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SpcAlan1 03-14-2011 08:09 AM

Recommended Solar Panel.....
I have a 1979 Islander Bahama 30 with 2 batteries -
Everstart 500 cranking amps ( 495 cold cranking amps )
Everstart 625 cranking amps ( 590 cold cranking amps )

I am moving off a 'powered' slip so will need to use the sun to charge the batteries.

So what are my choices?
West Marine said trickle charge - sounds like it just 'tops' off the batteries when needed.
Or should I go another route ( a panel that can actually run appliances ? ).

Either way - what are your recommendation for panel,controller, ideas, hints?

My main goal is to have 'full' batteries when needed, and the occasional running of the cabin/mast lights at night .


LauderBoy 03-14-2011 08:52 AM

You're probably going to have to calculate your amp draw. Get a list of everything that'd be running during the day while you're away(pumps, fans, etc) and figure out the total energy usage of that. Then figure out how much power your night time light usage will be.

If your lights aren't LED, I'd recommend replacing them with LEDs.

Then you can figure out how much solar you'll want. But if you're not using refrigeration and can get on all LEDs, then you probably won't need much.

SpcAlan1 03-14-2011 08:57 AM

Nothing runs while I am not at the boat - only bilge.
At night, just the lights - not LEDS's ( damn they are expensive to replace ).
No refrigeration - ICE BOX!
Maybe the radio and VHF.

night0wl 03-14-2011 09:06 AM

Here is my old amperage plan that I used to size my desired solar panel. STRONGLY advise you should do the same. Also, changing to LED's allowed me to downsize my panel and save much room/weight.....I have a lot of lights and the halogen bulbs are power hogs...HUGE.

Key to this plan is a good battery monitor that can give you insight into amperage draw of your various devices.

MarkofSeaLife 03-14-2011 09:09 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Cranking amps and deep cycle amps are different, so I dont know how big your batteries are. But they don't sound too big.

One of the wonderful things about solar is you never need to hook up to power in a marina again! :)

I have 2 x 120 watt pannels and a 2000e Solar Boost regulator that stops the batteries being charged when they are full. (the 2000E is about $250)

But I have a far bigger battery bank than you: 330 amp hours of deep cycle.

I would suppose you can do with one 80 amp hour panel and thats going to give you all you'll need. The price of them has dropped a lot over the last few years.

If you have a bit more panel than you need your weekends away etc will be more fun :)

travlin-easy 03-14-2011 09:19 AM

I purchased a solar charger from Pep Boys for $49 on sale. The panel mount was another $50 at West Marine. It kept a pair of deep cycle 450-CCA Marine batteries fully charged at all times with just 5-watts of output power. In my case, there was dockside power available, so I considered it a necessity.

Gary :cool:

LauderBoy 03-14-2011 09:23 AM


Originally Posted by SpcAlan1 (Post 708657)
Nothing runs while I am not at the boat - only bilge.
At night, just the lights - not LEDS's ( damn they are expensive to replace ).
No refrigeration - ICE BOX!
Maybe the radio and VHF.

Dollar for dollar, switching to LEDs is probably cheaper than the larger panel needed to support non LEDs.

Here's what I'm using for my interior lights: LED Surface Mount Accent Light -

At $14 per for the soft white ones, they were pretty cheap. I have 6 of those for daily use and then 1 white/red one on the nav table.

travlin-easy 03-14-2011 09:32 AM

I purchased a similar LED light fixture at West Marine, it ran on a couple AAA batteries, and even with use nearly every night the batteries lasted the entire season. Well worth the $13 it cost.

Gary :cool:

MarkofSeaLife 03-14-2011 09:46 AM

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LED lights: I don't know how the OP uses the boat, but if its only occasional use on weekends a few times per summer, then LED's are very expensive.
For a live-aboard cruiser they are cheap. For a long range cruiser they're essential.

LEDs are still vastly over priced. They should be about 10 cents each for the little yellow blob so a 10 LED LED should be $1.

Then we would have fun! :)

SpcAlan1 03-14-2011 10:21 AM

So, based on my total 'daily' amp needs - do I buy a battery at that rating?
So if my total is 75 amps of daily usage - I should be using a 75-100 amp deep cycle battery?

What size charger do I need ? trickle charge or ____ amount of output?

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