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Old 27-01-2015, 10:15   #1
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Solar & Battery Install on Brewer 42

Hey folks...my first real post on the forum. I wanted to share the battery/solar project that I just wrapped up on my Brewer 42. Planning on leaving this summer to begin cruising for a few years.

Recent Additions:
-10 GC2 6v batteries from Sam's Club, wired for 12 volts (1100 amp hours)

-4 113w thin solar Aurinco solar panels, starboard wired in series & port wired in series, then those pair wired in parallel.

-Morningstar TriStar TS-MPPT-60 charge controller w/ remote panel

I'll probably eventually add an Air Breeze wind generator, but I'm not there yet.

I was only able to monitor the solar input for two days before I had to leave the boat, but it appears that in Florida January, on a mostly sunny day, I'm getting an average of 75ah/day.

Interested to hear the forum's thoughts.

Video of install here.
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Old 27-01-2015, 11:28   #2
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Re: Solar & Battery Install on Brewer 42

Not sure How you figure 75 amp hours a day, and not saying your wrong either just a quick story.

Dock mate in our marina was complaining his 400 watts of solar was producing only about 50 watts or 4 - 5 amps, while another was bragging his 400 watt system was pumping out nearly 300+ watts or 22+ amps during the noon time hours.

After looking at the systems it was determined that both were working well, the one putting out 4 - 5 amps had fully charge batteries and only a small house load on the system and when the shore power was plugged in the solar system produced 0 amps. The other gentleman did not have shore power and was running a refrig along with light at night and a laptop.

The point is be careful how you measure your solar output, with out a constant high load on the system you may not be seeing fully what your system is capable of.
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Old 27-01-2015, 11:44   #3
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Re: Solar & Battery Install on Brewer 42

When you get to the Wind Gen state, consider other ones, there are better options then the Air Breeze. in my order of preference. D400, superwind, silentwind

Chris
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Old 27-01-2015, 11:55   #4
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Re: Solar & Battery Install on Brewer 42

@Irwin37: I'm simply going by the Tristar controller's log. The first day, the batteries were at roughly 85% with a 5-10amp load. The second day the batteries were at 100% with a 5-10amp load. No real difference in AH from the panels according to the controller. If I'm reading things properly, anyway.

@Witzgall: I'll check those out. I haven't made any final decisions on wind yet. Thanks!
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Old 28-01-2015, 22:21   #5
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Re: Solar & Battery Install on Brewer 42

Yes--at any given moment during the sunshine charging day, the MPPT Controler gives a reading of the amperage throughput from the solar panels to the battery. If the charging exceeds the demand, eventually, the controller shows decreasing throughput and a lovely little red LED light begins doing little flashes that eventually turn into a constant red glow showing that "float" had been achieved.

After I had designed and installed this system on my boat myself, I sailed to/from Hawaii from/to U.S. West Coast and had exceeding enjoyment, (rapture?), while I sat and watched the MPPT controller little red LED light flash and then shine steady, flash and then steady again, and so on, while the refrigeration unit cycled every 25 minutes drawing 3.5 amps, and the autopilot drove the boat drawing amps all the while I sipped a huge ice-filled tumbler of cold refreshment.

Originally, I talked to the owner of Aurinco about his thin flexible panels as I thought I would "sprinkle" them around the boat deck as an installation. He told me that he was behind on orders because the panels weren't meeting the output specs. After further research/investigation of solar panels/efficiency of various panels/manufacturers, I decided to go with the rigid panels--'glad I did. They are very efficient--all in parallel, so if any one of them gets shaded, it doesn't reduce production throughput from the others. These panels were much less expensive as well.
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Old 29-01-2015, 23:40   #6
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Re: Solar & Battery Install on Brewer 42

Unfortunatly people buy solar panels by Peak Watt rating and not by efficiency wich is around +/- 15%.
This efficiency rate is valid:
if optimum angle to sun 25-40 degrees depending location
if solar panel has proper cooling
Otherwise itīs even less

MPPT charge controllers can improve efficiency +/- 20% depending on wireing of the solar panels. It allows to use High Voltage solar panels and conected in series to produce enough voltage to charge batteries.
Windgenerators have a poor output for the money but at night time and with covered skys itīs better than nothing.
To run serious consumers like fridge at least part time of the day U should consider at least 500 Peak Watt Solar Panel capacity if U also want to charge the battery bank.

A good system is not determined by how much watts U have installed

The only thing that counts is how much Amps/Watts U put in Your battery and how much those Amp/Watts cost U.....everything else is BS
High Power Solar Panels cost aprox 1-1,50 US$ per watt
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