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Charging Boat Batteries with Solar Panels: Usage and Quantity
Although batteries are powerful items that can give us plenty of energy, it will be rendered as helpless when once it loses its energy and there is no charger. Yes, a charger is one of the factors why batteries are extremely useful. The presence of a charger allows us to recharge them over and over again, thus its repeated usage. Hence, we should get the best charger possible for our batteries.
Since chargers play a big factor on a battery’s lifespan, manufacturers provide release all kinds of chargers, allowing us to pick the best one for our needs. The same goes with boat batteries, and solar panels become of the ways we can charge them. How does solar panels fare when it comes to their function?
Will a solar panel charge a marine battery?Before we talk about solar panels and its relation to marine batteries, let us get to know solar chargers first. As the name states solar panels are panels that rely on sunshine to charge the batteries. They are perfect for those who want to save on electricity and rely on natural resources. However, it should be noted that the result is not as instant and as quick as electric chargers. The slow charge is perfect if you would like a maximum result that will give little to no damage to the battery, though.
Types of Solar Panels
There are two types of solar panels you can use. There are:
1. c-Si panels. c-SI panels, or crystalline panels, are probably the most common solar panels used by many people. They are large in appearance, and they are mostly used to charge heavy loads such as TV and radio. The panels’ main components are quartz sand that are grown as crystals then refined into tiny materials that are “combined” with the chemicals.
2. a-Si panels. The main highlight of a-Si panels, or amorphous silicon, is its flexibility. The panel can be folded or rolled without damage. They are also effective when it comes to low sunlight, as they do not suffer from sudden voltage drop when it happens. The panels are also less expensive compared to c-Si panels, making it perfect for battery maintenance or low amperage charging.
Solar panels and boats
Seeing the definition of solar panel and its types, is it possible to use them on boats? Yes, it’s possible to do so! It’s a bit tricky, but there are ways where we can use the batteries on the boats. Of course, the result depends on the type of boat the panel will charge.
Cruise or race boats. Solar panels are possibly best to use with cruise and race boats. These solar panels can help the boats to prolong their battery’s life, sometimes as long as an extra day. In fact, with the right amount of panels and proper way of charging, the boats might not have to use the engine at all for the charging job.
Other boats (small boats). Small boats can also use solar panels. Just like cruise and race boats, solar panels can help fully charge small boats’ batteries until the end of the day. Of course, to have them properly charge the batteries, the boat owners will need to provide the solar panels with a regulator in the circuit section.
Can you use a solar panel to charge a deep cycle battery?Yes, you can use a solar panel to charge a deep cycle battery! Although you will need to depend on the amount of light and the weather during charging, a solar panel can be a great natural source that would cost you little during charging (although the set up can be a bit pricey).
To use solar panels for deep cycle charge, you will need the panels, the battery, and a charge controller (solar regulator). Here are the steps to do it:
1.Place the panels on the area that is exposed to the sun. make sure the location is strategic enough so that the panels can receive enough and proper sunlight.
2.Once the panels have been placed properly, attach the solar regulator (charge controller) to the solar panel. Solar charger is what we call a regulator, as it allows the charging process to happen when the battery needs energy. It is also the one that cuts off the charging process when the battery is full. Hence, a solar regulator is pivotal for the process.
How many solar panels does it take to charge two batteries?Although it’s not impossible to charge batteries using one solar panel only (or if the solar panel is small), it will take quite some time if the battery’s capacity is quite large. If you want to get the maximum result from the solar panels, there are some things that you should take note of. They are:
The Amount of Sunlight
The amount of sunlight is definitely a pivotal factor when it comes to knowing the number of solar panels you will use. After all, the amount of sunlight is the main factor that will determine the amount of energy you will get. If you get lots of sunlight, you won’t need to purchase lots of solar panels. However, if you get little sunlight, it’s best to get lots of solar panels.
The Battery Type
There are different kinds of batteries with different qualities. There are inexpensive but efficient lead batteries, then there are also more expensive but higher-in-quality lithium batteries. How the battery performs during charging depends on the quality of the battery, so you should take the battery into consideration.
The Battery’s Capacity
The last but not the least is the battery’s capacity. The bigger the capacity is, the more solar panels you will need.
From the information above, we can conclude that solar panels can be used to charge boat batteries to the point where the batteries can run perfectly without the engine charging them. However, the amount of solar panels needed will depend on the battery and amount of sunlight we will get. Once you know the amount of sunlight you will get, the type of battery, along with its capacity, you will be able to purchase the panels necessary for your charging process. So how many panels do you think you will need?