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Old 09-10-2022, 08:59 AM   #1
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Solar Q

Thinking of adding a simple 100 watt solar panel to my 2004 Mainship 400 to accomplish the following:
1) Trickle charge batteries when on the hard or anchoring out.
2) run stand-alone (from lowes) dehumidifier when on the hard/mooring
3) run refrigerator same as above.

Wondering what other have done and where the wires have been placed to snake down into the main engine room to get to the batteries.

T MACDONNELL
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Old 09-10-2022, 10:17 AM   #2
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Those three loads: trickle charging, dehumidifier and fridge are way too much for a 100 watt panel. The only one that is possible with 100 watts is trickle charging.

Here are some rough numbers:

Fridge- a minimum of 50 amp hours daily, more for a residential type.

Dehumidifier- about the same, maybe more. See https://ecocostsavings.com/dehumidif...ost-efficient/ I played around with this tiny 1 pint DC Peltier effect humidifier for my boat and it draws 2.8 amps or 67 amp hours daily- https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 And FWIW 1 pint a day didn't make a dent in the humidity of the little cabin in the boat in my Avatar to the left.

A 100 watt panel in a mid-Atlantic location will produce about 25-30 Ah each day in the summer and 10-15 Ah in the winter.

So you aren't even close.

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Old 09-10-2022, 01:48 PM   #3
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If you have not already browsed a current thread on overnight consumption, it might be helpful.

https://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/...ml#post1122300

Companion consideration is battery capacity and type (AGM, LFP, FLA); and alternator capacity (stock engine alternators are usually 75A-90A). Also need to define what you mean by mooring/anchoring in terms of how long you would be off-grid. If "Mooring" means a permanent off-grid mooring, that will mean you need a bigger system to endure cloudy days. If your time horizon is a couple days between recharging the batteries via shore-power, generator, or alternator, that is a more relaxed use-case. The above referenced thread will give some idea of what others are doing for battery capacity.

David's post previous to this is about right - you have defined about 125-150 AH of usage in a 24-hour day (though when you add-in all the other loads of having a couple aboard, you're probably well over 250AH/24-hrs). That will require at least 400W of solar panel, and a >300AH (12V AGM/FLA) battery bank to get you through the night with some buffer. Solar panels are relatively inexpensive these days, so real estate to place them is the limiting factor. But there is a point where adding more solar isn't useful unless you add battery storage.

I hope this helps. If you fill-in some of the blanks, you'll get a ton of information. For example, DavidM is very knowledgeable on this subject and is quite generous with it.

Peter
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Old 09-10-2022, 03:08 PM   #4
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As Peter notes above, you need to define the parameters of what you want to accomplish before worrying about wiring runs. 200+ Ahs daily is bunch to try to make with solar panels, more than 400 watts for sure.

I always suggest measuring real usage before doing anything and that means installing a shunt based battery monitor. These have a shunt that hooks to the main negative lead to your battery and provides a micro/mili volt signal to the display that is used to calculate amps, amp hours used since last fully charged, SOC pct, etc. Here are three in decending price and features: Victron, Renogy, QWork. Amazon has them all.

Then once you know your amp hour usage pattern by spending a few days away from then you can decide how many amp hours of batteries and watts of panels you need to balance it all out.

David
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Old 09-11-2022, 07:23 AM   #5
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Besides the solar cell capacity question the only logical place to run wires from flybridge to engine room is the existing wire chase stb side under flybridge settee cushion that run to engine room and exits on top of stb fuel tank. The ac plenum box stb side of galley wall by sliding door is part of this chase also.
I can tell you from running engine room cameras and new depth transducers (a lot of wires) itís not real easy. You need a electrician fish tape and a lot of patience. I even had a cell phone enabled remote camera on a long flexible extension that I used a few times to find the blockages. Every wire seems to be in that chase.
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Old 09-11-2022, 09:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Besides the solar cell capacity question the only logical place to run wires from flybridge to engine room is the existing wire chase stb side under flybridge settee cushion that run to engine room and exits on top of stb fuel tank. The ac plenum box stb side of galley wall by sliding door is part of this chase also.
I can tell you from running engine room cameras and new depth transducers (a lot of wires) itís not real easy. You need a electrician fish tape and a lot of patience. I even had a cell phone enabled remote camera on a long flexible extension that I used a few times to find the blockages. Every wire seems to be in that chase.

Yep.


It's insane how much wire Mainship stuffed in that rigging tube. I recently had better luck running wires next to the rigging tube. I got access to the plenum box by removing the AC vent, that helped a lot. Once I got the wire down into the area below the lower helm it was pretty easy to run it back into the ER.


I've thought of adding solar panels on the rail around the aft flybridge deck as well. Another challenge will be running the wires inside the railings. You could zip tie the wires to the railing, but that doesn't look very good.
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Old 09-27-2022, 11:01 AM   #7
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On another post I commented about drilling an access hole in the STBD flybridge seat to snake wires from flybridge to salon. I could get a wire pull thru the rigging tube but wires are so cris-crossed over there was no way to pull another cable in there. So I used the cable pull and went outside the tube. Easy to run from flybridge hole to my seat hole then down to the salon. These are pictures of the access hole. Also, I use 100wt solar panels simply because I already had them. I only plan that they will run the stereo and a few comm radios during the day and these are sunny summer days only. Run generator 2 hours am and 2 hours pm which covers our "at anchor" electrical requirements. I wouldn't go out and buy the solar panels specifically for your tasks, you will be disappointed.
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Old 09-27-2022, 09:04 PM   #8
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On another post I commented about drilling an access hole in the STBD flybridge seat to snake wires from flybridge to salon. I could get a wire pull thru the rigging tube but wires are so cris-crossed over there was no way to pull another cable in there. So I used the cable pull and went outside the tube. Easy to run from flybridge hole to my seat hole then down to the salon. These are pictures of the access hole. Also, I use 100wt solar panels simply because I already had them. I only plan that they will run the stereo and a few comm radios during the day and these are sunny summer days only. Run generator 2 hours am and 2 hours pm which covers our "at anchor" electrical requirements. I wouldn't go out and buy the solar panels specifically for your tasks, you will be disappointed.


Still planning to add a solar panel of some type to mainly keep batteries charged. My 2004 MA 400 has been on the hard since May for repairs. The Yard has occasionally allowed me to charge up my batteries with their 50 amp chord. So Iíd like suggestions to purchase and set up a trickle charger.
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Old 09-28-2022, 10:37 AM   #9
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By all means if you are talking trinkle charge it will work. But remember, winter will cut your solar output at least in half. I would not just plug and leave. If the batteries get down the trinkle might not return them to up. Think about taking a little Honda 2000 generator or something and plug in to your boat charger, run for a few hours every month or so. Might be better for your batteries.
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Old 09-30-2022, 08:13 AM   #10
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I have a Mainship Pilot 34, and have installed a solar power system to do just what you want to do. I have two 175w flexible solar panels reinforced by aluminum brackets that are mounted on a custom stainless tubing frame above my soft top. One panel is connected to a 20amp MPPT charge controller mounted in the engine room that serves the single 4D battery that is both my starter and house battery. When at anchor I can run the built in refrigerator, use the vaccuflush head, and fresh water pump all day with no worries. The second panel is connected to a separate 20amp MPPT charge controller that charges a 280amp LiFePo4 battery connected to a 2000 watt inverter. It supplies all of the AC power I need for fans, a dehumidifier, TV, blender, and a portable Dometic refrigerator/freezer that we use to make ice and to store frozen foods. See my YouTube channel Jim Fisher DIY Portable Solar Power https://www.youtube.com/c/JimFisherD...ableSolarPower for a little history on my foray into solar power on my boats. I also have a 2000w Honda generator for backup.
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Old 09-30-2022, 08:52 AM   #11
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I have a Mainship Pilot 34, and have installed a solar power system to do just what you want to do. I have two 175w flexible solar panels reinforced by aluminum brackets that are mounted on a custom stainless tubing frame above my soft top. One panel is connected to a 20amp MPPT charge controller mounted in the engine room that serves the single 4D battery that is both my starter and house battery. When at anchor I can run the built in refrigerator, use the vaccuflush head, and fresh water pump all day with no worries. The second panel is connected to a separate 20amp MPPT charge controller that charges a 280amp LiFePo4 battery connected to a 2000 watt inverter. It supplies all of the AC power I need for fans, a dehumidifier, TV, blender, and a portable Dometic refrigerator/freezer that we use to make ice and to store frozen foods. See my YouTube channel Jim Fisher DIY Portable Solar Power https://www.youtube.com/c/JimFisherD...ableSolarPower for a little history on my foray into solar power on my boats. I also have a 2000w Honda generator for backup.

Interesting and good looking install. What went into your decision to put in an arch rather than attaching the soft panels directly to the bimini?


Thanks.
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Old 09-30-2022, 03:38 PM   #12
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Doug- follow to this link for a full explanation from a different thread on TF


https://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/...3&postcount=29


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