I am designing a boat that is operated by two solar cell banks which in turn charge two separate batteries. I would like to run the boat with one bank while the other is charging, and once the one running is below a certain voltage, the other bank comes on and the cycle is repeated. I have tested my set up and each bank provides enough power separately to propel the boat at a slow speed(1-1.5 m/hr).

Any ideas about the hardware set-up particularly switching from one battery to the other.

Thanks in advance for all the help.


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  • \$\begingroup\$ To few data and I think its belonging in the SE:EE group \$\endgroup\$ – MatsK Aug 14 '17 at 20:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why waste power charging and discharging batteries when you have sunlight? If the panels can supply enough power then run the boat directly from a panel, if they can't supply that much power then your batteries aren't going to charge fast enough for your plan to work. I'd use one panel to drive the motor directly and one to charge a battery, when the direct sunlight voltage drops below the battery voltage use the battery. You can do this with two diodes and it halves the weight of batteries needed. \$\endgroup\$ – Andrew Aug 15 '17 at 10:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also as a general design note, you're going to have trouble with any wind. If your top speed is that low it wouldn't take much wind to push you sideways or backwards. \$\endgroup\$ – Andrew Aug 15 '17 at 10:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Andrew, Thanks for your comments. It is my fault that I have not provided all the information. This was my first post and I had no idea how much or how little information I should provide. The boat is a submarine! During daytime it will use the on board solar panels to navigate via GPS and on board sensors for estimating weather conditions to dive or remain on the surface. At night or during adverse conditions it will dive to about 10 ft and propel itself with the second battery which as I mentioned in my previous post will have been charged. It will also have 12 copper/aluminum batteries oper \$\endgroup\$ – John S. Colonias Aug 15 '17 at 23:49

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