Author Topic: Simple solar panel mount  (Read 3431 times)

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Offline Frank

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Simple solar panel mount
« on: November 29, 2016, 05:37:30 PM »
Hose clams to stern rail
Fully adjustable
God made small boats for younger boys and older men

ralay

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Re: Simple solar panel mount
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2016, 08:23:11 PM »
We had our solar panels attached the same way initially, but the clamps broke really fast.  They were the type of clamps with perforations in the band and I suppose the constant wiggling and vibration work hardened the thin metal.  Woody's lashings lasted way longer than the hose clamps.  Maybe the kind with a solid, dimpled band would work better.

Offline Frank

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Re: Simple solar panel mount
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2016, 08:58:02 PM »
No doubt!!

I just loved the simplicity of his mount. Better lashings would be great!

The boat is a Catalina 25.
Owned by a young male nurse....he came over 3 yrs ago in early fall and stayed until early summer. Great kid!! Everyone liked him and "the locals" excepted him (huge here)

Went back to make more $$ and as of yet....hasn't returned.

It's been "on the hard" at the boat yard for 2 full seasons now.
Been through a hurricane ok.

A great lad....fun to be around at beach bon fires and just plain happy to be here.
Hope he returns this year!!!
« Last Edit: November 29, 2016, 09:09:11 PM by Frank »
God made small boats for younger boys and older men

lastgreatgeneration

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Re: Simple solar panel mount
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2016, 07:56:28 PM »
Thanks for the ideas. I too am working on installing a 100 watt renology panel to my stern rail. I may think of elevating it. I originally planned on attaching it directly to the stern pulpit.

Offline Frank

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Re: Simple solar panel mount
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2016, 09:39:24 PM »
"Tilt to the sun" is important!

Controller is important too
MPPT is preferred

I run my engel 24/7 and never plugged in....

Have fun!
God made small boats for younger boys and older men

lastgreatgeneration

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Re: Simple solar panel mount
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2016, 02:41:09 AM »
I have a "sunsaver 10", a renology panel, 100' of marine grade 14 gauge wire. Also I have some of those white plastic rail mounts pictured above. The sunsaver controller was highly recommended elsewhere. I could do well with a 30 watt panel, the 100 watt is total over kill for me. Go big or go home, right? Basically I need to just keep the batteries charged. I use mostly my battery operated head lamp to read by/ kerosene lamp. Very seldom I use the 12 volt lighting. I do still have the BEBI dusk till dawn light on the backstay that has been on every day since last march 15th. The BEBI seems to draw the majority of the power. Also perhaps I have a voltage leak somewhere...

Offline CharlieJ

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Re: Simple solar panel mount
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2016, 10:51:08 AM »
Morningstar is a very good company. I also use the Sunsaver. When I was bringing the boat around from the Chesapeake, my controller quit working. .I called Morningstar to see about a new one, and was asked for info from the back. Read the guy the info and was told i still had two weeks of warranty left, where did I want the replacement sent? It was drop-shipped ahead of where I was, at no charge whatsoever.

I cruised for 2 1/2 years with just a 32 watt panel. Had to plug in to recharge bats twice, due to extended bouts of full cloud. .Of course I am extremely frugal in my electric use, but I did recharge computers, and phones from the panel. All of my inside lights are LED.

I've used a Bebi Owl as an anchor light for quite a while now. Sad thing that the Fijiian government screwed Micheal and Kendra, . Ten years of work and many good products gone, not to mention the jobs the workers had.
Charlie J
Sailing on S/V Tehani
Meridian 25

On Matagorda Bay
On the Redneck Riviera

lastgreatgeneration

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Re: Simple solar panel mount
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2016, 01:10:40 PM »
Morningstar is a very good company. I also use the Sunsaver. When I was bringing the boat around from the Chesapeake, my controller quit working. .I called Morningstar to see about a new one, and was asked for info from the back. Read the guy the info and was told i still had two weeks of warranty left, where did I want the replacement sent? It was drop-shipped ahead of where I was, at no charge whatsoever.

I cruised for 2 1/2 years with just a 32 watt panel. Had to plug in to recharge bats twice, due to extended bouts of full cloud. .Of course I am extremely frugal in my electric use, but I did recharge computers, and phones from the panel. All of my inside lights are LED.

I've used a Bebi Owl as an anchor light for quite a while now. Sad thing that the Fijiian government screwed Micheal and Kendra, . Ten years of work and many good products gone, not to mention the jobs the workers had.

I wish I had bought more when they were in business. I wouldn't know where to start if I needed to replace it. Some of the masthead units are $200!

Offline CharlieJ

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Re: Simple solar panel mount
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2016, 02:15:55 PM »
Morningstar is a very good company. I also use the Sunsaver. When I was bringing the boat around from the Chesapeake, my controller quit working. .I called Morningstar to see about a new one, and was asked for info from the back. Read the guy the info and was told i still had two weeks of warranty left, where did I want the replacement sent? It was drop-shipped ahead of where I was, at no charge whatsoever.

Yeah. Me too. Ab well. Was someone on here set to replicate but that seems to have died aborning. Sad either way.

I do not put anchor lights at mast head. Wrong place in my estimation. Ok if hou are anchoring where ships run but I tend to be in shallower water. I want the late night dinghy crew or the early morning fisherman to see me. So I hang it about a good reach up from the back stay. Used to use the forestay til I got a face full of insects drawn to the light. Now. They just fall onto the solar panel :)

I cruised for 2 1/2 years with just a 32 watt panel. Had to plug in to recharge bats twice, due to extended bouts of full cloud. .Of course I am extremely frugal in my electric use, but I did recharge computers, and phones from the panel. All of my inside lights are LED.

I've used a Bebi Owl as an anchor light for quite a while now. Sad thing that the Fijiian government screwed Micheal and Kendra, . Ten years of work and many good products gone, not to mention the jobs the workers had.

I wish I had bought more when they were in business. I wouldn't know where to start if I needed to replace it. Some of the masthead units are $200!
Charlie J
Sailing on S/V Tehani
Meridian 25

On Matagorda Bay
On the Redneck Riviera

Offline CharlieJ

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Re: Simple solar panel mount
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2016, 02:30:37 PM »
 Don't know how that got all screwed up. Here's what I posted

Yeah. Me too. Ah well. Was someone on here set to replicate but that seems to have died aborning. Sad either way.

I do not put anchor lights at mast head. Wrong place in my estimation. Ok if you are anchoring where ships run but I tend to be in shallower water. I want the late night dinghy crew or the early morning fisherman to see me. So I hang it about a good reach up from the back stay. Used to use the forestay til I got a face full of insects drawn to the light. Now. They just fall onto the solar panel :)


And here's a pic
« Last Edit: December 12, 2016, 02:32:21 PM by CharlieJ »
Charlie J
Sailing on S/V Tehani
Meridian 25

On Matagorda Bay
On the Redneck Riviera

lastgreatgeneration

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Re: Simple solar panel mount
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2016, 02:50:20 PM »
Don't know how that got all screwed up. Here's what I posted

Yeah. Me too. Ah well. Was someone on here set to replicate but that seems to have died aborning. Sad either way.

I do not put anchor lights at mast head. Wrong place in my estimation. Ok if you are anchoring where ships run but I tend to be in shallower water. I want the late night dinghy crew or the early morning fisherman to see me. So I hang it about a good reach up from the back stay. Used to use the forestay til I got a face full of insects drawn to the light. Now. They just fall onto the solar panel :)


And here's a pic

Wow, that's a lot of moths. I just finished my solar panel mount today. I used 1/8" aluminum angle for the mounts. I put the mounts exactly in the middle, but I may decide to move them to one end so it can fold down flush with the stern rail. I still need to solder the wires to the solar quick connect and then I'll be in business. I have been running the Honda generator lately, that keeps the 200watt heater and the 120watt electric blanket running. The generator will run all that and charge the boat pretty much on idle at the Eco setting. I don't know how much more cold weather I can take before I go into a marina. I like mine mounted on the back stay, plus I get cockpit lighting.

Offline CharlieJ

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Re: Simple solar panel mount
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2016, 03:30:53 PM »
That's one nights worth, in Wax Lake outlet, in Louisiana. Actually a small bayou off the outlet called possum Bayou. Nice snug anchorage way out of current and traffic..

Anchored there once before, with the light on the forestay. Had to use a plastic dust pan to scoop bugs off all the way around the boat- side decks, bow were totally covered, just like that... Here's what just one looks like
Charlie J
Sailing on S/V Tehani
Meridian 25

On Matagorda Bay
On the Redneck Riviera

lastgreatgeneration

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Re: Simple solar panel mount
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2016, 04:21:12 PM »
That's one nights worth, in Wax Lake outlet, in Louisiana. Actually a small bayou off the outlet called possum Bayou. Nice snug anchorage way out of current and traffic..

Anchored there once before, with the light on the forestay. Had to use a plastic dust pan to scoop bugs off all the way around the boat- side decks, bow were totally covered, just like that... Here's what just one looks like

Charlie,
My girlfriend is an aquatic entomologist, she pointed out that that's a mayfly. Mayflies have aquatic larva. Most moths do not. Interesting  tidbit.

Offline CharlieJ

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Re: Simple solar panel mount
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2016, 04:26:05 PM »
LOL-- well this Mayfly was in July  ;D ;D Kinda pretty individually. NOT en mass!!

Kinda like June bugs- sometimes we call them "February bugs" around here
Charlie J
Sailing on S/V Tehani
Meridian 25

On Matagorda Bay
On the Redneck Riviera

Offline CharlieJ

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Re: Simple solar panel mount
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2016, 05:13:58 PM »
Oh- and tell your girlfriend thanks. I like knowing the correct names for things
Charlie J
Sailing on S/V Tehani
Meridian 25

On Matagorda Bay
On the Redneck Riviera

Offline Cyric30

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Re: Simple solar panel mount
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2016, 04:01:35 PM »
Down in the Delta here we get Mayfly blooms that are so big and dense they show up on radar as rain showers, so i understand where your coming from CJ

Offline CharlieJ

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Re: Simple solar panel mount
« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2016, 05:12:21 PM »
:) This anchorage is definitely in the Delta. About a days run west and somewhat south, of Morgan City!
Charlie J
Sailing on S/V Tehani
Meridian 25

On Matagorda Bay
On the Redneck Riviera

lastgreatgeneration

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Re: Simple solar panel mount
« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2016, 12:50:42 PM »
I would rather be down there with the mayflies than deal with the cold up here! I'm going to try to go on a vacation somewhere warm hopefully in January or February. It has been very windy and cold in the anchorage.

Offline Junkrig

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Re: Simple solar panel mount
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2016, 10:28:56 PM »
With only a 40w panel, I made a mount similar to the DIY Atom Voyager Solar Tracker, info & plans available on their site http://www.atomvoyages.com/cys/222-the-solar-tracker.html
Fairly easy to make, & I've been happy with it, & impressed with how sturdy it is in strong winds.
cheers

Offline w00dy

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Re: Simple solar panel mount
« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2016, 11:11:26 AM »
Looks nice, JR. Our first solar installation got kicked down to us from a fellow boater at our marina. I climbed his mast and did a little maintenance in exchange for an older 75 watt panel and charge controller. I thought about fabricating a similar, single-pole tracker mount based on Baldwin's design, but decided the panel was a bit too large to mount on a single pole without beefier scantlings.



I ended up finding an old flounder boat light rail at the local scrap yard and picked up the aluminum tubing for < $10. I fabricated a crude hinge mechanism using the scrap aluminum and used aluminum rivets to fasten it all together. Para-cord lashings with hardwood spacers in between the tubing connected the new solar panel mount to our mainsheet hoop.



When we decided we wanted more power generation, several years had passed. The original mount held up well, despite being held together with nothing more than a rivets and lashings. I put a lot of thought  into deciding whether or not to implement a wind generator that I had picked up cheaply. Because we don't have a typical square transom, our stern real-estate is limited and coming up with an arragnement that would work took some effort. I was able to use a free cad program, Sketchup, to help integrate measurements that I took to try several different layouts.



One neat feature of Sketchup is the ability to simulate sunshine angles throughout the day and seasons to model shadowing. This was key in my identification that despite the large gains in generation that a wind generator would provide, it would constantly detract from our solar panel's output due to shading.
This reason, among others including added complexity and safety concerns, swung us over to simply purchasing another panel.

Amazingly, the cost and efficiency of solar has improved so much that I was able to find a panel of matching size that was rated at 100w, bringing our total to 175w, which is about right for our current usage and capacity. Using some tubing connectors, some u-bolts, and a long piece of stainless tubing that I bent into a U shape, I re purposed the original mount to serve as a rack for the new solar array.



After sailing with this configuration for a year, I'm pleased with the results. Though the array only articulates along the horizontal axis, it still allows us to adjust the angle enough to capture the low winter sun and improves efficiency greatly. I plan to add more bracing tubes in the future to help make the structure more rigid, but I may wait until we add panel #3 ;)



« Last Edit: December 29, 2016, 11:15:08 AM by w00dy »