Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
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cam, actually, the units you should be using are amp-hours, not amps. You've dropped a unit somewhere...
There are three types of solar panels out.
Monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels which are rigid, with a glass face and aluminum frame usually. These have the highest efficiencies, with monocrystalline panels being a bit better but more expensive than polycrystalline panels.
The third type are amorphous or thin-film silicon panels, which have about a third the output of the other two types, but are available in either flexible, or semi-rigid panels. They do not have a glass covering panel, and the semi-rigid panels are often designed so that you can actually walk on their surface without damaging the panels within reason...stiletto heels will damage them.
All of the solar panels are fairly hard to get right now, as there appears to be a greater demand than the current manufacturing capacities can handle.
Some things to consider if you're planning a solar panel charging system.
1) You should probably get a MPPT-type charge controller to maximize the current accepted by your batteries. A charge controller is recommended if your panels can supply more than 10% of the capacity of your battery bank IIRC.
2) You should either install blocking diodes, which will incur a voltage drop, or a switch, to prevent the solar panels from draining the battery bank at night...as the panels act as a electrical drain at night. If you have a charge controller, this isn't normally needed, as most solar-panel charge controllers have blocking diode functions in it.
3) You may want to mount the panels in such a way that you can remove them for bad weather, etc. I have mine setup to plug into a weather-proof electric trolling motor type connectors, and can put the panels below in the case of bad weather or heavy seas.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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