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Old 15-06-2016, 19:30   #1
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Mounting Solar Panels to an Arch

Does anyone know the benefit of using a cushioned U-bolt to mount a solar panel to an arch instead of a plain U-bolt. Here is the cushioned U-bolt https://www.zoro.com/zsi-cushionedu-...single_sku_b=T . Here is a picture of the install with the cushioned U-bolt. The cushioned U-bolt is very expensive especially considering I'll need 16 of them.
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Old 15-06-2016, 20:24   #2
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Re: Mounting Solar Panels to an Arch

Hmmmm....

Cushioned/dampening shock-absorber effect when an albatross alights during mid-passage?

Seriously, it might help with electrical isolation to prevent (?) galvanic corrosion between the aluminum parts of the solar panels and the stainless steel parts of the arch. Then again a roll of quality electrician's tape would provide the same effect.

Sorry - can't think of (or know about) a better answer. Good luck.

James
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Old 15-06-2016, 20:34   #3
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Re: Mounting Solar Panels to an Arch

No benefit from an isolated u bolt except to address minir misalignment.

Why are you considering it?

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Old 15-06-2016, 21:45   #4
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Re: Mounting Solar Panels to an Arch

Panel rotation?
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Old 15-06-2016, 22:30   #5
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Re: Mounting Solar Panels to an Arch

I considered using them when I did my solar bimini. Price and uncertainty about the sizes pushed me back to basic ss U-bolts. Very happy with my results.


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Old 16-06-2016, 09:40   #6
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Re: Mounting Solar Panels to an Arch

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Why are you considering it?
The picture is of the same model boat with the same arch. The owner had his system professionally installed. I wasn't aware of cushioned U-bolts until he sent me pictures of his install. I am thinking if a professional installer used them there must be some benefit. The arch is stainless and the cross members for the panels are aluminum; so maybe to isolate the dissimilar metals.
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Old 16-06-2016, 09:49   #7
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Re: Mounting Solar Panels to an Arch

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Originally Posted by georgec View Post
Does anyone know the benefit of using a cushioned U-bolt to mount a solar panel to an arch instead of a plain U-bolt. Here is the cushioned U-bolt https://www.zoro.com/zsi-cushionedu-...single_sku_b=T . Here is a picture of the install with the cushioned U-bolt. The cushioned U-bolt is very expensive especially considering I'll need 16 of them.
Surely you could achieve a similar solution with a standard U bolt and some fuel hose of the correct bore?
If you go that way, silicone grease is great for getting the hose over the U bolt.
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Old 16-06-2016, 09:50   #8
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Re: Mounting Solar Panels to an Arch

Similar situation except my Arch is stainless Aluminum....or at least really shiny The previous solar panels used galvanized U-bolts so getting them off was mostly a twist and break process. I went to the internet and order Aluminum u-bolts, washers and nuts...very inexpensive. I increased the attachment points....because.....well...they are aluminum. Up side is no corrosion.

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Old 16-06-2016, 10:23   #9
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Re: Mounting Solar Panels to an Arch

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Surely you could achieve a similar solution with a standard U bolt and some fuel hose of the correct bore?
If you go that way, silicone grease is great for getting the hose over the U bolt.
A stainless U-bolt will be in contact with the stainless arch so that is not the issue. The aluminum cross brackets would be held against the arch on top of the arch. That is where the dissimilar metals would be in contact.
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Old 16-06-2016, 17:19   #10
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Re: Mounting Solar Panels to an Arch

The cushion helps prevent point load and dimpling the tubing. It is not needed if you has SS tubing and don't crank down the nuts. You should replace the standard nuts with nylon locking ones so you don't have to make them real tight to prevent backing off.. or use lock tight. I also used a piece of rubber under the Ubolt to help spread load.. Here's a pic of a custom mount I made to attach my arch to my stern rail..
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Old 17-06-2016, 04:26   #11
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Re: Mounting Solar Panels to an Arch

Have a look at the plastic clamps usually used in the hydraulic industry. You will have to change the bolts to stainless steel . I have used these for about 10 years, could allow your panels to rotate, depending on how you mount them. They are very cheap. All the best
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Old 17-06-2016, 06:55   #12
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Re: Mounting Solar Panels to an Arch

Seems like an expensive item.
What is cost for UBOLT with otherwise same spec, but without the rubber?

It may work using sliced bicycle inner tube instead of their rubber insert/dpacer.
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Old 17-06-2016, 07:09   #13
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Re: Mounting Solar Panels to an Arch

I don't think the dissimilar metals is a problem in this sort of application. I simply drilled holes through the stainless steel tubing and aluminum solar panel frames and bolted then to each other. Several years now. No problems.

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Old 17-06-2016, 11:45   #14
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Re: Mounting Solar Panels to an Arch

The hydraulic fittings I refer to are probably $1.50 plus 2 ss bolts & nylon nuts. I've only ever seen them in a green colour plastic. Various bore sizes, eliminates ss to Aluminium corrosion.

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Old 17-06-2016, 12:54   #15
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Re: Mounting Solar Panels to an Arch

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The hydraulic fittings I refer to are probably $1.50 plus 2 ss bolts & nylon nuts. I've only ever seen them in a green colour plastic. Various bore sizes, eliminates ss to Aluminium corrosion.

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I think this is what Fab-Ken is talking about. About $4 plus bolts. Would work well and look nicer than U-bolts for a buck or 2 more. Not a bad option...

https://www.amazon.com/Brennan-CTS-1...lic+hose+clamp
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