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Old 13-12-2017, 09:18   #31
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Re: Slide Out Solar Panels

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Since you are still shopping I don't see the point of deep diving into this idea.
Part of the joy of this journey has been learning, and dreaming and planning, and tossing around ideas with you fine people.... So, that's the point of deep diving into this idea... enjoyment, and visioning for the future...
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Old 13-12-2017, 09:20   #32
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Re: Slide Out Solar Panels

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Part of the joy of this journey has been learning, and dreaming and planning, and tossing around ideas with you fine people.... So, that's the point of deep diving into this idea... enjoyment, and visioning for the future...
Ahh, ok. I thought you were trying to solve a problem.

In that case: Dream on!
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Old 13-12-2017, 09:37   #33
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Re: Slide Out Solar Panels

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Any machine shop can fab it up for you. Any marine place that does tuna towers and stainless pulpits can also do it.

But if you want to do it right, find a shop that doesn't get all bent out of shape when you ask them to do all the fabrication work (including replacing the frames on the solar panels) with titanium. Saves a lot of weight, adds strength.

There's no mass market for origami solar panel mounts, so you'll have to get custom fabrication.
FYI: Ti is heavier than aluminum.
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Old 13-12-2017, 13:54   #34
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Re: Slide Out Solar Panels

I for one think the idea has applications. Working it out, go to a good machine shop with a sketch on a napkin. Not for everyone.
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Old 13-12-2017, 14:05   #35
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Re: Slide Out Solar Panels

I did something similar, but maybe simpler. I mounted one panel facing up, and another hinged to it that folds underneath my arch facing down when not in use, ie travelling. But we found that in the Sea of Cortez we could leave it facing up a lot of the time. It takes me about a minute to fold and secure it or vice versa.
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Old 13-12-2017, 14:07   #36
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Re: Slide Out Solar Panels

Sorry about the upside down picture, but I am largely incompetent
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Old 13-12-2017, 14:32   #37
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Re: Slide Out Solar Panels

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Sorry about the upside down picture, but I am largely incompetent
You're allowed to be upside down. Most sailors are at least a little bit. You're not incompetent until the boat is upside down.
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Old 14-12-2017, 05:20   #38
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Re: Slide Out Solar Panels

It's an interesting idea, and I'm sure could be made to work. However on a catamaran there is usually plenty of space for fixed mount panels on the bimini and/or above a stern arch to generate lots of power without the weight and complexity of a sliding or folding mechanisms. I'm a great believer in keeping things as simple as possible - solar is great as it is always on and silent. Plus the time when our power usage is greatest is on long passages with normal loads plus the autopilot running 24x7, which would be just the time you couldn't use sliding panels.
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Old 14-12-2017, 11:08   #39
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Re: Slide Out Solar Panels

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It's an interesting idea, and I'm sure could be made to work. However on a catamaran there is usually plenty of space for fixed mount panels on the bimini and/or above a stern arch to generate lots of power without the weight and complexity of a sliding or folding mechanisms. I'm a great believer in keeping things as simple as possible - solar is great as it is always on and silent. Plus the time when our power usage is greatest is on long passages with normal loads plus the autopilot running 24x7, which would be just the time you couldn't use sliding panels.
Very very few cruisers spend a significant % of time on long passages with days of no engine.
A lot of cruisers spend days on end at destinations while at anchor and powered by solar.
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Old 16-12-2017, 16:24   #40
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Re: Slide Out Solar Panels

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Very very few cruisers spend a significant % of time on long passages with days of no engine.
A lot of cruisers spend days on end at destinations while at anchor and powered by solar.
I certainly agree that very few cruisers spend a significant proportion of their time on passage. We estimated less than 7% of our time over 3 1/2 years which included 2 Atlantic crossings and 1 S Pacific was on passage. And I agree you should not optimise your boat for that, however for us that was actually the time we wanted maximum solar panel output, so it was worth considering. If I had restricted space, I would try every trick I could to maximise the amount of solar I had. Not having to run the engine to charge is wonderful. However on a catamaran, there are usually a lot of simple options to take advantage of first before trying something more complicated.

You are also probably right that most cruisers motor quite a bit on most passages, but that wasn't the case for us. We had a catamaran, light wind sails, and were prepared to use them, so I think while on long passages we only motored for about 3 or 4 days out of roughly 70 days on passages longer than 3 days. Cruising around the mediterranean on short passages was a different story!

Here's a video of us in light winds between Panama and the Galapagos that gives an idea of why we didn't have to motor as much as the average cruiser we met: https://youtu.be/uLkOWqehUCs

Mark.
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Old 17-12-2017, 03:45   #41
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Re: Slide Out Solar Panels

How much wattage are you trying to install?

On most catamarans you can install quite a bit without doing anything exotic.

If you are talking something crazy like 3000w on the davits, you would need a folding system and weight does become an issue.
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Old 18-12-2017, 09:42   #42
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Re: Slide Out Solar Panels

Something like this would be ideal but a very tough install and also expensive.

Solar Flower
http://smartflowersolar.com/wp-conte...rplus--800.png
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