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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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Old 08-02-2012
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New Solar panels

I am getting ready to mount 4 Kyocera 140W panels above my bimini. Any suggestions on a compatible charge controller to work with this system? Also wondering whether to stay with wet cell batteries or switch to AGM?
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Old 08-02-2012
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Stay with flooded batteries as they offer more AmpHours per volume, don't cheap out on the charge controller and purchase an MPPT that works with your voltage. I and a number of other people like the Outback; it's a bit pricey but does an awesome job of collecting all available energy and storing it to your batteries.
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Old 08-02-2012
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Re: New Solar panels

Check out the Blue Sky Solar Boost 3024iL

I would stay with the flooded cell batteries.
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Re: New Solar panels

thank you for the help. I am convinced that flooded batteries will be best to stay with.
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Re: New Solar panels

Sea Hunter, what is the importance with MPPT on the charge controller? Company selling me the panels telling me MPPT is an overkill and not really needed for this type os system. thanks
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Re: New Solar panels

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkzdad View Post
Sea Hunter, what is the importance with MPPT on the charge controller? Company selling me the panels telling me MPPT is an overkill and not really needed for this type os system. thanks
MPPT will only give a small gain over non MPPT regulators. The advice you have been given is sound for domestic installations where there is lots of room for extra panels. More panels are more cost effective than a MPPT regulator until you get to large arrays. However on a boat there is often no room for more panels so the break even point becomes much lower. With over 500w of solar and probably a large and expensive battery bank a sofisticated and adjustable regulator is needed and most of these are MPPT.
At this level (500w plus) Outback is the best choice.
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Re: New Solar panels

Thanks for that input. I just spoke with Outback about their charge control system. I will be using 4 house batteries and 1 engine start battery and they are suggesting a separate charging system for the engine start battery. Is that type of separate charging application pretty common?
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Old 08-03-2012
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Re: New Solar panels

Probably the best way to keep both house and start batteries charged is with an Echo Charge or ACR. Route all charging sources direct to the house bank - where it is needed most - and either of the above devices will automatically keep the start battery charged.

Battery Chargers | Auxiliary Battery Charger | Xantrex

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Old 08-03-2012
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Re: New Solar panels

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkzdad View Post
Thanks for that input. I just spoke with Outback about their charge control system. I will be using 4 house batteries and 1 engine start battery and they are suggesting a separate charging system for the engine start battery. Is that type of separate charging application pretty common?
The start battery normally stays close to fully charged without any input from solar. Starting the engine uses very little power and this is replaced even with a short engine run.
For this reason most people only connect their solar system to the house batteries.

This is what I have done. Occasionally I connect the solar to the engine start battery to provide an equalisation charge. I do this manually by flicking the "combine switch" (which is normally used as an emergancy to connect the house bank for starting).
This keep things simple. You can automate the charging with a VSR or Echocharge but it's normally not worth it and the VSR will result in an overcharged engine battery. Even with an Echocharge the start battery will benefit from an occasional equalisation charge which must be done manually.

Last edited by noelex77; 08-03-2012 at 03:44 AM.
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Old 08-03-2012
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Re: New Solar panels

And I think I'd tell you to consider GEL batteries. Higher acceptance rates compared to wet lead. More deep discharge cycles compared to lead. And the MPPT controller should be able to be set for them with no problem.

The catch is that your engine and shore power chargers need to be set for gels as well, because cooking them will kill them. But if you ask some of the battery companies about the number of charge cycles for their gel batteries versus their wet batteries, you may be surprised.
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