Tinkering Weekend

  Well, the weekend was spent tinkering with the Solar Trackers.  I moved the grid-tie inverter from Tracker #1 to Tracker #2 because #1 has a big hefty mount and with a bit of work I think I can get four more KC-130’s on it.  My new charge controller setup in the garage will use six panel arrays and the trackers are setup to hold just eight now.  The GC-1000 grid-tie inverter takes four panel arrays so eight KC-120’s should run it just right on Tracker #2.

  I re-worked the 12 volt system, actually I overhauled it completely.  I used #16 AWG landscape “zip-cord” this time instead of Mighty Mule electric fence opener wire (49 cents/ft) that I got from Home Depot priced at $18/100ft pack. It’s rated sunlight resistant, direct burial, waterproof and comes in #16 AWG through #12 AWG.  Now PVC j-box prices have skyrocketed in the past few years.  Like over $20 for a 8x8x6, unreal so I spend a lot of time cruising through Home Depot looking for substitutes. What I found is 60amp Square-D pull-out disconnects for $7.50 each, quite a bargain for a weatherproof swing door j-box.  Just pull the (pun) pull-out guts out and you have a nice small weatherproof box, perfect for solar tracker use.

 mvc-078f.jpg  mvc-079f.jpg  mvc-080f.jpg

  I use a 7Ah  Lead Acid gel cell to power the actuators and LEDX controllers.  This battery can be bought for around $20 online but S&H is a killer.  I found Tractor Supply sells it in the Mighty Mule Gate opener section for $18.  The very same battery in the Mighty Mule section of Home Depot sells for over $28. One must shop around to get the best deals.

  You will notice on the middle picture above where the pull-out used to be I bolted in a piece of aluminum and used it to mount two toggle switches.  The one on the left switches the motor from the automatic control to a manual control which is the hole on the right waiting for a ON-OFF-ON toggle switch I have on order.  Once switched over to manual I will be able to move the tracker to the east or west for maintenance.

  The switches at Homedepot were over $5 each.  I found a new place that I buy electronic components from now:  http://www.futurlec.com.  The switches are just 85 cents each.

Here are the switches I have on order:

dpdt11ex.jpg    dpdt101h.jpg 

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