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what's wrong with my solar setup


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43 minutes ago, Cheshire cat said:

Sorry to butt in but I am just about to buy a small solar system purely to keep my batteries topped up in my absence. Are some MPPT controls better than others? Is it a case of you get what you pay for?

 

If the controller falls asleep and requires a wake up call am I wasting my money when I don't expect to be at the boat for weeks during the winter months.

What is a small solar system?  for topping up batteries over winter you only need a 100 watt panel and that really is below MPPT controllers usually the smallest is 20 amp.  A PWM controller is cheap and cheerful and will be fine, the only issue will be overcharging (no float mode), easily solved with a small 12 volt timer and a relay so the panels are only connected for two days a week.

If you want a bigger setup 300 watts or above then MPPT makes a lot of sense, MakeSkyBlue have a range of controllers that offer good value for money,  https://makeskyblue.com/ Tracer are good, and if you have 3 or more panels in parallel there are no issues, Victron also make a popular MPPT and again there is a range and people seem to like them.

Parallel connection also helps with partial shading, where if you have say 4 panels all in sun they produce 360 watts, partially shade one panel and if wired in parallel you will still get over 270 watts, if wired in series you may find you only get 40 or 50 watts if it is dark shade (building edge) or 180 if it is dappled by a tree. In a marina shade is unlikely.

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Sorry should have said. I'm looking at between 100 - 150 watt panel just to charge the batteries over the winter and help them out with the fridge if we stay in the same place for a day or two in the summer. I might add a second if I can think of an excuse but I'm never going to be a liveaboard.

 Photonic universe and Bimble solar both offer 10amp MPPT controllers so they don't appear to be that uncommon.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/09/2020 at 22:16, George and Dragon said:

Really? Douglas Adams would have loved to hear from you :)

 

I had someone ring me up offering to maintain my satellite. He seemed rather disappointed when I told him I don't have one.

 

You should have asked him how he proposed to get to it, as it is orbiting 22,000 miles above the Earth's surface.

 

I'll bet he wouldn't have a ladder long enough 😂😁.

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  • 2 weeks later...
21 minutes ago, jenevers said:

Tested my 8 solar panels just now. Bad news. 3 show no voltage at all, 2 show 9.3volts , 1 shows 18.7 volts, 1 shows 20 volts and 1 shows 20.5volts. They are only 19 months old. I'm not impressed.

Check the connections on the backs of the panels. 

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34 minutes ago, jenevers said:

Tested my 8 solar panels just now. Bad news. 3 show no voltage at all, 2 show 9.3volts , 1 shows 18.7 volts, 1 shows 20 volts and 1 shows 20.5volts. They are only 19 months old. I'm not impressed.

If they are very dirty wash them as well as checking connections as already suggested 

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37 minutes ago, jenevers said:

Tested my 8 solar panels just now. Bad news. 3 show no voltage at all, 2 show 9.3volts , 1 shows 18.7 volts, 1 shows 20 volts and 1 shows 20.5volts. They are only 19 months old. I'm not impressed.

Are they 'walk-on' 'stick-down' or otherwise not conventional panels ?

 

If they are conventional panels mounted with an air-gap then (as suggested) check your wiring.

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21 hours ago, WotEver said:

Check the connections on the backs of the panels. 

How?🤔

21 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Are they 'walk-on' 'stick-down' or otherwise not conventional panels ?

 

If they are conventional panels mounted with an air-gap then (as suggested) check your wiring.

They are “stick on”, on top of a bimini so never been walked on. Cost me well over£100 just in Sikaflex primers and adhesive. I left gaps between panels to allow for expansion, air gaps in the adhesive to avoid air being trapped under them etc etc. 

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1 hour ago, jenevers said:

How?🤔

They are “stick on”...

Then you can’t.
 

Unfortunately (and I know you won’t want to hear this) stick-on panels are frequently reported (both here and elsewhere) to have a very short life. I suspect they don’t much care for the very hot steel they’re attached to. Whatever the cause, they never seem to last more than a handful of years. 

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1 hour ago, WotEver said:

Then you can’t.
 

Unfortunately (and I know you won’t want to hear this) stick-on panels are frequently reported (both here and elsewhere) to have a very short life. I suspect they don’t much care for the very hot steel they’re attached to. Whatever the cause, they never seem to last more than a handful of years. 

 

He says they are on top of the Bimini so the heat shouldn't be so much of a problem, but it they have been flexing then it will do them no good.

 

2 hours ago, jenevers said:

They are “stick on”, 

Then you have bought into the hype and have done well to get 18 months out of them.

 

I think the 'forum recommendations' is almost unanimously DONT BUY FLEXIBLE PANELS as you will be replacing them a year or two later.

 

"Buy the right products and buy once"

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