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  1. We are planning to have a gap year cruising around the canal network in a couple of years time, we have both finished our careers and will be moving to the coast after a few adventures, we have just one more child to see off to Uni. That planning stage is now to the point of adding solar panels to the roof, I have made a few selections based of months of research and asking questions and I have started documenting the plan on the blog, at the moment we have looked at size and positioning https://floydtilla.co.uk/2023/03/13/planning-for-solar-panels-part-1/ Then how to mount them https://floydtilla.co.uk/2023/03/25/planning-for-solar-panels-part-2-panel-mounting-options/ then types of panels https://floydtilla.co.uk/2023/04/02/planning-for-solar-panels-part-3-types-of-panels/ There will be more to come over the next few months while we sort out all the other parts, but I am open to idea/options as we plan this install, please let me know what you think, what tricks I have missed that should be included. Thanks David
  2. Hi all. I have just installed 2x150w panels solar in parallel with a bn series mppt and mt 50 control panel. So far it has been ok, however, after running engine for a while this morning, in hot sun, the domestic alternator charge warning light came on bright. Thought the belt had broken to start with but it was ok. The light was going off and coming on sporadically. sometimes flashing. batteries were showing full-ish on the mt50. I disconnected the panels and all back to normal! so it appears some type of feed back? could it be a dodgy diode in the alternator? or something else? too much power from battery light feed to alternator because of Solar? Please, ideas anyone? The Alternator is wired in separately with a switch in the exciter/light feed wire. alternator and solar charge cables feed to the same battery terminals. should I change to a different terminal? Help!!!
  3. Hi all, Spring is approaching and so is all of that glorious sunshine (hopefully). I currently have a presumably very old 80w sony solar panel on my boat. I'd like to move this to the roof bow and have this charge a set of batteries I have going spare in the cratch, which will be hooked up to a 600w inverter for occasional use (a blender mainly! ). I am going to visit the Bimble warehouse next week to with the intention to purchase three of their own branded 100w solar panels, a MTTP controller (undecided which one) and obviously cable. These will charge my 440ah battery bank at the aft, which is also charged via alternator and powers all appliances. Ideally, I'd like the solar to be able to turn 360 degrees on its horizontal and 90 degrees, or close to on it's vertical. The easiest way I have thought of is through making a box for the panels to sit on with arms/legs on each corner which can be placed in positions to tilt the panels, dependent on where the sun is. (I hope that makes sense) Does anyone have any suggestions re mounts? Any experience dealing with Bimble and their own branded solar? How do people secure their solar to save them being stolen? The panels im looking at are ~0.67m wide, which gives plenty of space to walk either side, does anyone have solar which covers the entire width of the roof (1-1.3m)? any feedback/constructive criticism would be very much appreciated. Cheers and happy boating George
  4. Hi there, I’m fairly new to boat building and am in the initial stages of fitting out my boat. I did have a look but couldn’t find anything on the following questions. I have a couple questions that I could really use an experienced boaters expertise on: I currently have a 55hp canalline engine onboard with the normal two alternators, the domestic is a 12v 175A alternator. My first question is: does anyone have experience with replacing it with a larger alternator? For example a 24v 400A alternator? If yes, how did it go? How did you mount it? I appreciate running your engine is not pleasant for boating neighbours and know about the restrictions in time when running it. In order to prevent the alternator from running at idle and not pulling through that many amps, is there anything stopping me disengaging the gear wire on the engine and throttling a little bit? At the moment the main thing I’m trying to work out is if I should fit a bigger alternator and run the engine for 45mins a day or go with solar and run the risk of it getting stolen in London. I’m sure I will have loads more questions in the future but to start with thanks for your help with these two.
  5. Hi, I am looking to put solar panels on my boat. I'm in the Milton Keynes area for the next month or so and would like to find a decent solar fitter who could advise on the fitting of panels to my boat. My initial concern is what can be fitted if anything. The boat is quite small with not much room on the roof. Also routing of the wires and gizmos inside the boat. I want the wires routed properly and hidden as much as possible. Any recommendations?
  6. Morning everyone, Have just completed purchase of our first boat. 56' x 12 built in 2006. I intend doing a reburbishment over the coming 6 months or so but really need advice. 1st - a generator ideal for the boat but initially to run my power tools inc a Dewalt table saw. 2nd (and most important) - PLEASE, can someone recommend roughly what I should fit for solar, batteries and panels, to cover most of our needs as liveaboard continuous cruisers.. Currently have a solid fuel stove and back boiler. Would like to install oil fired boiler. Power expectations are all the usual appliances but not dishwasher. Standard fridge freezer, washing machine, TV, 12v lighting, laptops, radio......hot water and heating would be superb even if only partial. I assume being a Widebeam, roof space isn't the main issue. I've read so much it's confusing. As we live in a cloudy part of th world and the cut is shady, would amorphous panels be the better choice? I've no idea about this stuff yet. Equipment required, set up plans, where to buy, what to buy and how much to buy- would all be very helpful. I'm sorry if this repeats a previous post, and I thank you all in advance. Cheers all.
  7. Hi all we have just moved to a new mooring where there is no power hook up , it’s idyllic however so worth that. Looking to add more solar and upgrade my battery bank . Currently we have 4 x 135Ah wet batteries and they are at end of life . I am looking at the following options after taking a lot of advice , 5 x 120 Ah 12 v gel Batteries or 5 x similar rated Trojans wet batteries . Which is best ? Advice please Obv wets need topping up which is a pain in my boat as there is poor access to battery bank but they are cheaper . I am leaning towards the more expensive gels at present due to dod and low maintenance Regards Simon
  8. School boy question. I want to fit some solar panels to my boat but want to check that I'm going about it correctly as I'm pretty new to working with 12V electrics. Do I or can I connect the cables from the Solar Charge controller directly to the + and - terminals on my battery bank or to the isolator terminals? I know that the best way should be to have the batteries connected to bus bars but my system doesn't have these at present, the batteries are connected to the isolator with an Adverc battery management system and a constant feed to the fridge. See photos. Also is it ok to run the 12V cables from the panels across (at 90degrees to) other electric cables (12v and 240V) in my switch cupboard? Any pointers and advice gratefully recieved.
  9. 4 amps of solar? In Scotland?! Well, I'll be...
  10. Does anybody have any helpful tips on powering our 60 by 10 wide beam to make us as off grid as possible. I need advice in all aspects and I'm not sure where to start. any websites, phone numbers or general advice will be gratefully received.
  11. Hi there, I’m wondering if someone can help me. I’ve just installed 2 solar panels (in series) and they don’t seem to be charging my batteries. 2 x 320w panels (mono crystalline) 1 x 60A outback MPPT charge controller 4 x 6v Trojan t-125 240AH batteries in series and parralell connection giving 480AH in total. Ive checked all the connections. Seems fine. Battery monitor is saying the voltage from the charger is what the batteries are at. However the perctage on the monitor has stayed the same. Can someone please help?! I thought I’d have full batteries everyday with 640W of solar but so far nothing! Hope thats enough info, thanks in advance!
  12. I currently have 3 x 250W + 1 x 250W panels connected. The string of three are connected in series through a 60A controller, the 1 panel is connected through a seperate controller. I would like to change the configuration to 2+2 in series, as one of the controllers is playing up and needs replacing. I was originally considering the Tracer BN series (40A) controller, but upon browsing, came across these(Tracer 7810):- https://www.bimblesolar.com/offgrid/mppt/Waterproof-Tracer7810BP Now I know they are only rated at 30A (390W at 12V). My panels are 43 V open circuit,and they are flat mounted. Would 2 of these controllers be ok, or should I go for the 2x40A? Thanks as always
  13. I've just installed a Tracer 4215BN MPPT 40amp Solar controller from Bimble Solar with a 255w panel feeding 4x Trojan T105 6v batteries. I've set up the user parameters as best I can but there are a couple I'm not 100% sure about... I have set the following which are as close to the Trojan recommended settings: Boost/Bulk Charge: 14.80 Float Charge: 13.50 Equalise Charge: 16.20 Under the section Battery AH should I put 225 or 450? I've currently got it at 225 but think that it should probably 450 as the total for the bank @ 12v? Other settings I've got but not sure about and would like some clarity are: Over Voltage Disconnect: 16.3 as this is 0.1 above Equalise Boost Reconnect: 13.2 (default) Low Voltage Reconnect: 12.6 (default) Under Voltage Reconnect: 12.2 (default) Under Voltage Warning: 12.0 (default) Low Voltage Disconnect: 11.1 (default) Discharge Limit: 10.6 (default) Equalise Time: 120mins (default) Boost Time: 120mins (default) Temperature Compensation Coefficient: -3mv/C/2v however the Trojan site says: Add 0.005 volt per cell for every 1°C below 25°C and Subtract 0.005 volt per cell for every 1°C below 25°C - so should I change the setting to -5mv? Many thanks in advance.
  14. Hi all, I have 2 x Trojan T105 6v batteries producing 12v with a capacity of 225 amps. I also have a solar panel that is now actually becoming useful now the sun has come out to shine! What settings should I set it at? Bearing in mind the table listed by Trojan below: Daily Charge: 14.8 Float: 13.2 Equalize: 15.5 The settings on the solar controller are: Load On (Voltage): Presuming this is the "Daily Charge" setting? Load Off (Voltage): Presuming this is the "Float"? PV Off (Voltage): No idea what this is PV: Showing the current amps the solar panel is producing Thanks in advance!
  15. well I have mounted my panels and the suns out ( of sorts ) and leccy is flowing through the MPPT controller to the batteries . I am getting between 3 and 7 Amps in the current weather which seems ok ( I have 330 watts of panels ) . I am on shoreline so the solar is really just topping up the batteries in float mode with the main 12v drain being shoreline Fridge and Freezer , Toilet , extractor fan in mornings and the odd LCD light . What I am being a bit thick about is what does 3-7 amps mean how many amp hours does this equate to in battery top up terms ie if I get a sold 5 amps average for 5 hours is that 25 Amp hours into a battery bank of 4 x 135 Ah batteries is that a little or alot and how much money will that save me in shoreline power if I paying 10.5 p a unit or am I over analysing things and being a thicky I guess the panels will be more use when cruising this weekend but how much power am I getting and will it run the fridge and freezer or just help a bit ? I am guessing in high summer I will get about double this any how sorry for the ramble
  16. i as wondering if anybody could help me with the following problem: When i've been if charging the batteries using the engine e.g. after cruising or in neutral the solar charger more often than not will not start charging again even if the batteries have been partly run down again unless after a normal night cycle (e.g. in the morning) or i reset the controller. i can understand after a long cruise it may not start charging immediately, but it doesn't if the battery monitor reads 12.3v. i have a tracer 30A MPPT controller, 390W panels and 675aH Gel Batteries. Anybody any ideas?. Thanks
  17. Hey guys, I've got an issue with my solar system. At the moment, I can leave my solar panel charging for 2 days, even with sun, and it won't go over about 70%. Even that will only last 2 hours watching tv or running 1 laptop. I'm now not sure if I got a controller that's too cheap (eBay job), if I don't have enough batteries, (2 x 110amp leisure batteries with 2 more on standby), or whether the panel isn't powerful enough (Highly doubtful) Maybe I might have not set up the controller properly such as setting the cut off voltage etc but I'm not sure what the settings should be. A (poorly drawn) diagram of my setup: If anyone has any advice on what I can try, I would be eternally grateful.
  18. Hello folks - I'm 'noodling out 'what I need for a change from living as a ccer on my own to a ccer with a boat that will have up to 4 people (1 baby) and one 10 year old part time. - I'm getting my 45ft boat extended to 58ft. My 3 way fridge has come to the end of its life A washing machine would be good I'm not familiar with the maths I need to do to work out what my system can cope with and accordingly what else I need What I have 3 80 watt solar panels 3 105ah leisure batteries A small alternator (I cant remember its output, its for a 3 pot sole diesel, I just remember someone who saw the boat commenting that it didn't have a great output) A small inverter (too small) I have LED lights, a pump for the radiator, gas cooker, obvs water pump for shower, occasionally watch a film on an LED TV, and a laptop. My MPPT controller can have 1 more solar panel at 80watts I think I can make room for 1 more leisure battery. A generator and compressor fridge is too expensive. So what Id like to be possible - is a conventional in house sized fridge & washing machine, new energy efficient. A new Inverter (2kw big enough?) - If required a 4th leisure battery and solar panel. Is there an idiots guide to working this stuff out, so I can really sus what I need/what's possible? Thanks Martin
  19. Hi peeps! I'm hatching a plan to expand our current Squirrel-fed radiator system to also heat the calorifer. I have about zero plumbing knowledge... so the ideas below are all based on assumptions. I hope that by showing you the idea at this stage, I might not make hideous mistakes! I intend to use the newer 'push fit' pipes and fittings, as they're easier, not that much more expensive than copper, and the links to the calorifier already use them. I'd also like to have a solar collector as an option. As far as I can tell, the calorifier only has one coil (unless the other one is hidden beneath its insulation.) The drawing shows the boat as if it were just one continuous wall. I.e., port, stern, and starboard. This is because the calorifier is on the port side, and the burner/radiators are on the starboard side. I have to find a way to get the feed and return either around the back of the engine bay, or along the bulkhead dividing the bay and the living space, but beneath the doorway. The circles with crosses are taps - or three-way selectors, which I'm assuming exist. The bulkhead appears twice (port and starboard) The existing system has a bolan pump, but can also be used as a thermosyphoning system. I've sent the hot feed around the back of the boat, thinking that this might continue to operate (even though the cold return from the calorifier must travel uphill by about 100mm to rejoin the radiator system. An issue with this solution is that the pipe may loose too much heat to the hull / uninsulated engine bay. Another is: how do you mount pipes onto steel hulls! If thermosyphoning, or just running from one pump isn't an option, it might be more sensible to run the hot and cold feeds from the radiator system to the calorifier along the same route that the cold feed takes in this design- along the bulkhead (3d sketch might make more sense....) I suppose that's my main question at the moment. Is is a feasible idea? and, if so, should I run the pipes around the back of the boat (pictured), in a more gentle slope, or just go for the steep attack, use less pipe, but need a pump? The hot feed could be teed from the pipework just below the header tank instead. But would the single bolan (?) pump by the Squirrel be able to move the water that far? Assumptions. The original hot/cold pipes from the engine only have one shut off valve. It's my understanding that the pressure of the water in a circuit will prevent water from a different circuit from entering it when the tap is closed: water always follows the path of least resistance. For the solar circuit, there is a pump out there that will run on 12v, not consume insane amounts of power (though, on sunny days, our panel produces at least 8A), and be able to push the cold feed water to the roof. I require a separate header tank for the solar circuit, as it's higher than the current one. The solar circuit needs to be treated as a separate system, as if connected, pressure will release water from the lower header tank. Any help or suggestions on how this could be made better, or if it will even work, most appreciated!
  20. Hi everyone, Can anyone recommend a good, well-designed ventilation fan for a bathroom that works both on solar and battery back up? Are solar fans powerful enough, do you think? Or would it be better to get a fan that connects to the 12v system? If so, any suggestions for this also? Thanks, everyone, for your advice. Alan
  21. Hi. I'm buying a boat (survey dependent) in Chester - currently moored near Tattenhall Marina. I'm based in the south and don't have contacts in the area. If there are some names you're happy to recommend, I'd be grateful. I'm also looking to have some solar panels fitted (with controller) and a security bar fixed across a bow door (steel doors, wood lined in inside and painted on outside). Again very grateful for any recomendations. Thanks all!
  22. Just a quick headsup: Most 'MPPT' in this price range are in fact PWM, but this solar controller checks out as a genuine MPPT: Youtube linky: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05IcvuI7kJ8 Charge voltage is fixed at 14.7V which may be a little high for some, though not high enough to properly charge or equalise traction batts, but will give them more than a tickle. Max solar input is 50V. Found a couple of links for these on Ebay: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/MPPT-Solar-Charger-Controller-12V-24VDC-10A-20A-Battery-Regulator-USB-5V-Output-/142188324794 http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/5A-10A-12V-24V-MPPT-Solar-Panel-Regulator-Charge-Controller-100V-Input-DC-USB-JS-/181861868553 Not as good as the latest Tracers and may be not as reliable, but possibly a good budget option for a small setup.
  23. I will be fitting a new solar panel soon. I only need 100w, to keep my batteries topped up. Just for the pumps and lights. The advantages of a mppt controller are well established, but is it really necessary for a simple set up like this? I am thinking of the difference between a 10a Tracer at £63 from Bimble or their 10a PWM controller at £8.42
  24. Looking at three of the following; http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/281945703036 http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/231942226522 http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/201887843774 which one do I go for?
  25. Hi All, I am getting mixed messages regarding solar panels not connected to a drain (i.e. a source to dump power ) is there any body here that can shed light ? I discovered my panels got disconnected ? Not sure how or why, my question is are my panels no good now ? I have heard rumours that if a solar panel is not connected then they will be no good after. I am struggling to find any thing to back this up via the web, any body have personal experience ? I found out yesterday PM, removed panels and stored in boat, ordered an new pre terminated cable. Just hoping panels are not screwed.
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