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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #1 
I have a 1977 van with solar panels that I use to charge a battery bank for stuff in my van. The van also has a hydrogen generator HHO that either runs off my existing battery bank or I run off the alternator of the van by throwing a 3 way switch with relays. So when i run hysrogen generator off my current battery bank i get 5-10mpg better mileage totally from the suns help. The solar set up i have is a simple harbor freight 45 watt kit (my only mod was to ad a diode to the controller/charger between the controller/charger and the batteries so it does not drain batteries at night. Maybe most people here frown on the heavy old school harbor freight panels but it was what i can afford at the time. And they do work and have held up 00r0r_ifSQLuu61Bq_600x450.jpg  enough in sunny colorado for my use. My question revolves around using isolators. I just bough a used battery isolator for $10 on CL (Sure-Power 9523A) and what is extra good about it is that can charge multiple battery banks meaning if i hook it to my alternator it will charge the car battery and also charge two other battery banks. That is how most people use this isolator and what it is intended for. So in essence it isolates 3 batteries or battery banks so they do not affect each other. I do not really understand isolators are they just 1 way diodes. I do not understand why they get hot since they are built with heat sinks I wonder exactly how they work. I want to see if I can connect the isolator to the solar set up. I have an electric scooter on a bike hitch on the back of my van and i was thinking of taking out the 12v batteries and charging them in a systematic way when driving on the hwy on road trips and then using the scooter around town (scooter runs 3 12v batteries in series at 36volts and i usually use a AC 110v wall charger for charging them from my house that charges while still in series). So Im wondering if anyone has ever rigged an isolator up to a solar panel charging controller to charge multiple battery banks from the solar panels. I do not see many discussions with details on this. Even if I do not charge the scooter batteries I think I do want two separate banks for i have a few electronic devices in my car plus the HHO (hydrongen generator). whatever i do if there is  a way to have it both the existing battery bank and the batteries for my scooter or another bank charging at the same time through the solar with the isolator that is what i want to do. I want to be able get everything to charge from the sun at the same time. If that works I could also install quck disconnect wires or switches to use the isolator either with the alternator of the car when driving or with the solar. I know it would take a few different switches or diconnections to make sure the solar was disconnected from the batteries when charging from the alternator but it could be the ideal system for road trips. I also imagine maybe the solar would keep my car battery topped off if I had the isolator rigged to the solar and still the car battery connected. I just do not see many discussions about isolator with solar and wondering if it can be done. I do not think isolators drain or loose energy in their operation (am i correct) is there anything that make them not that desirable with solar? Of course the more banks the slower the charging of each one. any thoughts?  This is the isolator https://www.amazon.com/Battery-Isolator-Sure-Power-Industries/dp/B00CC0EP20
the solar panel set up is 45 watt and it is the harbor freight thunderbolt magnum 45 Watt Solar Panel Kit 10 Pc Kit. If the panels ever fail i will just upgrade the panels to more modern type and proably still use the ok charge controller that came with the harbor freight set up. 



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Posts: 1,067
Reply with quote  #2 
Hi and welcome to our forum. That's quite a wall of words to digest all at once.

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Questions are great! We love to help and we are eager to answer yours. That said, for best results, rather than giving a long list of questions, please break them down individually and send them in small, bites sized posts.

Both temperature rise and airflow are integral to comparing hot air collectors

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Posts: 2,897
Reply with quote  #3 
Hi and welcome to the forum!

The battery isolator is just 3 big diodes potted in epoxy, one for each battery. Like any diode there's a voltage drop, and when you push that much power through them there's going to be heat and some power loss. Also because of the voltage drop your batteries don't get a full charge without setting up your alternator accordingly. You do this by connecting the "sense" wire to one of the battery terminals of the isolator. Which one is up to you, and that's the one the isolator will "read". I don't know how or if you can do this with a one-wire alternator, or with solar.

MOST solar charge controllers take their power from the battery. However the diodes in the isolator won't allow this, and you might not be able to use your charge controller with the isolator. It will depend on your controller.

Considering the price I'd check it to make sure it's still good. I imagine you can use a multimeter, or an alternator shop could probably do it.

Battery isolators are considered old technology though they still work and folks still use them.

Solar is like the wind. It may be free, but putting it to work isn't!
Willie, Tampa Bay
Rick H Parker

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Posts: 805
Reply with quote  #4 
" (scooter runs 3 12v batteries in series at 36volts and i usually use a AC 110v wall charger for charging them from my house that charges while still in series). "

I would get a second scooter charger (~ $12 - $13 on eBay), crack open the case, measure the DC voltage from the bridge rectifier, get a buck converter that will buck 12V to the measured voltage, connect the buck converter to the output of the bridge rectifier. You now have a 12V in - 36V out charger.

Rick H Parker
Kansas, USA
Electronics Engineering Technologist

Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #5 
thanks for the help. I really think i understand isolators and figure they are designed for high amperage alternators. I see now if I want to build and isolator for the solar panel charging i would not need as big diodes since the solar panel puts out way less amps than the alternator. I infer that is why the solar panels take a longer time to charge a battery than an alternator does. 

Regarding getting a a buck–boost converter, that is a great idea and saves me a lot of trouble. What an awesome idea. I knew there was something like this but just did not know the name. Thanks.  
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