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Adding Solar

A forum for discussing boat or trailer repairs or modifications that you have made or are considering.

Moderators: Paul S, tangentair, beene, Heath_Mod, Hamin' X, kmclemore, Catigale

Re: Adding Solar

Postby Gazmn » Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:32 pm

Starscream wrote:Wow, I sure am glad this board is back up.

Excellent advice, thanks to everyone! Good thing I have all winter to figure it out. Motor Cable Entry! Why didn't I think of that?

Gaz: I think I've said it before, but Holy Moly how does your boat even float? That's gotta be a Mod record. Even zooming into the photo of the back of your boat I can't really figure out what's going on back there. Do you leave the solar on while towing?

One of the design parameters that is important for me is to make it relatively easy to trailer, since we often "road trip". I can't put the panel on the sliding hatch because the dodger covers it, so that's out. (In my original post I think I said that I want to put the PV panel on the dodger, but I meant on the Bimini part of the enclosure.) I like the idea of some sort of lightweight structure like the Gazm one, but that makes it a major project and I'm not sure how easy it would be to tow with. The problem is complicated by our full cockpit enclosure: there's no good place to put another arch, let alone 300W of panels. That's why I was thinking about one 100W flexible panel on the bimini top, mounted just to port of where the backstay passes through it. The enclosure really encapsulates the entire rear half of the boat, so I don't really see where else to put solar without embarking on a major project.

Image

Image


While I leave it on when going from my house to marina, I take it off for road trips. I’m trying to rig something for Feb Florida trip. Don’t know what yet.

& my vote is Highlander for most mods & quality, at that. Me, I just hang stuff -till it falls off :P
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Re: Adding Solar

Postby kevinnem » Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:54 pm

See inline comments



Starscream wrote:
So, ignoring the $25 "MPPT" solar charge controllers from unknown Amazon sources, here are a few of my questions:
those, as I assume you know with the quotes you used, are fake mppt.
Question 1: PWM or MPPT?
Comparing two good quality controllers, the PWM is about half price or less. Of course MPPT is the latest and greatest and can squeeze every last drop of available juice, but for a 100W system am I going to be upset with PWM?

I would go with mppt, for 2 reasons. Firstly it is a rare situation where you can just get more power by spending more on a little box, usually for more power you need more panels and real estate. Secondly, even small mppt units will likely have extra capacity so if you add panels in the future, it can be used to expand.

Question 2: Dual controllers, or dual battery controller? This controller: https://www.solar-electric.com/modubachco251.html is a PWM dual battery controller which can be set at 90/10 or 50/50 House/Starting charging rates. It's epoxy coated, reasonably priced, and does both batteries at once. With dual controllers, I assume I need two solar panels, and I also think that a single-battery controller can't be used to charge two batteries at once?
I might be able to use something like this, thanks for the link.

Question 3: Controllers with AGM batteries: I also assume that it's important to have a setting to switch between sealed and flooded batteries? I have dual Optima blue-top AGM batteries so I guess that I want to avoid the equalization cycle used for flooded batteries.

AGM requires different settings so you can not mix AGM and lead acid, you need separate charging setting for each, but if you have sperate charging circuits, then you can power each charger form 1 power source( like the solar mppt).
Right now I am leaning towards purchasing the following components:
https://www.amazon.ca/Morningstar-SSD-25-Sunsaver-Duo-25-Amp/dp/B00OQJO5L6/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1514589223&sr=8-6&keywords=morningstar+duo%5C
https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07195WHHX/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=IZJEGXM505VL4&colid=3FWFJAUBIDWCB&psc=1
https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00JTM2U6M/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I1TGMWQVOWRJHG&colid=3FWFJAUBIDWCB&psc=1

Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated. I guess the biggest one is whether I should go MPPT or not, but I can't find a good dual-battery MPPT option.


if you have multiple batteries of the same type they can be linked to create a "single big battery". if you want increased capacity. I have used 2 6v golf cart batteryies as my house batteryies in this configuration.

this is the one I have fyi.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/LCD-Display-20 ... 1263674440
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Re: Adding Solar

Postby Neo » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:43 pm

Seapup wrote:My first one was same as this - different vendor though. It has performed very well. I have several other panels now, and some have been very disappointing.

Image

https://www.amazon.com/ACOPOWER-Foldable-Portable-Monocrystalline-Controller/dp/B01M8LCDN2?ref=ast_p_ep

I'm new to all this and I'm not so keen on trailing wires everywhere .... I like your idea Seaup 8)
This panel also appeals to me for foldup, On Bimini and possibly Mast Crutch frame applications ... https://goo.gl/zbd1vV
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Re: Adding Solar

Postby whgoffrn » Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:58 pm

I'm a tightwad by nature and a k.i.s.s. proponent and can tell u my 100 watt flexible panel and cheap 20 dollar controller keeps both of my group 29 batteries topped off even running an engel fridge and GPS lap tops charges phones and everything ....i do have all led lights inside and up mast though
Mounting is simple buy the 100 watt panel with the 4 grommet holes on the corners and use rope to the each corner to stanchions....works perfect
I spent lots of time and effort wondering how to mount it having read countless reports of how one single shadow from the main on a cell renders the entire panel useless.... b.s. it works just fine tied between the 4 stanchions.
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Re: Adding Solar

Postby whgoffrn » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:12 pm

Sorry didn't realize you have a dodger ....id still use a panel that has the 4 built in holes/grommets in the corners im sure there is someway you can sew 4 tag ends with holes grommets to the cloth to tie it down ... before shelling out tons of money id see if going cheap would work I had full intentions of buying the expensive controller to suck every last bit of power from the panel thinking if I didn't my drinks wouldn't stay cold.... after installing the cheap controller that came with my panel for free I realized I didn't need the expensive controller to have a cold drink and lights with a 100 watt panel ....spent 1 week on the hook thanksgiving in cocoa this year and left with topped off batteries after a week never having started the engine

https://m.ebay.com/itm/100Watt-12V-Flex ... wIJlaLf73I

I believe is the panel I have... I prefer this one over the last semi bendable one I had...the last one was on a sheet of bendable metal and got bent up badly on the corners and I was kinda glad when on a trip the boat heeled over and it slid into the ocean to it's death ... this one is lighter more durable and the grommets make for easy securing down
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Re: Adding Solar

Postby Neo » Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:52 pm

whgoffrn wrote: ....spent 1 week on the hook thanksgiving in cocoa this year and left with topped off batteries after a week never having started the engine

This VERY interesting information so thanks for sharing your low cost real life experience.... It's just what I needed to know :)
Are you in a very sunny part of the world?

whgoffrn wrote: b.s. it works just fine tied between the 4 stanchions

Over the sliding hatch?.... Is it Ok to walk/tread on the flexi panel? .... I've been thinking about putting a flexi panel over the front windows... Whats your thoughts on that?
How many and what size of batteries are you running> .... are they deep-cycle (cranking) batteries or AGM?
Do you have any additional panels hanging off the stern?

All the best.
Neo
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Re: Adding Solar

Postby dthiesmeyer » Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:36 pm

I have a KingSolar 100w flexible panel mounted on the sliding hatch and have had no problems with walking on it with deck shoes. The only problem that I did have is that it cannot take power washing. There is a thin film on the panel that will separate and blow off from the power washing stream. Caused no operational problems.
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Re: Adding Solar

Postby Neo » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:41 pm

Thanks for that Dthiesmeyer :)
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Re: Adding Solar

Postby whgoffrn » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:00 am

Yes I have mine tied to the 4 stanchions sitting on the sliding hatch... hatch can still slide back and forth ...and no I do not believe it would be a good idea to stand on them even the flexible ones...have I yes but I'm careful when I do have s foot down on one to tread lightly as they are expensive
I use 2 group 29 batteries deep cycle that I bought from AutoZone for like $100 a piece
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Re: Adding Solar

Postby Neo » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:20 am

So those are not Marine grade batteries (so called)???....
HEAVY-DUTY COMMERCIAL BATTERIES 12-VOLT (6 CELLS)
29H 334 171 232 13 1/8 6 3/4 9 1/8 10

How long have you had them so far? .... How many volts do they put out when fully charged?
I ask because all the Marine batteries I've had so far drop to around 12v max (regardless of how well/smart I charge them) after just a few months.

Thanks ;-)
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Re: Adding Solar

Postby topcat0399 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:36 pm

A set of wing nut studs and a "Marine Deep Cycle" sticker does not a true deep cycle make...
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Re: Adding Solar

Postby Neo » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:40 pm

I think your'e saying that Marine Grade is BS??? .... This I've suspected for some time now.
Also manufactures always state that the battery is built to take the constant "pounding" of the waves .... A Mac is not a speed boat so not so much "pounding" goes on. Besides any car battery gets more "pounding" when driven over bumpy roads and speed humps.

whgoffrn that Group 29 Battery is much larger than my current ones.... Where are you fitting/keeping them?
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Re: Adding Solar

Postby topcat0399 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:56 pm

Ah marketing.

Excellent info here if you are interested.

http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/deep_cycle_battery
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Re: Adding Solar

Postby whgoffrn » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:50 am

They are a tight fit but they both will fit in under the small seat beside the galley side ways... prob a 3rd one would fit if u slid it in from under the sink but so far I've not needed a 3rd ...ive had them for 2 years I think .... I think the main thing is to limit the watts going out... I started first with the mast light being it gets left on the longest ...then cabin lights etc etc ...i didn't bother with nav lights switching to led cause engine is running if I have nav lights on.... keep in mind if you drain your batteries and engine won't start u can pull start a 50 if that's what u have .... I also carry a generator but that's just for our microwave and a.c..... multiple back up systems is cheaper than 1 high dollar solar system .... I found my gen on Craigslist for 175 bux ...rope for 50hp 1 dollar
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Re: Adding Solar

Postby Neo » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:18 am

whgoffrn wrote:They are a tight fit but they both will fit in under the small seat beside the galley side ways

Oh Ok .... I have the other (older) interior layout. So I don't have a galley but I seem to have a lot of locker space. :)

Can't find any "Group 29" batteries here .... I see lots of different Battery (re)Labels but most are made by YUASA it seems :o
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