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Old 23-07-2014, 09:09   #31
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Re: Solar Panels for Marine Use

Before jumping on a battery monitor unit y'all might want to read MaineSail's pretty thorough article on the Smartgauge : Smart Gauge Battery Monitoring Unit Photo Gallery by Compass Marine How To at pbase.com .
The price seems very reasonable, and comparable with the others; for what in his opinion is a superior unit.
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Old 24-07-2014, 02:44   #32
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Re: Solar Panels for Marine Use

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tx J View Post
Before jumping on a battery monitor unit y'all might want to read MaineSail's pretty thorough article on the Smartgauge : Smart Gauge Battery Monitoring Unit Photo Gallery by Compass Marine How To at pbase.com .
The price seems very reasonable, and comparable with the others; for what in his opinion is a superior unit.
Very interesting article and I think the gauge could certainly be used in conjunction with another monitor as the Smart Gauge does not show the amperage being used which ideally is what I am after at present. Handy extra to have though to quite accurately measure your SOC.
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Old 24-07-2014, 03:58   #33
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Re: Solar Panels for Marine Use

Again for the low-budget diy crowd, here is the bat monitor I am installing (Some assembly required)
simple solder job. Fits in new panel I'm fabbing. $35 Replace (large white block) shunt resistor to increase amp range.
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Old 28-07-2014, 22:18   #34
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Re: Solar Panels for Marine Use

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Very interesting article and I think the gauge could certainly be used in conjunction with another monitor as the Smart Gauge does not show the amperage being used which ideally is what I am after at present. Handy extra to have though to quite accurately measure your SOC.
Yes, I agree. I want an amp meter as a must as well and the Smart Meter costs the same as the nasa instrument I have coming. So, not for me.
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Old 29-07-2014, 06:01   #35
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Re: Solar Panels for Marine Use

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tx J View Post
Before jumping on a battery monitor unit y'all might want to read MaineSail's pretty thorough article on the Smartgauge : Smart Gauge Battery Monitoring Unit Photo Gallery by Compass Marine How To at pbase.com .
The price seems very reasonable, and comparable with the others; for what in his opinion is a superior unit.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Biggusstickus View Post
Very interesting article and I think the gauge could certainly be used in conjunction with another monitor as the Smart Gauge does not show the amperage being used which ideally is what I am after at present. Handy extra to have though to quite accurately measure your SOC.
Quote:
Originally Posted by capt-couillon View Post
Again for the low-budget diy crowd, here is the bat monitor I am installing (Some assembly required)
simple solder job. Fits in new panel I'm fabbing. $35 Replace (large white block) shunt resistor to increase amp range.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tedsherrin View Post
Yes, I agree. I want an amp meter as a must as well and the Smart Meter costs the same as the nasa instrument I have coming. So, not for me.

OK guys,
I guess I didn't quite explain it, assumed a little bit.
I thought that using an existing panel amp meter, and/or adding a simple, cheap, readily available 'amp meter', along with the "Smart Gauge", would be understood; and adequate to suit the purpose of eyeball monitoring of current flows (since the SG was otherwise considered to be the 'best in field').
As I read Maine Sails' article on the Smart Gauge, it was a superior device. Missing one simple function that could be easily compensated for by getting a small, supplementary 'amp meter'.

A simple amp meter (with shunt, digital or analog, in various current ranges) can be found on Ebay and elsewhere for $5-50+ (just do a search on "amp meter" and Ebay will return ~11K finds), a trivial extra expense.
Which makes you wonder why the SG doesn't have this basic function, eh? Maybe Balmar will modify the SG to add this function (a shunt and '?' should do it).

If you really need a fancy 'amp meter' that stores and presents a histogram of multi-hour/day current measurements, all the bells and whistles, etc., I guess it could get a bit more complicated (although there are probably even inexpensive ones like that that the Ebay search will turn up, I just didn't look that far).

These inexpensive 'amp meters' usually also have a voltmeter function too.
What they don't seem to have is the large price tag that a "marine" unit has (I've looked at digital units for my panel and it'$ ridiculou$).
Worried about 'marinizing' one? It seems a simple enough task to do, along with fitting one into an existing panel.
That's my plan anyway.
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Old 29-07-2014, 07:24   #36
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Re: Solar Panels for Marine Use

WTH-
Here's an example of a "Programmable Controller 200V 250A Combo Meter Voltage Amp Power Ah Auto Shut Down" for about $30 or so.
Just the first I saw with a heavy capacity, there are many others out there. Accurate to the unit hundredths, reliable=?, at these prices carry a spare.
See the link for specs and some schematics, etc.

Programmab Controller 200V 250A Combo Meter Voltage Amp Power AH Auto Shut Down | eBay


It does amps, volts, ahrs, watts, alarm buzzer, and ?.

Interesting features are settable over/under parameters that will operate an external cutoff relay.
Gang a couple of these up and you might be able to protect even LiFePo4's.
I'm not sure if you can use just one shunt, and stack multiple shunt connections (don't really see why not if it isn't a 'smart' shunt). Experiment time...
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Old 30-07-2014, 01:38   #37
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Re: Solar Panels for Marine Use

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Originally Posted by Tx J View Post
OK guys,
I guess I didn't quite explain it, assumed a little bit.
I thought that using an existing panel amp meter, and/or adding a simple, cheap, readily available 'amp meter', along with the "Smart Gauge", would be understood;
And there lieth the problem.

As we didn't have an existing gauge in the first place. As you say there are many of these cheap Chinese gauges out there which may or may not work or be accurate but for a couple of hundred bucks I don't mind going with a tested and proven gauge. If later on I find it necessary then I shall add the Smart Gauge to the collection but too many instruments/gauges can also be an issue. Im happy with purchasing the Nasa, as Ted suggested. Now for the batteries!, and maybe a new sounder
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Old 30-07-2014, 03:24   #38
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Re: Solar Panels for Marine Use

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And there lieth the problem.

As we didn't have an existing gauge in the first place. As you say there are many of these cheap Chinese gauges out there which may or may not work or be accurate but for a couple of hundred bucks I don't mind going with a tested and proven gauge. If later on I find it necessary then I shall add the Smart Gauge to the collection but too many instruments/gauges can also be an issue. Im happy with purchasing the Nasa, as Ted suggested. Now for the batteries!, and maybe a new sounder
A Victron - BMV-600 - is probably the best buy in a monitor.

The Smartgauge is unique in that it will get more accurate over time while all other monitors will become less accurate at showing state of charge.
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Old 30-07-2014, 03:36   #39
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Re: Solar Panels for Marine Use

Hey you electrical types, how do I work out the maximum size of panels a regulator will take?

I've been given a quote for two 130watt panels and a Steca pr2020 regulator, which is 20amp of course. How do I work out if the 20amp is big enough or should I go with a 30amp Steca ?

Also, can a wind gen be added on to the same regulator, or do I need a separate one for wind?

Ted
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Old 30-07-2014, 04:50   #40
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Re: Solar Panels for Marine Use

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Originally Posted by tedsherrin View Post
Hey you electrical types, how do I work out the maximum size of panels a regulator will take?

I've been given a quote for two 130watt panels and a Steca pr2020 regulator, which is 20amp of course. How do I work out if the 20amp is big enough or should I go with a 30amp Steca ?

Also, can a wind gen be added on to the same regulator, or do I need a separate one for wind?

Ted

Volts x Amps = Watts
Max (theoretical) of 130W panel (~12V) =10 Amp x2 = 20 Amp

So your smaller controller will just support your two panels at max output. In reality the output will be less than spec. Regardless, I would go ahead and use larger controller to allow for future expansion.

Wind gen may be internally or externally regulated depending on mfg and components. Regulator needs be matched to generator/alternator on a unit basis. Generally speaking, (with exceptions) your charging systems may all be connected in parallel (wind / solar / engine driven / tafrail generator etc) to take advantage of all available sources at once.
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Old 30-07-2014, 05:25   #41
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Re: Solar Panels for Marine Use

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Originally Posted by capt-couillon View Post
Volts x Amps = Watts
Max (theoretical) of 130W panel (~12V) =10 Amp x2 = 20 Amp

So your smaller controller will just support your two panels at max output. In reality the output will be less than spec. Regardless, I would go ahead and use larger controller to allow for future expansion.

Wind gen may be internally or externally regulated depending on mfg and components. Regulator needs be matched to generator/alternator on a unit basis. Generally speaking, (with exceptions) your charging systems may all be connected in parallel (wind / solar / engine driven / tafrail generator etc) to take advantage of all available sources at once.
Thank you Capt. The specs on the panels I'm looking at state max power, 7.43amps, so is this then 2x 7.43 being 15amps then?
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Old 30-07-2014, 05:53   #42
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Re: Solar Panels for Marine Use

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Thank you Capt. The specs on the panels I'm looking at state max power, 7.43amps, so is this then 2x 7.43 being 15amps then?
This is why I hate seeing Amps used. Powerwise 100W is well 100W, but amps are dependant on voltage of course, so first you have to know what voltage was used to determine the amperage that is being quoted. Ex 100W at 12V is 8.3 amps, but at 14V it's 7.1, power even though the amps are different is the same.
Sorry if this is obvious to everyone
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Old 30-07-2014, 06:37   #43
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Re: Solar Panels for Marine Use

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This is why I hate seeing Amps used. Powerwise 100W is well 100W, but amps are dependant on voltage of course, so first you have to know what voltage was used to determine the amperage that is being quoted. Ex 100W at 12V is 8.3 amps, but at 14V it's 7.1, power even though the amps are different is the same.
Sorry if this is obvious to everyone
YeAh, well sorry if this is 'obvious' to everyone, it's not obvious to me. Here are the specs off the panels I'm looking at. Max power 7.43 @ 17.49v so, 7.43x17.49= 129.9 watts.

But I already knew it was 130w because that's the panel I'm buying. So, I'll ask again, is it just 2 (panels) x 7.43 = 14.9 amps?


12VDC 1485 x 668 x 35mm
Max Power: 7.43A @ 17.49V
25 Year Warranty
Plus Only Power Tolerance!

Model: KWT130P
Max Peak Power (MPP): 130 Watts
Voltage @ MPP: 17.49 V
Current @ MPP: 7.43 A
Open Circuit Voltage: 21.33 V
Short Circuit Current: 8.17 A
Dimensions: 1485 x 668 x 35mm
Weight: 11.0 kg
Warranty: 25 Year Performance
Power Tolerance: 0 ~ +5%
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Old 30-07-2014, 07:26   #44
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Re: Solar Panels for Marine Use

Short answer... Your proposed 20A controller is adequate for the output of your proposed 2 panels.
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Old 30-07-2014, 07:33   #45
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Re: Solar Panels for Marine Use

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Short answer... Your proposed 20A controller is adequate for the output of your proposed 2 panels.
Thank you Capt. The specs on the panels I'm looking at state max power, 7.43amps, so is this then 2x 7.43 being 15amps then?

I'd like to confirm how to work it out.
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