
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          Mike,
          Sounds great but...

          Why not put the panels on your residence assuming it has a better
          solar orientation than the roof of your car. A car roof is pretty
          dismal most of the time unless you angle the panels and then you'll
          need all that extra power to make up for the drag. You'll also get a
          lot of drag on a relatively flat mount.

          1. The brusa AH meter uses a shunt type installation so any power that
          goes to or from the batteries is going to be seen by the AH meter if
          you bring it in via the "normal" wiring. If you go directly to the
          batteries the Brusa won't "see" it.

          2. A custom charger would be needed if you actually think that 845
          watts is going to fill the batteries. Because they are sealed a charge
          controller is neccesary in the event you do hit full charge. Most of
          the year/day unless you live on the equator a flat roof mount isn't
          going to do 800. But it will have a lot of good moments.

          3. Gel I presume.

          4. Yes. Any time the solar panels are putting out a voltage that is
          greater or equal to the voltage in the pack they will be "supplying
          power". Anytime the pack is full, the car is in the shade or the
          orientation angle is extremely low, there is shadow or whatever the
          panels will be doing nothing or close to it. I would be cautious about
          running the Brusa and the solar at the same time without the charge
          contoller being designed with this in mind.

          5. You'll be hard pressed to actually cover a 65 square foot area with
          100% active PV crystals. You not only have to cover the area you have
          to wire a string that has a minimum voltage of around 180V. You could
          have someone fabricate a charge controller that would convert a lower
          voltage to a higher one but you build in a lot of conversion loss. So
          your looking at a string of about 15 panel elements. Certainly can be
          built and the crystals are available but I think it is like working on
          a printed circuit board. Very small foil connections if you want to
          achieve those numbers you hope for. Then you have to cover the
          crystals to keep the weather out. Flexible panels usually use a Tedlar
          covering. If you use glass covered panels I'm guessing a couple of
          hundred pounds of new weight.

          6. I don't see much risk for damage if you make sure the connections
          to the vehicle can take a 75-100 mph wind gust. The batteries will
          buffer the electricial parts in the car as long as you don't try to
          direct drive off of the panels. Without a charge controller you could
          put the gel batteries at risk if the pack is full and the sun
          cooperates. Murphies law says you will have good sunshine when the
          batteries are full and clouds when they aren't.

          If you plan to just do a flat roof rack I would suggest that you try
          it with just plywood and see how bad the aerodynamics are. Drive 10
          miles without it a few times and see how many AH's you use and then
          compare the difference.

          There are also a lot of solar calculators available so you can figure
          your output based on zero elevation at your latitude. If you plan to
          be able to elevate when parked you can also figure that out.

          I think it is great that you want to do PV but unless you are driving
          in a gridless area I stand by my initial recommendation and that is to
          put a grid-tied system on your residence if the orientation is any
          good at all. You'll get more watts in the long run.

          But you'll definitely have a lot of fun and learn a lot if you try
          putting it on the car. So go for it if your just looking for a
          learning project and if you work in a sunny area and don't commute at
          high speeds you may get a big charge out of it ;-)

          I think a couple of members have some small and less ambitious
          installs on their vehicles.

          My house roof PV solar works. Individual results will vary.

          Mike Rydjord

          --- In solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Conn" <ev_in_la@...> wrote:
          >
          > I am thinking of putting 800 watts +/- of solar panels on a roof rack
          > on my Solectria. I have lots of ideas on what I would like to do,
          > most of which are probably wrong. So, I'll list some facts and
          > desires. Anybody interested, please chime in.
          >
          > 1. Ideally, power from the panels would show up on the A/H meter.
          > 2. I suppose a custom charge controller is needed.
          > 3. I have 13 each lead acid batteries with a pack voltage of 177v.
          > 4. If I input 177 volts DC at the same point as the charger output,
          > with a charge controller, will it work? Will it drive while charging
          > or not drive, like when it is charging?
          > 5. 65 square feet seems like a reasonble limit of what I can support
          > over the car. Monocrystallines seem to put out about 13 watts/square
          > foot, which totals 845 watts.
          > 6. I know I could damage the controller, batteries, maybe even the
          > motor, charger and solar panels if I really tried.
          >
          > Any ideas?
          >
          > Thanks,
          >
          > Michael Conn
          >
        • Gerard (Gary) Carlson
          Michael: Yes, I believe it can be made to work.? I currently have two Zivan chargers on my 1992 Force (12 Gel batteries for 144 volts).? The two zivans are
          Message 4 of 9 , Sep 12, 2007
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            Michael:

            Yes, I believe it can be made to work.? I currently have two Zivan chargers on my 1992 Force (12 Gel batteries for 144 volts).? The two zivans are connected in parallel.? One is a 120 volt unit and the other is a 240 volt unit.? I plug in one or the other at a time.? I imagine your solar array could be connected in parallel with your charger.

            The charge controller is the big issue.? I expect that you will need to take your array output, which I expect will be less than the pack voltage, and boost it up.? This can be done by using a boost circuit with a big inductor or a step up transformer.? You then need to wrap a lot of serious power semiconductors, microprocessor and protection circuitry around it all and provide good heat sinking and ventilation around the power components.? A good book is Switching Power Supply Design by Abraham Pressman.? Do not buy the book unless you really like algebra with a little calculus.

            The microprocessor will need to monitor the battery state of charge and temp to control the charging profile.? As an electrical engineer with 30 years of experience in microprocessors, I myself would not take on this project without a lot of study and time.

            My approach would be to put the array on my house roof and use a net metering system to sell the energy to the grid during the day and then suck it back out at night to charge the car.? Those components and systems are off-the-shelf today and the major engineering has already been done.


            Gary?Carlson
            1992 Solectria Force
            ID License:? AMPEATR

            -----Original Message-----
            From: Michael Conn <ev_in_la@...>
            To: solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Tue, 11 Sep 2007 10:12 pm
            Subject: [solectria_ev] Solar Panels on a Solectria







            I am thinking of putting 800 watts +/- of solar panels on a roof rack
            on my Solectria. I have lots of ideas on what I would like to do,
            most of which are probably wrong. So, I'll list some facts and
            desires. Anybody interested, please chime in.

            1. Ideally, power from the panels would show up on the A/H meter.
            2. I suppose a custom charge controller is needed.
            3. I have 13 each lead acid batteries with a pack voltage of 177v.
            4. If I input 177 volts DC at the same point as the charger output,
            with a charge controller, will it work? Will it drive while charging
            or not drive, like when it is charging?
            5. 65 square feet seems like a reasonble limit of what I can support
            over the car. Monocrystallines seem to put out about 13 watts/square
            foot, which totals 845 watts.
            6. I know I could damage the controller, batteries, maybe even the
            motor, charger and solar panels if I really tried.

            Any ideas?

            Thanks,

            Michael Conn





            ________________________________________________________________________
            Email and AIM finally together. You've gotta check out free AOL Mail! - http://mail.aol.com


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Tom Hudson
            Michael, I d have to echo what others have said about this -- Solar arrays are only really efficient when the sun is directly overhead (you d be surprised at
            Message 5 of 9 , Sep 12, 2007
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              Michael,

              I'd have to echo what others have said about this -- Solar arrays are
              only really efficient when the sun is directly overhead (you'd be
              surprised at the power drop-off as a panel is turned even slightly away
              from the sun) so you'd only see those panels output near their capacity
              at noon. And the size of the array that you could fit on the car
              wouldn't contribute that much to the main pack. Other EVs that use a
              single 12V battery instead of a DC-DC converter to run the various 12V
              components can benefit from an array of the size you're talking about,
              to keep that single accessory battery topped up, but our cars really
              wouldn't.

              I have PVs on the roof of my house (power monitoring display at
              http://portev.org/solectria/ho/pvpower.htm) and they are grid-tied,
              generating power even when I'm driving around. They generate enough
              power to offset what the car uses, which is pretty cool. I'd recommend
              setting up a similar system instead of a car-based one because you'll
              get more bang for your buck.

              -Tom

              Michael Conn wrote:
              > I am thinking of putting 800 watts +/- of solar panels on a roof rack
              > on my Solectria. I have lots of ideas on what I would like to do,
              > most of which are probably wrong. So, I'll list some facts and
              > desires. Anybody interested, please chime in.
              >

              --
              Thomas Hudson
              http://portdistrict5.org -- 5th District Aldermanic Website
              http://portev.org -- Electric Vehicles, Solar Power & More
              http://portgardenclub.org -- Port Washington Garden Club
              http://portlightstation.org -- Light Station Restoration
              http://klanky.com -- Animation Projects
            • Doug Brentlinger
              Hi folks, I just joined the Force group, thanks for letting me in. I worked on putting 2 4x4 solar panels on a VW Rabbit a few years ago and it was a
              Message 6 of 9 , Sep 12, 2007
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                Hi folks,
                I just joined the Force group, thanks for letting me in. I worked on putting 2 4x4 solar panels on a VW Rabbit a few years ago and it was a nightmare. Getting that much area tied down to the wind wouldn't rip it off at 60 mph is one task (and not small). Then getting the 24 or 48 volt power into the batteries is another very large task. Adding 100 lbs to an already overweight EV is not good either. Put the panels on the roof, everyone else has talked about the advantages and I agree with all of the other parts.
                This is a huge task on the car and an easy task on the roof.
                doug

                Jerry Pohorsky <Pohorsky@...> wrote:
                Hi Michael,

                The generally accepted wisdom is that putting solar panels on the roof of your house makes sense while putting solar panels on the roof of your car does not.

                A 4 x 8 sheet of plywood is 32 square feet. You are talking about something twice that size. The aerodynamic drag of having something like that on a roof rack would most likely cancel out any benefit. (Not to mention the ugly factor).

                As you suggest, the wiring and matching of the charging requirements vs: the output of your panels will be difficult to get right. Not sure what the output voltage of your panels is, but typically solar panels put out a fairly low voltage. Not sure if you would have enough panels to get to 177 volts.

                On your home, you have a more predictable environment and thousands of other homes have already been done, whereas with the car top solar, you would be sort of a pioneer. People often justify the cost of a solar installation on their home by calculating the cost of their annual electricity bill and hoping to zero that out. Then divide that into the cost of the solar system and you get the number of years until it will pay for itself.

                What many people don't realize is that you can also eliminate the fuel bill on your car if you drive an EV and charge it at home. Here in California the way that works is that you get a time-of-use meter from the electric company and apply for a special time-of-use rate tariff.
                This allows you to sell your surplus power during the peak afternoon time at a rate of around 30 cents per kWH. At night the rates drop down to about 12 cents per kWH and you charge your EV on the cheaper electricity. Several people I know are then able to zero out their electicity bill AND their fuel bill so the system break even point occurs much sooner. The formula for this is PV+EV = success.

                Sometimes the initial cost of the system is a barrier for people. There are often rebates and you can take out a home equity loan and pay the money you used to give to your utility company to the lender instead. Of course if you don't own your own home, this may not make sense. For those that do, it is hard to beat that feeling of energy independence that comes from going solar.

                On the roof of your car, however you don't have any of these benefits. You really need to calculate how many watt-hours per mile your car uses and how many watt-hours per day your panels could generate to see how futile a car-top solar installation is. Most people who have done this find that they can get far less than 5 miles of range out of an entire sunny day.

                Adios,

                Jerry Pohorsky
                Electric Auto Association
                Silicon Valley Chapter President

                ----- Original Message -----
                From: Michael Conn
                To: solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2007 9:12 PM
                Subject: [solectria_ev] Solar Panels on a Solectria

                I am thinking of putting 800 watts +/- of solar panels on a roof rack
                on my Solectria. I have lots of ideas on what I would like to do,
                most of which are probably wrong. So, I'll list some facts and
                desires. Anybody interested, please chime in.

                1. Ideally, power from the panels would show up on the A/H meter.
                2. I suppose a custom charge controller is needed.
                3. I have 13 each lead acid batteries with a pack voltage of 177v.
                4. If I input 177 volts DC at the same point as the charger output,
                with a charge controller, will it work? Will it drive while charging
                or not drive, like when it is charging?
                5. 65 square feet seems like a reasonble limit of what I can support
                over the car. Monocrystallines seem to put out about 13 watts/square
                foot, which totals 845 watts.
                6. I know I could damage the controller, batteries, maybe even the
                motor, charger and solar panels if I really tried.

                Any ideas?

                Thanks,

                Michael Conn

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • d. Bouton Baldridge
                Thank you Michael, The subject has been breached before, I was hoping it would reappear because I believe that I am the only owner of a Selectric solar
                Message 7 of 9 , Sep 13, 2007
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                  Thank you Michael,

                  The subject has been breached before, I was hoping it would reappear because I believe that I am the only owner of a Selectric solar equipped Force. If that is not true please let me know. My Force was originally purchased by Minnesota Power as a display, I presume, cost some $39,000.00 in 1991. When I towed it from Illinois, the OEM thin film panel blew off.I don't think it was functioning as the parts remaining were degraded but I liked the idea and purchased a new panel (50 watts) but it would not work without coaxing. I thought that the Maximum Solar Power Tracker (MPST)complete with Solectria decal was malfunctioning, I sent it back to Solectria. After $ 100.00 they sent it back saying it checked out. With a little research I went on the assumption that MPST was undersized for the new panel. I ordered a 6amp model from Metric Mind, it has been working flawlessly ever since. By the way the MPST is conveniently able to take any input voltage up to 180v and then matches
                  the pack voltage up to 180 v. Long story short, the 50w panel blew off so that verifies the concern for panel security. I decided to upgrade yet further with a 123w panel, I believe the OEM panel must have been 100w less and would have pretty much been for show only. With my arrangement it the car sits in the sun mostly midday I can recover about 1-2 miles. This is not much, but as pointed out it takes a lot of surface area to produce enough energy that even these little cars use. I feel that the real benefit is that the batteries are getting a small charge while the car is away from a power source which should prolong the life of the batteries.
                  Now to answer some of the comments: I would agree that stationary panels would provide more efficient and effective charging, if you have the money, and open space. You don't always have those options. As far as the drag and extra weight factors, come on... While the car can do hi way speeds and no doubt many are driven that way as commuters with its range 40-60 miles, hi way use is really not the most appropriate use for any EV until "the battery" is readily available. So for brief hops o 40 or 50 miles the drag and weight are going to be rather insignificant. I am sure I'll bring the wrath of EV commuters, but I have found that the EV is in its element in stop and go traffic , and that is where it really ex cells in all of its benefits: no emissions, high efficiency, and quiet. Face it we all take a bit of a risk by stretching out the Amp hours, and it is not too good for the life of the batteries on a regular basis, it is not like we can go get a can of juice if we
                  run out.
                  So the panel is a "gimmick" novelty but it does attract a lot of attention and while I can't carry extra "juice" in a can, an ICE can't add some to its tank from the sun for free.
                  So be prepared to spend a lot of money for very little return, for me it is worth it for learning and for answering those questions about the car when I am out and about. Good luck.
                  Bouty
                  91 Force



                  Michael Conn <ev_in_la@...> wrote:
                  I am thinking of putting 800 watts +/- of solar panels on a roof rack
                  on my Solectria. I have lots of ideas on what I would like to do,
                  most of which are probably wrong. So, I'll list some facts and
                  desires. Anybody interested, please chime in.

                  1. Ideally, power from the panels would show up on the A/H meter.
                  2. I suppose a custom charge controller is needed.
                  3. I have 13 each lead acid batteries with a pack voltage of 177v.
                  4. If I input 177 volts DC at the same point as the charger output,
                  with a charge controller, will it work? Will it drive while charging
                  or not drive, like when it is charging?
                  5. 65 square feet seems like a reasonble limit of what I can support
                  over the car. Monocrystallines seem to put out about 13 watts/square
                  foot, which totals 845 watts.
                  6. I know I could damage the controller, batteries, maybe even the
                  motor, charger and solar panels if I really tried.

                  Any ideas?

                  Thanks,

                  Michael Conn






                  ---------------------------------
                  Take the Internet to Go: Yahoo!Go puts the Internet in your pocket: mail, news, photos & more.

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Michael Conn
                  Thanks for all the responses. I have a grid tied PV system on my house already and understand the economics of PV panels on a car. The physical design is my
                  Message 8 of 9 , Sep 17, 2007
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                    Thanks for all the responses. I have a grid tied PV system on my
                    house already and understand the economics of PV panels on a car.
                    The physical design is my strongest skill, so that is not a problem.
                    I drive about 15 miles a day at less then 40 mph. Yes, it is a
                    gimmick and yes it is expensive. I agree with all of that.

                    Bouty, the MSPT you mention seems great. I may have heard of Metric
                    Mind before, but never looked closely. They have good stuff. They
                    don't seem to list the MSPT on their web site so I will call them to
                    get the scoop, or does it have another name?

                    Where does yours attached to the system, electrically? Does flow
                    from the panel show up on the AH meter?

                    Thanks,

                    Michael.

                    --- In solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com, "d. Bouton Baldridge"
                    <cfrkeepr@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Thank you Michael,
                    >
                    > The subject has been breached before, I was hoping it would
                    reappear because I believe that I am the only owner of a Selectric
                    solar equipped Force. If that is not true please let me know. My
                    Force was originally purchased by Minnesota Power as a display, I
                    presume, cost some $39,000.00 in 1991. When I towed it from Illinois,
                    the OEM thin film panel blew off.I don't think it was functioning as
                    the parts remaining were degraded but I liked the idea and purchased
                    a new panel (50 watts) but it would not work without coaxing. I
                    thought that the Maximum Solar Power Tracker (MPST)complete with
                    Solectria decal was malfunctioning, I sent it back to Solectria.
                    After $ 100.00 they sent it back saying it checked out. With a little
                    research I went on the assumption that MPST was undersized for the
                    new panel. I ordered a 6amp model from Metric Mind, it has been
                    working flawlessly ever since. By the way the MPST is conveniently
                    able to take any input voltage up to 180v and then matches
                    > the pack voltage up to 180 v. Long story short, the 50w panel blew
                    off so that verifies the concern for panel security. I decided to
                    upgrade yet further with a 123w panel, I believe the OEM panel must
                    have been 100w less and would have pretty much been for show only.
                    With my arrangement it the car sits in the sun mostly midday I can
                    recover about 1-2 miles. This is not much, but as pointed out it
                    takes a lot of surface area to produce enough energy that even these
                    little cars use. I feel that the real benefit is that the batteries
                    are getting a small charge while the car is away from a power source
                    which should prolong the life of the batteries.
                    > Now to answer some of the comments: I would agree that
                    stationary panels would provide more efficient and effective
                    charging, if you have the money, and open space. You don't always
                    have those options. As far as the drag and extra weight factors, come
                    on... While the car can do hi way speeds and no doubt many are driven
                    that way as commuters with its range 40-60 miles, hi way use is
                    really not the most appropriate use for any EV until "the battery" is
                    readily available. So for brief hops o 40 or 50 miles the drag and
                    weight are going to be rather insignificant. I am sure I'll bring the
                    wrath of EV commuters, but I have found that the EV is in its element
                    in stop and go traffic , and that is where it really ex cells in all
                    of its benefits: no emissions, high efficiency, and quiet. Face it we
                    all take a bit of a risk by stretching out the Amp hours, and it is
                    not too good for the life of the batteries on a regular basis, it is
                    not like we can go get a can of juice if we
                    > run out.
                    > So the panel is a "gimmick" novelty but it does attract a lot
                    of attention and while I can't carry extra "juice" in a can, an ICE
                    can't add some to its tank from the sun for free.
                    > So be prepared to spend a lot of money for very little
                    return, for me it is worth it for learning and for answering those
                    questions about the car when I am out and about. Good luck.
                    > Bouty
                    > 91 Force
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Michael Conn <ev_in_la@...> wrote:
                    > I am thinking of putting 800 watts +/- of solar panels on
                    a roof rack
                    > on my Solectria. I have lots of ideas on what I would like to do,
                    > most of which are probably wrong. So, I'll list some facts and
                    > desires. Anybody interested, please chime in.
                    >
                    > 1. Ideally, power from the panels would show up on the A/H meter.
                    > 2. I suppose a custom charge controller is needed.
                    > 3. I have 13 each lead acid batteries with a pack voltage of 177v.
                    > 4. If I input 177 volts DC at the same point as the charger output,
                    > with a charge controller, will it work? Will it drive while
                    charging
                    > or not drive, like when it is charging?
                    > 5. 65 square feet seems like a reasonble limit of what I can
                    support
                    > over the car. Monocrystallines seem to put out about 13
                    watts/square
                    > foot, which totals 845 watts.
                    > 6. I know I could damage the controller, batteries, maybe even the
                    > motor, charger and solar panels if I really tried.
                    >
                    > Any ideas?
                    >
                    > Thanks,
                    >
                    > Michael Conn
                    >
                    >
                    >
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                  • d. Bouton Baldridge
                    Michael, There was an extra set of pack leads next to the charger leads for the MPST and yes it does make the AMP hr meter go backwards just like the charger.
                    Message 9 of 9 , Sep 18, 2007
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                      Michael,
                      There was an extra set of pack leads next to the charger leads for the MPST and yes it does make the AMP hr meter go backwards just like the charger. Funny after I was bragging about my arrangement wouldn't you know it I had an unfortunate occurance. Same day I drove it and got to the main drag and it stopped, with the voltmeter going haywire cycling. I pulled over and it finally settled down, I went about my trip. rather unnerved. When I got home I was messing with the very sloppy wiring of my panel and got a slight jolt from the wet mess, and the voltmeter was in its crazy mode, car would not go. So I disable the MPST and again it settled down and worked again. Apparently the MPST in its black box wisdom had some shorting of panel voltage which caused variable output voltage to be sent to the controller which it does not like. So I am not sure at this point if the MPST still works as a result of the episode but at least the car still works which is more than I can say
                      for my Ranger EV which just stopped yesterday with no warning, turned itself off and refuses to restart. Needless to say it is not a good day for EVs here.
                      Bouty

                      Michael Conn <ev_in_la@...> wrote:
                      Thanks for all the responses. I have a grid tied PV system on my
                      house already and understand the economics of PV panels on a car.
                      The physical design is my strongest skill, so that is not a problem.
                      I drive about 15 miles a day at less then 40 mph. Yes, it is a
                      gimmick and yes it is expensive. I agree with all of that.

                      Bouty, the MSPT you mention seems great. I may have heard of Metric
                      Mind before, but never looked closely. They have good stuff. They
                      don't seem to list the MSPT on their web site so I will call them to
                      get the scoop, or does it have another name?

                      Where does yours attached to the system, electrically? Does flow
                      from the panel show up on the AH meter?

                      Thanks,

                      Michael.

                      --- In solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com, "d. Bouton Baldridge"
                      <cfrkeepr@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Thank you Michael,
                      >
                      > The subject has been breached before, I was hoping it would
                      reappear because I believe that I am the only owner of a Selectric
                      solar equipped Force. If that is not true please let me know. My
                      Force was originally purchased by Minnesota Power as a display, I
                      presume, cost some $39,000.00 in 1991. When I towed it from Illinois,
                      the OEM thin film panel blew off.I don't think it was functioning as
                      the parts remaining were degraded but I liked the idea and purchased
                      a new panel (50 watts) but it would not work without coaxing. I
                      thought that the Maximum Solar Power Tracker (MPST)complete with
                      Solectria decal was malfunctioning, I sent it back to Solectria.
                      After $ 100.00 they sent it back saying it checked out. With a little
                      research I went on the assumption that MPST was undersized for the
                      new panel. I ordered a 6amp model from Metric Mind, it has been
                      working flawlessly ever since. By the way the MPST is conveniently
                      able to take any input voltage up to 180v and then matches
                      > the pack voltage up to 180 v. Long story short, the 50w panel blew
                      off so that verifies the concern for panel security. I decided to
                      upgrade yet further with a 123w panel, I believe the OEM panel must
                      have been 100w less and would have pretty much been for show only.
                      With my arrangement it the car sits in the sun mostly midday I can
                      recover about 1-2 miles. This is not much, but as pointed out it
                      takes a lot of surface area to produce enough energy that even these
                      little cars use. I feel that the real benefit is that the batteries
                      are getting a small charge while the car is away from a power source
                      which should prolong the life of the batteries.
                      > Now to answer some of the comments: I would agree that
                      stationary panels would provide more efficient and effective
                      charging, if you have the money, and open space. You don't always
                      have those options. As far as the drag and extra weight factors, come
                      on... While the car can do hi way speeds and no doubt many are driven
                      that way as commuters with its range 40-60 miles, hi way use is
                      really not the most appropriate use for any EV until "the battery" is
                      readily available. So for brief hops o 40 or 50 miles the drag and
                      weight are going to be rather insignificant. I am sure I'll bring the
                      wrath of EV commuters, but I have found that the EV is in its element
                      in stop and go traffic , and that is where it really ex cells in all
                      of its benefits: no emissions, high efficiency, and quiet. Face it we
                      all take a bit of a risk by stretching out the Amp hours, and it is
                      not too good for the life of the batteries on a regular basis, it is
                      not like we can go get a can of juice if we
                      > run out.
                      > So the panel is a "gimmick" novelty but it does attract a lot
                      of attention and while I can't carry extra "juice" in a can, an ICE
                      can't add some to its tank from the sun for free.
                      > So be prepared to spend a lot of money for very little
                      return, for me it is worth it for learning and for answering those
                      questions about the car when I am out and about. Good luck.
                      > Bouty
                      > 91 Force
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Michael Conn <ev_in_la@...> wrote:
                      > I am thinking of putting 800 watts +/- of solar panels on
                      a roof rack
                      > on my Solectria. I have lots of ideas on what I would like to do,
                      > most of which are probably wrong. So, I'll list some facts and
                      > desires. Anybody interested, please chime in.
                      >
                      > 1. Ideally, power from the panels would show up on the A/H meter.
                      > 2. I suppose a custom charge controller is needed.
                      > 3. I have 13 each lead acid batteries with a pack voltage of 177v.
                      > 4. If I input 177 volts DC at the same point as the charger output,
                      > with a charge controller, will it work? Will it drive while
                      charging
                      > or not drive, like when it is charging?
                      > 5. 65 square feet seems like a reasonble limit of what I can
                      support
                      > over the car. Monocrystallines seem to put out about 13
                      watts/square
                      > foot, which totals 845 watts.
                      > 6. I know I could damage the controller, batteries, maybe even the
                      > motor, charger and solar panels if I really tried.
                      >
                      > Any ideas?
                      >
                      > Thanks,
                      >
                      > Michael Conn
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
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