Ham Bench 12V System
When I converted my primary system to 48V, I decided I still wanted to have a 12V system around. The ham bench could of course use it, but I also have a sizable number of 12V devices that could be used directly with it if everything else failed. This system is 100% off-grid - not even a battery charger attached, although I do have one available if needed. It consists of:
- 1 Kyocera KD135GXLP 135W panel
- Morningstar SunKeeper 12 PWM charge controller
- Werker 100AH AGM battery
- RigRunner DC distribution panel
- WattsUp power meter
My original intent was to figure out some sort of "quick release" mount for the solar panel so I could easily remove it from the roof and take the whole system with me - say for Field Day. I found the lower areas of my roof get shaded very quickly in the evenings, which really cut into the available power in those locations, so decided instead to move it high on the roof with the other panels. The rail kit I bought for my second set of panels for the main system were longer than needed (the original model was discontinued) so provided a handy location for the 12V panel right at the end of the roof.
This panel is the farthest right in the picture above. It feeds down to the charge controller and battery which live under the ham bench. The picture to the right shows the indoor components shortly after getting things set up. The WattsUp is only used periodically to see how the solar panel is performing, I would like to add some real-time monitoring to this system but for now it is standalone.
Here's an oddity - why are my cats so attracted to the AGM battery? Seriously, they spend quite a bit of time sniffing and pawing at the battery case! It's shiny black plastic, maybe they see a slight reflection and interpret it as movement inside. Fun to watch, though!
One of my many "when I get around to it" plans is to wire the Morningstar SureSine inverter to communicate data to my automation system. It has a Modbus RTU interface and with it connected to this system I can keep tabs on the battery voltage. It would also tell me about AC loads, but I almost never run the inverter. I have also been tinkering with Arduinos, may just run one of those on it - could then try adding a shunt or two and monitor amps in/out.