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Bypass Diodes in Solar Panels

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  • Bypass Diodes in Solar Panels

    First, “thank you” to my fellow Grand Design Owners’ Forum Senior Moderators for their insights and suggestions to the content of the attached document.

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    The purpose of the attached PDF is to give the reader a basic understanding of why diodes are used in a solar panel.


    A bypass diode allows a panel (or multiple panels in different configurations) to still function at a reduced capacity if part of a panel is in the shade, or to bypass a panel in a series wired configuration if it is completely shaded.

    The intended audience are those with little or no electrical knowledge or experience and are researching solar panels for their RV.

    A diode can be thought of as a valve that is either open or closed. Another way of thinking of them is like a door—either the door is open (to pass through) or it’s closed. In reality there is much more nuance than just “open” or “closed”, but in keeping with this presentation’s goal the nuances are not addressed. Please keep that in mind as you progress through the slides—all of the circuits are overly simplified on purpose and there's an assumption made that any shade on a panel results in shutting down all power generation in the affected string or panel. That means if there's shade there's no flow of electricity--a “closed door”.

    The PDF steps through examples using Renogy Eclipse 100W solar panels. A brief construction overview of the panel is given, then how the panel reacts when subjected to shade (as if it did not have diodes), and finally how it reacts because it does have diodes. Finally, a few examples of panels wired in series, in parallel, and one example of a 400W series-parallel configuration is shown.

    Example diagrams from the PDF

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Diode Examples.JPG Views:	0 Size:	46.3 KB ID:	24308
    Last edited by howson; 11-13-2020, 03:05 PM.
    Forum moderators are not GD employees--we are volunteers and owners presumably just like yourself. Unless specifically mentioned otherwise, we have nothing to gain should you choose to purchase a product or engage a service we discuss on this forum.

    Howard, 2017 Ford F-350 DRW, '19 315RLTSPlus
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