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post #11 of 19 Old 01-29-2010
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Originally Posted by LandLocked66c View Post
I need to research this more, but is it possible to run multiple panels in series to increase output? I know that most panels are just a bunch of cells run in series to give more output. Bigger panel means bigger output. If I end up with enough of these I may sacrafice a few for research!

If anything, my main goal would be to make sure my bank doesn't get 50% discharged at any given time. I don't know what my average weekend of use will consist of yet - hell I don't even have the boat in the driveway yet...
Land, you mean parallel, not series. If you run two of those panels in series it'll up the voltage to 24 volts and you probably don't want that, what you want is more amps, not more voltage.

If you want to start getting creative you can check into just buying solar cells and wire them up yourself, not hard to do and a lot less expensive than purchasing panels. Buy 'em by the case ...


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post #12 of 19 Old 01-29-2010
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1.2 amp keeps up with your house loads? You can't be turning much on though.
That is true, only a couple of amps worth of lights,
and stereo for an hour or two here or there.

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post #13 of 19 Old 01-29-2010
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I'd highly recommend you read the Primer on solar power on boats that I wrote on my blog. You can find it HERE.

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post #14 of 19 Old 01-29-2010 Thread Starter
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Land, you mean parallel, not series. If you run two of those panels in series it'll up the voltage to 24 volts and you probably don't want that, what you want is more amps, not more voltage.

If you want to start getting creative you can check into just buying solar cells and wire them up yourself, not hard to do and a lot less expensive than purchasing panels. Buy 'em by the case ...

Ah crap I didn't think about that! Yes series wouldn't work then... I'll look into the bulk panels... That would be a fun project perhaps.

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post #15 of 19 Old 01-29-2010 Thread Starter
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I'd highly recommend you read the Primer on solar power on boats that I wrote on my blog. You can find it HERE.
Good write up SD! Thatnks for that!

Well, I have two of the small solar panels pictured on the first page, and the larger one that VW made for the Touregs that keep both their batteries up. It litterally is twice the output of the smaller. I'm going to dig up the specs on those soon.

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post #16 of 19 Old 01-29-2010
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I'll look into the bulk panels... That would be a fun project perhaps.
At approximately 0.80$us/watt it can be the frugal choice too. How much is a 100 watt panel these days ? I'm thinking probably more than 80$us. Of course you do have to buy bus wire, etc, to make the panel, but there are plenty of plans out there for how to construct your own solar panel if you have the time.

I like the idea of making panels because you can make them to fit unusual spaces, which is perfect on a boat. How many porthole shaped panels have you seen lately ?

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post #17 of 19 Old 01-30-2010
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I make solar cells and solar panels for a living. I highly suggest making your own panel as others have stated it allows you alot of flexibilty in shape. Things to keep in mind:

1) Generally each cell will produce about 0.5VDC no matter the size
2) Amperage comes from the area of the cells
3) The cooler the cells the more efficient. They do get hot at peak power
4) Make sure the substrate the cells are mounted to is very rigid. Multi-crystaline cells do not like flexing too much. The thinner the cell the more flexible they are.
5) In a well made panel with minimal flexure the main point of failure are your electrical connections.
6) Not all cells are created equally. Multi-crystaline cells vary from 12% to 19% and higher. It depends on the processes used to make the cells, the grade of silicon used, and the quality/size of the collection lines.

Good luck and post pics!
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post #18 of 19 Old 01-30-2010 Thread Starter
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Well you've got me curious! What is a good site to buy panels from?

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post #19 of 19 Old 01-30-2010
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Originally Posted by LandLocked66c View Post
Well you've got me curious! What is a good site to buy panels from?
Few random sites, I don't know anything about any of these places ...

Somebody wrote instructions for constructing a panel here - LINK
One place that seems to sell the solar cells by the box - LINK
One place that seems to sell them individually - LINK

Probably get them on Ebay too, buyer beware.

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