Dumb title but didn’t know what else to call it – as it’s not the last bit of solar I’ll install.

As mentioned in the previous post on this topic I’d got hold of a couple 100 watt panels and an MPPT controller, the panels were around $200 each and the same for the controller. I didn’t want to go to the time and expense of installing a solar arch this year so I hoped that deck mounting them would allow me to at least pull in some power. Just to hedge my bets, I told everyone it was ‘an experiment’ so if it completely failed then I could just be all ‘yeah I expected that no big deal, pfft’.

So, onto the install of the solar panels (or photovoltaic system as I call it when I am trying to impress A Girl with how Clever and Smart I am)

First, stick em onto the boat. As it was an ‘experimental trial’ and they were cheap panels I didn’t really want to start drilling mounting holes or globbing on huge amounts of sealing, so I used 3M double sided tape to stick em on. I mean not really the best job, but if this thing works out I can mount them more permanently at a later date.

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Then I drilled oversize holes for the wires in the deck, filled with epoxy and then drilled through that to make a water tight hole.

I then used these cable glands to run the wires through. They are HUGE though :(. So I will probably end up replacing them with something like this 

Otherwise it’s a tripping hazard!

Anyway, I ran all the wires from the solar panels to a little junction box, where I attached the positives and the negatives to each other. I then ran some wire from there to the controller (the solar panels are connected in parallel – I was thinking about serial but went parallel. Not sure in this circumstance if it would have made a difference).

Now, the controller. I decided to install this right near the batteries, so I did it above the battery boxes. It comes with a separate display, so I installed that in the kitchen (obviously) as it

  • was on the other side of the bulkhead from the batteries
  • I could use it to cover up the hole from the old inverter control panel
  • who doesn’t like to monitor their solar  photovoltaic charge while ‘making’ a frozen pizza?!

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With that done, it was time to hook it up to the batteries. In terms of suspense, this is right up there. I LOVE THIS STUFF (also fuck plumbing forever still thou)

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Look it’s charging! It was a very overcast day, and the batteries were basically fully charged but look! Power! And nothing’s on fire!

I can’t wait to see how it does when it’s full sun and the battery needs charging. Luckily I’m going on a 5 day trip over the long weekend so I’ll get to test it out!

 

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