diy solar

diy solar

What was your worse DIY solar mistake ever?

Mattb4

Solar Wizard
Joined
Jul 15, 2022
Messages
4,380
Location
NW AR
In the process of DIY solar keeping everything right is not an easy task. Especially for those like myself that suffer from mental processing errors. What is a mental processing error you ask? For me this is looking right at something and allowing my mind to process it incorrectly. This led to one of my worse solar setup errors.

I was wiring up an inverter one afternoon. Fairly simple though it had a disconnect between battery and inverter. Black wire to Inverter negative, Red wire to inverter positive. From the disconnect the red wire should have been connected to battery positive and black to battery negative. Looking right at it I proceeded to wire it wrong. Still looking at things and not mentally recognizing that I had wired with the wrong polarity I turned on the disconnect. "Bzap!" The magic smoke proceeded out of the inverters guts.

How the heck could I be so blankety blank stupid I asked myself? It was right in front of me.

Not my only DIY solar error that was caused by my mental condition, or by moments of personal clumsiness, dropped wrench, bolts anyone? It however was worse in that it not only cost me a couple of hundred dollars but it made me feel dumb. Feeling dumb is no fun at all.

So, "What was one of your worse DIY solar errors?"
 
Pre-forum, I wired 3S 72 cell panels on a 150V MPPT. Fortunately, I learned BEFORE the winter temps pushed voltage > 150V, so this was just a $ mistake.

I have reversed polarity more than once. Most recent when I was using my 30V/10A PSU as a battery charger... reversed them and POP! Fortunately, it was just the diode across the output. $7.57 for a 30 pack of 6A diodes and 5 minutes of soldering... fixed.
 
Trusting a supplier to size a solar panel for my solar hot water system criculator pump. They sent me a 40 watt panel and it needed 60. I had hard piped the original panel with glued PVC conduit. I had to cut it off and put in 60 Watt Siemens panel I had kicking around temporarily. Its been like that for 23 years. The panel is getting a bit milky but still running the pump.
 
Solar system......
Nothing to report, yet.
Hopefully, there won't be.
40 years in the electrical field......
I have done some bonehead things in my years.
Luckily none have cost me my career or life.
Like the old saying, "measure twice cut once ".
I try to look everything over at least 3 times, before turning it on.
And this has saved me from embarrassment many times.
 
I was going to say making my own batteries, but that's been covered in a different thread..... and not really true.

Wouldn't really call it a mistake, but not planning ahead. I have limited space to install my solar, a bigger area would be nice. But, solar came along way after the house redesign, so such is life.

And, this place has helped me not make a lot of big mistakes. Amazing how much I did right because of searching this site.
 
I was recently rewiring my inverter to larger cables in preparation for an inspection in a few weeks. I had thougtht I had turned off the breaker and cut the neutral wire to begin replacing it with a larger wire. . I began seeing my garage lights alternate from bright to dim. I soon realized that without the neutral the L1 and L2 were varying in voltage. I shut down the breakers but not soon enough. Several LED fixtures had over volted. If it had been bulbs it would have been trivial. However these were under counter lights so besides the $75 to replace them, I have to spend time reaching under the cabinets to rewire the new ones.
 
Buying used 180W panels for $20 each for testing. Nbd about the bit of money wasted, but I didn't realize when I bought them that panels have an end of life value of -$20 here. There's no legal way to dispose of them except by paying a private waste hauler to drive them out of state. I ended up giving them away for free on craigslist and still felt like I was ripping them off.
 
Lots of years ago, my first solar installation on my 5th wheel trailer.
Hooked up the pwm controller to the battery, then hook up the solar panel- and smelled the magic smoke…
I had flipped pos and neg when connecting the SCC, and the batteries burned it up (no fuses)
the connection finally burned through before the wood behind the SCc caught fire.

That would have been an interesting phone call to the wife - hey I just burned down the 5th wheel and it caught our home on fire and damaged the neighbors too.

As it was I needed a new SCC and this was lots of years ago (20-ish), when we didn’t have lots of extra $$$ around and the SCC’s were more expensive.
 
My first mistake which I made 3 times in a row before I learned was that you're meant to connect the battery first. I was pulling my hair out wondering wtf is going on :ROFLMAO:

I then purchased some $13 mppts with usb ports to charge a couple of LFP drop-ins. Within 18 months the LFP drop-ins were dead - they were kept at 14.6v all day everyday - I didn't know that was a bad thing.

Every once in a while I will connect black to red and red to black, burn my hands and curse myself for being such an idiot.


Not selling my 7 Tesla model S battery modules when someone offered me 10 bitcoins for them 8 years ago.
I feel ya, I had a similar opportunity and thought btc was a waste of time back then (15-16yrs ago).

Buying used 180W panels for $20 each for testing. Nbd about the bit of money wasted, but I didn't realize when I bought them that panels have an end of life value of -$20 here. There's no legal way to dispose of them except by paying a private waste hauler to drive them out of state. I ended up giving them away for free on craigslist and still felt like I was ripping them off.

most of the panels I own are old 2nd $20/175-190watters. Surprisingly they overproduce @ 198w occasionally.
 
My biggest mistake was starting too small. First an energizer solar generator from Costco. Then the EcoFlow Delta 2 Max with 2 expansion batteries and portable panels. Then the EG4 3k. Currently using the 6000xp with proper ground mounted rigid panels and planning to add a second 6000xp. I would have saved a lot of money by starting with a better system like the 6000xp with rigid panels. All those upgrades cost me a lot of time and money.
 
If I could only find my old BTC wallet info, I'd have a few hundred bucks at least. 15 years ago itbwas a lot of nothing and worth even less. Well...

For solar, worst so far is buying brass bars, and buying 230Ah cells 2 years ago that aren't even in service yet and now I could buy 280Ah cells for less than I paid for the 230Ah. Oh well.

Give me time, I'm sure I'll blow something up. Hopefully nothing too expensive. I have my name for a reason...
 
Back
Top