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Solar on H38 - How much do you have?

Apr 2, 2021
153
Hunter 38 Ft. Pierce
I'm looking at putting solar on my H38. I'm thinking of 4 x 180W panels over the davits just aft of the bimini. The panels are 58.4"x26.6". I plan on wiring in a 2x2 configuration, with the two panels on each side paired with an MPPT controller.

What do you have and how has it worked for you? What equipment do you have and where is the boat?
 
Dec 15, 2019
41
Hunter 49 San Diego
We just installed a Renogy system. Four 100 watt flexible panels on the Bimini. Ran the proprietary wiring inside the arch to an MPPT controller. We also mounted and plugged in a monitoring screen. The whole kit was plug and play. We only needed to make the wiring from the controller to the batteries. Renogy even sells the fuse blocks and fuses. Super easy to install. So far it is working beyond our expectations. We have a Hunter 49 with two refrigerators and two freezers. We are able to run them 24/7 on a mooring at Catalina while keeping the batteries charged to the fourth bar without running the generator. We also run lights, toilet, water pump etc. for short periods of time. We were worried about voltage loss because our wire run is really long, but no problem. The system works like a charm.
 
Apr 2, 2021
153
Hunter 38 Ft. Pierce
We just installed a Renogy system. Four 100 watt flexible panels on the Bimini. Ran the proprietary wiring inside the arch to an MPPT controller. We also mounted and plugged in a monitoring screen. The whole kit was plug and play. We only needed to make the wiring from the controller to the batteries. Renogy even sells the fuse blocks and fuses. Super easy to install. So far it is working beyond our expectations. We have a Hunter 49 with two refrigerators and two freezers. We are able to run them 24/7 on a mooring at Catalina while keeping the batteries charged to the fourth bar without running the generator. We also run lights, toilet, water pump etc. for short periods of time. We were worried about voltage loss because our wire run is really long, but no problem. The system works like a charm.
Wow, that's a lot of gear on 400W nominal!

What do you have for a battery bank?
 
Apr 2, 2021
153
Hunter 38 Ft. Pierce
Roger that, thanks. I have 2 x 8D, less than one year old and probably room for a 3rd under the nav station seat.

Do you have the standard hunter fridge/freezer? If so, do you know the energy draw?

I've run a few planning worksheets, but not sure I believe what they are telling me.

If I could do 2 x 180W or 200W panels and make enough power that would be great. I'd rather mount 2 panels than 4.
 
Dec 15, 2019
41
Hunter 49 San Diego
Yes, standard two stand alone fridges and two ice box type freezer/fridge units. Together, they can draw about 15 amps, but they are rarely cycling at the same time. I'm 5-10 amps in the positive for most of the day with the solar panels. In the afternoons, that goes up. overnight my state of charge sometimes drops to three bars, but is back to four by the next afternoon. I was very skeptical based on what I have read over the years, but the panel technology must have improved a lot recently because this system is powerful. One thing to watch out for is running your inverter. I noticed that devices running on the inverter, like the TV or charging the ebikes, suck a lot of energy from the batteries. Our main goal was to be net positive while enjoying full refrigeration on the mooring. This system does that.
 
Apr 2, 2021
153
Hunter 38 Ft. Pierce
Yes, standard two stand alone fridges and two ice box type freezer/fridge units. Together, they can draw about 15 amps, but they are rarely cycling at the same time. I'm 5-10 amps in the positive for most of the day with the solar panels..... One thing to watch out for is running your inverter. I noticed that devices running on the inverter, like the TV or charging the ebikes, suck a lot of energy from the batteries. Our main goal was to be net positive while enjoying full refrigeration on the mooring. This system does that.
Thanks for the great information. I'm trying to convert everything to 12v. I have a 600W "pure sine" inverter on the "Entertainment" circuit, its not the standard Hunter option. It appears this inverter was solely to run the Bose surround sound system including the giant subwoofer (really?!?!?!?!). Ultimately I'll reconfigure so I have a 12v TV, ditch the Bose junk, and have an inverter to power some outlets/microwave as needed. For right now the only thing I need the inverter for is my coffee grinder for 12 seconds every morning. I have a separate plug in mini-inverter for that.

I have the optional Panda 4kW generator and I can charge, run water heater, a/c etc off that but I prefer to not use it if possible (so far successfully only run it to test it).
 
Dec 15, 2019
41
Hunter 49 San Diego
We have a generator, too. Much nicer not to have to worry about using it to keep the batteries charged. once the batteries get low, it takes a lot of run time to get them back up to four bars. Constant worry when trying to enjoy a vacation. The solar works silently all day. No need to worry about state of charge.
 
Dec 19, 2006
5,727
Hunter 36 Punta Gorda
I have solar and FP 4200 and telling you you need to run that Gen it is not good to not use it
I run it before going to bed top off batteries and charge anything needs charging but use it often
with a load even if only for a hour and it will stay good
 
Dec 15, 2019
41
Hunter 49 San Diego
Good point. We use ours when we pump up all of the toys. The 110 volt pump is way faster Than the 12 volt pump. We also use it when running the vacuum or the microwave. So we crank it up daily on trips when we need it, but don't have to listen to it drone on for extended periods during battery charging. I also don't like the idea of running an 8kw generator to charge the batteries at low amperage for long periods of time during acceptance and float stages. It's really overkill in this situation. The solar supplies plenty of power with little effort.
 
Apr 2, 2021
153
Hunter 38 Ft. Pierce
I have solar and FP 4200 and telling you you need to run that Gen it is not good to not use it
I run it before going to bed top off batteries and charge anything needs charging but use it often
with a load even if only for a hour and it will stay good
I plan on running it for 20 minutes once a month. Long enough to get it up to temperature and burn off any moisture, and move the fuel out of the lines.
 

senang

.
Oct 21, 2009
200
hunter 38 Monaco
I have 2 Sunpower 327W hard panels in // on our boat with a Morningstar Tristar MPPT 45 controller, sailing in the Med. Installed house battery cap is 3x180 Ah. It is nice to run fridge and freezer non stop in the summer without having to worry about battery voltage.

Edit: Start battery is charged from house battery via an Echo charger.
 

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Dec 15, 2019
41
Hunter 49 San Diego
The peace of mind that you get from solar is really valuable. I used to feel like I was on the clock as soon as I stopped the generator. Now, I go hiking, biking, swimming or whatever all day without ever wondering about my batteries. It’s really liberating. Like I mentioned earlier, I was skeptical about installing solar, but I'm really glad I did it.
 
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