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Old 15-08-2014, 11:24   #1
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Controller for Solar/Wind Gen setup? Help

Alright, I'm replacing the four 80W Kyocera's on my arch with four 135W Kyocera's.

Then, I'm going to mount two (of the old) 80W Kyocera's on my lifelines (which I'm upgrading to 1" piping).

Then I'm adding a KISS wind gen.

So - with all of this, what controller would be ideal? Or would it be ideal to run two smaller MPPT controllers?

Really appreciate the input here...

PS - if this seems like overkill, I'm trying to be energy independent - while running my watermaker fairly often. The house battery system will be (8) 6V golf-cart batteries. Separate batteries for windlass and starting. Could add more, but it gets heavy...
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Old 15-08-2014, 12:51   #2
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Re: Controller for Solar/Wind Gen setup? Help

That is not too much solar on a L380. I have 1800W on a L450.

Exactly which Kyocera panels do you have?
i found the KD135GX-LPU which runs at Vmp 17.7V
and the Kyocera KC80 which runs at Vmp 17.4V.

That probably means that you can run them in parallel on a single contoller. If you still have the contoller that ran the old panels, then you may want to keep them and add a new controller to the new panels.

My personal opinion is that wind is not worth it. I would add more solar if you still not have enough for your daily needs. The very odd days where it may be really gray you can start the engine for a little charge or go on a trip that requires some motoring. A small Honda gas generator is also a good insurance for the odd times you need more power.

This is what I have for my 6 months each winter in the Bahamas.
2x 900W solar on a Outback 60 each
1400Ah LiFePo batteries

Large consumers.
water maker at least 12 hours each week. Spectra Newport 400.
washing machine
two "badly insulated" original fridges. A project to improve this winter.
one portable 100qt freezer
cappucino maker
toaster
this winter table top inductive cook top. Propane gets the galley too hot on some days.
We also run the electric water heater for showers as power is available, which it is always except for January with many short gray days.

Never had to start the engine, never got worried about batteries being low.
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Old 15-08-2014, 13:04   #3
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Re: Controller for Solar/Wind Gen setup? Help

Quote:
Originally Posted by roetter View Post
That is not too much solar on a L380. I have 1800W on a L450.

Exactly which Kyocera panels do you have?
i found the KD135GX-LPU which runs at Vmp 17.7V
and the Kyocera KC80 which runs at Vmp 17.4V.

That probably means that you can run them in parallel on a single contoller. If you still have the contoller that ran the old panels, then you may want to keep them and add a new controller to the new panels.

My personal opinion is that wind is not worth it. I would add more solar if you still not have enough for your daily needs. The very odd days where it may be really gray you can start the engine for a little charge or go on a trip that requires some motoring. A small Honda gas generator is also a good insurance for the odd times you need more power.
Short answer: the guy who sold me the boat didn't know squat about solar, and he didn't have the paperwork for the panels. They were installed almost 10 years ago, and a local guy said they're the "standard Kyocera 80W" ...

On the 135W, I haven't bought them yet, so can't answer that either. But they're the "new ones" rated at 135W. I did the measurements and will buy them when I head down to Panama again. At which point I'll know exactly what panels they are.

I turned up the same specs as you when I did a search. I'd say that's likely, and probably good enough to plan around.

Wind - I've heard that and I keep going back and forth. Many people suggest the wind as a "supplement" for when your panels are shaded, etc. I do have a genny onboard just in case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roetter View Post
This is what I have for my 6 months each winter in the Bahamas.
2x 900W solar on a Outback 60 each
1400Ah LiFePo batteries

Large consumers.
water maker at least 12 hours each week. Spectra Newport 400.
washing machine
two "badly insulated" original fridges. A project to improve this winter.
one portable 100qt freezer
cappucino maker
toaster
this winter table top inductive cook top. Propane gets the galley too hot on some days.
We also run the electric water heater for showers as power is available, which it is always except for January with many short gray days.

Never had to start the engine, never got worried about batteries being low.
I'd like the LiFePo batteries but the cost and complexity isn't worth it for me, yet. I'll stick with golf-cart for the time being, maybe upgrade next time I need to replace my house batteries.

I could use the other two Kyocera 80's that I'm replacing, but I can't quite find the real-estate for them... Maybe I'll have to look harder.

On the controller, maybe I'll run the old 80's on the old controller, at which point I only need a controller for the new 135's. I'd like to leave the possibility for wind open, should I chose to go that route.

Would you go with a 45 or a 60 for 4 x 135W?
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Old 15-08-2014, 13:20   #4
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Re: Controller for Solar/Wind Gen setup? Help

Try fit some more efficient panels. Around the same size panel you can buy more efficient ones at around 200w per panel
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Old 15-08-2014, 13:22   #5
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Re: Controller for Solar/Wind Gen setup? Help

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Try fit some more efficient panels. Around the same size panel you can buy more efficient ones at around 200w per panel
Without shipping them to Panama, I'm a little limited by what I can find there. Any particular suggestions? I'm open.
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Old 15-08-2014, 13:27   #6
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Re: Controller for Solar/Wind Gen setup? Help

Not sure what's available there but check the efficiency ratings. Around 20% is common nowadays and prices should be similar. We had 3 180w panels on our L380 on the davits,
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Old 15-08-2014, 13:27   #7
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Controller for Solar/Wind Gen setup? Help

Check out sunpower
Ps I bought the sunto d4, thanks for the suggestion on your site!
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Old 15-08-2014, 13:53   #8
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Re: Controller for Solar/Wind Gen setup? Help

As the Owner/Manufacturer of the KISS wind gen...and someone who has lived aboard full time now with a family of 4 starting with 260W of solar and is not up to 1390W, you want to keep the wind gen and solar controlers seperate and you want as much solar as you can fit on the damn boat! The controlers that try to do both (wind and solar) don't do either that well, so I like to keep them seperate.

There are plenty of good solar MPPT controlers on the market so that's a relative easy choice.

For the KISS wind generator the recommended controler is something nice and easy like the Tristar 45 made my morningstar. Then add to this a diversion load and the generator becomes set-it and forget it. Wthout the controller or diversion load, the KISS will work fine (and has for 20yrs) but you will have to turn if off when your batteries are full or when you leave the boat. That works well for some people looking for simplicity and cost savings, but other liks the set-it and forget it approach.

If you want more detailed infor on the KISS wind generator or the set-up just shoot me an email at Rich@cruiserowater.com and I'll be happy to help. Do you need a wind gen? I get that question all the time and the answer depends. Before we completely over did our solar we were getting 25-30% of our power needs from the wind gen so it did help, but with a generator onboard, I would not make the mistake almost everyone makes and assume wrongly that you have to have everything dialed in and installed before you go cruising (and don't really know **** about what you will need/want). You can add things once you learn how you like to run your boat rather than taking advice from others who are telling you how they like to run their boat. This is a very common discussion out in anchorages around the cruising fleet.

The absolute best way to outfit a cruising boat would be to cruise on it for a season without spending any money on it and THEN do your system upgrades. I know...I know...I know...this isn't how society works and as a gear manufacturer I should want people to buy buy buy but I'm also a live aboard cruiser myself and have blown money myself on **** I didn't need, so more valuable advice than what refrigeration system, water maker, solar panel, charger, wind gen is best, my advice would be slow down, put your money away and spend a season cruising on the boat. Then see what YOU want and need after having more meaningfull conversations at sundown cocktail hours at anchor!
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Old 15-08-2014, 13:59   #9
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Re: Controller for Solar/Wind Gen setup? Help

Quote:
Originally Posted by monte View Post
Check out sunpower
Ps I bought the sunto d4, thanks for the suggestion on your site!
I just bought one myself! I love this watch, works well for all things watch-oriented, works for SCUBA/NITROX, and works for freediving. Plus it's damn near bulletproof.

Cheers
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Old 15-08-2014, 14:01   #10
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Re: Controller for Solar/Wind Gen setup? Help

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I also love a Honda 2000i generator that can run a 60A battery charger, high output water marker and power tools for only $949!
Man, I keep going back and forth on the wind-gen. Going to take yours (and other's) advice and hold off for now.

Completely agree on the Honda 2000i. Even better (cheaper) if you can get it with the propane conversion. That's the direction I'm headed, for redundancy.

I do have a diesel genny too, but it's loud and I'm not totally confident in it.
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Old 16-08-2014, 11:18   #11
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Re: Controller for Solar/Wind Gen setup? Help

Let me get update the main question here - assuming I'm not tying wind into the equation.

Also, I'll leave the Kyocera 80's I have on the same (old) controller.

With 4 X 135 W Kyocera panels, it seems as if I'd be OK with a Morningstar 45 MPPT.

Is there any real-world advantage to putting in a Outback 60?
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Old 16-08-2014, 11:35   #12
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Re: Controller for Solar/Wind Gen setup? Help

i would vote for as many 200W to 300W panels as you can mount. The 135's are just too small to be cost effective. Check Wholsalesolar.com or Civicsolar.com for prices. Make sure the price is for just a few panels. Some prices are for whole pallets of 20 or more panels.

It does not matter which brand you get. In my opinion they are all pretty much the same. I have installed Kyocera (thought they are made for marine - in fact they are not and warranty is void in marine installation) and now installed ET-Solar last year. Sunpower is more efficient but costs way more. I had 9-300W panels including 2 Outbacks shipped to Florida for little cost. I picked them up at the nearest UPS Ground center myself - saved a lot of money that way. Local delivery is expensive.
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Old 16-08-2014, 11:36   #13
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Re: Controller for Solar/Wind Gen setup? Help

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheNomadTrip View Post
Let me get update the main question here - assuming I'm not tying wind into the equation.

Also, I'll leave the Kyocera 80's I have on the same (old) controller.

With 4 X 135 W Kyocera panels, it seems as if I'd be OK with a Morningstar 45 MPPT.

Is there any real-world advantage to putting in a Outback 60?
At this point you get into the individual product plus/minues...some like a remote screen, some don't need a screen...features that are important to some are not important to others. In the end, you want/need a MPPT controller and beyond that is heated leather seats or cloth.
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Old 16-08-2014, 11:57   #14
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Re: Controller for Solar/Wind Gen setup? Help

Quote:
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i would vote for as many 200W to 300W panels as you can mount. The 135's are just too small to be cost effective. Check Wholsalesolar.com or Civicsolar.com for prices. Make sure the price is for just a few panels. Some prices are for whole pallets of 20 or more panels.
I have a source in Panama (where boat is) for fairly priced Kyocera panels ($225 ea). More importantly, since I'm putting these on an arch, I'm limited in width. I can fit 2 X 235 (room left over) or 4 X 135. Stuck with the lower W units, I believe.
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Old 16-08-2014, 11:59   #15
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Re: Controller for Solar/Wind Gen setup? Help

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At this point you get into the individual product plus/minues...some like a remote screen, some don't need a screen...features that are important to some are not important to others. In the end, you want/need a MPPT controller and beyond that is heated leather seats or cloth.
My question wasn't worded correctly. I apologize, I'm a rookie.

What I should have said was: are my calculations correct? Is a 45A MPPT enough for 4x135W panels?

And/or is there any reason to go up to a 60A?
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