Looking for solar panels

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Gerryquinn
deckhand
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Looking for solar panels

Postby Gerryquinn » Fri Apr 27, 2018 4:27 pm

Hi All,

I am adding on an aft Bimini to my PDQ 34 and want to put solar panels on top. I wanted to use Kyocera brand , but they are no longer in United States and moved to Japan. I have been talking with Emarine in Fort Lauderdale and they recommended two 300 W ( 600 W total ) solar tech universal Solar panels ,American made Riviera Beach Florida. They each weighed 40 pounds, and the dimensions are 65 1/2 inches long by 39 1/4 inches width . Keith with custom metal works in Stuart is doing the aft Bimini and does not think it will be a problem . Although looks like the solar panels will hang over the aft Bimini by about 9 or 10 inches . Width wise does not look to be a problem as I have 109 inches wide on the Bimini . Also I am looking at the Victron MPPT 100/50 controller and two Victron battery monitor’s . Anybody have any suggestions on other solar panels and controllers out there? Just trying to get it right the first time . Thanks a lot, I appreciate any feedback .

Gerry Quinn
M/V Bali Hai
Hollywood, Florida
2003 PDQ MV 34-Hull 34 75 HP 3-blade

deising
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Re: Looking for solar panels

Postby deising » Sat Apr 28, 2018 8:14 am

Gerry,

I have just a few comments/questions:

1. Adding a good PV system is a nice addition to the boat. You then have five independent charging sources - shore power/charger, generator/charger, two engine alternators, and the solar panels. Note that if your inverter/charger fails, you are down to three sources.
2. You are wise to seek a quality PV panel; I tried using the semi-flexible units from China at first and they failed within weeks of use.
3. I don't understand why you want two battery monitors. I think you only need to monitor the house bank. Look for threads on this forum talking about placement of the shunt.
4. Multiple panels should be wired in series so that the voltage is high but the current is relatively low. That minimizes the loss (voltage drop) through the wiring (which should still be sized large enough for minimal drop). The MPPT controller will then convert the "high" voltage into just the right amount for charging, maximizing the current flowing into the batteries. Just be sure the controller will handle the voltage you will get from your system.

Good luck.
Duane Ising
m/v Diva Di
Punta Gorda, FL
2006 PDQ MV 34 - hull 91, 75HP, 3-blade

Gusto
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Re: Looking for solar panels

Postby Gusto » Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:36 pm

Gerry,
I worked with E-marine and bought a Solar Tech 285 watt panel for the aft bimini with a Victron MPPT 100-30 and a dongle so that I can monitor the charge parameters from my I-phone. We've used it a lot at anchor for as long as a week. Works great. E-marine was easy to work with. Our first dongle was defective. They replaced it without a question. I highly recommend the Solar Tech and E-marine. Good luck!
Bob MacNeill
Gusto 2006 34-#83
727-215-3435

Gusto
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Re: Looking for solar panels

Postby Gusto » Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:33 pm

Gerry,
I forgot to say that we never had to use the generator at anchor except for a short time in the mornings to make coffee and toast. The coffee maker and the toaster using the inverter draws the batteries down too far for my comfort. Plus we exercise the generator which is kinda not needed with the solar panel.
Bob MacNeill
Gusto

JSLExplores
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Re: Looking for solar panels

Postby JSLExplores » Wed May 02, 2018 10:52 am

Hi Gerry,
I just had an aft bimini and 2x350s installed at Stuart Yacht last summer. These things really crank out the power so I've just increased by battery bank to close to 1000 Amps. And they fit perfectly.
I'm off the boat while they finish with the battery install. If you're interested in knowing more let me know and I'll pull out the paperwork once I'm back on the boat.
John
Float Her
2006 PDQ 34

Expatriate
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Re: Looking for solar panels

Postby Expatriate » Wed May 02, 2018 12:34 pm

Gerry,

Are you adding a rigid aft Bimini or is it fabric? I am interested in adding a rigid Bimini on the fly bridge and putting more solar panels up there. The current sunbrella Bimini up there goes crazy in a real blow. One of the supports came unbolted a few weeks ago, but I caught it in time.

Solar panels up there over the fly bridge would not be shaded by anything. I currently have a 315 watt 36 volt panel over the aft Bimini. I have seen it put out over twenty amps. In the Bahamas or anywhere else in the tropics, a boat at anchor faces East into the prevailing winds most of the time. Our panel over the aft Bimini is shaded completely or partially by the flybridge Bimini in the morning so I do not get a full sun on that panel until later.

Our aft Bimini has served us well. In the rain, we can open the door without fear. We like to hang out on the aft bench in the shade. You will enjoy it.

Tim

M/V Expatriate
2005 Hull 68

Expatriate
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Re: Looking for solar panels

Postby Expatriate » Thu May 03, 2018 6:25 pm

John,

What batteries did you chose?

Tim
2005 Hull 68

Gerryquinn
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Re: Looking for solar panels

Postby Gerryquinn » Tue May 08, 2018 10:25 pm

Hi all,

Thank you everyone for your great responses and suggestions . Sorry for taking a while getting back to you all, been a little busy .
Hey Duane answering your question regarding why I think I needed two battery monitors . I wanted one for the house batteries and one for the starter batteries , since I won’t be able to plug into shore power every night , and wanted to monitor them . Also I did mention to Harry at emarine that I want to wire the panels in series .
And thank you guys from gusto for taking my call the other day . I plan on using solar tech they also mentioned they would like to give me a tour of their factory in Riviera Beach .
Hey John, Well I thought I was overpowering but I guess not since you have two 350 W panels. Now you’ve got me thinking about increasing my battery bank . Lol !
I would love to get any information you can provide me regarding your install . Much appreciated .
Hey Tim, I am adding an aft fabric bimini , and the flybridge Bimini is a new fabric as well . But sounds like a great idea . I am really looking forward to hanging out on the aft bench, IN THE SHADE !
Well, They are finally installing the stainless steal frame for the Aft bimini this week , and I am picking up the solar panels from emarine in Fort Lauderdale Thursday .

Thanks again everyone for the feedback , much appreciated .

Gerry Quinn
Bali Hai
2003 PDQ 34 hull 34
305-528-7210
Quinnsg@att.net

deising
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Re: Looking for solar panels

Postby deising » Wed May 09, 2018 4:57 am

Hi, Gerry.

Glad you are getting things together and we appreciate all the follow-up. I am still confused how the extra battery monitor is going to monitor both your start batteries. First, how would one monitor work on two separate batteries?

Second, monitors are usually reserved for batteries that have varying amounts of current flow in and out over time. Start batteries have a heavy outflow for just a few seconds and then spend most of their time being kept at full charge by the alternators attached to that engine or the battery combiner that connects both start batteries and the house battery bank together whenever the combiner senses a charging source above a certain threshold voltage.

I would think a simple resting voltage reading on both of the start batteries (taken separately while they were isolated) would do the trick for you, unless I am still missing something.

Good luck.
Duane Ising
m/v Diva Di
Punta Gorda, FL
2006 PDQ MV 34 - hull 91, 75HP, 3-blade

JSLExplores
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Re: Looking for solar panels

Postby JSLExplores » Fri May 11, 2018 6:17 pm

Expatriate wrote:John,

What batteries did you chose?

Tim
2005 Hull 68


I ended up with 6 lifeline 300A.

John

Gerryquinn
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Re: Looking for solar panels

Postby Gerryquinn » Wed May 16, 2018 11:26 pm

Hi, Duane

Well, I’m finally starting to understand it all. I had a good conversation with James powers today . I did not realize that all the batteries ( House and start batteries ) attach to the battery combiner . Now I just have to decide where to put the Victron MPPT controller .

Thanks for all your feedback, I really appreciate it .
Looking forward to getting out there soon !
Gerry
Bali Hai
2003 Hull 34

Gerryquinn
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Re: Looking for solar panels

Postby Gerryquinn » Wed May 16, 2018 11:30 pm

Also thanks to the crew on gusto , I appreciate the pictures and your guidance .
Gerry


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