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Old 19-09-2011, 19:48   #1
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Getting Started with Solar

We are ready to add solar, planning 2 panels on the hard bimini, wired parallel, thinking 185 - 215 watt each. Do I need to be concerned about panel voltage? Anything else I should know? And where to get them from? I assume freight is a significant cost to have these shipped.
thanks
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Old 23-09-2011, 05:34   #2
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Re: Getting Started with Solar

I cannot respond to your specific request but I am in the same situation and planning the same configuration although I don't have a hard bimini. I just got a rough quote for a support arch for $1800 which is about twice what I am willing to pay. It ain't gonna be cheap.

Do you already have the hard bimini?
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Old 23-09-2011, 06:28   #3
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Re: Getting Started with Solar

I formed the hard bimini with a cored substrate but still need to create the mounts for it. 13 ft wide by 6 ft long - should give me enough surface for the solar panels.
let me know if you find info on solar panels.
Ed
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Old 23-09-2011, 06:37   #4
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Re: Getting Started with Solar

I am actually thinking this is one of those upgrades that will have to wait.

Did you make your hard bimini? If so, how is the result?
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Old 23-09-2011, 06:38   #5
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Re: Getting Started with Solar

Lowest Prices in Solar Panels, Systems & Inverters
you will not find solar panels cheaper anywhere...
dont think voltage is a worry just make sure to get a charge controller that can handle the total array... dont even think about hooking them straight to the batteries...
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Old 23-09-2011, 08:06   #6
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Re: Getting Started with Solar

can only tell you what we did - we have a soft top and used the bimini sturts and added support to hold 2 cross bars to which the panels are attached - initially we put on 2 130w panels with a 2512 blue sky controller - last year we added a 135w panel and maxed out our controller - we have enough room for one more but unfortunatley will have change out the controller if we do -
we got all our stuff from esystems in ft lauderdale - the first year we were in miami so p/u was easy - last year they shipped to deltaville where we were having some boat work done - so they do ship everywhere and no i get nothing from them except as a satified customer
the panels by the way are kycera (sp) and all look today as good as they looked when we put them on - make sure the panels are marine grade or you will be replacing them shortly - we also do not advise west marine panels - told another cruiser that they had a bad rep for rusting and the controller was not good - he said they were cheaper as he could get a good deal and did - within a couple of months he was in the windwards trying to get west marine to send him a new controller as the one he put on failed and he was having rust problems with the panels
if you are going to be doing serious cruising get quality as the last thing you want to do is try and replace a part when you are out of the country

by the way at times down here we are kicking out 25amps

just our opinion
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Old 23-09-2011, 09:01   #7
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Re: Getting Started with Solar

This solar info. may help.

Solar Panels and Associated Systems
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Old 25-09-2011, 18:03   #8
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Re: Getting Started with Solar

Just a note to also consider adding extra batteries. You want to store all that sunlight. You need to ballance your power making capabilities with your storage. You can make lots of power and if you have no place to store it making it has little use.
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Old 29-09-2011, 12:40   #9
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Re: Getting Started with Solar

Thanks for all the info.
I added 3 big gel cell batteries last year - love them, never run out of electricity now but this is because we have a long run on the motor before we get out of the ICW. Will start looking at charge conrollers next.
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Old 29-09-2011, 14:15   #10
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Re: Getting Started with Solar

I just went through the same process and ended up buying Kyocera panel and Blue Sky 2512iX controller from E-Marine. No problems whatsoever (other than I missed the fact that the temp sensor was optional, doesn't come with the controller, so had to add that); everything came well packaged, no damage, and as advertised. Had done a lot of looking for those particular components and E-Marine had the best price and came recommended to me by friends (although EcoDirect was about the same prices, but don't know the company).
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Old 29-09-2011, 18:50   #11
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Re: Getting Started with Solar

Quote:
Originally Posted by ADMPRTR View Post
I cannot respond to your specific request but I am in the same situation and planning the same configuration although I don't have a hard bimini. I just got a rough quote for a support arch for $1800 which is about twice what I am willing to pay. It ain't gonna be cheap.

Do you already have the hard bimini?
I modified this idea of a rail over the top of the bimini. I have two 130s attached to it. No problems with it at all, (in 50 knt winds so far). I bought the tubing and had it bent to fit the existing bimini frame.
Where are you located?
Single 210 Watt Top of Bimini Kit - e Marine Systems
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Old 29-09-2011, 20:35   #12
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Re: Getting Started with Solar

Quote:
Originally Posted by JusDreaming View Post
I modified this idea of a rail over the top of the bimini.
We don't have a bimini at all but that looks like a good solution if we did.

Originally I was thinking of an arch Click image for larger version

Name:	Panelmount.jpg
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ID:	32206 but then a friend suggested davits with the panels mounted on them so can I get double duty.
Click image for larger version

Name:	Panels.jpg
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ID:	32207 It actually ends up being a bit cheaper than the arch I was originally quoted.

My only concern is the strength of having a dinghy and the panels on these davits that are only rated to 350lb. It would be an expensive accident if they fell off to pay a visit to Davie Jones Locker. Also, that is a lot of equipment hanging over the side, ready to be bashed into a dock piling, or something...
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Old 30-09-2011, 11:08   #13
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Re: Getting Started with Solar

Quote:
Originally Posted by ADMPRTR View Post
Originally I was thinking of an arch but then a friend suggested davits with the panels mounted on them so can I get double duty.
Does any one have experience with both ways of mounting solar panels visa vie Davits vs Arch?
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Old 30-09-2011, 12:32   #14
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After buying two 100wat pannels on Ebay, I did a selfmade construction so they were placed all the way aft above the backstay.
The construction was solid, but the pannels ended up being mounted very high up, and I almost lost them because I had not secured the construction to sustain heavy roll, after mounting a cross string/wire support it worked. Best electrical thing i ever bought.
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Old 30-09-2011, 13:49   #15
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Re: Getting Started with Solar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailorman Ed View Post
I formed the hard bimini with a cored substrate but still need to create the mounts for it. 13 ft wide by 6 ft long - should give me enough surface for the solar panels.
let me know if you find info on solar panels.
Ed
Sailorman Ed,
I would like more Information on the hard bimini. I think such a thing could work on my Morgan,
Duke
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