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Old 02-08-2019, 08:37 PM   #81
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Did a bid to searching for solar panels for the boat and there's a LOT of stuff out there!

Need some basics and recommendations.

Currently have four 6v AGMS which yield 440a at 12v, of which 220a is usable, not discharging below half.

Goal:
Be able to charge up the batteries after using them overnight, when they are down around 12.2 volts.
And charge them, while they are powering a fridge or two and some small stuff, perhaps 5a worth.
And just to maintain the batteries at the dock.

Would prefer a hard or semi hard panel. Looked at mounting to the Bimini top, a possibility, also considering a hard top, which should be fine. If not, some sort of railing mount, maybe something that swings up on the side.

Questions:
How much is enough?
How big are the panels for xxx power?
Can one recommend some good brands and companies to deal with?
Is monocrystaline the best material?
Will these things withstand the summer heat in FL, when I'm sure they will be north of 130d?

=====

Another wild question:
Is it possible to get 220v out of a solar array? I'm not able to get dock power to my boat for awhile, and it will be expensive... just wondering if some sort of 220v power is an option.

A few recommendations:


1) Look at Carbon Foam batteries to replace the AGMs. Considered the "Poor Man's Lithium", they were developed by Caterpillar, technology sold off to Firefly and (as I understand it) just now ramping up in full production. Nigel Calder tested them a couple of years ago and loved them. The big deal is that they can be repeatedly discharged to 10% or less SOC without damage, which effectively doubles your usable battery capacity. They cost a bit more than AGMs but much less than LiPo, and don't require special charger electronics. In terms of >>usable<< amp-hours, they are actually cheaper than AGM...


https://www.bruceschwab.com/advanced...asis-group-31/


2) re: "Is it possible to get 220v out of a solar array?" I have to assume you are looking for 220VAC. Solar panels only make DC, so while you could certainly string them in series to get to 220VDC, that wouldn't help you. To make any kind of A.C. power from solar panels, you need an inverter. Many inverters (including my personal favorite, the Magnum MS series) are available in 115/230 volt models.


https://www.magnum-dimensions.com/mo...ective%5B%5D=3


3) Contact Bruce Schwab about the latest solar panel designs. He has options you can put on your decks (and walk on them) as well as canvas mounted panels that will go on your bimini top.

https://www.bruceschwab.com/solar-power/


4) Capacity: Think in terms of about 150-200 watts per-square meter in good sunlight. This means you would need two square meters of panels, lit for 10 hours per day to give you about 4kWh. You need 2.6kWh to replenish your current batteries (12v x 220A). From here you will need to estimate how much electricity you will use to run your fridge, microwave, etc. There are plenty of online calculators for this purpose including a good one on the Bruce Schwab website.
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Old 02-09-2019, 07:16 AM   #82
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1) Look at Carbon Foam batteries to replace the AGMs. Considered the "Poor Man's Lithium", they were developed by Caterpillar, technology sold off to Firefly and (as I understand it) just now ramping up in full production. Nigel Calder tested them a couple of years ago and loved them. The big deal is that they can be repeatedly discharged to 10% or less SOC without damage, which effectively doubles your usable battery capacity. They cost a bit more than AGMs but much less than LiPo, and don't require special charger electronics. In terms of >>usable<< amp-hours, they are actually cheaper than AGM...

Apparently another equally big deal -- maybe even bigger deal -- about these is not needing to recharge to 100% immediately after use.

CMS has written a bunch about these on his marinehowto website, and there are a boatload of threads here and on cruisersforum. They're new enough that there's not as much user eval available yet, though...

Hard to say whether worth the extra $$$ for many, though. For instance, we have to run our genset 2x/day for cooking, might as well heat water too... and charge batteries... so it's not all that hard to keep our AGMs well above 50% and the frequent recharging probably helps too. One of those YMMV issues...

-Chris
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Old 02-09-2019, 11:54 AM   #83
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Apparently another equally big deal -- maybe even bigger deal -- about these is not needing to recharge to 100% immediately after use.

CMS has written a bunch about these on his marinehowto website, and there are a boatload of threads here and on cruisersforum. They're new enough that there's not as much user eval available yet, though...

Hard to say whether worth the extra $$$ for many, though. For instance, we have to run our genset 2x/day for cooking, might as well heat water too... and charge batteries... so it's not all that hard to keep our AGMs well above 50% and the frequent recharging probably helps too. One of those YMMV issues...

-Chris
From relatively early reports from people like Compass Marine Services (Rod) and Calder, Carbon Foam look to be great batteries. It appears that there total cost of ownership may actually be lower than AGM or even flooded lead acid considering how a lot (most) boaters treat their batteries. In an early test, Calder tried to kill these batteries in a one year period of "misuse" (deep discharges and not recharging to 100%). This type of treatment would damage "regular batteries", if not "kill them". However, the Carbon Foam tested as "like new" after this timeframe. However, as even he stated, they haven't been in use long enough to give a complete picture.
According to CMS most boaters cannot recharge their regular batteries (AGM, lead acid, etc.) to 100% often enough and so, cause early sulphation that prematurely "kills" the batteries resulting in a short life.
The way I see it (IMHO in other words) boaters can go a few different ways:
-Continue not obtaining optimal life from their batteries and spend their money on replacing them more often. Alternators, generators and the like require excessive run times to get the batteries all the way to 100%.

-Provide ways to ensure 100% recharging like installing solar (other benefits to solar as well such as quiet).
-Try Carbon Foam or other "new technology" batteries. Still a bit of an experiment as discussed above
-Plug in regularly at marinas to recharge to 100% every few days (couple of days).


Any way you look at it (it is a boat after all), you will be spending money! It just depends on what works best for you
Just some thoughts on our choices in how we use our boats, and how we "takes our chances".
Tom
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Old 02-09-2019, 12:47 PM   #84
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Yes for those who can afford carbon foam. Beyond my reach so I will stick with affordable East Penn golf carts
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Old 02-09-2019, 08:32 PM   #85
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Apparently another equally big deal -- maybe even bigger deal -- about these is not needing to recharge to 100% immediately after use.

CMS has written a bunch about these on his marinehowto website, and there are a boatload of threads here and on cruisersforum. They're new enough that there's not as much user eval available yet, though...

Hard to say whether worth the extra $$$ for many, though. For instance, we have to run our genset 2x/day for cooking, might as well heat water too... and charge batteries... so it's not all that hard to keep our AGMs well above 50% and the frequent recharging probably helps too. One of those YMMV issues...

-Chris
So, who or what is CMS? Would love to learn something, but HATE acronyms!
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Old 02-10-2019, 01:16 AM   #86
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So, who or what is CMS? Would love to learn something, but HATE acronyms!
I didn't start the aconym, but CMS stands for Compass Marine Services which is a website by Rod Collins out of Maine (on some forums known as Maine Sail). He is a very knowledgeable professional marine electrician whose opinion I value. He operates a free website where he provides all kinds of great information, as well he offers some products for sale, mostly to support his website (marinehowto.com).
Disclaimer: no affiliation, just value his expertise.
Regards,
Tom
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Old 02-10-2019, 01:45 AM   #87
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Plus 1 on Compass Marine.
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Old 02-10-2019, 08:11 PM   #88
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I didn't start the aconym, but CMS stands for Compass Marine Services which is a website by Rod Collins out of Maine (on some forums known as Maine Sail). He is a very knowledgeable professional marine electrician whose opinion I value. He operates a free website where he provides all kinds of great information, as well he offers some products for sale, mostly to support his website (marinehowto.com).
Disclaimer: no affiliation, just value his expertise.
Regards,
Tom
Oh, been there a hundred times and bought stuff from him, great guy, just ct std akronms
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