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Old 27-03-2010, 10:07   #16
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rebel heart--

The end fitting you're looking at merely uses a set-screw to hold it in place. With that, you may find that the torque on the rail with any wind loading in the panels will cause the rail to rotate in the end fittings. What you are proposing might work better if you take the end fittings to a machine shop and have them drilled through so that you can use a bolt throught the fitting and tubes to prevent such rotation.

FWIW...
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Old 27-03-2010, 10:50   #17
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I like the idea of not using set screws too, but instead of a bolt perhaps a stainless rivet to hold the end caps on and keep them from twisting would be better, less chance of them coming loose with no protruding heads to snag on stuff.
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Old 27-03-2010, 12:14   #18
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I had the stern pulpit lengthened and angle bracing added for athwartship stiffening. Did it in two stages as just lengthening the rail didn't have enough rigidity. Had to go back and add an intermediate vertical and a brace to hold the 120 watt panels. Costs for time and materiasl came to more than $1,500 when all was said and done. I worked with the welder/fabricator doing the dirty work like crawling into the confines of the cockpit locker to tighten the nuts and hold a shield so the gas Argon gas wouldn't blow away from the weld. The job turned out perfect, can't tell where the tubing was spliced in, and is rigid enough to support the heavy panels. Your quote of $2,000 may not be too far off from what it would cost.

One thing, having a new rail fabricated in the shop where all the tools are handy and you've got the space to work may not be all that more costly than doing it in situ. Material was a small part of the total cost. Labor in fabrication of the new verticals and pads was the biggest time consumer. The actual welding went pretty quickly.

Using the bimini/dodger fittings may work but don't expect it to be rigid. If you are just using an elbow or tee to run tubing between two stanchions, you might be okay. If the lash up is going to be more complicated, each of the joints will add slop to the fabrication and it doesn't take much to make it really wobbly.

I have heard of people mounting solar panels on the lifelines. They thread the lifelines through lengths of stainless tubing between the stanchions and clamp the panel to the tubing. That puts a lot of bending potential on the lifeline wire at the stanchion where the tubing ends. Care would be needed to be sure that any degradation of the wire caused by bending is taken care of quickly and the stanchions are up to the added load. Another reason to use 1x19 1/4" rigging wire for life lines.

I used rail clamps similar to the Life Sling fittings mentioned in the post above.

Anyone know where to get an extendable rod to position the panels. I've been using a wooden brace but the angle of the panel is fixed unless I bring a whole bunch of different length sticks.

Aloha
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Old 28-03-2010, 00:00   #19
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May I suggest that you use 4 of the top slide jaw slides, two on either stanchion, and then cut the tube to fit, bend as required and crimp both ends in a vice. Slide the crimped ends into the jaws, drill and bolt. If you want to get fancy, have the ends welded after crimping.

Done like dinner.

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Old 29-03-2010, 15:37   #20
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Thanks so much for the replies guys; reminds me of how awesome this forum can be.
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Old 29-03-2010, 16:08   #21
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If you are able to do stainless steel rails, properly and safely assembled and polished and passivated, from gate,thru stern rail, to gate, on a 36ft boat, for $100-200, please let me know your source, before he goes out of business.
I totally agree with Blue Stockings statement above. My thought of $200 was to provide an adquate mount for the solar panels WITHOUT installing the complete stainless steel rails.
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Old 24-09-2010, 04:57   #22
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Recently stumbled across some hinged clamps which would be useful to fix to existing pushpits. Presumably also available in the US.

Clamps at Kayospruce Ltd=

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Old 24-09-2010, 11:00   #23
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Recently stumbled across some hinged clamps which would be useful to fix to existing pushpits. Presumably also available in the US.

Clamps at Kayospruce Ltd=

Pete
Hey Pete those look really good! Thanks!

Clamp and Cap Combination Unit 1" at Kayospruce Ltd
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Old 24-09-2010, 12:51   #24
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Hey Reb

Try these guys. Marine Part Depot
So far so good for me...

Can you put a Tee fitting on top of the middle stanchions? Run the tube thru that and use the jaw fittings on the ends?
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Old 24-09-2010, 13:29   #25
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Still using a hacksaw? I figured you would be a six or seven position certified welder by now, considering how simple you think it must be.

What you are proposing is a good way to lose some fairly expensive gear overboard. Do the math and you will see the impaft force a panel and mounts must sustain from even rough seas, let alone a breaking wave.

Do it right and do it once. For the record I don't like most of the solar panel mounts that are in use now days. One breaking wave and you will have no panels, no mounts and holes in the hull integrity.

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Old 24-09-2010, 14:00   #26
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Do it right and do it once. For the record I don't like most of the solar panel mounts that are in use now days. One breaking wave and you will have no panels, no mounts and holes in the hull integrity. um saudade
Okay, we are all ears, do you have a drawing of a design or a photo of the correct way to mount panels at stanchion height.

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Old 24-09-2010, 14:53   #27
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Theres an outfit on ebay in your neighborhood selling stainless fittings at low cost. Ive been considering running stainless handrail using his parts

Two 1" Stainless Steel Rail Fitting Tees 90 Deg: eBay Motors (item 260629627657 end time Sep-30-10 21:37:11 PDT)
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Old 24-09-2010, 15:18   #28
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I way oversized my battery banks considering multiple day sailing with overcast skies and overnight with running lights autopilot fridge etc. running all the while. Seems like just figuring your consumption at average would leave you flat while in these conditions.
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Old 24-09-2010, 15:20   #29
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"Okay, we are all ears, do you have a drawing of a design or a photo of the correct way to mount panels at stanchion height."

No, I don't. I would not mount a hard panel on the boat. I use 80W flexible panels that can easily be positioned for good sun and just as easily removed in heavy weather(except for the one securely mounted on the dog house roof to keep the batteries up in rough weather).

Look at the pictures of Abby's boat after the storm and see what was still standing. The hard panels and hardware were at the bottom of the Indian Ocean.

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Old 24-09-2010, 15:33   #30
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Meanwhile my mounts keep cranking away after a trip to Mexico and a couple of Gales. U-bolts hold bar stock to the stanchions, other U-bolts hold the SS rails to the bar stock above the lifelines, turning the panels edge on minimizes the problems of winds and seas hitting them. Rail clamps hold the panels to the the rails. And the panels can go below if things really get hairy.
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