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We who are about to shop...

The nice people at Integrated Power Systems ( in British Columbia seem to be on the ball when it comes to helping me make purchasing decisions, so I am forgoing "cheapest" for "seems to have experience and knowledge I lack". Because I am making decisions that have to stand for the duration, one hopes, of a multi-year cruise (ditto), I remain, while not averse to price points, not entirely focused on them, either.

Now, all this unaccustomed fiscal splashing about is happening because I appear to have a welder who wants to weld (yes, incredible but true), and who has already been aboard and has already had a constructive idea or two about how best to bang together Alchemy's Arch of Sunny Amperage. But, he said, and I understand why, that in order to get the curves right, he needs an example of one of the solar panels ( in question (see picture above).

Well, shipping is expensive. Why not get a bunch of stuff now and assemble as we go?

After some 1-800 discussion, the fellows at IPS are recommending four of the above panels, a MPPT controller called an Outback FM-60 ( and a multi-function monitor for the battery banks (yet to be purchased) called a Bogart Pentametric (

Throw in various cables, clamps, connectors and shunts and a lot of installation and we're well on the road to energy independence.

I won't even get into the money I'm spending, but anyone who owns a boat will have gotten used to the "rapid transfusion" aspect.