Solar panels

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Timothyamoll
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Solar panels

Postby Timothyamoll » Sun Mar 12, 2017 6:22 pm

We are in the process of closing on a 2001 Altair up in the northeast. We are going to need to increase the house bank size and beef up the solar. Does anyone know what brand/type and output the factory installed panels are ? This boat has three mounted on PVC rails.
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Tim

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thinwater
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Re: Solar panels

Postby thinwater » Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:19 am

It's going to be about 14 watts/ft^2, any brand rigid. They will have lost ~ 2% per year.

I've never understood the reasoning for placing one under the boom. It's always in the shade, and now you can't walk the length of the boom.

Reducing power consumption with LEDs is generally much cheaper than solar + batteries. I think you will want to do both. I have 220 watts and 3 group 27 batteries. I'm thinking of adding a 4th battery. The big drain is running a CPAP overnight.
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Re: Solar panels

Postby SecondWind » Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:55 am

Look on e-bay and find the best bargain in a solar kit. Try to find a MPPT controller if you can. I would suggest going to 4-6v golf cart batteries, 2 each in series for your 12v output. As far as the panels go, you want enough wattage to run things onboard (Fridge, watermaker, etc.) and still have enough excess to bring the batteries to full charge during a minimum daylight hours day (Probably ~300 to 400 watts).
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Re: Solar panels

Postby Iriemon » Thu Mar 16, 2017 9:06 am

I believe the original configuration is 3 x 50 watt Siemens panels.

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thinwater
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Re: Solar panels

Postby thinwater » Thu Mar 16, 2017 2:13 pm

I would suggest putting together a power budget, based on how you think you will use the boat.

* Full-time cruising or short trips with some marina stops?
* What equipment? A water maker, for example, is only useful if you will be out for a while.
* Lifestyle. Do you like to run all of the lights and stay up late? Or do you go to bed at night and get up in the morning?
* Performance. Do you want to weight the boat down or do you like fast?
* Clutter. Can you tolerate racks of panels, or do you want a clear deck and room to store bicycles and kayaks above the davits?

The PDQ32 is a great boat, but not if you load everything onto it. Then it gets crowded and heavy. For example, many have added panels over the davits. But I carry bicycles and kayak there. I tried storing kayaks on deck, but then it's not a sailor's boat.

The smart answer may be to delay most changes for a year. Then you will get them right the first time. That is what I have done with every (3) new boat; the first summer I focus on enjoyment, seeing new places, and learning what the boat will be for me. The first winter I think about it. The first spring I knock out the changes, though honestly, some of the figuring takes years, as your needs change. No hurry.
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http://sail-delmarva.blogspot.com/2017/ ... store.html
"Keeping a Cruising Boat for Peanuts"
"Singlehanded Sailing for the Coastal Sailor"
"Faster Cruising for the Coastal Sailor"

Timothyamoll
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Re: Solar panels

Postby Timothyamoll » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:48 pm

Thanks Ireman and thin water.
I agree with not cluttering up the davits. We have kayaks and a SUP to hang there. May add a pole mounted wind generator and address increasing the panel size next winter. Our big thing is we like cold drinks. Our previous trawler had two 150 watt panels charging 2 -4D batteries.
This ran our seafrost fridge pretty much 24/7 in New England late May thru Labor Day
Cheers
Tim

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Re: Solar panels

Postby amytom » Tue Mar 21, 2017 7:30 am

The other extreme is our floating power plant.

We went all solar as the wind generators don't seem to do as much long term. We have several in the garage we tried but the way we use the boat solar did a much better job. (30+ amp charge on a good day and when needed).
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