A close examination of the wire between the solar panel and the crocodile clips revealed that it was damaged. Yesterday I didn’t notice two places where the protective coating had been breached. The copper wire had become so hot that the filaments fused together. Consequently, the wire was weakened, and I would not like to trust it for long-term use.
Having explained the situation to the Ebay seller, he said he would send me a replacement panel. Meanwhile I have made a mahogany frame for attaching the new panel to ‘Sandpiper’s’ sliding hatch.
When away cruising I shall be more self-sufficient by having an independent means of topping up the battery. I am hoping the 10 watt panel will be adequate for the task. Obviously I must take care not to overuse the Autohelm.