Marine Trickle Charging Application

Hello out there in PV land. So I am soliciting advice for my first little go at this. My Pops, God bless him loves to fish, or at least tell fish stories, but the fishing part only happens every few months or so. Problem is he keeps having power issues, no matter which boat it is, or battery, right now he has a 24 foot proline center console ( http://www.prolineboats.com/Page3240.aspx ) . So yesterday he called me , moaning and groaning about having to get a new battery. So I ask , uhm "oh fishing guru and all around aqua ninja, what was the last time you started the boat ?" He promptly tells me, mini-season (aka last August). Mind you having the boat parked for 3 months or a year and then just going fishing on a whim and running the radio/gps/fishfinder all night seem to always lead to my other gift, a life time membership to towboat US ( http://www.boatus.com/Towing/ ).

I was thinking about hooking up a small 5 watt panel IE ( http://store.solar-electric.com/poup5wa12vos.html ) and a small charge controller ( http://store.solar-electric.com/sg-4.html ).

My goal is to keep the battery trickle charged between the slaughter of the minnows , so when it is time to get out there and catch the mosquito bites it will start and run on a full charge, oh and one time we bribed a boat full of lobster men with beer since we didn't catch any fish..

anyway input welcome

Comments

  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Marine Trickle Charging Application

    yes, that would be a good idea for him. you only need to float charge and even if some snow goes on the pv it will melt in time to continue keeping the battry good unless you are in an area that gets extreme snows. the cheaper you do it the better as it could get stolen too. do be sure that during periods of darkness that the controller does not allow a backflow of current into the pv. if it does then you will need to purchase a blocking diode rated at about 1amp. a fuse at the battery rated at 1amp may also be a good idea. even if you went up as high as a 10w pv these values would suffice for it, but higher wattages from the pv may necessitate larger values for both the diode and the fuse. 10w/12v=.833amps for a 10w pv, but the 5w pv will be half of that current and is more than enough to maintain a charged battery for extended periods of time.
    do note that the 14.1v or so the morningstar controller puts out even with reduced current could be too much and could over time overcharge the battery. if you know enough of electronics to build a regulator from a regulator ic that this would be the best and cheapest approach for such a small float charging system. if you go with the morningstar controller you may have to place a diode between the controller + output and the + battery post to drop the voltage down somewhat(where your fuse should be at). if you place the diode in backwards you will not get any power to the battery so check that it is giving power before leaving it for the next year. the part will not blow out if in wrong either so if you get nothing either way then the diode could've been bad to begin with or something else is wrong like your wiring or a bad controller or even no sunshine.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Marine Trickle Charging Application

    Ok so color me stupid, why in the world does the controller have a 14.1 v output. ( http://www.morningstarcorp.com/products/SunGuard/info/SG_Manual.pdf ) Section 1.0 Specification Summary. It clearly states PWM Setpoint 14.1 ? Would this be the wrong type of charge controller ? Would I be better of with a fancy pants Xantrex C12 12 Amp ( http://store.solar-electric.com/c12.html ) After looking at the manual, ( http://www.xantrex.com/web/id/61/docserve.asp ) I have more questions than answers ie, does this require being hooked up the load. I was just planning to hook this up from the PV cell and to the battery. Or is the Load just for Night light feature and what if I am not afraid of the dark, is there one with out a night light ?

    I can also see the reasoning for the fuse, and the diode. but now for the question of the day, which ones ? Diodes are rated in Amps and so are fuses but most commonly in the 250 v. I feel like a monkey doing math on the radio shack home page looking at diodes , ( http://www.radioshack.com/family/index.jsp?cp=2032058.2032230&categoryId=2032269&pg=1 ).

    oh and when it comes to a fuses, well , I don't know the difference between "fast acting" and "slow-blow" ( http://www.radioshack.com/category/index.jsp?categoryId=2032234&cp=2032058 )

    This is turning into an education..
    Cheers and thank you for any and all input.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Marine Trickle Charging Application

    morningstar will probably tell you that the current will keep diminishing, but it doesn't diminish far enough to just use it as a float charger. i believe it was wayne that could verify that. now as to voltage ratings on the diodes and fuses it doesn't matter as you are only in the 12v range and those parts generally don't go that low in voltage. do not use specialty diodes such as germanium as these will blow out, but the types like 1n4000, 1n4001, etc. on up work fine and radio shack will even sell you 25 of them for $3-$4, but you won't need that many. each diode can vary in the voltage it drops, but they usually drop about 1/2v. i think 13.6v is better as a float voltage than 14.1v and when you want 14.1v just place a wire across (can be switched) the diode and this will restore the 14.1v. for fuses go with fast blow. now if you want to you can buy a fancy pants controller(never thought the c12 to be fancy btw) as that's up to you, but i am not advising you to buy it unless you don't know what you're doing even with my instructions.
    btw, if you read my post before it did state the current ratings on those parts.
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,030 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Marine Trickle Charging Application
    Jhirley wrote: »
    Diodes are rated in Amps and so are fuses but most commonly in the 250 v. I feel like a monkey doing math on the radio shack home page looking at diodes , ( http://www.radioshack.com/family/index.jsp?cp=2032058.2032230&categoryId=2032269&pg=1 ).

    I despise Radio Shack diodes. I've always found them to be barely better than floor sweeping quality (as bad parts are rejected, they end up on the floor, and get swept up!). For choseing one, you would like to have at least 50% surplus capacity (if you are pushing 4 Amps, get a 6 amp diode) - I prefer 100%. As you pass more current thru the diode, you get a higher voltage drop. Schottky diodes have lower voltage drops, if you are really trying to fine tune a voltage. I prefer my parts from DigiKey.Com
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Marine Trickle Charging Application

    mike,
    true, but hey they are cheap (schottky types are more) so who cares and radio shack does have stores in many locations increasing the odds that somebody could drive there and get them the same day rather than mailorder hassles and timefactors. you can parallel 2 of them and double the capacity. technically you are supposed to balance them with resistors when paralleling or seriesing(is that a word?) diodes, but i don't bother.
  • TelcoTelco Solar Expert Posts: 201 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Marine Trickle Charging Application
    niel wrote: »
    mike,
    true, but hey they are cheap (schottky types are more) so who cares and radio shack does have stores in many locations increasing the odds that somebody could drive there and get them the same day rather than mailorder hassles and timefactors. you can parallel 2 of them and double the capacity. technically you are supposed to balance them with resistors when paralleling or seriesing(is that a word?) diodes, but i don't bother.

    Over the last 5 years, I've successfully found ONE item in stock at the Crap Shack, and it was a switch that wasn't quite what I wanted. Everything else had to be ordered, with no set arrival time. Found a local electronics store that any time I need something DC, I go there, in and out, they know exactly what I want, and have it in stock, for less than the Crap Shack. It's worth the extra 6 bucks in gas to go to the actual electronics shop than to go to the Crap Shack less than 3 miles away, round trip.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Marine Trickle Charging Application

    that's good if you can go to another place that sells the parts and i think radio shacks are cutting back on their parts inventories. this is an opportunity for others to come up with electronic parts stores that have more visibilty, quality, and pricing. i, for one, miss the old stores such as lafayette and olsens and i always thought radio shack would go under as they charged more and had less quality stuff. go figure!
  • IyaIya Solar Expert Posts: 32
    Re: Marine Trickle Charging Application

    Hello J,

    If the 24 footer is towed home and not pemanently in water, get a small 10 amps marine battery charger. Guest make small wateproof one and with tripple stage charging. Its cheap. Get your daddy to charge the batteries every week for 12 hours or so. This way the boat gets checked more often too.

    5 watts solar panel is just too small, approx 0.4 amps. The outboard on that boat should be approx 150-175HP, the batteries is like 100amps. It will not do justice with solar panel at 5 watts.

    If your dad is a fishing guy, in most cases the boat battery never get fully charged after use, if he has some electronics running while boat is drifting. Under 3,000 RPM, outboards are lousy as far as alternators power is concerned. If your dad like to troll at 5 knots, charging is also still bad.

    You need a charger to restore what's lost and to maintain some juice during the 3 months lay off. 10 amps is about minimal for decent recovery. I personally will never go less than 20 amps. If flat battery keeps bugging the boat, the battery will suffer due to suphation and you will loose battery use fast. Doesn't Proline comes with a standard battery charger ?

    Hope this helps.

    Regards,
    Iya
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Marine Trickle Charging Application

    iya,
    i do recommend you reread the purpose he had in mind.
    "My goal is to keep the battery trickle charged between the slaughter of the minnows"
    a full blown system is not needed for storing batteries on a float charge.
  • IyaIya Solar Expert Posts: 32
    Re: Marine Trickle Charging Application

    Oopppsss sorry Chief..:blush:
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