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LunaCycle Wolf battery parallel running while solar charging at the same time

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    #31
    I used to have a panel that would be perfect for that sort of thing, it used what was called amorphous silicon and while the direct light efficiency was not as good as regular panels it was best in class for power generation in indirect light. It also used a plastic instead of glass so it was nowhere near as heavy.

    That was ten years ago. You would think specialty panels would have gotten cheaper but the only real competition I see using the same tech is powerfilm which costs about ten times as much as I paid. The manufacturer I used (unisolar) apparently went out of business last I heard.

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      #32
      On the power produced it's more complicated than that but I'll try and give a simplified explanation.
      Each cell, dark square, on the panel produces about .5 volts. These are wire in series to produce 18V. If one or more of the cell is shadowed than that cell doesn't add to the voltage and actually reduces the output voltage as well because it introduces resistance into the circuit.
      So if say 8 cells are shadowed your output voltage will drop by about 6V, .5V*4 plus about .25V*4 for the resistance introduced, Now instead of 18V you're only getting 12V which depending upon the charge controller can be a real problem.
      A basic charge controller will stop charging completely because the voltage is too low to charge with. This is where a MPPT, Maximum Power Point Tracking, charge controller is worth the money. It's smart enough to boost the voltage up so it can charge but at the expense of less amps coming out. So with an MPPT charge controller you'll still be getting some charge but as a significantly reduced rate.

      Hopefully this make sense. So I consider an MPPT charge controller a must have for this kind of system because unlike a roof mounted systems ours is almost never going to be perfectly facing the sun even when stopped. It's also harder for us to just throw up a couple more hundred watts of panel to offset for this. The beads on the surface of these panels are another plus as well help out a with the misalignment.

      That brings me back to another issue this time MPPT charge controllers. While you cant get a cheap MPPT charge controller it is going to be that cheap. This basically boils down to two things. How efficient they are and how fast they cycle or correct for the voltage changes. The best one that I've found is a Genasun brand.The only downside is that they are also expensive as well a fixed set voltage MPPT from them depending upon your needs is about to run $200-300 for the boosting model. Where as you can get a cheap one from Ebay for about $40 that can be reprogrammed on the fly with the included screen.

      I'm right now going to wire up the "cheap" one but I'm going to save up and get two of the Genasun when I can just because they work that much better. I'll do that when I can also include a fourth Wolf battery on each trike as well. So between the two batteries and two charge controllers that's going to end up being another $2000. Like I said NOT cheap.


      Comment


        #33
        Originally posted by paxtana View Post
        I used to have a panel that would be perfect for that sort of thing, it used what was called amorphous silicon and while the direct light efficiency was not as good as regular panels it was best in class for power generation in indirect light. It also used a plastic instead of glass so it was nowhere near as heavy.

        That was ten years ago. You would think specialty panels would have gotten cheaper but the only real competition I see using the same tech is powerfilm which costs about ten times as much as I paid. The manufacturer I used (unisolar) apparently went out of business last I heard.
        I remember those and did consider the power film but like you said it cost ten times as much per watt. YIKES! Can't afford that.
        The Renogy semi-flexible beaded panels are a great compromise. They're still twice as much as a "Traditional" panel but considering that I'm only going to be able to fit two per trike it not near as bad. Also considering the 100W panel is only 4#, well probably 10# by the time I count the frame on the Bob but only 5# on top of the canopy. I mean I've still spent $800 for 400 watts so $2 per watt but that still way better than the $16 per watt for the power film.
        I debated a traditional panel with the built in frame for the Bob trailer but I really wanted the beaded surface and they only offer that in the semi-flexible model. I know my frame weighs more than the traditional panel but I'm hoping it'll perform better while actually riding.

        What I'm really hoping for is the solar to be able to supply 50~% of the power while traveling. Other than on up hills we ride in about the 200-300 watt assist range. So if I can pull at least 100W from the solar while riding that is about 30-50% which I'd consider success.

        On other subjects how did the harness come out with the diodes and let Joel know that I fixed the speed limit issue I finally set the speed limit in the Eggrider up to 50 and I can now get 26MPH at 22A on a flat.

        Here's a strange one. I've been using the Eggrider for over a mount now. When I bought it I assumed that I could reprogram the Bafang with the include phone app because that was how it was marketed.. I looked several times but never had a menu for that. Only option was the "Eggrider" options. So after frying the controller with the piece of Sh!t programming cable. I'm on the Bafang facebook group and they're telling me I can reprogram the Bafang from the Eggrider. So I end up going back and looking again and now I have three new menus for exactly that. Only thing I can think of is that my phone ran two system updates which must have fixed something that was stopping the Eggrider software from working right. So now I'm really happy about this.
        Still need to hook up the replacement controllers to the old motor to see if the sensors inside are fried but am going to wait until after vacation to tackle that project. For now the replacement controller is going into the spare kit for vacation.

        Comment


          #34
          Originally posted by Gadgets4grls View Post
          On the power produced it's more complicated than that but I'll try and give a simplified explanation.
          Each cell, dark square, on the panel produces about .5 volts. These are wire in series to produce 18V. If one or more of the cell is shadowed than that cell doesn't add to the voltage and actually reduces the output voltage as well because it introduces resistance into the circuit.
          So if say 8 cells are shadowed your output voltage will drop by about 6V, .5V*4 plus about .25V*4 for the resistance introduced, Now instead of 18V you're only getting 12V which depending upon the charge controller can be a real problem.
          A basic charge controller will stop charging completely because the voltage is too low to charge with. This is where a MPPT, Maximum Power Point Tracking, charge controller is worth the money. It's smart enough to boost the voltage up so it can charge but at the expense of less amps coming out. So with an MPPT charge controller you'll still be getting some charge but as a significantly reduced rate.

          Hopefully this make sense. So I consider an MPPT charge controller a must have for this kind of system because unlike a roof mounted systems ours is almost never going to be perfectly facing the sun even when stopped. It's also harder for us to just throw up a couple more hundred watts of panel to offset for this. The beads on the surface of these panels are another plus as well help out a with the misalignment.

          That brings me back to another issue this time MPPT charge controllers. While you cant get a cheap MPPT charge controller it is going to be that cheap. This basically boils down to two things. How efficient they are and how fast they cycle or correct for the voltage changes. The best one that I've found is a Genasun brand.The only downside is that they are also expensive as well a fixed set voltage MPPT from them depending upon your needs is about to run $200-300 for the boosting model. Where as you can get a cheap one from Ebay for about $40 that can be reprogrammed on the fly with the included screen.

          I'm right now going to wire up the "cheap" one but I'm going to save up and get two of the Genasun when I can just because they work that much better. I'll do that when I can also include a fourth Wolf battery on each trike as well. So between the two batteries and two charge controllers that's going to end up being another $2000. Like I said NOT cheap.

          Thank you. The information is greatly appreciared. It seems i have"accidentally" bought the right components. Your achievments wth a 100 watt panel exceed my expectations with 160 watt.
          solar should increase range without larger battery.
          --infinite with sunny akies--
          same weight as another battery about same cost.
          lower voltage drop.
          Properly mounted aero, rain and cold protection

          Anybody who asks how much did it cost is not interested.
          ... feeling manic today......


          Comment


            #35
            Originally posted by Gadgets4grls View Post

            I remember those and did consider the power film but like you said it cost ten times as much per watt. YIKES! Can't afford that.
            The Renogy semi-flexible beaded panels are a great compromise. They're still twice as much as a "Traditional" panel but considering that I'm only going to be able to fit two per trike it not near as bad. Also considering the 100W panel is only 4#, well probably 10# by the time I count the frame on the Bob but only 5# on top of the canopy. I mean I've still spent $800 for 400 watts so $2 per watt but that still way better than the $16 per watt for the power film.
            I debated a traditional panel with the built in frame for the Bob trailer but I really wanted the beaded surface and they only offer that in the semi-flexible model. I know my frame weighs more than the traditional panel but I'm hoping it'll perform better while actually riding.

            What I'm really hoping for is the solar to be able to supply 50~% of the power while traveling. Other than on up hills we ride in about the 200-300 watt assist range. So if I can pull at least 100W from the solar while riding that is about 30-50% which I'd consider success.

            On other subjects how did the harness come out with the diodes and let Joel know that I fixed the speed limit issue I finally set the speed limit in the Eggrider up to 50 and I can now get 26MPH at 22A on a flat.

            Here's a strange one. I've been using the Eggrider for over a mount now. When I bought it I assumed that I could reprogram the Bafang with the include phone app because that was how it was marketed.. I looked several times but never had a menu for that. Only option was the "Eggrider" options. So after frying the controller with the piece of Sh!t programming cable. I'm on the Bafang facebook group and they're telling me I can reprogram the Bafang from the Eggrider. So I end up going back and looking again and now I have three new menus for exactly that. Only thing I can think of is that my phone ran two system updates which must have fixed something that was stopping the Eggrider software from working right. So now I'm really happy about this.
            Still need to hook up the replacement controllers to the old motor to see if the sensors inside are fried but am going to wait until after vacation to tackle that project. For now the replacement controller is going into the spare kit for vacation.
            Have not had much chance to make it unfortunately. Knowing my schedule it will probably take a while lol. I'll let Joel know, thanks. I have not used an Eggrider myself but one of my colleagues likes it.

            Comment


              #36
              Though I'd post an update for anyone following this thread.
              We went out and did our first real life test of the etrike/solar charge system yesterday. We had just short of full touring loads on each of the trikes. So we're heavy as H#!!.

              First thing charging/running paralleled Luna Wolf batteries simultaneously worked perfectly.

              The charge controller we're using aren't harvesting all of the power coming from the panels because I was only getting an average of 75W out of 200W of solar on a perfectly clear day. This should improve when I replace them with real mppt Genasun boost charge controllers.

              We rode 60.9 miles with the first 40 miles mostly in the 200-250 assist range bumped up for a couple of short hills. The last 20 miles was in 450-550 watt assist range. It was running late in the day and I was trying to simulate our previous ride where we didn't have the solar charging but had to stay in 400-800 assist range for the last 20 miles because of cross/headwinds. That ride was a total of 48 miles and I ended the ride with 58% battery remaining. This time with almost an additional 13 miles I ended the ride with 78% battery remaining. The system consistently stayed in the 90% charge range for the full ride until we bumped up the assist only than did we see the battery capacity going down.

              So take away from this 200W of solar is the minimum I'd recommend trying to do this with.
              Spend the money and get the Genasun charge controllers. The cheap MPT-7210A is not a MPPT charge controller at all. It is a cheap boost controller and nothing more with absolutely no MPPT functions at all. Charging stops entirely when a shadow passes over the panel and it takes a good minute to resume charging once clear of the shadow. I would expect the Genasun to give me at a minimum another 30W and probably closer to 50W of output from the same panels.

              Comment


                #37
                Definitely tempering my expectations. Been to busy to get frame built. Disappointed with the 7210a alreaxdy. Not even hooked up.
                thanks.

                Comment


                  #38
                  Originally posted by Gr8fun View Post
                  Definitely tempering my expectations. Been to busy to get frame built. Disappointed with the 7210a alreaxdy. Not even hooked up.
                  thanks.
                  Don't get me wrong the 7210A will charge the system and at 10% of the cost of a Genasun they're hard to beat for the cost if that is what you can afford. It's easier to swing two controllers for $70 compared to two for $600.

                  We will run them for this vacation but I am planning on upgrading before we attempt an unsupported, ie no AC power, tour. If we keep the motor power around 200~ watts the system stayed consistently in the 90% charge range with reasonable sun during the last two runs.

                  We plan on doing our "bulk" charging via AC so these controllers are doing what I was hoping for from them, extending our range.

                  The run down:
                  Is the 7210A an MPPT charge controller. Big fat NO! It's a boost charge controller.
                  Will the 7210A charge a battery? Yes.
                  Will this give you maximum wattage from your panels. No! Expect less than 50%. In my case I'm getting 80W out of 200W of panel so about 40%
                  Is 7210A more versatile than the Genasun. Big fat YES! Genasun have to be ordered custom programmed to a specific voltage and can't be changed. 7210A can be customized at any time.

                  So for $40 I would recommend the 7210A as an option to help charge your battery. Though plan on bring an AC charger and use it whenever you can because the 7210A won't take the place of it.

                  I'll post longer term info on how the 7210A performs after our vacation. I planned our days between 60-80 miles and 1500-3500 elevation gain.

                  Gadgets


                  Comment


                    #39
                    This was a sad mistake. Got panel mounted to front fork and handlebar. Drove like a squirming 40 pound kid sitting on the handle bars.
                    immediately went to plan two. Single wheel trailer .
                    This is working out much better.
                    Might go back to front mount , but attatched to frame. Really liked the fairing effect.
                    Attached Files

                    Comment


                      #40
                      Hi All,
                      Sorry about not getting this up sooner. Life took a left turn during our vacation and just got back to this.

                      We made about 450 miles and had a failure. One of our EggRider displays failed. I was lucky that I'd packed a spare 750C right before we left and was able to swap it out, on the side of the road, and get us going again. Ended our vacation in Taos NM. Went to backup plan "A" we rented a U-Haul and drove back home wanted to end on a positive point. We could have continued but didn't feel comfortable without having another spare display now knowing that this was a possible point of failure. I already had two spare motor controller because I knew those were a possible failure point.
                      Next issue after getting home was the spring on our garage door snapped and it was old enough that we couldn't just replace it. Had to replace the door which then turned into another problem, non standard height 6'6" instead of a standard 7'. Than my wife's sciatica flared up badly.

                      For anyone wondering this is pretty much how things go for us.

                      Now onto what you're really interested in performance of the system.

                      Our days ran between about 66-82 miles and from 1000-3600 feet elevation gain. Weather ranged from sunny to socked in clouds.
                      Percentages are battery remaining at the end of the day.
                      I don't have an exact weight for each trike. I can say that we were probably 400# each by the time we add up riders weight, trike weight, ebike/batteries, water and camping gear.


                      Day 1 - 70 miles, 1965' gain 1885' Loss, Sunny. we rode mostly in the 200-300 watt assist range and the solar panels kept our batteries consistently in the 80-90% range at about 55 mile we kicked the assist up to 600 watts and ended the ride at about 70% remaining.

                      Day 2 - 70 miles, 2897' gain 2359' Loss, Cloudly. Rode mostly in 200-300 watt, still in the 80-90% range, ended the day last 7 miles in 1000 assist and had approx 60% remaining.

                      Day 3 - 17.6 miles, 1,995' gain 302' Loss, Sunny but super windy, Rode in the 600 watt range entire way, climbing from Trinidad, CO to Raton Pass, NM. Ended the ride with 70%, short day and wanted to get out of the ripping winds.

                      Day 4 - 47.8 miles, 755' gain 2388' Loss, Sunny, got to love the long gentle downhills, Rode in 400-500 watt most of the day. Ended about 75%

                      Day 5 - 77 miles, approx 2,400' gain 1765' Loss , sorry garmin screwed this trip fit file at the end of the day, rode first half of the day in 300 watt, twenty mile in 600 watt, horrible head winds going into Las Vegas MN, last 10 miles 1000 watt. end of the day 70%

                      Day 6 - 52 miles, 3000' gain 3225' Loss, Sunny, 300 watt assist range, last 15 miles or so in 600 watt but had lots of downhill also. End of day 67%

                      Day 7-8 didn't ride visited family.

                      Day 9 - 82 miles, 3800' gain with 1/3 of that being in a 5 mile stretch 3104' loss, this was the day the display failed so lost two hours switching things out. thought it was the motor controller so swapped that first before swapping out the display. Over a 5 mile stretch we gained about 1,200'. It was also running late in the day by that point as well. Kept the assist in 600-1000 watt range to get to our RV park that night. End of the day was 42%

                      When I checked the 7210A charge controller consistently showed 80 watts charging after about 10:00 am. The battery normally went from 100% to about 80- 85% between 7:30~9:30 then climbed back up and stayed in the 85-95% range for most of the day.

                      Final take away from this is yes the system works and honestly better than I was honestly expecting. The weak link in my system is the 7210A charge controller because it was only getting 80 watts out of the panels sunny or completely overcast. If we reduced our daily mileage than I would've felt comfortable going without relying upon AC to fully charge our batteries at the end each day. As it was I'm guess that the solar added at least 30% to our overall range.


                      The paralleled batteries performed great and solar charging them definitely extended our range.

                      Things I will change before our next vacation. Right now I actually have to different voltage batteries on each trike. A 12.8 volt LiFePO4 battery 20/40 AH and the 52V trike batteries. The 12V batteries are what I had before we went to the Bafang system and run things like lights, usb chargers, cameras, etc. What I found was that during the day my 12V system never dropped below 50%, no solar charge to it. So I'm going to replace those batteries with a 4th 52V Luna Wolf paralleled into the system and then run the 12V system off of a bucking voltage converter. Even with the draw from the 12V system that should give me another 7AH to the Bafang system.
                      I will also replace the 7210A charge controller with the Genasun controllers. Between those two changed I'd feel completely comfortable touring without having to rely upon AC charging each night and just keep AC for an emergency rather than as part of the system.

                      -7210A charge controller I can say yes as a recommendation. Are they the best option out there no but will they work yes and at $40 they are a good deal.
                      -Renogy semi-flexible solar panels. Yes I honestly think they performed much better than a smooth surfaced panel.
                      -Luna Wolf batteries DEFINITE YES!!! Paralleled and solar charged/ran without any issues
                      -Bafang BBSHD yes. It's a beast!
                      -Eggrider display, yes with a condition carry a spare. I really like the display but now I won't tour without a spare in the pannier. Didn't expect this as a point of failure and am glad I was paranoid and threw in the 750C I had otherwise our vacation would have ended badly being stranded on the side of the road 25 miles outside of Taos on a Sunday at 5:00 PM. We had AAA and they would have towed us into Taos as part of our membership but I can well imagine sitting on the side of the rode for two hours and then trying to figure out a way to strap the trikes onto the flatbed of the tow truck.

                      -brakes if you are considering carrying the kind of loads we were I'd definitely recommend add a brake to every wheel, ie trailer. Coming down Raton Pass we had to stop numerous times to allow the brakes to cool but I was never fearful that we couldn't stop even with all of our weight. I've setup our trike to have brakes not only on both front wheels but also on rear trike wheel and a drum brake on the Bob trailers as well. All four brakes are run off of the two brakes levers. Through ProblemSolvers brake doublers. If anyone is curious about this I'll make a separate post.

                      I hope anyone that has read this thread finds the information useful and if they have any specific questions shoot me a PM and I'll do my best to answer them.

                      Gadgets

                      Comment


                        #41
                        Been waiting for this report. Best advice amywjere for solar touring.

                        Comment


                          #42
                          very interesting. Are the trailer brakes hydraulic? Do you have a disconnect in the line? what about air in the line when hooking unhooking. Ive read quite a bit about the 7210a I think it will be interesting to see the gains by using a different charge controller. Im finding what your saying about the flexible panels interesting. I planned to use a solid panel when I build my charge trailer and use it as a lid. All very interesting. Gr8fun is absolutely right!^^^^^

                          Comment


                            #43
                            Gr8fun,
                            Again sorry about the delay things just piled on the minute we got back.

                            I was actually pretty surprised how well the 7210A charge controllers did consider it would only put out 80 watts regardless of the supply. Once we got out of town our route didn't have much much shading at all, very few trees and alike. That helped with it not being a true MPPT charge controller a lot.

                            I haven't had a change to dig in deeper and experiment but I'm thinking the output wattage might be a limitation with the boosting circuit. When I was first testing 7210 with my bench power supply it still only showed 80 watts. My power supply is a 30A 12V power supply, voltage actually maxed out at 15V but the power supply is capable of 300W. Though the 7210A only produced 80W. What I might try and do when I have time is instead of paralleling the panels try hooking them up in series. This will make the input voltage 40~V instead of 20~V and see if that makes a difference on the wattage output side. If it does than I know that this is a booster circuit limitation. This wouldn't be a fix while riding but could offer an alternative while stopped and charging. If the controller can output more wattage when it doesn't have to boost the voltage so much than a possibility while stopped is to switch the panels from series to parallel. A project for a later date when I have time and a sunny weekend.

                            Gadgets

                            Comment


                              #44
                              pure_mahem,

                              I'll try and keep this brief but don't know how successful that'll be. For anyone not interest in brakes skip this posting.

                              My brakes are cable activated hydraulics, TRP/HY-RD calipers on the trike and a strumey drum brake on the Bob using compressionless brake cable housing. Near as good as full hydraulics and a whole lot easier to work with especially with the trailer disconnect.

                              The brakes go like this.

                              Cable brake lever to - ProblemSolver Brake Doubler - one cable in two cables out. (Secret if you use these. Use uncoated or remove the teflon from the brake cable where the set screw hold the cable from the lever inside the tube. Also use a generous amount of loctite on both the screw and cable to stop it from slipping.)

                              Right side goes to trike right front and trike rear tire. I did this before i ever thought about doing the trailer.

                              Left gets a little more complicated front left and trailer. Doubling was easy I'd already figure that out on the right side. What I need though was a way to easily disconnect the trailer. Brake cable splitters were available and commonly used on travel bikes / tandems, but I didn't have anything to hold the housing. I ended up machining out the piece that I needed for that. Hopefully the attached pictures make sense of what I made.

                              I went with the drum brake on the trailer for two reasons. First I had a set of the hubs from an old trailer. Second the trailer didn't had anywhere to mount a caliper brake. The drum brake solved both of these problems. I didn't need a special mount for the hub and just had to clamp the reaction arm onto the frame stay. At least on the Bob Ibex. On the Bob Yak I made an aluminum stay that paralleled the tire. Sorry don't have picture of that.

                              Matt Galat, JaYoe on YouTube and Web, had a fully hydraulic trike and trailer brake system at one point. took me the longest time to figure out how the quick disconnect worked. Like you, how could you do that without air getting into the system. I think I finally did though. The disconnect didn't combine the fluid what it did is have a piston on the trike side of the QD that pushed a plunger on the trailer side of the QD. This kept hydraulic brakes but he didn't have to worry about air getting into the lines.

                              While I know hydraulic brakes give more stopping power I'm super happy with the TRP Hy-RD calipers. In my opinion they are the best option for a touring rig they give 95% of what a full hydraulic system gives and repairs are easier. If i have a failure I can swap out the caliper on the side of the road in 15 minutes without having to worry about bleeding brake lines or dirt contamination. I'm also near a 100% assured that I could find some kind of replacement at most bicycle stores. Any cable caliper would work and you can even find those on the throw away bikes at Walmart as a last resort.

                              Hope this makes sense and sorry for getting of topic in this thread.

                              Gadgets

                              Comment


                              • pure_mahem
                                pure_mahem commented
                                Editing a comment
                                thanks for that! the Ja Yoe channel has a lot of interesting things to check out i will have to have a closer look at for sure.

                              #45
                              Single wheel trailer for panel. Tows too easy. Forget it is back there. Panel is impressively long.
                              Attached Files

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