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Old 16-02-2016, 09:17   #16
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Re: Mounting solar panels

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Originally Posted by jbinbi View Post
Never a thing as too much power , ESPECIALLY if you are going to do extended cruising and want some amenities. From reading his other posts, I don't want to put words in his mouth, but I thought he wanted to do that. Refrig, washing machine, auto pilot,watermaker, electric windlass, etc. when you are not docking for 3 weeks all use lots of amps. You don't always get sunny days, so more panels help out. And cost of a panel is under $300, lasts for 5 to 10 years you hope, so your cost per day vs. what it gives you is a great bargain IMO.

I am just thinking of being out for 3 days without plugging in and wondering if 420Ah battery bank and 550w solar will be enough....
Unless you start to do dumb things like running the inverter 24/7 and boiling water in an electrical kettle it should be OK.

We have 560Wp in total, 240Wp on the davits and 320Wp on the bimini, and some of this is always shaded.

We have not been plugged into shore power for 3.5months cruise in the Med last summer, even though we spent two nights in Marinas. Our small 315Ah batteries have been full around noon, except in very bad weather.

We don't have a freezer, but we have a large fridge, small watermaker, charge several tablets & mobiles every day, have a small windows PC running 24/7, plus of course all the typical stuff like autopilot and chartplotter. We even started to burn surplus energy by making bread using a 220v breadmaker.

There is such thing as too much power: As soon as solar panels interfere with aestetics or are in the way.
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Old 16-02-2016, 13:49   #17
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Re: Mounting solar panels

"There is such a thing as too much power:" You think?

Congratulations Scottster great looking setup, once you get a feel for how quickly your batteries recharge each day, think about putting the excess power into hot water or something else useful. (I use a 1 hour timer switch to connect Inverter to hot water element, this is enough time to heat 60 lt of water, then takes another hour to recover back to 100% SOC)

The downside of that much obvious power on the back of your boat is having to explain all the time to others. I ended doing a printable sketch of my system explaining what I had and how it was connected.

It usually starts with
Why do you need so much power?
What have you got there anyway?
So while the inquiring mind waits for the color printer to do it's thing and looking at the drawing on the 32 inch computer screen, I will make them a coffee with the Auto Coffee machine. They usually seem to start to get it about then.

Since moving onto the boat full time 18 months ago we have added a 240 volt ac toaster, kettle, bread maker, ice cream maker and yogurt maker.

Do you need these to live on the hook, No way! but homemade ice cream made from long life milk and cream goes down a treat on anchor. After a days sailing pulling a fresh loaf of bread out of the bread maker that did it's thing during the passage has it's own rewards. People will counter with I make my own bread with the gas oven and that is fine, but gas is a fuel you pay for and has to be refilled, the solar just does its thing for free.

The best thing about the large array is not the 100 amp / hour output on a sunny day, but the 20 to 30 amps / hour on the overcast day.

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Old 16-02-2016, 19:07   #18
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Re: Mounting solar panels

Nice setup, Scottster. That should give you many days of quiet, free power. The extra shelter for the rear deck and clothes line hanging space are a bonus. Did I mention the fishing rod racks underneath?

We have a similar setup ( our "verandah" ) and have run the wires through rectangular section PVC conduit to the hole for the aft steaming light. This light was repositioned on the rear of the solar array. From here the wires were run inside the cockpit ceiling then down to the regulators inside the hull wall.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulinOz View Post
"There is such a thing as too much power:"

The best thing about the large array is not the 100 amp / hour output on a sunny day, but the 20 to 30 amps / hour output on the overcast day.
Definitely agree, PaulinOz. Never too much power. There's probably a few other commodities that you can't have too much of, on a boat. A good topic for another thread!

Whilst it's important to have plenty of power in all conditions whilst at anchor; our solar challenge comes when sailing. This is when our large power consumption becomes even larger, due to electronics, autopilot, etc. The panels are often partially shaded by the sails to make matters worse. This is when too much power becomes just enough.

If there is a downside of too many Amps flowing from those panels, it's the limited ability of the battery bank to accept them. The solution is a LiFePO4 battery bank. It's a marriage made in heaven.
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Old 17-02-2016, 14:06   #19
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Re: Mounting solar panels

Glad everyone has chimed in.
To much power?
Never, we call the systems on our boat D.O.C. ( degree of comfort)
When I listen to old school sailors talk about no refrigeration and sextants I congratulate them and move on.
My favourite story about DOC came from a guy on Vancouver Island that tells of his most exciting day of his life ( and that included the birth of his 3 kids)' was the day he sailed into Tonga by sextant, quite a day I would say. His wife reminds him that he checked every day the accuracy of his noon site on the GPS.
He has no refrigeration, hanks, no lines lead back, no Bimini, no water maker, no solar, no electronics.
At his home he has a fantastic array of modern things to make his life comfortable.
Why would he be so negative to new tech on his boat.
My boat is my home for one and I understand that some things that I have installed won't get the use when I start out but I will learn and adapt accordingly.
My solar will allow me to stay independent.
I am an electrician, I do have a limited skill set regarding solar but the theory is basic and the logistics of the install very basic ( for me).
My calculations indicated that 750 w. of solar would work, now for me to install the 3 panels it would take "X" number of hours, to add 2 more would not take any more time.
My controllers had to be sized larger( I actually installed 2 for redundancy reasons) but that being said the big solar array will give me quiet power and lots of it, even on cloudy days.
I can hit the Lithium hard and make the DOC level go way up.Click image for larger version

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Old 27-02-2016, 17:56   #20
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Re: Mounting solar panels

Scott - nice job on the solar install. Have fun with it. Ran in a guy here yesterday who we met last season. He told me that he copied my design as well and he is vry happy. Now his objective is to never start the generator again.

Just sitting at anchor here in the Bahamas at night. Today I have seen peaks of 115A coming off my solar (max is 120A - 2 time Outback 60 on 1800W). I started the watermaker for 3 hours at about 11am, because the batteries were getting full. I still had 60+A coming in, so I started the water heater (I have a simple wind-up 1 hour timer on it) to soak up the extra juice. I also started the ice maker for about 1.5 hours.

My wife was happy to be able to have a second hot shower in the afternoon after returning from a long walk with the dog.
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Old 01-03-2016, 19:20   #21
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Re: Mounting solar panels

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Originally Posted by roetter View Post
Scott - nice job on the solar install. Have fun with it. Ran in a guy here yesterday who we met last season. He told me that he copied my design as well and he is vry happy. Now his objective is to never start the generator again.

Just sitting at anchor here in the Bahamas at night. Today I have seen peaks of 115A coming off my solar (max is 120A - 2 time Outback 60 on 1800W). I started the watermaker for 3 hours at about 11am, because the batteries were getting full. I still had 60+A coming in, so I started the water heater (I have a simple wind-up 1 hour timer on it) to soak up the extra juice. I also started the ice maker for about 1.5 hours.

My wife was happy to be able to have a second hot shower in the afternoon after returning from a long walk with the dog.


LOVE IT!!!
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Old 02-03-2016, 11:02   #22
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Re: Mounting solar panels

Great to hear from you Rolf
I get my Mastervolt Solar controllers this week.
Then I am done for work on the boat for the season.
See you when you get back.



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Old 02-03-2016, 14:36   #23
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Re: Mounting solar panels

Hey Scott just looked at your you tube channel, keep up the good work.
The only thing I can suggest is head West as soon as you can, it looks way to cold there.

Hey Rolf hope all is well, your original solar system was my inspiration and it worked out brilliantly. Now if I could just get the Hardtop finished and installed all will be perfect.
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Old 10-03-2016, 13:30   #24
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Re: Mounting solar panels

The more power you get - more appliances you can run without generator, including electric stove, AC etc. The only suggestion - when building system, go with 48V (or at least 24V), use BEST available solar panels, biggest battery array you can afford/have place for, and use best available batteries on the market. Then it REALLY will make a difference. 12V - BIG NO when building powerful system with lots of amperage. For small 12V devices you can have separate 12V inverter. Bigger devices must run on 24/48/120/220V (preferred 48V and up). That's if you planning to have really efficient setup.
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Old 11-03-2016, 10:02   #25
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Re: Mounting solar panels

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Originally Posted by ranchero76 View Post
The more power you get - more appliances you can run without generator, including electric stove, AC etc. The only suggestion - when building system, go with 48V (or at least 24V), use BEST available solar panels, biggest battery array you can afford/have place for, and use best available batteries on the market. Then it REALLY will make a difference. 12V - BIG NO when building powerful system with lots of amperage. For small 12V devices you can have separate 12V inverter. Bigger devices must run on 24/48/120/220V (preferred 48V and up). That's if you planning to have really efficient setup.
I have been thinking the same way for a while, but could not find a decent simple solution to run the power-hungry 12V systems, such as multiple electric winches, windlass, autopilot. And then you can not use the 12V alternators at all. Makes the sytem way too complex for the little savings of some large diamter 12V cabling and saving on one MPPT controller.

I am running big devices on a 12V inverter (Victron Multi Plus 3000 - 120V)
- Quick water heater
- Bosch Vero Bar 100 cappucino machine
- Toaster
- Water kettle
- waffle iron
without any problems. Just can not run them at the same time as the inverter gets over loaded. Would need to parallel a second one.

We have 1400Ah LiFePo battery and 1800W solar.

We do like to do dumb things:
- Like running the water heater (every day staring in March, less often before) as the batteries are full in early afternoon.
-At least once a week we run the water maker for 5 hours straight (Spectra 400).
- Our $90 table top ice maker from Walmart runs every day for a few hours. But what do you care if the watermaker is on and the ice maker is running and there are still 30A+ going into the batteries.

We replace about 600Ah into our batteries every sunnay day. If the forecast is cloudy for a few days we use a little less, probably about 400Ah per day. We still easily get 200Ah in on a very bad rainy day so with over 1000Ah usable we can go 5 very gray conseccutive days without giving up any comfort.

We have been at anchor for the last 6 weeks, and at the same spot for six days now. So no charge at all from the engines lately. Anyway, you are lucky to get 30A going from the alternator into the batteries when under motor. And most of the time we sail.
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Old 11-03-2016, 10:28   #26
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Re: Mounting solar panels

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LOL. Keep at it Stu. I finally got it thanks to you!
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Old 11-03-2016, 23:58   #27
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Re: Mounting solar panels

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Originally Posted by roetter View Post
I have been thinking the same way for a while, but could not find a decent simple solution to run the power-hungry 12V systems, such as multiple electric winches, windlass, autopilot. And then you can not use the 12V alternators at all. Makes the sytem way too complex for the little savings of some large diamter 12V cabling and saving on one MPPT controller.
Actually, you're loosing much more than "little savings of some large diamter 12V cabling and saving on one MPPT controller." More loss in inverter, loss in these thick wires.
For 12V you could have separate system (like 1 solar panel, small battery bank). I understand, it's painful - to replace all 12V stuff at once. BTW, alternators can be converted to charge 48v bank -
Using a 12vdc Alternator to Charge a 24vdc Battery Bank



Quote:
Originally Posted by roetter View Post
I am running big devices on a 12V inverter (Victron Multi Plus 3000 - 120V)
- Quick water heater
- Bosch Vero Bar 100 cappucino machine
- Toaster
- Water kettle
- waffle iron
without any problems. Just can not run them at the same time as the inverter gets over loaded. Would need to parallel a second one.
These will run perfect with 48-120 (or 48-220) inverter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roetter View Post

We have 1400Ah LiFePo battery and 1800W solar.

We do like to do dumb things:
- Like running the water heater (every day staring in March, less often before) as the batteries are full in early afternoon.
-At least once a week we run the water maker for 5 hours straight (Spectra 400).
- Our $90 table top ice maker from Walmart runs every day for a few hours. But what do you care if the watermaker is on and the ice maker is running and there are still 30A+ going into the batteries.

We replace about 600Ah into our batteries every sunnay day. If the forecast is cloudy for a few days we use a little less, probably about 400Ah per day. We still easily get 200Ah in on a very bad rainy day so with over 1000Ah usable we can go 5 very gray conseccutive days without giving up any comfort.

We have been at anchor for the last 6 weeks, and at the same spot for six days now. So no charge at all from the engines lately. Anyway, you are lucky to get 30A going from the alternator into the batteries when under motor. And most of the time we sail.
You have very nice (powerful) setup and it seems that your setup works perfectly for you. Things would be different on bigger cat, much more power hungry, with AC and many other "unnecessary" toys
BTW, if you have excess power, you might start thinking about electric motor

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Old 18-03-2016, 07:13   #28
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Re: Mounting solar panels

Hello
Please find the installation for 4 solar pannels at the same height than roof (when you put them on the davits, you do not see the sea anymore in the cockpit...) for a L400S2
Picture and mechanical drawings attached

BR
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Old 21-03-2016, 03:40   #29
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Re: Mounting solar panels

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They really do work well at the roof height
I get sun and rain protection, the power is a game changer.
No more generator!


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Old 21-03-2016, 03:53   #30
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Re: Mounting solar panels

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Attachment 121112
They really do work well at the roof height
I get sun and rain protection, the power is a game changer.
No more generator!


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See that shade of the boom right over them? Kills your power!
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