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Old 02-12-2011, 20:46   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Naples, FL
Boat: Beneteau Oceanis 400
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Need Advice to Set Up New Solar Charging System

I have read through numourus threads and have not come across exactly what I am looking for, maybe I missed it and you can direct me to it.

I want to equip my 40 ft Ben with solar, right now I rely on a wind generator and engine driven altenator, and 300 AH battery storage. I would like to add an additional 300 AH's of battery storage and around 400W of solar power. Can some of you give me some advise as to brands of solar panels, and control systems needed. Where to buy them. If someone out there has installed them on a 40ft Beneteu where did they put them. I am thinking on top of the Bimini. Any advise would be great. Thanks
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Old 03-12-2011, 06:10   #2
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Re: Need advise to set up new solar charging system

I just helped a friend install 400 watts of solar panels on his trawler. 400 watts will be a lot of area to fit on a sailboat. The best place is to install them on top of your bimini as you suggested. Go to a canvas shop and ask them to make stainless hoops that will go from the bimini support struts up and over the top of the bimini. Attach them with plastic rail clamps.

But you will need at least 6-10" of vertical clearance between the bimini and boom to so this. Most boats don't have this much clearance and getting more isn't easy.

You will be lucky to get 120 watts of panels on each side of the boom. But that will let you use 17 V panels. These can be used with a non MPPT lower cost controller and IMO at 240 watts the cost of the more sophisticated controller isn't worth it.

There are dozens, maybe hundreds of solar panel sites. Try or Hook up your two panels in parallel and feed them to the controller with 10 gauge wire. You will need at least a 20 amp controller for 240 watts. Morningstar, Bluesky and others make them.

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