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Old 21-09-2012, 01:22   #1
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Radar - Mast vs. Arch

I'm looking at a Beneteau 461, equipped with an arch with two solar panels with radar mounted in the middle of the arch. My question is, would it be worth it to re-mount the radar on the mast rather than on the arch?
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Old 21-09-2012, 01:28   #2
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Re: Radar - Mast vs. Arch

if it casts a shadow on the panels then most definitely. If you are looking for better range, probably not.
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Old 21-09-2012, 11:40   #3
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Re: Radar - Mast vs. Arch

This is the setup:



I'm guessing that the radar dome would cut off a bit of sun at some point during the day. Good point.

How much more range do you gain from mounting mid mast?
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Old 21-09-2012, 11:55   #4
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Re: Radar - Mast vs. Arch

It is not worth the time and money to change the radar to the mast. If you're really worried about shadowing the panels move them to the bimini. I would not worry about a bit of shadowing. In the islands most of the time you're anchored facing east. Don't think you'd lose a lot the way those panels are mounted.
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Old 21-09-2012, 12:00   #5
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Re: Radar - Mast vs. Arch

Thanks Vasco
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Old 21-09-2012, 14:29   #6
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Re: Radar - Mast vs. Arch

It's a bit hard to tell from that pic, but both the wind gen and the radar look like they will shade the panels. Depending on how the panels are regulated and wired, this may significantly reduce your daily production of electricity. This subject has been covered extensively on CF in recent weeks, so some research might be useful to you.

Moving the radar is an expensive process. I am just now in the process of finding out HOW expensive, for my mast is currently on the ground with a new radar being installed. Our old Furuno died recently... it was mounted UNDER the solar panels. This was good in that it didn't cast a shadow, but when the boat heeled it was blind to leeward. Bad installation!

We have had both arch and mast mounted radars, and I much prefer the mast. It's not a matter of ultimate range, but the ability to see over nearby obstructions (river/canal banks for instance) and I believe, a better view of small targets in big seas.

Cheers,

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Old 21-09-2012, 17:37   #7
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Re: Radar - Mast vs. Arch

Jim, if you wouldn't mind, I'd like to know the ballpark estimate of how much it is to move the radar once you figure it out.
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Old 21-09-2012, 19:13   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate
It's a bit hard to tell from that pic, but both the wind gen and the radar look like they will shade the panels. Depending on how the panels are regulated and wired, this may significantly reduce your daily production of electricity. This subject has been covered extensively on CF in recent weeks, so some research might be useful to you.

Moving the radar is an expensive process. I am just now in the process of finding out HOW expensive, for my mast is currently on the ground with a new radar being installed. Our old Furuno died recently... it was mounted UNDER the solar panels. This was good in that it didn't cast a shadow, but when the boat heeled it was blind to leeward. Bad installation!

We have had both arch and mast mounted radars, and I much prefer the mast. It's not a matter of ultimate range, but the ability to see over nearby obstructions (river/canal banks for instance) and I believe, a better view of small targets in big seas.

Cheers,

Jim
+1. Having had both pole and mast mounted I now would only have mast mounted. The radar is too low in heavy weather on a pole/arch it sees significant more wave clutter and maintaining things like MARPA locks become real difficult. So just when you need it it degrades.

Dave
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Old 21-09-2012, 20:00   #9
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Re: Radar - Mast vs. Arch

Wouldn't worry about it. When you need to replace the radar unit, however, consider placing it on the mast for greater range and keeping the radar's emissions further from your brain and eyes.

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Old 21-09-2012, 20:35   #10
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Re: Radar - Mast vs. Arch

Any shadow that covers a bout half a cell or more will cut the entire panel's output to major extent. If they are wired in series, any shadow on one panel will cut both panels. Try it with something as small as a cell phone or eyeglass case. You'll probably be surprised at the difference in output.

Perhaps it would be easier and cheaper to move the panels to brackets on the aft rails.
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Old 21-09-2012, 20:37   #11
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Re: Radar - Mast vs. Arch

Quote:
Originally Posted by DDabs View Post
Jim, if you wouldn't mind, I'd like to know the ballpark estimate of how much it is to move the radar once you figure it out.
G'Day DD,

My costs would be meaningless to your application. It is highly dependent on the specific boat, local costs for crane hire, riggers hourly rates and all those intangible factors that hype up your final costs.

There are a couple of sorta fixed things, though: the mast should come out to do a good job. I installed my first radar in situ and it worked, but it was a bugger of a job and the cable was never properly secured. A new conduit is usually needed. And in most cases one needs a longer cable, and those puppies ain't cheap!

In our case there are lots of additional jobs being done at the same time, so splitting out costs is hard. If I were you I'd approach a local rigger and get a quote for your boat. It will likely cost more than the estimate, but it is a starting point.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 22-09-2012, 18:39   #12
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Re: Radar - Mast vs. Arch

SailFastTri, I don't really like the idea of having solar panels anywhere but mounted on a secure arch. When I see people who have them on top of the bimini or on brackets on the aft rail, all I can think about is having strong winds or perhaps a wave rip them off.
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Old 22-09-2012, 18:40   #13
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Re: Radar - Mast vs. Arch

Jim, thanks. I guess I'm getting a little ahead of myself... I'm going to need the boat first in order to get an estimate!
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:50   #14
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Re: Radar - Mast vs. Arch

A stupid question from someone who has never had radar on a sailboat. I have seen some domes mounted on the backstay and they were gimballed so they would always be level. Are mast/arch mounted domes also gimballed?
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:13   #15
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Re: Radar - Mast vs. Arch

Quote:
Originally Posted by DDabs View Post
This is the setup:

I see stuff like this all the time.

We made the same mistake on our previous boat with a wind generator.
Cut it off and move the radar. I will make a HUGE difference in your electrical output.
Our radar is on the mast.
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