Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 20-03-2011, 21:54   #1
Registered User
 
Doodles's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Virginia, USA & Krabi, Thailand
Boat: Wauquiez Pretorien 35; Nordica 16
Posts: 2,810
Images: 1
Solar Panels: Arch vs Bimini

I'm beginning to do some research on installing solar panels on our Wauquiez Pretorien, and am wondering about the pro and cons of installing on an independent radar-type arch versus on top of a bimini. Currently, I don't have a bimini or arch so I can go either way. Now I like the idea of the shade that the bimini would provide but from examples I've seen removing the canvas would be a pain, i.e. you have to take the panels off. So you probably end up leaving the canvas up all the time and there's the extra wear and tear, UV, etc.

From some bimini installations I've seen the top is pretty much covered with panels so the canvas is not providing much more shade than the panels, which makes me wonder if I can't just use a radar arch for installation and get an equivalent amount of shading from the just the panels alone. Seems like the arch would be more stable than the bimini frame, plus I could maybe use it for a few other things.

So, the question is bimini or arch installation? Thoughts and comments.
__________________

__________________
Mundis Ex Igne Factus Est
Doodles is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-03-2011, 01:10   #2
Registered User
 
Unicorn Dreams's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Clear Lake Marine Services - Seabrook, Texas
Boat: Gulfstar, Mark II Ketch, 43'
Posts: 2,359
Re: Solar panels: Arch vs Bimini

I can only go with the way I did. My panels are installed on top of my davits. I would probably go with the arch. Neighbor at the marina working on his boat somehow released his topping lift and boom dropp[ed on top of his bimini, and goodbye panels.
__________________

__________________
Formerly Santana
The winds blow true,The skies stay blue,
Everyday is a good day for SAILING!!!!
Unicorn Dreams is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-03-2011, 02:01   #3
Registered User
 
s/v Moondancer's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Fiji but heading for Alaska
Boat: Tayana 55
Posts: 1,226
Re: Solar panels: Arch vs Bimini

Plus the boom shades the panels and you loose efficiency. Mine are on my davits which make handling the dinghy much more convenient.
__________________
Phil

"Remember, experience only means that you screw-up less often."
s/v Moondancer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-03-2011, 04:30   #4
Registered User
 
Doodles's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Virginia, USA & Krabi, Thailand
Boat: Wauquiez Pretorien 35; Nordica 16
Posts: 2,810
Images: 1
Re: Solar panels: Arch vs Bimini

Davits aren't an option for me. I've never seen davits on a Pretorien, plus I have a Monitor windvane which would preclude any davits. The boom only comes back to just before where a bimini would start, so that's not a problem. I'm just thinking why waste money on a bimini when an arch would be stronger and I might get the same amount of shade from the panels.
__________________
Mundis Ex Igne Factus Est
Doodles is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-03-2011, 04:52   #5
Registered User
 
Play Actor's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Cruising the Caribbean
Boat: Baba 35, Play Actor
Posts: 119
Re: Solar panels: Arch vs Bimini

We had our panels mounted on the Bimini for several years. They interfered with tensioning the canvas, although that could have been fixed by changing the mounts. The bigger problem was that they were often shaded by sails, the boom with covered main, etc., and on our boat, they just didn't look right. We built a stainless frame that sits about two feet above the davits, and solved all of our problems.

We've seen a few boats with well designed arches that use the panels to shade the cockpit, but in most cases, that puts the panels in a less than optimum position. If they are far enough back to be out of the shadow of the rig and sails, they don't provide much shade to the cockpit.

Before you commit to the arch, you might be able to mock it up with cheap lumber and put the panels in place for a few days to see how they perform.
__________________
Bud Dougherty
Aboard Play Actor
www.voyagesoftheplayactor.blogspot.com
Play Actor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-03-2011, 08:51   #6
Registered User
 
Safari38LH's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Marion, Ma
Boat: Little Harbor 38
Posts: 259
I've been thinking about the same problem. How about an arch far aft that has a canvas Bimini attached forward?
__________________
Safari38LH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-03-2011, 09:19   #7
Senior Cruiser
 
DoubleWhisky's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Home at Warsaw, Poland, boat in Eastern Med
Boat: Ocean Star 56.1 LR
Posts: 1,841
Re: Solar panels: Arch vs Bimini

Quote:
Originally Posted by Safari38LH View Post
I've been thinking about the same problem. How about an arch far aft that has a canvas Bimini attached forward?
Have something like this on my boat. An arch made of stainless steel, with solar panels mounted up. The huge bimini is attached to the arch, covering all the cockpit and connecting to the sprayhood. It make for a cockpit being a kind of "open air saloon" when anchored or moored. The canvas is going slightly under the arch and protruding aft, so providing good protection for my both steering positions. Works well for us, but I must add that we use the solar panels as a mere secondary source of energy, with six small panels rated 50 W each and efectively producing much less (they are not gimballed).
__________________
DoubleWhisky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-03-2011, 09:31   #8
Registered User
 
w32honu's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: New Hampshire
Boat: Custom Marples 40 FC
Posts: 432
Images: 2
Re: Solar panels: Arch vs Bimini

You might have a look at

Atom Voyages | Voyages Aboard the Sailboat Atom - The Atom SolarTracker adjustable solar panel mounts for sailboats

James Baldwin has designed a nice alternative to the usual set up. He has published plans on line for the do it yourselfers and will work with anyone to produce a set of trackers if need be. There are a handful of nice photos on the site.

The nice thing about the tracker is that by adjusting the direction that the panel faces will greatly increase the efficiency ..........thereby producing more power.

We have installed two trackers with kyocera panels. Love the set up.....it works great.

S
__________________
w32honu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-03-2011, 11:02   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Seattle
Boat: Wauquiez Centurion 49
Posts: 720
Images: 13
Re: Solar panels: Arch vs Bimini

Doodles, here you go . . .

Just attach two eyes to the davit and run the panels forward. The panels will also form the bimini, and not touch the boom. This arch is made of schedule 40 aluminum tube. It is also mounted on a Pretorien.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_1970.JPG
Views:	521
Size:	322.0 KB
ID:	25311   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_1965.JPG
Views:	447
Size:	324.6 KB
ID:	25312  

Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_1972.jpg
Views:	449
Size:	415.8 KB
ID:	25313  
__________________
CAELESTIS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-03-2011, 14:51   #10
Senior Cruiser
 
senormechanico's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2003
Boat: Dragonfly 1000 trimaran
Posts: 5,834
Re: Solar panels: Arch vs Bimini

Quote:
Originally Posted by Safari38LH View Post
I've been thinking about the same problem. How about an arch far aft that has a canvas Bimini attached forward?
That's pretty much what we did.
I installed a 120 watt panel on the arch (even though my avatar pic shows the radar, since moved to the mast).
The diamond shaped shade canopy attaches to the arch, the cap shrouds, and an eye on the bottom of the boom.
There's also a slot in the bottom of the boom similar to the kind in a mast for sail slugs.
I opened up a spot in the boom so I could use sail slugs and they go down the centerline of the canopy.
The whole thing goes up in a couple of minutes, gives lots of shade and only weighs about a pound.
__________________
Memento,homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.
senormechanico is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-04-2011, 20:10   #11
Senior Cruiser
 
hpeer's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Philadelphia
Boat: Murray 33-Chouette & Pape Steelmaid-44-Safara-both steel cutters
Posts: 3,902
Re: Solar panels: Arch vs Bimini

Just added an arch to our boat.

Made is myself out of 1-1/4" heavy wall conduit using factory 90 deg bends. I welded sockets to the deck.

It is not complete. I have the wind gen mounted but not the radar or the solar panels.

I am a little concerned about flex. I wonder how stiff others arches are?

I wanted to keep it removable in case some yard can't fit the boat.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Safara profile.jpg
Views:	518
Size:	407.1 KB
ID:	26405  
__________________
hpeer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-01-2013, 01:05   #12
Registered User
 
edwmama's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: southern california
Boat: cal cruising 46
Posts: 65
Re: Solar Panels: Arch vs Bimini

I have the original Cal Cruising 46 hull number 5 build in 1968
I too am contemplating on the arch since I don't have a Bimini in my most unusual
Deck layout

Has anyone seen an arch on a Cal Cruising 46?

If so would appreciate feedback and pictures

Ed
__________________
edwmama is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-01-2013, 03:58   #13
CF Adviser
 
Pelagic's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2007
Boat: Van Helleman Schooner 65ft StarGazer
Posts: 6,896
Re: Solar panels: Arch vs Bimini

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doodles View Post
.......The boom only comes back to just before where a bimini would start, so that's not a problem. I'm just thinking why waste money on a bimini when an arch would be stronger and I might get the same amount of shade from the panels.
I agree, your solution can be multifunctional, by butting the panels together to create shade and having no shade material underneath Panels..

I think whether you call it an Arch or a Bimini support for solar panels the structure would need to be the same strength for what you are putting on top in strong winds. (Basically minimum of 4 point structure with bracing)

Because beam will taper down as they lay aft, the wedge space in center can be a strong removable vinyl (Stamoid type) material like the cross section I show using a U-Chanel for example to secure both Panels and Vinyl Spacer in between.

This maximized ventilation under panels, creates a rain gutter /water catcher and centre material wedge can easily be removed using a simple fastening batten

Structural Design Decisions:
Do I want to have Panels up all the time?
If no, do I have a safe place to store them on Board?
What is my weight penalty?

I have a bigger boat, but the principle is just the same
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	1 U chanel.jpg
Views:	160
Size:	31.7 KB
ID:	53543   Click image for larger version

Name:	1 Sunpower  E20-327 Watt Bimini Fit em.jpg
Views:	268
Size:	150.9 KB
ID:	53544  

__________________
Pelagic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-01-2013, 05:08   #14
Registered User
 
mbianka's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,125
Images: 1
Re: Solar Panels: Arch vs Bimini

I connected a solar bimini to the existing dodgerwith two 48 volt panels that help charge my electric proplusion system.
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: SOLAR BIMINI PART SEVEN: PANELS INSTALLED
It provides shade in the cockpit and also helps charge my electric propulsion batteries. Two 75 watt 12 volt panels mounted on the dodger provide enough power for the house bank. Yeah there is some boom shadow. If I was anal about it I could move it off to the side when at anchor. But, never felt I needed to as the arrangement provides all the power I need.
__________________
Capt. Mike
mbianka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-01-2013, 05:19   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Currently Tasmania after Pacific crossing
Boat: Catalina 42
Posts: 217
Re: Solar Panels: Arch vs Bimini

Nice Bimini array of solar panels....seen in Navidad, Mexico on Catalina 42
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	P1200063.JPG
Views:	441
Size:	309.8 KB
ID:	53545  
__________________

__________________
Amnesia II is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
arc, bimini, solar

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Solar Panels - Bimini or Davits - Pros and Cons of Both endeavor Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 91 16-05-2012 11:24
Arch for Solar Panels? gbanker Construction, Maintenance & Refit 1 26-02-2011 11:54
Trapezoid Radar / Solar Panel Arch MoonlightSailor Construction, Maintenance & Refit 1 13-07-2010 05:54
Mounting Solar Panels on Bimini waterdog Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 7 23-03-2009 07:40
Custom Bimini and Arch Builder Needed in La Rochelle, France ? Ram Europe & Mediterranean 0 25-06-2005 11:23



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:52.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.