County Line R/C President Mark Holmes puts the finishing touches on the roof-mounted solar panels.
The heart of the solar power setup is in the
shed and includes a solar controller and deep-cycle batteries. Not much time passed before the charge stations were tested!
Charging at a flying field can be challenging unless you are lucky enough to belong to a club that
already has power installed. My local
club, County Line R/C in Summerfield,
North Carolina, convened a meeting
of its members to explore options for
installing power. We decided to look into
having a line run from the street to the
club shelter for AC power.
For weeks, our club president,
Mark Holmes, chased down all of the
right people and filled out all of the
right paperwork. Things were looking
great for having a power line run to
the shelter. The installation was free
with a negligible monthly bill, but
unfortunately, we ran into a small
problem. In the event that the club left
the property, there would be a large fee
for having the line removed. Without
going into more detail, an agreement
could not be reached and we had to
abandon that option.
Our second option was solar power.
Again, Mark stepped up. The club
approved a budget and Mark went
ahead with the research and ordered
the parts we needed. For approximately
$1,400, we ended up with two 100-watt
solar panels, a 40-amp solar controller,
two 100 Ah deep-discharge batteries,
seven charging stations, an emergency
cutoff switch, and all of the wiring, fuses,
wood, and miscellaneous hardware
needed to get the job done.
The two solar panels were mounted
on a wooden frame at approximately a
35° angle. The frame was bolted to the
roof of our clubhouse.
The clubhouse has a lockable shed,
where we installed the solar controller
and deep-cycle batteries. On the outside
wall of the shed, we ran the seven charge
stations, each with its own 50-amp
automotive fuse. The solar panels keep
the batteries charged and automatically
shut off when the batteries are ready.
Solar power has its advantages. After
the initial expense of purchasing and
installing the equipment, there is no
maintenance required and no monthly
bill. It also runs silently—no noisy
generator or exhaust fumes! Our setup
works well. If you are interested in more
technical details, you can reach out to
Mark for more information. His contact
information is listed in the “Sources.”
110 Model Aviation JULY 2017 www.ModelAviation.com
Solar power at the field