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Old 15-07-2009, 04:07   #1
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Best Place for Solar Panels and Wind Gen?

I am thinking of adding solar and wind but don't want to have to buy an arch at 5000 before I even begin. I have a bimini but don't know if it is strong enough. Any suggestions?
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Old 15-07-2009, 05:23   #2
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I have a Bimini but don't know if it is strong enough.
if you posted more information and perhaps a boat picture to your CF photo gallery we could all look at and maybe give a few tips. If you don't know how strong the Bimini is then I am unclear how we would know either since we never saw it. It could be possible to make it strong enough.

It seems last week you didn't have a boat but now you do.
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Old 15-07-2009, 08:04   #3
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Bimini

In the process of buying boat and have not yet picked up so do not know. But with bimini mount do you have to aken down your solar panels every time you take down the bimini or take them down for strong winds?
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Old 15-07-2009, 08:24   #4
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Our first boat had the panels on the bimini and we could take off the canvas without removing the panels. I never removed the panel even when we had the hurricane. The Bimini was made to support the panel.

Most biminis fold up and are not built to hold a panel, but they can be made without the expense of an arch. The design of your cockpit canvas and structure could be expensive. It could easily cost more than $5000. Good cockpit canvas is highly desirable. It's where you live the most. Full enclosures with sun screens and a dodger I think is very important. Quality materials are desired due to the prolonged sun and UV exposure. A solar panel and or windgen are nice since they make electricity without running an engine. They are not cheap either. You are paying up front so you don't have to listen to the engine later. Learning how to make and use power is required before you get into solar panels. Just adding them alone won't assure the desired result.

The system as a whole costs a LOT of money and to focus on one part is a mistake. There is a very large assortment of threads here on electrical use and management. It would be best to start at the bottom before getting into where the solar panel goes. A study of the various boat systems also might help you with selecting a boat. Evaluation of the systems as they are will help determine what else needs to be done.
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Old 15-07-2009, 10:01   #5
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Have been Reading

I have been reading for some three months now. That is why rather than gen I decided on wind and solar. I assume that the wires all go through the tubing to some sort of pulse regulator which then feeds the battery and then the electrical components on board run off the batteries. Is this right. I need a simple do it yourself guide.

thanks for taking the time to respond.
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Old 15-07-2009, 10:16   #6
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Look into getting an arch made of sch 40 aluminum pipe. It may cost you much less than a big fancy stainless job. There was even a guy on eBay who was doing these. He may or may not still be doing it. Ours was bought off a guy who got one of these, but it was wrong, so they just sent another out. The pipe is 1.9' in diameter, and quite strong. I don't think it will look as good as stainless in five years, but it was way less than $5k

Check with your local marine fabricator, or welder. You may be surprised as to the cost of one made locally in Stainless or aluminum.


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Old 15-07-2009, 10:40   #7
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solar bimini

Our solar panel is our bimini. At 60"x29", a large 130 watt panel shades the entire helm area--a cloth bimini would be redundant at that point. Total cost, including a custom fabricated arch made of 1.5" stainless tubing, the panel and a charge controller was $3,200 US. I did all the wiring myself. Adding a wind generator was another $1,200, entirely self-installed.
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Old 15-07-2009, 10:43   #8
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mparent,
I have a bimini on my Cal 39 and am planning on adding solar panels this summer. A Tarten 40 two slips down has a similar bimini rig and he mounted solar panels on top as a DYI project. I wish I had photos to share but ostensibly, he added two support tubes secured to the deck and then built a mount on top using West Marine tubing and support brackets. He then added two solar panels and ran wiring through the tubing to a controller and then the batteries. Great rig without the 5K expense and he reports that it works flawlessly. Survived a 40k blow in the Atlantic coming up from the Bahamas this spring.
jim
I plan on doing the same setup to my boat.
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Old 15-07-2009, 11:48   #9
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Why bother with all that extra work? I have a 25 watt flexible solar panel affixed to my dodger using heavy duty velcro tape. I plan to add three more and daisy chain them. There is room for another on my dodger and I will put two more on the cabin top, although you can put them literally anywhere. If blows a gale just detach and fold them up until the wind subsides. They cost around 350 (U.S.) apiece, plus another 90 bucks for a charge controller and the Y-cables to daisy chain the panels.

I'd love to see a technology where the sails themselves act as solar panels.
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Old 15-07-2009, 12:09   #10
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I guess it depends on your present and future energy needs. I have two 120w panels. The cost ~$350 each. You would need 10 of the 25w flex panels, and a place to put them. They would cost $3500.

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Why bother with all that extra work? I have a 25 watt flexible solar panel affixed to my dodger using heavy duty velcro tape. I plan to add three more and daisy chain them. There is room for another on my dodger and I will put two more on the cabin top, although you can put them literally anywhere. If blows a gale just detach and fold them up until the wind subsides. They cost around 350 (U.S.) apiece, plus another 90 bucks for a charge controller and the Y-cables to daisy chain the panels.

I'd love to see a technology where the sails themselves act as solar panels.
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Old 15-07-2009, 12:31   #11
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mparent, what boat are you buying and what are you planning on doing with it?
In some cases a small generator like the Honda will serve you much better, at far cheaper cost than the figures in the thousands give here.
Depending on where you sail a wind generator could be totally and utterly useless, or not.....
many many cruisers supplement their charging with the venerable Honda 2K
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Old 15-07-2009, 12:41   #12
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I found a very simple way to set up solar for cruising Mexico was to run SS tubing between the stanchions, connected with U-bolts to aluminum bar stock attached to the stanchions, and then attach the solar panels with rail clamps. I have 4x75w panels set up this way, with two tubing runs per side. They ride two to each side normally, and have a tilt axis then to catch better sun. There is also enough space to put all 4 on one side depending on sun angle, but one needs to go on the cabin top. They rode the trip down and back up on the Baja Bash this way with no problems. To avoid visibility problems they can be stowed horizontally, moved to vertically if deck space is needed. And, of course, removable pretty quickly and stowed below if things get too exciting. If you only need a couple of panels, then less tubing will work. Wiring is external and runs through an aft hatch so that the panels can be moved. Coiling and using reusable wire ties keeps the wiring neat, but you do need to keep an eye on it when going forward. Dramatic increase in AH/day by using deployable panels without a lot of effort.
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Old 15-07-2009, 13:08   #13
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Shading is a problem with bimini mounts. Shading just 1/2 of one cell can reduce the whole panel output by HALF. Optimum mounting gets them out of any shade...arch or stern pushpit flip up mounts are best for maximum output.

From Kyocera:
Partial-shading even one cell of a 36-cell module, such as the KC120, will reduce its power output. Because all cells are connected in a series string, the weakest cell will bring the others down to its reduced power level. Therefore, whether of one cell is shaded, or a row of cells is shaded as shown above, the power decrease will be the same and proportional to the percentage of area shaded, in this case 50%.

When a full cell is shaded, it can act as a consumer of energy produced by the remainder of the cells, and trigger the module to protect itself .The module will route the power around that series string. If even one full cell in a series string is shaded, as seen on the right, it will likely cause the module to reduce its power level to of its full available value. If a row of cells at the bottom of a module is fully shaded the power output may drop to zero. The best way to avoid a drop in output power is to avoid shading whenever possible.
More here...http://www.kyocerasolar.com/learn/modules.html
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Old 15-07-2009, 13:09   #14
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I guess it depends on your present and future energy needs. I have two 120w panels. The cost ~$350 each. You would need 10 of the 25w flex panels, and a place to put them. They would cost $3500.

Chris
Where did you find 120w panels for 350?
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Old 15-07-2009, 13:35   #15
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eBay, where else

Solar Cynergy 120 Watt 24 Volt Solar Panel Brand New! - eBay (item 260445963583 end time Jul-20-09 08:32:35 PDT)

I called and asked for that price. $305 + $40 each for delivery. I just have them up, so no long term reports. They do flex a bit when unmounted, but I have them securely mounted with two perpendicular aluminum pipes, and good quality saddle clamps, so they are secure ( I hope). I will report as to their stated output vs real world when I have them for awhile. I have seen some smaller panels, such as the 65w Kyocera ones, mounted on a single perpendicular stainless tube - they are too big for that, they would flex too much for my taste.

I know I was taking a bit of a chance with the unknown supplier, but I had to try. Not recommended yet, until I have them for ahwile.

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Where did you find 120w panels for 350?
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