Wednesday 29 April 2015


I'm sure a proper electrician could have installed it in one fifth of the time. But I managed it in the end. The solar system is up and running!

We fed the cables from the solar panel through one of the mushroom vents. It's 6 mm squared cable, which equates, as it happens, to about 6 mm diameter. It doesn't flex willingly but, what with me pushing from above and my best beloved pulling from below, through it came. I ran it in a groove in the ceiling T&G, but my first attempt at holding it in place with a strip of hardwood profile didn't work out, as the cables sit very slightly proud of the groove. In the end I secured the cables with some short Nº4 screws. They sit between the cables with the countersunk head providing support. No doubt very bad practice, but it was what I had to hand, and an examination of the cable construction has assured me I'm in no danger of cutting the insulation and causing a short. I'll have to see whether I can think of a more sound solution, and also how to cover the cables neatly.

The positioning of the devices has worked out well. The Tracer charge controller sits beside my Stirling AB gizmo, with short leads running from the Tracer's output to the lugs on the Stirling from which heavy cables run to the battery bank. There's a small recess in this cupboard between the gunwale above and the curve of the swim below, so the units are nicely back out of harm's way. A 30 Amp circuit breaker sits neatly in the +ve line.

At the top of the cupboard I've mounted the MT50 meter for the Tracer, and I've fudged a mounting for my new SmartGauge.

In the absence of a suitable instrument box, I notice that the foam in which the SmartGauge had arrived was a snug fit and very resilient. So I cut out the section, glued it to a piece of thin ply, and screwed that to the back of the cupboard. The gauge fits very well without any screws. The manual says it should be connected to the battery bank with minimum 1 mm squared cable. I found the most cost effective and practical solution was mains flex from B&Q – the wires have a 1.5 mm profile. I've managed to push it through the hole where all the cables go to the batteries from the Stirling gizmo.

But connecting that is a job for tomorrow.


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