Let There Be Light!! Solar Panel Addition

We left Texas with 200 watts of solar. On sunny days, this would replace what we used (60 – 80 AH a day), but on cloudy days we would fall behind and have to run the engine. We do not have a high-output alternator, so running the engine did not get us much, but we had no other way to charge. If things got critical, we would have to go to a marina and plug in. In 6 months of Cruising, I never saw our solar controller leave bulk mode. We decided to add one more 100 watt panel and see how that did.

New panel arrived by mail from Renogy.

 

The panel is not damaged and the wires look pretty stable

 

With scraps we had aboard, Brian fabricated the Solar Mount. This can be easily removed for monitor wind vane use.

 

Brian had this project done in an hour or two, so talented. Now it’s my turn to finish the wood mounts before they suck up too much moisture. I will epoxy them then paint black. BTB, the panels together, pretty much take care of all our electrical needs.

After 4 days with the new panel, I am glad to say we replace all we use from our batteries by 1 or 2 each day. The controller now goes from bulk to absorption in the afternoon and is in float by late afternoon. Even on partly cloudy days we are now able to replace all we use. I also changed the panels from parallel to series wiring. This does seem to have improved the output a bit. Before with 2 panels in full sun, I had not seen more than 140 watts on the charge controller. Now I am seeing 250 watts in full sun at mid-day.

Brian added two more charging ports in the forward berth 🙂 made me very happy

 

Brian also replaced the defective charging port tucked up in the starboard vberth bulkhead.

 

Brian added a fan to the galley, what a huge difference!

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Let There Be Light!! Solar Panel Addition

  1. Nice to see the Rain Dog Power Company is thriving. lol

    I like that USB charging port. Gotta get me a couple of those and a couple of those panels.
    Looks good.

    • It is nice! I have gone from always worrying about the batteries, to never worrying. We will see what happens if we get thick clouds for several days, but the Florida Chamber of Commerce assured me that will never happen.

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