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Old 10-08-2011, 06:30   #76
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Re: Solar Panels and Associated Systems

MKB53 (Martin),

Jon Hacking is correct that the BlueSky SB50L will give you more control of your settings.

BlueSky SB50L has dip switches, but also has variable pots for setting.
Float Current
Charge Voltage
Float Voltage
MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking)

The Blue Sky SB3024i that most Mahes are using is perfect for the FP standard factory calcium battery setup.

Your LiFePo4 battery setup would need a BlueSky SB50L

Mark
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Old 11-08-2011, 00:52   #77
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Re: Solar Panels and Associated Systems

Hi Jon & Mark

Thanks for the prompt feedback on the controllers.

I have decided on one that was recommended by the LiFePo4 battery supplier that is fully customisable. It is not MPPT so I guess I will forego a bit of power but it is very flexible and has a specific profile for the Lifetech battery.

Short notice availability was a big factor and it ended up being cheaper as well. An Australian manufactured one called a Plasmatronics Dingo20/20. (A Dingo is a wild dog) This is a new version of their PL20 which is more or less equivalent.

I will give an update when it is fitted.
It took me a while to work out why the old one was not charging!

Cheers
Martin
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Old 12-08-2011, 01:13   #78
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Re: Solar Panels and Associated Systems

Hi Mahe's !!
some news from my Lipari !
I've just finished the install of 3 semi flexible solar panels on my cockpit roof.
100W each one, using a MPPT regulator I have nearly 15A of charge !!
with 330 A of Victron gel batteries it is really enough for me !
all my lamps including nav one are leds, and my bigger amp. consumer is the fridge !
hard job to drive the cables to the batteries, but nice finish state.
here are some photos !

have a nice weekend !!
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Old 12-08-2011, 10:30   #79
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Re: Solar Panels and Associated Systems

Can you walk on those semi flexible panels?
Not all are rated for that.
If they are, I'd be interested in a link as my old Unisolars are "getting there".
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Old 15-08-2011, 11:29   #80
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Re: Solar Panels and Associated Systems

Hi steve, yep can walk on them but not dance with women "stiletto shoes"
it's a french society.
www.lrsolaire.com/
but you should find somewhere closer to you ...
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Old 15-08-2011, 15:24   #81
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Re: Solar Panels and Associated Systems

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver66 View Post
Hi Mahe's !!
some news from my Lipari !
I've just finished the install of 3 semi flexible solar panels
They look great Oliver, just the look The Admiral here could be interested in.

What brand are they? Arinco perhaps?
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Old 09-11-2011, 03:43   #82
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Re: Solar Panels and Associated Systems - Top mount

HI guys, used the forum when making decisions around solar so time to contribute to knowledge pool.

Photos provide better information than a heap of blurb, but
Basically I mounted my solar panels on the rear trailing edge of the Mahe Evolution's Bimini top. Slightly higher than the top of the traveler (also on bimini) and slightly aft to minimise drag (created a detached rotor).

Fore of panel mounted on short SS struts (150mm) bolted into Bimini top and rear supported by 1300mm SS struts connected to factory Bimini supports. SS frame supports whole of panel area on underside. I am 6'4'' and have plenty of clearance under panel on both side walkways.

Went for top of bimini as it gets the panels out of the shade generated by the Bimini/boat, although I do get some slight boom shade at times, but one panel is always clear. Also less congestion around dingy davits.

Installed two 185W Schott solar panels into a Tristar MPPT. I was able to run the solar output wires down the inside of the Bimini support struts and into the deck sole via a gland.

Happy with result although I will be installing a DuoGen shortly as I suffer from serious energy shortage and the water mode will be very useful I believe (hope).

Only change I may consider would be some capacity to lift or depress either fore or aft edge to increase solar panels efficiency by aligning it to an optimum angle to sun. I didn't as this would have significantly increased complexity of build and I wasn't sure how much the gain would have been .

cheers

scott
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Old 09-11-2011, 16:21   #83
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Re: Solar Panels and Associated Systems - Top mount

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity129 View Post
Went for top of bimini as it gets the panels out of the shade generated by the Bimini/boat, although I do get some slight boom shade at times, but one panel is always clear. Also less congestion around dingy davits.

cheers

scott
Have installed exactly same system as Scott on our Lipari 41, SV Katmazu and also works well. Only had to run engines at anchor to add to charge 3 times in 5 months in the Med but then Scott probably has a lot of gadgets

Have also added additional 60w semi flex panel on rigid bimini to (float) charge start battery. Not sure if it has enough power to activate voltage changeover switch to charge house batteries when start battery full.

Toys with Time
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Old 09-11-2011, 16:32   #84
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Re: Power needed for overnight passages

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cotemar View Post
Martin,

For Overnight passages my plan is to add an ECOPILOT to lower the autopilot power consumption.

Mark

I tried adding an Ecopilot to my Furuno 700 series autopilot but doesnt work and apparently Ecopilot is currently only designed for earlier models of autopilot. Was very quick & easy to fit but it stopped the autopilot working until removed.

T w T
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Old 10-11-2011, 08:29   #85
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Mounting of solar panel on bimini

Hi all,
Last winter I have mounted two 235W Sanyo solar panels, one which can be rotated on the davits and one on the bimini. It has worked wonderfully last summer during our return trip Netherlands-Portugal. With sun on both panels I have seen 25 ampere produced.
I got a lot of inspiration from Cotemar's description, but of course I wanted to (hopefully) improve on his system...
I have described the system and the davits construction in posts 47, 50 and 52 of this thread.
Now I want to inform you how I mounted the second panel on the bimini.
I mounted it more forward than Cotemar did. Reasons:
- Less chance of the bimini flapping against the frame (because the rear corner of the solar panel is closer to the mounting)
- Wires could pass through the roof neatly
- Weight more central
- Fewer holes required in the bimini.
But admittedly 4 holes have to be made in the roof: 2 for the threads and 2 for the electrical wires, with cable glands.

Front mounting: I made 2 blocks from massive PVC using saw and file. This took some patience, the upper and lower surfaces of the blocks are not parallel. I could have used tropical wood but don't like to paint.
See attached drawing. I tapped thread 8 mm in this block, using studs to mount the PVC block with sealant to the roof. A nut is on the inside of the ship. The solar panels are connected to the PVC block with 2 bolts and nyloc nuts in recessed holes. Note that with this construction (and the nylocs) it is difficult for thieves to take the solar panel off without going inside to remove the 8 mm nut.
On the rear side I have used two Gemini split type side mounts just as Cotemar did, see post number 20 and previous of this thread. In the bimini I made 2 holes strengthened with stainless steel rings with 17 mm internal diameter.
The 18 mm tops of the Gemini side mounts had to made oval with a file to allow them to go through this 17 mm hole. (next size was 25 mm, that's too big).

Around the stems of the Gemini side mounts I mounted short pieces of hose, cut open on the side. I used two inside each other of different diameter. The inner one is a tight fit around the stems, the other one a tight fit around the inner. They are fixed with tie-wraps. The length is chosen so that they press the eyes in the bimini on the Gemini side mounts.
They prevent wear by flapping of the bimini against the sides and corners of the solar panel, and also prevent rain water getting through the holes in the bimini.

Under the solar panel the electrical cables pass inside the cabin using cable glands.

To remove the bimini for the winter: for this the rear mounting has to be detached, the bimini has to be lifted over the Gemini side mounts. Despite the rigid front PVC mounting, there is enough torsion in the solar panels to lift the solar panel 1-2 cm to slip the bimini over the Gemini side mounts. First you need to detach the port hexagonal-headed bolt fixing the solar panel to the Gemini side mount. Then you slip the bimini over the Gemini side mount. Then re-mount this bolt. Then repeat the process for the other bolt.

The electrical wiring can nicely be brought to the port engine room through an existing duct and the navigation table furniture. It is only visible just under the roof.
If somebody wants a description of this let me know.

Of course this solar panel is especially useful for sailing west in the northern hemiphese, especially with southerly winds. But combined with the davits panel we get enough electricity, even on gloomy days.
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Old 10-11-2011, 08:37   #86
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Ecopilot not working

Toys with Time,
Just a hunch:
There could be a current monitor circuit in the bypass clutch driver of the Furuno 700, as there is in the 511 autopilot. This current monitor circuit might be confused by the Ecopilot current being high initially, then lowering.
You could try to connect the Ecopilot via a standard car relais.
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Old 11-11-2011, 17:49   #87
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Re: Ecopilot not working

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jef & Marin, Netherlands View Post
Toys with Time,
Just a hunch:
There could be a current monitor circuit in the bypass clutch driver of the Furuno 700, as there is in the 511 autopilot. This current monitor circuit might be confused by the Ecopilot current being high initially, then lowering.
You could try to connect the Ecopilot via a standard car relais.
Jef & Marin

Any chance of a simple circuit diagram to explain where the relay fits into the circuit?

Cheers

TwT
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Old 14-11-2011, 14:28   #88
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Ecopilot not working

Toys with Time, see attached quite clumsy drawing.
A car relay has 4 connections: two for the coil / solenoid, you can find these with an ohmmeter, should show some resistance of between 50 and 300 ohms probably. These two connections should be connected to the original bypass cylinder output of the autopilot.
When the autopilot is activated, the car relay will get power and close the switch. This witch uses the other 2 connection of the car relay.
Use these contacts to bring 12 V to the ecopilot.

Initially I had this circuit in our ship. Installed by a Furuno technician. But at some moment I removed it, and it still worked.
The relay was mounted by this technician in a plastic box on the port side of the port engine. There is already some wires, and maybe a relay, in this box for the control of the electric winch (which should only work when the port engine is running).

Hope this is clear enough. I would suggest that you first mount it quick and dirty, and if it helps, spend the time to do it nicely and relaibly.
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Old 01-09-2015, 11:57   #89
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Re: Solar Panels and Associated Systems

Hi Mahes,

It's been a while since there was an addition to this thread but seeing as I've pulled so much great info from this forum, time to contribute with our solar installation.

Mahe #110, year built 2009, just the year before the hard-top so we have installed our panels to the canvas soft-top. We have added four Solbian flexible panels with a total of 345 watts, three on the bimini top and one on the cabin top. We are living aboard full-time in the Caribbean and I have posted pictures and details of the installation and our thoughts and experiences on our blog here.

Catherine.
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Old 01-09-2015, 18:13   #90
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Re: Solar Panels and Associated Systems

Thanks Catherine.


Are you independent of running motors/generator with 345 watts?
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