solar FAQs from the confused

Everyone starts somewhere, I guess.

Q. “why is my inverter beeping and why isn’t my {fill in the blank} running?”.
A. oversized load, undersized/undercharged bank

Q. “Why did my FLA/AGM/GEL batteries after only X months?
A. chronic undercharging. Bonus answer: there’s a good chance they weren’t actual deep cycle batteries in the first place.

Q. I bought a bunch of random stuff off Amazon without reading or understanding the specs. Why doesn’t it work the way I want?
A. Seriously?

Q. Can I run an air conditioner off a thumb drive, a 9v alkaline AA battery, or my fervent wishes?
A. No.

Q. Can I run all my apartment amenities off-grid?
A. No.

Q. I’ll get 100w of power from my 100w panel for 8 hours/day, right?
A. No.

Q. Renogy phone/email support is crap.
A. That’s not a question. Also, if you want handholding then pay more for Morningstar where the margin is so high they can afford to babysit you. You can’t shop at walmart for price then complain it’s not Nordstrom. Renogy documentation is quite good; do everyone a favor and read it.

Q. I bought a Jackery; why aren’t all my problems magically resolved?
A. Stop believing stuff marketers say or insinuate. Marketers make their living by fleecing the willing gullible. Read and understand the specs and how they apply to your use case.

Q. Will washing dust off my panels make output dOuBlE?
A. No. The cooling effect of the washwater will have a temporary effect.

Q. I paid someone else to build my campervan. Why don’t I understand how the solar works?
A. Because you paid someone else to build your campervan. Throw in a couple more hours of labor for them to give you a tour and instruction on how it works.

Q. Here’s a blurry picture of something in my van. Why doesn’t my solar work?
A. {weeping quietly to self}

Q. 100W of solar alone is enough for my 3x 100Ah 12v AGM batteries, right?
A. No.

Q. “Topping off” my lead batteries by running the vehicle is good enough, right?
A. No, which is why we add a bit of solar.

Q. Should I accept Victron into my heart as my personal lord and savior?
A. Victron makes nice gear but, no, I’m not joining the cult.

Q. My batteries are fully charged by noon, right?
A. Quite possible with lithium banks and sufficient charging power. Exceedingly tough to do with lead chemistries on solar alone due to long Absorption duration requirements. Finishing the charge would require the bank to be at Absorption voltage by ~7am. It’s far more likely that controller is dropping to Float prematurely, tricking you into thinking your lead batteries are fully charged.




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