Solar Powered Systems

Has anyone installed any completely stand-alone solar-powered system? I'm thinking mostly of an AES Radio in the middle of the Desert as a repeater running off of Solar Panels and Batteries.

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Joe Lucia
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You might find the below article of interest........

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Also check out Sunwize, they can spec a solar system for you.

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Hope this helps.


Joe Lucia wrote:

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For quite a while I have been running some FBI XL31Bs on solar panels using some license plate sized solar panels I bought from JC Whitney real cheap. Alll the buildings have phone lines and I keep saying I am going to go out and run ac power to these buildings but its a long run of several thousand feet to get 16vac to each one. There is a line of telephone poles behind the buildings but the closest ac power is on poles at the front of the property and thats 40 acres away. Each system has two sets of photoelectric beams across the doorways (cause there are no doors) and contacts on two regular doors and each unit has either a 70 ah or 90ah battery which powers everything and stays fully charged without a hitch.

I have some similar systems on oil platforms that are shutdown with long range radio that also use solar panels. However I used much larger solar panels and battery boxes with several batteries in them; the battery boxes are changed out on a regular basis when the platforms are checked. Its cheaper to use solar panels and swap out battery boxes than it is to continuously run the power plants. The battery boxes are brought in and the batteries fully charged and/or replaced as necessary and ready to go back out on the next pass. Depedning upon the weather, you can go up to nine months easily without making a tour to swap batteries but of course the theory is that at some point the platforms will be active again.

The new solar panels can easily provide plenty of current to run alarm panels because they draw very little current except when the panel is in alarm and mostly it goes to the keypad - but panels now have keypad blanking so that draw is reduced.

However you are talking about AES and that is a (high current) low power radio transmitter which needs the high current to key the transmitter for a fraction of a second which is easy to solve by using a large car battery as the standby. My guess is that the range of the radio and the height needed for your antenna will be a much bigger problem than powering the thing. The actual range on those radios is very limited and a tall antenna site is a must. On the other hand, over open unobstructed ground, the range is pretty good since its strictly line-of-site.

If there are mountains where you can put a transmitter site then everything 'lower' should have an unobstructed line-of-site and reception will be good. If your location is surrounded by taller structures you are screwed.

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We have done what you are wanting to do. AES has a subscriber unit which is DC powered. You want to be sure to have that one. There is a company locally that manufactures solar panels. These are rated at 85 vdc at about 55 watts. Jameco has a power converter that will regulate this high voltage down to 13.6 vdc to run the radio. The charging circuit in the radio will charge the battery when there is sunlight enabling the battery to operate the radio through the night. This has been in place for three years now and is still working. You will need the enclosure from AES rated for outside installation to protect it from the weather. A 12 v 7 AH gel cell is what we used for backup power. I have tested the radio to run for a few days on battery alone, however this time is dependant on the amount of radio traffic you have going through it. I also mounted the radio in the shadow of the solar panel to protect it somewhat from direct sun light. Two of these were set up on bill boards we contracted to use to increase our network with the AES radio.

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