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Solar panel to operate a kayak trolling motor.

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  • Solar panel to operate a kayak trolling motor.

    Hello everyone, I'm a newbie here and was wondering if someone here can help me figure out what wattage panel to use to operate a trolling motor on my kayak. I can't go too big but at least if I can't not run it 100% off the solar panel maybe I can maintain the battery for a longer time. Below is pretty much the battery I'll be using a 100Ah Deep Cycle battery.


    Hour rating and divide it by the amperage draw. For example, for a motor that pulls 20 amps at medium speed using a 100 amp hour battery, the run time would be:

    [I]100 amp hour rated battery / 20 amp draw = [B]5 hour run time

    Any info will be greatly appreciated

    David[/B][/I]

  • #2
    You do not want to cycle the battery all the way down to 0%. It will not last very long if you do.

    Even a deep cycle battery should not be discharged regularly below 50%.

    So your minimum would be 200AH. A solar panel that you can mount on the kayak is not likely to give you a noticeable increase in range.
    SunnyBoy 3000 US, 18 BP Solar 175B panels.

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    • #3
      The only way to use the panel on a kayak is mount it vertically and use it as a wind sail.
      MSEE, PE

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      • #4
        You can find a number of discussions, some quite long, in older threads on this forum by doing a Google search for [I]solar canoe site:solarpaneltalk.com[/I]

        The built in search function in the Forum software is next to useless for this purpose.
        SunnyBoy 3000 US, 18 BP Solar 175B panels.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by inetdog View Post
          The built in search function in the Forum software is next to useless for this purpose.
          You can say that about most of the features on this forum. I know for fact it is not the VB Software hosing the forum.

          MSEE, PE

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Spymaster View Post
            Hello everyone, I'm a newbie here and was wondering if someone here can help me figure out what wattage panel to use to operate a trolling motor on my kayak
            Panels are pretty cheap. There are a few lightweight unframed panels out there that are either on fiberglass (stable) or on plastic (needs additional backing.) Unfortunately they are more expensive than the cheap grid tie panels, but are lighter which will be critical for a kayak.

            To make a significant difference you are going to need about 50% of your AVERAGE (not peak) draw. So if your peak is 20 amps you might see an average of 10 amps if you motor then drift for a while, so you'd need an output of about 5 amps. If you are going full speed all the time, then you need 10 amps. So one or two 100W Sunpower flexible panels would be ideal there. Since you will never get what you expect in terms of power, go up rather than down on the number of panels (based on deck space and cost.) Your typical 10ft REI kayak will fit 2 panels easily; 3 or 4 if you don't mind hanging over the edges by about six inches.

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