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Old 12-08-2014, 08:41 AM   #81
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Originally Posted by janice142 View Post
To piggy-back... I have 275 watts of panels and a MorningStar Pro-Star30. I'm considering adding two more 100 watt panels for 475 total. That would put me over the top on the Pro30, right? (And mine's not MPPT -- I know that already)

Will probably add four more batts first because it's possible a bigger battery bank would eliminate the need for more solar.

What say the experts? Is the ProStar30 limited to 300 watts as I suspect? The paperwork doesn't say so and I've not researched this yet. Still up to my bilges in engine removal.

Does anyone want a Volvo mooring ball? It's sitting in the middle of my pilothouse. For sale. The price you may ask: FREE. But you have to come and get it. (I did take off the water pump, fuel pump, high pressure fuel pump and starter/generator. Those will cost money.)
Janice, If you add more panels and total 475 watts you will have a potential of 40 amps. Reality is you will probably not get that. If the panels are laid flat you will reach about half that most of the time. Occasionally you might hit 30 but no more. The ideal angle for mounting panels is the latitude that you are at. If you are at 28 degrees then the optimal angle is 28 degrees. Most of the time on trawlers that is not practical. Bottom line, would your 30 amp controller work? probably, but it would be a potential hazard. I would not do it. If you do, make sure you use a 30 amp fuse.

When we had our sailboat I could tilt the panels. I would watch the meter and I would get a 50% increase in the output of the panels by tiling from the flat position to about 25 degrees. That is our latitude. On our trawler we have 4 120 watt panels all laid flat on top of the davits. The highest I have ever seen is 31 amps. Most days about 22 or 23, and usually about 110 to 120 ah. It is still enough to take care of our needs 90% of the time. Honda 2000 does the rest.
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Old 12-08-2014, 09:34 AM   #82
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Originally Posted by fryedaze View Post
I am installing three 150 watt semi-flexible solar panels to my my bridge canvas top. Can anyone recommend a good MPPT charge controller? The panels are 27.5 Vmp. I have a 12 volt system. I assume that I need a 40 amp controller to handle the potential 450 watt output ( I know I wont get 450).
Thanks,
Dave
On this site you will find all the necessary tools to your calculations for choosing a régulteur increasingly took to get good and excellent service for your potential purchases.

http://www.altestore.com/howto/Calculators/c36/

See also the summary of my installation made in last May (Post # 34 of 01-17-2014).

Fully satisfied to date for optimal performance.
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Old 12-08-2014, 09:52 AM   #83
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Originally Posted by Jacques View Post
On this site you will find all the necessary tools to your calculations for choosing a régulteur increasingly took to get good and excellent service for your potential purchases.

http://www.altestore.com/howto/Calculators/c36/

See also the summary of my installation made in last May (Post # 34 of 01-17-2014).

Fully satisfied to date for optimal performance.
Here is the specific link from above that tells you how to size the controller:

How to Size a Solar Charge Controller (PWM Type)

You might also want to note a second ProStar 30 can be added in parallel to your system to provide a total of 60AMPS. If it were my project, I would go with an appropriately sized MPPT.
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Old 12-08-2014, 10:54 AM   #84
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Is the location data optimized for angle, meaning for the PNW the panels are at a greater angle than for CA? For a horizontal comparison how would the table look?

For land applications I have seen this is definitely the case with a 50 KW array I saw a month ago at Hakai Institute (51 degrees or so N) at about 45 degrees at 2 PM. The same type of array in AZ will auto correct to about 15 degrees in mid afternoon mid summer.

What is the installed weight of your current array and how high above CG?

Good work and it seems you've got a good setup for your cruising style.
Hi, so sorry for not looking at this thread sooner and replying to your question.. So, the modeling tool allows one to set the angle of the panels - depending on your installation. One of the 'hints' I offer is to set this to 0, to show the panels are flat on a boat. (Not really totally true, but then with things being dynamic on a boat, 0 is a good estimation IMHO).

Talking to 'Land People', they often have a challenge which angle to set for, as the optimal varies between seasons. So, do I set it for MAX output only during the Summer, with significant loss in efficiency during winter? Or perhaps set them to maximize output during Winter and know there will be some loss opportunity during Summer? Invest in a tracker, or change the angle throughout the year? Most seem to pick an angle between Summer and Winter optimal values. Ah, and one thought things got simple on land

Total install weight is for me is around 100lbs, I did not worry about CG issues - nor windage as I set my panels very low (We do not use the upper station at all)
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Old 12-08-2014, 11:05 AM   #85
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. . . . Solar is a big step in that direction. The thought process is intense and requires a deep understanding of energy usage and what you really need.
Kulas is spot on here I think. Solar Panels have some down SO MUCH, that they are worth looking at, but one need to understand the overall system needs... For a weekend cruiser Solar is hard to justify based on $$ savings - but one might want to enjoy the weekend w/o listening to generators. Of course, installing a larger house battery bank might accomplish this as well.

And at dock, with really cheap electricity available (aka, $0.10 / Kwh), Solar can be a tough one to justify.

But in our usage model, away form the docks 8mo. out of the year and totally self sufficient with regards to electricity generation, Solar is a very viable solution. To the point that our ROI us under 2 years.

And if I was looking at our total system today, I would consider downsizing the house battery from 1,800Ah, upsizing the Solar, and perhaps even consider forgoing the Generator. But even that would need some careful planing around reserves and again considering expected boat/system usage.

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Old 12-08-2014, 11:11 AM   #86
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Originally Posted by fryedaze View Post
I am installing three 150 watt semi-flexible solar panels to my my bridge canvas top. Can anyone recommend a good MPPT charge controller? The panels are 27.5 Vmp. I have a 12 volt system. I assume that I need a 40 amp controller to handle the potential 450 watt output ( I know I wont get 450).
Thanks,
Dave

Aside form the good ones noted here, I would offer the TriStar MPPT 45 controller. A bit expensive, but a good solid unit. It is what we have on Viking Star today.

If you are looking at Chinese controllers, be careful as many of the 'MPPT' ones are really PWM controllers. They may maximize the output around PWM, but have no capability to match panel to batteries in a true MPPT way. The lack of a rather large inductor is a primary clue...

And if there are any DIYs out there, I just ordered parts for a open-source MPPT controller I drew up over the past few months:

Smart MPPT Solar Controller

-al-
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Old 12-08-2014, 02:19 PM   #87
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Thank you gents re the question regarding going to 475... having real estate doesn't mean I need to use it. At least not yet. The most I've ever seen (at FL/GA border) is 17.2 incoming and since I go into absorption charge by 1300 at the latest on a sunny day, the wisest asset allocation is probably more batteries at this point.

The further south I go the more power I'll get so I'll live with the ProStar-30 for the time being. I've got the unit next to where I sit so I can watch the numbers. Today it's totally overcast (miserable, damp and gloomy) yet I'm seeing 1.8 amps incoming. The batteries are showing 13.9. (It's about to flip into flashing lights indicating absorption charge.)

All is well aboard Seaweed. Thank you again for your advice.
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Old 12-08-2014, 07:02 PM   #88
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Originally Posted by fryedaze View Post
I am installing three 150 watt semi-flexible solar panels to my my bridge canvas top. Can anyone recommend a good MPPT charge controller? The panels are 27.5 Vmp. I have a 12 volt system. I assume that I need a 40 amp controller to handle the potential 450 watt output ( I know I wont get 450).
Thanks,
Dave

Thanks for all the input. I have ordered a Morning Star 45 amp MPPT.
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Old 12-08-2014, 09:40 PM   #89
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Can you use one controller for 2 banks? I set mine up with a separate PVs & controller, for each bank. Could one controller feed 2 banks with different draw needs?
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Old 12-21-2014, 05:59 PM   #90
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Originally Posted by Jacques
Fully satisfied to date for optimal performance.[/QUOTE]
On this site you will find all the necessary tools to your calculations for choosing a régulteur increasingly took to get good and excellent service for your potential purchases.

http://www.altestore.com/howto/Calculators/c36/

See also the summary of my installation made in last May (Post # 34 of 01-17-2014).

Fully satisfied to date for optimal performance.
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My install is going well. The Morning Star MPPT is mounted and wired up on the battery, indication panel and controller side. Just waiting on the canvas shop to mount the panels on the top.
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Old 10-30-2015, 07:52 AM   #91
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Can you send me the specific details of what you installed. I have a 120v fridge freezer that draws around 9amps and I would love to be off the gen. My email is: jjorgenson3@me.com
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Old 10-30-2015, 08:53 AM   #92
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Can you use one controller for 2 banks? I set mine up with a separate PVs & controller, for each bank. Could one controller feed 2 banks with different draw needs?
It depends on the controller. My Ganz controller has two outputs. I can split the panel output between the two banks in 10% increments. Currently I have 90% going to my house bank and 10% to my starting battery. You just have to buy a dual or multiple output controller.
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