Saturday, June 15, 2013


I installed the completed solar bimini on BIANKA back in 2010 though I did not finish posting about it until 2012. At the time I did a quick job of connecting the 48 volt Kanaka panels to the  Morningstar ProStar PS-15M-48V Charge Controller using the connectors that came with the panels to get the system up and running. In this case it was using  spade lugs connected to a two screw barrier strip and then down to the controller. I taped the whole thing in some electrical tape. This worked fine for awhile and it was always my intention to make things a little neater and more weatherproof at some point. Well, that project got moved up on the list this spring when I saw this:

I found that one of the solar panel connections had corroded and broken away from the spade lug.  

Indeed all the connections showed severe corrosion issues. Definitely time to replace this "temporary" setup. So that's what I did. I've mentioned before I really like Anderson Powerpole Connectors   for a lot of connections on board for a number of reason. One is they have wiping contacts that help clean the contact surface when connecting and disconnecting. Plus they are compact and can be ganged together. Another advantage is they have color coded cases available:

Since I'll be connecting 48 volt solar panels it is a good idea to follow the Anderson color code for their Power Poles. For 48 volts the recommended color is blue. I used it above for the positive 48 volt panel connection. This helps avoid confusion with the 12 volt panels that are also part of BIANKA's solar bimini.
Another thing with Anderson Powerpoles it is also easy to make up "two fer" cable harnesses so that in this case I can connect two separate solar panels to the same solar charge controller. This ability to quickly connect and disconnect the connectors helps in troubleshooting or taking voltage and current measurements of the panels.

As is the Anderson Power Poles are not particularly waterproof. So what I usually do is fill the back end of the connectors (where the wire enters) with Marine GOOP and then cover that with some electrical tape. Another wrap of electrical tape around the connector case joint ensures even more protection from moisture.    
With the new connections more waterproof than my previous installation I should not have to revisit this area of my electric propulsion charging system for long time.


Arby Bernt said...

Hi Mike,
You might consider filling the Anderson connectors with dielectric grease before assembly. McMaster-Carr seels these connectors (search "modular connector")in many different flavors. I've always bought the 30a versions of inserts for this size connector, as they're made of much thicker material than the others.
Crimp, no solder, as salt air will turn lead to powder.


Capt. Mike said...


I too like to use the 30 amp versions of the powerpoles and always crimp using a proper crimper. I think I would need to be careful with the dielectric grease to avoid losing the adhesiveness of the Marine goop I use to seal the back of the connectors. Good idea though.