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Old 09-23-2005
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Solar Power for Battery Charge

I have read the articles on Sailnet relating to Solar Power, but still have questions. Here''s my situation. I bought a Precision 23 and it came with an ARCO Solar G100 panel. I have searched the internet and can not find any info on this panel. The PV part of the panel is 12.5" by 12.5". Guessing that watt output is dependant on PV area, I assume that this is about 5-7W output, based on the areas of similar sized panels in catalogs. My electrical load is only 2 cabin lights, nav lights and possibly some sort of radio plugged into a cig lighter plug (future). These will be used extremely infrequently. I want to keep 1 Group 24, 75 Amphour 12V battery charged and fresh. I have an AC battery charger to charge if the battery is drained way down.

My questions:
Any idea on output of this panel or how to calculate it?

Do I need to install a charge controller to prevent overcharging?
The cheapest I''ve found is in the $30 range and the battery was around $60. Seems pretty expensive if it will only slightly prolong the life of the battery.

If I have a charge controller, do I also need blocking diodes?

Do I need blocking diodes at all? In other words, will the night time drain be more than the what is being put in every day. GA has about 5 sun hours per day.
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Old 09-23-2005
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Solar Power for Battery Charge

You certainly don’t need a charge controller for any charge source under 10 Watts, which this certainly is.
You probably don’t need blocking diodes, either.
This panel should more than replenish your battery’s “self-discharge”; but will provide less than 1 Amp/Hour of re-charge per day (equivalent of (1) 12 W nav’ light for 1 hour).

FWIW: Arco Solar was acquired by Siemens, who then sold out to Shell.
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