Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Solar panel fitted..

If anything it was even windier on Bank Holiday Monday than it was on the previous day when I had the trip to Snowhill [clicky] and with the tides still not optimal, and a busy day of non sailing bits and pieces to do I settled for an early trip to the boat to fit something I've been waiting to do for ages...  the solar panel...

The panel is only a little 5w one as my electrical needs are very light and all I basically want to do is trickle charge the battery... On Pap (my old boat) I had a couple of 2w panels doing the same thing and they were more than man enough for the job, 5w is a step up.... 

I bought the panel from Friendly Green Giant [clicky] who trades on eBay and has a good reputation with the guys on the PBO forum so I think my £10 is safe, and if all goes tits up then i've not really lost anything! 

First job was too replace the tiny cable that came with the panel with a slightly longer one..  I ordered some 1.5mm2 two core cable (5 mtrs), and I also bought myself a soldering iron from Toolstation as the exisiting cable was soldered on...   not used one in years so it was with some trepidation I fired it up (alright, plugged it in ) and when it was hot applied the end to the existing solder and removed the cable, solder is funny stuff, one minute it's metal and the next minute it's liquid I'd forgotten how quickly it changes.... I also removed the old alligator clips and put them to one side, I was plannng to re-use them.

I then carefully laid a blob of new solder on the new cable ends attaching it to the terminals. To finish I put the panel in the window and tested with a multimeter to ensure all was as it should be - it was... result...! Last job was to run some amalgamating tape round the junction box to give some additional water proofing...

Once on the boat I knew where it was going to go, so I ran the cable through the exisiting cable gland, cable tied the new cable alongsde the VHF cable, and then ran both through to the cabin via the cockpit lockers...

Connection to the battery was simply  a matter of crimping the aligator clips to the ends of the two core, and then putting a small feeder cable to each quick release clamp on the battery which I could then attach the alligator clips to (the clips stopped the quick releases from closing). 

Checked again with multimeter and all good, and when I left the voltage was already showing 12.9V (was 12.8V)..

The panel is atttached with some bungy, we'll see how that goes... I may need a more permanent solution...  but either way, job done!


  1. I think a solar panel is the handiest thing you can fit to a small boat. Mine has certainly been well worth the expense. I don't have to worry about the state of the batteries at all these days.

    1. Mark - all I need to do now is think of something I can plug in that uses power! :o))

    2. Steve, Depth Sounder, Cabin and Nav lights, VHF, mobile phone charger, tablet.... Once you have power on board there are lots of things you can fit that uses it!
      All pretty useful, but the phone/tablet charger and the VHF tend to just beat the depth sounder in priority. :-)

    3. Yeah - I've got a USB charger ready, but most of the time my phone is already charged when I'm on board, as is the HUDL.. for VHF I have a handheld also already charged (I've got a fixed job I can fit some time - probably next winter).. no cabin lights/depth yet.... so basically I have a shed load of power, and nothing to use it on.. :o))