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Old 05-06-2017, 14:47   #1
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Does this solar system sound OK for my needs and setup?

Hey all,

I think I have selected a solar system that will serve my needs now and will be expandable if I want to add refrigeration at some point, but I'd like to hear any input before I pull the trigger.

My main concern is I am on a mooring and I don't want to have to run my motor to keep my battery banks up.

The boat is a 1983 Pearson 424 ketch with a 58 hp diesel and two alternators (one is 120A).

I recently installed 4 x 6v golf cart batteries for the house bank (doubled up and wired in series) and a large start battery (forgive me I forget the type and I'm not on the boat, but I can get the info if it's needed)

My usual electrical needs are: incandescent anchor light, incandescent running lights (I rarely sail at night), electric bilge pump, and a Raymarine e78 MFD with radar. At night on the hook I use only two led interior lights and my incandescent anchor light to conserve juice. I plug my laptop into a small inverter to charge it up when it runs low.

I would like to use flexible panels as I can just place them on my bimini top without extensive mounts. I understand that these are monocrystalline and are not as efficient as poly, but I don't want to deal with building a huge mounting system.

I am planning to wire two 100w panels in series and put them into a nice MPPT charge controller. Links all below.

Does this sound like a good place to start? Thanks in advance for any input.

Panels: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...A2TN19FHI2Z5KL

MPPT controller: https://www.amazon.com/Renogy-Rover-...rge+controller
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Old 05-06-2017, 15:02   #2
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Re: Does this solar system sound OK for my needs and setup?

Sounds like a good place to start however I would strongly urge you change anchor light to led ( will cut that lights power by at least 80%)
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Old 05-06-2017, 15:10   #3
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Re: Does this solar system sound OK for my needs and setup?

I agree with the poster above, the anchor light is just burning power..

Second.. Evaluate the draw you laptop is using. The older laptops can draw 60-80W when the battery is low. Think about this.. If you use your laptop 5-6 hours a day it will consume an entire panels output (considering loses and such). You are much better off with a cheap modern tablet that only uses about 10W.

Third, there are MUCH better MPPT chargers for even less money. Look up the Victron (MPPT 75/15).
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Old 05-06-2017, 15:19   #4
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Re: Does this solar system sound OK for my needs and setup?

+1 for Victron over Renogy

Get the laptop off the inverter.

Buy the size that will accommodate your maxing out available space for panels.

Which IMO you may as well do in one hit, better for your batteries too.

Fridge will require bigger bank too, and not good to add new to old later.
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Old 05-06-2017, 16:33   #5
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Re: Does this solar system sound OK for my needs and setup?

Always a very helpful crew here. I'll look for a Victron, I'll consider buying more panels (although I am experiencing cost creep with this project - which I guess is not unusual for boat projects), and I plan to swap out everything for led's when I pull the rig in the fall.

The wife's new tablet can serve as our movie screen and I can probably leave the laptop at home.

Thanks again and cheers...
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Old 05-06-2017, 17:28   #6
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Re: Does this solar system sound OK for my needs and setup?

Not going to be enough solar.
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Old 05-06-2017, 17:50   #7
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Re: Does this solar system sound OK for my needs and setup?

Need 300 watts of solar to keep most refrigerators going 24/7 with a good house battery bank.
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Old 05-06-2017, 18:16   #8
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Does this solar system sound OK for my needs and setup?

Look up Suaoki 100w flexible panels on ebay. If you're going to mount them to a canvas bimini, these panels are nicer because the corners are rounded = lower chance of cuts in bimini. Plus they're cheaper and still use the good Sunpower cells that are advertised as 23%+ efficient.

Also look up stayput canvas-to-canvas fastener. Perfect fittings for these panels' grommets.

I'm in the middle of the same project myself. Good luck!
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Old 05-06-2017, 23:46   #9
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Re: Does this solar system sound OK for my needs and setup?

I would stay with this solar system. The nearest alternative is 10.5 light years away and the Person 424 is not capable of the jump to light speed .

The cheaper flexible panels are always a bit of a gamble. The lifespan on some can be reasonably short. However, the panels you have chosen have some good attributes. They use Sunpower cells and the panel is a defined brand (although I had never heard of Windycity before I Googled them). The top quality flexible panels like Solbian are much more expensive, so I think panels like the model you have chosen are a reasonable choice, although you wont know for a few years if cost/lifespan ratio is acceptable.

The cheaper MPPT controllers don't have a good reputation and I think it would be worth upgrading to something like the Victron or Genasun. There is a lot of debate about series/parallel connection (see some recent threads on this subject) or even better wire them up temporarily both ways and report which is best. The Victron charger is perhaps not ideal for parallel connection. 2 x Genasun GV10 controllers (so each panel has its own controller) has some appeal for this size installation, although it would cost another $80 or so for the two controllers over the single model you have listed.

There are a lot of cruising boats without a fridge, so I would not automatically assume one is fitted. Without refrigeration 200w is a reasonable amount of solar. In the days when solar was very expensive, I have cruised with much less. As others have mentioned, an LED anchor light is almost an essential upgrade.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peregrine1983 View Post
I understand that these are monocrystalline and are not as efficient as poly, but I don't want to deal with building a huge mounting system.
No, monocrystalline celłs like your panels have are usually slightly more efficient, although the difference is not great. It is easy calculate the panel efficiency once you know the rated wattage and size. For your panels it is 17.5%, which is not state of the art, but good still very good for this type of panel.

Good luck. Solar panels are great, and it is well worth the trouble to sort out the best choices.
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Old 05-06-2017, 23:55   #10
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Re: Does this solar system sound OK for my needs and setup?

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I would stay with this solar system. The nearest alternative is 10.5 light years away and the Person 424 is not capable of the jump to light speed .

Nope, only about 4.3 ly to the nearest alternative. There are 15 stars (but possibly only 11 "solar systems") within 10.5 ly.
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Old 06-06-2017, 00:19   #11
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Re: Does this solar system sound OK for my needs and setup?

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Nope, only about 4.3 ly to the nearest alternative. There are 15 stars (but possibly only 11 "solar systems") within 10.5 ly.

Thanks for the correction Stu. 21,000,000,000,000 nautical miles is still a long way in a Pearson 424 and the power to break free of the earth's gravitational pull may need a touch more than 58 hp .
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Old 06-06-2017, 02:32   #12
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Re: Does this solar system sound OK for my needs and setup?

Quote:
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Thanks for the correction Stu. 21,000,000,000,000 nautical miles is still a long way in a Pearson 424 and the power to break free of the earth's gravitational pull may need a touch more than 58 hp .
Guess they'll have to swap out that diesel for an electric motor then.
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Old 06-06-2017, 04:49   #13
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Re: Does this solar system sound OK for my needs and setup?

We're gonna need a bigger boat.
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Old 06-06-2017, 06:56   #14
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Re: Does this solar system sound OK for my needs and setup?

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Thanks for the correction Stu. 21,000,000,000,000 nautical miles is still a long way in a Pearson 424 and the power to break free of the earth's gravitational pull may need a touch more than 58 hp .
Two words: solar sails
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Old 06-06-2017, 07:36   #15
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Re: Does this solar system sound OK for my needs and setup?

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We're gonna need a bigger boat.
nah just taller boots
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