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  #1  
Old 06-30-2003
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Siemens 65 Watt solar panels

I''m thinking about buying two Siemens 65 Watt solar panels to supplement charging my 4 - 6 volt battery banks. Does anyone out there have any experience using them? I would like to know what you think of them and what you use for a regulator? I find the advice on this message board to be above excellent and appreciate your reply. Thanks, Peter
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Old 07-01-2003
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Siemens 65 Watt solar panels

I had a Siemans panel and was very happy with it. I used it for 5 years and it always worked well even though it had a rough life (10k sea miles). I used a cheap regulator that eventually failed,, but since my battery capacity was fairly high and our use while cruising was consistent, I got rid of it. I would recommend a regulator if you will ever leave your boat though.
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Old 07-01-2003
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Siemens 65 Watt solar panels

Thanks Fourknots, this is encouraging. I will take your advice seriously about the regulator as we leave the boat quite frequently, albeit, for short periods of time. Peter
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Old 07-02-2003
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Siemens 65 Watt solar panels

Hey Peter,

How''s the fresh water conversion coming?

I installed a kyocera 60 watt panel and an ICP Global Technologies CC20 charge controller. I couldn''t be more happy with it so far.

I am on the hard and don''t have power, so I use 4 - 6volt golf cart batteries and a Hart Interface Freedom Marine 15 inverter to power my power tools. The solar panel keeps my batteries charged.

The CC20 has a maximum rating of 300 watts, so I will one day suppliment with 2 - 120 watt kyocera panels for a total of 300 watts, hopefully supplying most of my needs and minimizing engine run time for charging. The CC20 has some neat features: It regulates and automates the charging process, protects the batteries from over charging, and has interactive displays. It can tell me how many amps I am getting out of the panels and what voltage the batteries are at. I love it. I bought it at Camping World, but now see that West Marine offers it to the marine industry. Check out the ICP Global site at http://www.icpglobal.com for more details.

I went with the Kyocera over the ICP and Siemen panels based on price/watt. The Kyocera 60 watt panel was just over $300. I purchased through Defender.com. It is a poly-crystaline panel, which is lower watt/sq. inch, but does better under shadows that a mono-crystaline panel.

Solar is very slick. Which ever manufacturer you go with, it will be worth the money. I highly recommend it.

Steve
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Old 07-03-2003
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Siemens 65 Watt solar panels

I am just now installing a new Kyocera 125W solar panel. It uses their new blue technology and increases the efficiency a little bit. I chose the Kyocera because, since it is polycrystaline, it has a significantly smaller footprint than the Shell/siemens and others. Should provide up to 7.2 amps and in the islands (my intended destination) you might assume 7 hrs of good light so about 50 Ah/day. I made up an energy budget for the boat and it seems that is all I need.

I carry 300Ah in the batts, so there is plenty of power and if they get low, I just turn on the engine. Might have to do that a couple times a week while cruising, hardly at all at anchor.

Originally, I was looking at the 80W panel. My plan was to install one, then add another when needed. My energy budget had the Ah generated by the 80W as my low need and I could have possibly gotten by without it. Ultimately, it just made more sense to get the bigger panel now and have all I need.

I would suggest looking at the Kyocera 80W panel. It puts out a lot of power for a just about 2ft x 3ft footprint. Good prices at Arizona power and wind and E-marine....might as well get two of those if you are going to get two 65W panels. Or....just get one Kyocera 125W panel....that way, only one panel to install and wire.

Hope this helps

John
s/v Invictus
Hood 38
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Old 07-03-2003
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Siemens 65 Watt solar panels

John...I have a pair of 80 watt Kyoceras and have been in the Bahamas for the past 2 winters. I would suggest that you re-think the 120 watt panel being pretty much all you need unless you will not have refrigeration...I consider myself lucky to get 40-50 amps/day and there are LOTS of days when I get very little due to cloud cover/rain etc.
With 300AH in the battery...your max draw should be no more than 150Amps/day and as batteries approach "full" on recharging it becomes harder to get a charge in them so you will probably be working on a max of 130AH/day...your refrigeration in the tropics will generally run 60-100 amps/day if my own and friends use is any guidance. I would suggest you will be running the iron genny a lot which is not a good thing for the engine. You may want to consider a wind generator as another alternate source that can put 5-15 amps in per hour and goes 24 hours a day when the wind is blowing.
As a supplement to the original question, I would also strongly recommend the use of a regulator as you can really get some high battery frying voltage through big panels. I have a Fourwinds that routes any electrical "overflow" to my hot water heater which is a nice side benefit.
All best...GB
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Old 07-03-2003
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Siemens 65 Watt solar panels

Hello

A regulator for sure.

I understand your comments and they make sense for most. I have put together an energy budget for all items on the boat and my usual usage. I have an adler barbour fridge, but do not use it and do not plan to use it. That alone saves, as you have pointed out, tremendous energy resources. And cost. My energy budget is 50Ah/day out of the 150Ah I can draw from the 300Ah batt bank. This should give me plenty of wiggle room and cover days when there is little sun.

I understand the limitations of solar and the attractiveness of wind when in the tradewinds of the islands. I like to keep things simple and low cost. A wind gen has a number of drawbacks, especially when sailing. And it adds significant cost. I intend to do significant offshore sailing, at the very least up and down the east coast on a seasonal basis and to the Med...so....I don''t really want a wind gen (though I certainly realize many cruising boats have them and sail with them).

If I find I need more power...my downstream choices will be to 1) add another 125W panel and 2) upgrade the alternator to a higher output one. Doing this keeps my boat streamlined and simple, as these are systems already on her.

Yes, adding a wind gen and a genset would complete the power picture and give you a complete range of options. But for me, conservation and lower complexity have greater rewards (not to mention less $$$).

If I were to add anything later on, it might be a low cost 1000 or 2000W Honda generator to run a dive compressor (or Hookah) or AC. It would also be a battery charging back up. That would be it. Keep it simple.

Best to all

John
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Old 07-05-2003
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Siemens 65 Watt solar panels

Hi John...sounds like you have it well thought out...the adler barbour is what I have on my boat too and the decision to do without certainly simplifies your choices! Fair winds! GB
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Old 07-15-2003
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Siemens 65 Watt solar panels

Could you please clarify how a wind generator can give you problems while under sail?
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Old 07-17-2003
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Siemens 65 Watt solar panels

John, a side note on the Honda gen set. I also purchased a Honda 2kw model. Super quiet, light and very efficient--$859 via internet--and I am very pleased with it as a backup. The 1kw is even quieter and cheaper. Use carbon monoxide detectors, however--some strange drafts have caused some people to get very ill or even cause death, when exhaust fumes blow back into cabins.
I have a wind generator and am happy I have it, but it was on the boat when I got it and I probably would not have sprung for one had it not come with the boat--for the very reasons you mentioned.
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