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Old 05-03-2013, 09:00   #16
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Re: Solar Panels - one big one or two small ones

Im with Zee on this one ! If the panels are properly mounted in the first place, then with additional lashing should be good to go up to Cat 3 !! anything over that and your gonna have bigger problems then loseing your Solar Panels!! I sometimes wonder if some of you folks have even been thru a Hurrycane with a boat ! tied to a dock or at anchor, let alone at sea in a storm of a cat 3 or better !! It's not like doing a cat 3 in your house !! Liveing down here in Hurrycane alley Ive come to a understanding, If it's gonna be cat 3 we stay at home, if it's bigger then that !! We go to a better place !!!
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:02   #17
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Re: Solar Panels - one big one or two small ones

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Thanks. What was the cost difference? Any wiring issues?

Andrew
I don't recall the cost exactly, its been a few years. Seems like it was around $250 average for each Kyocera 65 watt panel. 130 watt Kyocera panels were less than $500 in those days.

I ran 10Ga wire from each panel into the lazerette and paralleled the panels there. The runs are fairly short and its easy to reconfigure if I loose a panel. I also wanted to test series vs. parallel connections and doing that at a terminal strip in the lazerette simplified things.

Panels are less expensive these days.

John
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:48   #18
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Re: Solar Panels - one big one or two small ones

Redundancy is good. I like the smaller 12V panels because when the charge controller dies you can still charge the batteries more or less safely. You can charge with the larger panels too, but only till the voltage gets to 14.5V's or so. The Big panels would fry the batterys with 24-28V's.
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:06   #19
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Re: Solar Panels - one big one or two small ones

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Redundancy is good. I like the smaller 12V panels because when the charge controller dies you can still charge the batteries more or less safely. You can charge with the larger panels too, but only till the voltage gets to 14.5V's or so. The Big panels would fry the batterys with 24-28V's.
Agreed. I went with two 12v 135 watt panels. Wiring issues were minimal. They survived a 70 knot blow with no trouble, but that's all about the mounting. In a Cat. 3 I'd certainly take them below.

Biggest problem I have is bird droppings. The gulls seem to aim for them.
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Old 05-03-2013, 13:07   #20
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Re: Solar Panels - one big one or two small ones

I asked the same question last year and was pretty well decided to get the larger panels because the $/watt was half of the smaller panel. But then I started rethinking it because the large panels wouldn't even fit in my car!

Turns out that if I use the smaller (140W/12V) panels instead of the larger (285W/24V) I don't a MPPT controller and the cost is less. And since I was planning for expanding later 3X140W panels I figure is enough and is less than 2X285W panels.
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Old 05-03-2013, 14:12   #21
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Re: Solar Panels - one big one or two small ones

welcome to the real world where batteries reshape themselves..don, i found that, many years ago when i only had one small panel and one battery, my battery reshaped itself. this is why the need for a controller even if it is only 5 amps. good luck. i know you know everything, but i figgered some first hand info wouldnt hurt ye.
but, of course, this isnt book learning--is real life, so mebbe it isnt truth..LOL.

btw--reshape = melt.

bash--bird droppings means ye need a gato on duty to kill flyng objects so you havent any bird poo on board....
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Old 05-03-2013, 14:24   #22
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Re: Solar Panels - one big one or two small ones

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welcome to the real world where batteries reshape themselves..don, i found that, many years ago when i only had one small panel and one battery, my battery reshaped itself. this is why the need for a controller even if it is only 5 amps. good luck. i know you know everything, but i figgered some first hand info wouldnt hurt ye.
but, of course, this isnt book learning--is real life, so mebbe it isnt truth..LOL.

btw--reshape = melt.

bash--bird droppings means ye need a gato on duty to kill flyng objects so you havent any bird poo on board....
I just don't what you are talking about or how how it is drirected at me
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Old 05-03-2013, 14:43   #23
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Re: Solar Panels - one big one or two small ones

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I always like having a backup. With one big panel it just takes a seagull with a clam thinking that your big solar panel would be a great place to drop the clam to smash it open. That could ruin your cruise.
I always agree with you Mike, but this time, at least in my case, a shattered panel still put out rated power. The safety glass did its 1000 crack thing, I was sure it was dead. It was one of two 68 watt panels I had on the Cal 40.
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Old 05-03-2013, 14:58   #24
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Re: Solar Panels - one big one or two small ones

"Turns out that if I use the smaller (140W/12V) panels instead of the larger (285W/24V) I don't a MPPT controller and the cost is less"(don L)
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I just don't what you are talking about or how how it is drirected at me
do you or do you not use a controller with your panels--this says essentially that you do not. hence, my tale of experience so you will understand WHEN your batteries melt, exactly why they did so. enjoy.
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Old 05-03-2013, 15:06   #25
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Re: Solar Panels - one big one or two small ones

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"Turns out that if I use the smaller (140W/12V) panels instead of the larger (285W/24V) I don't a MPPT controller and the cost is less"(don L)

do you or do you not use a controller with your panels--this says essentially that you do not. hence, my tale of experience so you will understand WHEN your batteries melt, exactly why they did so. enjoy.

That was quite an ASSUMPTION you jumped to. Just because there isn't a MPPT controller does not mean there isn't a controller, like one of those old PWM ones.

Not using a MPPT allows enough cash saved to get more panels, than more than make-up the effieceny loss of the MPPT. Was in the cost comparison sheetsheet on the post you quoting!

Please ensure you check your facts before calling me a know it all as an insult! After all "I ain't no expert"!
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Old 05-03-2013, 15:11   #26
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Re: Solar Panels - one big one or two small ones

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That was quite an ASSUMPTION you jumped to. Just because there isn't a MPPT controller does not mean there isn't a controller, like one of those old PWM ones.

Not using a MPPT allows enough cash saved to get more panels, than more than make-up the effieceny loss of the MPPT. Was in the cost comparison sheetsheet on the post you quoting!

Please ensure you check your facts before calling me a know it all as an insult! After all "I ain't no expert"!

is a big difference between inferring and lack of given info by the soul trying to be understood, ye think??
try including all your info if you do not wish others to allegedly get the wrong idea.
communicate it, mon.

what kind of controller are you using if yo u dont use a mppt?i use with happiness a pwm, 20amp.
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Old 05-03-2013, 15:15   #27
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Re: Solar Panels - one big one or two small ones

PM me if you are more interested in continuing this little game than reading what I wrote!
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Old 05-03-2013, 15:23   #28
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Re: Solar Panels - one big one or two small ones

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PM me if you are more interested in continuing this little game than reading what I wrote!

honey, i read what you wrote even placed with quotation marks on your exact words, btw--i do NOT play games and i remember what i write..LOL
come out sailing and play for real.

happy sails and have a great day. be safe and remember what you escribe.
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Old 05-03-2013, 15:26   #29
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Re: Solar Panels - one big one or two small ones

It is nothing to get heated about. Today's "12 Volt" panels employs (36) 0.5 volt cells for 18 volts to charge. The higher voltage is needed because to charge (flow electrons) you need a voltage differential and the 0.5 volt output of cells degrades with heat, low angle to sun, partial shading. Even these panels will gas a battery after being fully charged. In the early days of solar panels for the RV market they had what they called regulated panels, which meant that they only used 28 cells for 14 volts. These wouldn't gas a fully charged battery and didn't need a controller but they took a long time to charge the last 25% of the battery's capacity due to lower voltage differential, plus heat and shading really slowed things down.

Today, the best bang for the buck are 60 cell units used for residential grid-tie installations at $1 per watt. 60 cells will put out 30 volts and any controller can be used to work with charging a 12 volt battery bank. You will see higher charge efficiencies with MPPT over PWM. Just make sure whatever controller you use is clean of RFI, or your HF SSB reception will suffer.
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Old 05-03-2013, 15:38   #30
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Re: Solar Panels - one big one or two small ones

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Consider the fact that you may wish to remove the panel if a storm is comming. Where will you store the panel? Can you get it down the companionway???

We have three panels now, all three can be removed in a few minutes, and fit down our companionway.
Excellent points!
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