Q. Why haven't you answered my question? I've emailed you X number of times and you still haven't responded!
Q. Can I just plug my solar panel into my house wiring to help offset my electric bill?
Q. Where in Arizona is your property located?
Q. Do I really need the battery bank and charge controller? Can't I just connect my inverter or other appliance directly to the solar panel?
Q. Do I really need the charge controller? Can't I just connect the solar panel directly to my battery?
Q. Can I use car batteries for my battery bank? Why do I need special batteries?
Q. I understand the mechanical aspects of your solar panel, but electronics part is all Greek to me. Can you teach me enough electronics to understand this system?
Q. Can you design a solar panel/battery/charge controller system for me that will power my home/farm/studio/cabin/office/barn so I can get out from under the thumb of my evil electric company?
Q. Do you have a printed circuit board or board layout for the charge controller?
Q. I tried building a charge controller using your schematic and instructions, but I can't get it to work. Can you help me troubleshoot and/or repair it?
Q. Can you build a charge controller for me?
Q. Can you sell me a solar panel?
Q. Do you sell your excess power back to the electric company? Can I do it?
A. I get a LOT of questions from people. I can't possibly answer them all. I can barely read them all. A lot of questions are repetitive. I get tired of answering the same questions over and over again, which is why I created this FAQ and attempt to keep it updated. Questions covered in the FAQ almost certainly will not be answered. Also, people tying to emulate my work should have at least a basic grasp of electronics and mechanics, since I don't have the time or inclination to teach basic electronics or mechanics theory to them all individually. So if a question shows a level of ignorance about electronics or mechanics that is going to require a long and complex explanation and/or tutorial, then you are simply out of luck. I just don't have the time to help you out. Sorry. Remember though, Google is always out there, ready and willing to answer all your queries if I can't.
A. No! No!! No!!! I am getting this question a lot and it really scares me. You need specialized equipment like synchronous inverters and transfer switches, and a licensed electrician, to interface a wind or solar system with your house wiring safely and legally. Do not attempt to do it yourself unless you really know what you are doing and have obtained all the necessary equipment and permits. In some areas some or all of the work may have to be done by a licensed electrician. Check your local codes.
A. If you were to draw a line on a map of Arizona between the towns of Snowflake and St. Johns, my property would be close to the midpoint of the line. The nearest town is Concho. I'm not going to be more specific than that in order to preserve my privacy.
A. The Voltage output from the solar panel varies wildly with illumination. You would be very liable to damage the inverter or other appliance by running it connected directly to the solar panel without a battery bank and charge controller in the system. The load from the battery bank smooths out the Voltage to something the inverter can handle, and provides power during periods of low light.
A. The purpose of the charge controller is to prevent destruction of your expensive batteries due to over-charging or over-discharge. You can go without one, but you would have to slavishly watch the voltage on your batteries and connect and disconnect them from the solar panel manually. Fall asleep at the switch just once and you will have either over-charged or over-discharged batteries that may be irrecoverably dead.
A. Car batteries are not a good choice for a wind or solar power installation. They are damaged if they discharge too deeply. Car batteries are designed to deliver a quick burst of power to start the engine. They are not meant to be deeply discharged and recharged repeatedly. This will quickly destroy them. Deep cycle batteries work much better in this application.
A. Sorry, no. There aren't enough hours in the day to even attempt to respond to all the requests I get.
A. Sorry, no. There aren't enough hours in the day to even attempt to respond to all the requests I get, let alone actually design anything.
A. No, but the web site I based my charge controller on does have a PC board layout for their controller. It is almost identical to mine. The link is http://www.fieldlines.com/story/2004/9/20/0406/27488
A. I get lots of these questions. Without actually having the unit in front of me, the probability that I can help you find the problem is just about zero.
A. No. I only build equipment for my own personal use.
A. No. I am not in the solar panel mass-production business. Also, see answer above.
A. I don't sell power to my electric company because there is no electric service on my remote property. It would cost me many thousands of dollars to have power brought in. I'd probably never recoup the cost. Can you do it? I suppose so. However, you need to do some figuring to see if it is really worth it. First, how much excess power do you really have to sell? Next find out how much the utility will pay you for the power. When they sell it to you, you have to pay the retail rate, plus fuel charges and so forth. When the utility buys power though, they only buy it at the wholesale rate, which is considerably lower. You'll need an expensive synchronous inverter to match the power line AC frequency, and professionally installed switch gear. After crunching the numbers, you may find it isn't worth the effort.