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Solar Panel

Discussion in 'Catalina 275' started by Codybear, Feb 8, 2019. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. Codybear

    Codybear

    Joined Jun 6, 2016
    105 posts, 10 likes
    Catalina 275
    US Wilmette, IL
    Is everyone happy with their built in solar panel on the C275? I chose to go without worried about collecting dirt (being under trees) but mostly, that the manufacturer would stop offering the equivalent size for replacement. The technology is changing so quickly that you just don't know what the future brings.

    Anyway, I want a means of keeping the battery topped off and plan to just place the same panel sitting on the top of the sliding portion of the cabin hatch. I would put it into place when off the boat. I believe the normal installation is the Ganz GSP-12. Just checking if everyone is happy with the panel or if you recommend something else. I do like the fact the 12w panel maxes at 15.3v and therefore doesn't need a regulator. I could possibly get away with the 6w, but unless people are overcharging with the 12w, I might as well go with the 12w.

    And anyone in the southern hemisphere that is using their boat, is it safe to assume a 16x14" (40x36cm) panel fits on the sliding portion of the cabin hatch? I picture 24x24" of plexiglass, so I expect there should be plenty of room.
     


  2. Dave Groshong

    Dave Groshong SBO Staff Staff Member

    Joined Jan 25, 2007
    1,368 posts, 107 likes
    Catalina 22
    US Seattle


  3. Codybear

    Codybear

    Joined Jun 6, 2016
    105 posts, 10 likes
    Catalina 275
    US Wilmette, IL
    I guess my concerns about buying an anchor locker lid designed for a specific model of a solar panel was warranted. When I was looking to purchase the Ganz GSP-12, I noticed some stores saying it was discontinued. I called Ganz to confirm and a person said as of right now, it is discontinued, but they will reconsider in about 3 months. Additionally, when I asked, she said there may be modifications to the model(s) if they continue production. So either way, this could be the end of the GSP-12 as you know it.

    I still may end up purchasing it because I like the size, wattage, voltage and the fact that it doesn't require a voltage regulator. Anyway, if you have one on your anchor locker, take good care of it or you may want to consider a spare for down the road. It's hard to know if the form would stay the same or not, but certainly, the wattage per a given size will definitely be higher in the future.
     


  4. Boxing Roo

    Boxing Roo

    Joined Jul 24, 2018
    23 posts, 2 likes
    Catalina 275
    36 Sapphire AU Sydney Harbour
    My battery recently failed to start was over 15 volts then dropped to 7 with the solar panel disconnected. So I replaced it and left the panel disconnected with plans for a marine sparky to look at it during winter. Can get away with single starter battery alternator charge OK based on use of the boat (predominantly day sailing without fridge/auto-pilot/chart-plotters etc) however my experience is if your topping up with a Ganz GSP-12... consider that second battery.
     


  5. Codybear

    Codybear

    Joined Jun 6, 2016
    105 posts, 10 likes
    Catalina 275
    US Wilmette, IL
    With the sale ending in less than 2 hours at Defender, I pulled the trigger yesterday so I didn't accidentally forget. Seeing it shipped, I'm committed now. Not sure if you are saying the panel masked a bad battery or if the panel caused the battery to go bad. I would suspect the former if you ended up with an Exide battery like I did because with an Exide, I would blame the battery first. I've always found Exide batteries to be poorly made where the lead would flake off the plates and I've had quite a few (too many) of them over my life. It's quite possible that you have 3 dead or shorted cells. I replaced my Exide on the C275 after the third season and before it was dead because of my past experiences and the fact that acid leaked/boiled out the caps. No problems with either of the two batteries installed, so it's not the 125A alternator's regulator.

    As I'll be unplugging the panel on every use and based on your experience, I'll keep on eye on the resting voltage and see if it appears to be overcharging. On the other hand, I'll be less prone to overcharging because I'm 8 degrees further from the sun and based on the boat's orientation and planned panel location, part of the afternoon sun will be blocked by the mast, so I'll end up with less charging hours. The limited hours and lower sun is why I went with the 12w instead of 6w panel.

    Anyway, let us know what sparky concludes this (your) winter.
     


  6. Boxing Roo

    Boxing Roo

    Joined Jul 24, 2018
    23 posts, 2 likes
    Catalina 275
    36 Sapphire AU Sydney Harbour
    I had assumed it was the panel over-charging and shorting the old (Bosch deep cycle) battery cells, but I could be wrong. I replaced it with a new Century N70ZM MF. Just glad the old battery died when it did because the next time I took Sapphire out was with a bunch of people a week later on Boxing Day (so would have been gutted to have missed the start of the Hobart race). Will revert back Re my panel.

    I reckon a GSP-12 will fit easily and should be flat enough to go neatly onto your companionway slide.
     


  7. Codybear

    Codybear

    Joined Jun 6, 2016
    105 posts, 10 likes
    Catalina 275
    US Wilmette, IL
    Not sure how you ended up with a Bosch when Catalina went cheap and tossed in an Excide for me. Possibly the boat was shipped around the world without. Regardless, do you know what the water/acid level in the Bosch when you pulled it out? If it was being overcharged, I would expect the level would be low. I just don't know if 0.78 amps even at 15.3 volts is enough to overcharge a group 27 battery, especially considering it is not a 24/7 charge. Further don't know if the 15.3 spec'd volts is with/without the diode which can cause a 0.2 to 0.7 volt drop on its own. I'll certainly do some testing when I get mine.

    Reconnecting the panel, keep an eye on the new battery level and/or if it feels hot. You could also check the voltage of the battery after it has settled for a couple of hours and see if it seems high.

    Glad you lucked out on the timing with your dead battery. There's trade offs carrying around a second battery, but unlike a motorboat, you at least have an alternative means of getting around. When I was without the tranny for a week, I used a SUP paddle to get myself far enough through the harbor to the wind. Coming back I was able to coast into the slip. Paddling a C275 wasn't fun, but it was doable.
     


  8. Boxing Roo

    Boxing Roo

    Joined Jul 24, 2018
    23 posts, 2 likes
    Catalina 275
    36 Sapphire AU Sydney Harbour
    Naturally I assume that paddle is stored alongside a board in the tunnel bunk designed/promoted to fit an SUP (not). Didn't check the old battery water/acid level before getting rid of it, but will take your advice post reconnection of panel to the new. Even with my light use of power, argument can always be made for a spare starter. In any case my brother (a live aboard cruiser) keeps telling me I need a fridge. I tell him the beer is colder on my boat. He doesn't argue with that.
     


  9. Codybear

    Codybear

    Joined Jun 6, 2016
    105 posts, 10 likes
    Catalina 275
    US Wilmette, IL
    But you wouldn't need to worry about your battery overcharging if you had a fridge. Being dead every time, yes. Previously owning an older ski boat, I've always liked the peace of mind of a second battery. But I wonder if its possible to get away with one of the little Lithium jump starters. Been tossing the idea around for a couple of years for my wife's car, but I'm not convinced they will start a car when a completely drained battery is fighting for the electricity. Maybe the battery cannot draw the jumper down quick enough, but anytime I see an unrealistic demonstration with the battery disconnected, I'm unimpressed. Better demonstration would be, after leaving the headlights on all night in 0 F temp, starting with a jump pack that sat out in the cold in the glove box.
     



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