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Old 18-02-2017, 13:09   #76
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

Finished most of my solar panel installation on my boat. Panels are two Canadian Solar 230 watts each. Controller is an Outback flex max 80. A bit of an overkill, but I had as part of a much larger home system that I took down last year. Currently the panels are wired in parallel. Still need to add some circuit breakers and neaten up the wiring.
Boat is a 1984 Catalina 36. I mounted the panels to the existing Bimini frame and added four more vertical supports. Not as stiff as I would like, but I think it should work. I will post some data as I use the system some more.
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Old 18-02-2017, 13:59   #77
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul54 View Post
Finished most of my solar panel installation on my boat. Panels are two Canadian Solar 230 watts each. Controller is an Outback flex max 80. A bit of an overkill, but I had as part of a much larger home system that I took down last year. Currently the panels are wired in parallel. Still need to add some circuit breakers and neaten up the wiring.
Boat is a 1984 Catalina 36. I mounted the panels to the existing Bimini frame and added four more vertical supports. Not as stiff as I would like, but I think it should work. I will post some data as I use the system some more.
Attachment 141532Attachment 141533Attachment 141534
Looks good, just do not rotate like helicopter, or wag your tail.
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Old 19-02-2017, 01:26   #78
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul54 View Post
Finished most of my solar panel installation on my boat. Panels are two Canadian Solar 230 watts each. Controller is an Outback flex max 80. A bit of an overkill, but I had as part of a much larger home system that I took down last year. Currently the panels are wired in parallel. Still need to add some circuit breakers and neaten up the wiring.
Boat is a 1984 Catalina 36. I mounted the panels to the existing Bimini frame and added four more vertical supports. Not as stiff as I would like, but I think it should work. I will post some data as I use the system some more.
Attachment 141532Attachment 141533Attachment 141534
And you got a bimini into the bargain that won't fade, rip, or jam a zip. Nice job. Let us know how it works. I use a lot of Canadian Solar, we always have a few spares.
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Old 19-02-2017, 22:37   #79
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

Just finished adding arch and new solar panels, regulators. Atlantic arch, 480w panels (4 x 120w) and two bluesky regulators.

The arch was hard work but the rest was quite easy, at this stage im happy with the result, but its early days.

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Old 20-02-2017, 06:05   #80
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Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

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Originally Posted by daletournier View Post
Just finished adding arch and new solar panels, regulators. Atlantic arch, 480w panels (4 x 120w) and two bluesky regulators.

The arch was hard work but the rest was quite easy, at this stage im happy with the result, but its early days.

Very nice, Dale!

I was just looking at the Atlantic Towers stuff and the Miami Boat Show yesterday, and it looks enticing. Would you mind answering a few questions about your setup?
1. Would you still go with Atlantic Towers if you were starting fresh?
2. Did you go with the schedule 40 or 80 pipe? Off the shelf or custom unit?
3. Was the installation relatively simple? Beyond the obvious modifications to your pushpit railing and seating.
4. What is the approximate width of the base of your arch, and across the top? I'm thinking of installing some 340 watt panels from SolarWorld that are +/- 40" wide. Curious if I could fit three of them across without it looking ridiculous. Did you route the wires inside the tubing?
5. How do the davits on the arch work? Is the dinghy high enough that you have a good view aft from the helm?
6. How feasible would it be to hang the outboard motor on the side of the arch?

Thanks, I really appreciate any feedback you care to share. And again, nice work!!

Regards,
David
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Old 20-02-2017, 07:10   #81
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

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Just installed for a gentleman in central florida. 12 of 300w panels, Flexmax 80, 2 of Magnum Energy inverter chargers networked through a modem with a battery monitor and auto generator starter. Panels on each side of the roof are wired series/parallel to series parallel to series to produce 25.5 amps per side as the Flexmax is limited to 64. The inverters are configured master and slave, always on and will produce 33 amps ac. Generator starter is programmed to start at any draw greater than 16 amps for 10 seconds off at less than 13 amps for greater than 15 seconds or at a 55% state of charge and shut off at 90%. Currently 4 of D8's house batterys wired for 24v at 490 amp hours with 245 useable being changed to 2 of lithium iron phosphate at 300 amp hours wired to 24v with 80% of 300 ah useable.
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Old 20-02-2017, 23:33   #82
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davidhoy View Post
Very nice, Dale!

I was just looking at the Atlantic Towers stuff and the Miami Boat Show yesterday, and it looks enticing. Would you mind answering a few questions about your setup?
1. Would you still go with Atlantic Towers if you were starting fresh?
2. Did you go with the schedule 40 or 80 pipe? Off the shelf or custom unit?
3. Was the installation relatively simple? Beyond the obvious modifications to your pushpit railing and seating.
4. What is the approximate width of the base of your arch, and across the top? I'm thinking of installing some 340 watt panels from SolarWorld that are +/- 40" wide. Curious if I could fit three of them across without it looking ridiculous. Did you route the wires inside the tubing?
5. How do the davits on the arch work? Is the dinghy high enough that you have a good view aft from the helm?
6. How feasible would it be to hang the outboard motor on the side of the arch?

Thanks, I really appreciate any feedback you care to share. And again, nice work!!

Regards,
David
Hi David,
1/ my reason for going the alantic arch was it was cheaper than getting a custom ss arch made here in Australia (7-9k aud). The Alantic was still expensive for me due to shipping and all the fees, just to get it through the docks was $1,400aud and that's with out custom fees.
Its a very well made product, if fact its excellent, no complaints regarding quality. So yes.

2/ I went sch 80, wanted the strongest. Off the shelf.

3/ installation was a bitch! But this isnt the products fault. I fitted it practically by myself, its big and awkward. If you had two other guys it wouldn't be that difficult. Only modification was the princess seats at the back. In hindsight I should of got a wider arch and bolted to the outside of the hull, I followed another catalina 470 owners footsteps, after doing it I realized there was a better way. But I still think the way I've done it is ok.

4/ im not at the boat today and cant remember width at the bottom, the top is approximately 2500mm. I'll check measurements and get back to you. Yes I ran the wiring through the front tubing, couldn't get it through the rear tubing after I drilled holes....there's that hindsight thing again.

5/ the dinghy. The reason I wanted the arch was due to its height. I wanted to add my hydrovane, have approx 500w solar and davits for when I'm not using hydrovane which is most of the time. I can take the vane off and even the drive unit if I'm not going to use it for sometime and then have the luxury of davits.
The dinghy pulls up quite high, enough that I can walk under it to the ladder for a swim, visibility is good.

6/ I thing you could hang a outboard of the side.

My only complaint is I felt the representative of atlantic arches could hide her annoyance a little better in regards to questions I was asking. With purchance price, the Australian dollar, shipping cost, Australian government xharges and the nine various dock fees this cost me $5,200aud, thus I wanted to ask questions and not be made to feel like I'm a pain in the ass.

Cheers Dale.

Sent from my vivo Y35 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
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Old 20-02-2017, 23:36   #83
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

Correction, 2700mm across the top. My solar panels are 660mm wide each x 4. And there's a little room left over on each side.

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Old 21-02-2017, 07:42   #84
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

Here is our setup.
2x327W sunpower
4X100W Infinium flexible panels
Total 1054W.

2X200A Balmar AT200 alternators with external Mastervolt regulator.

1000AH Lifepo4 Winston battery.

3000W, 150A Mastervolt Mass Combo Ultra.
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Old 21-02-2017, 08:24   #85
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

I'm seeing lots of very nice setups, giving me some great ideas! Dale's setup is particularly nice :-). I'm leaning towards installing an arch in place of my Martek davits - I can then use this to lift the dinghy, install solar panels, and mount all sorts of other gizmos. I've heard good things about Atlantic Towers' arches, and I also found a website fishonsports.com - does anyone have any experience with, or knowledge of, the latter? Their prices are significantly less than Atlantic (and they offer free shipping in the US!), but I don't want to choose on price alone...

Regarding the solar system, what do you guys generally do - install a single large MPPT charge controller, or several smaller units, one per panel? If a single, are the panels in series or parallel? I gather there are trade-offs to both, so knowing what and why would be very helpful.

Regards,
David.
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Old 21-02-2017, 09:37   #86
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

I am glad to see more good posts with photos and some data. The more we see, the more helpful this thread will become for everyone. Good to see many participants too.

SUGGESTION: Please post photos showing the attachment methods (and gear or fittings) you used when adding your solar panels to Bimini Frames or other deck fixtures. I think a closeup photo of the attachment points would be helpful for each installation.

SUGGESTION: Please post photos showing the boat from profile (side view) showing the panels in place. This will allow others to see how the Solar Panels affect the profile of the boat.

OPINION QUESTION: I noticed posts that include solar panels on dedicated rigid arches and others on existing Bimini frames. Since many boats in the tropics already have a Bimini frame, I am curious about using that existing frame.
Are typical folding or collapsing Bimini Frames going to be sturdy enough to:
A. Long Term support the weight of multiple large panels (2 x 250w)
B. stay secure during high winds (up to say 40-50knots)?
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Old 21-02-2017, 13:35   #87
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

It's good to see so many setups without radars, wind generators, antennas etc ABOVE the panels !
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Old 21-02-2017, 13:55   #88
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

My last boat had 300w on a frame above bimini. It moved around a little but never caused a problem, I had it in 40-50k several times and it wasn't a problem.

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Old 21-02-2017, 13:57   #89
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

In regards to mounting, on this setup and my previous boat ive drilled through the arch and bolted the panels directly. I used nylon washers to isolate ss bolts/washers from Aluminium.

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Old 21-02-2017, 14:11   #90
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davidhoy View Post
I'm seeing lots of very nice setups, giving me some great ideas! Dale's setup is particularly nice :-). I'm leaning towards installing an arch in place of my Martek davits - I can then use this to lift the dinghy, install solar panels, and mount all sorts of other gizmos. I've heard good things about Atlantic Towers' arches, and I also found a website fishonsports.com - does anyone have any experience with, or knowledge of, the latter? Their prices are significantly less than Atlantic (and they offer free shipping in the US!), but I don't want to choose on price alone...

Regarding the solar system, what do you guys generally do - install a single large MPPT charge controller, or several smaller units, one per panel? If a single, are the panels in series or parallel? I gather there are trade-offs to both, so knowing what and why would be very helpful.

Regards,
David.
I've always put panels in parallel, are happy with this it work's well. This time I went two mppts instead if one. Seems to be working well. 25amp each. I figured I'd have redundancy this way and they fit nicely in the space I have. They put out quite abit of heat so not having them in a cupboard or somewhere with minimal ventilation is a good thing.
There was a set of davits on the boat when I got it but they were short and skinny. Couldn't get the ladder down while dinghy was up, could only get 240w panels on them and definitely couldn't set up the hydrovane.

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