Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on Cruisers Forums. Advertise Here
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 11-07-2020, 12:41   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: wherever
Boat: Cheoy Lee 47 CC
Posts: 874
Solar Panels and Controllers

We're adding solar to our boat this year which will be mounted to an arch.
I've decided on rigid panels so 8 can get the max watts for our application.
If you had your druthers whose panels would you buy? Why? What's your experience with them?
Same goes for controllers.
We're currently in the Caribbean but are looking to get to the Pacific in the future.
__________________

lifeofreilly57 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-07-2020, 13:45   #2
Are you serious?
 
sailorboy1's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: currently in Jacksonville Fl
Boat: Hunter 410
Posts: 16,648
Re: Solar Panels and Controllers

get the panels that you find for best price and which fit you planned installation. I don't even remember what brand panels I have. I am sure people with show up on the thread with a bunch of "on paper" stuff, but there are so many variables that it crazy to me to worry about.

I like the Outback controllers due to their programing adjustability. But again I think any controller that the programing matches your battery is fine.
__________________

__________________
jobless, houseless, clueless, living on a boat and cruising around somewhere
sailorboy1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-07-2020, 14:00   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Nice, France
Boat: Hunter Marine 38
Posts: 896
Re: Solar Panels and Controllers

Installed two fixed 327W Sunpower panels in parallel with a Morningstar controller.
sailormed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-07-2020, 14:29   #4
Moderator
 
Pete7's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Solent, England
Boat: Moody 31
Posts: 13,823
Images: 14
Re: Solar Panels and Controllers

300w Perlight solar panel. Nothing special, probably a standard domestic panel, but ridiculously cheap when bought early January. Only a few pounds more than I got for selling the 2 year old 150w panel secondhand.

I take the view that if it lasts 10 years then I have got my monies worth and will replace it then.

Controller is Victron, 100/20 with blue tooth and the battery temperature add on. Very easy to set up and check what's happening on a smart phone.

Pete
Pete7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-07-2020, 14:33   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: Bay of Islands New Zealand
Boat: Morgan 44 CC
Posts: 696
Re: Solar Panels and Controllers

My newer solar panels were bought from a local person who was not a dealer and bought/sold a wide variety of stuff so had no technical background in solar but the price was waaay below market and the panels were brand new, see spec in image 2. All my mates said don’t buy them, they’re probably Chinese junk. As it happens I believed that most panels in my neck of the woods were Chinese manufacture so what the heck - I bought them.

Then the price of MPPT controllers from a best-case supplier in NZ was eye watering (NZ$285 each) and claims that they were “made in Germany, not China” tried to justify the cost. So I went back to China-made and found controllers that were 15% of the price. I thought OK, so if I buy them and they fail, it’s not a financial train wreck.

I bought two for the grand price of NZ$34 each, delivered to my home. Sounds too good to be true, right? But the original two are still functioning perfectly after a little over a year. So much so, I bought another two, replaced a “German” one that was on the original panels (on the radar arch, 3rd image) and was looking a bit dodgy and a spare (just in case).

Moral of this story? Don’t be talked into spending vast amounts of money for “branded” solar kit. The cheaper products are so cheap, you can keep a cupboard full of spares (if paranoia requires it) and still be financially better off.

Or you could buy a controller as advertised in the 4th image
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	19398AA1-946B-4ED8-82DD-082762419374.jpeg
Views:	115
Size:	246.6 KB
ID:	219152   Click image for larger version

Name:	2071A907-EB37-4A06-81D5-5F8C7996FE3C.jpg
Views:	114
Size:	417.2 KB
ID:	219153  

Click image for larger version

Name:	2872F3C0-0A53-4834-A2A2-D847038043E3.jpeg
Views:	126
Size:	192.7 KB
ID:	219154   Click image for larger version

Name:	2FDFD9AC-5F75-4444-9E58-D376715A66C8.jpeg
Views:	119
Size:	386.4 KB
ID:	219155  

CassidyNZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2020, 08:03   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: wherever
Boat: Cheoy Lee 47 CC
Posts: 874
Re: Solar Panels and Controllers

Thanks for the info.
I'm always interested in actual installations and alternatives.
lifeofreilly57 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2020, 08:21   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: US
Boat: Sunward 48
Posts: 154
Re: Solar Panels and Controllers

If you store your boat and you have AGM batteries, consider getting a controller that allows you to set the max voltage to the float voltage for your batteries.

If you have wet cell batteries and you store your boat, consider getting a controller that allows you to set the max voltage to where the amount of outgassing is nil to low. For example, in the tropics that would be 13.2V max. If you keep the outgassing low, you are more likely to return to batteries that are not boiled off.
Locquatious is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2020, 08:35   #8
Registered User
 
darrelweb's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Fiddlehead Marina, Olympia, Washington
Boat: 82' Catalina 30 Mark 1
Posts: 55
Re: Solar Panels and Controllers

I got all my panels and charge gear from Ferris Power Products.

Installed one setup on my 34 Pacific Seacraft years ago and have since sold the boat.

I just receieved my second setup for my 30' Catalina. 2 X 100 panels to go on my bimini with MPPT controller, 2 each Echo chargers for the start and windlass batteries, and a power boost solar monitor (an extra you can really do without).

Great service and help all the time. Out of MA. 508-743-9901

This is my second setup and l will stick with their products and reliability.

Darrel
darrelweb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2020, 09:10   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: between the devil and the deep blue sea
Boat: a sailing boat
Posts: 19,569
Re: Solar Panels and Controllers

I would buy again Victron panels and controllers.


One catch: do not wire 12V panels into 12V bats. Wire panels up to get well above the voltage of the batteries. This is due to Victron mppt controlers kicking up only when there is a sound V difference at start up (mornings). Not mentioned in bold print on the facts sheets.



Other than this 24V / 12V trick, fabulous kit - and works as advertised (at least 15% gain over our PWN kit).


BTW buying 24V panels makes big sense if your batts are 12V. You can get more W per $ this way too.



b.
barnakiel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2020, 11:40   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 17
Re: Solar Panels and Controllers

Buy a controller that lets you easily change the parameters for charging and discharging. Some take the battery down too low for maximum life. Some charge too high or not high enough.

A warning that you can set a little above the low voltage shutoff is also helpful. For example with Lead Acid batteries. You may want the warning and/or shutoff at the 50-60% capacity mark, but you can occasionally take the battery lower if necessary.

If the battery shuts down, you can quickly change the low voltage parameter to something lower depending on the situation or at least until you can start charging the battery.
ikanode is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2020, 18:50   #11
Registered User
 
colinalleck's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Lake Macquarie NSW Australia
Boat: S&S34
Posts: 29
Re: Solar Panels and Controllers

Be wary of cheaper Chinese controllers sold as MPPT off eBay

Once I read the manual it didn’t mention MPPT BUT claimed the product provided “ Thunder Protection“
colinalleck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2020, 19:02   #12
Registered User
 
Uncle Bob's Avatar

Join Date: May 2010
Location: Sydney Australia
Boat: Fisher pilothouse sloop 32'
Posts: 1,800
Re: Solar Panels and Controllers

Quote:
Originally Posted by colinalleck View Post
Be wary of cheaper Chinese controllers sold as MPPT off eBay

Once I read the manual it didn’t mention MPPT BUT claimed the product provided “ Thunder Protection“

Similar result from n acquaintance who designs and produces electronic wizardry, thought what the heck, the price was just too good. When he did his thing with them after arrival, he discovered not MPPT but PWM and not even good ones at that. Straight to the bin.
__________________
Rob aka Uncle Bob Sydney Australia.

Life is 10% the cards you are dealt, 90% how you play em
Uncle Bob is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2020, 20:03   #13
Registered User
 
Madehn's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Kemah Tx
Boat: Gulfstar 51
Posts: 213
Re: Solar Panels and Controllers

I have an outback flex max 80 amp controller with almost a kilowatt of panels- I like it-- if I had to do it over again, I would have wired the panels for a higher voltage and bought two outback flex max 40 controllers for redundancy and for better performance. I have a mix of panels with Kyocera being prevalent and they seem to have held up well so far.
Madehn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2020, 20:30   #14
Registered User
 
Marathon1150's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Vancouver, Canada; Papeete, Tahiti
Boat: Beneteau Idylle 1150 (Papeete), Beneteau First 35s5 (Vancouver)
Posts: 228
Images: 9
Re: Solar Panels and Controllers

I just finished installing two Renogy 100W panels and a Victron 100/30 MPPT controller. The controller is oversized so that I can add another panel. I spent a pile of time reading about gear because the last time that I did this was more than ten years ago. The Renogy panels came up frequently as recommended and people really like the Victron controller. I also installed 4 x 6V AGM golf cart batteries. I will be able to provide an assessment of the setup at the end of the season or the end of the year, depending on the weather.

The previous installation is on a boat that we still own. It has 2 x 80 Sharp panels and 2 x 140 Kyocera panels and a single Bluesky MPPT controller. All seems to work well. That boat has 2 x Lifeline 4D AGM batteries and about 420AH. This worked well crossing the Pacific last year and the boat is resting comfortably with some small power consuming devices and only the panels keeping the batteries topped up.

I can't say that I can see a difference with any of the panels. They all seem to be fine and they are guaranteed for 25 years at some amazing percentage of their original efficiency. New panels in general however are more efficient than older panels. Hard panels are more efficient and significantly less expensive than flexible panels. Flexible panels come with a much shorter guarantee.

The Victron controller is super easy to use and the Bluetooth connection provides real time monitoring of what the system is up to. Prices, at least for hard panels are amazingly inexpensive at the moment and I expect will continue to decline.
__________________
Desolation Island is situated in a third region, somewhere between elsewhere and everywhere.
Jean-Paul Kauffmann
Marathon1150 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-07-2020, 01:02   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: Bay of Islands New Zealand
Boat: Morgan 44 CC
Posts: 696
Re: Solar Panels and Controllers

I’ve connected a separate controller to each panel. I based this on the belief that if one controller controls more than one panel and one of the panels gets shaded, performance of the whole array will be compromised. This is true for elements in one panel (3 elements in 20 get shaded, whole panel output reduces?) so why would it not be true for a multi-panel array?

Is that incorrect?
__________________

CassidyNZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
panels, solar, solar panels

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
3 panels and 3 MPPT controllers? Pole Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 55 22-12-2019 04:27
2 large solar panels vs 3 smaller panels sailingunity Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 9 20-05-2019 15:38
Solar Controllers MPPT 24v - 12v Panels? grrr_evans Marine Electronics 0 09-02-2018 23:03
Solar Panels - Multiple Controllers Vs Parallel AHoy Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 0 26-01-2018 19:45
Solar Panels and Charge Controllers Trim50 Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 22 12-06-2008 17:22

Advertise Here


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 21:14.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.