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Old 27-10-2014, 11:06   #16
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

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I have installed 2 x 135 watt panels and 2x55 watt panels. Is there a way to feed them all to one controller? I plan on parallel for the two 135 watt panels to the controller. Do I need to get a separate controller for the 55's ? My research is telling me yes. Could I connect the two 55's in series and then parallel that to the 135's? Or is there still a big enough voltage gap to matter?
The controller is a Morningstar TS-MPPT-45 Tristar 45 Amp MPPT Charge Controller
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It has everything to do with the maximum output voltage of the PV cells, parallel them together, put your DC current clamp on feed to charge controller, terminate one at a time, observe current, it should increase something close to that panels rating and make sure you have a big load on your batteries, if they are topped off it might skew your results.

Really the only thing that can happen is you will lose some efficiency, if max V difference is greater than 6 V I wouldn't do it, ensure diodes are installed in each panel too.
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Old 28-10-2014, 06:31   #17
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

The issue with connecting 12v solar panels in series is you double the risk of a 'shadow outage' of any charging occurring to your batteries if either panel has a shadow across it. If you keep all 12v panels in parallel (with a 12v controller) while the rate of charge will drop if one is shadowed, it won't drop to zero. Check the specs of your panels as many already have a protective diode built-in to their design. Adding more diodes then necessary reduces charge current because each diode drops the voltage. If you must connect the 12v panels in series you only need one diode in the loop and of course try to mount the panels where they will suffer the least shadow outage time.


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Old 28-10-2014, 17:10   #18
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

Thanks for all the responses. I'm thinking I will conduct some tests and decide. I plan on connecting everything in parallel with the exception of the 2 55's I will series them then connect that series in parallel.


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Old 28-10-2014, 17:38   #19
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

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If the are the same voltage bung them all in together.

Remember its a bloody boat in salt water every extra connection or 'box' is a time bomb of corrosion.

I certainly dont feel that having them connected means one solar panel in shade effects the others because my set up means one panel is always in the shade! (One panel gets morning sun only. Its on deck at 45 degrees so when its midday if finished its job. And its not on deck at all when at sea, it live in the lazarette still connected.)
agreed Mark,

And I'm not one to argue the issues of shade on a pannel, but when purchasing ours, I bought Kyocera pannels and a morningstar controler and it all works great, shade or not....
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Old 28-10-2014, 19:47   #20
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

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Originally Posted by jacob30 View Post
Thanks for all the responses. I'm thinking I will conduct some tests and decide. I plan on connecting everything in parallel with the exception of the 2 55's I will series them then connect that series in parallel.
You might consider reading everything that MaineSail has written about solar panels on his website www.marinehowto.com and answering his question before you try random experiments. Also you might try researching the difference between amps, volts and watts.
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Old 29-10-2014, 17:24   #21
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

CLady, I have a similar setup 2x 140w Panels in series and an MPPT controller 12v system . Do you have RFI on the VHF that makes it near useless. Do you have this issue?
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Old 31-10-2014, 03:02   #22
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

Thanks for the input here. Read a pretty clear article concerning this as well. Some people seem to be going against the ideas in it. I think I'm just going to run a separate controller for the 55 watt panels. http://solarpanelsvenue.com/mixing-solar-panels/


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Old 01-11-2014, 04:18   #23
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

I have my own query,

I have installed 2 120 watt solar panels today. When I put the meter on the input to the Stekka controller it reads 13.8v, today was a sunny day, I was expecting a lot more than this. Anyone know what I should expect?
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Old 01-11-2014, 04:26   #24
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

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Originally Posted by Rustic Charm View Post
I have my own query,

I have installed 2 120 watt solar panels today. When I put the meter on the input to the Stekka controller it reads 13.8v, today was a sunny day, I was expecting a lot more than this. Anyone know what I should expect?
Is it a non-MPPT regulator?

If so the input voltage = the battery voltage (less wire losses etc)

If it is a MPPT regulator a Vmp of 13.8v is low.
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Old 01-11-2014, 15:40   #25
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

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Is it a non-MPPT regulator?

If so the input voltage = the battery voltage (less wire losses etc)

If it is a MPPT regulator a Vmp of 13.8v is low.
I can't see what it is. It's a Seca 20amp and it has 'soc' in the specs. Can't see anything about MPPT.
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Old 02-11-2014, 00:39   #26
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

Sorry, it's a Steca 20amp controller.

After I left yeaterday it blew the fuse in the battery line. Instructions advise to put a fuse in the battery line (positive) but the instructions don't advise what size fuse. Yesterday I put a 15amp in, today I tried a 20amp fuse and blew it as soon as I put it it.

Does anyone have a Steca and know what size fuse it should have?
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Old 02-11-2014, 01:49   #27
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

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Originally Posted by Rustic Charm View Post
Sorry, it's a Steca 20amp controller.

After I left yeaterday it blew the fuse in the battery line. Instructions advise to put a fuse in the battery line (positive) but the instructions don't advise what size fuse. Yesterday I put a 15amp in, today I tried a 20amp fuse and blew it as soon as I put it it.

Does anyone have a Steca and know what size fuse it should have?
It's a PWM type charger, i.e it's a non-MPPT type
As for fuse size, it has to be bigger than 20 amps as the charger will deliver 20 amps (if the batteries will accept that much).

I would start with at least a 25 amp fuse but it should be sized according to the wire size between charger and battery.

What size wiring are you using?
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Old 02-11-2014, 01:53   #28
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

For RC,
SOC = State of Charge
PWM = Pulse Width Modulation
MPPT = Maximum Power Point Tracking

More info here Which solar charge controller: PWM or MPPT? | Victron Energy
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Old 02-11-2014, 01:06   #29
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

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It's a PWM type charger, i.e it's a non-MPPT type
As for fuse size, it has to be bigger than 20 amps as the charger will deliver 20 amps (if the batteries will accept that much).

I would start with at least a 25 amp fuse but it should be sized according to the wire size between charger and battery.

What size wiring are you using?
I'd take a guess and say it's 6mm wire or 38amp. However, I'm a little concerned at the fuse device it self as that doesn't look anywhere near as rated as the wire?

So a 20amp controller is not restricted to 20amps?
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Old 02-11-2014, 01:48   #30
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

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I'd take a guess and say it's 6mm wire or 38amp. However, I'm a little concerned at the fuse device it self as that doesn't look anywhere near as rated as the wire?

So a 20amp controller is not restricted to 20amps?
From what you have posted I would suspect there is a fault with the charger - more about that in a moment.

Don't worry about the physical aspects of the fuse. If it says 20A, then it should carry 20A continuously but any more than that, it should start to operate. The speed at which this occurs, depends on the type of fuse, the value of the overload current and the time it is carrying the overload current. So it might carry say 22 amps for a few minutes but say 200 amps for only a few milliseconds.

Your charger should be limited to a maximum of 20 Amps but in real life may be putting out a bit more maybe 21 or 22. Of course, the battery acceptance charge is often the limiting factor - if the battery chemistry will only accept say 10 amps, that is all the charger will deliver.

Now back to your fuse blowing issue. Fusing a cable between two sources is always problematical when fault finding. It your instance, the battery is a power source and so is the charger so either end may have a fault and the other end supplies the overload current.

As the charger shouldn't deliver more than 20 amps, then it shouldn't cause a 20 amps fuse to blow. The fact that the fuse blew quickly indicates the overload current was much higher than 20 amps, say 100+ amps.

The only source of this current must the battery so I expecting that your charger is either faulty or incorrectly connected and thus is putting a short circuit on the wiring from the battery. Easy way to check, is to remove it and fit say a 30 amp fuse. All should be OK, now reconnect the charger and if the fuse blows, the charger is faulty (or still connected incorrectly ).

Hope this helps!
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