Author Topic: Hooking up solar charger  (Read 1387 times)

Offline HeaveToo

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Re: Hooking up solar charger
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2016, 07:20:54 AM »
Don't go cheap on panels and charge controllers.  Tell me, is it worth taking the risk of frying your batteries.

http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/solar_panel

Check out this blog.  If you go back to the main topics you will find other information out there that is useful. 
Døyr fe, døyr frender
Døyr sjølv det sama
men ordet om deg aldreg døyr
vinn du et gjetord gjevt

Offline Tom L.

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Re: Hooking up solar charger
« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2016, 08:53:05 AM »
I took a different tack. I found on our small boats with minimal electrical requirements that a Jump Start battery works really well. I only have a couple of cabin lights and running lights and a sounder. That's it. I seldom use the cabin lights because of mosquitoes.

On a normal day sail I only use the sounder. On a trip I may use some of the lights. Nice thing is I just carry the Jump Starter home (about the size of a brief case) plug it in over night and I am ready to go next time. Normally I leave it on the boat hooked up but it has a built in disconnect switch which I of course turn off. If I am cruising and run low on power I can plug in the Jump Charger at the dock or carry it ashore.

The Jump starter I bought was the basic unit from Harbor Freight. About $40. It is 18 months old and still working well.

Didn't intend to hi-jack the thread just a different approach that is really simple and convenient.

Tom L.
Present boat, Menger 19 "Wild Cat"    O'Day 25, Montego 25, Catalina 30, Tartan 37, Catalina 380, Mariner 19, Potter 19, Sun Cat

Offline rbh1515

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Re: Hooking up solar charger
« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2016, 10:08:15 AM »
Tom,
So you don't leave the battery on the boat all the time?
I leave mine on the boat since I have an electric bilge pump...
Rob
2015 Horizon Day Cat, Waters End

Offline Shawn

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Re: Hooking up solar charger
« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2016, 10:20:47 AM »
Since your needs are pretty minor a smaller panel should be fine. Your real trick is where to put it since your Horizon Day cat is mostly seating. You have storage under your seats, correct? If so what I would do is put a 12v outlet under there and use a 10ish watt panel that has a charge controller built in. When you leave the boat plug the panel in and put it on the seat. When sailing you can leave it out but if you need the space put it back under the seat. As a bonus you would also have the 12v outlet if needed when sailing. Battery tender has a few waterproof panels that have controllers built in. I think you might need to change it to a 12v outlet plug which they sell as an option.

https://www.amazon.com/Battery-Tender-021-1164-Solar-Charger/dp/B004Q86JJ8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1468419232&sr=8-1&keywords=solar+charger+10w

Don't bother with a really tiny panel of 1.5w or whatever. Those are just for counteracting the self discharge in a battery, it won't really charge up a battery that is discharged in any reasonable amount of time. For longest life batteries should be recharged relatively quickly after any sort of discharge.

If you want to get fancy when you put the 12v outlet in make it a dual outlet that is 12v and double USB and you would have a place to be able to charge your phone or other device too.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/DUAL-USB-CHARGER-SOCKET-Charger-12V-Outlet-Female-Power-Socket-with-Socket-Panel-/221561954733?hash=item33961f21ad:g:SLUAAOSw-dBTslYC&vxp=mtr

Shawn

P.S. As a word of warning you may find that when you have solar you may realize you can increase your power consumption with a tiller pilot, or GPS or whatever.  I had a 40w panel on my 23 (on the companionway hatch) and it handled VHF, autopilot and GPS easily. All boat lighting was LED as that saves a huge amount of power. On my Sabre I have a 100w panel over the rear pulpit and that extra power allows me to leave my Dometic CF25 running full time. It is nice having cold drinks available at any time. :)
« Last Edit: July 13, 2016, 10:24:44 AM by Shawn »

Offline Tom L.

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Re: Hooking up solar charger
« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2016, 11:11:41 AM »
Rob, I do leave the Jump Starter on the boat nearly all the time. The only time I take it home is when the indicator shows a low charge or once a month. It seldom shows a low charge so the once a  month plug in is what I usually do.

I don't have cold weather issues but I do have intense heat in the summer. So far the jump starter has not been problematic. I do have a silver tarp rigged like a tent that covers the boat. In Florida the reflective tarp material is really the only way to go. The temp under the tarp really doesn't get any warmer than the ambient air temp. Other covers have not been as kind to the boat with 105+ readings under the cover. I think high temps can be as hard on a battery as cold weather.

Tom L.
Present boat, Menger 19 "Wild Cat"    O'Day 25, Montego 25, Catalina 30, Tartan 37, Catalina 380, Mariner 19, Potter 19, Sun Cat