Vlog 251: The Bright Side of Life

Yes, this is a long video indeed. It covers the complete installation and configuration of an additional 540W solar panel (I said 550 in the video but it’s 540) along with two new Epever Tracer MPPT solar charge controllers and all the wiring etc.


00:00 Introduction

01:18 Why add more?

02:47 Where to put the new panel

04:09 Which panel?

04:41 How to mount it

05:23 Precision engineering

07:05 Installing the panel

11:41 Wiring the panel to the engine room

15:46 Why two new solar controllers?

19:09 Installing the new MPPT controllers

20:16 Installing ancillary wiring bits

23:19 Explaining the wiring

28:19 Switching it all on

35:25 Configuring the controllers with a laptop

40:51 The most exciting bit of all

Link to buy the mop! (Amazon affiliate link): https://geni.us/CtC_SolarMop

Solar panel (Canadian Solar 540W) bought from Bimble Solar. Controllers and wiring miscellany bought from Photonic Universe. Screws from Wickes.

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  1. Are you curious as to how well your solar would have done during the heatwave we have just experienced?

    • Well from a sunshine point of view it would have done very well – lots of bright sunshine = lots of solar power. However, solar panels don’t like getting hot so that would have had some impact, however I don’t have any hard facts about to what degree a temperature rise limits solar output. I presume the panel manufacturers must know that kind of thing, so maybe it’s listed on their pages.

  2. So, cruising over, boat has been winterised, what to do now to keep occupied on these darker days? Think I’ll start your vlogs from the beginning David. That’ll keep me amused and occupied until spring and cruising time. All the best.

  3. Well done David.
    What an excellent solar setup you now have and so proficiently installed.
    I look forward to your thoughts on its performance over winter.

  4. Thanks David. Not too long for me, just right in fact. Really enjoyed your ‘power trip’.
    Tony, Johannesburg.

  5. Most informative and interesting David, plus very entertaining as usual. We had 2 solar panels plus bits and pieces fitted during the summer to save running the engine and using up diesel and racking up non cruising engine hours. Best thing we ever did.

  6. Nice job, David. Look forward to progress reports as you pass through winter, especially since winter power needs are generally heavier than during the months of longer days and better weather.

  7. Tony Mears, Palm Harbor, FL, US

    David, you’ve come a long way! Five or six years ago, I used to cringe as I watched you use (or mis-use) tools, drill holes, and otherwise persuade things to stay in place and operate as you needed them to. Now, you ‘almost’ look like an expert. Congratulations on the installation.

  8. This was a fantastic job you performed David, your DIY skills have reached new heights ! I commend you on your cold forming capabilities in manufacturing the steel brackets for the new panel; this brought me back 32 years ago, when I had to learn Setback and Bend Allowance in A&P school. One thing that springs to mind to me is . . . this installation certainly required quite a bit of research. I’m fairly capable with basic electrical knowledge, but even I would have questioned just how you would properly tie in an additional panel to an existing system ? Also, I would not have known about an added device which allows for two separate controllers to communicate with one another. The consideration you explained about one set seeing the morning rising sun before the other, wouldn’t have initially occurred to me. So . . . I’m left to wonder where you obtained all of the necessary technical information? Also, how did you arrive at the choice for the particular controllers you purchased? To say you did an excellent job is an understatement of gross proportions. I’m sure you are looking back now and asking yourself . . . why did I pay that gentleman to install my first set of panels? I truly marvel at your capabilities David, you are capable of tackling perhaps far more than you realize. I really enjoy these technical tasks, and they make for great viewing. Now . . . might I suggest once again a potential future video along the same lines. I really think you could do a most excellent 30 to 45 minute video on overhauling your Eberspacher system. Cheers from Avondale, Arizona and may you have an enjoyable as well as fully charged 12 volt winter :O

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