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cpt_757

Solar panel system, where to buy?

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Any good place to buy a system with a mounting kit on stanchions or rails.

Looking 50-70W panel with good mounting options.

Thanks in advance.

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if you were on the right-hand coast I'd put in a plug for Hamilton Ferris on the cape. they have a very nifty rail mount that consists of clamps that go on two stanchions, a stainless bar between them, and friction clamps for the back of the panel to go on the horizontal stainless bar. 

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2 hours ago, ryley said:

if you were on the right-hand coast I'd put in a plug for Hamilton Ferris on the cape. they have a very nifty rail mount that consists of clamps that go on two stanchions, a stainless bar between them, and friction clamps for the back of the panel to go on the horizontal stainless bar. 

Thanks, I will check them out.

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You can fashion your own mounting solution as well with off-the-shelf hardware and stainless tubing.  I did this with a 45w panel mounted to my stern pulpit:

gallery_56000_1338_3255659.jpg

I used common SS bimini rail hardware and deck hinges, with a length of SS tube cut to length for the lower diagonal strut.

This summer I'm going to expand on this idea with two larger (100w) panels mounted the same way on either side of the flip-down transom door.

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16 hours ago, zzrider said:

You can fashion your own mounting solution as well with off-the-shelf hardware and stainless tubing.  I did this with a 45w panel mounted to my stern pulpit:

gallery_56000_1338_3255659.jpg

I used common SS bimini rail hardware and deck hinges, with a length of SS tube cut to length for the lower diagonal strut.

This summer I'm going to expand on this idea with two larger (100w) panels mounted the same way on either side of the flip-down transom door.

Thank you,  good idea, maybe mount a panel more desirable location.

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His guy does a helluva job for folks on the Great Lakes:  http://www.custommarineproducts.com/   During the winter when the lakes freeze over you can find him in sunny Tucson.

If you call, then ask for Tom and he will let you know what works for your needs.  

hope this helps, the call and his advice is free.

 

 

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I’ve just seen a boat with its panels mounted with the clamps made for the Magma bbq; clever use of the product. 

 

If you’re in the Keys, contact Alex at Sea Tek 305.942.4026. Sharp kid. 

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On 1/11/2018 at 9:19 PM, zzrider said:

You can fashion your own mounting solution as well with off-the-shelf hardware and stainless tubing.  I did this with a 45w panel mounted to my stern pulpit:

gallery_56000_1338_3255659.jpg

I used common SS bimini rail hardware and deck hinges, with a length of SS tube cut to length for the lower diagonal strut.

This summer I'm going to expand on this idea with two larger (100w) panels mounted the same way on either side of the flip-down transom door.

Could you post info on the mounting hardware? Does your setup allow the panel to fold down?

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This is an "in-progress" photo of my setup. I have since trimmed off the excess polycarb sheeting on the ends and tidied everything up.

125w flexible panel mounted on an aluminum frame welded up by a local shop, with a thin, twin-wall polycarbonate sheet sandwiched between the panel and frame. The polycarb added cooling and rigidity with only ounces of weight. The whole kludge only weighs 17lbs.  Attached to the rail with Seadog generic rail clamps. Detaches in seconds, stows in the quarterberth.

To detach the panel from the frame, I used SS machine screws secured with knobs on the underside. I can remove the panel from the frame in less than a minute, without tools. To fold the panel down against the stern, simply loosen the knobs on the Seadog clamps until it lowers, then re-tighten. Takes seconds.

Solbian.jpg

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We also used the Magma BBQ mounts (dual-mount model: T10-580, $48 on Ebay back then).  This was for a 100W Renogy framed panel mounted to stanchions on an F-31.  

Very similar to zzrider's puctures above -- but using the BBQ mounts instead.  We attached an aluminum slotted/punched flat bar from the mount across the width of the panel to the panel's outside edge, so that the BBQ mount supported the panel's frame via the flat bar, rather than supporting the panel frame only on the stanchion-side (which might lead the panel to twist).  Zzrider's solution seems a bit easier since it just attaches the mount directly to the frame.  The BBQ mount provided a solid mount for light/medium airs using the stanchions only, but to make sure things stayed put in heavier airs or waves, we also added a diagonal leg/strut (tripod style) from the outside edge of the panel down to the hull/gunwhale, so that the panel couldn't swing up/down.  We made the leg adjustable in length so we could angle the panel up/down if needed (though in practice we always kept the panel angled flat).

 

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Whatever you do, don't get lazy and leave flexible panels out when you're not on the boat. It doesn't matter how expensive the panel or how good the brand, nobody has yet invented a clear polymer panel coating that can tolerate more than ~5 years in the sun. 

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1 hour ago, IStream said:

Whatever you do, don't get lazy and leave flexible panels out when you're not on the boat. It doesn't matter how expensive the panel or how good the brand, nobody has yet invented a clear polymer panel coating that can tolerate more than ~5 years in the sun. 

I leave it up all winter to tend the battery. I don't have shore power on the boat. But, UV is weak and the days are very short here during winter. In the summer, I take it down because I race on Wednesdays, so the alternator always tops up the battery.   I usually only put it up when we're cruising.

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I thought I was safe doing that in Seattle, for the same reasons, but started to see degradation in my Renogy flexis within a few years. It's possible this was a manifestation of a defect in their design because the damage was localized and I know they stopped selling those panels due to local overheating in some of their cells. To their credit, they refunded my full purchase price once I returned them. However, I know DDW was also seeing degradation in his Solbians faster than he liked.

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On 3/8/2018 at 9:53 AM, deluxe68 said:

Could you post info on the mounting hardware? Does your setup allow the panel to fold down?

It doesn't fold down; I didn't bother constructing it to fold because I never have a reason to fold it down.  It just stays like that til the boat comes out of the water for the winter.

Mounting hardware is off the shelf bimini bits: deck hinges, hinged rail clamps, a length of 1" SS tube, and eye tube end caps.

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I haven't checked prices since we started a war on imported solar... but I have been happy with Aliexpress solar panels.  So long as you ensure you are getting SunPower cells, these panels can be bought for $1.00/watt or less.  I have had great success going this route and saved at least 3x over Solbian, which uses the same cells.  I've measured my output, and I am getting what I should be getting.  I'm using a custom Genasun charge controller that is made to suit my Firefly oasis house bank.  While I like the Genasun controller, I sort of wish I got a Victron charge controller, as it comes with a nice control interface, which the Genasun lacks.  For that I installed a monitoring system that works well enough but isn't nearly as pretty as the victron panel. 

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On 08/03/2018 at 12:26 PM, Ajax said:

This is an "in-progress" photo of my setup. I have since trimmed off the excess polycarb sheeting on the ends and tidied everything up.

125w flexible panel mounted on an aluminum frame welded up by a local shop, with a thin, twin-wall polycarbonate sheet sandwiched between the panel and frame. The polycarb added cooling and rigidity with only ounces of weight. The whole kludge only weighs 17lbs.  Attached to the rail with Seadog generic rail clamps. Detaches in seconds, stows in the quarterberth.

To detach the panel from the frame, I used SS machine screws secured with knobs on the underside. I can remove the panel from the frame in less than a minute, without tools. To fold the panel down against the stern, simply loosen the knobs on the Seadog clamps until it lowers, then re-tighten. Takes seconds.

Solbian.jpg

does the poly have any effect ont the ammount of output power?

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2 hours ago, Trovão said:

does the poly have any effect ont the ammount of output power?

It's underneath,  not on top,  so no impact. 

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1 hour ago, Ajax said:

It's underneath,  not on top,  so no impact. 

Ah, ok. It wasn't very clear/obvious from the pic. Thanks.

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