Best solar panels for the buck - Page 6 - SailNet Community
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post #51 of 60 Old 05-13-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Best solar panels for the buck

We're getting ready to put the boat on the hard for the hurricane season. What to do with the panels? We'll leave them in place, but should we cover them to prevent collection or simply disconnect them from MPPT controller and let them sit at Voc? We're afraid to leave them in operation without any load whatsoever for fear of overcharging our 4 golf cart batteries.
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post #52 of 60 Old 07-29-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Best solar panels for the buck

We ended up staying at a slip with shore power available. We just decided to disconnect panels from solar controller because our Morningstar MPPT controller was starting each day out in the bulk phase. That doesn't make sense since we have battery charger on continuously. We're afraid of needlessly boiling off liquid from our lead acid batteries. Comments?
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post #53 of 60 Old 07-29-2012
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Re: Best solar panels for the buck

Bad charger? Bad battery? Check to see how much load you are pulling? You need to do some detective work.
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post #54 of 60 Old 07-30-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Best solar panels for the buck

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Bad charger? Bad battery? Check to see how much load you are pulling? You need to do some detective work.
Thanks. Everything is working fine. It's just that our Morningstar Tristar MPPT-45 solar controller is designed to start a new cycle (ie, bulk, absorption, and float) each day. That makes sense when we're away from the dock and the batteries need to get recharged after being discharged all night long. Unfortunately, when the charger is running continuously at the dock, there is no need to recharge each day. I have submitted a ticket to Morningstar to see if this can be changed.
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post #55 of 60 Old 07-30-2012
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Re: Best solar panels for the buck

Pete, wouldn't your battery acceptance limit what is needed, regardless of the input source? Isn't there anything in the Morningstar manual about resetting the charge sequence?

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post #56 of 60 Old 08-02-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Best solar panels for the buck

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Pete, wouldn't your battery acceptance limit what is needed, regardless of the input source? Isn't there anything in the Morningstar manual about resetting the charge sequence?
Thanks.

Today I called Morningstar about the overcharging issue when running both solar and battery charger. Steve gave, what I believe, is the perfect solution. Turns out the Morningstar Tristar 45 has a custom program option. Just change DIP switches for custom program and run the PC program called MSVIEW to set the absorption time for 1 minute. This means that each morning the controller will only dwell on absorption 1 minute before entering the Float stage. When we leave dock simply switch the DIP switches back and it reverts to the fixed (preprogrammed) mode with longer absorption phase. BTW, the custom setup wizard has hundreds of variables that can be set, but I just changed the one.
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post #57 of 60 Old 11-27-2013
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Re: Best solar panels for the buck

I need a solar panel to keep the battery charged on a CATALINA 23
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post #58 of 60 Old 11-28-2013
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Re: Best solar panels for the buck

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I need a solar panel to keep the battery charged on a CATALINA 23
More details are required. At the dock with shorepower or on a mooring? What size battery? How many?

Brian
Living aboard in Victoria Harbour
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post #59 of 60 Old 12-02-2013
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Re: Best solar panels for the buck

I just need to keep a 12 Volt acid battery charged to use cabin & running lights. THE BOAT IS KEPT ON A MOORING BALL ON A LAKE.
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post #60 of 60 Old 12-02-2013
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Re: Best solar panels for the buck

I think a 40 or 50 watt panel and a good controller such as the Morningstar Sunsaver 6 or a Genusun would be a good choice to charge after use and maintain a full charge.

Brian
Living aboard in Victoria Harbour
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