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Old 26-09-2008, 14:06   #16
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So.... for 3 new D-4 gels and two new 85 Watt Solar Pannels... it looks like my most efficient course would be a Blue Sky 2000E and a Link system???

Discussion has been interesting and I'm about to order the 85 watt panels and have shipped to the islands. Planning on picking up the controller and carry them down with me in December. Do I have the right idea on the controllers? I though Blue Sky had an all in one unit???
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Old 26-09-2008, 14:56   #17
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So.... for 3 new D-4 gels and two new 85 Watt Solar Pannels... it looks like my most efficient course would be a Blue Sky 2000E and a Link system???

Discussion has been interesting and I'm about to order the 85 watt panels and have shipped to the islands. Planning on picking up the controller and carry them down with me in December. Do I have the right idea on the controllers? I though Blue Sky had an all in one unit???
MPPT Solar Charge Controllers

Go to above link and call their technical support on MPPT controllers. This place has good knowledge, good service and good pricing.

Also, you can buy the Kyocera panels in the islands at Island Wateroworld and or Budget Marine. They will be more expensive but when you add shipping and risk of receiving a broken panel and having to ship it back it may be worth paying the extra money in the islands. Then of course will they have them in stock when you want them.
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Old 26-09-2008, 17:25   #18
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Actually by having them shipped to St. John the final cost is almost $200 less including insurance on the panels. Seems everyone in St Thomas knows how difficult getting larger parts is for most people and hammer on a significant cost. By using a freight consolidator I can have 2 of the 85 Watt unit shipped for about $200 and a unit cost of under $500. I've not had much luck with Budget Marine on delivery schedules and don't know Island Waterworld... no idea where they are or how to get to them.
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Old 26-09-2008, 18:42   #19
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and don't know Island Waterworld... no idea where they are or how to get to them.

Island Water World - Marine distributors, Based on Knowledge, built on Value

Yeah, I dont know exact pricing differentials and I would only rely on one of these stores if it was in stock, which last season, when I was there I saw the panels hanging in the store ready to go out the door.
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Old 26-09-2008, 18:44   #20
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Practical Sailor did a test with some Blue Sky products (Solar Boost and 3024) and found about a 20% increase in real amp hours. ttp://www.blueskyenergyinc.com/pdf/Practical%20Sailor%20PDF%20-%20Blue%20Sky%20Energy.pdf The Pulse Width Modulated regulators are not as efficient at regulating the voltage without damping it (apparently), and the MPPT's also "track" the portion of the panel kicking out the most juice and somehow use that to increase overall performance. The Practical Sailor article said, if yo've got the cash, spend it on an MPPT. Morningstar has a nice MPPT unit for up to 200 watts that's affordable (just over $200). It's encased in epoxy & rated for marine use, so that's nice. I had one of their cheaper units (ProStar 15) in steady (cruising) use for 6 years with Zero problems and that one had numerous saltwater baths.
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Old 26-09-2008, 18:47   #21
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MPPT Solar Charge Controllers

Go to above link and call their technical support on MPPT controllers. This place has good knowledge, good service and good pricing.

Also, you can buy the Kyocera panels in the islands at Island Wateroworld and or Budget Marine. They will be more expensive but when you add shipping and risk of receiving a broken panel and having to ship it back it may be worth paying the extra money in the islands. Then of course will they have them in stock when you want them.
What he said. The folks at Northern Arizona Wind & Sun are great! Good prices, wonderful, knowledgable service.

PS: Stay away from Sharp panels. Their warranty is void if used in marine applications.
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Old 26-09-2008, 19:27   #22
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We rolled our own in the Olden Days before there were commercial ones - here's the general info on the Microship's 8-channel MPPT, shown in the photo below.

Solar Peak Power Trackers

In addition to the maximum power point tracking and general battery management/monitoring, this also does a few other tricks. Excess power is available on-the-fly to the electric thruster, automatically managed to provide maximum thrust without drawing down the battery (except when more is specifically requested by flipping a switch to invoke "Oh Sh*t Mode" - like when on a collision course with a freighter). It also has a dedicated display for power system monitoring, and handles steering motor and thruster control.

Anyway, back to basic MPPT.... for the adventurous, here are the schematics and software for a single-channel version designed by Tim Nolan (who also did the big one for the Microship). If you're handy with electronic packaging, you can roll your own for cheap.

Having said all that, my new ship (Nomadness) uses the excellent Outback MX60. I trust their harsh-environment packaging over that of any competing vendor, and FlexNet system integration with inverter/charger and the MATE user interface is outstanding.

Cheers from somewhere about here,
Steve
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Old 16-10-2008, 20:33   #23
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I have a Blue Sky 2512ix with the extra Pro-remote. I'm very impressed with it. I have 275 Watts of solar on my boat and for every 4 amps it generates, the Blue Sky pumps 5 amps into the batteries. That's an extra 25%!
Very happy with the setup, it was easy to do and you don't have to do a thing afterwards, it handles everything automatically :-)
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Old 17-10-2008, 15:26   #24
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Reality Check--Island Water World is near the main harbor in the new Yacht Haven Grande Complex right next to Wendy's. Not sure if they have reopened yet, they closed down for the off season.

I have had excellent luck with Budget Marine when ordering items. Many folks have found good prices on PV panels and shipped them in from off island, while neglecting to buy shipping insurance, only to recieve broken glass and dented panels. Insure it!!!!!!!
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Old 19-10-2008, 11:45   #25
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Rubikoop... I'm also reconsidering the shipping problem potential... while the source I was going to use had insurance... for my time table, insurance could not replace availability for use on my time table. I'll be looking into the two sources next week for sure. The only problem I fear is I often see on line prices increased at Budget Marine because they are "not USVI" prices but prices local down island with no duty.

I'm still setting on the fence between the Outback Mx60 and one of the Blue Sky units... ease of installation and use out way price now but don't seem to be able to make up my mind... lack of time to do sufficient research.... damn work... if it was not for having to work... more time could be spent, spending money on the boat... OOoohoooo but no work no money??? darn poor system!!!
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Old 19-10-2008, 14:26   #26
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PM sent with alternative options Reality Check.
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Old 19-10-2008, 18:27   #27
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I'm not sure about the blue sky models, but the Outback MPPT 60 does convert anything from 12v to 120v DC input to 12 to 24 to 48v output automatically. If you've got a traditional 12volt battery system then you are realistically looking at around 800 watt maximum array size for the outback. Regarding the Sharp solar panels, I've got them and at the time I was looking at it I found that all solar panel manufacturers have written into their warranty which would void the warranty for most of us, from "mobile vehicle" exclusion with kyocera, or BP has an exclusion for not being installed by a BP certified installer.
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