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Old 06-07-2014, 05:03   #1
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Should I shade my solar panels?

Greetings and Salutations,

I have a new solar system that meets all of our wildest
expectations, but I need help with how best to store the
boat with the new system.

We are in the water on the dock disconnected from power.

The solar consists of 540w of panels and a Morningstar
charge controller. During our time off of the boat should
I shade one of the panels to reduce the burden on the
charge controller, and thus the heat generated by the
controller?

Or, should I shut the whole system down and have my
boatwatcher turn it on periodically to charge the batteries.

In order to sleep while I'm gone I have to know that the
bilge pumps will work if something does go wrong.

Thoughts? Advise? Counsel? All Appreciated.
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Old 06-07-2014, 05:34   #2
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Re: Should I shade my solar panels?

Leave the panels unshaded.
Reduce the charge voltages slightly.
Get your boat watcher to check the battery water levels periodically (if they are flooded)
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Old 06-07-2014, 06:38   #3
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Re: Should I shade my solar panels?

If the controller is set properly for the type of battery you have- AGMs, flooded cell, Gel, than leave it on. It will do no harm and will keep the batteries charged.

And if you have flooded cell batteries, have your boat watcher check the water in the battery every other month or so.

David
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Old 06-07-2014, 09:04   #4
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Re: Should I shade my solar panels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
Leave the panels unshaded.
Reduce the charge voltages slightly.
Get your boat watcher to check the battery water levels periodically (if they are flooded)
I agree, but I would add some figures - like reduce the absorption voltages to below the battery gassing voltage - say to 14.1 volts - and reduce the absorption time to say 1 hour. This will just help to stir things up, but not cause water loss.

All charge controllers should have the ability to make these changes. If they don't then switch to a GEL setting of 14.1v.
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Old 06-07-2014, 09:15   #5
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Re: Should I shade my solar panels?

... or ... disconnect all but one of the panels.
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