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Join Date: Apr 2006
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Re: Mainsail comes through again with solar
Tommy, the Genasun power "strip" isn't so bad. You may notice they put both positive terminals together in the center--making it harder to accidentally short a + and - wire together at that point. And they are positive traps, even if they are a bit shallow. Overall, I think safer than the average bare terminal strip, and better placed.
For a 15 or 20 watt panel, "overkill" with a small MPPT controller might very much be the way to go. They can provide a 20% boost in effective charging power, and while $120? for the Genasun might be as much or more than your panel, how else can you get 20% more power without buying a more expensive panel? Then there are the batteries themselves, the cheap controllers tend to be "all or none" affairs that turn on or off, period. That's not optimum for the batteries. The Genasun is a 3-stage controller, assuming your batteries can be topped off by it, it will keep them nicely formed with a 100% charge.
Of course, if you're just working with one WalMart Group24 battery...warranty replacement is the most effective way to go.
Unless your solar panel is a small percent of your battery capacity, in which no controller or regulation may be needed at all. (Except a blocking diode to prevent backcurrent at night. Not all panels are built with one.)