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  • 1 Post By mdbee
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Old 02-17-2012
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Help with Solar options

I have read through all the solar power related archives and read sailingdogs blog on solar panels and have gotten some great information. I am trying figure out the best set up for my situation.

I have a 27' boat that is kept on a mooring with an outboard engine and no alternator. Last season I used a 6 watt solar panel and the only thing hooked to the battery was the bilge pump and an LED anchor light. The set up worked great.

This season I would like to be able to use the electronics on board and want to be sure I keep from draining the battery. I am also considering using the 6 watt panel hooked to a dedicated battery for the anchor light and bilge and then using my current battery for all 'unnecessary' electronics.

I have one relatively new Maxx Marine Everstart Group 29DC battery with 125 amp hours. I estimate my daily consumption to be 50ah while sailing and that is on the high side. Usually go out on weekends but do have the occasional afternoon cruise.

After all my reading it seems like I may need a second battery for electronics and somewhere around an 60-80 watt panel, plus a controller. Is this overkill? I was hoping to use the one battery I have and buy a smaller second battery solely for bilge/anchor.

Sorry if I'm rambling but I want to figure out the best solution without breaking the bank.
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Old 02-17-2012
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Add a solar panel of 60-80W and keep your battey configuration. You will not need extra batteries.
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Old 02-18-2012
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Two batteries are nice to have. Having one as a back up gives you some insurance. I ran a "total loss" system for years before I got my panel. For two or three days sailing, I usually start with #1, then switch off to #2 the next day. The third day I still had power left.

What type of 27 footer?
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Last edited by mdbee; 02-18-2012 at 02:23 AM.
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Old 02-18-2012
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You might want to consider a batteryminder solar charger and desulphator that comes with a 15W solar panel. It will help to maintain the battery and clean the plates inside.
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Old 02-20-2012
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The battery minder charger/ controller looks good and seems to be an easy way to check the status of the battery. So that with a 60w panel should do the trick?

I could add another battery later if I run into issues and get a switch selector so that one is dedicated to the bilge and anchor light.

Am I right to assume that a smaller panel would not be sufficient?

It is a Catalina 27.
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Old 02-20-2012
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i'm curently installing 3 el cheapo 15 watt solar panels on my boat,but i did buy a good morning star pro 30 controler and a huge lifeline battery,i have a 2 battery bank setup for the inboard engine and normal boat opperations and the solar system will be only for maybe a fan,charging my laptop etc,my thinking is i can always upgrade to better panels later
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Old 02-20-2012
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folly, that G29 battery gives you--or is rated at--125AH? That seems awfully overoptimistic to me. I'd be surprised if it really put out 100AH into a total charge cycle. (Pleasantly surprised, but totally.)

I'd also suggest keeping that battery, maybe adding a "Whattmeter" Watt Meters : AstroFlight, Welcome to the AstroFlight online Store
or similar power monitor to find out what's really be consumed and produced.

And then buying whatever you can afford--since price is usually the first limit you hit--in a solar panel and a better charge controller. Genasun makes some relatively inexpensive MPPT controllers for small panels, and an MPPT controller can give you a 20-30% boost in the power actually stored in your battery, so whatever size solar panel you are buying, this is giving you something like a 25% bonus in panel size. AND properly applying a 3-4-stage charge sequence to the battery.

Finding a place to stick a 50-60W panel on a 27' boat without letting it get in shadow could be a good trick.
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Old 02-26-2012
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its very doubtful if you;ll get 50ah a day from an 80w panel, maybe 30 ish
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