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Old 27-01-2010, 18:41   #1
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Location: Fremantle, West Australia
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Connect Solar Panels in Series or Parallel?

While investigating the wiring on the 12V system on my recently acquired boat I discovered that the two solar panels were connected in series, the current then passing through a regulator and directly into the house bank of batteries. Is this normal or desirable? I had assumed the panels would be wired in parallel with the regulated current being directed to the Cole-Hersee selector switch, so that you had the option of charging either the cranking battery or the house bank.

My experience is very limited here and I would welcome any advice.

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Old 27-01-2010, 19:01   #2
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If you have an MPPT controller this arrangement would be acceptible. If you start the engine every once in a while the starting battery is not likely to need charging by the solar panels. I have my batteries connected through a combiner switch so the starting bank is charged any time there is sufficient charge on the house bank.
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Old 27-01-2010, 19:04   #3
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If the charger is the MPPT type, then this is a very normal way to do it. An MPPT controller doesn't really care what the input voltage is, it will convert the input to whatever is needed for the batteries. A series connection has some negative points (like shading one panel can affect both), but high voltage at less current also means less voltage loss in the wire.
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