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Old 14-08-2016, 14:09   #1
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Solar Panel,fixed or flying?

I need the wisdom and the experiences of You all.
I am planning to ad a solar panel to my boat.
The size is 159x56 x 3 cm( sorry for the metric dimensions), weight is about 3 kg, is it better to fix it on the boat,or is a flying fixing with elastic stropes okay, so I can easily adjust it to optimal sun directions?
Thank you in advance,

Meikel
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Old 14-08-2016, 14:32   #2
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Re: Solar Panel,fixed or flying?

We've been cruising for almost a year in the Sea of Cortez. Plenty of sun hits the panels in their fixed position. More than enough to keep the batteries charged and the freezer making cocktail ice.

Securely fixed. As in VERY securely.

A favorite quote from comedian Ron White - "It's not THAT the wind is blowin', it's WHAT the wind is blowing."
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Old 14-08-2016, 14:58   #3
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Re: Solar Panel,fixed or flying?

If you cruise in the tropics flat, and fixed. Only tilt them when your above 35 deg lat.
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Old 14-08-2016, 15:22   #4
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Re: Solar Panel,fixed or flying?

I can tilt ours forward about 30, back about 45deg . We sometimes get an extra hour or two more power than left about flat at about 18 deg N Lat. However I can micro adjust them all day long and that's very easy the way they are set up on the boat.
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Old 14-08-2016, 16:23   #5
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Re: Solar Panel,fixed or flying?

On our boat it is 'flying' on the backstays. We can tilt it 180 degrees vertical and less than 30 degrees horizontal. This covers very well most of our sailing/charging conditions.

If your panel is only 3 kg given the dimensions, it is very light. Something frame-less?

Ours are about 110x52x3 and are about 8 kg each.

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Old 15-08-2016, 10:37   #6
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Re: Solar Panel,fixed or flying?

is a solar panel giving more electricity then a small windmill?
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Old 15-08-2016, 16:43   #7
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Re: Solar Panel,fixed or flying?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tgv62 View Post
is a solar panel giving more electricity then a small windmill?
Cool question!

Is there any wind?

Is there any sun?

If it is sunny and calm, stick to your sols.

If it is windy, at night, keep the mill.

;-)

By now you got my drift, huh?

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Old 15-08-2016, 17:34   #8
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Re: Solar Panel,fixed or flying?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tgv62 View Post
is a solar panel giving more electricity then a small windmill?
Simple answer.... in most circumstances solar is best..... even in Patagonia in winter .... and solar loves cold....
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Old 15-08-2016, 17:55   #9
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Re: Solar Panel,fixed or flying?

Back to the OP...

Fixed but adjustable is my choice. First photo is the Mk1 version of mine... I now have modified them so they rotate through 180* about a fore and aft axis and are far more robust ( second photo of Mk2 system shows one in 'harbour stow' for coming alongside).
Sailing east/west? Adjust for sun's altitude and yacht's heel.
Sailing north/south? Adjust for time of day.
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Old 15-08-2016, 17:56   #10
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Re: Solar Panel,fixed or flying?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tgv62 View Post
is a solar panel giving more electricity then a small windmill?

We have both, and day by day the solar delivers far more current than the wind gen. There are times when the wind gen is pulling it's weight but for greater than 80% of the time it isn't worth having.


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Old 15-08-2016, 18:33   #11
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Re: Solar Panel,fixed or flying?

[QUOTE=Sailmonkey;2190290]We have both, and day by day the solar delivers far more current than the wind gen. There are times when the wind gen is pulling it's weight but for greater than 80% of the time it isn't worth having.


It depends on where you are too. Lots of places have wind. Sometimes they really kick ass. I have thoughts of a hot water heater, there is so much extra power sometimes . Hot showers in the tropics are nice too..
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Old 16-08-2016, 08:26   #12
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Re: Solar Panel,fixed or flying?

Adjustable panels is a huge waste of time and money. When at the dock (boat in fixed position) the Suns position is constantly changing. Hen at the dock, you likely have shore power and don't need solar at all. Exception, dock with no shore power, go adjustable and aim for elevation 2 hours either side of high noon.

When at anchor (when most need solar) the sun and boat are constantly moving. Unless you are going to stand there constantly aiming, you'll never gain any benefit over just mounting flat AND VERY SECURE.
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Old 16-08-2016, 11:07   #13
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Re: Solar Panel,fixed or flying?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
We have both, and day by day the solar delivers far more current than the wind gen. There are times when the wind gen is pulling it's weight but for greater than 80% of the time it isn't worth having.


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A combination of wind and solar is usually best, if one regularly experiences high wind (15 knots +).

For ocean passages, great!

For blustery anchorages, great!

If one seeks anchorages with no wind, can the wind generator thoughts.

One other consideration, is that the shadow the wind generator casts on the solar panels may result in less energy produced instead of more.

The most important rule about solar is more is better. The second most important rule is to avoid shadows.
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Old 16-08-2016, 12:09   #14
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Re: Solar Panel,fixed or flying?

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Originally Posted by ramblinrod View Post
Adjustable panels is a huge waste of time and money. When at the dock (boat in fixed position) the Suns position is constantly changing. Hen at the dock, you likely have shore power and don't need solar at all. Exception, dock with no shore power, go adjustable and aim for elevation 2 hours either side of high noon.

When at anchor (when most need solar) the sun and boat are constantly moving. Unless you are going to stand there constantly aiming, you'll never gain any benefit over just mounting flat AND VERY SECURE.

"...Adjustable panels is a huge waste of time and money...."

With full respect, I will somewhat disagree.

Your solar harvest is dictated by cosine of the sun angle.

You say the sun angle is constantly changing, and this is the whole point behind adjustable panels. So where you see an argument con, many will see an argument pro.

When anchored the boat is not moving thru 360 degrees but more often thru about 60 degrees. So once you adjust the panel, you are reaping extra amps till the sun moves by 30 degrees or so.

Not all boats have the space to place so many horizontal panels that their output will fully charge the bank in one sun-day. Many smaller monohulls can benefit from having adjustable panels.

I respect your view and understand that our opinions must differ simply because our sailing styles/boats are vastly different. (We have a small and narrow ended boat and we only sail either crossings or else we are anchored in the West Indies).

We have 150W of solar panels onboard wired thru an A/Ah/cumm Ah monitor, so every time I adjust the rig I can immediately read the result. Trust me, the difference is of a major grade.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 16-08-2016, 13:52   #15
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Re: Solar Panel,fixed or flying?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ramblinrod View Post
A combination of wind and solar is usually best, if one regularly experiences high wind (15 knots +).

For ocean passages, great!

For blustery anchorages, great!

If one seeks anchorages with no wind, can the wind generator thoughts.

One other consideration, is that the shadow the wind generator casts on the solar panels may result in less energy produced instead of more.

The most important rule about solar is more is better. The second most important rule is to avoid shadows.
In my experience you need 30 knots before you get really worthwhile output from wind ( 4 amps plus) and in the normal cruising lifestyle as I have known it that is rare. Factor in the cost of panels v the cost of wind and if you can only have one then the choice is simple.

You can make adjustable panels as complex and expensive as you like. Mine involved a 2 metre length of s/s tube , 2 hydraulic pipe clamps, and two flat bits of s/s plate, and a couple of U-bolts.... you can see the set up in a previous post of mine.

Adjustment is by toe.....

I adjust them maybe a few times a day... when the mood takes. Like b. I can see what the output is via ammeter at the chart table... big difference for little effort.

Underway what you really want instead of wind is one of these .... see page 15/16 http://marinewarehouse.net/images/am...b%20(2010).pdf
There is currently one for sale on CF Aquair 100 Water Powered Generator
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