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Old 26-11-2018, 10:13   #1
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Charging Systems Inter-Connectivity

Currently have two 165 watts solar panels (donít know wiring configuration, parallel or series), a Renogy Commander 12V/24V and 40 Amp Controller, a MicroSolar 2000/4000 watts Pure Sine Inverter, and two UB121000 Universal Batteries (12V/100Ah). The problem: 1. I have not been able to sail without the batteries depleting (no nav instruments) and must start the engine to charge them. 2. Canít seem to power nav instruments with solar system. Solar Controller load out is to battery selector 1 position which should send power to the 12V DC panel. Battery selector switch position 2 is an extra Deka Marine battery (12V/1000Ah) that appears to serve as the house battery. Originally a second Deka for engine start was also connected to the house battery. It has now been isolated for starts only and is the only battery connected to the engine alternator. Both Deka batteries are connected to a charger when on shore power. A brief conversation with another sailor suggested that solar, alternator, and shore power chargers could all be connected to the battery bank using diodes.

Goal:
1. Power nav instruments with solar system while sailing and charge batteries.
2. Inter-connect all charging sources to battery bank.
3. Power 3500 watts/115V air conditioner via inverter while at anchor.
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Old 26-11-2018, 10:46   #2
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Re: Charging Systems Inter-Connectivity

LOL not asking much 8-D !

Start off by eliminating that last wishlist item, or start its own thread, ideally after learning about calculating AH per day inputs and outgo, and researching further.

Next you need to understand yourself how all the various electrickery systems on your boat are installed, configured and connected, ideally documenting it in writing and with diagrams.

Many need to hire a pro to get there.

Then, post more specific questions, about problems and proposed fixes / improvements, ideally each to its own thread, perhaps linked to this one or another as a "master hub" so you don't need to repeat all those background details.

Or if all that's too much work, continue on, but focusing on one specific issue at a time,

e.g. learning how to create an energy budget

will help prevent these conversations from getting too overwhelming.
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Old 26-11-2018, 11:50   #3
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Re: Charging Systems Inter-Connectivity

John61ct,

Thanks for your response. Yes, I am learning a lot. My YouTube research indicate that I need 2333 Ah for and 8-hour period of operations. Also, that I need to upgrade my solar panels to four 385-watt panels, a controller that can handle 65 amps, and possibly switch to Li Ion batteries in order to accomplish goal #3. I recently hired a so called Pro to troubleshoot and fix goal #1. Still not working and waiting for his return after holiday. Not knowing how to diagram or sketch the electrical system is one of the pitfalls of purchasing an older boat. However, as you astutely pointed out I’m near the point where I can document the wiring. Mechanical was a little easier for me to understand and accomplish. Thought I’d ask the sailing pros for help with the electrical. Sorry to inundate the Forum with my novice questions and break protocol. I do valve your input.
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Old 26-11-2018, 11:54   #4
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Re: Charging Systems Inter-Connectivity

Get Caldwell's boat electrics book. It will pay off in the long run. Alternately have a pro set things up.

There are a lot of ways to set things up. I prefer basically -
- your solar, shore and alternator are supplies
- Your inverter is a consumer as is nav instruments, lights etc. etc. etc.
- Your batteries are hybrid supply and storage

You want the boat (house) supplied by your biggest battery bank. You want the engine start to be on a dedicated single battery.

- The alternator is on the engine battery with a one way relay. Once the engine battery is charged the relay closes and there is a one way supply to the house. This ensures the engine battery gets charged immediately after engine start.
- The shore power trumps all other sources. I would have a shore power switch that disconnects all onboard charging (for you that's just solar) at the same time shore power comes on line.
- I ran a small array with an MPPT controller in parallel with a 35 amp engine alternator with no isolation circuitry and no issues and it's a simple way to go.

When you get to large solar arrays and large battery banks things can get a little more complex especially if dealing with lots of amps charging capability.

Your non-charging issue is one of two things. You panels together will produce a mox of about 27amps in ideal conditions. Underway, shaded etc, etc, you could be getting 1/3 of that or less. If you have a modern nav system you could easily be drawing 20-25 amps. So it could be just not enough juice to manage the running load.

Number 2 is the panels are wired into the system incorrectly. Volt meter on the system will help. >12.6V and things are "charging." <12.6V and batteries are depleting.
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Old 26-11-2018, 12:47   #5
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Re: Charging Systems Inter-Connectivity

I agree with suggesting Calder's book.


In the meantime, you can start here:


Electrical Systems 101 Electrical Systems 101


Your 2333 ah seems vastly incorrect.


You should be running your instruments off the batteries, not the solar panel controller output.


Spend some quality time with your boat and draw a wiring diagram.


None of us was born an electrician, we all had to learn.


Good luck.
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Old 26-11-2018, 13:13   #6
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Re: Charging Systems Inter-Connectivity

Quote:
Originally Posted by PutSon IV View Post
John61ct,

Thanks for your response. Yes, I am learning a lot. My YouTube research indicate that I need 2333 Ah for and 8-hour period of operations.
That is a LOT of Ah. How did you come to that number?

Quote:
Also, that I need to upgrade my solar panels to four 385-watt panels, a controller that can handle 65 amps,
4x385w (1540w) at a charging rate of 14v is 110A. If that's your panels of choice, I'd recommend two 65A chargers - two panels each.

Quote:
and possibly switch to Li Ion batteries in order to accomplish goal #3.
Lithium is good stuff. It will accept and deliver power at alarmingly high and safe rates. But it's definitely not cheap.

Quote:
I recently hired a so called Pro to troubleshoot and fix goal #1. Still not working and waiting for his return after holiday.
Quote:
Not knowing how to diagram or sketch the electrical system is one of the pitfalls of purchasing an older boat.
We're in the same boat *rimshot*. I'd love to diagram my electrical system, but that's a project for another day.

Quote:
However, as you astutely pointed out Iím near the point where I can document the wiring. Mechanical was a little easier for me to understand and accomplish. Thought Iíd ask the sailing pros for help with the electrical. Sorry to inundate the Forum with my novice questions and break protocol. I do valve your input.
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Old 26-11-2018, 16:48   #7
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Re: Charging Systems Inter-Connectivity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
I agree with suggesting Calder's book.


In the meantime, you can start here:


Electrical Systems 101 Electrical Systems 101


Your 2333 ah seems vastly incorrect.


You should be running your instruments off the batteries, not the solar panel controller output.


Spend some quality time with your boat and draw a wiring diagram.


None of us was born an electrician, we all had to learn.


Good luck.
Stu,

Just a note to say that when you post those links that go to C34.org site they don't go to the article to which you are referring. You might want to check the URLs you have saved.

Cheers,
Keth
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