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Old 04-10-2012, 11:07   #1
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Solar Only Arch.

I posted the below on the PDQ site but also wanted to ask here for a larger audience. Any thoughts are welcome. Tom



In the past I've looked into adding an arch to replace my aft rail, davits, and add more solar. $4k or more became a show stopper.
Then I thought why not just add to what I have already? I bought four of the DMSolar 145w panels from Amazon and will build two bows to simulate an arch above and behind my current rail. Looking at the picture, the grill and bait table will both move forward on their mounts, the mushroom farm will relocate and the 90w panel will either be sold or repurposed somewhere else. The forward bow will attach to the current rail and have the front of the panels two feet above the rail and pushed back far enough to reduce the heat coming from the grill and make room for the dinghy engine to still fit on the rail bracket. The aft bow will mount at the bottom of the steps where the handrails bolt in and will hold the back of the panels over the dinghy back as far as the tape measure in the picture. A few crossbars may be needed for rigidity.

Benefits include more power, dinghy in the shade, current crossbars removed to allow kayak storage on top of davits.

Downside is weight; most of which can be offset by moving our gas cans to a lashing board mounted forward instead of the aft pushpits. I may also replace our air-x and tower with a simple dinghy motor crane to reduce weight and noise.


Where I need help is with what material to make the bows from? 1" SS tube is the first to mind but maybe 1.25 thickwall or maybe aluminum would be better. Also, best place to source it from?

Any thoughts, ideas, criticisms?

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Old 04-10-2012, 13:34   #2
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Re: Solar Only Arch.



I think that is a great location for the new panels. A couple questions and thoughts.

Above it looks like when the dinghy is lowered that it might slide down the side of the steps on the starboard side. Is that true and how about the other side?

If it does and you have an upright to the new panel frame will the dinghy go past it?

The frame and panels is going to probably end up in the 200 lb. range. Besides the uprights you will need some diagonals both fore/aft and side to side to keep the structure from swaying. I can see some by the current rail but I'm having a hard time visualizing them at the aft side of the frame and possible the sides. The sides would probably be pretty doable coming off the bottom of the stanchions just ahead of the dinghy tubes.

Diagonals from down low to the front of the structure by the current rail would probably do and possibly some at the aft side from the uprights part way up to the center of the structure (not sure if I clear on this or not). I'd probably start with just the diagonals on the sides and front side and see how things are then.



In the picture above you can see how I put diagonals in the frame itself just under the panels and that really helped to keep the frame stiff and square.

On the boat I tried...



...to angle and triangulate the uprights any way that I could. The two on the stern rail do the most for keeping the whole structure located in all directions. You just need to work on your situation.

On the materials. Considering how tall the back uprights are going to be I would go up on the material size there like you mentioned. The aluminum over stainless is going to be somewhat a looks deal and the same size SS should be stronger than aluminum. I went all aluminum for our situation. If our boat was worth more and we were younger and going to own her longer I probably would of done the whole thing in the more expensive SS. The aluminum is not going to stay shiny like SS. The aluminum is easier to drill and work with and I also have a TIG welder so making....



...brackets in a aluminum is convenient for me. I used a thick wall .090 for the uprights and they are 1 inch round tubing. I'd go to that 1.25 dia. for the rear supports if I was making your frame and uprights. I bought all of my materials from onlinemetals.com.

I have more on our install here...

Endeavour 37 Electrical Mods Index

Good luck and you will love the additional solar. Use a good controller and the right wire size for all those new found amps ,

Sum
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:00   #3
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Re: Solar Only Arch.

Sum,

Thanks for the detailed reply.
I'm looking at the online metals site and trying to decide between schedule 40 and 80 1" (1.3"OD) SS pipe for the rear most rail.

For the forward rail that's only 2' above the current setup I'm considering using 1" thickwall rail (Defender).

In both cases I'm looking at it like either a rail extension or a bimini bow. Would it be okay to use the standard rail fittings of the right size? Also, I haven't found a 45degree tee fitting yet, any ideas?

Tom
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:22   #4
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Re: Solar Only Arch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amytom View Post
Sum,

Thanks for the detailed reply.
I'm looking at the online metals site and trying to decide between schedule 40 and 80 1" (1.3"OD) SS pipe for the rear most rail.

For the forward rail that's only 2' above the current setup I'm considering using 1" thickwall rail (Defender).

In both cases I'm looking at it like either a rail extension or a bimini bow. Would it be okay to use the standard rail fittings of the right size? Also, I haven't found a 45degree tee fitting yet, any ideas?

Tom
One thing to consider on the 45 deg. is that you can always put on a fitting like these on the existing rails ...






and then another like these....





...on the upright or diagonal and have any angle you want. They have fittings like that in 7/8, 1 and 1 1/4 inch.

I'm not sure if I can post links on here to suppliers. I got those pictures off of a site that I know others have used, but I haven't as I make my own stuff. PM me about the site if you care to.

Do you know the weight of all the panels and the upper framework? I hate to recommend tubing size and such for someone else especially not know how the whole deal is going to be supported and such. How long the pieces are and the angles and such. I think I have a fair idea of what you might be doing, but not enough to feel good about giving you material sizes. Hope you can understand that. I tend to overbuild myself.

My frame has the potential in the back corner of the section with 4 panels of contacting a piling over about a 1 foot length. If that happened it wouldn't snag it, but drag along it. I'm hoping that I've made things strong enough to account for that if it ever happened. After breaking a panel on the other boat we are getting better and more cautious where pilings are concerned.

It looks like the panel you have back there now is braced pretty well, just consider that what you are going to is probably a lot more. I think the sizes you mentioned will be fine. If you stay with 7/8, 1 and 1 1/4 OD's you can find fittings to work.

Let me know if there is something else I can help with,

Sum
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:28   #5
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Re: Solar Only Arch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amytom View Post
... Would it be okay to use the standard rail fittings of the right size? Also, I haven't found a 45degree tee fitting yet, any ideas? Tom
If I had any concerns about the fittings taking the loads on the 4 corners I might get a little redundant on maybe a parallel piece in those locations. I know the stuff isn't cheap, but having a problem in a remote location could be a real pain. I'm not sure where you sail so possibly having a problem and jury rigging something to get home might not be a problem,

Sum
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:29   #6
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Re: Solar Only Arch.

When I had my arch built I requested thickwall tubing, but the fabricator talked me out of it, saying it was overkill. Just a lot of extra weight I didn't need.

The arch is four years old now, and has proven strong enough to support the weight of two large panels and a 10' RIB with a 15 hp four-stroke engine.

In this case, the fabricator was right.
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:35   #7
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Re: Solar Only Arch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amytom View Post
...I'm looking at the online metals site and trying to decide between schedule 40 and 80 1" (1.3"OD) SS pipe for the rear most rail....
Are you looking at the SS Tubing or SS Pipe? The 1.3 OD has me wondering. You want the tubing so that you don't have an odd-ball OD,

Sum
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:39   #8
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Re: Solar Only Arch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bash View Post
When I had my arch built I requested thickwall tubing, but the fabricator talked me out of it, saying it was overkill. Just a lot of extra weight I didn't need.

The arch is four years old now, and has proven strong enough to support the weight of two large panels and a 10' RIB with a 15 hp four-stroke engine.

In this case, the fabricator was right.
Do you have pictures? It might help him.

The size and wall thickness is all going to depend on a lot of different things like the loads, lengths, triangulation and how the members are designed to work with each other. So you are right thick wall might or might not be needed and all the tubing might not have to be the same diameter.

Any pictures you could post would probably help him,

Sum
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Old 07-11-2013, 19:28   #9
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Re: Solar Only Arch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bash View Post
When I had my arch built I requested thickwall tubing, but the fabricator talked me out of it, saying it was overkill. Just a lot of extra weight I didn't need.
Bash, what thickness of tubing did you end up going with? I'm designing a solar arch/dingy davit for my boat and am looking for information on what thickness SS tubing is typically used in the marine industry.
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