Solar Panels And Batteries
There are three types of wiring
configurations that are relatively easy to learn. Once
mastered, the job of wiring batteries or solar modules becomes
easy as pie. The three configurations are:
And a combination of the two known
simply as series/parallel wiring.
In any DC generating device such as a
battery or solar module, you will always have a negative (-)
terminal and a positive (+). Electrons or (current) flows from
the negative terminal through a load to the positive
For ease of explanation we shall refer
to a solar module or battery as a "Device"
To wire any device in series you must
connect the positive terminal of one device to the negative terminal of the next device.
Important: When you wire devices in series the
individual voltages of each device is additive. In other words
if each device in the above example had the potential of
producing 12 volts, then 12 + 12 + 12 + 12 = 48 volts. If
these devices were batteries then the total voltage of the
battery pack would be 48 volts. If they were solar modules
that produced 17 Volts each then the total voltage of the
solar array would be 68 volts.
The second important rule to remember about series circuits
is that the current or amperage in a series circuit stays the
same. So if these devices were batteries and each battery had
a rating of 12 Volts @ 220 Amp hours then the total value of
this series circuit would be 48 Volts @ 220 Amp hours. If they
were solar modules and each solar module had a rating of 17
volts and were rated at 5 amps each then the total circuit
value would be 68 volts @ 5 amps.
In the example above two 6 Volt 350 Amp hour batteries were
wired in series which yields 6 Volts + 6 Volts = 12 Volts @
350 Amp hours.
If the above devices were solar modules which were rated at
17 volts each @ 4.4 amps then this series circuit would yield
34 volts at 4.4 amps.
Remember the Voltage in a series circuit is additive and
the Current stays the same.
To wire any device in parallel you must
connect the positive terminal of the first device to the
positive terminal of the next device and negative terminal of
the first device to the negative terminal of the next device.
Important: When you wire devices in
parallel the resulting Voltage and Current is just the
opposite of a series circuit. Instead the Voltage in a
parallel circuit stays the same and the Current is additive.
If each device in the above example had the potential of
producing 350 Amp hours then 350 + 350 = 700 Amp hours,
the Voltage would stay the same.
If these devices were batteries then this
parallel circuit would yield total voltage of 12 volts @ 700
Amp hours. If these devices were solar modules that produced
17 Volts @ 4.4 amps each then the this parallel circuit would
yield 17 Volts @ 8.8 amps.
In the example above four 17 Volt @ 4.4 Amp
solar panels were wired in parallel which yields 4.4 Amps +
4.4 Amps + 4.4 Amps + 4.4 Amps = 16.6 amps total @ 17 volts
if the above devices were batteries which were
rated at 12 volts each @ 220 Amps hours then this parallel
circuit would yield 12 volts @ 880 Amp hours.
Remember the Voltage in a parallel circuit
stays the same and the Current is additive.
Hold on to your hats because here's where it
gets a little wild. Actually you've already learned all you
need to know to under stand series/parallel circuits.
A Series/parallel circuit is simply two or
more series circuits that are wired together in parallel.
In the above example two separate pairs of 6
Volt batteries have been wired in series and each of these
series pairs have been wired together in parallel.
You might be asking why in the world would
someone want to put them self through this ? Well lets say
that you want to increase the Amp hour rating of a battery
pack so that you could run your appliances longer but you
needed to wire the pack in such a way as to keep the battery
pack at 12 volts, or you want to increase the charging
capacity of your solar array but you needed to wire the solar
modules in such a way as to keep the solar array at 34 volts, well, series/parallel is the only way to do
Remember in parallel circuits the current is additive so
thus you increase your run time or Amp hour capacity or in the
case of solar modules, you increase your charging current by wiring
the batteries or solar modules in parallel. Since we need 12 volts and have 6
volt batteries or in the case of solar modules we need 34
Volts and have 17 Volt modules on hand on hand, wiring the batteries
or solar modules in series allows
us to get the 12 Volts or 34 Volts that we need.
An easy way to visualize it would be to start
by wiring the batteries in individual sets that will give you
the voltage that you need. Lets say that you need 24 volts but
have six volt batteries on hand. First wire four of the
batteries in series to get 24 volts. (Remember wire in series
to increase the voltage) and continue to wire additional sets
of four batteries until the batteries are used up.
Next wire each series set of four batteries in
parallel to each other (Positive to positive to positive and
so on and then negative to negative to negative and so on)
until each series set is wired together in parallel. If each
series set of batteries equals 24 Volts at 350 Amp hours then
five series sets wired to each other in parallel would give
you a 24 Volt @ 1750 Amp hour battery pack.
Remember: In a series
circuit the current stays the same but the voltage is
additive. In a parallel circuit the voltage stays the same but
the current is additive.
If you need any assistance in wiring your
system together, remember we're just a phone call away. We can
provide you with diagrams or any sort of assistance that you
might need to complete your installation. Give a a call, we're
here to help 1-888-955-3471