Fishing & Boating News

Solar Systems Harness the Power of  the Sun To  Maintain 12V and 24V Battery Systems on the Water or at the Dock

by: John Bell,

(Jun 6, 2015 - Southlake, TX) A majority of  recreational, sportfishing and
sailboats rely on 12V battery systems comprised of banks of one, two or four
batteries connected in parallel.

While many batteries sold today are labeled “maintenance free”, boaters
shouldn't be lulled into complacency by assuming these batteries to be self
maintained‹a mistake that could turn an outing on the water into a
frustrating and dangerous situation.

Batteries normally discharge themselves over time at a rate of 1% to 15% per
month, and require regular routine maintenance to ensure that battery
performance is within 80% of its rated CCAs (Cold Cranking Amps). CCA is the
rating current a lead-acid battery can deliver at 0 °F (?18 °C) for 30
seconds and maintains at least 1.2 volts per cell (7.2 volts for a 12V
battery).

As most boats spend a majority of their lives on the water‹either motor
boating, fishing, sailing or at the dock‹ land power sources to operate plug
and play battery maintenance systems aren't always practical or available.

So, many boaters are opting to harness the power of sunshine with the
installation of solar panels for regular and routine battery maintenance.
Many of today¹s solar panels, which utilize UV rays, are so efficient they
typically require only a couple of hours of sunlight.

It's important to choose the right solar panel for the amount of power
needed and the size and place of the mounting location. In the past, users
had to struggle with panels that were too big, too bulky and too fragile.
It's equally important to find solar products that have the capability to
desulfate and maintain all types of 12V and 24V (for larger yachts) lead
acid battery systems, including conventional flooded, AGM and VRLA types.

Recommended is a solar system utilizing higher efficiency, higher quality
crystalline silicon cells that pack more power per square inch than standard
amorphous "thin film" solar cells.  Typically "crystalline" solar cells have
a footprint that is 50% smaller than the amorphous cells that are commonly
used.

Today,s solar products can be found for any 12V or 24V battery and typically
come in 2, 5, 6 and 25-watt versions.  The better systems are protected with
a clear, polyurethane plastic coating mounted on a laminated aluminum
substrate to make them virtually indestructible and impervious to weather,
aging and damage from bumps and knocks.

A popular choice is the SP-5 manufactured by PulseTech® Products Corp., a
compact, battlefield tested, military-rated solar panel which provides a
full 5-Watts of power. It offers clean, renewable energy for boats and
vehicles that are stored outside and unable to hookup to outlets. Half the
size of comparable solar chargers with multiple installation options
(including an ability to maintain up to 4 12V batteries connected in
parallel), the SP-5 replaces the power loss from electrical accessories that
occurs even when the ignition is turned off and its patented Pulse
Technology removes damaging sulfate crystals from the battery plates.

As a battery ages through use or sits unused for periods of time, lead
sulfate crystals can enlarge and build-up excessively to the point where
they create a physical barrier across the surface of the battery plates.
Before long, this build-up can become so dense that a battery is no longer
able to accept or release energy

PulseTech’s exclusive, patented Pulse Technology cleans (desulfates) the
plates and brings the battery to a like-new state capable of holding a full
charge. Pulse Technology has proven to extend lead acid battery life up to
five times what is typical (most consumer batteries have 24-30 month
warranties on a pro rata basis).

Not only does poorly or inefficiently managed battery maintenance lead to
early failure and unnecessary replacement costs but can also lead to
“emergency” and expensive jump starts or tows.  Downtime is money lost and
premature battery replacements ‹especially for fishing carter captains and
commercial fleets‹ are a budget breaker.

The owner of a commercial marine business in British Columbia commented:
“I’ve worked in this industry for over thirty years, and I know first hand
the necessity of reliability on the water. They (PulseTech) are increasing
battery reliability and reducing costs.”