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Solar Panels


Dunworkin
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7 minutes ago, Detling said:

Get a good MPPT controller not the Tracer/EPever although they work fine on a sunny day they do not perform well in poor light shady conditions.   Wire the panels in parallel, which may mean thicker cable, because then when one little bit gets a shadow or a rope across it you only reduce the output from that panel not all of them.  Have fat cables to the battery from the controller to avoid volt drop.  Although not required a fuse or switch, between the panels and controller allows you to switch off the power to work on the system, otherwise you have to do it at night or cover the panels up.

Cheers...I wouldn’t even attempt to do the install myself, so we’ll get someone in who knows exactly what they are doing - but all of this is information we’ll need to make sure that we get the right job done...??

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1 hour ago, Detling said:

Get a good MPPT controller not the Tracer/EPever although they work fine on a sunny day they do not perform well in poor light shady conditions.   Wire the panels in parallel, which may mean thicker cable, because then when one little bit gets a shadow or a rope across it you only reduce the output from that panel not all of them.  Have fat cables to the battery from the controller to avoid volt drop.  Although not required a fuse or switch, between the panels and controller allows you to switch off the power to work on the system, otherwise you have to do it at night or cover the panels up.

I have to disagree with your Tracer/ep-ever comment, I have had solar since 2009, and Tracers since 2011, and have fitted many to other boats. They really do perform well, in many light conditions, and are a robust and well designed unit built from virtually all the same components that the Outbacks are made from(in the same factory). 

I also wire mine, and most installations in series, or series parallel depending on the number of panels. All modern panels have diodes to prevent shade compromising other cells and panels. Doing this makes the most of the MPPT function. 

I started off by tilting panels, now mine are flat.

The comment about a fuse or switch for the panels, especially for a large array, is good.

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3 hours ago, Big Bob W said:

I didn't like the idea of gluing flexible panels to the roof and favoured rigid panels. But also did not really want to drill into the roof to fit brackets.

So I have made up brackets for each corner of the panels with magnets. Its a surprisingly solid fixture. It is also possible to tilt the panels by lifting one side and propping with a short length of timber.

 

I used these mounts, and glued them onto the roof with clear Stixall. The panel is screwed to the mounts.

7abs-500x500.png

Edited by David Mack
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^^^^^ This. I used them because the corners of the panels can not trap ropes with the radiused corners like some of the metal Z shaped brackets. I used Sikaflex to glue them down.

Edited by PeterF
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5 hours ago, matty40s said:

I believe this plan was used a few years ago by a member who then became an a member with a wide beam on the K&A.

The problem with swivelling and tilting panels is you spend all day going back and moving them to track the sun

 

I've never needed to do this with mine. Its rare to have a mooring which is so open you get the sun on the panels all day so there is always one way that is best to have them pointing. And if it's sunny and panels aren't in the shade they always get the batteries back to 100% even in December! 

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12 hours ago, Dr Bob said:

You cant use much power then?

I don't use much. They just run a 12v fridge, lights and water pump. And the inverter for an hour or so every other day to charge the laptop etc. It does need to be very sunny and absolutely no shade to get to 100% in Dec. I have a monocrystaline 3 panel/495 watt set up with 4 x 110a batteries...It honestly is amazing. 9 months of the year have more electricity than I can use even with the inverter on as often as I want.

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16 hours ago, matty40s said:

I have to disagree with your Tracer/ep-ever comment, I have had solar since 2009, and Tracers since 2011, and have fitted many to other boats. They really do perform well, in many light conditions, and are a robust and well designed unit built from virtually all the same components that the Outbacks are made from(in the same factory). 

I also wire mine, and most installations in series, or series parallel depending on the number of panels. All modern panels have diodes to prevent shade compromising other cells and panels. Doing this makes the most of the MPPT function. 

I started off by tilting panels, now mine are flat.

The comment about a fuse or switch for the panels, especially for a large array, is good.

Traders stick in PWM mode unless they have more than 1.5 amps flowing to the batteries, not much problem in summer with a few hundred watts but in dim light under rain and for an hour or so at dawn and dusk they will pull the panels down to 15 volts and 0.9 amps. Often switching the panels off and on causes the controller to retrack the max power point and you get panel voltage above 28v and 5 amps or more, only 30 seconds after the poor power. The tracer will retrack itself after about 20 minutes but on a rainy cloudy day you can easily loose 20 or 25% of available power.

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18 hours ago, Dave123 said:

And if it's sunny and panels aren't in the shade they always get the batteries back to 100% even in December! 

I think that is a very very optimistic statement and likely to be misleading to peeps who are looking to fit solar for the first time. 'ALWAYS' ? 'If it's sunny'?

 

You then moderated it by saying

5 hours ago, Dave123 said:

 It does need to be very sunny and absolutely no shade to get to 100% in Dec.

Solar is next to useless in Dec/Jan.

Today in Warwickshire, wall to wall blue sky I saw 5A on my solar charge (500W). Not bad buts its now 2.30pm and the sun is dipping down again so now down to 2A. I guess a total today of 20Ahrs. That is a bonus.

Yesterday I got the sum total of 5Ahrs. The day before I got 3Ahrs. That is not enough even for the most basic of lights and pumps. I doubt if we got more than 20Ahrs charge in the last week. You cannot rely on solar in Dec/Jan to fully charge a battery bank that is in use.

 

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I made frames for my rigid panels from 3 x 2. These frames where then screwed through holes I drilled in the square section handrails on the roof. A very secure set up. I fitted the panels as far forward as I could so I could still access over half of the roof to do locks on my own. Being forward, the raised panels don't interfere with any ropes.  

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On 02/01/2020 at 15:47, Dunworkin said:

Presumably though there will have to be some holes to connect the cabling between the panels and the electronic that will live in the engine room?

Poking the wires down a convenient 'mushroom vent' is a way that some use, but its not ideal and still means you have to remove your ceiling inside to run the b]cables where you want the to go.

 

Ideally use a deck-gland.

Designed for the purpose and fully waterproof.

 

 

 

 

CAM00023.jpg

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3 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Poking the wires down a convenient 'mushroom vent' is a way that some use, but its not ideal and still means you have to remove your ceiling inside to run the b]cables where you want the to go.

 

Ideally use a deck-gland.

Designed for the purpose and fully waterproof.

 

 

 

 

CAM00023.jpg

I routed mine through a mushroom vent, managed to run the cable from there to where I sited the controller without having to remove the ceiling. It was tricky, I used string and an old fishing pole but managed it eventually. The trick is to choose the mushroom vent closest to where you're siting the controller. 

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9 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Poking the wires down a convenient 'mushroom vent' is a way that some use, but its not ideal and still means you have to remove your ceiling inside to run the b]cables where you want the to go.

 

Fed mine between ceiling and roof, having fished a mouse line through.

 

Did the same with an aerial cable years ago.

 

Used the vent furthest from the controller  ?

Edited by Richard10002
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Just now, Richard10002 said:

Fed mine between ceiling and roof, having fished a mouse line through.

 

Did the same with an aerial cable years ago.

Yes, it can be done.

 

Electricians 'pull rods' (very thin 'drain rods' with a hook on the end) make life easier, but with roof beams, existing wiring & insulation it can be a bit of a 'job' getting it along the roof above the ceiling.

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Before getting too carried away I would measure the available spaces on your roof  bearing in mind vents, hatches, pigeon boxes, pole racks etc surprising how

little free roof space you might actually have ...

 

i went for a rigid panel fixed with brackets (non tilting) forward of the centre line and a lovely Victron controller (with blue tooth) bought from run by the sun (very helpful chap) who knows what he’s talking about I was less convinced by photonics and  completely unconvinced by bimble (just my opinion based on

my limited experience) 

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We’ve had someone to measure up and there was space for the 2 semi flex panels that we originally planned....so I’m hoping that when we re measure , we should be able to fit 2 rigid panels....the roof is pretty clutter free so fingers crossed...??

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17 hours ago, Detling said:

Traders stick in PWM mode unless they have more than 1.5 amps flowing to the batteries, not much problem in summer with a few hundred watts but in dim light under rain and for an hour or so at dawn and dusk they will pull the panels down to 15 volts and 0.9 amps. Often switching the panels off and on causes the controller to retrack the max power point and you get panel voltage above 28v and 5 amps or more, only 30 seconds after the poor power. The tracer will retrack itself after about 20 minutes but on a rainy cloudy day you can easily loose 20 or 25% of available power.

That’s interesting. How did you come across this info? 

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We had solar fitted last Feb.  I spent a long time thinking about how to make this work as I did not want anything that increased the air draft as we have been under bridges were we had only inches clearance.   The other consideration was roof access in locks.  
 

I looked at the flexible ones and if you could actually walk on them I may have gone for them despite the other disadvantages.

 

What we had fitted are fixed rigid panels, who’s size and positioning was chosen so that you can step past them.  They are mounted such that they are lower than the mushroom vents.  whilst you can get by flicking the centreline accross, I made it easier by using two centrelines.

DEFDE65A-3020-4C97-94FF-66CD44CCAB6A.jpeg

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1 hour ago, john6767 said:

We had solar fitted last Feb.  I spent a long time thinking about how to make this work as I did not want anything that increased the air draft as we have been under bridges were we had only inches clearance.   The other consideration was roof access in locks.  
 

I looked at the flexible ones and if you could actually walk on them I may have gone for them despite the other disadvantages.

 

What we had fitted are fixed rigid panels, who’s size and positioning was chosen so that you can step past them.  They are mounted such that they are lower than the mushroom vents.  whilst you can get by flicking the centreline accross, I made it easier by using two centrelines.

DEFDE65A-3020-4C97-94FF-66CD44CCAB6A.jpeg

Just out of interest, why did you fit the mounting brackets on the fore/aft edges of the panels? If they were on the other sides, your ropes wouldn't get caught under the panels?

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