The location for the repeater does not have any access to the power grid. The first set up of the repeater used two small solar panels and two 12v batteries. This worked very good except when the weather was bad and no sun to charge the batteries. Later I updated the solar setup to power the RV trailer we use to spend weekends on the property. We have 2 1/2 acres and love to spend weekends on the hill. I have received several requests to tell more about the solar setup, so I created this page. I hope you enjoy it and if you want to build a solar setup this might give you a idea what you can do.
This is the original repeater container. Inside was the repeater, duplexers, charge controller, and batteries. I was using two 40 watt solar panels to charge the batteries.
The Xantrex Trace C12 controller worked on the small system.
The Xantrex Trace C12 controller is PWM microprocessor-based and ideal for small power systems, outdoor area lighting, and radio repeaters. It has user adjustable 12-amp low-voltage disconnect and high voltage charge stop. If the battery voltage gets to low, the repeater is turned off. When it starts to charge again it will turn it back on. I used this controller for several years with two deep cycle batteries connected to the repeater and controller. Solar works very good when you have sun, but during poor weather conditions when there is no sun, the repeater could turn off until it starts to charge again. This was a easy way to run the repeater in this remote location without commercial electricity.
Below is my new project. A larger solar setup that is powering the Repeater and RV on the property. It is capable of creating 6KW with the one controller or more if a second controller is added. At this time we have 16, 200 watt panels producing 3200 Watts at 48volts. They connect to a Xantrex XW MPPT 60A Solar Charge Controller which charge the batteries and produces the power
Above is a photo of the solar panels installed on pole mounts. They are wired in sets of two to produce the 48 volts and then connect to the breaker box on the side of the container below.
The breaker box is connected to the Xantrex XW MPPT solar charger to charge the batteries. The batteries are then connected to the XW 6048 Charger/Inverter to create 120/240 volts.
The XW Hybrid Inverter/Charger (XW) is a true sine wave, 120/240-volt AC, split-phase, inverter/charger that incorporates a DC to AC inverter, a battery charger when connect to an AC source, and an AC auto-transfer switch. It is the foundation for battery-based residential and commercial applications up to 18 kilowatts (kW). Capable of being grid-interactive or grid-independent, the XW can operate with generators and renewable energy sources to provide full-time or backup power. The top two units in the photo are the controler/charger. The bottom section is the combiner box for all the wiring. The small box on the right lower side is the XW MPPT solar charger. The black box on the left is a step up transformer for 240v when charging from a 110v source.
Below you can see the two RV plug boxes on the outside of the container. You can also see one of the security cameras use to monitor the property.
The new solar system is designed to run 6,000 watts. At this time I am using 16, 200 watt panels for a total of 3,200 watts. We will add the rest if we ever put a cabin on the property.
After a lot of research I decided to use a Xantrex 6048 Inverter/Charge. The 6048 is a 48 Volt inverter that will produce 120v and 220v AC from the 48 Volt DC solar system. The 6048 will also charge the batteries from a AC source. It has to use 220 volts for the charger to work. I use the generator on my RV which is only 120 volts, so I added a step up transformer form Midnight Solar to convert the 120v generator to 220v. This works very good when you need a extra charge. I also use the Xantex solar charger to charge the batteries from the solar panels. Yes you need a separate solar charger. One charger will handle 3,500 watts OK. I will need one more when we add the rest of the panels for the full 6,000 watts. The batteries for the system are eight 6 volt Trojan L16RE-B for the 48 volts needed. So now the solar panels produce 3,000 watts DC, and charge the 48 volt battery bank using the Xantres solar charger. The Xantrex 6048 converts the 48 volt DC from the batteries and solar panels and produces 120v and 220 volts for the AC circuit.