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Old 31 May 2016, 18:46   #1
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Solar Panels

Hi,

Just wondered if anyone leaves their rib on the water, I am not connected to electric to charge the battery and wondered about a small solar panel to allow the bilge pump to stay on auto and the batteries to always be topped up... any suggestions?
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Old 31 May 2016, 18:57   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adams1x View Post
Hi,

Just wondered if anyone leaves their rib on the water, I am not connected to electric to charge the battery and wondered about a small solar panel to allow the bilge pump to stay on auto and the batteries to always be topped up... any suggestions?
If you search you'll see the topic has been discussed before. In brief:

- a small panel won't do much other than replace the self discharge from the battery, certainly not enough to run a bilge pump.
- the size of panel you need will depend on the size of boat, if it is covered or not, the weather, the frequency of use etc.
- some pumps use power even when it is dry to "test" for water.
- when its under the biggest need, it will be cloudy and charging least.
- a panel big enough to cope with heavy demand will be too big to leave rigged on the RIB when underway.
- some panels are particularly sensitive to shadows (even a thin shadow can stop the whole panel working) so consider where it is mounted and if yacht rigging etc, might cast a shadow.
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Old 01 June 2016, 12:21   #3
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Moon Raker has been kept afloat all season for the past eight years or so. I have a Rule 1200 gpm pump switched by a float switch. There is a cover, which leaks, over the boat from the console aft, but the foredeck is open and collects the rain.

I use the boat at least once a fortnight. The battery is a standard 110 amp hour (I think) leisure battery. It rains a lot here, the pump gets used. The battery has never got anywhere near flat and I've never had any difficulty starting the engine.

Before launching at the start of the season, I give the battery a good charge with a good quality charger. Charge again at lay up time.

That's it. Maybe someday there'll be a first time! :-)
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Old 01 June 2016, 12:24   #4
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Ok, thats perfect thanks for the advice, she is also kept opposite the Seastart base on the Hamble so dont think help would be far away if it did run flat!
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Old 01 June 2016, 13:50   #5
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Look at electric fence solar chargers"
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Old 01 June 2016, 14:57   #6
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http://www.gaelforcemarine.co.uk/en/...mp/m-4417.aspx
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Old 01 June 2016, 17:20   #7
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My boat lives on the water, in sunny Dublin.
I have a single battery, a 10W solar panel and an auto bilge pump.
The boat gets run a few times a week and then maybe not for 3 weeks.
Always plenty of charge in Battery.
Does the solar panel make the difference? I don't know but I understand it keeps the battery healthy, even if it doesn't replace all the current drawn by the bilge pump.
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Old 02 June 2016, 09:10   #8
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Mine will be on the mooring all summer - with auto bilge pumps that switch on every 2-3 minutes to check for water. The batteries went flat by the end of last summer (not much use due to work commitments and weather, combined with lots of rain) so I've just fitted 2 x 20w panels on mine, to keep 2 x 110 AH batteries topped up.

However, I do have the benefit of a large engine cover to mount them on... I'm not sure I could have fitted anything like that size without that.

They've been on for the last 2 weeks, topped up both batteries to full - but a proper summer of use will show how well it actually works...
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