Solar powered landscape lights project - Terminals and a second battery

in STEMGeeks3 months ago

My setup has been running for a few weeks now, and I got myself some good battery terminals to install. Previously I had just wrapped extra wire around the poles, but I found the system acting up and it needed to be fixed. What was happening was a good connection was not being made. Causing the solar charge controller to get faulty readings from the battery. It would cause the system to go into low voltage mode and shut off devices powered by the setup. Also I have seen some spikes in voltage up to 17v while the battery was charging. Not sure if thats normal, but all points to some fixes possibly needed.

Even though my battery was fully charged it would still do this, so I figured the terminals needed to be addressed. I found some good ones, claim to be "military spec". And I got myself two pairs, as I am adding a second battery. On sunny days the single battery fully recharges, but if we have rainy or cloudy days I find the panels will only charge the battery 3/4 of the way. And if we have multiple days of weather like that my battery starts to get too low. Sometimes I would find the setup with only a little over 12v left by the morning.

Maybe some of the issues mentioned above are related to my bare wires wrapped around the terminal. At the time I did not have any terminals so I just went ahead and wired them up like this temporarily.

During cloudy days I do not get as much power from the panels as I may want. So by adding a second battery I can increase the capacity of the setup, hopefully on sunny days recharging both batteries. And then having enough power to get through nights where we did not get full sun that previous day.

Unfortunately I could not connect the second battery at the time. As the terminals had larger bolts than my ring terminals. I had an idea to try to drill them out to make them bigger, that did not work at all. I indeed had three ring terminals the right size laying around, but I needed four. So I ordered some as my local hardware store did not carry them as well. They had really large terminals and really small ones, but not anything in between for my needs.

With the bare wire removed, cleaned up and with them installed into ring terminals. I wired up my battery using those military spec battery terminals. They fit really tight and seems like quality construction. Sometimes terminals can be kind of "soft" due to alot of lead in them, but these seems quite tough.

Preparing for my second battery, I cleared some debris at the bottom of my fire pit...That is where all of this is kept. While doing this a lizard came crawling out.

Making the space for a second cinder block I moved my first one over. Those blocks are quite heavy and so are the batteries.

Now I have two 12v 100AH batteries, once I get my bigger ring terminals I will hook up the second battery in parallel. My other option is to connect them in series, increasing the voltage from 12V to 24V. But I am unsure if my spot lights can handle it. My floods can, but also the digital timer is made for 12V. So I figured just going with more amp hours would be better with my current setup which means I connect the batteries in parallel.

Links to previous posts about this project:

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Absolutely right on it congratulations on advancing that solar power project.

Me and puppy dog absolutely approve and awesome job man!

Wow what an invention. I think it needs to be produced in large quantity so it can circulate. Thanks for sharing