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Old 06-20-2017, 02:51 PM   #1
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Grounding Charge controller on steel boat

I'm installing solar panels on my boat and the charge controller has a chassis ground connection. Most solar people have limited experience with boats so I have heard different opinions.
My boat is used in fresh water 95%m of the time with occasional brackish water exposure. The charge controller is DC coupled so there is DC coming into the charge controller and regulated DC leaving the charge controller and going to the batteries. What should I connect the chassis ground to or does it need to be connected to something? The charge controller is mounted to a plywood board with no chassis screws touching the hull frames.


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Old 06-20-2017, 03:02 PM   #2
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The D.C. Ground bus that all batteries and engines connect to


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Old 06-20-2017, 03:13 PM   #3
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Steel boats certainly present challenges vs a vs grounding, bonding, etc. If your main DC system is tied to the ship's hull then I think you are ok tying the solar controller to that point or some connected DC negative buss.

And it would be hard to isolate your DC system from the boat's hull. The engine negative for starting and alternator output is usually some point on the engine. That is tied to the hull through the propeller shaft and engine mounts.

But ignore all of the above if the hull is aluminum. I don't have a clue about DC grounds and bonding for aluminum hulled boats. The consequences of a misstep can be catastrophic.

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Old 06-29-2017, 08:18 PM   #4
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Run the solar controller chassis ground back to the main battery neg. buss. If there is a large sub buss nearer with a big wire between the main buss and the sub buss that should be ok. Do not use the hull in any way to tie it in.

Most electrical items, starters, alternators, sensors, etc can be had as isolated units. Often referred to as floating grounds. It's just that they have to be looked for and specified.
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