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Old 22-01-2012, 13:03   #1
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DIY Solar Panels

I am thinking about making some solar panels for my boat
The reason is so that I can make them to fit the available space on
my Bimini/Radar arch
Does anyone know of a Web Site where i can get information on how to make Marine quality solar panels??
Thanks
Chris
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Old 22-01-2012, 13:26   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exmoor
I am thinking about making some solar panels for my boat
The reason is so that I can make them to fit the available space on
my Bimini/Radar arch
Does anyone know of a Web Site where i can get information on how to make Marine quality solar panels??
Thanks
Chris
Sorry, you mean from scratch , like as in start with a bucket of sand !
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Old 22-01-2012, 13:31   #3
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Re: DIY SOLAR PANELS

It can be done, though not exactly from sand.

Here's a start on reading. A google search "DIY solar panels"

Google
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Old 22-01-2012, 13:34   #4
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Re: DIY SOLAR PANELS

I saw some info on Ebay
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Old 22-01-2012, 14:01   #5
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Re: DIY SOLAR PANELS

...I did this in the '80's.I made an awful mistake,too-I stuck them onto a piece of styrofoam with silicone!...the chips get REALLY hot and melted into the styro....the box I put it all in was too hot too,due to the airspace it contained.You would want to study and copy the commercial ones as well as you could!Soldering on those wires-I would look for and find the flat-metal tape.Not wire.And maybe get a good butane-powered soldering tool that I didn't have then.I bought spare chips of course,they are breakable and you'll want to practise.Unless you are very careful,a homebuild will be bigger,simply because soldering by hand in short lengths is hard without melting the last connection...ie:some heat sinking needed or you'll loosen the last connection you made!
I used the polycrystalline chips...which I don't think are as good as the monocrystalline.I gave it away after rebuilding it to a "working" condition,it was such a bulky mess.
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Old 22-01-2012, 14:03   #6
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Re: DIY SOLAR PANELS

It isn't 'easy', but doable. Look on YouTube for people who have done it.

Get polycarbonate or some type of shatter proof glass, with a hard backing. Solder the cells in line correctly, and then seal and silicone them up. Put some aluminum frames on it.

Unless you have an exotic shape that you are looking for, the commercial ones from sunelec.com and other places are probably the easy way to do this.
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Old 22-01-2012, 14:12   #7
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Re: DIY SOLAR PANELS

I've looked into it. As SunDevil said, it's not easy but doable. I haven't actually built any myself.

Here is some links that might be helpful for you if you still decide to go for it.
Solar Forum
Everbright Solar
Solar Panel Frames
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Old 22-01-2012, 15:20   #8
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Re: DIY SOLAR PANELS

They're all over the web, some folks being informative others selling you their guides and materials.

If you need a really odd layout, it might be worthwhile. But if you can use a conventional layout, consider: You've got to solder ribbons front and rear, interwoven, on every panel. You've got test every panel as you add more. You've got to somehow SEAL all those panels in between a tempered glass sheet--of the right kind of glass--and the right backing, which needs to also be an insulator. And then frame it all so it won't stress or crack. There's a LOT of handwork to be done and at that point, you might as well gamble on the cheap panels being marketed by all sorts of no-name shops.

Unless, of course, you need some really odd shape.
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Old 22-01-2012, 16:17   #9
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Re: DIY SOLAR PANELS

I've made a couple. Made a few mistakes. The present one I use, I made a year and a half ago and it still works well. Its only 30 watts and now I plan on making a couple more. The cost was about $40. I leave it on my boat all summer. I don't know how well it would stand up to saltwater though since I'm on freshwater. The cells need to be well encapsulated to the glass to seal out any moisture. The encapsulant can be very expensive, however I found a website where guys have experimented with clear UV stabilized elastimer roofing compounds. This works really well. A good website is Solar Forum - Discussion Board on Solar Panels and Solar Power Products
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Old 22-01-2012, 17:37   #10
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Re: DIY SOLAR PANELS

As long as you're doing DIY, why not this?
A lot more power available...

https://www.google.com/webhp?hl=en#p...w=1280&bih=646
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