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Solar Powered charging station for RC field

Discussion in 'Renewable Energy' started by tobend, Sep 17, 2012.

  1. tobend

    tobend New Member

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    Hello,

    I belong to a Flying club where I live and was asked to figure up a materials list and estimated cost of what it would be to install Solar power for a charging station. This is what I know; The charging station will remain at the field, The solar power needs to produce enough wattage to handle charging 4 6 cell batteries plus assume 4-8 3 cell batteries at a time. The 6 Cell battery chargers pull 200-300W in order charge them within an hour. So I'm assuming 3 cell batteries would be about half that so assume 150W to charge them in an hour. These batteries are being assumed to be charged 20-30x a day. The batteries that will be charged are Lipo batteries.

    I'm just starting to research solar energy and don't know a lot about it. So this what I got so far for questions.

    What size solar panel(s) do I need and how many should be assumed I would need?
    What type of batteries are recommended for a low budget project?
    What kind of cable do I use to run for the solar panels to hook them to one another as well as the batteries?
    What other materials do I need or are suggested?

    Thats all I can think of at the moment, if you think of anything else I've forgotten, please add it to your response, thank you.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2012
  2. bryan1

    bryan1 Well-Known Member

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    Ok be prepared for a steep learning curve

    This will all depend firstly where in the world you are...

    Deep cycle batteries are used and they aint cheap to buy but they can be found if one is lucky in good condition secondhand. Golf carts use deep cycle batteries and are often a good source for starting out....


    Also depending where you are in the world will depend on the govt regulations on connecting solar panels but any wire used MUST be totally waterproof and preferably doulbe or triple insulated....


    Ok now thats out of the way, setting up a small off grid array for charging the RC batteries is a great idea.

    Now the array will need a charge controller to stop the batteries over charging and being taken down to low of a charge. In the first instance if the array is only used on a weekend the first couple of days after if the batteries are fully charged they could boil dry if wet cells are used and if dry cells are used there will be a risk of them letting off the steam literally. This is where the charge controller comes into it. With solar when the batteries are charged one can simply go open ciruit with them with no harm done to the panels. This will stop over charging andwith the right charge controller give the batteries the correct charging regime they need for a good long life.

    Now as you guys would have mains powered chargers it would make sense to use an inverter then just use the mains powered RC chargers.

    Ok this is where we can start to size the system needed. what you would need to do is look at the amount of chargers that will be used and take down the input power ratings for EVERYONE USED. This will give you an idea of how big a system you will need. Now say you can find some of those golf cart 6 volt 100AH batteries and set them up for a 24 volt 100AH array. This will need 4 batteries, a 24 volt charge controller and an inverter rated atleast 3-5 times the full current needed if all the chargers are on at once.

    If the array is only used on a weekend then going on a C/10 charging scheme one will need around 10 amps for charging. Also if mains power is available at the shed a mains power charger for the deep cycle batteries would be a great idea.

    Ok I won't go any further but as you can see setting up an off grid array even small won't be as cheap as you think.

    Regards Bryan
     
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  3. tobend

    tobend New Member

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    Thank you Bryan, I live in North WV Morgantown/Fairmont/Clarksburg area. Thank you again
     

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