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solar system

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hello BYC members I am looking for advice on my harbor freight solar system. 

I purchased and installed said system using their sealed battery as storage and plugged a 60 watt light bulb into a thermostat controlled plug which in turn is plugged into a 400 watt inverter.  The light bulb is inside of a cement block just like I saw it done on u-tube. All this to keep the water font warm of course. 

My problem is the bulb turns on as it should immediately  when cold but does not stay on. No fuses are blown nor does the inverter trip. If I shut the inverter off and then back on the light bulb comes back on only to shut off a while later. The problem is not temperature related. 


post #2 of 13
Two things to check. Some people have had trouble with the plugs. Plug it in to a regular exterior plug to make sure its working correctly.
The other that is your inverter could be generating enough heat that the plug is turning off. If that's the problem, get or make a short extension cord to use between the inverter and the temperature plug.

Sent from my C811 4G using Tapatalk
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

What a great nomenclature.

I will try your suggestions. Thanks

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

I followed your advice tried the light without the thermostat  outlet and got the same result. I placed a short appliance rated extension between the inverter and the same thermostat. Same results. However I was wrong about the inverter, it is tripping off. When I power the inverter from the controller It trips in about a minute. When powered direct from the battery it trips in about 3-5 minutes. Could one 60 watt bulb be to much.  The inverter trips when the volt meter on the controller starts to read in the low 11's.  Thanks

post #5 of 13
You are drawing more current then your system is producing. Inverters use a decent amount of power themselves. The inverter has a low voltage shutdown to protect itself and what it is powering.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

Any suggestions on a solution. There seems to be a lot of people using these systems. I was hoping to do this with out breaking the bank. 

post #7 of 13

Was the Harbor Freight solar system the 3 -15 watt panel thing with the controller? If so it puts out 45 watts in full sun at 90 degrees to the panels (straight down on) at best. And won't put out nearly as much at higher/lower sun angles...and none at night.  In the Winter time the highest wattage lamp/heat source you could hope to use with a lot of days of full sunlight and little clouds would be "possibly" 3-7 watts to work 24/7.

post #8 of 13
That system is designed to work with the led lights that come with it. They draw very little current. How far are you from an electric source?
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
About120 feet. started out cutting a trench for power then got the bright idea for solar. It would be tough to run a cord now with The ground being frozen..I need to find a solution to the solar. Feels like the eggs just got more expensive.
post #10 of 13
The problem being is you need a certain amount of power to keep the water from freezing. My setup uses a 50 watt aquarium heater on a thermocube to only run it in low temps. This setup will draw 50 watts continuously 24 hours a day until the temps are warm enough to not need it. You are running a 60 watt bulb for 24 hours meaning you need 1440 watts. Now using an inverter you lose approximately 20 of the power produced just to run the inverter. So now you need about 1700 watts. Now say you can get a full 10 hours of direct sunlight a day without any cloudy days or tree branch shade you would need a 170 watt solar array to meet your needs. That would be in ideal conditions. I just don't see solar being feasible for your application. I rented a trencher from home Depot to run my electric. It cost about $80 and took 1 hour to go 75 feet. Maybe running a heavy duty 12ga extension cord until the ground freezes would be an option for you?
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