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Old 04-09-2013
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Solar Power for catalina 27

I am looking to purchase some solar panels to power my cat27. I currently have 2 deep cycle batteries on board. I am new to the solar world and am looking for some advice on what to get to make sure my batteries stay charged.
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Old 04-09-2013
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Re: Solar Power for catalina 27

Interesting things in the solar side of things - walk-on and flexible panels that will make mounting them less of an issue..

Steveston Marine offers the Ganz line, flat thin panels you can walk on, reasonable size and if you're not running a fridge they may provide enough to keep you going, esp if you're using LED lighting.

Pacific Yacht Systems (?) offers a line of very flexible panels that can be sewn/snapped/velcroed/zippered onto dodgers or biminis.

Understand that solar is not always reliable in these parts, but summer in Desolation is going to be alright. The problem has always been how to mount them efficiently without turning the boat into a bit of fugly.

You'll also need a solar charge controller to ensure you don't overdo things on a bright sunny day. None of this is cheap, of course.... but the newer panels will/may need less structure that will reduce the overall cost.

Do a power budget.. figure out your daily usage on average and see if there's a panel that can supply that in a 10-12 hour stretch of sun...or less...
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Last edited by Faster; 04-09-2013 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 04-09-2013
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Re: Solar Power for catalina 27

I'm probably going to be getting something like this:



Combined with this:
Sunforce 60031 10 Amp Digital Charge Controller : Amazon.com : Automotive Sunforce 60031 10 Amp Digital Charge Controller : Amazon.com : Automotive



to keep my battery charged on my S2 7.9 which is berthed at a powerless dock with a motor with an alternator that is integrated into the flywheel that doesn't charge (BMW D7). From my back of the envelope calculations it appears that 50W should be sufficient for me to start my motor, run a (small) chartplotter/fishfinder, some autopilot (tiller pilot), LED lights, etc. for a good period of time cruising away from power. YMMV
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Old 04-09-2013
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Re: Solar Power for catalina 27

I currently use a solar pannel to charge my system. I dont ever plug in and I go out at least 2 to 3 times a week in the height of the season. I always come back to my boat with a full charge next time I go. Currently I'm installing a 55#thrust electric motor to use to get me in and out of the harbor. Looking for the 125watt pannel to recharge my battery in time for the next trip. My pannel has a glass face so I have to be careful about where I mount it but other than that there has been no problems going into the 2nd season of using it.
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Old 04-09-2013
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Re: Solar Power for catalina 27

If you don't tell use what equipment and how long you use said equipment then any advice we give would be akin to "Here, this piece of rope is long enough." Do you intend to tie your alternator into the charging system? Do you sail at night, have LED nav lights,
LED cabin lights? Got an electric windlass and anchor a lot? Run a depth sounder, chart plotter, radar, VHF, AIS, frig/freezer ? Any idea how much area you have to mount the panels?
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Re: Solar Power for catalina 27

marine stereo, gps, depth/fish finder, running lights, outboard electric starter

enough power to go away for a weekend and still be able to start up my boat
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Old 04-09-2013
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Re: Solar Power for catalina 27

I used a 64 watt panel last year and it covered my usage most of the time. I use the lights a lot, small GPS, VHF, autotiller, and a bilge pump which runs a few times per day (Shaft seal drips a bit too much - on spring repair list.) Never had any problems.
Putting refrigation aboard this year and will add a second panel. Your choice of a 50W and controller sounds adaquate. The nice thing about solar is you can add to it without changing much as long as your controller and cables can the added amperage.
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Re: Solar Power for catalina 27

No fridge, and reasonable sunshine a 40-50W panel should more than keep up. Good deep cycle batteries should be able to keep up with those light loads for some time.
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Old 04-09-2013
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Re: Solar Power for catalina 27

Installing A Small Marine Solar System Photo Gallery by Compass Marine at pbase.com

Start with Mainsails guides as you will get a free lesson on what works and why it works



You want one of these



And a good panel like a 40 watt sunwize does well on my 29' with two group 27s
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Old 04-09-2013
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Re: Solar Power for catalina 27

The two deep cycle batteries are adequately maintained by the 40 watt panel on my Pearson 28, which you can see from all sides in this video:


The electrical load includes an autopilot, bilge pump, navigation lights, and engine starter.

Last edited by jameswilson29; 04-10-2013 at 06:43 AM.
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