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Old 21-11-2006, 12:20   #1
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Dye Sensitized Solar Cells

I've been following the discussion of questionable new solar technology on the "electric main drive" thread with interest and thought I would stir up some more trouble. Anybody looked into these? Apparantly less efficient than silicon but much cheaper and completely flexible. Could be used in biminis, sail/dingy covers, cabin tops? Interesting stuff.
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Old 21-11-2006, 13:19   #2
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I saw a nice posting about some folks in the Sea of Cotez that had the "roll up" panels and would stretch them out on deck to run the watermaker. The idea was to make water without the use of the engine to recharge the system. It allows you to have more solar power than would normally fit on a small sloop. Theny would roll them out late morning through afternoon to gather as much power as possible.

Ideally it would be nice in hot sunny climates to not have to run the engine to make enough electricty for everything.
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Old 21-11-2006, 14:12   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pblais
I saw a nice posting about some folks in the Sea of Cotez that had the "roll up" panels and would stretch them out on deck to run the watermaker. The idea was to make water without the use of the engine to recharge the system. It allows you to have more solar power than would normally fit on a small sloop. Theny would roll them out late morning through afternoon to gather as much power as possible.

Ideally it would be nice in hot sunny climates to not have to run the engine to make enough electricty for everything.
We did just that on our LN 35, but our panels were fixed as you can see in the picture. We never had to run the engine except to get somewhere when there was no wind. They provided much needed shade as well.
The panel in the center is a home made hot water panel which was plumbed into the hot water tank. A differential controller and march pump provided hot water 24/7 without having to do anything except turn on the spigot.
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Old 21-11-2006, 15:04   #4
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Originally Posted by senormechanico
We did just that on our LN 35, but our panels were fixed as you can see in the picture. We never had to run the engine except to get somewhere when there was no wind. They provided much needed shade as well.
The panel in the center is a home made hot water panel which was plumbed into the hot water tank. A differential controller and march pump provided hot water 24/7 without having to do anything except turn on the spigot.
I'd like to hear more about your home made water panel.

Thanks, Ron
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Old 21-11-2006, 17:11   #5
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It was fairly easy to make. I figured the area by eyeballing the amount of water I wanted to heat. A solar shower covers x square feet and holds x amount of water. I just upped the numbers for the available area I had and went for it. It turned out to be 53 inches long (the length of the adjacent solar panels) and about 24 inches wide. I made a frame from some angle aluminum to match the depth of the Siemens solar panels. The bottom was a piece of rigid styrofoam insulation 1 inch thick and covered on the bottom side with some white contact paper. The upper side was covered with a thin sheet of copper. I made a series of 1/2 inch copper pipes which were connected in parallel to an input header and an output header. The whole mess was painted black with spraypaint and covered with a sheet of clear acrylic after fashioning standoffs to keep the acrylic from lying directly on the copper tubes. I sealed the whole thing with 3M5200 and left a hole lined with a piece of 3 inch PVC for the backstay. The output header has a bleed screw to remove any accumulated air and a sensor attached which is connected to the differential controller. The other sensor is attached to the top of the hot water tank but under the tank insulation. Whenever the tank is colder than the output point of the array, the pump runs. It's totally automatic.
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Old 21-11-2006, 17:31   #6
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can you elaborate on the electrical setup for someone whose not an electrical engineer? That sounds very interesting!
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Old 21-11-2006, 18:01   #7
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March pump #893-07 brushless air cooled motor.
spendy, but quiet and dependable. The one I used was the same pump, but it had a brush motor. They wore out after a couple of years. Brushless is a big improvement, I'm sure. tinyurl.com/wjtox

The differential controller needs to operate from 12 volts. I don't have a link to the one I used as it was 13 years ago, but I'm sure you can google for something. The pump power demand is only about an amp@ 12 volts.
I used flexible plastic hose in insulated foam between the solar panel and the tank. Once it was in place, it only needed burping out the air. I had a nice hot shower whenever I wanted it, even the next morning the water was warm enough, although not really hot.

This was used in Mexico and the new owner of the boat is still raving about it. Richard Spindler of Latitude 38 Magazine saw the hot water system and made some comments in last March's "letters" column about it.

Steve B.
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