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Old 22-05-2009, 03:58   #1
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Use Solar Panel Output Directly?

Hi,

I would like some information regarding the use of solar panels on board, I have purchased a 50 Watt panel and if it helps would look to buy another 150 watts to generate enough energy to run our fridge. I plan to have the fridge on its own bank of batteries with a facility to charge them up via a battery charger run by our generator. The question is if you wire the panel through a controller to charge the batteries can you wire the fridge direct to the controller or would this not work? If this can be done then the panel will power the fridge and when there is no sun the batteries will power it and if the fridge is down then the panel will re charge the batteries, it sounds easy but I am sure it is not.
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Old 22-05-2009, 05:42   #2
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No point. Wire the fridge to the batteries...BTW...most fridges in active use will use 75ah a day or more. This would require on the order of 3-400 watts of panels to support depending on your latitude, weather and type of charge controller. Rather than more panels...you might consider a wind gen to be more sunlight independent so the food doesn't spoil in the event of a few days of rain or clouds.
If you are worried about the fridge draining the batteries too deeply, get a low voltage cut-off.
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Old 22-05-2009, 05:52   #3
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I don't see the logic of wiring the fridge direct to the controller and having dedicated batteries for just running the fridge.

We have 2 deep freezers and and a refrigerator (plus other stuff) on our boat. We usually provision for 5 months in the Bahamas. I expanded our solar array to 4 130W panels and a 50 amp BlueSky MPPT controller. Our house bank consists of 3-4D AGM batteries (about 630 amps). We can now run everything all day and night (assuming sunshine) without running the genset at all. That includes running the watermaker everyother day off solar. If I could make hot water, the genset probably wouldn't run at all (except when the admiral wants her hair dryer).
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Old 23-05-2009, 03:14   #4
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I am unsure of the best way to wire solar panels up, I have never considered them in the past due to not having room for them, but after a long day you need a cold beer and it is with this in mind that has made me ask the question. I am taking a 50 watt panel out with me in a week and will wire it up, I know it will not produce the energy I require but it will show me what shortfall I have and will allow me to work out my options for positioning them, thanks for your help and suggestions.

Regards

Ross

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Originally Posted by bottleinamessage View Post
I don't see the logic of wiring the fridge direct to the controller and having dedicated batteries for just running the fridge.

We have 2 deep freezers and and a refrigerator (plus other stuff) on our boat. We usually provision for 5 months in the Bahamas. I expanded our solar array to 4 130W panels and a 50 amp BlueSky MPPT controller. Our house bank consists of 3-4D AGM batteries (about 630 amps). We can now run everything all day and night (assuming sunshine) without running the genset at all. That includes running the watermaker everyother day off solar. If I could make hot water, the genset probably wouldn't run at all (except when the admiral wants her hair dryer).
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Old 23-05-2009, 04:37   #5
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Our panels are mounted on top of the dodger and bimini.



Boat on the right. I've seen output of 30+amps on sunny days in the Bahamas.

One concern, I see your in the UK. How much sun so you have on a daily basis?
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Old 23-05-2009, 06:23   #6
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I ave thought about mounting panels on the bimini but there is not a lot of room between the top of the bimini and the boom. As for sun light, well we are in Turkey and so will get more than our share of the sun.
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Old 23-05-2009, 06:34   #7
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I looked at the pictures of your boat you posted. It looks like maybe 6" or so clearance under the main boom. If so, that is more than enough clearance.
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Old 23-05-2009, 06:40   #8
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This photo of the rear panels shows the mounts I made. Top of panel is approx. 2 1/2" above bimini.

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