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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    163

    Default Query re solar panels and regulator

    Hi all,

    I know nothing about solar panels, so sorry if this is a stupid question. Was thinking of getting this:

    https://www.ctek.com/products/on-board/d250sa

    Was wondering whether I can connect two solar panels in parallel, to its panel connection side? (they're only 120w panels, each). One is permanently fixed, the other portable, to only bring out and use when at anchor and staying aboard, to add additional charging capacity.

    Thanks for advice.
    if only i could afford the BBA course.....

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Gloucestershire
    Posts
    5,308

    Default Re: Query re solar panels and regulator

    Quote Originally Posted by yourmomm View Post
    Hi all,

    I know nothing about solar panels, so sorry if this is a stupid question. Was thinking of getting this:

    https://www.ctek.com/products/on-board/d250sa

    Was wondering whether I can connect two solar panels in parallel, to its panel connection side? (they're only 120w panels, each). One is permanently fixed, the other portable, to only bring out and use when at anchor and staying aboard, to add additional charging capacity.

    Thanks for advice.
    Yes.
    I'd rather be naked
    www.mastaclimba.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Home: Kent. Boat: Chichester
    Posts
    43,432

    Default Re: Query re solar panels and regulator

    Quote Originally Posted by yourmomm View Post
    Hi all,

    I know nothing about solar panels, so sorry if this is a stupid question. Was thinking of getting this:

    https://www.ctek.com/products/on-board/d250sa

    Was wondering whether I can connect two solar panels in parallel, to its panel connection side? (they're only 120w panels, each). One is permanently fixed, the other portable, to only bring out and use when at anchor and staying aboard, to add additional charging capacity.

    Thanks for advice.
    Yes I thinkso but it is very expensive way of providing control of a couple of solar panels.

    read the product info , data sheets and instructions
    Last edited by VicS; 23-07-19 at 09:26.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Home - Sothampton, Boat - Gosport
    Posts
    10,027

    Default Re: Query re solar panels and regulator

    Quote Originally Posted by VicS View Post
    Yes but it is very expensive way of providing control of a couple of solar panels.
    Yikes! Ain't it just!

    I only have 40w of panels, so I have the 10A version of this one, which I set up to charge the starter battery first (rarely takes long) then charge the domestic. It's now about 7 years old and still going strong.

    Using something like that, I don't see why you couldn't wire in the fixed panel and a socket to plug the portable one in parallel. An MPPT controller would be more efficient but, I understand (no expert) that, to get that extra efficiency, you'd need the panels wired in series, which complicates the wiring for the portable one.
    Steve
    Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Gloucestershire
    Posts
    5,308

    Default Re: Query re solar panels and regulator

    My two 50 watt panels are switched allowing, 1, 2, 1&2 in parallel and 1&2 in series. The switching is via a rotary switch. Series has never (yet) shown any advantage over parallel.

    The outputs are also switched, port, starboard, start and fridge (battery) all as parallel loads via diodes.
    I'd rather be naked
    www.mastaclimba.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    163

    Default Re: Query re solar panels and regulator

    Quote Originally Posted by VicS View Post
    Yes I thinkso but it is very expensive way of providing control of a couple of solar panels.

    read the product info , data sheets and instructions
    Yep I'm connecting the alternator, too...read the manual, it makes no mention of connecting solar panels in parallel, hence my question here!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Suffolk
    Posts
    7,705

    Default Re: Query re solar panels and regulator

    Quote Originally Posted by yourmomm View Post
    Yep I'm connecting the alternator, too...read the manual, it makes no mention of connecting solar panels in parallel, hence my question here!
    Because it cannot tell if they are connected in parallel, one big panel, 2 0r 3 small ones, same difference, as long as you don't exceed the rated amperage. You would have to connect them in parallel, as the voltage rating would be exceeded if they were connected in series.

    it is a very expensive option though, ridiculous. Better off to fit a Victron MPPT controller, connect to the domestic bank and leave the alternator connected to the engine battery. If you want the alternator to charge the engine battery there are two simple options, a VSR will allow the alternator to charge the domestics and the solar to charge the engine battery or a Victron Argofett would allow the alternator to charge the domestic, without the solar charging the engine battery.
    Rainbow Marine.
    www.rainbowmarine.co.uk

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Home: Kent. Boat: Chichester
    Posts
    43,432

    Default Re: Query re solar panels and regulator

    Quote Originally Posted by yourmomm View Post
    Yep I'm connecting the alternator, too...read the manual, it makes no mention of connecting solar panels in parallel, hence my question here!
    I notice that the maximum input is 25 amps and the maximum output is 20 amps. Does this mean that your engine only has a relatively small alternator ? or that your batteries are not particularly large?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Suffolk
    Posts
    7,705

    Default Re: Query re solar panels and regulator

    Quote Originally Posted by VicS View Post
    I notice that the maximum input is 25 amps and the maximum output is 20 amps. Does this mean that your engine only has a relatively small alternator ? or that your batteries are not particularly large?
    I think that's a max input of 25amps of solar. The 20a output max is the current to the domestic bank, irrespective of input source/s. Bit pants if your alternator is more than 20a, which it's likely to be. In that case, you'd need to fit the smartpass 120, for another £220
    Rainbow Marine.
    www.rainbowmarine.co.uk

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    163

    Default Re: Query re solar panels and regulator

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRainbow View Post
    Because it cannot tell if they are connected in parallel, one big panel, 2 0r 3 small ones, same difference, as long as you don't exceed the rated amperage. You would have to connect them in parallel, as the voltage rating would be exceeded if they were connected in series.

    it is a very expensive option though, ridiculous. Better off to fit a Victron MPPT controller, connect to the domestic bank and leave the alternator connected to the engine battery. If you want the alternator to charge the engine battery there are two simple options, a VSR will allow the alternator to charge the domestics and the solar to charge the engine battery or a Victron Argofett would allow the alternator to charge the domestic, without the solar charging the engine battery.
    Thanks!! I'll investigate these options further. Always keen not to spend more money than required.

    Yes I'm looking for an option by which the alternator and solar panels can charge both the engine and house batteries, but keeping those functions separate due to the fact that engine battery is straight wet cell and the house batteries are agm's...I've recently lost some agm's because I figured out the regulator on the boat I just bought was (over-)charging them, as if they were wet cells...

    Boo.

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