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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am not currently having any electrical problems (touch wood) but I am thinking about those long rainy days & nights when the automatic bilge pumps are working overtime. :eek:
I used to have a Maplin Solar Panel (£9.99 job) which used to flash as if it was doing something, but I never did see what that was, & in the end it blew away :rolleyes:
I know some boats have quite large ones fitted so I thought I would ask just how useful/useless the various ones are, which are good value, & do they work?
We have a normal twin battery set up, with a split charge diode, & a pair of automatic bilge pumps, so do we need 2 panels? or will 1 panel trickle into 2 batteries? I look forward to hearing your findings.
 

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If you don’t want your batteries to go flat, get out and use the boat more. It’s a win win !!
 

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I’ve got a 50w semi flexible panel through an MPPT controller wired to the house battery. It does trickle through to the engine battery as the VSR gives a two way flow when charging, provided the house battery is on 13.7v ish!

I’ve seen it putting over 3amps into the batteries during the summer with all the ‘toys’ switched on, with the lower trajectory of the sun in winter it’s likely to be less but should still do the job. I’d definitely fit a similar system to my next boat, both batteries permanently well charged when I get on the boat :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I’ve got a 50w semi flexible panel through an MPPT controller wired to the house battery. It does trickle through to the engine battery as the VSR gives a two way flow when charging, provided the house battery is on 13.7v ish!

I’ve seen it putting over 3amps into the batteries during the summer with all the ‘toys’ switched on, with the lower trajectory of the sun in winter it’s likely to be less but should still do the job. I’d definitely fit a similar system to my next boat, both batteries permanently well charged when I get on the boat :thumbsup:
Ummm any chance of saying that again in laymans terms Glenlivet? I can look up what an MPPT is & no doubt a VSR (I thought that was a video recorder lol) but you have answered the question, properly fitted they do work thank you for the info.
& FishySaint I probably run the boat, or just start up to charge the batteries, more than most do, but its always best to "Always look on the bright side of life" :p
 

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It's one of those "if you're going to do it, go for it full on" type scenarios. Those little panels you mentioned are a waste of space, tried em on my caravan when I used that working away. During the height of winter you may get 50% of rated output at a push. A 50W panel will give you just over 4 amps at 100%, a 120W panel will give you 10A max but nearer 4-5A on a winters day if you're lucky. A rule 800 draws 3.4A, so if you know roughly how long it runs for on the foulest of days, you can work out what size panel will keep your batteries at full charge and recover any night time draw, your pump current draw should be available on the web.....

You will also need a regulator/controller, these seem quite cheap and you can get 2 battery versions as well, so if you haven't got a split charger (VSR) on your boat it will do it for you.

I have been looking at these myself, but do not know which is good kit and which is junk as yet. You will also need to work out how much space you have to mount it where it will catch the most sun whilst moored.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It's one of those "if you're going to do it, go for it full on" type scenarios. Those little panels you mentioned are a waste of space, tried em on my caravan when I used that working away. During the height of winter you may get 50% of rated output at a push. A 50W panel will give you just over 4 amps at 100%, a 120W panel will give you 10A max but nearer 4-5A on a winters day if you're lucky. A rule 800 draws 3.4A, so if you know roughly how long it runs for on the foulest of days, you can work out what size panel will keep your batteries at full charge and recover any night time draw, your pump current draw should be available on the web.....

You will also need a regulator/controller, these seem quite cheap and you can get 2 battery versions as well, so if you haven't got a split charger (VSR) on your boat it will do it for you.

I have been looking at these myself, but do not know which is good kit and which is junk as yet. You will also need to work out how much space you have to mount it where it will catch the most sun whilst moored.....
I will make known your information to the boat committee, as you say if we are going to fit one we might as well do it properly from the start. I would have thought that flat on the wheelhouse roof would be the optimum place to put it to get maximum sunlight through the day?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It seems that a 100W semi flexible solar panel with a 40A MPPT controller is the way to go, however there are so many on E Bay its mind boggling :eek:
How is it that apparently "identical" spec models are for sale for prices between £89 & £450 :eeks: & the same with controllers, a 40A MPPT controller can vary from £40 to £180, far too easy to buy cheap rubbish, or expensive rubbish unless you are "in the know".
I obviously want the best quality I can get at the best price, but with supposedly similar items, at vastly different prices how do you avoid getting ripped off?
Can anybody recommend a RELIABLE supplier, who offers a good product at a good price? :rofl:
 

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It seems that a 100W semi flexible solar panel with a 40A MPPT controller is the way to go, however there are so many on E Bay its mind boggling :eek:
How is it that apparently "identical" spec models are for sale for prices between £89 & £450 :eeks: & the same with controllers, a 40A MPPT controller can vary from £40 to £180, far too easy to buy cheap rubbish, or expensive rubbish unless you are "in the know".
I obviously want the best quality I can get at the best price, but with supposedly similar items, at vastly different prices how do you avoid getting ripped off?
Can anybody recommend a RELIABLE supplier, who offers a good product at a good price? :rofl:
I used a 20 w spectra panels from force 4 Chandlery with a HRS 504 Regulator, still in use and working fine after 5 years plus.
For my electronics i have a seperate battery just kept trickle charged by a 2W Solar Trickle charger part number 120097 from force Force 4 never had a flat battery since.
I must point out my boat is used regularly which helps, and being in electronics i know how the system works. I am sure you can get cheeper panels but do they work and can you return them if not.
hope all works out fine
Espadon
 

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Hasn"t the Belle"s berth got mains electrickery ? I thought all the Swansea berths did ?
 

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Hasn"t the Belle"s berth got mains electrickery ? I thought all the Swansea berths did ?
I thought the same.... top up card in the office and pay as you go....

Then connect one of these to your batteries and no more flats.

It’s IP67 so safe to leave on deck if your cabin ain’t got room
 

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I'm going to make a stab at that, being a club, capital vs revenue spend.
 

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It seems that a 100W semi flexible solar panel with a 40A MPPT controller is the way to go
Why the 40A controller? You will be generating less than 8A on the sunniest of sunny days, to justify a 40A controller you would be looking at a 480W panel!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hasn"t the Belle"s berth got mains electrickery ? I thought all the Swansea berths did ?
Yes it has but that means somebody has to keep feeding the meter, & a trickle charger turned Oystercat's prop into a Swiss cheese through electrolysis which cost £1000 to replace, plus I have had 2 go up in flames on me, & the fuses tend to blow if you fart near them.
In my shed, with the battery off the car, only being charged overnight, sitting on a concrete block I trust them, on the boat 24/7 I don't, my arse would be making buttons wondering has the electric run out (it aint cheap in the marina), has the fuse gone, is it overheating, has it tipped over etc etc etc, is it charging the prop not the battery. :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Why the 40A controller? You will be generating less than 8A on the sunniest of sunny days, to justify a 40A controller you would be looking at a 480W panel!
You are a pessimist lol , I got the numbers from YouTube some yanks giving the formula for "Non Florida Operation" & they said 100W panel & a 40A controller so I followed their suggested setup but I will take any advice given on the subject. I don't like the look of some of these "packages" of panel controller & cables they all seem to have a non MPPT controller which they seem to be pushing to clear stock. Apparently MPPT controllers of 40A are the most efficient (30% - 35%) more efficient than the smaller ones, & not much dearer?
 

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You are a pessimist lol , I got the numbers from YouTube some yanks giving the formula for "Non Florida Operation" & they said 100W panel & a 40A controller so I followed their suggested setup but I will take any advice given on the subject. I don't like the look of some of these "packages" of panel controller & cables they all seem to have a non MPPT controller which they seem to be pushing to clear stock. Apparently MPPT controllers of 40A are the most efficient (30% - 35%) more efficient than the smaller ones, & not much dearer?
Right.... Its the technology that increases the efiiciency, the MPPT technology is the same regardless of controller size. A claim of 30-35% more efficient even over a pwm controller is some claim, yet alone over a unit with the same technology. Modern panels are more efficient than older ones but you still wont achieve a 400% gain. The power comes from the panel, not the controller. MPPT is just a method of enhancing the power available to charge the battery. In real terms I doubt very much you would notice the difference between PWM and MPPT, BUT.... GL has one and says it does what it says on the tin, that's a better starting point than most. The same company does a number of different units, both PWM and MPPT. Why not have a chat with them? If GL's has an indicator, it probably averages 4-5A output?
 

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Right.... Its the technology that increases the efiiciency, the MPPT technology is the same regardless of controller size. A claim of 30-35% more efficient even over a pwm controller is some claim, yet alone over a unit with the same technology. Modern panels are more efficient than older ones but you still wont achieve a 400% gain. The power comes from the panel, not the controller. MPPT is just a method of enhancing the power available to charge the battery. In real terms I doubt very much you would notice the difference between PWM and MPPT, BUT.... GL has one and says it does what it says on the tin, that's a better starting point than most. The same company does a number of different units, both PWM and MPPT. Why not have a chat with them? If GL's has an indicator, it probably averages 4-5A output?
Mine is a 50w back contact semi flexible panel. It regularly shows 2.5+amps but only for short periods as I don’t see it during the ‘bulk charge’ stage early in the morning. When the engine is running the readout shows charging at 0.2a but the panel is producing over 20v. I added a remote readout so I can see what is going on from the helm (top left of the wheel).
851837B0-70E4-48CC-BB24-681FB705181B.jpeg
 
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