Solar Power to Gate Opener

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Old 12-24-13, 09:07 AM
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Solar Power to Gate Opener

I bought a new Elite Miracle 1 gate opening system a few years ago and I'm finally ready to install it. Though it can be set up with 115 VAC power and converter to DC, it can also operate (according to the manual) with Elite's Solar 3 solar panel. If I bought that particular panel it would be very expensive ($900+). The Elite Solar 3 specs are: 64 watts, 16.5 volts (which implies 3.9 amps). Then they say (in the manual) I would need to buy a DC converter to convert from 12 VDC (even though the panel output is 16.5V) to 24 VDC.
My question: can I just buy a solar panel with about 24 volts output so I don't need the converter? I can buy an 80-watt solar panel on Craigslist that has an output of about 21 VDC, 4.6 amps:
(80 watt Solar Panel, 12 volt use. New-cond)

Would that work?

Thanks for the help!
 
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Old 12-24-13, 09:49 AM
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The only thing missing in your equation is the draw of the gate motor. The output of the solar panel is likely not going to be enough to run the motor and what would you do on a cloudy day or night time?

It appears, if I am looking at the right model, that everything is 24 volt DC (Except the transformer is 34 volt DC output??) I would suggest using two deep cycle batteries wire in series for your 24 volts and use a 24 volt solar panel to charge the batteries. You could likely buy two of the 12 volt panels and wire them in series, but that would need to be confirmed.
 
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Old 12-24-13, 10:17 AM
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I forgot to mention that there is already a 24-volt battery in the circuit. As per the manual, the solar panel is routed directly to the battery. I assumed the solar panel just trickle-charges the battery, and then at night and on cloudy days I still have juice to run the motor. So with that, would the 21 VDC solar panel I want to buy work for that?
 
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Old 12-24-13, 10:39 AM
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I don't think so unless you can get two and wire them in series. The solar panel output needs to be higher than the battery voltage to charge the battery, similar to a cars alternator. A cars alternator's output is about 14 VDC for a 12 volt battery. 21 VDC will do nothing to charge a 24 volt battery. You need to look for a solar panel that is rated for 24 volts. The one you are looking at on CL is designed for a 12 volt system, not 24v.
 
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Old 12-24-13, 10:48 AM
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"21 VDC will do nothing to charge a 24 volt battery"

That's exactly what I needed to know. So I will look into getting two 12V panels in series or one 24V panel. Do you think the rated wattage of the panel will matter much?
 
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Old 12-24-13, 11:00 AM
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Or I could still get the CL one and get a $30 12 VDC to 24 VDC converter, I assume.
 
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Old 12-24-13, 11:31 AM
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The panel wattage required would depend on how much the opener is used to keep the battery topped off.

Yes, any of the above options would work.
 
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Old 12-24-13, 07:44 PM
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Great, thanks!

The gate will be used only 3-4 times a day on average.
 
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