Repeater Visit July 28 & July 29, 2012

This trip was made to replace the solar charge controller with a new controller, a Tri-Star  TS-MPPT-45. This is a nice improvement over the old controller.

On Saturday the 28th Mary Jo (KB7NJE) and Dale (K7FW - that's me) went up to do this install. I had packed tons of stuff in the truck - but not a square drive drill bit and once there with the old controller panel open I found that it was screwed to the wall with square drive screws. I also lacked a terminal strip not being able to find my large collection of them before I left. I know they are somewhere -- but where?  I figured that I would just substitute some wire nuts if I found that I really did need a termianl strip. Well I forgot the wire nuts. So our trip did not accomplish too much but I did drop off the new controller and also some nice new jumpter cables to parallel our batteries with some larger wire.

Last year on one of the visits I discovered what I thought was sawdust on the floor and jumped to the conclusion that we had ants eating the wood in the door. It turns out that this was not correct - the door had a foam core and it was that foam that was coming apart and ending up on the floor. We replaced the door and solved that problem. But on this trip I found real sawdust and real ants crawling around. So now we really do have ants eating the building as can be seen here:
sawdust near door
Note the sawdust in
the corner. There are
ants  under that old threshold.

On the trip up the following
day I swept the floor and removed
that old and no longer used
threshold piece from the floor.

Thinking that this trip would take some time we took a bit of food and the newspaper. So at least we could sit and have a bite to eat and read the paper. No view however.
Mary Jo reading the paper.

Here is the junction block used for the 4 solar panels. Note the green wire on the right that is not connected. I was not sure why it was not connected to the aluminum plate but later found the reason from an e-mail exchange with Bernard Rate, N7DAL. It seems that our old charge controler measured current flowing through the negative leads and if this was tied to ground it would not sense current. I did not know this at the time so I just left the ground wire disconnected. As we are no longer tieing the netative leads to the cable shields on the next trip up I will tie the building ground to the shields.
old panel
The previous wiring for solar
panel feed.

Here the old solar charge controller is open and the cover is off the breaker box. None of the re-wiring has been started yet.
old controller
Corner of the building
before new controller install.
The old controller is open so
only the bottom of the case
can be seen.

This is the new wiring for the solar panel cable entry. Not yet shown in the photo is the final power feed from terminal strip to new charge controller. The old wiring had all four panels in parallel. Now the two south facing panels are in series and the two west facing panels are in series. Those are then fed in parallel to the solar charge controller.
new panel
Only purpose of the aluminum
plate is bonding the shields together.
Next trip up I will connect the
building ground wire now that I
know the reason it was disconnected.

This new install called for lots of crimp
connectors. Here I am installing some
of those.

new controller
The new controller installed.

That single gray wire connected to the negative terminal of one battery is a temperature sensor used by the new charge controller.
I replaced all the battery jumpers with
nice #6 wire. Might not have been
necessary but at least it lets me justify
that big crimp tool I purchased.

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