Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on Cruisers Forums. Advertise Here
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 06-11-2018, 00:07   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Jacksonville, NC
Boat: 1976 Cat 27
Posts: 3
Simple Solar

I tried to avoid making this post and I'm sure most of the regular contributors to this forum will want me to walk the plank but I'm now short on time and suffering from information overload to the point I think my head is about to explode. I have spent way more hours than I should have already reading threads to simple questions that seem to go off in the weeds and I go off in the weeds with them trying to understand something I know nothing about. I have gained some knowledge; it's just all starting to run together.
I have a lot of work to get done other than this solar project if the wife and I are to get underway on our live-aboard adventure in a couple of weeks. I will walk the plank after I finish this project up so any help is greatly appreciated. All I ask is to please just keep it as simple as possible.


Equipment:
2 12v 100W Flexible Panels
Optimum Operating Voltage 18.9V
Open Circuit voltage 22.5V
Maximum System Voltage 600 VDC
Optimum Operation Current 5.29A


Epever 4210AN 40amp charge controller with the MT-50 remote meter.


The plan for house bank is 1 200ah AGM battery but will be getting a second battery within 60 days for a total of 400ah. Budget is getting thin so we're just going to have to make it work for now.


We have a smaller vessel(27' Catalina) and will be using 12V cigarette lighter style plug in appliances. I have a 400W inverter that i haven't decided whether or not to hook up yet and a 1500W that will stay stowed away somewhere.
I have not done an exact ah estimated usage but by my best guesstament don't think we'll exceed 40-50ah daily and i think that's a high estimate. We have no radar or electronic equipment other than a small chart-plotter and VHF.


Questions:
Should I connect the solar panels in series or parallel?



How many amps will be going to the load terminal from the charge controller; 40amp?


If a DC cigarette plug in appliance says 13A draw, is the 13A per hour?



I have a few more questions but I'll save them for later.

I apologize once again as I know these questions have been answered 1000 times, i just couldn't find a thread with simple answers and as stated above cant afford any more time at the moment researching but will be spending a lot of time researching during the evening and adverse weather down time.
__________________

NC_JBird is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2018, 02:56   #2
Moderator
 
noelex 77's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2007
Boat: Bestevaer.
Posts: 11,164
Re: Simple Solar

Quote:
Originally Posted by NC_JBird View Post
I apologize once again as I know these questions have been answered 1000 times, i just couldn't find a thread with simple answers and as stated above cant afford any more time at the moment researching but will be spending a lot of time researching during the evening and adverse weather down time.
There is no need to apologise. Asking questions is what the forum is all about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NC_JBird View Post
Should I connect the solar panels in series or parallel?
Parallel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NC_JBird View Post
How many amps will be going to the load terminal from the charge controller; 40amp?
The very most you have is a little over 15A in ideal conditions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NC_JBird View Post
If a DC cigarette plug in appliance says 13A draw, is the 13A per hour?
If the appliance draws 13A and is used for an hour it has consumed 13 Ahrs (amp hours). If the same appliance was used for half an hour it would consume 6.5 Ahrs. However, often the listed draw is a maximum. It does not necessarily mean the appliance will always be consumining this amount.

You need to be careful with different voltages. An appliance that consumes 13A at 110v will consume much more from a 12v battery if plugged into a inverter. Around 130A at 12v might be the practical result.

Most cigarette plugs are limited to maximum of 10A. Some are rated up to 20A but they are not the most reliable things in the marine environment. Around 6-7A is a more realistic maximum. If you can avoid these connectors as much as possible your systems will be more reliable.
__________________

noelex 77 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2018, 07:01   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 7,852
Re: Simple Solar

Everything above +1

x10 on ciggie ports, horribly poor design actually dangerous. Use Anderson plugs if quick disconnect is required, otherwise wire in directly.

Ciggie port to Anderson adapters can accommodate temporary usage and guests if needed.

> Maximum System Voltage 600 VDC
makes no sense

Get your 400AH bank all at once, charging of non-solar sources to start with. Discuss best value brand / model here first, foundation of your system, spend more up front to get lower cost per year. Why do you think you need AGM?

Focus on conservation, again, invest in efficiency fo long term savings. Avoid using inverters as much as possible.

The load terminal on any solar controller is very limited. Best to carry the heavier currents from load buss / distribution boxes wired off the bank.

Actually measure consumption and charging in AH per 24 hours for accurate budgeting / monitoring purposes.
john61ct is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2018, 09:02   #4
Registered User
 
SV_Harbinger's Avatar

Join Date: May 2018
Location: Buzzards Bay
Boat: Catalina 30
Posts: 123
Re: Simple Solar

Your set up is similar to mine, and we have closely related vessels (Catalina 30) and I am in the middle of replacing the plugs to the Anderson type.
I would recommend that you get the batteries situation settled before committing to the system but I don't see any disaster for waiting 2 months to get the second battery in place. Speaking of batteries I had to relocate mine to under the quarter berth to find enough room to keep them together, I wonder if your facing the same problem? Mine were originally under the nav station (breveted chart table) which I don't think the 27 has.
Experience with my set up has been, that if the conditions are just right and the panels are squeaky clean you may flirt with 16 amps for a few minutes but on a regular basis expect to be closer to 10, right now, for example I'm reading just less than 2amps charge but it is raining and November.
About the inverters they are power hungry little beasties, mine in practice is almost a decorative item, but it is a wonderful thing to have for a quick powertool use and the like when away from shore power... I keep mine wired in but isolated through a breaker so it doesn't kill by bank.
Otherwise the best thing you can do is swap any incandescent/halogen bulbs for LED, makes a surprisingly large difference in power consumption
For the appliances, if you have a 12v drip coffee maker stand by for it to take a good long while to brew, the blenders aren't as powerful as their 110v cousins, but if you take it easy on them the ones I've run into do an adequate job. I just received a 12v "crock pot" and I'll let you know what I think of it next week after I abuse it for a bit (and promptly void the warranty by changing the plug)
And unless I'm making water I have a full bank by the end of the day usually.... although I do have a larger capacity bank at 400ah and FLA instead of AGM, but still a small bank by some standards.
SV_Harbinger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2018, 14:57   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 7,852
Re: Simple Solar

Very sensible approach.

Although I must admit, some home-style high-current consumers like a blender **can** be run off the inverter

when they are run for a very short time.

While alternative / compromises for a coffee maker or crock pot are better, because their watt-hour consumption per 24 hours can get quite high.

BTW for the latter, look at getting the meal up to high temp, then put in a big thermal(aka Thermos) cooker.

Zero energy consumption while it continues to cook for hours.

I have a soft spot for a full-power Vitamix 8-)
john61ct is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2018, 20:51   #6
Registered User
 
rgleason's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Boston, MA
Boat: 1981 Bristol 32 Sloop
Posts: 11,712
Re: Simple Solar

Parallel Connection: Optimum Operation Current 5.29A x 2 = 10.6amps with optimum operating voltage 18.9v
Serial Connection: Optimum Operating Voltage 18.9V x 2 = 40.8v with optimum current at 5.29a
In either type of connection, these numbers can be much less dependent on light intensity.


If the panels are going to be shaded differently, it may be optimal to wire each panel to a separate controller, to gain effective capacity.
rgleason is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2018, 21:32   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Jacksonville, NC
Boat: 1976 Cat 27
Posts: 3
Re: Simple Solar

Thanks for all the input


Panels parallel
Don't count on much extra juice from the charge controller
Most definitely ditch the cigarette style plug and go with an anderson type


john

I guess my reasoning for AGM is the trade off of very little maintenance, they are sealed allowing versatile positioning, very little to no gassing and if properly charged and discharged can get longer life. From what shopping around i've done I the regular batteries are about 20-25% cheaper. If what i've said is correct i just feel like the exta cost is worth it. Keep in mind this is based on limited research.


You are one of the culprits that has lead me off into the weeds for way more time than i should have gone but I wish what little i've learned i would have learned long ago; i would have definitely saved a few dollars over the years. This electrical stuff has peeked my interest for sure.


Harbinger,
I'm not locked in on a location yet. I know for sure they will fit under the port stern seat but have eyed what i guess you are calling the quarter birth on the starboard side. I'm going to do measurements tomorrow. I've been in the process of replacing the bulk head, starboard side that separates head/cabin area that holds the chain plate so redoing all the plumbing since i'd took it out to make working with the bulkhead easier. Another story for another thread.


Noted your tip on isolating the inverter with a breaker.


I replaced most of my lights with LEDs several years ago. Mast and running lights are all that's left to replace and will be before we leave




The only 12v appliance that i ended up buying and using daily, couple times a day for 5-8 days at a time when on the road and that was the portable cooker. Looks like a lunch box. I think the new ones warm to 350 but maybe 300F. Chilly out of the fridge would take about 45 minutes. It's great for warming or cooking but you cant control the temp. It's a great all around DC appliance to have.
https://www.qvc.com/qvc.product.V819...iABEgKidfD_BwE


I never did the 12v coffee maker thing, 1/2 for 20oz of coffee. We did look at the crockpots but the ones we saw were only 1.5qt so too small for us to be practical. They have made some fairly good improvements and introduced some new 12v appliances in just the last few years imo.

'

I'll keep you informed as I go with this solar stuff and anything you could share would be greatly appreciated. As you said, i'm not sure about the 30' specs but we have to be close. Mine is a 1976 model though. Very dry boat, great shape overall.
NC_JBird is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2018, 02:30   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 90
Re: Simple Solar

Quote:
Originally Posted by rgleason View Post
Parallel Connection: Optimum Operation Current 5.29A x 2 = 10.6amps with optimum operating voltage 18.9v
Serial Connection: Optimum Operating Voltage 18.9V x 2 = 40.8v with optimum current at 5.29a
In either type of connection, these numbers can be much less dependent on light intensity.


If the panels are going to be shaded differently, it may be optimal to wire each panel to a separate controller, to gain effective capacity.
Hmmm.... math check required 18.9 x 2 is not 40.8.... itís 37.8

Yes, 1 controller per panel usually gives better results in partial shading.

OTOH, keeping it simple, 2 identical panels parallel to a single controller (as long as itís up to the job) is about as simple as youíll get....
mickt243 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2018, 03:51   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Crete , Greece
Boat: Beneteau first 26
Posts: 262
Re: Simple Solar

If I am not mistaken this is an mppt controller , maybe is better to connect in series .
Try to avoid inverters as much as possible.
gmakhs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2018, 04:42   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 90
Re: Simple Solar

Series into an mppt is better, when there is no shading.

Parallel is better when there is shading.
mickt243 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2018, 06:02   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 7,852
Re: Simple Solar

Always shading on a boat
john61ct is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2018, 10:53   #12
Registered User
 
rgleason's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Boston, MA
Boat: 1981 Bristol 32 Sloop
Posts: 11,712
Re: Simple Solar

Nope actually in order of optimal performance (best at the top):
  • One MPPT Controller with (2) PV panels in series, if no shading at all
  • (2) Separate MPPT Controller direct to each PV panel, if there is shading.***
  • (2) Separate MPPT "Boost" Controller to each PV Panel, if there is shading and the panels are too small to have adequate voltage. ***
  • MPPT always better.
  • PWM Pulse width modified Controller
*** Always shading on a boat, per Johnct
rgleason is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2018, 12:14   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 7,852
Re: Simple Solar

> Always shading on a boat

Well sailboats anyway, powerboats, maybe big enough cats might be an exception?

Series is really only needed when not willing to locate right-sized and/or higher-voltage panels.

1:1 ratio will **always** yield highest efficiency, but simplicity and cost factors may be more important if the gains are slight.

The Victron series' ability to accept high V let the owner actually A/B test the effects of the various options themselves before finalizing the install, or even set up the wiring to allow reconfiguring at will.
john61ct is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2018, 10:49   #14
Registered User
 
rgleason's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Boston, MA
Boat: 1981 Bristol 32 Sloop
Posts: 11,712
Re: Simple Solar

As per Bruce Schwab, smaller panels with fewer cells will benefit from use of a Genasun MPPT Boost Controller, 1 panel to 1 controller. Note: Victron does not make a controller that will replace the Genasun Boost

Solar looks simple. It isn't.
__________________

rgleason is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
solar

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Simple electrical system with solar for recharge bigjer40 Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 38 15-06-2014 18:41
A Simple Blue Water Solar Bimini Design morgan3 Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 25 18-01-2014 10:46
Cheap, Simple Solar Panel? islander20 Marine Electronics 19 28-01-2013 13:26
Simple Solar For A Simpleton VirtualVagabond Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 306 23-10-2012 08:00
Simple Solar System Solid State Relay Design SunDevil Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 1 27-02-2012 00:49



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:52.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.