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Old 10-12-2008, 17:19   #1
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Solar Panel Installation - need help........

For reasons too long to go into here, I will be mounting my solar panels on rails (stern pushpit) on my sailboat. I saw a setup similar to what I am trying to do but cannot find the part. What I am looking for is a plastic (nylon or?) part about 3" X 2" X2", split and hinged on one end, with a rail sized hole drilled near one end and a screw device at the other end. The part is then attached on one side to the solar panel, the hinge opened, one half of the rail sized hole placed over the rail and then secured by the screw on the other end. The installation I saw used two of these on 80W panels. I currently have two of these on my boat holding a solar light on the pushpit. Unfortunately, I am in Durango, CO and my sailboat is in the USVI. If anyone has other ideas as to how to mount solar panels on 1" SS rails, please speak up. Thanks
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Old 10-12-2008, 18:40   #2
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can be done with all stock bimini fittings , can use split jaw slides to attach to rail , then an eye end, then tubing bent into a u shape coming back to same arrangement. I have a grill I attached this way and will be putting my next set of solar panels on rail this way. Have ten on dodger and bimini now.
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Old 10-12-2008, 19:08   #3
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You might go to westmarine.com and enter searchwords "Lifesling Mounting Kit". There are four or five styles to choose from. Don't know if they'd be rugged enough for mounting solar panels, but they sound like what you described and I've had four of them on my Lifesling for about 6 years now with no problems. (My two 80 watt solar panels are mounted on a frame between my davits.)
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Old 10-12-2008, 23:30   #4
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West Marine has the fitting you are talking about. Mounted my 55watt panel with them. They will not hold the panel in position if mounted with the load unbalanced unless you use the rubber button. I found the rubber button wouldn't stay in place, if you swiveled the panel on the rail, however. Still works fine without the button just have to prop the panel up. I've mounted the panels so the pivot point is about 1/3rd down the short side of the panel and the panels are mounted with the long axis fore and aft.

There is another system out there but it's way expensive. I just checked with the former dealer but they stopped offering them because of the cost. Someone may know who the manufacturer is and might be able to get a deal going direct to them. They are all metal supposedly will hold the panel in any position.

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Old 11-12-2008, 01:46   #5
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Boat Mounting Hardware for Solar Panels

YachtsOfStuff.com - Boat Rail and Stanchion Mounting Brackets, Solar Panel, Cup Holder, Boat Covers.
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Old 11-12-2008, 07:15   #6
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This sounds like what you are talking about Boat Mounting Hardware for Solar Panels
I used their mounts for my kyocera 130's. Roverhi is correct, after I bought mine I found the same plastic clamps hiding in a corner of West Marine. The clamps and some flat aluminum stock are all thats needed for an easy rail mount installation.

edit: just noticed that Gordmay already posted the link.
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Old 11-12-2008, 10:30   #7
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Talking thanks a lot guys!

just what I was looking for.

Fishspearit: I am installing 2 130's and expect about 78amps/day in the caribbean:how have your 130's performed?
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Old 11-12-2008, 11:09   #8
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Fishspearit: I am installing 2 130's and expect about 78amps/day in the caribbean:how have your 130's performed?
I think that's a good estimate. I'm still in a slip and won't be heading out for another 6 weeks, so I'm getting a lot of shading. Even heavily shaded until noon, I'm getting about 60 A-hours a day. I'm running to a Blue Sky 2000E Mppt, and used 6 ga. wire to minimize any loss. Even though the panels are rated at a total of 14.75 amps, I've seen as high as 16.5 coming out of the mppt, with 12.5 being the normal midday output.

This being my first experience with solar, a few things have surprised me. They put out more than I expected with the sun low on the horizon=> I still get 3 amps an hour before sunset with my panels level. Also, even with dark clouds blocking the sun I still get 5 or 6 amps, which is the same as full sun and a small shadow across the panels.

There's also an interesting 'feedback' feature with solar that I had been unaware of. When it's colder out (shorter days) they put out more. When the battery is drained or has a heavy load on they also put out more.

My Mppt allows me to do an equalizing charge, so unlike alternator or generator charging I can get that last 10-15% percent into the battery on a regular basis.

The folks running the honda generators for 2 hours everyday don't know how bad they've got it, and it cost them just as much!
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Old 11-12-2008, 11:23   #9
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thanks...

I am going to use an Outback MX60 and I cannot determine if I need a blocking diode to prevent reverse flow when the sun goes down or if the controller handles this situation.

PS sweet installation!
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Old 11-12-2008, 11:30   #10
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I didn't need the blocking diodes because my mppt served the purpose, I would expect the Outback to be the same way since that's the Cadillac of solar controllers.
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Old 15-12-2008, 09:16   #11
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With that good controller you won't need anything else in the system.
FWIW, between my two 80 watt Kyocera panels and the KISS generator I can stay on the hook for weeks without running nthe engine - powers fridge, water system, lights, entertainment system, etc. - even with guests on board. Good luck!
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Old 16-12-2008, 23:18   #12
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You probably don't need it, but an ounce of prevention---------- and blocking diodes are a cheap backup.
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Old 07-01-2009, 10:50   #13
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solar panel installation

I am in the middle of installing a 110 watt panel on my boat.......I plan to feed yhe batteries from the inverter output terminals. This will allow me to charge either one of my battery banks individually or both at the same time, depending on my battery selector switch setting(bank 1, bank 2, or all). I also intend to have a circuit breaker between the MPPT and the input to the inverter.
Anyone have a comment on this installation plan???
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