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Old 26-08-2017, 08:24   #46
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Re: Mounting solar panels on bimini

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Originally Posted by OceanPlanet View Post
As the Solbian importer for North America, I can say that they have been 100% committed to taking care of any warranty issues. Sometimes even when the installations had mistakes. I wish all manufacturers were as easy to work with as they have been.

That said, they do cost a lot more than glass panels. It's definitely a matter of "horses for courses"...you could have glass panels on the davits, Solbian on the Bimini, and Solbian deck or Solara panels (super durable) on the decks...
What they write in the guarantee is that if they say that the fault is due to them or the material the guarantee is valid, even then they will not take the panels back and refund the money but has some rather unappealing options, they decide which option they want to use...
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Old 26-08-2017, 08:48   #47
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Re: Mounting solar panels on bimini

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Originally Posted by Flyingriki View Post
"We took the Solbian flexible solar panels off the bimini because even though I'd paid a fortune for them, contrary to the press, they never did work well."
So now your "buddy's" panels have morphed into Solbian panels... how convenient. I'm still waiting for the pictures of your expertly done solar installation.

How about adding something positive to the discussion? Looks like the OP has made a wise choice in deciding to use plastic clamps.
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Old 26-08-2017, 08:50   #48
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Re: Mounting solar panels on bimini

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Originally Posted by SSgtPitt View Post
Well, I think I'll get the nylon clamps, just in case. Moving the panels around, adding and deleting panels and ending up with multiple holes in my tubing made the best argument.
Flex panels.....they were a little pricey for me and my bimini cover is starting to show some wear. I did buy a Sailrite sewing machine recently so we're learning and the dodger would be a perfect place for the flex panels. The Cape Dory doesn't have a monster cockpit like the newer boats so there's not a ton of space for solar.
Nice looking boat! The profile is attractive. Nicely balanced.

I like the canvas color choice and the dodger clear view too.

I think spending more on flush mount semi-flexible panels on that nice looking Bimini would preserve that nice profile, and as an aesthetic choice would be worth it (and more appealing to possible future buyer). Keeping the boat profile "clean" looking does have some value, especially on a nice looking boat, that has "curb appeal."

I also like what EPIIC showed up above too. "Low profile" is appealing to me, in order to preserve the nice lines of the classic or well designed boat.

I understand the desire for max output and the need to stay within a budget. But, there are some things I think are worth spending more on, in order to preserve some of the things that make a boat special or appealing.

But, hey, that is a personal choice. The good thing is on a forum like this you can get different views and examples of how differently people see things or modify their boats.
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Old 26-08-2017, 09:31   #49
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Re: Mounting solar panels on bimini

What Steady Hand wrote.

You have a nice looking boat, get some flex panels on that bimini, and I hope everything works out for you regarding hurricane Harvey.

Note: A canvas maker friend suggests having someone double up the fabric on your bimini, adding a second layer over the first. That will give you some insulation from the heat and a new surface to attach some flex panels. Make an old bimini new again. 'Just an idea.
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Old 26-08-2017, 09:40   #50
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Re: Mounting solar panels on bimini

Thanks Steady, keeping the clean lines of this classically styled boat is a constant discussion with us and that is part of our reasoning for mounting additional tubing to the existing frame of the bimini .......we can easily remove it. The nylon clamps will also allow us to remove the panels quicker in case of adverse weather conditions......and if we run into a better setup along the way, like Kenomacs , modifications will be easier.

If my boat is still floating after Harvey gets done, I'll post pics of my install on your other thread. My boat is in the Corpus Christi Muni Marina and I'm trying to get some updates.
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Old 26-08-2017, 09:45   #51
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Re: Mounting solar panels on bimini

Kenomac, great idea.....we just bought fabric to work on the covers. I'll get some more.
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Old 26-08-2017, 09:55   #52
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Re: Mounting solar panels on bimini

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Originally Posted by SSgtPitt View Post
Thanks Steady, keeping the clean lines of this classically styled boat is a constant discussion with us and that is part of our reasoning for mounting additional tubing to the existing frame of the bimini .......we can easily remove it. The nylon clamps will also allow us to remove the panels quicker in case of adverse weather conditions......and if we run into a better setup along the way, like Kenomacs , modifications will be easier.

If my boat is still floating after Harvey gets done, I'll post pics of my install on your other thread. My boat is in the Corpus Christi Muni Marina and I'm trying to get some updates.
Now watching Harvey footage on TV.
Good luck, and I hope your boat makes it through without a scratch.
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Old 26-08-2017, 16:38   #53
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Mounting solar panels on bimini

4 95watt panels on the Bimini and 2 95watt panels on the dodger. Can't see them from the water. All soft and double Velcroed. Click image for larger version

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Old 26-08-2017, 16:57   #54
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Re: Mounting solar panels on bimini

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Originally Posted by OceanPlanet View Post
I'd say that 75% of the Solbian solar panels in North America are installed on canvas. Or course the canvas should not be flopping around; it needs to be a sturdy well made bimini or dodger.
Perhaps its because your company is promoting this type of mounting. If you keep up with the trade then you should be aware of this flexibility and longevity issue.
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Old 26-08-2017, 18:10   #55
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Re: Mounting solar panels on bimini

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Originally Posted by Safari38LH View Post
4 95watt panels on the Bimini and 2 95watt panels on the dodger. Can't see them from the water. All soft and double Velcroed. Attachment 154857
Looks very good.

Please add yours to the other thread, the sticky about Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations, if you have not already. A side view or profile of your boat would be good too.
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Old 26-08-2017, 19:17   #56
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Re: Mounting solar panels on bimini

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Originally Posted by Seabeau View Post
Perhaps its because your company is promoting this type of mounting. If you keep up with the trade then you should be aware of this flexibility and longevity issue.
Of course Bruce is aware, and I am sure he's not being deceptive and every one of their installs is as good as can be. Ocean Planet isn't "following" the industry, they are among its leaders.

A business provides what customers demand, and as I posted above, many people **choose** to replace their panels every few years rather than mount framed units.

It's not as if these people are poor, aesthetics are worth spending 10x as much for many.
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Old 27-08-2017, 00:59   #57
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Re: Mounting solar panels on bimini

My main driver was topping up AGM batteries (never again, poor EXIDE/VETUS product worth 600cycles.)

I have zippoed solar panels byGioco on a soft well made bimini.
I am DEEPLY dissatisfied by quality, durability (365) and output (a funky, unacceptable 55% of rated output, in peak conditions, max 3hrs/day - in Sicily! Lat 38)

after the initial marketing trumpets about flexible panel, many of us have raised serious criticism about cost, quality, and their miserable output. I also believe some may be quite dishonest in not admitting what is an expensive mistake (alas).

bimini: sure, it looks fine, though my concern is inability to unfold it fast, if need arises.

After three years of ALWAYS ON dodger+bimini, as a liveaboard, l am getting serious at considering a hard dodger (type HR53) carrying on #2 RIGID panels.

Indeed, l don't find a single reason to keep them down, in any season of the year, as a liveaboard.
My center cockpit is separate from the helmsman position, which imo must remain in open air, and unencumbered. As such, l dislike heavy metal frames (and l don't want davits..)

P.S. I may assume l was wrong in buying GIOCO vs. SOLBIAN (Which cost 30% more than an outrageously priced, and poor, product).
In their defense, they admit that power rate is measured with COLD LED LIGHT @ 90 ahahah (as industry standard)

PPS First pair of panels were defective, and l had to raise arguments, pay for transport, and miss a season.... NO MORE, THANKS

And yes, l don't believe in the output rates many here report.. As the major factor is Ah/day, not peak wattage , which lasts 2-3hrs a day

Finally,... I can't imagine any serious person buying flexible for a fixed mount. Nonsense. (On deck!? Come on..)
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Old 27-08-2017, 01:10   #58
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Re: Mounting solar panels on bimini

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Originally Posted by TheThunderbird View Post
I have zippoed solar panels byGioco on a soft well made bimini.
I am DEEPLY dissatisfied by quality, durability (365) and output (a funky, unacceptable 55% of rated output, in peak conditions - in Sicily! Lat 38)

bimini: sure, it looks fine, though my concern is inability to unfold it fast, if need arises.

After three years of ALWAYS ON dodger+bimini, as a liveaboard, l am getting serious at considering a hard dodger (type HR53) carrying on #2 RIGID panels.

Indeed, l don't find a single reason to keep them down, in any season of the year, as a liveaboard. My center cockpit is separate from the helmsman position, which imo must remain in open air, and unencumbered
Have you made any effort to maximize output by using multiple controllers and pushing your boom out to the side to maximize production when anchored? Our production would also be cut in half if I didn't make an effort to eliminate shading issues. These things don't work in the shade, and most likely you'll run into the same issues with rigid panels if you don't take care of the underlying problems...

Maybe try adding controllers and eliminating shade issues before ditching your panels.
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Old 27-08-2017, 10:28   #59
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Re: Mounting solar panels on bimini

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Originally Posted by TheThunderbird View Post

after the initial marketing trumpets about flexible panel, many of us have raised serious criticism about cost, quality, and their miserable output. I also believe some may be quite dishonest in not admitting what is an expensive mistake (alas).

Leaving quality issues aside, it begs the question whether there is anything inherently inferior about flexible panels -- output & durability that is -- or whether it comes down to where most flexible panels are being mounted, namely on canvas (according to Bruce) which is not as rigid. I guess this could affect durability, but why is output compromised? Unless, as Kenomac points out, installations on top of dodgers & biminis are more prone to shading issues due to their location vis-a-vis the boom, etc.

Finally,... I can't imagine any serious person buying flexible for a fixed mount. Nonsense. (On deck!? Come on..)
I wouldn't want to paint my decks with flexible panels either, but there are some lightly trafficked areas that could work, for e.g. on top of the companionway cover (in front of the dodger), on top of hatches, etc. The OceanPlanet website shows Solbians available with a textured (walk-on) surface and self-adhesive backing. But then you get into a cost-benefit problem having a number of small panels, all needing their own controllers, etc.
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Old 27-08-2017, 11:01   #60
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Re: Mounting solar panels on bimini

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheThunderbird View Post
My main driver was topping up AGM batteries (never again, poor EXIDE/VETUS product worth 600cycles.)

I have zippoed solar panels byGioco on a soft well made bimini.
I am DEEPLY dissatisfied by quality, durability (365) and output (a funky, unacceptable 55% of rated output, in peak conditions, max 3hrs/day - in Sicily! Lat 38)

after the initial marketing trumpets about flexible panel, many of us have raised serious criticism about cost, quality, and their miserable output. I also believe some may be quite dishonest in not admitting what is an expensive mistake (alas).

bimini: sure, it looks fine, though my concern is inability to unfold it fast, if need arises.

After three years of ALWAYS ON dodger+bimini, as a liveaboard, l am getting serious at considering a hard dodger (type HR53) carrying on #2 RIGID panels.

Indeed, l don't find a single reason to keep them down, in any season of the year, as a liveaboard.
My center cockpit is separate from the helmsman position, which imo must remain in open air, and unencumbered. As such, l dislike heavy metal frames (and l don't want davits..)

P.S. I may assume l was wrong in buying GIOCO vs. SOLBIAN (Which cost 30% more than an outrageously priced, and poor, product).
In their defense, they admit that power rate is measured with COLD LED LIGHT @ 90 ahahah (as industry standard)

PPS First pair of panels were defective, and l had to raise arguments, pay for transport, and miss a season.... NO MORE, THANKS

And yes, l don't believe in the output rates many here report.. As the major factor is Ah/day, not peak wattage , which lasts 2-3hrs a day

Finally,... I can't imagine any serious person buying flexible for a fixed mount. Nonsense. (On deck!? Come on..)
The Solbians have actually surpassed my expectations, now going into my sixth day without running the engine or generator on a 53ft boat with all sorts of electrical needs.

The only changes I plan on making when I return to Italy in October, will be to have the canvas maker at Solbian move the four middle panels closer to the centerline of the bimini and add some velcro strips to the sides of the panels. I'll also ask them about adding the stiffener plates under the panels, adding long matching canvas panels along the 10 inch strips which run on each side which will be pockets velcroed down to encase the wires. These modifications will in effect double the insulation factor of the bimini against summer heat and provide a new outer surface to extend the life of the bimini.

I've also heard other people I know complain about poor performance of solar panels attached to their biminis or cabin tops, but one friend (who complains) went with two cheaper panels, one controller and never does anything to midigate the shading issue. Now says he's glad he didn't waste more money on it. Come to think of it.... I'm the only boat I've ever seen with the boom pushed off to the side... so complain, complain, but nobody does anything to help themselves. The boat pictured below is a good example of what NOT to do... look at all the crap blocking the sun from hitting the two solar panels attached to the bimini. If he's only using one controller, daily production is going to be very little if any.

Without a doubt, if I didn't move the boom I'd be looking at 50-60% less solar production.
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