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Old 31-08-2014, 12:49   #16
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Re: Movable bracket to change aspect of solar panels?

I saw something on top of solar street light poles once that impressed me with the simplicity of the design. On the back of each solar panel is a "bow", a curved section of heavy metal tubing running down the long axis of the panel. Then the "bow" was gripped by a single clamp on the top of the light pole.

This allowed the bowed tubing to rotate in the clamp, and if it was slid up/down, to "tilt" in the clamp as well. It must take some good engineering to make the tolerances tight enough for a solid fit, but loose enough to allow the movements when the clamp is loosened. Since it was "up there" I couldn't see the details of it, but apparently it can be done that elegantly.
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Old 31-08-2014, 13:48   #17
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Re: Movable bracket to change aspect of solar panels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
As Bob mentioned, it depends a lot on where you plan to cruise. If you are in the tropics, then it is not worth the effort as the Sun is high above all year. If you are far from the equator, then the articulation might be useful. I have seen a lot of cruising boats with the panels turned100% in the wrong direction. They get set for the afternoon sun and left that way for the morning- negating any benefit. Adding articulation adds cost and complexity and generally makes the panels less secure.
Exactly.

How often do people really want to go and readjust their panels? If one forgets to move it for 4 hrs, they did more harm than good. I imagine it's hard enough to find enough unshaded area to mount 3 or 4 panels, without adding the extra space tilting the panels requires without shading one with another.

If one has the time, inclination and space to do it, more power to them.
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Old 31-08-2014, 14:00   #18
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Re: Movable bracket to change aspect of solar panels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
I saw something on top of solar street light poles once that impressed me with the simplicity of the design. On the back of each solar panel is a "bow", a curved section of heavy metal tubing running down the long axis of the panel. Then the "bow" was gripped by a single clamp on the top of the light pole.

This allowed the bowed tubing to rotate in the clamp, and if it was slid up/down, to "tilt" in the clamp as well. It must take some good engineering to make the tolerances tight enough for a solid fit, but loose enough to allow the movements when the clamp is loosened. Since it was "up there" I couldn't see the details of it, but apparently it can be done that elegantly.
How often did they climb up there to readjust the solar panel every day? LOL

Since that mount requires a rather large change in panel location to change panel elevation and there are cables involved, I'd have to say a simple vertical pivot at the mounting point with a horizontal axis tube clamp is much simpler, just like the satellite dishes use. Plenty of azimuth and elevation adjustment, with no change in cable position or length. Same principal with our monitor stands. X and Y axis runs through the center of the monitor, they can tilt and pan in minimal space without pinching the cables.
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Old 31-08-2014, 16:39   #19
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Re: Movable Bracket to Change Aspect of Solar Panels?

Yes.

When enough deck space is available. More area in flat mounted panels will produce the same amount of juice even though juice per sq foot will be less. This is one very fine way to address the matter. But this is not the only way, and in some cases may be simply not feasible (e.g. not enough deck space).

Economy also may count: tilt'able supports may cost extra money which could just as well be spent to buy more solar panel area. Again, this will work IF deck area is sufficient.

So I think we are all talking the same goal achieved by going various routes.

That's fine in my book!

b.
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Old 03-09-2014, 08:39   #20
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Re: Movable Bracket to Change Aspect of Solar Panels?

Here's my setup with two panels.Click image for larger version

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Name:	ImageUploadedByCruisers Sailing Forum1409755154.699981.jpg
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Old 03-09-2014, 12:28   #21
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Re: Movable Bracket to Change Aspect of Solar Panels?

"How often did they climb up there "
Once. The clever mounting bracket ensures that they can be aligned to one optimum position during installation, and makes installation and alignment easy.
But the same mechanism would make any alignment easy, if you used a wingnut or other grip instead of just bolting the clamp down. The point being that there IS a clever way to make a mount, that has only two parts (the "bow" and clamp) yet allows a full range of motion. It would work equally well for marine bbq grills and other "rail stuff".
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