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Old 20-04-2015, 01:27   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Boat: 1968 29' Quorning Tri
Posts: 20
Solar Setup for Trimaran

I'm in the process of refitting a 1968 29' Quorning Trimaran with some friends, and we really want to get a solar setup that can at least keep the batteries topped off when in the slip and also at least extend the life during 3-4 day weekend type cruises. This is a pretty old boat, so we have pretty low power requirements, one small GPS chartplotter that is sometimes used when not utilizing an iPad with Navionics, a tiller based autopilot, and a LED tri-color mast nav/anchor light, nothing else to speak of. We are hoping to add a small portable style refrigerator under 20L total capacity that we would run from time to time to keep some perishable food cool when necessary. We are in Denmark, so even during the summer the temperatures do not get excessively hot.

We are hoping to get to around 150-200w w/ MPPT, but we'd like to avoid heavier rigid glass type panels hanging off the boat. The owner prefers to have one permanently installed semi-flexible panel in the curved area amidships just aft the mast which is 70cm x 80cm (27.55in x 31.49in), and then use an additional stow-able folding panel that we can pull out when mooring or at anchor.

Our boat is a 12v setup with only around 100Ah bank currently, I *believe* the chemistry is lead acid or AGM, definitely no fancy li-on/LiPo banks here, but will have to check next time I get a chance on the specifics.

I'm no electrician, but my main concern and question is how to handle the addition of a separate "portable" panel into the setup? Most MPPT controllers I see only allow one input from the panels, and even if we were to permanently install these I presume we cannot do them in parallel due to the specs of the panels likely being different. Does series work here? If so, are others using some sort of permanently installed relay or junction box setup that allows you to plug in some MC-4's that you then switch over and now the permanent panel *and* portable panel are wired in series with a bypass diode? Do you run a completely separate controller just for the portable panel? Something else?

Just looking to get on the right track here, so I know what we should be looking for, so I'd love to hear comments. I'd love to hear feedback on the setup idea the owner has, as well as if anyone can recommend a semi-flex panel that will fit within 70cmx80cm. We have been looking at the Rogue MPT-2024 controller due to flexibility with regards to expansion especially if we decide to move to a larger boat.
FatChance is offline   Reply With Quote

solar, trimaran

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