09-07-2014, 10:32 AM
#1
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Just finished wiring some equipment boxes with #2 wire!

For those who don't know, it's about as big in diameter as ones pinky finger. It's a real bear to work with. Everything with it is difficult, routing it, pulling it, bending it. Yesterday the sweat was running off me, today it's dry and cool and I didn't break a sweat once.

W have a PV solar electrical system and the charge controller pooped itself maybe 6 months ago and I've been putting off buying and installing a new charge controller. I finally bought an Outback Flexmax80, and it states to use #2 AWG wire, so I did, everywhere but the last wire. It's the negative feed from the PV panels. I was able to get it to reach into the Outback, so I used the #4 wire. That was MUCH easier to use. The power panel was never designed for the new charge controller and the installation isn't as pretty as with the defunct SolarBoost, but it is installed and running fine.

When I flipped the breakers to send PV power to the unit I was in for a surprise. I didn't preread the manual. The old SolarBoost charger took time to set the charge points. It also required choosing dip switches for charge voltage and whatnot. The Outback knew what the battery bank voltage was, what the charge points should be, in short all I needed to choose was the language I wanted to see it use. What a nice unit! But of course the old SolarBoost is 15 years old and the new one is state of the art.

Hopefully this unit will last until after I'm pushing up daiseys.

I still need to install the battery temp' remote sensor, so I might need to play with wiring again tomorrow in order to get it through the knockout. I hope not, but we'll see when it arrives.

But we're back on solar power now.

Edit: Correction. There are some minor setpoints that need to be programmed. I equalized the batteries today and the equalization voltage needed to be set. No big deal; the user interface is incredibly friendly. Nice unit. A big thumbs up to OutBack!

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 09-07-2014, 10:59 AM
#2
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Copper or aluminum ?

I HATE anything larger than #8. And I use Stranded wire in conduit for EVERYTHING. Because I HATE solid wire.

But I happily run miles and miles of thhn stranded every year Smile

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 09-07-2014, 11:27 AM
#3
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There was always a great debate on my old audio-video forums re: the merits of solid vs. stranded cabling, as well as copper vs. silver. My current video cabling is solid copper-core Belden, audio interconnects are stranded copper (left over from my high-higher-highest fidelity days). The distances are short, so it's not super-critical in regards to video and audio signal quality -- and I don't care as much as I once did -- but I'll continue to use solid copper when I finally switch over from coax cable to High Def HDMI video connections, unless of course routing becomes a problem. Power cables have always been solid copper.

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 09-07-2014, 09:16 PM
#4
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Copper. Stranded. I can't imagine working with solid copper. Tesla was right, Edison was wrong. It's DC so it has to be that thick a conductor. A/C is so much easier, but that's not an option for PV systems until after the inverter does it's job. Hopefully I won't need to touch it again until after I'm long dead. They can dig me up to do it then.

I had a local solar power gent wire up the service panel the first time and for the battery hook up he used conductors that have to be an inch in diameter. But there the voltage drops to 24v and current can be over 100 amps so the loss would be higher with a smaller conductor. He used welding cable for that, same as I did when I ran cables from the PV panels down to the service panel. Maybe that's what I should have used this time.

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 09-08-2014, 07:35 PM
#5
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Congratulations, Brian! Smile

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