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Old 12-11-2015, 10:22   #16
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Re: Help on New Solar Install!

There a few pictures to help visualize the install. And with going old school 440hva charge controller I'll be making amps all night long from any tiny bit of light I can find. Whereas an mppt will cut you off as it doesn't have the energy to convert what it has electrically into what your batteries need. Lets not continue the MPPT vs PWM debate here. I have no shadows and have chosen not to go the antiquated sail and mast roof. I plan on having FUN playing with glow in the dark paint and rechargeable bug zappers. If I can make even 1amp during the darkest part of the night I'll say great more free energy.

The ropes are tied to the pulpit and then back to the 4 main winches where they will be pulled tight and then the panels attached with straps through grommets and plastic. So then like reigns I can adjust the solar output by simply raising one or two lines.

Will see the panels are 15'6" the way they are layed out. Will be a tight fit.
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Old 12-11-2015, 10:47   #17
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Re: Help on New Solar Install!

A few posts suggest that there is a difference in what you may be able to do depending upon whether you have a hard bimini or a soft bimini. Before I put the last four 75 watt panels on my boat I had no bimini. I had a stainliss steel bimini frame made and instead of having a soft or hard bimini made I put on the solar panels as the bimini cover. (I also have two 60W Kyocera rigid panels on my dodger that I installed in 2005.) The panels are Kyocera rigid panels. I did this in 2006 or 2007 and since then I have never had to run the engine to charge batteries nor have I ever plugged into shore power (except when I needed to use a 120v ac tool. I am only a lowly civil engineer (ret) and I did all the work myself, except for the stainless steel fabrication.
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Old 12-11-2015, 11:16   #18
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Re: Help on New Solar Install!

Quote:
Originally Posted by secrabtree View Post
A few posts suggest that there is a difference in what you may be able to do depending upon whether you have a hard bimini or a soft bimini. Before I put the last four 75 watt panels on my boat I had no bimini. I had a stainliss steel bimini frame made and instead of having a soft or hard bimini made I put on the solar panels as the bimini cover. (I also have two 60W Kyocera rigid panels on my dodger that I installed in 2005.) The panels are Kyocera rigid panels. I did this in 2006 or 2007 and since then I have never had to run the engine to charge batteries nor have I ever plugged into shore power (except when I needed to use a 120v ac tool. I am only a lowly civil engineer (ret) and I did all the work myself, except for the stainless steel fabrication.
Do you have any pics?
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Old 12-11-2015, 11:41   #19
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Re: Help on New Solar Install!

alctel -Yes.
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Old 12-11-2015, 12:04   #20
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Re: Help on New Solar Install!

Its odd that many think that you cannot mount flexible panels on an arch. There are many ways of doing it including using lightweight aluminum frameworks where the weight ends up being half that of solid panels.
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Old 12-11-2015, 12:46   #21
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Re: Help on New Solar Install!

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Originally Posted by Bulawayo View Post
"Based on the prices of the controllers right now, I prefer not to connect panels in parallel and just use several controllers (I like the Victron MPPT for 15A at just over US$100.)."

I agree that controllers are disproportionately expensive but you do not need to run in series. You can still run in parellel and bring several panels to a single controller. A lot is dependent upon the controller's capacity. Possible getting mixed up with series & parellel? Or did you mean a controller per panel?
It is better for efficiency to run in parellel; you dont want to pull down output where part of the array is shaded.
I am not mixing series and parallel. I meant a controller per pair of panels, just because that is the way the prices gave me lowest cost for desired output in given space.

I agree that you do not HAVE to connect panels in series, it just happens under the circumstances that I have been testing that the net yield of Ah into the battery is higher with panels in series, mainly because the power wasted as heat in the long wires from panel to controller goes down. I think you were not factoring this.

If shading is a big issue (particularly in higher latitudes or boats under way in certain courses) then parallel may win. If maxing out the controller´s output capacity with a parallel setup (high current, low voltage in the input side), I am careful about too much heat in the front end of the controller; connecting in series helps on that.
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Old 12-11-2015, 12:58   #22
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Re: Help on New Solar Install!

Mounting options for solar panels are like sands though an hourglass or stars in a galaxy.

Until we have a reliable and easily installed mounting system for flexible solar panels at sea your way is only limited by your creativity.

What is needed is a (Great idea here for someone with the right tools to Capitalize on) series of U-channel and H-Channel connecting all your panels to a top of pole mount controlled by a 2-axis tracker.

The mount should be universal. Consider as a great marine starting point.

A simple pin at the bottom of this pole could conceivably introduce a stow and go feature for storm management based on nema wind data etc.

So in the end a thin aluminum frame that encapsulates the outside of the panel to provide rigidity and provide mounting substance.

All the current solar mounting hardware (roof/rv) is like huge pieces of aluminum and clips etc. Minimize?

The way I provided the best I could for my panels was to play with the flexible variable and provide more support for that characteristic with a backing that matched the material but provided a dampener thereby retaining some of the panels intrinsic qualities but lessening the degree to which curvature anomalies possibly degenerate panel effectiveness in relation to age (Graph that!).

Would I still like a solid support for the panels sure would but deploying and actually utilizing solar requires hands on experimentation and development.

So Zboss yes I agree aluminum miniaturization and maturity of mounting matrices helps to maximize solar yield. Mounting on arches does not. Solar done properly tracks the sun and in the end that should be the goal.

Restated - "Wind Resistant Flexible Solar Panel Tracker System".

As it is my panels weigh in at 20lbs each set of two plus backing. So for 2160W (12 180w panels) I'll have to add 120 lbs of weight to the boat so safely 140 lbs for the solar considering the cables, rope (in my case) and mc4 connectors. I can then read the input via my 100amp shunt.

I do need a better solution for mounting this one shunt though as in that line I need a diode too. Does anyone know how or what diode I would need and how to correctly mount it in line (Panels > Diode > Shunt > Circuit Breaker or Panels > Circuit Breaker > Shunt > Diode)?

I had it rigged up with the diode doing the tests and eventually I believe the diode was bad as I just wrapped some 4ga around it and crimped a ring terminal to it. I was able to push 24 amp that day though so happy with that for sure. That's enough energy to recharge my 400ah 48v lithium bank in roughly 12 hours or less.

One cut off voltage with lithium. Enough with this antiquated float/bulk/equalize lead acid stuff.
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Old 12-11-2015, 13:12   #23
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Re: Help on New Solar Install!

"Is the shunt a required item?"

Only if you wish to Monitor the Charge or discharge of your batteries, the shunt is the way the Mastervolt Battery monitor reads the in/out of the battery.

"I noticed also the shunt controller you have. Does the battery charger and alternator go thru this as well. I am assuming that you put all charging as inputs, then this outputs to the battery?"

That's is correct the output of the solar controllers / alternators / The Inverter (as this is also a 120 amp charger as well) and the original 100 amp / 240 volt charger that came with the boat if switched on, all feed to battery via the shunt.

The Battery output to all 12 volt DC systems pass through the shunt so the Mastervolt can calculate the State of Charge % at any given point of time.
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Old 12-11-2015, 13:39   #24
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Smile Re: Help on New Solar Install!

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Originally Posted by jbinbi View Post
Thanks, but they only have 100 watt panels as far as i can tell. not nearly enough for what i need per panel.

Also, I noticed quite a few different brands of controllers. I am not sure about 1 brand vs. another. Have not yet searched on other threads, I am sure there is more info, but Bluesky, Magnum, Victrum, Outback, and morningstar are all brands I have heard people talk about, but not quite sure which has been holding up well.
When you consider just how much you lose with just a little bit of shading, I think that more smaller panels might be the way to go. 100 watts was too big for my thinking. I bought 16-- 25 watt panels for my own boat (50 foot catamaran still under construction---hulls and beams are connected and waiting out the winter at the marina. Roof and floor panels are done in 4 foot sections and wait to be lifted and fastened into place.They rest of this 50 foot jigsaw puzzle I will work on when the snow is flying). When all is said and done, maybe I will get back to you on how it all worked out. Of course, my own design had lots of roof for the small panels to follow in a gentle curve.

What is most important is to not 'need' very much power from the panels. Efficiency is cheaper than needing more panels. I have a solar fridge, but I have more room than most.
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Old 12-11-2015, 13:46   #25
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Re: Help on New Solar Install!

Here I use an EV display to monitor my pack variables. It will eventually be displayed on my windows laptop 17" screen running DuOS and running the Torque Pro app for android. I'll take a screenshot when I have it all up and running later as entering the pgn's for torque pro take a bit.

Yes I know this is my positive bus bar. I have all the replacement cables and ends should be arriving any day now. I ordered them all again from best boat wire and gregs marine on the fifth. The package tracking is abysmal and not sure where these two deliveries are.
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Old 12-11-2015, 14:17   #26
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Re: Help on New Solar Install!

Hi jbinbi,

Have you taken a look at the AsseaBoat mounting system? There's a system designed for Lagoons. Light weight secure and very attractive AsseaBoat Flexible Solar Panel Mounting System - Hybrid Power Supply
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Old 12-11-2015, 14:29   #27
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Re: Help on New Solar Install!

That AsseaBoat Flexible Solar Panel Mounting Systems sure looks slick. Perhaps they want a sponsor boat

I see in the pictures they have the 48 cell panels but I'm sure they would make the 60 cell backing as well.

It really does look like a nice system. Lacking in mobility but nice looking.

Mobility in the ability to track the sun and also in store away/remove when needed.
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Old 12-11-2015, 14:30   #28
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Re: Help on New Solar Install!

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Originally Posted by secrabtree View Post
alctel -Yes.
Attachment 112880
Love it! I was thinking about doing the same thing
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Old 12-11-2015, 15:04   #29
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Re: Help on New Solar Install!


Here my cheap 48v 3000w Smart Generator pushes 38amps at 48vdc to my Electric outboard aboard an overloaded CraigCat.

If one person and just batteries I'll bet I could have more speed. Looking to eventually rig the panels on it for extended tender missions beyond the 72ah small bank.

Thought I would post as generator or not for solar install should be considered and these easily outperform some big 11kw ac generator.

Found the two orders at the post office - post purchase tracking was great.

Plus they are available in 12v and 24v models. You can find them on Ebay. I don't know much about them electronically yet. Need to dig into the module box there and have a look. If someone else does please post.

These things are load sensitive and cut in and off automatically. Basically a BMS for your batteries but in a generator. The basic product is well thought out but shipping, documentation and packaging could all use some work - be sure to check them over good before using.
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Old 12-11-2015, 18:31   #30
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Re: Help on New Solar Install!

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Originally Posted by laika View Post
Look at aurinco panels as well. Patrik has been great to work with and really helped me along in the process.

If budget it not the #1 issue, getting lighter highly efficient semi-flexible panels and backing them with a thin layer of G10 (as aurinco does) is a nice elegant way to maximize wattage while keeping a relatively small footprint and minimizing weight.
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