Solar Panel Connector Switch- July 17th 2015

Back in March when the Kyocera Solar Panel was installed on our Gemini sailing catamaran, we had not acquired a switch to de-power the solar panel from the MPPT power controller.

Kyocera 255

Kyocera 255

The MPPT (power regulator between the solar panel and battery bank) is powered by the battery bank, not by the solar panel. So, for the MPPT to not get scorched by unregulated incoming solar power, the batteries have to remain on- until the solar has been disconnected. Once the need to re-energize the batteries, the sequence must be followed- batteries on, then power up the panel.

As a result, when we needed to turn all the power off from our batteries, we had to unplug the solar panel connector first. Over time, repeated “plug-unplug” could not be good for the plug / connection wiring. So, we needed a switch.

Kyocera Solar Panel positive wire connector plug

Kyocera Solar Panel positive wire connector plug

There were numerous less expensive alternatives to a marine grade battery switch. The preferred inexpensive version could have been an inline 30 amp fuse assembly. But every one I found had 12 gauge wire leads. Due to the wiring run distance, I had to maintain 10 gauge (10 being larger than 12 in gauge terminology). To have inserted a smaller wire, into the circuit, would have created resistance and thereby voltage loss.

Blue Sea Systems m-Series Battery Switch On/Off

Blue Sea Systems m-Series Battery Switch On/Off

What the hay. We now have a $30 marine grade switch with tinned ten gauge wire connector fittings which were $1.75 each. Having been to multiple hardware stores and a NAPA auto parts store, I found the switch version I needed at West Marine.

Did I pay more for the switch by buying at West Marine, than if ordered via the web? Yes, probably 20% more. But, shipping fees would have quickly over run the savings on that item.

Another Yacht A Fun upgrade was done.   Meanwhile, Diann was working on more teak refinishing.

Comments 1

  1. I’m really glad to hear you’re using solar power for your yacht! I’m a huge fan of green energy and this is a huge deal to me – glad my favorite blog is also doing it! Keep it up!

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