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Old 27-10-2014, 05:12   #1
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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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Old 27-10-2014, 05:27   #2
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

Is this what you seek?
http://www.amazon.com/Solar-Style-Br...anch+Connector
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Old 27-10-2014, 05:32   #3
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

Thanks. I have the splitters I'm just trying to verify the electrical physics of doing so. What I'm reading advises against it so it seems.


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Old 27-10-2014, 05:47   #4
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

I've got three panels totaling 416w going into such a connector leading to a 40amp controller. All seems to be working well for me. I would like to know what advice you are getting saying it's not a good idea; I'm certainly no electrician!
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Old 27-10-2014, 05:52   #5
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

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Originally Posted by jacob30 View Post
Attachment 90404

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
Sent from my iPad using Cruisers Sailing Forum
I have 3 solar panels on my boat and 3 PWM regulators. The reasons that I have PWM is that in tropical latitudes the difference in efficiency between MPPT and PWM is negligible and they are cheaper, simpeler and don't produce frequencies that mess with my SSB. The reason that I have three is so if one fails I still have two that function.

I know it is technically possible to do what you want if you place diodes. One bypass diode over each of the four panels and a blocking diode over the 55V array and the 135W array. Often Y-connectors have blocking diodes built-in to them. And connectors with bypass diodes also exist.

Did I say 135W array? Yes i did. By placing the two 55W panels in series (assuming all panels are meant for a 12V system) you will create a 24V output, while the two 135W panels in parallel each produce 12V. So you have to place them in series as well, then connect them in parallel with the 55W array. And don't forget to buy a 24V battery.

http://www.ozimall.com.au/mc4-solar-...ode-protection

The voltage that solar panels supply should pretty much be the same.

JPC Solar Ltd - 50W/55W
JPC Solar Ltd - 120/125W/130/135W

Of course the panels above are all produced by the same company, so voltages can differ slightly more between panels from different manufacturers.

I'd try it, but to be absolutely, 100% sure I'd contact a company that installs solar panels.


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Old 27-10-2014, 05:55   #6
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

As I understand the circuitry, if you have all of the solar panels going to one controller the panels act as if they were one big solar panel. If one of the individual panels is compromised by shade, bird droppings, whatever, the efficiency of the entire array is compromised. However, if there are separate controllers, only the compromised panel is affected, the others continue with their full out put.

A few years ago Nigel Calder did some experiments along these lines and published them in Cruising World.
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Old 27-10-2014, 06:08   #7
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

Those panels don't look like Solbians and do look like Chinese knock-offs. So this leads to the question, what is the panel voltage of the smaller 55W panels??
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Old 27-10-2014, 06:26   #8
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

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.)
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Old 27-10-2014, 07:30   #9
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacob30 View Post
Attachment 90404

I have installed 2 x 135 watt panels and 2x55 watt panels. Is there a way to feed them all to one controller?
Yes you can parallel them all to one controller. If it is an MPPT controller as yours is the Vmp of the two different panels should be close for best results (0.5v difference or less).

There is no need for an extra diodes.
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Old 27-10-2014, 10:10   #10
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

If you are using a good MPPT controller you might consider putting your panels in series to keep the voltage up, thus minimising losses in the cables down to the controller. I run down from my panels at >70 volts in 6mm cable to the controller which then feeds to 24 volt batteries. in 16mm cable.
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Old 27-10-2014, 10:28   #11
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

I did a similar thing on my bimini. I have a single 100 oriented like your 135s, and two 40W modules in the aft corners. Each module has its own MPPT controller. I ran the wires down through the bimini stainless tubing.
I used a Sunsaver MPPT on the 100, and two Genasun voltage boosting MPPT controllers on the 40s since they are only 8V modules.

Your research is correct:
To get the absolute most out of your array you should have a separate MPPT controller on each solar module. This is because of the partial shading you get on each of the modules. It looks like you have shading from the boom on the 135s, and from the split backstay(?) on the 55s.

MPPT controllers track the maximum power point of an array or module, and if you have modules paralleled and each are getting shaded independently, the IV(current-voltage) curve and max power point of the combined array gets very distorted and you end up getting less out of your array.
If you have to parallel all of your modules together then you are better off with a PWM type controller.
Don't series any of the modules, it will only make your IV curve even more distorted.
Put separate PV and controller out circuit breakers on each controller for safety and so you can control and evaluate your output.
How did you hide the wires?

Have fun,
Mike
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Old 27-10-2014, 10:39   #12
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

I have 3-135 watt panels wired in parallel. There are factory installed current diodes in the panel connector box. I use a Blue Sky MPPT controller. The system has been in operation for 5 years. I pull 22 amps at noon and average 12-14 for 10 hours each day. Simple! Panels with different amperages can be connected together without a splitter. Splitters just reduce voltage and hence current. Kiss works best.
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Old 27-10-2014, 10:43   #13
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

Who makes a 400W solar module?

You should be getting way more than 22 amps!'


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Old 27-10-2014, 10:53   #14
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

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Who makes a 400W solar module?

You should be getting way more than 22 amps!'


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My mistake (corrected) 3 panels totaling 400 watts Thanks
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Old 27-10-2014, 10:57   #15
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

I installed two 95 watt and two 85 watt panels. I paired the 95s and paired the 85s all in parallel to a 500 watt MPPT controller and they work beautifully! I reliably had ice cubes and autopilot steering across the Pacific twice this summer. So there were two lengths of 8 gauge duplex to the MPPT controller and one short 6 ga run to the battery from the MPPT controller. All runs exposed to the elements I encased in shrink tubing to reduce UV wear.
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