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Old 19-02-2012, 10:51   #1
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Solar on a stick?

I've got a pointy double-ender that I'm trying to put solar on. I don't have davits (stern-hung rudder + Monitor + pointy double-ender) and I can't quite figure out how to make a permanent "solar" bimini work - additional constraints (eg, permanent roof) on our tiny cockpit are not very welcome, and I don't particularly want to add weight 8 feet up where it would be out of the way, not to mention looking ridiculous. My pointy little pushpit is mostly full of lifesling and grill and outboard, so the "batwing" rail arrangement would be, at best, crowded. I don't have the deck width to put them on the "rail" (now lifelines) midships, and I think they'd get bashed on docks/other boats there anyway. I could fit something on my dodger, but I like the ability to fold that down, and I don't have boomgallows so there's a smash-with-boom concern, and of course the dodger is mostly heavily shadowed.

All that lead me to Solar Panel Mounting Systems - * * *Custom Marine Products, which promises me I can put a 135W panel on a stick supported by my pushpit. (I'd put one on either side.) Has anyone done such a thing? Thoughts, either on the idea or the specifics of their stick?

I think I could replicate the stick out of 2" aluminum pipe (ca. 2.25"OD) for a fraction of the cost. Any thoughts on that, considering that my unpainted aluminum mast hasn't caused any recent deaths?

Any better ideas for getting ca. 250W+ of solar on a pointy little double ender?

If all of the above is stupid, how about 85W panels on the sticks? They might not give us energy independence, but they'd run the fridge.
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Old 19-02-2012, 10:58   #2
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Re: Solar on a stick?

if you have lifeline rails, mount them there-- just keep them flat to the boat as much as possible for transiting any locks or canals....??
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Old 19-02-2012, 11:35   #3
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Re: Solar on a stick?

Any chance of a photo?
Regards.
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Old 19-02-2012, 11:41   #4
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Re: Solar on a stick?

Not a good one, nor a recent one...



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Old 19-02-2012, 12:16   #5
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Re: Solar on a stick?

Dusty,
I think the pole mounting you propose might work. One concern would be wind loading on the panel, so you really want to make sure the pole is very securely mounted. Other possibilities to consider are mounting the panel on the port side pushpit rail (allow it to fold down when not used) and to reconsider mounting on the dodger (flexible panels.)

One downside of small seaworthy boats is they don't have much room for stuff like that.
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Old 19-02-2012, 12:30   #6
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Re: Solar on a stick?

HI, I would look at moving your main sheet harbor position, then mount them horizontal, non tilting across the pushpit under the backstay.
Another possibility is the classic fold out both sides outside the pushpit, but thn you will have to relocate a lot of gear. Hmm every boat is a compromise. I have just mounted 2x 235 watt 24 volt panels and had to move a lot of stuff, but it was worth it.
Anychance you can put a single 230 watt 24 volt panel, an MPPT controller will drop the voltage to 12 ??
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Old 19-02-2012, 12:53   #7
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Re: Solar on a stick?

On a pointy doubleender, cateris paribus, you can use a split backstay and hang the panel there. Just an option. It works fine on our ship. Such a placed panel can be angled.

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Old 19-02-2012, 12:56   #8
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Re: Solar on a stick?

Nice boat!
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Old 19-02-2012, 13:02   #9
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Re: Solar on a stick?

Flexible panels velcroed (or ??) on the dodger would be pretty sexy, but the cost/energy tradeoff is, if I can find any other option, pretty poor. Perhaps even worse than a more efficient alternator and some diesel.

I'd like to reserve enough room on the pushpit for my ass, which spends a fair bit of time up there when things are nice. That's much of the problem with the "solar bimini" that I'd originally envisioned - it would prevent me from standing on the lazarette, which I seem to find myself doing often. That aside, I do like the "flop it across the pushpit" idea - simple.

The mainsheet can and does go most anywhere when it's not on the traveler, so that's not an issue.

A single large panel would meet my needs, but if I understand correctly there are efficiencies to suboptimal mounting (eg, often shaded) of multiple smaller panels rather than a single larger.

I haven't bought anything, and given my lack of real estate I'm planning on budgeting for an MPPT controller to try to squeeze some extra efficiency out of the panels, so pretty much any voltage (or anything else) is at this point fair game.

Splitting the backstay is probably more than I'm currently willing to invest, although there's a nice pattern boat 2 slips down from me. And there's now a Monitor sticking out past my uber-secksee boomkin, and all that would just look retarded if there wasn't a cable going to it...

Thanks - keep the ideas coming, please!
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Old 19-02-2012, 13:35   #10
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Re: Solar on a stick?

Also, I like to fish, and want to keep SOMEWHERE open for some rods. Here's a better view of the aft cockpit in action.



Z - I'd totally be up for replacing some lifeline with rails, but here's where it would have to be, and I don't see it fitting without either completely blocking the side decks, getting flung off into the drink whilst wearing a genoa sheet, or most likely both.

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Old 19-02-2012, 13:53   #11
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Re: Solar on a stick?

Nice boat shame to have to place panels somewhere, i think as Zeehag says fold up from rails, remove in heavy weather, tilt to follow sun and tilt to vertical when transitting/docking etc.

OR totally off thread a wind generator on a pole? Cheers Frank
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Old 19-02-2012, 14:02   #12
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Re: Solar on a stick?

We agree with the sentiments, but since small nuclear reactors don't yet exist we think solar is the least annoying thing we can do, both for us and for our neighbors. We've mostly decided that a wind generator doesn't make sense for us, at least until/if we get beyond Mexico.
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Old 19-02-2012, 14:07   #13
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Re: Solar on a stick?

I have a 36' Hans Christian, double ender. It's hardly exactly what I'd want it to be, but it works for right now. The problems for me:

- looks like ****
- those plastic clamps will fail eventually (there are better stainless ones available)
- waves and spray keep tagging the bottom of the panels, which can't be good for them.

My plan is to extend out the stanchions farther forward (welder) so I can mount them horizontally and farther forward. In regards the position it's been fine. The sun moves around the boat anyway, and yesterday around 11am the sun was 51 degrees off the horizon (was using my sextant for another reason) so being able to stick a fender lengthwise under the the bottom of the panel kicks it out to a perfect angle.

Rebel Heart - Sailing, cruising, liveaboard blog and website - Eric's Blog - finally mounted the solar*panels

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Old 19-02-2012, 14:07   #14
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Re: Solar on a stick?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dustymc View Post
We agree with the sentiments, but since small nuclear reactors don't yet exist we think solar is the least annoying thing we can do, both for us and for our neighbors. We've mostly decided that a wind generator doesn't make sense for us, at least until/if we get beyond Mexico.
Go the tilt panels,clamped to the staunchions aft of the shrouds, good luck
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Old 19-02-2012, 14:13   #15
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Re: Solar on a stick?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dustymc View Post
We agree with the sentiments, but since small nuclear reactors don't yet exist we think solar is the least annoying thing we can do, both for us and for our neighbors. We've mostly decided that a wind generator doesn't make sense for us, at least until/if we get beyond Mexico.
Love your taste in sailboats Dustymc . We have a windmill on our 37' double-ender. It's located on the boomkin, so it's out of the way. The noise can be annoying, but it does pump out the power when the wind gets over 15 knots. Here's the pic incase it helps.

BTW, I'm looking to add solar panels. We're probably going to mount them along the pushpin rails, and make them so they can be angled and folded up when not needed.
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