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post #1 of 19 Old 01-28-2010 Thread Starter
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Solar Panels?

Hey guys, I have some questions about this particular scenario. I've got quite a few of these VW car solar panels. They use them at dealerships to keep the cars batteries fresh. If I had 4 of these running parallel to a controller then to the battery bank, do you think it would help much? How fast would it charge? I've just started reading the 12volt Bible so be easy on me...

Here are the specs:

Elec. Ratings at 1000 W/m squared, AM1.5, Cell Temp. 25 degrees Celcius

Max. Power: 3.2 W
Voltage at max. power: 18.8 V
Current at max. power: 170 mA



It looks like this gentleman figured it out as well... First 235 Tips: VW Solar Panel for Battery Upkeep

1971 23' Oday Pop Top
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post #2 of 19 Old 01-28-2010
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If you had 4 you could have up to 12 watts. I doubt that it would charge much at all but if your bank is small it might keep it up while in storage. It really depends on bank size and type.

Of course the advantage is no need for a regulator. I have a 30watt that is so small for my bank that I do not need a regulator for it, even in florida but then I always have something on.

Have faith that the oceans are going to rise and flood the world, that plague and pestilence brought on by Climate Change is going to punish us for not believing. Please do as they say it is our only hope. :P
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post #3 of 19 Old 01-28-2010 Thread Starter
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I plan on running two 6 volt deep cell batteries in series. It's a 23' boat so all i'll be running will be depth sounder, radio, and lights at any given time. I'd like to run more like a laptop and router but that's down the road...

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post #4 of 19 Old 01-28-2010
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If you're running two T105 golf cart batteries in series... those four panels are barely going to keep up with the self-discharge rate on the batteries..

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post #5 of 19 Old 01-28-2010 Thread Starter
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Holy crap! So how many would I need then to be any kind of help? I should be getting quite a few tomorrow! Maybe I could lay the whole deck with them!

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post #6 of 19 Old 01-29-2010
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Even free I doubt they would be worth it as they take up too much space. Maybe get enough to keep batteries charged while away from the boat. Determine that by checking voltage every time you visit the boat (you already do that) and keep adding until you find the voltage does not drop between visits but is not higher than about 13volts, or get a regulator at that point.

Have faith that the oceans are going to rise and flood the world, that plague and pestilence brought on by Climate Change is going to punish us for not believing. Please do as they say it is our only hope. :P
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post #7 of 19 Old 01-29-2010
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It is definitely worth playing with.
I find my 400mA 6W panel is big enough to
work as a maintenance charger.
I also have a 1.2A 18W panel that can keep
up with our live aboard house loads in the summer.
On a very sunny day it can be powerful enough to
cook a battery if used without a charge controller
and not watched carefully.

Islander 30 II 'COOL'
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post #8 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.

Brian
Living aboard in Victoria Harbour
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post #9 of 19 Old 01-29-2010
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Land, those smaller panels are really better for camping and charging up things like your music player, laptop, or other personal electronics. They do a good job of that!

What are you pretending not to know ?

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post #10 of 19 Old 01-29-2010 Thread Starter
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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...

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