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Old 02-08-2011, 21:04   #61
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Re: Davits solar panel mounted

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Originally Posted by Jef & Marin, Netherlands View Post
As you can see on the pictures, power production was pretty low with the gloomy winter weather here.
How's the solar output going in the summer months? Your installation is the Sanyo 235W single panel only?
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Old 02-08-2011, 21:43   #62
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Re: Solar Panels and Associated Systems

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Originally Posted by vayacondios View Post
Ive just sourced the Sunpower panels here in Cairns Australia.
Where did you source the Sunpower panels from? We're looking at them for a possible installation in Sydney.

Thanks
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Old 02-08-2011, 22:25   #63
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Re: Solar Panels and Associated Systems

Lots of good info here. Those considering a solar panel installation might want to read our Solar Panel page. I tried to angle it towards the average cruiser but there are some interesting numbers in there, like how many amp-hours you're likely to get in a day. (Sorry - we're a French cat, but not a Mahe...)
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Old 03-08-2011, 15:15   #64
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Re: Solar Panels and Associated Systems

We purchased our Sunpower panels in Cairns from NQ Solar. I have to believe there would be a distributor in Sydney.
We are so happy with the install. Weve been out from the marina for over two weeks now, and have not had to run the engines or generator once.

Silence is golden!
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Old 03-08-2011, 18:40   #65
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Re: Solar Panels and Associated Systems

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Originally Posted by vayacondios View Post
We purchased our Sunpower panels in Cairns from NQ Solar. I have to believe there would be a distributor in Sydney.
We are so happy with the install. Weve been out from the marina for over two weeks now, and have not had to run the engines or generator once.

Silence is golden!
Rozzie
Thanks Rozzie

What are the main power consumers on your vessel, e.g. frig(s), freezer, inverter (microwave etc), air con, chartplotter(s), etc? Do you know your typical power 'burn' in Amps?

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Old 03-08-2011, 18:55   #66
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Re: Solar Panels and Associated Systems

We have yet to figure out what our "burn" is in Amps.
We have converted all lights to LED. Have an external freezer. Other than normal sailing instruments (autopilot, radios, plotter) there is not much. No inverter or microwave. Air Con... (that's funny!) Were hoping that with an increase to battery amp hours, we will be able to run a watermaker next year.

I know on this forum previously, someone had done a spreadsheet with all the amp hours of various equipment. It was really clever. I would like to find that again. Would be helpful.

Rozzie
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Old 03-08-2011, 19:28   #67
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Re: Solar Panels and Associated Systems

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Originally Posted by vayacondios View Post
We have yet to figure out what our "burn" is in Amps.
We have converted all lights to LED. Have an external freezer. Other than normal sailing instruments (autopilot, radios, plotter) there is not much. No inverter or microwave. Air Con... (that's funny!) Were hoping that with an increase to battery amp hours, we will be able to run a watermaker next year.

I know on this forum previously, someone had done a spreadsheet with all the amp hours of various equipment. It was really clever. I would like to find that again. Would be helpful.

Rozzie
Thanks again Rozzie

So...you have basically a frig and a freezer and autopilot and (one?) chartplotter?

We too would like to see that spreadsheet, although for sure the watermaker will be a BIG power sucker!

We found the installation of a battery monitor was a great step...and came to the view that they really should be standard on any modern cruising vessel. Can't remember the name of our monitor right now -- I'll note it down when we're next aboard if you're interested? -- but it wasn't hugely expensive and evidently it's a well known unit...and it sure assisted our assessment and management of our battery bank.
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Old 03-08-2011, 20:20   #68
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Re: Solar Panels and Associated Systems

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...We too would like to see that spreadsheet, although for sure the watermaker will be a BIG power sucker!

We found the installation of a battery monitor was a great step...and came to the view that they really should be standard on any modern cruising vessel. Can't remember the name of our monitor right now -- I'll note it down when we're next aboard if you're interested? -- but it wasn't hugely expensive and evidently it's a well known unit...and it sure assisted our assessment and management of our battery bank.
Our son did an Energy Budget (all electrical consumers & producers) for Ocelot in Excel. It starts here with graphs & explanations on the pages under that. If anyone's interested I could probably dig out the raw spreadsheet & send it to you (erm... if I can find it...).

With Watermakers you can spend a lot up front & get an efficient unit or you can spend less for a less efficient unit that needs to run longer - efficiency here being defined as liters/AmpHour of electricity. We've found that we use about 15 liters/person/day of fresh water (more when diving), which costs us ~18Ah/day for 4 people. We run our watermaker every day or 2 for an hour or 2, depending. Since the output is somewhat voltage sensitive, we wait until the solar panels have brought the batteries up & the charge-controller is starting to regulate. At that point we're throwing away energy so that's when we run the watermaker. There's lots more info (installation tips, selection criteria, etc) on our Watermaker page.

Our battery monitor (Amp-Hour meter) is a Link Pro from Xantrex. I'm not a fan of Xantrex after they bought up many of their competitors & raised their prices (the Link Pro costs ~$250 & was originally made by Heart). But I'd like to see an alternator regulator that knew about the amp-hour state of the batteries, or that monitored the NET input to the batteries & didn't back down to float mode until that net dropped below a pre-set value. The current crop of "smart" regulators don't seem that smart to me.
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Old 03-08-2011, 21:33   #69
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Re: Solar Panels and Associated Systems

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Originally Posted by Jon Hacking View Post
Our son did an Energy Budget (all electrical consumers & producers) for Ocelot in Excel. It starts here with graphs & explanations on the pages under that. If anyone's interested I could probably dig out the raw spreadsheet & send it to you (erm... if I can find it...).:
I think a lot of us, me included, would be very appreciative if you could find that spreadsheet
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Old 03-08-2011, 21:59   #70
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Re: Solar Panels and Associated Systems

I took a look at the Sanyo and Sunpower websites. There isn't much in it between the two.

Sanyo have a panel rated at 18.6% efficiency that weighs 15kg. Sunpower has a panel rated at 19.1% efficiency that also weighs 15kg. The most efficient Sunpower panel is rated 20.1% but it is pretty big at 1560 x 1050mm, claimed output 330w and weighs 18.6kg. Many would not be able to fit a panel that size.
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Old 03-08-2011, 22:54   #71
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Re: Solar Panels and Associated Systems

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Originally Posted by Jon Hacking View Post
Our battery monitor (Amp-Hour meter) is a Link Pro from Xantrex. I'm not a fan of Xantrex after they bought up many of their competitors & raised their prices
Ah yes...that's the one (Link Pro) we use...and it's a great unit, or at least a HUGE improvement over what was installed by the factory. No idea about the corporate activities of Xantrex, but we just checked and, sure enough, the price of the unit now seems to be a lot higher than what we paid earlier this year. Pity, but it's still great to have all the information the Link Pro provides...and it's made a big difference to our confidence levels in the all-important battery-management process.
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:32   #72
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Power Consumption Excel Spread Sheet

Here is the Power Consumption Excel Spread Sheet everyone is looking for.
Thanks to Jef for putting it together.

Note: When you open the Excel spread sheet to click on the "Calculation" tab at the bottom.

Power consumption Mahe 36.xls

Lighting and LEDs

Mark
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Old 05-08-2011, 03:14   #73
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Re: Solar Panels and Associated Systems

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I think a lot of us, me included, would be very appreciative if you could find that spreadsheet
Thanks - I'm looking for ours but I think Mark's is probably more appropriate. Ours is 10 years old & apparently on an old Dell laptop in Seattle with no battery & a lost power brick... I'll post it if/when our son finds it.

Our calculations were based on sitting at anchor. Our 480W (nominal) PV array normally handles all our needs at anchor or even for day-sails, but everything changes when on passage. Not only are our panels shaded for half the day by the mainsail but our autopilot draws ~4A or ~100Ah/day, which isn't in the budget. So we tend to run an engine for an hour or 2 when we're on passage. Historically, that's only 7% of the time, so no great hardship (although if a towing generator crossed my path I'd probably grab it!)
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Old 09-08-2011, 23:26   #74
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Re: Solar Panels and Associated Systems

Hi Mahes

Can anyone point me at a programmable solar regulator that allows the cut in/cut voltages (or charging stages) to be user set? Most seem to have standard parameters per battery type and allow type selection.

I have fitted a LiFePo4 battery. On the face of it my basic solar reg seemed Ok but does not cut in because the base voltage of the battery is too high and it has a VERY flat volage discharge curve.

I don't think the BlueSky unit mentioned previously in the thread allows this level of adjustment? I think Powertech may allow it but I can't find sufficient detailed specs.

I will post some info on the battery later, still early days but I am pretty happy so far.

Cheers
Martin
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Old 10-08-2011, 01:40   #75
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Re: Solar Panels and Associated Systems

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Hi Mahes, Can anyone point me at a programmable solar regulator that allows the cut in/cut voltages (or charging stages) to be user set? ... I don't think the BlueSky unit mentioned previously in the thread allows this level of adjustment? ... Cheers, Martin
Hi Martin - our RV Power Products Solar Boost 50 certainly allows setting of all the voltage & current cut-in/out levels you could want. And I think that RVPP became Blue Sky Energy in California, so I'd think their MPPT controllers would also have that capability, but I haven't checked. Aside from a bit of rust on the case & slightly less than advertised performance (which we've had to accept in cruising equipment) & some RF in the SSB from the switching regulator, we've been happy with our SB50 since we installed it in 2002. Details of our installation here.
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