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The Norfolk Broads Forum / Broads Boat Owners Q & A / Solar charge control
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Posted By Discussion Topic: Solar charge control

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stuballs
Oct-04-2019 @ 2:30 PM                           Permalink
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Learning The Ropes
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Hi all,
I have a 150w solar panel charging through a regulator to a 4 position battery selector switch for my domestic (2) & starter(1) batteries.

The battery selector switch positions are Off-1-2-1+2 (both).

My question is what happens with the charge current when it is set on the 1+2 position' will it charge both batteries equally or will it make a preference based on the relevant states of charge or ampage?

I ask because I am considering leaving it on the 1+2 setting for the winter.

Regards to all keep up the good work

Stuart.

annville
Oct-05-2019 @ 11:31 AM                           Permalink
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Hi Stuart It would/will charge all batteries that are connected BUT!! this is not good practice,if something goes wrong you risk all your batteries, ideally the best way you should wire the solar panel control box direct via a fuse straight to the domestic bank and if you have a two ie batt 1 batt 2 controler the batt 2 to your starter battery via a fuze or if only a one output controller to the domestic bank then connect a battery maintainer between domestic bank and starter battery,Doing it this way is safer and prevents different batteries interfering with each other and with the added advantage when you are sailing/moored up all the charge will go to your domestic batteries saving unnecessary engine running as solar will work 18 hrs a day weather permitting. John

stuballs
Oct-05-2019 @ 12:41 PM                           Permalink
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Learning The Ropes
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Hi Annville,
Thank-you for that, I suspected it would connect the 2 leaving both open to any problem but I was not sure.

In that case I will leave it as it is and not use the 1+2 setting.

Thank-you,
Regards,
Stuart.

Captain-Joshie
Oct-06-2019 @ 11:48 AM                           Permalink
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Hi

I've got a 220 watt solar panel running through a MPPT Smart controller. Also a Cetek Smart battery charge for when on sure power. The battery setup is 1 starter, 3 120AH domestic bank and a bow thruster gel battery. These are charged via a Sterling ultra low loss FET 120A splitter via the alternator when underway.

I also use a manual 1 - 2 - both(1+2) - OFF Master Switch.

The solar controller is connected to the starter battery (via fuses of course) , this means the starter battery is always charged, which is the most important as you need to be able start the engine to charge any other if all else fails.

When cruising my procedure is as follows:- disconnect shorepower, turn battery switch from both to 1, start engine, cruise, moor up and switch to both till dusk then turn switch to 2 (the solar panel will carry the day time domestic load saving the batteries), in the morning (before I wake! The solar panel is charging the starter battery, remember it's connected to it), to start cruising I turn the switch to 1 and start the engine (the alternator then starts charging al the batteries) and repeat, using shore power when available.

When leaving the boat for a period of time I always leave it switched to both and with the Cetek Smart charger connected. Never had a problem in 20+ years of boating!

Happy boating.

John.

Kind regards, John(Captain
Joshie), Jo & Toby.
'Braveheart' L68 Broom
30/Skipper

annville
Oct-06-2019 @ 12:19 PM                           Permalink
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Hi John Why do you have to charge your starter battery overnight? is it because you run something from it, not good practice to run anything from stater battery when engine not running.if it doesn't hold its charge for several months it needs changing. John

Still-Cruising
Oct-06-2019 @ 1:30 PM                           Permalink
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We don't have any of this switch malarkey. We have one starter battery,two domestics parallel wired and a very large split charge relay. The 100w solar panel has a Photonic Universe MPPT controller and is hard wired to the domestic batteries via a double pole isolator switch and fuse so that they are both charged by it.  The starter battery is charged only when the engine is running but when we winterise we link the starter battery to the domestics so they are all maintained by the solar panel. we always turn off the main isolator switch when the boat is left so having the solar panel direct wired (like the bilge pump) means that it is always working. Technically because we do not have any between battery isolation there is a chance that a fault in one battery could adversely affect the others but we have used out setup for years without any problems.    

Best Regards

Bob

PO20 But NR12 as much as possible.

Captain-Joshie
Oct-06-2019 @ 5:07 PM                           Permalink
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Hi John

John, I don't charge my starter battery overnigh (when out cruising), unless the moon is very very bright Playful   LOL tounge-in-cheek, as I'd be on switch position 2 just the domestic bank. Sorry if I gave that impression. It would of course get a top up on sunrise till I got up and checked the level of the domestic bank on th NASA Battery Monitor. If they were at 60%+ ( they are usually 80%+) I would then switch to both setting so the solar charged them.

When at home moorings, left and set to the both position and on shore power the Cetek and MPPT Smart chargers both keep the battery banks (which are effectively just 1 bank in the both position) topped up and most importantly conditioned. The rule of thumb for lead acid is keep fully charged. The Cetek is a 7 stage Smart charger and really does keep the batteries top notch.

I consider my engine starter battery the most important hence the solar MPPT charger goes to this and keeps it charged. If, it's never happened so far, I did flatten the domestic bank overnight I would still have a a fully charged starter battery to get the engine going and then use the alternator to recharge the domestic bank.

John.

Kind regards, John(Captain
Joshie), Jo & Toby.
'Braveheart' L68 Broom
30/Skipper


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