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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > PHOCOS solar charger experiences?
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Thread: PHOCOS solar charger experiences? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
11-26-2013 10:58 AM
christian.hess
Re: PHOCOS solar charger experiences?

UPDATE!

I have juice!

didnt use any ground but I used the old controller I found, the 5 amp one

the battery was my car battery so it was fully charged so when testing the controller I would only get a trickle voltage which is barely over 12.75 volts but as soon as the battery was let sit for a while for a while and got to a specific voltage the charger started pumping nice voltage...it will cycle from 13v to 14.5 every 15 seconds or so so its a pretty basic charger(maybe even shunt) but enough for my needs as of now

so this saved me from testing and maybe damaging the PHOCOS charger I bought.

so hopefully I can return this "positive" ground phocos charger and use the money for something else!

I also found out my panel was sold by downwind marine in san diego...although the brand is not common im pretty sure its a standard negative ground but it really doesnt matter now...

in any case this SUN SELECTOR 5 amp charger I found I basically just hooked it up like the diagram on it explains and no issues whatsoever

so I have juice for being out at anchor now

thanks for all the advice and help guys!

cheers

christian
11-13-2013 10:55 PM
christian.hess
Re: PHOCOS solar charger experiences?

well I found out some stuff...

on the boat I found a 5 amp little charge controller which was deep in some parts boxes...dont know of its what was used before but Ill take a pic and maybe get some infom about it and see if it works before trying the new controller

it had 5 wires coming out of it with a fuse on a positive red lead...

and I also found out the brand of my panel

its a SOLAR JACK panel...since the controller is only 5 amps Im wondering if my panel is only around 60-80 watts or so...much less than I thought before...

if anyone has experience with solar jack panels Im all ears...

seems that on the web I only get info about solar jack pumps and systems...not specifics about the panel

anywhoo

peace
11-10-2013 12:02 AM
christian.hess
Re: PHOCOS solar charger experiences?

I read that morningstar manual...very informative...

thanks mitiempo...a lot...it helps a bunch

I shall repeat my panels arent positive ground...hence my eternal question if ignoring the ground all together..

I will either take a risk and try the controller out or chicken out and save up for something more mainstream


cheers guys and thanks
11-09-2013 10:48 PM
mitiempo
Re: PHOCOS solar charger experiences?

The manual can be downloaded here:CML series (5 ? 20 A) | Phocos.com

I am not experienced with installing anything positive ground on a negative ground boat, as they all are. I also wasn't even looking for the Dashew link - I found it while searching his site for something else and thought it might help.
11-09-2013 09:39 AM
Maine Sail
Re: PHOCOS solar charger experiences?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
Positive ground solar installations can and are used on some boats. One point is to make sure the panels are isolated from any metal part of the boat. This can be accomplished with inert (plastic or grp) blocks between mounting points. Here is a link to a pdf regarding positive ground wiring rfrom Morningstar.
http://www.morningstarcorp.com/en/su...ring.01.EN.pdf

Steve Dashew's installation on Windhorse is positive ground. Here is a link to an explanation of his system, with comments.
SetSail» Blog Archive » Sunpower 320 Solar Panels ? Real World Output Data
This is why above I specifically stated "or SunPower panels".... SunPower panels, and a number of others intended for grid tie, are positive ground but to use them on a boat you really need to bypass that by not wiring in the positive ground and you then need to isolate them as Steve has done.. SunPower brand panels are not sold to off grid application so Steve obviously had some connections to get them...

Positive ground systems are more related to grid tie systems and high voltage panel configurations... Some controllers will allow it to be re-configured for positive ground & negative ground but some won't/can't.
I do not have the manual for that Phocos so can't say for sure...

On boats we are negative grounded...
11-09-2013 04:02 AM
mitiempo
Re: PHOCOS solar charger experiences?

Positive ground solar installations can and are used on some boats. One point is to make sure the panels are isolated from any metal part of the boat. This can be accomplished with inert (plastic or grp) blocks between mounting points. Here is a link to a pdf regarding positive ground wiring rfrom Morningstar.
http://www.morningstarcorp.com/en/su...ring.01.EN.pdf

Steve Dashew's installation on Windhorse is positive ground. Here is a link to an explanation of his system, with comments.
SetSail» Blog Archive » Sunpower 320 Solar Panels ? Real World Output Data
11-08-2013 06:38 PM
christian.hess
Re: PHOCOS solar charger experiences?

well thats where I bought this controller...Im thinking its similar to yours not as fancy...there is nothing MARINE about this store...they sell exactly what you are talking about...they sell panels to boat owners and stuff but thats maybe 1 percent of their busniess

jeje

thanks
11-08-2013 06:06 PM
copacabana
Re: PHOCOS solar charger experiences?

Quote:
Originally Posted by christian.hess View Post
does that controller specify negative or non negative ground? looks real nice from here, jajaja

thanks
Christian, I'm an electrical moron (and I wish I weren't!). I just connected the panel wires to the positive and negative and the same with the battery connections. There wasn't much to think about. It's working great and charging my batteries. I think if you look for a supplier of solar panels and controllers for farmers you'll find a cheap controller. Once you associate the word "marine" with anything the price just goes up ...
11-08-2013 11:49 AM
christian.hess
Re: PHOCOS solar charger experiences?

Quote:
Originally Posted by redline View Post
Christian,


I would leave the ship's loads on battery negative "ground", ignore the low-voltage-disconnect output, and be happy.
I really appreciate this info, its mighty helpfull

couple of questions though

the little manual that comes with the controller specifically shows where to ground the positive leads...however my initial question was wether you had to ground it at all?

I read somewhere that by not grounding some panel, controller combos you loose a huge percentage of power...I guess I dont need all my panel is putting out but Im at the point right now of either biting the bullet and trying it out ungrounded or try to return it and save up for the morningstar.

they had a huge 60 amp morningstar for sale last time and this one...so it was an "obvious" choice

lastly the load terminals are optional Im assuming then? these controllers are used for stuff like copacabana was mentioning...light posts and radio posts etc...they connect the radio to the load terminal and then after a low voltage it shuts off...

assuming I never get low voltage and dont hook up the load terminals will all the other controller functions work correctly?

this is something I coulndt gather from the literature...

thanks again guys

christian
11-08-2013 11:38 AM
christian.hess
Re: PHOCOS solar charger experiences?

Quote:
Originally Posted by copacabana View Post
Christian, I found myself in a similar situation. My old controller was going bad and I wanted a cheap controller to use until I could get a good one from abroad. I bought this (but the 20a one):

Controlador De Carga 12v 10ah Solar - R$ 74,98 no MercadoLivre

I think you should be able to find a similar one cheap- they're used a lot for emergency lighting and on top of posts. Mine was easy to install and has been working well so far. Heck, I might not even replace it in the end!
does that controller specify negative or non negative ground? looks real nice from here, jajaja

thanks
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