Topics

Grounding for solar panels / solar arch

Mike Longcor (SV Trilogy)
 

Hi Everyone,

I've done some searching but haven't found a definitive answer. I'm curious for those of you with solar panels mounted on an aft arch (mine is aluminum)... do you have any grounding in place? My panels and arch have been in place for roughly two years and I haven't noticed any problems. No other equipment on the arch at this point. Does grounding just protect in the event of a panel failure/short/leak?

The MPPT controller is grounded to the generator. Is this OK?

Can anyone recommend some tests I could perform with the voltmeter to make sure everything is OK?

Thanks,
Mike
SV Trilogy - SM23
Opua, NZ

Alan Leslie
 

Hi Mike,

We have a stainless arch with 3 solar panels on it and none of it is grounded. You may know also that the masts and rigging on an SM are not grounded either.
The only ground (Bonding) connections on our boat are metal items that are in continuous contact with salt water i.e. the main engine, generator, head pumps, salt water manifold. The reason for this is corrosion prevention, nothing to do with electrical protection. I don't think it's necessary to "ground" the solar controller; it's not in contact with salt water and therefore bonding is unnecessary.
Remember this "ground" is only for corrosion protection, it's not like the ground you have in hour home electrical supply...which really is ground (stake in the earth).
Cheers
Alan
Elyse SM437
G21 Opua NZ

Mark Erdos
 

Hi Mike,

 

We too have an aluminum arch. It is not bonded since it is not in constant contact with saltwater.

 

IMO – the MPPT should not be connected to anything other than the solar panels and the batteries. This is consistent with the “floating ground” design of Amel.

 

 

With best regards,

 

Mark

 

Skipper

Sailing Vessel - Cream Puff - SM2K - #275

Currently cruising - Vista Mar, Panama

www.creampuff.us

 

From: main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io [mailto:main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io] On Behalf Of SV Trilogy
Sent: Sunday, January 26, 2020 5:33 PM
To: main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io
Subject: [AmelYachtOwners] Grounding for solar panels / solar arch

 

Hi Everyone,

I've done some searching but haven't found a definitive answer. I'm curious for those of you with solar panels mounted on an aft arch (mine is aluminum)... do you have any grounding in place? My panels and arch have been in place for roughly two years and I haven't noticed any problems. No other equipment on the arch at this point. Does grounding just protect in the event of a panel failure/short/leak?

The MPPT controller is grounded to the generator. Is this OK?

Can anyone recommend some tests I could perform with the voltmeter to make sure everything is OK?

Thanks,
Mike
SV Trilogy - SM23
Opua, NZ

Matt Salatino
 

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

~~~⛵️~~~Matt

On Jan 26, 2020, at 4:32 PM, SV Trilogy <svtrilogy53@...> wrote:

Hi Everyone,

I've done some searching but haven't found a definitive answer. I'm curious for those of you with solar panels mounted on an aft arch (mine is aluminum)... do you have any grounding in place? My panels and arch have been in place for roughly two years and I haven't noticed any problems. No other equipment on the arch at this point. Does grounding just protect in the event of a panel failure/short/leak?

The MPPT controller is grounded to the generator. Is this OK?

Can anyone recommend some tests I could perform with the voltmeter to make sure everything is OK?

Thanks,
Mike
SV Trilogy - SM23
Opua, NZ

Mike Longcor (SV Trilogy)
 

Thanks guys! Glad to hear the arch and panels were set up properly. I think I'll remove the MPPT grounding to the generator and call it a day. I was unsure of making that connection in the first place.

On a side note, and likely covered in a seperate topic... are all your seacocks/through hulls bonded or isolated? Some of mine look like they were connected at one point but now I find cut grounding wires in some places... no signs of corrosion but obviously I can't see the whole picture.

Thanks,
Mike
SV Trilogy - SM23
Opua, NZ

On Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 1:18 PM Matt Salatino via Groups.Io <helmsmatt=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

~~~⛵️~~~Matt

On Jan 26, 2020, at 4:32 PM, SV Trilogy <svtrilogy53@...> wrote:

Hi Everyone,

I've done some searching but haven't found a definitive answer. I'm curious for those of you with solar panels mounted on an aft arch (mine is aluminum)... do you have any grounding in place? My panels and arch have been in place for roughly two years and I haven't noticed any problems. No other equipment on the arch at this point. Does grounding just protect in the event of a panel failure/short/leak?

The MPPT controller is grounded to the generator. Is this OK?

Can anyone recommend some tests I could perform with the voltmeter to make sure everything is OK?

Thanks,
Mike
SV Trilogy - SM23
Opua, NZ

David Kurtz
 

I’m following this topic with interest.  First, the seacocks need to be bonded and protected by the sacrificial anode.  I’m a new Amel owner and learning about its electrical system right now.  I’m a retired electrical contractor and engineer and I will say that I’ve not been a fan of floating ground systems.  However, Matt Salatino has it right... if it’s not broke....  I’m not about to change anything until I have a full understanding of the systems.
--
Dave Kurtz
SM2 #380
S/V Celtic Cross

Detroit, Michigan

Alan Leslie
 

Hi Mike,
All METAL seacocks and thruhulls need to be connected to the bonding system.
All METAL that is in constant contact with seawater must be connected to the bonding system to avoid corrosion.
Sometimes you don't see the corrosion until it is too late i.e. the fitting fails catastrophically - you don't want that to happen!
Cheers
Alan
Elyse SM437

Mike Longcor (SV Trilogy)
 

Yikes, ok. Thanks Alan. I'll need to remedy this.

Do the metal parts in the exhaust systems qualify for bonding as well then? The muffler on my main engine is metal and the fittings on the generator's nonmetal muffler are also metal. The engine's muffler is bolted to the angle-iron frame, so maybe it's already bonded? I will check. Or perhaps none of this counts as these metal parts and the seawater in contact are isolated, not connected to the rest of the ocean or other parts of the boat? I don't think it would hurt to bond them... would it?

Appreciate the help.

Thanks,
Mike
SV Trilogy - SM23
Opua, NZ

Alan Leslie
 

Mike,

The deal is any metal that is in constant contact with saltwater needs to be connected to the bonding system.

If you have attachments, as you say, on your non metal muffler, they will not need connecting to the bonding system as they are not in contact with saltwater.

You should be able to decide what needs bonding and what doesn't based on the first line above.

You can check if things are bonded or not with a multimeter, one probe on the main bonding connection, or something that you know is bonded, and the other probe on the item in question.

Good luck
Alan
Elyse SM437
If it's bonded you'll read continuity on the ohms range, ie very low resistance...if it's not bonded the reading will be open circuit or maybe many megohms. 

Patrick McAneny
 

I have wondered ,should the  electric motor on toilets be bonded? They have contact with the sea ,don't know if any metal parts are in contact though,like the impeller shaft. My zincs are eroding ,so suspect I have a leak somewhere. Can electric flow from a toilet back to the sea through the hose to the seacock?
Thanks, 
Pat 
SM#123


-----Original Message-----
From: Mike Longcor (SV Trilogy) <svtrilogy53@...>
To: main <main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io>
Sent: Tue, Jan 28, 2020 1:26 am
Subject: Re: [AmelYachtOwners] Grounding for solar panels / solar arch

Yikes, ok. Thanks Alan. I'll need to remedy this.

Do the metal parts in the exhaust systems qualify for bonding as well then? The muffler on my main engine is metal and the fittings on the generator's nonmetal muffler are also metal. The engine's muffler is bolted to the angle-iron frame, so maybe it's already bonded? I will check. Or perhaps none of this counts as these metal parts and the seawater in contact are isolated, not connected to the rest of the ocean or other parts of the boat? I don't think it would hurt to bond them... would it?

Appreciate the help.

Thanks,
Mike
SV Trilogy - SM23
Opua, NZ

David Kurtz
 

Patrick, zincs that are eroding is a good thing.  That means they are providing protection as they are supposed to erode.  It's when corrosion/erosion shows up elsewhere (for example, a pump impeller) that you have a problem.  That means that the pump is not protected by the sacrificial anode.  As for the macerator pump on your heads, I thought those motors were already bonded.  Seems to me I saw a bonding wire on mine, although I'm not on my boat right now.
--
Dave Kurtz
SM2 #380
S/V Celtic Cross

Detroit, Michigan

Patrick McAneny
 

Dave, My boat did not come with electric heads ,so there was no bonding wires going to the head. I realize zincs do erode over time ,but mine are eroding at an accelerated  rate I believe ,which could indicate a stray leak ,finding it is the problem.
Thanks,
Pat
SM#123


-----Original Message-----
From: David Kurtz via Groups.Io <Davidwkurtz@...>
To: main <main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io>
Sent: Tue, Jan 28, 2020 11:35 am
Subject: Re: [AmelYachtOwners] Grounding for solar panels / solar arch

Patrick, zincs that are eroding is a good thing.  That means they are providing protection as they are supposed to erode.  It's when corrosion/erosion shows up elsewhere (for example, a pump impeller) that you have a problem.  That means that the pump is not protected by the sacrificial anode.  As for the macerator pump on your heads, I thought those motors were already bonded.  Seems to me I saw a bonding wire on mine, although I'm not on my boat right now.
--
Dave Kurtz
SM2 #380
S/V Celtic Cross
Detroit, Michigan

Alan Leslie
 

Yes, you should have 3 wires to the motor +24, -24 and bonding (green/yellow)
We have a leak detection switch in the companion way.....not sure if you have that...it can tell you if you have a leak from -ve or +ve to the bonding.
When we have had a leak -ve to bonding, it has always been the head motor that has caused it....proven by disconnecting the bonding wire at the motor, the indicated leak goes away.
Zincs eroding is normal - they should be, as the least noble metal connected to the bonding circuit - if they're not, then you have an issue, as perhaps there is a break in the bonding cct and the zincs are no longer connected....rudder quadrant connection should be checked frequently to ensure that connection si good, if not, it compromises all the bonding on the boat.
Cheers
Alan
Elyse SM437

Patrick McAneny
 

Alan, Thanks for confirming that the toilet should be bonded. My boat did not come with a leak detention device ,wish it had. While eroding zincs is normal ,mine are eroding in about 1/3 the time that is normal. I now believe it is probably the result of the head not being bonded.
Thanks Again,
Pat
SM#123


-----Original Message-----
From: Alan Leslie <s.v.elyse@...>
To: main <main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io>
Sent: Tue, Jan 28, 2020 4:33 pm
Subject: Re: [AmelYachtOwners] Grounding for solar panels / solar arch

Yes, you should have 3 wires to the motor +24, -24 and bonding (green/yellow)
We have a leak detection switch in the companion way.....not sure if you have that...it can tell you if you have a leak from -ve or +ve to the bonding.
When we have had a leak -ve to bonding, it has always been the head motor that has caused it....proven by disconnecting the bonding wire at the motor, the indicated leak goes away.
Zincs eroding is normal - they should be, as the least noble metal connected to the bonding circuit - if they're not, then you have an issue, as perhaps there is a break in the bonding cct and the zincs are no longer connected....rudder quadrant connection should be checked frequently to ensure that connection si good, if not, it compromises all the bonding on the boat.
Cheers
Alan
Elyse SM437