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Old 14-06-2013, 15:23   #1
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Solar Mount on Stern Rail

Hello, after reading and looking for a while I couldn't quite find what I was looking for so here we go:
I got two solar panels donated that need mounting, now the only place that comes to my mind and that I like is on the side of the boat on the rails (as far astern as possible on both sides. Now my stern rail is not reaching very far forward and I don't want to fix the panel on a stanchion post on one side and the rail on the other (or did someone try that before?)
Any suggestions how I could mount the pannels as easy and straight forward as possible?
Thank you already!
Manuel
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Old 14-06-2013, 15:54   #2
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Re: Solar mount on stern rail

Why not give us the dimensions of the panels?
And some pics of the aft end of your boat with some approx measuments.
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Old 14-06-2013, 16:06   #3
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Re: Solar mount on stern rail



Since I don't have pictures of my own boat on me right now, this is the stern of the boat, beam is about 11 feet, just to get the idea...
The size of the panels is about 47 x 21 inch - and it is two of them, so one on either side.
One of my ideas was to get stainless tubing and fix it between the stern rail and the first stancion post with some kind of fittings and put the pannel on that... would that work out? Or too much load for one single stanchion?
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Old 14-06-2013, 16:17   #4
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That is a common install.
There are fittings that Sailrite sell that are well recommended and many online sources for the mounts on the underside of the panel to the 1" stainless hard pipe that you would be installing. Probably would be adding some aluminum framing/ support to the underside of the panels.
Your panels are small enough and would work well in that location should you choose.
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Old 14-06-2013, 16:21   #5
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Re: Solar mount on stern rail

great, thanks for the ecouragement and quick replies! Will try get the needed hardware tomorrow and get to work :-)
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Old 14-06-2013, 16:34   #6
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2 of these pics are real temporary slacker jobs but you could benefit from other things in the pictures.
The mounts from the online chandlry might not be the greatest also but it should give yiu some ideas.
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Old 14-06-2013, 16:36   #7
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Re: Solar mount on stern rail

I am going to put solar cells on my stern rail also.

I do not trust the strength of the solar cells, so I am going to mount them to plywood (marine?), then mount the plywood to the stern rail with Adel clamps. If you are not familiar with Adel clamps, they are aviation clamps, inexpensive, and come in many sizes. Go to aircraftspruce.com and enter Adel clamp in their search window.

Note: two adel clamps should hold the plywood to the stern rail, but a brace will probably be needed to hold the plywood so it stays at the correct angle. I will put a wooden brace from the plywood to one of the vertical Stainless tubes that hold the stern rail. The end of this brace that attaches to the SS pipe will have an Adel clamp (total of three Adel clamps used per solar cell).

Alan Gilmore
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Old 14-06-2013, 16:40   #8
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Re: Solar mount on stern rail

nice setups - more better executed than others but the general idea is good, guess I will go for some setup like that then... see what Westmarine and the hardware store have :-)
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Old 14-06-2013, 16:56   #9
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Re: Solar mount on stern rail

Quote:
Originally Posted by agilmore View Post
I am going to put solar cells on my stern rail also.

I do not trust the strength of the solar cells, so I am going to mount them to plywood (marine?), then mount the plywood to the stern rail with Adel clamps. If you are not familiar with Adel clamps, they are aviation clamps, inexpensive, and come in many sizes. Go to aircraftspruce.com and enter Adel clamp in their search window.

Note: two adel clamps should hold the plywood to the stern rail, but a brace will probably be needed to hold the plywood so it stays at the correct angle. I will put a wooden brace from the plywood to one of the vertical Stainless tubes that hold the stern rail. The end of this brace that attaches to the SS pipe will have an Adel clamp (total of three Adel clamps used per solar cell).

Alan Gilmore
Why heavy wood?
Design something out of aluminum similar to the above photos.
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Old 14-06-2013, 17:53   #10
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Re: Solar mount on stern rail

oh, another question, since you seem to have experience with this size solar panels: What size cable and what charger would you recommend? I was thinking about getting the sunforce 30amp solar charge controller (gives the option for an upgrade of panels later on)
the panels are 80 watts each...
thank you already!
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Old 14-06-2013, 18:03   #11
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Re: Solar mount on stern rail

It's a fairly common opinion that buying any solar panels or controllers from West Marine may not be the best idea.
Start getting more familiar with the internet.
Also, Sunforce may not be the greatest choice for a brand period.

There is a boatload of threads answering your questions.
Read the below link/thread while awaiting responses here in this thread.
House Batteries in my Westsail 32
And this link for ideas for mounting your panels and for mounting hardware. It's good stuff! Enjoy!
Photos of Bimini Solar Panel Mounts
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Old 14-06-2013, 19:35   #12
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Re: Solar mount on stern rail

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Originally Posted by endoftheroad View Post
Why heavy wood?
Design something out of aluminum similar to the above photos.
My concern is the twisting forces that can be applied to the solar cells. Typically the frame of the solar cells are good for attaching it to something ridged, but are not good for providing rigidness themselves.

Twisting issues can break the glass or do other damage.

Twisting can occur from MANY situations: wind, tangled halyards or sheets, people leaning on them, people falling on them, people standing on them, etc.

I am not against using aluminum, I just think it needs to be VERY robust in the torsional directions since it is being mounted to a rail, and not a flat surface. I have considered aluminum, and when I get ready to fabricate it, I might use aluminum.

Alan Gilmore
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Old 14-06-2013, 21:01   #13
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Re: Solar Mount on Stern Rail

i installed my solar panel above the stern rail. i attached two upright stainless tubes to two stern rail posts with u-bolts. then i put a crossbar across the top of the two uprights and mounted a 135 watt kyocera panel on the crosstube. i also attached two short side tubes to the uprights to provide lateral stability.

hopefully the attached pictures will give you an idea of what i did. by using 'pillow blocks' on the bottom of the panel i can rotate it to face the sun.

that was three years ago. i expect to add another 135 watt kyocera. somehow i'll figure out a way to add it to the existing structure....
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Old 14-06-2013, 21:39   #14
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rw sailor,
here is a pic for you.

there is some sexy stainless!
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Old 14-06-2013, 21:41   #15
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agilmore,
here is a pic for you.
dont give up on the aluminum, you can do lots with it.

not to mention that you need a few inches clearance on the backsides of solar panels for ventilation.
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