A solar panel can provide a near maintenance free solution to keeping batteries charged when unattended. An occasional wipe with a damp cloth is all that is necessary to ensure the panel continues to trickle energy into the battery. Keeping the battery topped up will improve its reliability and can extend its useful working life. Whilst solar panels give their maximum output in direct sunlight, even an overcast day can provide a useful level of charge.
The Nasa marine 12 volt, semi flexible solar panels are robustly constructed on a fibre glass substrate and are protected by a scratch proof transparent Tedlar polymer. Only 3.5mm thick and lightweight, they have no metal outer components to make contact with the surface to which they are fitted. The efficient and stable polycrystalline cells are encapsulated between two tough outer layers so the whole panel is weatherproof and carries a limited one year warranty.
The Clipper wireless wind is supplied with a wireless masthead transmitter, a base unit and a Clipper Wind display unit. The wireless masthead transmitter is powered by an internal battery which is charged from ambient light using a small solar panel. A few dull days will not affect performance. When fully charged, it is capable of two thousand hours of full operation in total darkness. The masthead transmitter sends data wirelessly to the base unit, which is powered by the vessel's 12 Volt supply, the base unit receives wind speed and direction data from the masthead transmitter and sends it to the Clipper Wind display or any other compatible NMEA display unit.
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