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Solar Panel setup

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Speedwell View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Speedwell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Solar Panel setup
    Posted: 07 Mar 2016 at 7:30pm
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Speedwell View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Speedwell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Mar 2016 at 7:33pm
I am new to solar panels. Speedwell is fitted with a deck mounted solar panel and Westech controller. The setup appears to be that the controller is connected to both starter and domestic battery banks but that it is configured to only charge the domestic. Is this usual?
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Keny View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Keny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Mar 2016 at 1:49pm
I have two solar panels screwed to the deck just forward of the spray hood. They don't need a controller and are connected together, and to both batteries, via a schottky diode splitter.
I have found this to work fine 
keny


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CO923 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote CO923 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Apr 2016 at 3:33pm
Keny, sounds interesting, what power and max voltage rating are your panels please?

Speedwell, that sounds odd but I don't know enough to comment usefully. Can you switch the controller output manually between the domestic and starter batteries? In which case maybe you have to do that?
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Keny View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Keny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2016 at 10:51am
They are  2x Marlec/Spectralite, 20w each, semi-flex. panels. The open circuit voltage is around 16v but even when fully charged the trickle voltage pulls this down to around 14.5v so no need for a regulator which can only reduce their charging capability. Batteries are 60ah & 100ah.
keny


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Post Options Post Options   Quote CO923 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2016 at 2:23pm
Keny - Great, many thanks.

Speedwell - I asked Sterling about how to add solar panels to a system with a Sterling charger. Charlie Junior recommended putting the solar panel outputs across the domestic batteries "and relaying the domestic battery output to the starter with something like a matching relay". I understand the first but not the second part of this advice. However, with a manual selector for either or both battery banks, it's possible to use the domestic batteries to start the engine if the starter battery hasn't enough energy left. This might be what was intended on Speedwell.


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caramorsimon View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote caramorsimon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Apr 2016 at 10:20pm
a matching relay is just one that connects the 2 battery banks together when a charge voltage is present.
usually it's called a voltage sensitive relay.
you may find that the controller was just connected to both battery banks to ensure its always powered up: there may have been a concern that if it was attached to the flat domestic battery only it wouldn't charge it properly (the concern may or might not have been valid - you'd need to check the instructions to see)
as keny says, you don't need a charge controller if your banks  are large cf panel size. marlec prefer 10:1 before needing a controller though. I have (from another supplier) a controller around that ratio - the batteries are full in the summer but it may well be unnecessary in spring/autumn. you can always put in a bypass switch to get both or just try the alternative!
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