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Old 31-05-2015, 08:05   #16
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Re: Solar panel installation help

Curious where your going to install the panel? I'm thinking of adding that size too.


Christian Gould
St. Paul, MN
S/V Sea Dog
Apostle Islands Lake Superior
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Old 31-05-2015, 08:23   #17
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Re: Solar panel installation help

Quote:
Originally Posted by ketchcng View Post
Curious where your going to install the panel? I'm thinking of adding that size too.


Christian Gould
St. Paul, MN
S/V Sea Dog
Apostle Islands Lake Superior
Hi Christian,

I went with a 50 Watt flexible panel as it fits perfect to put on top of where the companionway is.

Will most likely upgrade with an extra 100watt panel which I will put on the rail behind the cockpit. Like this: http://m0.i.pbase.com/g4/84/622984/3...0.7uyfBWbf.jpg

Will try and get it mounted so I can easily take it on/off and just have it available when im on the boat. While not being on the boat the 50watt flex should be more than enough to keep batteries topped up.

With 150watt total, I should hopefully be able to run a small compressor fridge without worry
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Old 31-05-2015, 08:23   #18
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Re: Solar panel installation help

I have a large bimini and had a frame built that goes over the bimini and allows me to mount the solar panel there. Currently I have one 245 watt panel mounted with the long dimension perpendicular to the keel. The frame has enough room to turn the panel lengthwise and mount two of them if I ever need more power. Currently one panel and the wind generator seem to give me all I need. If I had it to do again I would go with two panels and forget the wind generator. It would be a less expensive installation and give me considerable more power. If you would like to see a picture send me your email as I don't see any way to include an attachment here.

Gary
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Old 31-05-2015, 08:37   #19
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Re: Solar panel installation help

We are set up for solar charging on our boat (no shore power). Also have 2 battery bank. We use a 75 watt panel and a PWM controller, and have a combiner between the 2 batteries. Between the normal use of our 1gm10 motor, and the solar panel, we never have charging issues.

The panel location is not ideal. It's over the cabin, so there are boom shading issues at times. An MPPT controller is usually a better choice, but more expensive. However, even with it's faults, our setup works great for us, so you don't have to get too bogged down in the details to have a solid working system. Just get a good idea of how much your usage is, so you can size it.

We don't have refrigeration. I've also converted all interior lighting, and the anchor light to LED. That helps keep the usage down considerably when anchored.
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Old 31-05-2015, 08:50   #20
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Re: Solar panel installation help

We do have refrigeration and it is by far the single biggest energy consumer. I have yet to convert my lighting to LED, but that would be a big help, especially the most used lights (anchor, galley, nav station, two over dinette, and master berth. I seldom use the V-berth lights, the lights around the perimeter of the main cabin, or the mood lights.

Gary
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Old 31-05-2015, 10:01   #21
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Re: Solar panel installation help

Some really bad advice on this forum--with your controller, adding a second panel in series will not give you any more power. The Steca PR 2020 Charge regulator is rated at 20 amps, which means you could add a second panel in parallel, but you would need to replace it with a MPPT controller in order to utilize a series connection to the panels.
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Old 31-05-2015, 10:25   #22
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Re: Solar panel installation help

On our newly acquired boat, we have four house batteries already, shore power and a 25 amp battery charger. We have refrigeration and most of our lights have been converted to LED already. Still after a couple of days the batteries are low enough we have to charge the batteries up by running the engine. We want to get away from that.

So, I want to add in solar so we don't have to ruin the nice quiet times by running the engine to keep our fridge going (may also add in a freezer at some point). I was looking at something like this:

300 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel Complete Kit for RV's, Boats and Off-Grid

Would that be good or over kill? I know that's a 30 amp solar charger and I have a 25 amp charger in the boat already (could upgrade for other electronics in future).

We're planning on long term living/cruising in the Caribbean starting in the BVI.
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Old 31-05-2015, 10:34   #23
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Re: Solar panel installation help

I reread all of the posts in this thread. I didn't see anywhere where anyone mentioned series or parallel. Additionally, series would double the typical output voltage (possibly 17 volts to 34 volts, example), parallel would double the typical output current. You simply need to make sure that your controller can handle the result. The total amount of power available to the controller is essentially the same regardless of the series/parallel configuration. Since series doubles the voltage but doesn't affect the current you can use smaller gauge wiring from the panels to the controller. Parallel has the effect of not suffering as much loss if part of the panel configuration gets shaded, but requires larger gauge wiring from the panels to the controller since the current is doubled. Again, all you need to do is make sure that your controller can handle to result of your series or parallel wiring. An MPPT controller is more efficient at converting the available power from the panels to charging power for the batteries. It also typically has better current and voltage handling abilities than conventional controllers.

Gary
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Old 31-05-2015, 12:05   #24
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Re: Solar panel installation help

Quote:
Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
Some really bad advice on this forum--with your controller, adding a second panel in series will not give you any more power. The Steca PR 2020 Charge regulator is rated at 20 amps, which means you could add a second panel in parallel, but you would need to replace it with a MPPT controller in order to utilize a series connection to the panels.
My friend you really need to read the entire post prior to giving your own, what seems to me bad advice. Nowhere did anyone say add in series it was implied to add in parallel using his existing controller. The way you attacked the thread it makes me think you may be a service provider.
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Old 31-05-2015, 12:11   #25
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Re: Solar panel installation help

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Originally Posted by CurtisM View Post
On our newly acquired boat, we have four house batteries already, shore power and a 25 amp battery charger. We have refrigeration and most of our lights have been converted to LED already. Still after a couple of days the batteries are low enough we have to charge the batteries up by running the engine. We want to get away from that.

So, I want to add in solar so we don't have to ruin the nice quiet times by running the engine to keep our fridge going (may also add in a freezer at some point). I was looking at something like this:

300 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel Complete Kit for RV's, Boats and Off-Grid

Would that be good or over kill? I know that's a 30 amp solar charger and I have a 25 amp charger in the boat already (could upgrade for other electronics in future).

We're planning on long term living/cruising in the Caribbean starting in the BVI.
Curtis the panel kit you are looking at is actually a good one we have the 200 watt kit on our Spencer with similar power needs to you and have not needed to charge with any other source since February here in the pnw. So the 300 watt kit would IMO do just fine experience tells to tape all the mc4 connectors after you hook up to keep them from comming unplugged.
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