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Old 05-02-2018, 09:39   #1
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Fiber washers on deck

I'm thinking of using fiber washers when I install my solar panels on top of my cabin. These would have the advantages of preventing direct contact between the stainless bolts and the aluminum solar panel frame (dissimilar metal corrosion), and being easy to trim the edge of the washer so it will fit beside the rib in the frame. I'm just not clear on what kind of material this "fiber" actually is. It looks like hard plastic with string fibers embedded in it. Is it suitable for this use?
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Old 05-02-2018, 09:47   #2
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Re: Fiber washers on deck

True fiber washers swell with water and deteriorate. Maybe you are talking something else though. I'd use nylon or something instead.
Also, a SS bolt will still transfer some corrosion, but the washers will help. If you want to worry enough you could go with shoulder washers and completely isolate the alloys. They are made tiny also and nylon or etc.
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Old 05-02-2018, 09:48   #3
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Re: Fiber washers on deck

Just use nylon washers, available in the fasteners bins at any decent hardware store in a bunch of different sizes.
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Old 05-02-2018, 10:48   #4
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Re: Fiber washers on deck

Just use tefgel or waterproof grease. This is a non-concern, and firm support is more important. Skip it.
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Old 06-02-2018, 09:14   #5
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Re: Fiber washers on deck

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Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
Just use tefgel or waterproof grease. This is a non-concern, and firm support is more important. Skip it.
Tufgel on the threads, as your fasteners are still in contact with an aluminum frame, washers go between the frame and contact point they attach to.
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Old 06-02-2018, 09:30   #6
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Re: Fiber washers on deck

I understand everything you are saying, but it's a panel, not a mast. The maximum life expectancy is 20 years (after that, low output will justify replacement, no matter the brand). It's just not going to matter in any practical sense, that is all.
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Old 06-02-2018, 09:40   #7
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Re: Fiber washers on deck

+ one for Cheechako. Without using shoulder washers you are accomplishing nothing.
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Old 06-02-2018, 10:26   #8
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Re: Fiber washers on deck

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Originally Posted by Water Dragon View Post
I'm thinking of using fiber washers when I install my solar panels on top of my cabin. These would have the advantages of preventing direct contact between the stainless bolts and the aluminum solar panel frame (dissimilar metal corrosion), and being easy to trim the edge of the washer so it will fit beside the rib in the frame. I'm just not clear on what kind of material this "fiber" actually is. It looks like hard plastic with string fibers embedded in it. Is it suitable for this use?
Better yet, skip the framed type, use the flexible, type.
They have grommets on the corners, and are less expensive, much lighter weight, and can be placed almost anywhere, and easier to reorient for max. Efficiency.
Aluminum framed ones are best for houses
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Old 06-02-2018, 12:15   #9
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Re: Fiber washers on deck



Like in the movie above with kit looks nice and less holes.
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Old 06-02-2018, 17:12   #10
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Re: Fiber washers on deck

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Like in the movie above with kit looks nice and less holes.
Several things are missing in that video.
Wiring thru the "turtle/hatch cover". Would they drill a hole thru the cabin top as well?.
The wiring connection points under the flex panel aren't shown, you'd have to remove the hatch cover to see that, It wasn't shown.
There are numerous better ways to mount this type of panel.
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Old 06-02-2018, 22:24   #11
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Re: Fiber washers on deck

This is just a other way to place them and every way have his advantages and downsides.
On the end have you to pass always to the inside with your cables. On the other hand is there good stuff on the market to do this nice and beautifully.

Is there still no boat with beautiful flush integrated solar panels in the deck or hull??? Strange, isnít!
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Old 07-02-2018, 08:22   #12
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Re: Fiber washers on deck

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Originally Posted by Boatyarddog View Post
Several things are missing in that video.
Wiring thru the "turtle/hatch cover". Would they drill a hole thru the cabin top as well?.
The wiring connection points under the flex panel aren't shown, you'd have to remove the hatch cover to see that, It wasn't shown.
There are numerous better ways to mount this type of panel.
I must have missed something? I would have sworn I saw a hole being drilled for the wiring, but was unsure about what was placed over the hole?
The whole thing made a neat looking job.
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Old 07-02-2018, 08:44   #13
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Re: Fiber washers on deck

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Originally Posted by Boatyarddog View Post
Several things are missing in that video.
Wiring thru the "turtle/hatch cover". Would they drill a hole thru the cabin top as well?.
The wiring connection points under the flex panel aren't shown, you'd have to remove the hatch cover to see that, It wasn't shown.
There are numerous better ways to mount this type of panel.
There are "other" ways to mount the panel, but it is not as simple as "better." I've mounted panels in many places on several boats, including the turtle. It has some advantages.

Yes, he did drill the hole and pass the wire through (butyl seal). No chance of a leak because it is under the panel. And the wires will never see UV.

You can remove the turtle from the boat to do the work. I did. If you did get a leak, for some reason, it is not a deck leak and repairs will be simpler.

Yes, there is another hole in the deck, but it does not have to be under the other hole. In my case, I ran it several feet to a place that I could better access and hide.

There is shading. But there is no traffic and it is unused space. And there is not always shading. Swing the boom to the side and there is little shading.

On the balance, the turtle is one of many good locations.

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Old 09-02-2018, 10:00   #14
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Re: Fiber washers on deck

I finally found some nylon washers, which I couldn't find at first.

Flexible panels are only 6-8% efficient, compared to 12% or better for monocrystalline panels, says Nigel Calder.

In my work on float planes operating in salt water, we always used nylon or aluminum washers between steel bolts and aluminum parts, so that's what I'm going to stick with. I don't think the shoulder washers are really necessary. Much smaller/less pressure contact area inside the hole, compared to the contact between the nut and the aluminum frame.
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Old 09-02-2018, 11:19   #15
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Re: Fiber washers on deck

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Originally Posted by Water Dragon View Post
I finally found some nylon washers, which I couldn't find at first.

Flexible panels are only 6-8% efficient, compared to 12% or better for monocrystalline panels, says Nigel Calder.

In my work on float planes operating in salt water, we always used nylon or aluminum washers between steel bolts and aluminum parts, so that's what I'm going to stick with. I don't think the shoulder washers are really necessary. Much smaller/less pressure contact area inside the hole, compared to the contact between the nut and the aluminum frame.
Nigel Calder has old info.

Today, the efficiency ratings for average monocrystalline or polycrystalline panels hovers between 14 and 17 percent. Thin film solar panels, on the other hand, typically offer an efficiency of between 11 and 13 percent. 2018 specs.Not much difference really.
You have a lot more options for mounting flexible panels, and breaking the glass on monocrystalline panels is sure to happen with hardware flinging around as it can do in a blow.
Being a small difference in efficiency makes the flex panels more Valueable and are easier to re orient to optimum positions than much heavier and framed panels.
Flex panels, are less expensive as well, can be slipped out of sight on the dock where theft can be a problem, or vandalism, it happens! And have a lot less weight for shipping (so important in places where you cannot get things easily)and usually can be stacked for more power by connecting cable ends together, not hard wiring.
They are better power producers in Low Light conditions.
I love the fact that they can be pull out as needed for power, connected together, then packed away when not needed, thus freeing up space for doing other things.
Just my two cents worth.
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