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After running my generator daily for about an hour a day for the past 6 months I finally opted to delve into solar power and ordered 3 125W CP-125 panels from Bruce last week. While this is only about half of my energy requirement, I wanted to experiment with the installation location before ordering all of the panels, controllers and getting the final installation done. The panel mounts use grommets and temporary lines, that will be replaced with either Velcro or zippers.

Cables from the solar panels to the board are 10AWG and from the board to the batteries are 8AWG to minimize losses.

I decided to play around a bit and program an Arduino processor to use 3 5A Hall-Effect ammeters to measure the volts and amps plus compute the Watts.
Attached are some pictures of what I've done so far, the parts for the Arduino are still in the mail, so I've removed the IC circuit board from the installation picture.




 

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Nice install, but is that soot I see on your crimp terminal insulators? You can get a heat gun for as little as 10 euros...
 

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Yes, those are scorch marks from a lighter. The price of a heat gun is not a problem, but I'm in a remote anchorage far away from stores right now and wanted to finish the job; but a real heat gun is on my list (I wonder how many watts those draw for on-board use?)
 

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I often use one of the better small torches to do shrink tubing. Use the heat, not the flame.
 

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If you get really bored...I would love to see the results of monitoring the charge voltage AND amperage as alternator and photovoltaics were both putting out, into different (i.e. deeply or shallowly discharged) battery banks. The more the merrier, so if there were wind or genset available as well...

I'm curious to see some empirical, not theoretical, results on how multiple charging sources interact with each other, and whether they play "king of the hill" with just one winner, or whether all combine and play nicely.

You're halfway there.
 

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Yes, those are scorch marks from a lighter. The price of a heat gun is not a problem, but I'm in a remote anchorage far away from stores right now and wanted to finish the job; but a real heat gun is on my list (I wonder how many watts those draw for on-board use?)
Portasol 011289250 Pro Piezo 75-Watt Heat Tool Kit with 7 Tips - Soldering Irons - [email protected]@[email protected]@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51uze716%[email protected]@[email protected]@51uze716%2B1L

I haven't used this, but it's on my mental list.

Comes with a "hot air deflector".
 
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