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Solar panel for battery top up suggestions

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    Posted: 20 Sep 2015 at 2:29pm
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So I'd like to have a small panel for keeping my batteries tickled up.
Any experience and suggestions please.
Have two batteries, one start and one deep cycle house. 12 v system.
Cheers.
Just cruising in a pimped old Surtees! Or my now sweetas pimped out Southern 755 HT0!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote MacSkipper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2015 at 2:51pm
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Originally posted by MATTOO MATTOO wrote:

So I'd like to have a small panel for keeping my batteries tickled up.
Any experience and suggestions please.
Have two batteries, one start and one deep cycle house. 12 v system.
Cheers.
Are you talking about on trailer at home to keep batteries topped up when not in use, or at sea say drift fishing with motor not running or overnighting?
Good fishing trip nothing breaks, great trip catch fish.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Betty Boop Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2015 at 3:02pm
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I see these panels are in the latest Burnsco catalogue. I'm also considering this option whylst boats stored on the trailer.Question
Last week I joined an Anti-Social support group........We hav'nt Met yet!

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote pjc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2015 at 3:27pm
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the modern day panels work with limited sunlight but trickle is exactly that,they will not keep up with demand,MATTOO,I have starter and house battery,when anchored just run on house,my house is 560? and is more than enough as per previous thread,running a/c inverter for dvd,2 movies a night and cabin lights with electric fridge which we turn off at 10.00pm ish and on 7.00am ish(waeco)and still enough left to start diesel if we forget to turn starter battery on. I had the older panels which are now removed.
QMS is not WORKING
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote MATTOO Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2015 at 3:29pm
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While at home Mac Skipper.
Never had a problem, just keeping them always in good nick is the plan.

Just cruising in a pimped old Surtees! Or my now sweetas pimped out Southern 755 HT0!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Steps Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2015 at 4:22pm
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I have 2 strips of velcro on the top of the motor, and another 2 on the bottom of a small supercheap 5W (?) solar panel
When got it last century some time, opened it up and sealed with silicone as it charged the battery from the roof of the tent used when camping.

In the top of the boat battery case I put  double marine cig lighter unit.
This hooks directly to the battery(s) by passing the main switch.. and fused.

The solar panel sits on the top of the motor at home with the Velcro.. or if required at sea, plugs into the cig unit in the battery case lid.

If need be I can connect stuff in, or check voltages etc at the battery without the main switches on and not open the battery box(s)

A small 5w is all thats needed to trickle charge/ maintain a battery....the solar panel has a built in diode to prevent discharge...which from memory is the little led light that glows....
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Olfart Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2015 at 5:20pm
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I'm doing much the same.  My setup is twin batteries wired in series via a 'one - two - or both' isolating switch.  I have a ciggie socket fitted into the boat dashboard and this is wired to the batteries independently of the battery isolator switch.  I plug a lead into the ciggie lighter - the lead has another ciggie lighter socket on the other end - and this hangs over the side of the boat (undercover) so I can plug my 8 watt solar panel in.  The panel sits on top of the boat cover and is held in place using short ends of the boat cover tie down straps and a couple of spare tie down clips.
In damp conditions, I bring the solar panel inside as I have not gone to the trouble of attempting to seal it like Steps apparently did with his, but being retired and now at home most of the time I can keep an eye on the weather and bring the panel inside if needs be.
You need to remember that these solar panels are not battery chargers in the true sense of the word but the trickle charge they do impart certainly keeps your batteries topped up enough that you seldom need to check whether there is sufficient power available to start the outboard. 
Semper in excreta sumus, solum profundum variat....



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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote MacSkipper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2015 at 5:59pm
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Originally posted by Olfart Olfart wrote:


In damp conditions, I bring the solar panel inside as I have not gone to the trouble of attempting to seal it like Steps apparently did with his, but being retired and now at home most of the time I can keep an eye on the weather and bring the panel inside if needs be.
You need to remember that these solar panels are not battery chargers in the true sense of the word but the trickle charge they do impart certainly keeps your batteries topped up enough that you seldom need to check whether there is sufficient power available to start the outboard. 
Seems like a lot of work and additional wiring to have problems with - I like to keep it simple - I do not charge or trickle charge battery unless boat not used in month - I use at least monthly for at least an hour of motor running to keep it charged and replace batteries at 4 or 5 years.  Not had any problems yet.
Good fishing trip nothing breaks, great trip catch fish.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Gareth15765 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2015 at 6:26pm
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I have just put a 120 watt panel on the roof of my 5.5 surtees gives me 10 amps maximum charge (as much as my 90 hp motor can put into it )total cost was $250 for panel and solar controller I have just got it wired into my house side of things but I could switch on my emergency parallel switch and charge my start battery but it should always be full with the vsr anyway

at home I have 2 ctek chargers on full time mounted into boat I just plug into the mains and job done charges with batteries isolated or on
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote MATTOO Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2015 at 7:22pm
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Thanks guys.
The Suzuki 115 I have puts out 40 amp, so really never short.
I do carry extra batteries at times, such as a dedicated fishing reel and another large deep cycle for the min Kota.
The boat normally works often, but there are gaps at times when I'm away and it's at those times I'd like to leave the tickle on.
So appreciate your answers think I've got a plan.
Just cruising in a pimped old Surtees! Or my now sweetas pimped out Southern 755 HT0!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Olfart Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Sep 2015 at 8:21pm
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MacSkipper:  I do not consider what I have set up as being "a lot of work and additional wiring to have problems with" - I have just got a simple system that works well for me, bearing in mind the boat sits outside under a storage cover when not in use.  I decided I needed something that would allow connection of the solar panel to the batteries without one having to take the storage cover off to get access. 
The ciggie socket on the dashboard also works as a power source for a hand held flood light; for charging my cellphone and my portable VHF on the go; as well as powering a 12 volt water blaster which is used to wash the boat and trailer at the ramp.
I guess one could say this is one's version of working hard at being lazy...
Semper in excreta sumus, solum profundum variat....



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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Steps Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep 2015 at 10:00am
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John it wasnt complex for Old fart to set up his cig charging point..its based loosely on how he saw mine set up.... only real difference is he has dual batteries (not an issue with trickle charge maintenance) and he has mounted his cig light on the dash...
I do have a cig lighter and usb on dash.. but instead of having to re wire to by pass the main isolating switch, was simpler for me to add a new fused  cig to the battery lid. (with plenty of cable so lid can be removed and laid well away)

To seal my unit just meant remove case screws, quick wipe around areas to put silicone sealer with a scotch brite...including the seal between case and front glass.. fill the area where the cord comes out (once case removed will understand why)  then reassemble, but only torque up the case srews till not quite all the way.  leave for 24 or 36 hrs to cure then torque up the screws to compress the 'gasket' slightly.

Basically taking 1/2 hr to seal the unit well is 'working hard at being lazy'  just hook up and leave between trips out  regardless of weather  rain whatever.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Gareth15765 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep 2015 at 1:00pm
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have been told to be wary of leaving both battery banks on and effectively linked especially if the house is a deep cycle as this will conflict with the start battery and the most expensive one (deep cycle )dies

I have had this happen to me this is why I have asked about this and that is the reason

I now have both batteries separated normally one a charger each and only time they are "linked"is when vsr is on and engine running

someone else may have the exact science as to why they fight but it is a pain to find it has died
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote MikeAqua Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep 2015 at 1:21pm
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You can buy solar charge units that go between your solar panel and battery, and manage charging of dual battery systems.

For example: -

http://smartercharger.com/products/dcdc/ctek-d250s-dual/

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote MacSkipper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep 2015 at 3:12pm
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Originally posted by Olfart Olfart wrote:

MacSkipper:  I do not consider what I have set up as being "a lot of work and additional wiring to have problems with" - I have just got a simple system that works well for me, bearing in mind the boat sits outside under a storage cover when not in use.  I decided I needed something that would allow connection of the solar panel to the batteries without one having to take the storage cover off to get access. 
The ciggie socket on the dashboard also works as a power source for a hand held flood light; for charging my cellphone and my portable VHF on the go; as well as powering a 12 volt water blaster which is used to wash the boat and trailer at the ramp.
I guess one could say this is one's version of working hard at being lazy...
Yes no worries - just had this image of racing out every time it rains (every 5 minutes this week!) and bring in unsealed solar panel, putting covers on boat after a trip then solar panels on covers - (I prefer Steps idea of sealing and leave it out, once setup - now that is working at being lazy).  Have not had much luck with early solar panels - though they are a lot more robust with more charge now.
What I was saying was I don't do it and don't need to as an option that works for me - from how you describe it sounds good for you, so go for it.
Good fishing trip nothing breaks, great trip catch fish.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Kevin.S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep 2015 at 3:31pm
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How long do you need to leave your boat standing before you have to think about the battery?  On the boat I have just sold it had a single battery set up, with a 90hp 2 stroke yamaha and a capstan winch.  I always made sure the engine was running before using the winch.  Over the 2 years I had the boat never had a problem with low battery.  It stood for up to 5 weeks at times.  It didn't have an isolator switch as I had a stereo connected that would lose its memory if disconnected.  I put my battery charger on it once, and it just cycled through the 5 stages and went almost instantly to float -so it didn't need any charging.  I have had boats where the battery needed regular charging, but that was due to an old battery that needed replacing.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Olfart Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep 2015 at 3:48pm
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I think the answer to that, Kevin is that if you are able to get out regularly - once a week or so - then provided you have a good battery or pair of good batteries, running the outboard is surely the best way to keep batteries in good nick.  If you are like me however and depend on others to make up crew then depending on their availability and weather stability, my boat can sit parked up like a garden ornament for a few weeks at a time. 
Being retired means funds are less available to follow one's recreational pursuits so that is a limiting factor as well.  So for me the option of using a solar panel to keep the batteries topped up works well.
Semper in excreta sumus, solum profundum variat....



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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote MATTOO Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep 2015 at 8:52pm
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Kevin and others,
We are stupid!
We drink, we get old, our wives distract us. And we leave something on.
It is also for that back up, we should be preparing for.
Just cruising in a pimped old Surtees! Or my now sweetas pimped out Southern 755 HT0!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Steps Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2015 at 9:41am
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Have not had much luck with early solar panels - though they are a lot more robust with more charge now.
Mine I brought a good 17/ 20 yrs ago

Olfart  I think hits the nail on the head there too Keven
Turning the isolation switch off is more a corrosion/ electrolysis issue.... it have a drain then look very seriously at finding it.. bad grounds corroded switch internals etc
And then even a fully unconnected batter will drain simply by the dust/ moisture across the top of the battery between the terminals.. have a play with a digital multi meter  will be rather surprised.... even on a brand new battery on the shop shelf will drain

Secret to a long life reliable lead acid battery.. be it a alarm in the factory, or car, or electric fence or boat... to be ALWAYS fully charged   stored and even when in use

A question thu... why do boat battery cases dont have a drain hole?
And one maybe 1/8 or 1/4 way up?
When was the last time ppl check the battery case for water in the bottom?

 
Generally the terminals are below the top edge of the case, which means if each time u wash down a bit water splashes in, eventually it reaches the terminals, if any salts in the water bad things can happen dramatically
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Kandrew Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2015 at 8:15pm
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Not a big fan of solar chargers, batteries need to be cycled correctly if storedfor long periods. If your going to do it properly, the solar charger needs some sort of regulator. As mentioned above a good battery of the right size for the motor should last for at least a month without the need for charging. I like the new 5 stage smart chargers because they cycle the battery up and down and this is what prolongs the life of a battery not just a constant trickle charge. If you can't get a lead across to the boat to plug a charger into, then you haven't got much choice but to run with a solar charger. Just remember if your battery is going flat often then it needs replacing. Normal glass mat batteries will normally only last for 3 years if you're lucky I always replace mine at 3 years or before. The other tell tale of your battery getting tied is if it fumes a lot when you charge it. Sulphating of the battery cells is generally why batteries Sh-t themselves. Always keep an eye on the electrolyte/water level and if you can help it don't use plain old tap water, the contaminants will sortern the life of the battery. Keep the terminals nice and clean and if they become corroded clean them with baking soda and hot water. As steps says, keep the surface of the battery clean and make sure it's in a proper battery box that fits the battery and its strapped down. Vibration is the killer of batteries and that's why marine batteries have thicker plants than car batteries to handle the crash and bang.

I've fitted the Ctek comfort indicator to both of my batteries, they excellent you can see the condition of the battery at a glance. $20 each not a lot for a bit of added safety.

http://www.cteknz.co.nz/CTEKComfortIndicators/tabid/498/Default.aspx

One other thing I always recommend is to buy the largest CCA rated battery you can fit, gives you a extra bit of grunt for a safety margin. Don't scrump on a cheap battery that's to small and if you can afford it, go for one of the new optima round cell type batteries. This technology has been around since Adam was a cowboy but the new ones are really good. Hold their charge for ages and last up to 2x as long as the old glass mat batteries.

http://www.centurybatteries.co.nz/products/optima

Hope this helps, cheers
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