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Helping others who are doing without.

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I think, on a personal level, I am going to start trying to get solar systems set up for Khmers who may want / need them. I hate going up and down the road at the farm, knowing that, every night my family has power, while others are sitting in the dark. 


I am currently in negotiations with a company to build a solar controller that will be reliable, yet much cheaper than your average controller offered by companies here. The controller would be manufactured in the USA. My first PWM controller here was $250 USD! This controller should easily come in under $100 USD, and will be customized for this project. It would still be a 20a to 30a controller, offering a 10a load circuit. It will be enclosed for the environment of Cambodia as well. So, it could even be mounted outside, if necessary.


EDIT: July 28, 2018 - Some MorningStar SL-10L-12v SunLight Solar Charge Controllers were donated to me a while back, specifically for this project. So, I will be going with them, rather than the previous controllers I was considering.


I am going to try to get a solar module (panel) manufacturer on board as well, Just Solar. If I can do that, the only significant cost then will be the batteries. 


So far, my plan is to include the following in one package price: 


PV  Panel Parts

1 - 100 watts 12vdc PV Module

1 - 1.5" angle iron mount (could go with aluminum here if cheaper)

1 - Assorted hardware for mounting the panel


PV Panel to Controller Parts

3 - meters two conductor #10 wire

1 - Assorted hardware to secure the wire against the building


Battery to Controller Parts

1 - MorningStar SL-10L-12v SunLight Solar Charge Controller

1 - 10a 12vdc fuse / breaker

1.5 meters red #6 awg wire

1.5 meters black #6 awg wire

1 - Assorted hardware to mount the controller and secure wiring against the wall


Controller to Loads Parts

1 - 12vdc - 50ah Deep Cycle Battery

2 - Brass Battery Bus Bars (to attach loads)

1 - 10a 12vdc fuse / breaker

1.5 meters red #12 awg wire

1.5 meters black #12 awg wire

1 - Assorted hardware to mount the bus bars and attach the wiring against the wall 

Edited by Parrothead
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dicey eye

an admirable, humanistic plan - though best not forget the ancient adage: no good deed goes unpunished.

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karma point ++++++

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an admirable, humanistic plan - though best not forget the ancient adage: no good deed goes unpunished.


I know that all too well. You - well I for sure, can only take so much of that sort of thing - seeing people go without, simply because something like this is too costly for them to buy. Obviously, I don't have to make anything off the systems. As long as they break even on costs, that's all that would matter to me. If I could get enough of these sold, it would mean a fairly regular income for at least two installers as well. 


The company that installed my first system here, charged $25 USD per support rack (1 rack for each panel). I KNOW that part could be done a hell of a lot cheaper. The cheapest MorningStar controller I have seen here is $200 USD. This controller would be under $100 USD, including shipping from the US. AND, it is a superior unit. Not sure if MorningStar controllers are made in the US, although it is a US based company. If I could save a similar percentage on panels and batteries, Lord only knows how many residents would be able to afford these systems.

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in Tom Sawyer, old Sam opines that work is what a body is obliged to do.

in reference to whitewashing the fence.

his asides on the subject are well worth reading.


he had more psychological insight than freud and jung combined, and less neurosis!

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Put an option in for 100 Ah battery. I'll get back to you on cheaper charge controllers. Have to look seems I've seen less than 20 amp PWM controllers for much less. From China through alibaba.com. Just looked  it up between 10 and 35 dollars for single units. 100 watt panel / 12v will produce about 9 amps or less. Fill a 50 Ah battery quickly. 7 hrs even with the slow top up charge


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From China through alibaba.com.

Since I have been doing this "solar" thing, I have had several opportunities to try out Chinese made solar charge controllers. They simply do not hold up like a quality made controller will. Not to mention, if I go with Midnite "Brat" charge controllers, they are rainproof. The case has two small holes drilled through the bottom, for drainage. Read the specs sheet here:






Another thing I can get through Midnite, that I cannot get through China, is they will work with me to customize these controllers specifically for use in Cambodia, for these specific projects.


I will be going with MorningStar SL-10L-12v SunLight Solar Charge Controllers, instead. As I added to the original post above, I had these donated to me by a company in the US, for this specific project.



100 watt panel / 12v will produce about 9 amps or less. Fill a 50 Ah battery quickly. 7 hrs even with the slow top up charge


Here are the specs for my 100 watts Just Solar panels.




As you can see, a 100 watts panel will have a maximum output rating between 5 and 6 amperes. A 50ah battery, at a 10% charge rate, would be 5 amperes. Changing it to a 100 ah battery would reduce that rate to 5%, which is too low, especially during rainy season.


Day before yesterday, my array attached to the Kid charge controller, an MPPT controller, was still bulk charging when the sun was dropping in the sky. I have 120ah battery attached to it, and 270 watts of panels. So, even over paneled for this battery, due to cloudy / rainy conditions, it didn't meet the minimum charge rate for the day. Fortunately for me, my overnight draw put the battery at lower than a 50% discharge, for the second day of autonomy. Yesterday, however, we had a full, sunny day all day. The battery was floating before noon, again. The point of all this rambling is, I don't want to over tax the panel with too much battery. The intention is to wire these systems with bus bars, through the load control of the "Brat", so it will disconnect the battery before the load kills it.



Edited by Parrothead

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Well, it took a bit to get around to getting them to send me an email. But, Just Solar, the company whose solar panels I exclusively use at the moment, sent me a price list. .66c US per watt (direct sales), a pretty cheap venture I would say. So, prior to import duties, and shipping costs, I could get them for $66 USD per 100 watts panel. (These would be the same panels that I paid $135 USD each, a year ago.) 


Mono Solar panel Offer.pdf


Poly Solar Panels Offer.pdf


These are two different types of panels. Mono panels perform slightly better in low light, than to Poly panels. The price difference is nil, wholesale, at a mere $2 USD difference in cost. 

Edited by Paul
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Mr Curious

after I put a bug in my friends ear he went and found a $100 setup that would be good for your neighbors. Kit comes with panel, moto size battery, some kinda junction/controller and two long leads with socket for bulb on the end. Got it setup at his rubber farm in Loei. Works a treat. Gone are the kerosene lanterns I bought. Guy was charging so many flashlights he'd hog half the outlets when he went home. I can't contact him to find out where he got em but it's a dandy lil setup. I'm sure it would not be too hard to find.

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moto size battery


There are a few reasons why this would not work. Here are three off the top of my mind:


1. A motorcycle battery is NOT a deep cycle battery. Therefore, it is not good for long term use in RE.

2. A motorcycle battery would only be, oh, probably around 12 amp hours.

3. IF a motorcycle battery could handle the repeated discharges, which it will not due to item #1 above, it could only be discharged at half its rated capacity, a MAXIMUM of 6 amp hours.


I could go with a smaller panel and a smaller battery. But, I want the people to have autonomy for days with no or slow solar charging. This is regarding rainy days, which sometimes can turn into a "rainy week", here in Cambodia.


I also see "package" deals offered by companies online, quite frequently. These "deals" usually include a shit built (READ: Cheap Chinese) solar charge  controller. The controller I will offer, was thought up, designed, and built in the US, by American workers who take pride in the product they offer the public. If you saw my "Kid" MPPT controller, you would see what I mean about a quality built unit.

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