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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 04-01-2008
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Solar Wiring Setup

I currently have 4 Kyocera 130 panels tied in series to an Outback MX60. I am producing somewhere over 200 ah/day. I put out about 208 a few weeks ago from the hook. THat is all solar.

When I bought the solar setup, I also opted for a wind generator. However, I could not find a suitable place to mount it where it would not interfere with the solar panels at some point during the day. As such, I returned it and they would only give me a credit toward other products. I elected for two more 130 watt panels.

I am going to go ahead and hook up the other two panels. They have been sitting in the box for about a year now (unused) since I pretty much am off the grid with what I have. However, I have noticed that on very nasty/rainy/cloudy days, the output of the panels is pretty poor. As such, maybe installing the other two panels will not be such a waste.

But what I want to do is to have the ability to bring them into and out of a series circut with the switch of a button. My thought is a "temporary mount" for the panels such that when I am at anchor or sailing in light to moderate conditions, I leave them out and use them in the circut. When not (like when making a crossing or heavy weather sailing), I can pull them down and stowe them (but still leaving the other four panels).

My question is how you would wire these to make it easy to bring them in/out in a series circut. Remember, when they are out, I will still be using the other four panels. They will always be on.

My thought was to terminate the pos lead onto a block. From there, two more leads would go out - each to a on/off switch. One switch would lead striaght to the charger (ie, the four panels only being used) while the other would redirect to the other two panels, then back to the charger. I was going to use a third on/off simply for safety so that there would not be an open hot lead. I guess I could use a diode for that? Also, what about using a 1/2/both switch in place of the first block and two switches??

Thoughts?? Thanks.



- CD
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  #2  
Old 04-01-2008
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CD,
I think you should first indicate that you have read all 14 trillion posts on the solar stick thread. It would help if you also indicated you had searched under 'mythical solar output levels' and 'ridiculous sun tracking portable installations' or some such.
Additionally, look into global warming as I'm quite sure that 200ah a day is exceeding the carbon footprint of some small cities. I had not been aware of the fact that your grill was electric - please convert to propane or charcoal.

Seriously (or should I say series ous ly) - and you know I'm no expert, and that's where I'm coming from - keep it simple, go with a 1/2/both switch as opposed to switches that might leave you hot if mis-aligned.

The question I have - is your charger and wiring able to handle the full rated output of all six panels if you stick them out on a cloudy day and go off to la la land? What happens when the clouds break and suddlenly you are making a zillion amps?

If it's not too late, trade the panels for a wind gen - and hoist it over the foredeck 'tween the mast and jib at anchor. That provides better 'coverage' for cloudy, overcast days with wind.
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Originally Posted by chucklesR View Post
CD,
I think you should first indicate that you have read all 14 trillion posts on the solar stick thread. It would help if you also indicated you had searched under 'mythical solar output levels' and 'ridiculous sun tracking portable installations' or some such.
Additionally, look into global warming as I'm quite sure that 200ah a day is exceeding the carbon footprint of some small cities. I had not been aware of the fact that your grill was electric - please convert to propane or charcoal.

Seriously (or should I say series ous ly) - and you know I'm no expert, and that's where I'm coming from - keep it simple, go with a 1/2/both switch as opposed to switches that might leave you hot if mis-aligned.

The question I have - is your charger and wiring able to handle the full rated output of all six panels if you stick them out on a cloudy day and go off to la la land? What happens when the clouds break and suddlenly you are making a zillion amps?

If it's not too late, trade the panels for a wind gen - and hoist it over the foredeck 'tween the mast and jib at anchor. That provides better 'coverage' for cloudy, overcast days with wind.

Hmm...

Let's see, this has nothing to do with that rediculous solar thread - though it is always fun to irritate Sailaway with a post or two there!!!

Yes, the charger will take that much even beyond rated output of the panels. Wiring is 4ga, which far exceeds specs. My only concern is that once these are in series, those panels will be putting out about 120v. Amps depend of course on the sun, but needless to say they might bite ya.

My numbers are real numbers (I can get pics to prove it!!!) and set inline with what would realistically be expected from that many watts.

I tend to agree on the one-two switch. What about the diode? WOuld you use a diode in place of a on/off switch?

Regarding the wind gen, no way and never unless some unforseen failure happens or I go somewhere the sun does not shine. I have been in countless anchorages with those 747's and hated listening to them (especially during a front). Solar is by far better. Incidentally, I have been off the grid since last summer. It runs everything but the air conditioner/heater. Pretty cool, eh? I have become a big advocate of solar and even talked Pop's into a similar system.

- CD
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I was curious about the MX60 ands its ability to take higher input voltages, the manual warns that 6 12 volt panels wired in series may exceed that max open circuit voltage of 150 volts, particularly if you are in a colder climate.

Ike
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I seriously doubt that six (6) 12 VDC panels could ever generate 150 VDC, since the tend to max out at about 20 VDC.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isaac-1 View Post
I was curious about the MX60 ands its ability to take higher input voltages, the manual warns that 6 12 volt panels wired in series may exceed that max open circuit voltage of 150 volts, particularly if you are in a colder climate.

Ike
Good question. I had checked with the vendor and am installing them in series per their suggestion. But six is max. I guess if you were in an extremely cold area, it is theoretically possible to exceed that voltage?? Maybe... but seems unliekly to me.

- CD
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Have you considered going to a two sets of three panels in a series/parallel configuration. That way you will only need the off-1-2-both switch.
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Old 04-01-2008
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Have you considered going to a two sets of three panels in a series/parallel configuration. That way you will only need the off-1-2-both switch.
The four panels are already set in place and work great. Doubtful I would ever want to take them off. Good thought though.

My panels (sorry, only pic I have right now):

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CD,
As to the first part, glad you realize it was in jest.

I didn't look, just assumed the '60' was either a voltage or amp limit. I was thinking you would exceed that if it's voltage, and depending on how depleted your batteries are you might get there on amps too.

I personally would not do the diode - too hard to get right (soldering it in without mucking it up). They sell 1/2/both's (what the heck is the name of them other than the trade name of 'guest') with blocking diode's already installed - I'd go that route for safety.
Your skills and tools on hand may be different from mine. I'm (was) qualified for TIG (at the sub-nuclear cert level), MIG and micro-circuit repairs in both the Navy and the Air Farce. Bottom line, If I buy it installed and it fries I can sue them, if I install it and it fries I'm not flexible enough to kick my own A$$.
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CD, do you have a diagram of your arch? I am having a custom-welding job done on mine with the idea that I'll have a removable bimini below and I think I'll go with 4 x 130 W Kyoceras above that. Haven't decided on the MPPT yet.

4 ga., eh? You don't fool around!
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