Solar - knowing just enough to be dangerous

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RamblinRogue

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As you can tell from my signature, my biggest concern about solar is space and the second is, naturally, price.

The Renogy 100w Starter Kit on Amazon looks pretty good but I still have to measure the Rio to see if the panels will fit anywhere with everything else I have to pack. I have to get a battery and have most definitely decided on the AGM. From what I've read, it's seems the safest in the small space I have available and, with care, should still be good when I upgrade to a van.

I have a laptop for which I have the 12v 100w inverter/charger recommended by the laptop manufacturer. I have a tablet and my phone and, for the most part, that's what I would need to power up. As the laptop charger also has two USB ports, it seems I would only need the 12v port on jumper cables to be able to power up my devices.

Yes, I am about to get to the point.  ;)

Since that charger is also an inverter, do I need to worry about having a fuse in-line at this point?

See? I finally got there.

Many, many thanks!
 

Deal Breaker

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Can a portable solar system be used to charge your existing vehicle battery and then continue using the vehicle as your primary source of power? If that is possible it might eliminate the need for secondary battery (weight and space). I'm guessing that might shorten the life of traditional vehicle battery, IDK.....
 

tx2sturgis

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If this 100w inverter/charger is the type that plugs into a cigarette lighter type outlet, it will already have a fuse in that plug.
 

MrAlvinDude

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If a house battery is added, it is always advisable to equip that battery with a master in-line fuse. 

Fuses should be placed close to the plus of the battery. Because this way they protect the entire wire.

Fuses are used to protect wires (and sockets/plugs) from over heating.
 

MrAlvinDude

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How can the laptop inverter/charger be connected to the battery?

If it can only be connected using a 12V car plug, then it is like tx2sturgis says, very likely that the plug has an internal fuse.

If you do however add your own, separate 12V  socket to connect that laptop to, then it is likely that one day it might be handy to also use it for something else, and then it is very advisable that an in-line fuse is on the plus to that 12V car socket.


So how do you plan to connect that laptop inverter/charger to the battery? 
Directly, using crocodile grips or via a socket/plug solution? 



If you connect the solar system to the house battery, you do should that, so there is a fuse on the wire leading to plus on the battery, and the fuse should be placed close to the battery.
 

John61CT

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I'm not addressing the bigger questions here ATM, but did want to step in to say that

standard ciggie sockets are a dangerous abortion,  avoid like the plague for anything important, or that you use regularly, or for more than a few minutes.

Blue Sea has a nice socket design that twist-locks with the matching plug, but will also accept standard ciggie plugs for smaller (<10A) loads.

Also the BMW/ Hella/ Merit/ Powerlet "Euro-style DIN" (ISO 4165) style is very robust.

Anderson plugs for high amps. If you standardize on one of the last two types, there are adapters for devices with ciggie plugs.
 

tx2sturgis

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Let's be practical.

The problem with the powerlets is that they are almost completely useless here in the USA.

NOTHING you can buy anywhere in any store (off the shelf or pegboard) in the USA is compatible.... 

(not counting specialty or euro-boutique stores)

My Ural came with a powerlet port..but a wire cutter and a replacement 'substandard' regular ol' 12 power port fixed it up just fine!

The OP would have to change BOTH ends to make that work, and if you're going to do that, it's best to go with something better, and at least has some level of interoperability with other products. 

I have run laptops for almost 2 decades with 12v standard power ports.

Well made USA type 12v power ports are fine for a small 12v item like this.
 

highdesertranger

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ok the OP asked if they need a fuse, I think we are all in agreement they do. until we know what type of inverter/charger they have all of this other stuff is irrelevant. we have had several complaints recently about this exact thing. some one asks a question and gets a bunch of technical irrelevant answers. please try to answer the OP question not a bunch of other things. if anybody wants to start a thread about the best 12v plug and socket feel free. highdesertranger
 

John61CT

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I just wanted to give what I think are the best options for people to choose.

Whatever you prefer to choose as *your* standard, you buy the plugs and install the ports as needed.

And easy to make an adapter for guests wanting to plug something in temporarily.
 

Trebor English

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Back to the original question:
 
RamblinRogue said:
Since that charger is also an inverter, do I need to worry about having a fuse in-line at this point?

It is just a load.  It could be a light bulb.  The nature of the load doesn't matter.  The socket it plugs into and the wire feeding the socket should be protected by a fuse close to the battery but the load itself doesn't matter.  The high power available from the battery is the problem.  

The output of the inverter / charger feeding the laptop doesn't need to be fused because the inverter / charger is limited in its ability to produce power to the point that it cannot overheat and burn the output wire.
 

John61CT

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What laptop manufacturer recommended that?

And it's just an inverter, no charging functionality.

The products usually known as an "inverter / charger", besides having much greater capacity as an inverter, the charger part is designed to be plugged into mains power and recharge the big battery that feeds the inverter when off-grid.
 

highdesertranger

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to answer your question the fuse is in the plug that you plug into the cigarette lighter. highdesertranger
 

RamblinRogue

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John61CT said:
What laptop manufacturer recommended that?

And it's just an inverter,  no charging functionality.

The products usually known as an "inverter / charger",  besides having much greater capacity as an inverter, the charger part is designed to be plugged into mains power and recharge the big battery that feeds the inverter when off-grid.

Apple -- and it charges my Macbook just fine.
 

tx2sturgis

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John61CT said:
The products usually known as an "inverter / charger",  besides having much greater capacity as an inverter, the charger part is designed to be plugged into mains power and recharge the big battery that feeds the inverter when off-grid.

That's a different kind of inverter/charger. I knew what he meant, hence my advice about the fuse being in the plug, way up there!

BTW, sometime I use the term cigarette lighter plug, we all do, but I usually try to call the socket a 12v power port, since there IS a difference. 

An actual, cigarette lighter SOCKET can get crud on the center connector inside the socket if its used with the cigarette lighter to actually light cigarettes.
 
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