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PostPosted: Jan 4th, '13, 08:56 
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I would be much more concerned about your batteries than your panels though ;)

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PostPosted: Jan 4th, '13, 09:26 
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Thanks rsevs3

In my paranoia think I covered it all.

Solar panel, regulator to battery and on each output from the battery. Downside is there are a lot of fuses to check if something fails.


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PostPosted: Jan 4th, '13, 09:36 
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If you put a resistor and LED in parallel with the fuse, the LED will light up when the fuse is blown :)

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PostPosted: Jan 4th, '13, 12:59 
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Thanks Rod, after watching your build and hearing about your experience I put a fuse near the battery into the design. I've also got self-resetting breakers on the pump outputs.

Wired it up today and it works!!!


Thought I might have under specced the pump at first as it took 14 minutes to fill one bed... then I realised that I was feeding the bed with a reduced dia hose. Took that out and it filled the bed in less than 6 minutes!

Still need to get some more plumbing fittings from B today but it's looking promising.

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PostPosted: Jan 4th, '13, 13:08 
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Yes, always be careful with low voltage... A quick reminder about what happened to Lungy's solar powered system.. Who would have thought that 2 ibc's filled with water and fish inside a steel shed would burn...

Image


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His full thread is here if anyone is interested..

viewtopic.php?f=18&t=2440&hilit=lungy

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PostPosted: Jan 4th, '13, 15:29 
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Earthbound,
I read through the thread and felt for the guy. What a horrible outcome.

Nebbian,
Glad you got it hooked up. :thumbright:
My pumps take 7 minutes to fill the growbeads so am happy I am around the same time you got.


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PostPosted: Jan 4th, '13, 16:41 
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So with proper 19 mm tubing all the way from the pump to the growbed, I can fill one growbed in 3 minutes, or two in parallel in seven minutes. That's way quicker than my old 240 volt pump! I wish I'd known how important proper pipe sizing was earlier...

Voltage seems good so far, although I need to put some more damping on the voltage sensing circuit.
The temperature sensor is great to have as well.

It would be nice to be able to turn the system off completely, currently there's no way to do this.

Also I need a box for the battery, and to mount the solar panels properly.
Ah well such is the life of a prototype system...


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PostPosted: Jan 4th, '13, 21:17 
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A circuit breaker will save you some fire risk and also can provide a way to turn the system off if it is one that can be manually disconnected. Just get one that is at least 4 times the power of all your running gear to prevent it tripping from the start up current of the pump etc.


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PostPosted: Jan 5th, '13, 13:37 
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Put a capacitor on the voltage sensing circuit, put the battery in a box, and added connectors for the power in and power out from the box.
Also changed some delays for the temperature sensing circuit, and made the 'manual' mode not reset back to auto after five minutes... Manual means manual forever now.

However I came back to check on it at lunchtime and found the box all dead.. Some probing with the multimeter showed that the regulator "load" output was not outputting anything. I think that this is due to the regulator being on the back of the solar panel and heating up, so it's turning off the load due to overheating. Sigh.
So I put the power feed for the control box across the battery leads (still protected by the 10 amp fuse) and it all started up again and looked good. The voltage didn't bounce around nearly as much as before, either.

I guess those cheap Chinese regulators aren't much good for this sort of thing.

Krozbolt: can you get nice panel mount 12 volt circuit breakers? I had a quick look in supercheap but couldn't see one.

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PostPosted: Jan 5th, '13, 17:14 
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Jaycar Electronics, be carefull tho, like the casino, work out your maximum spend before you go in.


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PostPosted: Jan 5th, '13, 17:24 
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+1 it's any evil and happy place all at the same time.


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PostPosted: Jan 5th, '13, 21:25 
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I have two of those johnson pumps i installed in a temporary setup just over a month ago, one running 24/7 and one running 10 min on/ 20 min off. The one running 24/7 burnt out already, the other one is still going. I've replace the burnt out pump with a used Rule pump about the same size, also running 24/7.
I've been using rule pumps for the last 2 years and haven't had many issues but only on timed cycles, not 24/7. I'm now going away from using 12V pumps though since they don't seem to be designed for constant use and don't handle any solid material very well. My new system will have a 12v pump that only runs when the main pump or mains power fails.


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PostPosted: Jan 5th, '13, 21:46 
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Interesting Nih, thanks for the info. How did yours fail?

I've seen conflicting reports for sump pumps, some people say that the Johnson ones are OK. Is your Rule pump this one?
http://www.bcf.com.au/online-store/prod ... escription

At least it's available locally, and the price is right. Perhaps I should get one now as a backup.

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PostPosted: Jan 5th, '13, 22:17 
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Yeah, i have some rule 500's like the one in the link and also 360's.

The failed johnson's shaft is seized and the motor casing is deformed slightly like it got hot (even though it was fully submergerd). The other one may last some time yet. It may just be that they don't cope with 100% duty cycle.


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PostPosted: Jan 6th, '13, 05:27 
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Well I'm calling this one a success.

12.6 V on the batteries this morning before the sun came up, so they're coping very well with the load. This means that they have lots of headroom for cloudy / winter days as well.

AWESOME! So happy :-)

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