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Old 09-24-2017, 04:44 PM   #21
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Small solar solution?

600w, so far no heat issues. Peak output 73v 9.5a...super efficient day.
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What kind of boat is that?
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Old 09-27-2017, 06:16 PM   #22
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Small solar solution?

Thanks for all the solar info.

Another (probably dumb) question. If I'm plugged in at the dock with the battery charger on, can I also leave the solar "on" to save my batteries in case the dock loses power, cord fails, etc?
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Old 09-27-2017, 07:06 PM   #23
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If I'm plugged in at the dock with the battery charger on, can I also leave the solar "on" to save my batteries in case the dock loses power, cord fails, etc?
I leave my boat unconnected to shorepower, my modest solar array keeps the batts charged. I even have a panel serving the genset battery.
I encounter no issue I know of with 2 simultaneous charging sources. You already have that when the alternator is operating and the sun is shining. There was past discussion about "putting panels to sleep",eg,while working on the system. My solar systems have no "off switch", but you could disconnect a wire, or as I once did, cover the panels so the sun does not reach them.
I have had alternators running,panels connected,charger on, simultaneously,with no apparent ill effects. What the regulators think about it I`ve no idea.
Interested in posts about this, hoping to learn more about it too.
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Old 09-27-2017, 10:50 PM   #24
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Look at E Marine Systems website. They are in Ft Lauderdale, you could pick it up on your way from the airport and save shipping (& damage). I have 480 watts and never turn it off, even when on shore power. The charge controller will take care of things.

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Old 09-28-2017, 12:07 AM   #25
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Ok. Thanks!
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Old 09-28-2017, 01:21 AM   #26
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If you plan to connect or disconnect, do it at night or cover the panels. My panels have a warning sticker on them saying much the same.
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Old 09-28-2017, 03:37 AM   #27
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If you plan to connect or disconnect, do it at night or cover the panels. My panels have a warning sticker on them saying much the same.
I have thought that. But the Manual for my PWM controllers says that to adjust settings, remove all connections except the connection to the battery.
I`ve done it that way to make adjustments, all went well,with batts uncovered, so less sure about that warning .
Fairly sure this came up on another thread and it was said that once a connection to a battery was removed, generation stopped (think it was Brian/Insequent who is knowledgeable on panels). I also wondered where the amps went when the regulator finds the batts are full, as mine often are. The panels must still be generating, but I think Brian had the answer, and quoted someone authoritative.
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Old 09-28-2017, 07:35 AM   #28
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Bruce-- What battery voltages are you charging with PWM controllers? Most likely your's are 12 or 24v which means the panel voltage you are exposed to is safe. But not all installations have safe voltages.

I installed a battery switch for my panels back when I used panels with Vmp of 18V for a PWM controller. Now however, my new installation panels have Vmp of 32V wired as two banks of series/parallel that provide voltages upwards to 70-75V to my controller. Anything greater than about 48V is dangerous and of course even lower voltages can do great harm it shorted out with a ring or a watch.
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Old 09-28-2017, 08:12 AM   #29
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Small solar solution?

Do I need to disconnect for any reason? Will the solar controller sense that the AC battery charger is on and stop the current from getting through to the batteries from the solar panels?

I'm thinking of a setup with a 100w panel just used for topping off the batteries, or for backup if the shore power fails.
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Old 09-28-2017, 12:03 PM   #30
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No disconnect except for maintenance. Mine have breakers in and out. MPPT controller, the voltage is over 70.
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Old 09-28-2017, 02:22 PM   #31
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I keep seeing references to 100 watt panels in the replies. My thought, since I only have room for 1 60 cell panel, is to get a high quality panel in the 275-300 watt range. Combine this with a good MPPT controller.

Am I missing something?
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Old 09-28-2017, 05:08 PM   #32
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I keep seeing references to 100 watt panels in the replies. My thought, since I only have room for 1 60 cell panel, is to get a high quality panel in the 275-300 watt range. Combine this with a good MPPT controller.

Am I missing something?
Not missing anything. If the space and space configuration allows go for it..
Many of us have space and shape limitations. Sometimes the panels must be portable so physical size becomes important.

In some installs shading may be a real problem and two or more panels may do better than one larger panel.
But if shading is not then I suspect the single large panel will do better.
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Old 09-28-2017, 05:30 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by cardude01 View Post
Do I need to disconnect for any reason? Will the solar controller sense that the AC battery charger is on and stop the current from getting through to the batteries from the solar panels?

I'm thinking of a setup with a 100w panel just used for topping off the batteries, or for backup if the shore power fails.

No, a controller is not a watch dog and there is no reason for one. The chargers that I am familiar with do not allow user control of bulk, absorption and float voltages..........OK before someone jumps up and down........there are chargers that do, I am just not familiar with them.

From my experience, chargers that do not allow users to change settings, seem to always go to the lower sides. My Xantrex 5012 is always in a hurry to jump from bulk to float while the batteries should remain in float or at least absorption. Summary...so far... dock chargers do not charge lead acid batteries to their "full charge" but a solar controller at least those that allow users to change bulk, absorption and float voltages will.

I always leave my dock charger on along with my solar. My dock charger is a backup to a week of rain which might on a good day bring the batteries up to 70-80% while solar will bring them closer to 100%
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Old 09-28-2017, 07:45 PM   #34
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Not missing anything. If the space and space configuration allows go for it..
Many of us have space and shape limitations. Sometimes the panels must be portable so physical size becomes important.

In some installs shading may be a real problem and two or more panels may do better than one larger panel.
But if shading is not then I suspect the single large panel will do better.
Yeah, I have room for one 60 cell panel. I suppose I could look for panels with smaller form factors and try to get two there, but one 60 cell panel will fit just about perfectly without my having to move other hardware out of the way.
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Old 11-08-2017, 10:34 AM   #35
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Measured the boat the other day, and it appears I only have enough room for two 100W panels. Would a cheap package like this be good enough to keep the batteries topped off at the dock in case the shore power fails? I don't think 200 watts will do much for me out on the hook.
https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F302025202826

I could go with a more expensive package like this with a better controller, but is it worth it with 200W?
https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F281169784988
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Old 11-08-2017, 12:39 PM   #36
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While I appreciate the convenience of a package, if you buy separate components you can put together a system at about the same price but with a superior Morningstar controller.

Buy whoever's 100 watt panels are the cheapest as they are all about the same. But buy this Morningstar controller- https://www.amazon.com/Morningstar-S...rge+controller. It may be Chinese made as they all are, but at least it is designed by Americans (like iPhones).

That more expensive package uses an MPPT controller and while it works ;-) it will add about 15% more to your batteries over a PWM controller like the Morningstar, but for 200 watts, it isn't worth it.

For easy wiring hook up your two panels with an MC4 Y and then use 8 gauge MC4 cables for the run to your controller which should be located near the batteries.

You might be surprised what 200 watts will do. It should put out 70 amp hours on a sunny day. That will just about cover me for a normal 24 hours on the hook. YMMV.

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Old 11-08-2017, 12:57 PM   #37
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Measured the boat the other day, and it appears I only have enough room for two 100W panels. Would a cheap package like this be good enough to keep the batteries topped off at the dock in case the shore power fails? I don't think 200 watts will do much for me out on the hook.
https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F302025202826

I could go with a more expensive package like this with a better controller, but is it worth it with 200W?
https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F281169784988
When you say "you measured", that gives you a footprint of the physical dimensions or real estate you have to mount panels. I am sure you should be able to find panels that fit in that footprint that have different watts outputs greater than 100W. Personally, I would get that highest output panels I could get to fill that footprint. Also get the highest voltage panels you can get and let the MPPT controller convert that to a higher amps input to your batteries. Higher volts and watts per square inch of panel and an MPPT controller will cost more but you will get more bang out of the real estate you have available.
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Old 11-08-2017, 01:05 PM   #38
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Oh yeah. I mean I measured for those panels in that package that were like 27x47". Didn't realize I could get bigger power panels in that same size.
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Old 11-08-2017, 04:37 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cardude01 View Post
Measured the boat the other day, and it appears I only have enough room for two 100W panels. Would a cheap package like this be good enough to keep the batteries topped off at the dock in case the shore power fails? I don't think 200 watts will do much for me out on the hook.
https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F302025202826

I could go with a more expensive package like this with a better controller, but is it worth it with 200W?
https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F281169784988
I don't know what your exact needs are when out on the hook but 200 watts is nothing to sneeze at. 200 watts will give you over 50ah on a decent day. I have only a single 100watt panel and even at 25ah per day, its enough to reduce my generator needs when on the hook and assures my banks are properly topped off when I'm not there without having to run the generator for hours before I can leave the boat for the week.

Ken
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Old 11-08-2017, 04:48 PM   #40
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Oh yeah. I mean I measured for those panels in that package that were like 27x47". Didn't realize I could get bigger power panels in that same size.
Good suggestions above! Here are a couple of more.

IF and only IF you go with MPPT, consider higher panel voltages to minimize wire losses which will force the use of large wire sizes. The upper voltage that you select should be determined by what the controller will safely accept. And of course, maximize the wattage that will fit into your available real estate.

There is much conjecture pertaining to operating panels in series. My experience with my 32vmp panels in series fails to give proof that shadows are panel killers but my participation in that discussion is behind me. I recommend considering using series wiring to allow easier, less expensive installation.

Next has to do with panel mounting. I have seen pictures of nice jobs using clips. I avoided clips. My panels are mounted on top of two hardtops that of course have curvature. I secured my panels with silicon caulking the ONLY place that I can recommend silicon usage on boats. Again, in my case, the panels are out of sight and adhesives worked and also eliminated any need to drill holes for clips. To accommodate for the curved surface, I installed a narrow strip of plastic wood under one edge of each panel. The stuff is sold by the big box stores and you can cut them to the sizes you require. This provided an air space between the panels and the mounting surface.

I don't recommend using 5200 unless those panels are going to be there forever........remember, even solar panels have a limited life. Before increasing my panel wattage, the 145 watt panels I used were secured with 5200. What a $%^&**&^% job it was to remove them.

And good luck......plan to get this done before foreign panels are slapped with high tariffs.
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