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

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    I bought a flexible panel. Weight savings and resistance to breaking as in glass The problem with a flexible paanel is that it flexes. In time that wil crack the cells. So now ineed to add a rigid support to my panel....
    might be better to forgo the weight savings, breakage danger, and frame building, and start with rigid panel. They do technically have a longer life span.
    the jjoys of diy without a plan.....
    But still if i could have two of these it would be 200 miles a day and have a full baattery at the end.... Counting on 20wh per mile...... Wishful....


      Hi Gr8fun,

      Sounds like you've been having fun.
      Got busy with catching up at work after our vacation so haven't had a chance to follow the thread.

      A quick question on your setup what gauge wire are you using between the solar panel and the charge controller. A common problem in this area is using undersized wire. I don't mean that the wire can't handle the voltage/amps I mean the hidden power loss to the wire itself. Same thing applies to the connectors you use, Anderson, XT, MC4, etc. Just something to consider. I use 10GA wire and 45amp real Anderson connectors on my setup to the charge controller. After it I switch to 14ga. Higher voltage less amps mean less loss.

      On to the panel discussion. I noticed the same thing with my setup minimal power before 10:00 and picked up after that. I don't have a remote monitor for the solar so this was based upon the voltage/capacity remain displayed by the EggRider. Between the time we started 7:00~ and 10:00 we'd lose about 20% and then it'd level off and gradually climb back up depend upon the terrain.

      I understand the concern about panel flex but I still went with these panels for a couple of reasons. First the beaded surface works better. I have a couple of smooth 50 watt KingSolar panels and they never performed. I was lucky to get 10 watts out of the 50 watt panel and then only between 11:00 and 2:00 in the summer. This last weekend I ran a single panel to the 7210 controller and I was getting 48 watts so something is definitely going on with the controller. If a single panel is giving 48 than two should give 96 watts. I never saw over 82 watts. That mean I was losing 16%. While the 7210 will work still going to swap out to a Genasun. Genasun is now makes a waterproof controller for 52V batteries. Its $205 rather than $250 for the programmable not waterproof one. Hurray!

      Back to panels. I went with the flexible panel not only for weight savings but also for the better performance when not perfectly perpendicular to the sun. Just something to consider before going to a rigid panel. If you go this route I'd recommend that your mount be able to tilt to track the sun.

      Grin Tech has a great series on their tandem solar trike build they setup for Suntrip 2018. The did a great job on the panel mount, well worth watching.Though I can't imagine "Rowing" a trike.

      The flexible panel on the canopy of our trikes have probably over 500 flexes from us getting in and out and they're look just fine. Do I think they'll last twenty years no but honestly I'd probably replace them before then anyways. WAIT I already am replacing one but not because of failure.

      So I've been rethinking our setup and I really want to get us independent of MAINS on our trips without have to give up mileage or luxuries, ie camera, tablets, phones, dash cam, bird heater, heated grips (Yep I have heated motorcycle grips on my trike. Not much use in the warmer weather but they are so NICE during my winter commutes), etc. That means I need more power which means more solar.
      When I first went this route I was only using solar to charge the accessory battery, no etrike. So our needs where minimal. 100 watts sufficient. Thus panel on canopy. Than we went to electric assist and our needs jumped, a LOT!

      That's when I added the panel to the trailers. That works but I can see us needing more, Don't get me wrong even with just 200W per trike it made us able to do even our toughest day this year, 82 miles and 3800' elevation gain. The problem is we ended that day at 42% much lower than I like if we'd had to travel the next day without being able to charge via mains power. The better charge controller should see an improvement but I'm not counting on it alone. Thus I'm replacing the 100W panel on my canopy with a 160W that will be my canopy.

      I'll start the frame build this weekend. It's going to be a rigid frame and I'm still using the Renogy flexible panel for the beaded surface, better off angle performance. Once I have that all worked out I'm hoping to add two 45° down slanted 50W wings to the rear of my trike, but being to raise them to be parallel with the top panel. A couple of reason I want to make wings movable and not as a fix "T". On is this is my commuter trike and I need to be able to fit it through a normal door., 35~". With the a fixed "T" I'd be stuck at 66", too wide. With them down I'm hoping for about 30" or so. I suppose I could try and make the 160W panel movable but I don't like that idea quite as much. Big panel, move joints, points of failure and my fabrication tools and skills are more limited than Justin's so sticking with this plan instead. Two other reasons from them to slope. First they'll get a little bit of power before 10:00 in the morning, not a lot but something. Second they'll act as shade, wind block, depending upon how I can place them.

      Long term goal is to have 260W on the trike and another 100~200 on the trailer. I might try and reuse the 100W panel that I'm taking off my trike on the trailer. I'm thinking with between 350-500W we should be golden even on the cloudy days and no longer have to worry about finding the plug in each night.

      Also am hoping to add a Grin Tech Gmac hub motor to our setups at some point. I don't plan on replacing the BBSHD but adding it to run in parallel, dual drive setup. I like the regen braking of the Gmac but like how the BBSHD takes advantage of the gearing. Combining both I think would be great. Redundancy in case of failure. Like we had on this last trip. Rather than repairing on the side of the road we could have just kicked up the assist on the other system and rode on into camp and than I could have done the troubleshooting repairs.
      If we go this setup I'll have to reconsider how I'm paralleling the batteries. I would either have to lose the diode or add a relay that would engage with the braking allowing the regen power to flow back into the batteries. Well that's a project for a later date. This weekend is canopy frame building. Will post pictures when I get a chance.

      Thanks for all the input from everyone.



        The 7210 is too unstable. The genasun waterproof is the best available? I am putting aluminum sheet lightweight below panel in frame to reduce flex. Hopefully to add as heat sink for panel!
        this is like adding another kilowatt battery to bike that never needs recharging!.
        The 160 watt panel is now 220 $ i oaid 300.
        same on the waterproof controller. Better controller for less. Tech service at genasun gets an A+.


          The 7210 has been stable for me.It wouldn't charge one time and like you I had to out completely unplug it and let it discharge. I tried a quick plug unplug and that didn't work. I figure out that it reset if I could hear the spark when i connected it to the battery.

          Don't get me wrong I'm still going to replace them with Genasun controllers when I can. They're better all around controller, mppt and faster recovery from clouds/shadows.

          Part of what pushed me on the panel replacement right now was Amazon's sale price $229 and 5 months to pay no interest. Which meant I could afford the panel and one Genasun controller. Will have to wait for the other controllers. Depending upon how I wire the panels series/parallel or combination. I'm probably going to need two per trike. Genasun says it's rated to 350W but I'm going to have to see what kind of output hit I'll take if multiple panel are in series and one gets shadowed. Trial and error on this one. i know I can run controllers in parallel so that might end up being what I do.

          For the panel flexing issue I went this route on the trailer and will do the same on my trike. I'm building the frame from 1" 1/20" wall square aluminum tubing, I can get it cheap at HomeDepot. So I make the outside dimensions to the width of the panel. Than to stiffen the frame and keep it from twisting I ran two cross beam width wise. Finally I used two 1/4-20 all thread length wise running through all four short beams with nuts tensioning the whole thing. Attaching the panel I used zip ties through the grommets and then velco on the width wise cross beams in the middle. Panel flex/vibration is minimal.

          Your idea with aluminum sheet would probably work for the flexing issue but i think it'd have the opposite effect for heat sinking. the way our panels are mounted we have way more air flow than if they were installed on a roof. Adding the sheet metal just means that you've added another layer of insulation and mass to hold the heat.

          Just something to consider.

          I truly understand your pain on money spent. Before I went the whole etrike route I'd already invest in four Genasun 12V LiFePo4 controller and way more on batteries than I honestly want to remember. i have one 20AH prismatic four cell battery. Than I have another 40AH 12V LifePo4 battery that cost more than a Luna Cycle Wolf. These were supposed to be the "BATTERIES" for our trikes. Now with going to an Etrike it makes more sense trade the 9 pounds of 12V for 9 pounds of 52V battery and to use a bucking voltage converter from the 52V down to 12V for my accessories but I'm suffering the pain of all that money invest in the 12V system.

          Auh for the money saving of hind sight I wish I had.

          I'll try and get a picture posted this weekend of how I build the frames as it'll make perfect sense once you see it.

          Last edited by Gadgets4grls; 07-25-2019, 12:02 PM.


            According to genasun wire solar panels in series. The amperage in parallel is too much. But two 160 may be done in series. Ithink with the alyminum bonded to the panel it will act as a heat sink if ..if i roll some v into it.
            that will give it even more strength. maybe
            I will post some pictures of the extrusions i am using.
            And frame.
            Last edited by Gr8fun; 07-25-2019, 06:36 PM.


            • Gadgets4grls
              Gadgets4grls commented
              Editing a comment
              Would love to see pictures. Didn't realize you were running dual 160s. I'm curious what kind of performance hit you're getting when one of the panels is partially shadowed? I'm still trying to decide if I want to wire my trike/trailer panels in series or parallel. Series I benefit from only need one controller but because of the height difference between my trike and trailer unless I'm head north/south the trailer panel will shadowed for half the day. If the hit isn't bad I'll stick with one controller but if it degrades the performance of other other panel than I'd be better off with dual controllers.

            I realize this panel is way to big for what your doing but when you said you are thinking to put the aluminum on the backside of the panel the tech in it came to mind. It has double sided solar cells that are designed to specifically catch reflective light on the back side of the panel. Didn't know if you knew something like that was out there. Not sure about getting it small enough for your application though.
            2018 Motobecane Boris Fat Bike BBSHD Build


              FAr too big heavy etc. The renogy monocrystal over 20% without bifacial. With surface on renogy, facing it accurately toward the sun is not critical.
              i had a little accident today. Would have lost panel if it had been glass. Or larger. Trailer panel and bike survived. Me too but with a limp. Not the type of test i wanted but eventually it happens.
              crash test. trying to go from twenty to zero in 5 feet.braked for emergency vehicle. Lost control of front wheel. locked up. trike would not have had this problem. Especially with brake on trailer.


                Graphene nanotube converting infrared into wavelengths usable by solar cells. 80% efficient. Imagine 800 wph at 1 meter square of panel!. New promise by tech gods.....


                • Gadgets4grls
                  Gadgets4grls commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Would love it but I don't think I could afford a panel even if I sold both kidney's.Would love to have it though

                Unfortunately it's one thing to make in a lab and another to actually go to mass production with it. There have been papers published going back a decade or two on using rectennas in conjunction with solar to increase efficiency. And there seems to be a new battery breakthrough every week, but so little of it actually ends up in a product you can buy.

                Though to be fair graphene is one of the few that seems really easily integrated into typical production processes for most consumer products so who knows. You can already buy graphene lipo and reviews showed some nice improvement though I would still stick with 18650 for obvious reasons. But at this rate I would not be surprised to see it in 18650 in a few years. Who knows, maybe we will see similar with solar.


                  The 160 watt panel frame build was a success. I'm not completely done, need to make some minor tweaks and than finish running wiring but it works, took it out for a test ride on Sunday.

                  The 7210 output wattage is definitely a limitation of the controller. I was getting 82~ watts in good sun from the 160 watt panel. The exact same limit I was getting out of 200 watts of solar. The 7210 is getting replaced but I'd already decided on that just have to wait for it to come in now.

                  I didn't get a complete picture of the framing method I was describing but one pictures shows the all thread and the back two cross beams. When tightened up the frame is amazingly strong. Also if you look at the end tube and middle cross tube you'll see that the tubes connect in such a way that each one resists twisting in a different direction.

                  The hardest part of the design was reinforcing the mid trike cross support. I started with an aluminum "L" but that didn't prove to be rigid enough. the upright could flex the "L". I ended up putting a piece of Square tubing inside the "L" and then making short solid pieces of aluminum that connect top to bottom and front to back with screws. There are five of them spacing inside the square tubing. Trying to save weight where I could rather than a solid piece the entire length. It would have been easier if I could weld but this was my solution since that wasn't an option.

                  I was trying to decide how I was going to run the wiring from the front of the frame to the back. I have my front light, front dash cam and power for my phone. Than it struck me, I have perfectly good "hollow" tubing. So machined out slots for the wiring to be routed inside down the length of the frame. I have rubber grommets on order so will clean up the holes once those come in.

                  Overall happy with how it came out.



                    Thank you. Nezt project awaits.


                      Waiting for genasun waterproof controller. Returned the custom and shipping me the waterproof model specific for 52 volt battery. I was getting xsame results as you with the 5210. Looking forward to 100 miles a day from single solar panel. In the meantime trying the heat sink thought. A watt here and there is helpful.
                      pictures are great. Work started for second panel.


                        I think theres a definite advantage to not having it welded in this situation. Aluminum is notoriously difficult to weld and I've seen welds give from just repeated vibration on all sorts of things. If that happened on the road you'd be stuck with out a welder. With the way you have things set up It'd be pretty easy to carry a spare bolt or two and the materials you used are commonly available at most hardware and home improvement stores or at worst a local fabricator. I like it!
                        2018 Motobecane Boris Fat Bike BBSHD Build


                        • Gadgets4grls
                          Gadgets4grls commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Thanks for the positive comments and you do have a good point on repair ability.
                          Only part that I really wished I could've welded was the mid trike lower beam. It took me 6 hours to make it. It looks simple on the outside but the solid blocks inside took forever to cut, drill and tap.

                        Temperature of the flexible panel reduces production of the panel much more than glass.(glass dissipates heat better, more coatings available) According to specs .42% per degree c. This could be lowering production by 25%.
                        misting with water would not be practical. Possible increasing the panels back surface area with finned aluminum heat sink.
                        Selective infrared reflective film above panel channeling airflow to panel surface. 3m claims to have a film that increases production by up to 35%. If true very cheap way to boost panel outpur.. The experiments continue....


                        Similar. 3m cool mirror film is actual product. Specific to pv use. Hard to imagine that manufacturor is not incorporating something similar in their manufacturing process....
                        needs to be selective in reflecting only heat producing infrared but transmit visible light, the light that cells can convert to electricity. My panel produces very close to the same at 9 am as at noon when panel gets hot. Trying heat sink on back crude aluminum flashing bent to produce fins. Needs to be bonded with heat conductive epoxy. More finning etc. Seems to work?
                        Last edited by Gr8fun; 07-30-2019, 10:13 AM.