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Old 23-08-2014, 06:28   #16
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Re: MPPTs on or off for storage?

I would ,and do, disconnect the batteries by taking the cables off.


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Old 15-11-2014, 04:44   #17
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Re: MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) On or Off for Storage?

okay, we're back now. nine weeks off island, and it's a bit of a reset coming back to the land of $6.30 diesel.

Interesting footnote to above discussion. First day we were back on the island, I went over to the boat sitting on the hard. I went into my port engine room and flipped on the switches to turn the solar back on. It all came up fine. I spent a few minutes there checking on bilge, etc. No worries that I could see. Boat wasn't even musty smelling.

Two days later I went back aboard to start getting ready to relaunch it. I heard the port engine room bilge pump running as soon as I approached the boat. I opened the hatch, and the smell of burnt plastic and insulation was very strong, with the pump running continuously and also a crackling/ sputtering noise. I wriggled up alongside the engine and unplugged and removed the pump and switch. The switch had shorted out, and gotten so hot that it melted the two wires right out of it. The sizzling noise was bilge water seeping into the newly melted hole and boiling away, inside the switch housing. The pump had been running dry, and was really warm. The switch was as hot as discharging 4 golf cart batteries into a switch can be. Near red hot.

I did an autopsy on the switch. I think some moisture had gotten into it, and it sat there for two months motionless, and the corrosion closed the points on the switch contacts. Then when I reapplied power, it jumped the switch and shorted it.

This was a definite fire hazard, I have near 800 watts of solar charging four 6 v batts, which were all shorting into these two wires. This was a relatively new switch, by the way. Replaced in the past six months.
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Old 15-11-2014, 04:58   #18
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Re: MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) On or Off for Storage?

Is there a fuse or breaker in your bilge pump circuit?
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Old 15-11-2014, 05:05   #19
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Re: MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) On or Off for Storage?

There wasn't in that one, apparently. Seems it was wired directly to the batteries. I've been finding a lot of this kind of stuff. Household wire nuts, crimp lugs from Harbour Freight wrapped in ten-rolls-for-a-dollar-ninety five electrical tape.

I'm in the process of rewiring all the bilge pumps with new AquaAlarm panels, with fuses and event counters, but they're not installed yet. I really wasn't worried about the bilge pumps while sitting on the hard several hundred yards from the ocean. Sheesh.
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Old 15-11-2014, 05:52   #20
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Re: MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) On or Off for Storage?

Great example of why circuits should always be fused. That crappy PO install could have cooked your boat.

I'm just coming off of charter and had to fix a few PO electrical issues on the charter boat. One of which was fuses jumpered with aluminum foil.

And a great example of the crap that passes for bilge pumps/float switches. Obviously not only was the housing not long term water proof, but the connections inside were not either. For pennies per unit the manufacturer could have potted the whole circuit in epoxy.
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