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Hi all .

Im looking for some advice about if i would benefit from having some solar panels fitted ? .

Currently we spend most time in a marina tending to go out for weekend,s fri till sunday .

The batteries are one starter and three 225 ah and  are on charge while in the marina , when we are out im having to charge the batteries back up once while out for 3 days , we dont travel very far with the time we have off work .

We have a large shoreline  fridge freezer 12 v .

Large tv and soundbar a wireless  router and led lights about  200 watt combined , altogether about 4 amp,s per hour . 

Would having solar panels top the batteries back up enough to save running the engine . 

Thanks for any advice .

Greg .

 

 

 

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If you go to Bimble Solar you will find a calculator, you need to know how much you use, then calculate solar requirement from that.  It may well be that you are killing your batteries and the solar will definately boost them, but only six months of the year. 

Experts we will be along later. 

Edited by LadyG
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Just now, LadyG said:

If you go to Bimble Solar you will find a calculator, you need to know how much you use, then calculate solar requirement from that.  It may well be that you are killing your batteries and the solar will definatrly boost them, but only six months of the year. 

Experts we will be along later. 

 

I think that when they are away from the shoreline you are absolutely correct.  I don't think they have the hang of battery charging times yet but will do when they have to change those batteries.

 

 

9 minutes ago, Greg & Jax said:

Hi all .

Im looking for some advice about if i would benefit from having some solar panels fitted ? .

Currently we spend most time in a marina tending to go out for weekend,s fri till sunday .

The batteries are one starter and three 225 ah and  are on charge while in the marina , when we are out im having to charge the batteries back up once while out for 3 days , we dont travel very far with the time we have off work .

We have a large shoreline  fridge freezer 12 v .

Large tv and soundbar a wireless  router and led lights about  200 watt combined , altogether about 4 amp,s per hour . 

Would having solar panels top the batteries back up enough to save running the engine . 

Thanks for any advice .

Greg .

 

 

Solar will go  along way to help out but unless you rarely go out between about late September and mid April you will need as much as you can fit/afford. the more you fit the longer in the year it gives a sensible output.

 

Incidently how do you know when the batteries have been adequately  recharged?

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19 minutes ago, Greg & Jax said:

Hi all .

Im looking for some advice about if i would benefit from having some solar panels fitted ? .

Currently we spend most time in a marina tending to go out for weekend,s fri till sunday .

The batteries are one starter and three 225 ah and  are on charge while in the marina , when we are out im having to charge the batteries back up once while out for 3 days , we dont travel very far with the time we have off work .

We have a large shoreline  fridge freezer 12 v .

Large tv and soundbar a wireless  router and led lights about  200 watt combined , altogether about 4 amp,s per hour . 

Would having solar panels top the batteries back up enough to save running the engine . 

Thanks for any advice .

Greg .

 

 

 

 

It may be that your current cruising habits mean the boat doesn't need any solar charging. Do you have any way of measuring your typical Amp.Hour consumption over a weekend away? Something like a Victron battery monitor? When you are away, do you typically cruise for some hours a day each day, or do you go a short distance on Friday, then moor up for the weekend and return on Sunday? What you need to find out is how deeply discharged your batteries get. How much of the nominal 3x225Ahr capacity are you using before it gets recharged. Once the boat is back in the marina, the shore line battery charger will get them fully charged again and minimise sulphation risk. You just need to make sure you aren't too deeply discharging them over  a weekend away. Are you running the engine for battery charging, rather than cruising during the weekend? What makes you decide it is time to start engine charging?

Jen

 

Also, amps per hour isn't a thing. 200W at 12V is 17 Amps. Over an hour, this would be 17Ahr taken from the batteries. Two hours, 34Ahr and so on. An electrical pedant thing!

 

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Thanks for the reply,s .

We tend to move a little on friday then move on sat about 45 mins or so , sometimes we go 45 on friday and then back on sunday .

I have a little led battery read out and when it gets to about 12.2 i run the engine typically  about 4 hours or so that tends to be sat afternoon ish then back to marina on sun afternoon then back on shore power .

The batteries never get down to 12.1 or below .

Unfortunately work does dictate our weekend habits till we retire . 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Greg & Jax said:

We tend to move a little on friday then move on sat about 45 mins or so , sometimes we go 45 on friday and then back on sunday .

I have a little led battery read out and when it gets to about 12.2 i run the engine typically  about 4 hours or so that tends to be sat afternoon ish then back to marina on sun afternoon then back on shore power .

The batteries never get down to 12.1 or below .

 

I'd not bother with solar in that case.  

 

If you sit there moored with the engine running for 4+ hours on Saturdays though, why not stick it in gear and cruise further?

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4 minutes ago, Greg & Jax said:

I have a little led battery read out and when it gets to about 12.2

If it is a simple, cheap no-name ebay type LED voltmeter, it may not be too accurate. I tried one, as it was free and it is typically reading 0.2V different from the voltage given by the Victron battery monitor. I'd trust the Victron more, though none has been calibrated against a traceable standard.

Are you getting anything like low voltage beeping warnings from say an inverter, or the 12V fridge?

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We try to alternate when we go an stop etc but with the time we have its limited .

We never get any low voltage beeps as i keep a close eye on what the battery led it reading .

Sounds like i need to find out what we use over a typical weekend .

Thanks for the pointers .

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If you are away from the marina and the shoreline connection for a maximum of about 48 hours at a time, and even with some engine running your batteries are getting low, that would suggest that you either have insufficient batteries or their capacity is much less than it once was.

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Hi david .

We are off shore power about 72 hours all told and in that time i need to run the engine for charging once for about 4/5 hours about the halfway mark , the batteries never get below 12.2 or there abouts . 

If we travel further there isnt a problem .  i was  wondering if solar would help stop the need to run the engine .

That said the batteries are about 2/3 years old . 

I used to have the big elecsol batteries they got hammered and lasted about 10 years .shame there are no longer made  .

Thanks for your insight .

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If you managed to get Elecsols to last 10 years there is not much wrong with you battery charging regime, but your present set at 12.2 volts concerns me.

Are you sure that you fully charge them till they taking less than 5% current wise of the rated capacity at least once a week?

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9 minutes ago, Tracy D'arth said:

If you managed to get Elecsols to last 10 years there is not much wrong with you battery charging regime, but your present set at 12.2 volts concerns me.

Are you sure that you fully charge them till they taking less than 5% current wise of the rated capacity at least once a week?

If it is on a shore line during the week, one hopes they are getting properly charged.

What make/model of battery charger, or combi do you have? Might be something in the settings perhaps?

It doesn't sound like you have a way of measuring current in/out of the batts. Just voltage, which will make it hard to find if/when the current drops to >5% of the Ahr capacity.

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Hi jen 

I have a sterling 50 amp pro charger and sterling 1800 watt inverter .

When i had the elecsols my needs were a lot less than they are now .

I may to have a proper look at getting to grips with what power i use etc . 

Thankyou .

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16 hours ago, Greg & Jax said:

Hi all .

Im looking for some advice about if i would benefit from having some solar panels fitted ? .

Currently we spend most time in a marina tending to go out for weekend,s fri till sunday .

The batteries are one starter and three 225 ah and  are on charge while in the marina , when we are out im having to charge the batteries back up once while out for 3 days , we dont travel very far with the time we have off work .

We have a large shoreline  fridge freezer 12 v .

Large tv and soundbar a wireless  router and led lights about  200 watt combined , altogether about 4 amp,s per hour . 

Would having solar panels top the batteries back up enough to save running the engine . 

Thanks for any advice .

Greg .

 

 

 

 

Simple answer, is Yes, solar panel's will help.

As much as you can fit on the roof, or afford.  Avoid "walk on" or "stick on" types, the paint under them will fail eventually.

Tiltable panels will increase the amount of electrical power created.

We have fitted 2 large panels, which for us on a leisure boat, has meant no winter shoreline used for battery top-up charging, and no non movement, engine or generator use during the summer.

 

Bod

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2 hours ago, Greg & Jax said:

Hi jen 

I have a sterling 50 amp pro charger and sterling 1800 watt inverter .

When i had the elecsols my needs were a lot less than they are now .

I may to have a proper look at getting to grips with what power i use etc . 

Thankyou .

Is there any way of finding out what charging voltage settings for bulk absorption and float have been set on the Sterling? A quick Google suggests that Elecsol make sealed and AGM batteries, so they may have needed different charging voltages for bulk, absorption and float to their replacements. It is possible that the new ones are not getting recharged fully during the week on shore line, if the charge voltage is too low, or it is going in to float too early, which will lower the capacity they can take. I'm no expert on battery charging voltages for different types of lead/acid batts, but there are people here who are.

 

If the current batts were in good condition, then on a typical boat weekend short cruise you describe, with fridge, lights, pumps and a bit of TV watching, I can't see how over 600Ahr of batteries are getting so seriously depleted that you need to recharge them after a day, unless they have very little capacity left.

 

I don't see any point in spending a lot of money on solar with your current cruising pattern. Shore electric is dirt cheap and you should easily get through a weekend without seriously depleting 600+ Amp.hours worth of battery, provided those batts are in good condition, without much loss of capacity. A full solar set up would only mask that the batteries are shot, if that is indeed the problem. Eventually, the batteries wouldn't be able to support the boat overnight, when solar doesn't work, so they would need replacing anyway. Better to find out if the capacity is seriously down and fix the thing causing this, then spend the money on a new set of batteries.

 

Jen

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When you change batteries change to lead carbon , they will happily sit in psoc for 72 hours without damage and you should get 1000 plus cycles at 50 to 60% dod. Then with your cruising pattern you won’t need solar . 

 

 

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