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Old 01-04-2014, 03:19   #1
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Connecting Dissimilar Solar Panels

I have 3 x 130W panels on my boat and want to add another panel. The new panel wil be about the same size and nominally 12 V same as existing panels but will be a different brand.

I've got a pulse width modulated regulator on the existing panels and it has enough capacity for the extra panel.

Is it ok to just connect the new panel in parallel with the existing panels and run the lot through my existing regulator or, because this is a different panel, do I need to regulate it separately?
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Old 01-04-2014, 03:30   #2
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Re: Connecting Dissimilar Solar Panels

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Originally Posted by Cruisin Cat View Post
Is it ok to just connect the new panel in parallel with the existing panels and run the lot through my existing regulator or, because this is a different panel, do I need to regulate it separately?
Yes that is fine.
The only thing to check (other than the capacity of the regulator which you have already done) is the voltage drop in the wiring.
Sometimes it may be worth adding the wiring from the new panel back to the controller.
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Old 01-04-2014, 19:24   #3
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Re: Connecting Dissimilar Solar Panels

Great, thanks for the info
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Old 28-08-2016, 10:12   #4
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Re: Connecting Dissimilar Solar Panels

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisin Cat View Post
I have 3 x 130W panels on my boat and want to add another panel. The new panel wil be about the same size and nominally 12 V same as existing panels but will be a different brand.

I've got a pulse width modulated regulator on the existing panels and it has enough capacity for the extra panel.

Is it ok to just connect the new panel in parallel with the existing panels and run the lot through my existing regulator or, because this is a different panel, do I need to regulate it separately?
Regulators aren't that expensive. If each of your panels had a separate regulator then if you shaded one panel it wouldn't impact the performance of the others. I have two panels. one aft on a dedicated mount and the other on the coachroof. The one on the coachroof is often shaded by the boom or by the awning. I haven't measured the amps in every situation but since I fitted a second regulator there seems to be enough stored charge to run the fridge all night when we're spending a coupe of days at anchor. Beforehand it would just switch off once the voltage drop eceeded the cutout value.
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