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KL7RF Solar Setup

Solar Panel

Kyocera 130 watt solar panel KC130TM (no longer made).

This panel will produce 7.39A for charging a 12 volt battery at around 13.8V at full sunlight. the dimensions of the panel are 26" X 59" and weighs in around 25 lbs.The unit was purchased at least 10 or more years ago. It has not lost any appreciable capacity over those years and still does very well. The original cost was around $700.

Similar panels with 100 watt capability can now be purchased for around $100 from Amazon or other sources and they can be wired in parallel to give more capacity.

This pix shows how the panel is normally set up on plastic lawn tables. This alows for portability.

You can see from this shot that there is a great distance (over 100ft.) between the panel and the shack (far left of house). The voltage drop is neglegable due to the fact that the open circuit voltage of the panel is around 21 volts.

Solar Charge Controller

A very important part of a solar setup is the charge controller. It's main purpose is to prevent overcharging your battery. I use a deep cycle battery which is sold by Wal Mart for aound $120.00. The charge controller is model CMG2420 and can be found on Amazon for aound $30.00. It is capable of charging at a rate of 20A.

N8XJK Super Boost Regulator

Since operation on a 100 watt amateur radio straight from a 12volt battery (not currently being charged) can produce voltage drops exceeding what many amateur radios can handle, I use this boost regulator which boosts the battery voltage up to the optimal 13.8V for thr rig. You can also see a home brew voltage meter indicating the source voltage and the boosted voltage.