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Old 15-02-2012, 08:54   #16
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Re: A Simple Blue Water Solar Bimini Design

Taking a careful look at the photo of your boat it appears that the boat does not have any lifelines, stanchions, or stern or bow pulpits. If you had those, it would be very easy to mount the panels as "wings" off the stern or sides of the boat between stanchions on pivoting mounts. This is a very economical way of mounting panels.

Given the photo and the above, putting up 2 or 3 stainless bows which are only for the solar panels and will not be used for a bimini (post #7) seems to me to be a major visual detractor to the beauty of the boat's clean and classic lines.

In the spirit of keeping the boat from looking very different - I would make suggestions to use a "post/pole" mount off the stern quarter - maybe even two, one on each stern quarter; or mounting the panels on the cabin top, either forward or aft of the mast. They could even be made removable and stored below when the boat is not in use or expecting to be out in rough weather.
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Old 15-02-2012, 10:33   #17
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John,

Congrats on a very impressive solution to the problem, i like your extra supports for the bimini. I think this is the best set up i have seen.

You have got me thinking now....

I do think that it requires a well engineered and strong installation like this to put all that weight and windage up there.

Back to the drawing board........
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Old 15-02-2012, 10:56   #18
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Re: A Simple Blue Water Solar Bimini Design

Thanks John - i learned alot from your photos as well Are your panels adjustable and do you ever adjust them?

Osiris - you're right, there are no life lines or stern/bow pulpit. I removed them all. We use jacklines religiously when at sea ;p i'm considering putting the bow pulpit back on, with just a couple of stanchions, just to keep the sails from blowing off the deck (no roller furling either).

I know the panels are going to detract from the lines, etc......but i'm also going to dig having some shade over the helm. The panels i have are 59x26 inches each.....maybe a bit too big for a post mount.

There will not be any fabric on my bimini - just the panels and a piece of clear lexan in between them.
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Old 15-02-2012, 11:18   #19
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Re: A Simple Blue Water Solar Bimini Design

What reccommendations do you all have in regards to the bases? For the main bow that attaches to the deck, i'm not sure whether it's better to use a 60 degree base, or a 90 degree base and put another bend in the tubing to get to roughly 60 degrees? thoughts?

For the supporting legs, i'm thinking deck hinges rather than rigid bases......just so i have some flexibility as to where they are positioned. I've got to place them so they're not in the way of my jib sheets. Do you all think i'm sacrificing strength by using deck hinges rather than stanchion bases?

Also i can't seem to find bases on line for 1.25 or 1.5 inch tubing.

Finally - to weld or not to weld?
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Old 15-02-2012, 15:16   #20
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Re: A Simple Blue Water Solar Bimini Design

Quote:
Originally Posted by morgan3 View Post
Thanks John - i learned alot from your photos as well Are your panels adjustable and do you ever adjust them?
Morgan,
You're very welcome.....
Two more things for you.....

1) The answer is No....my panels are not adjustable....
For MY application, my opinion was it was not worth the hassle, nor the $$$, nor the horrid look that a complex "adjustable" system would impart on me and my boat....
I had the room for a large array, and the desire for one, so for my application it was a no-brainer....
(others would make different choices, based on their boat and their application....)

Now, there is no question that being able to "point" your panels at the sun give you the most output.....but like everything on a boat, 'ya gotta' make compromises!!!

And, FYI, if you wish to know how much less opitical light energy hits your panels when they're not perpendicular to the sun, just do a quick trig equation....
It is the cosine of the angle between the pefectly perpendicular panel and the sun ....
(As an example, if your panels are with 30 degrees of being perpendicular to the sun, you're getting at least 86% of the light energy to the panel, etc...)

I have found however that some panel (my Kyocera's and some older Shell's are the only ones I've measured) outputs do NOT drop off on a linear scale, based on the cosine of the angle from the sun.....
I suppose this where the actual cell design comes into play...




2) Adequate airflow under the panels, especially for those in hot climates, is VERY important if you want to see rated (or above) outputs.....
I cannot stress enough how hot a panel can get after a few hours of summertime sunshine in the Bahamas, etc....
Hot panels output LESS electrical energy....

Some may think this is obvious, but I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that airflow over the top is of course a given, but it is having good airflow UNDER the panels that can make a big difference....
Sometimes mounting the panels "flush" or with little airflow under them is all you can do, but just understand here is another "compromise"...



I do hope this helps...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 15-02-2012, 15:54   #21
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Re: A Simple Blue Water Solar Bimini Design

I had seen Johns installation before online and loved it so much I had engineered mine to be the same.
When the wrong (Larger & voltage) panels arrived plan "B" kicked in and this is what I finished with.

Solar Bimini - Panel mounted Cruisers & Sailing Photo Gallery.

I would have loved to have gone Johns route, but size & weight of the panels and being on an island in the tropics, and getting no support from the mainland vendor. Does not lend well for easy returns of wrong shipped items.

I'm not complaining really, I got what I had dreamed of doing, just a few years early.

Cheers
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Old 16-02-2012, 10:24   #22
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Re: A Simple Blue Water Solar Bimini Design

wOw! that's a sweet setup caribsailor You've definitely got me thinking big now!

To design my bimini out of 1.25 or 1 inch SS tubing, i'm looking at about 50 feet of material. Which is going to cost me about $400 (but i'm still waiting on an actual quote from the metal shop here in town), plus another $150 or so in hardware and another $100 for a couple bends and welds.

I sent your picture to the local metal shop and we're going to discuss it later today or tomorrow. If i had something like that done, i could probably get away with Aluminum instead of SS - as we'd probably use 2" stock. Then i'd have the whole thing powder coated. I'd actually prefer the painted aluminum look over Stainless. Most of my hardware is bronze and the mast/toe rails/cabin sides are all varnished......so a big SS contraption may look a bit out of place. It would sure be nice to design something that complimented the lines of the boat and fit in a bit.

How much did it cost you to have that Bimini of yours constructed?
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Old 20-02-2012, 13:49   #23
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Re: A Simple Blue Water Solar Bimini Design

Would be curious if anyone has seen or worked with this setup: Arches for Sail Boats | Boat Towers | Towers for Sailboats

Seems like a pretty decent pre-built arch that's easy to install.
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Old 20-02-2012, 15:28   #24
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Re: A Simple Blue Water Solar Bimini Design

Morgan3, here is an aluminum arch made of 3.5 inch schedule 40 tube. Add a frame going forward for the solar panels and you are done.
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Old 20-02-2012, 17:03   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morgan3
Also i can't seem to find bases on line for 1.25 or 1.5 inch tubing.
I have a 1.5" arch, and I'm having a tough time finding fittings for solar mounts. You might want to keep this in mind when you pick your sizing. I've seen several suppliers of 1.25" fittings, but not 1.5". I might have to fabricate something on my own.

Frank
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Old 18-01-2014, 10:46   #26
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Re: A Simple Blue Water Solar Bimini Design

Morgan, did you ever complete the project? do you have photos of the final result? thinking about same (bimini/solar/arch) on a classic boat (LeComte NE38), and one of the concerns is - is it going to spoil the lines and make her look ugly?

thank you!
anton
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