Archive for May, 2008

Boy, Oil Prices effect everything…

Posted in Recession on May 22, 2008 by wizbandit

I know oil prices have caused a lot of the things we buy to cost more but now kids rubber balls at K-Mart??  Well, at least they are 10% off this week, that saves about $16…


Apollo T-80 Charge Controller Report

Posted in Solar Power on May 17, 2008 by wizbandit

I received my new T80 Firmware on Monday 5/12.  I used the supplied programmer and SD memory card to reprogram my T80 to the latest revision. Everything seemed to go fine, I followed the instructions exactly but when I was told to turn on the PV breaker the T80 failed to come back alive. I called Apollo Solar and they immediately shipped out a replacement which came in Friday 5/16.  I installed it this morning and fired it up.  Today was in the mid 80’s, overcast with dancing full sun bursts all day.  All I can say is wow, whatever changes Apollo Solar made to the MPPT algorithms made a HUGH improvment in power harvesting for my setup.  The most I have recorded is around 16Kwh on a cool day in the 70’s. Today I harvested 24.8Kwh on the T80, a record so far. The Apollo Solar T80 MPPT charge controller is in my opinion the best controller on the market.  I’m looking forward to more testing tomorrow, hopfully more sun than today.


Advanced Automotive Battery and Ultracapacitor Conference

Posted in PHEV on May 16, 2008 by wizbandit

I found out that Ron Gremban was at the AABC in Tampa, FL this week.  Ron, Technology Development Lead for PRIUS+, was moderator of the PRIUS+ Plug-In Hybrid Conversion Group, and co-founded the Electric Auto Association Plug-In Hybrid project. He led the team that converted the first Prius to plug in, and drives that car daily. An electrical and software engineer involved in sales of solar energy systems, he has long experience with electric cars—he helped design and drive the Caltech entry in the transcontinental 1968 Great Electric Car Race. ( Read more about Ron and his group at )

I drove over to the conference late this afternoon to offer Ron a PHEV ride to the Airport, he gladly accepted.  After the conference and on the ride to Tampa International Airport we chatted briefly about Solar Power, PHEV Battery Charging.

I felt honored to meet and talk with one of the guys directly responsible for my Prius PHEV conversion.

More work, PV tracker, PV tracker, PV tracker…

Posted in Solar Power on May 7, 2008 by wizbandit

I finished the framework on tracker #2 but only had 4 KC120s to put on it.  The Siemans SR90s are going up on the roof so I didn’t want to bother temporarily installing them on it.

I spent most of the week working on Tracker #3. I installed two #10AWG Rubber SOJ cords from the movable frame to the control box support.  I mounted two 4″ Square PVC j-boxs and connected the pair of flexable cables using weathertite connectors.


I overhauled the control box also.  I installed a 6 position screw terminal strip to convert from the #16 awg Landscape Wire to #16 TFFN which is a bit easier to use inside the box.  I have a switch to change from AUTO to MANUAL, it just switches from the LED3X tracking control output to a cross-wired polarity reversing ON-OFF-ON switch I use to manually move the array East-West.


Tracker #2 off-line for upgrades

Posted in Solar Power on May 2, 2008 by wizbandit

I moved four panels off tracker #2 today over to tracker #3. Tracker 3 now has a full ten PV panels on it and it is working sweet. Tracker 2 is being overhauled and fitted with more unistrut so it to can hold ten panels as well. Not to be without power during the retrofit I setup a temporary ground rack to hold tracker 2’s remaining 4 panels.  While I was at it I grabbed the 4 Siemans SR90’s I had in the barn and installed them on the ground rack as well.  I can report now all PV I have is now in the sun making power.  I have been heckled by friends for having panels in the barn NOT making power.