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Old 02-03-2019, 15:08   #16
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Re: Bimini made from solar panels?

Like this, perhaps? As seen last fall. Details are that the SS tubing is overbuilt, mounted in welded pipe "receivers" and is cambered both to shed water and increase output on "the shoulder hours". There's no attempt to block the water between panels 2 and 3; if I wish to, I would split a PVC pipe to act as a gutter and send it aft over the stern.

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Old 02-03-2019, 15:20   #17
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Re: Bimini made from solar panels?

Somehow missed this thread Ö thanks Exile.

Yes, I did exactly this a number of years ago. My boat had an existing dodger, but no bimini. I wanted some cockpit shading, and needed more more solar, so I designed and built this one that combined the two. Here are a few pics.

I used standard solid-frame panels, and attached them using U-bolts. Itís not hard to disassemble, although it would probably take an hour or so to do. Iíve had this setup for must be five years now, and have never found the need to take them down.

Itís a pretty simple design and construction. I didnít intend to make it a perfect rain cover, although Iím still playing with the idea of setting up some sort of PVC gutters to collect rain water.
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Old 02-03-2019, 17:42   #18
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Re: Bimini made from solar panels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raggedy Man View Post
One thing seems to be missing from all these comments. [...] I am in the middle of a similar project, thought I might add an idea I'm trying. Pictures to follow.

So you put insulation on the underside to cool the panels down? Really?
To me this would only make sense if you used the trapped heat to warm up your fresh water for the galley and shower. Otherwise you want airflow below the panels to remove the heat from above.
Interested to hear how you came up with this one.




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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
Yes, I did exactly this a number of years ago. My boat had an existing dodger, but no bimini. I wanted some cockpit shading, and needed more

That must be the lowest mainsheet angle I've seen in a long time, Mike!


This is the arch that came with my boat (two 130W panels):

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I've since added panels to both vertical sides with hinges on top. No shading from the boom, the angle will not put out max current when the sun is overhead but makes up for it during off peak.
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Old 02-03-2019, 21:26   #19
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Re: Bimini made from solar panels?

I have several customers who have done this. One with a Westsail 32 butted the panels and ran a bead of Sika Flex between them and the water just runs over the side, not into the cockpit.
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Old 02-03-2019, 23:16   #20
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Re: Bimini made from solar panels?

In the process of doing what you envision.

The large diameter tubes at the front are 2" diameter alloy because I want to run all the electrical cables and water drain tubes down through the middle of them.

The back tubes are 1" SS salvaged from the bimini I removed.

The frame which holds the 600 or so watts of panels is fabricated from 40 mm x 20 mm angle faced and stiffened with 40 mm alloy tube which also provides a rounded edge which looks better than just the flat face of the alloy sections and allows less obtrusive treatment of the corners.

The underside ceiling is 1.2 mm alloy sheet which is riveted and sealed to the 20 mm leg of the alloy frame with a removable section which contains the drains for rain water and which can be removed for access to the panel wiring.

Since I spend most of my time in the tropics I will be installing roll down shade cloths to either side and the stern.

The dodger is the next in line for similar treatment'
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Old 02-03-2019, 23:51   #21
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Re: Bimini made from solar panels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hzcruiser View Post
...That must be the lowest mainsheet angle I've seen in a long time, Mike!
Very true. The end-boom sheeting and the very long boom overall severely limited the size and location I had for my solar bimini. Iím actually pretty pleased with how it turned out.

A friend did a similar bimini as mine, although in his case he built a second frame over top of his canvas bimini. He used 90-degree angles instead of pipe bends as I did. He has found that his frame sags a bit now due to the weight, and he plans to redesign his to use bends instead of hard angles.

Something to consider for those thinking about doing something similar.
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Old 03-03-2019, 00:33   #22
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Re: Bimini made from solar panels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
Somehow missed this thread Ö thanks Exile.

Yes, I did exactly this a number of years ago. My boat had an existing dodger, but no bimini. I wanted some cockpit shading, and needed more more solar, so I designed and built this one that combined the two. Here are a few pics.

I used standard solid-frame panels, and attached them using U-bolts. Itís not hard to disassemble, although it would probably take an hour or so to do. Iíve had this setup for must be five years now, and have never found the need to take them down.

Itís a pretty simple design and construction. I didnít intend to make it a perfect rain cover, although Iím still playing with the idea of setting up some sort of PVC gutters to collect rain water.
Nice job on the solar bimini Mike, and what an interesting boat! It even has ratlines(?) to climb up the rigging. Is that what the midships ladder-type arrangement is called? As a couple of others have done, it doesn't look like it'd be too hard to maybe move or fasten the two panels together if you're so inclined.
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Old 03-03-2019, 08:23   #23
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Re: Bimini made from solar panels?

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Originally Posted by Exile View Post
Nice job on the solar bimini Mike, and what an interesting boat! It even has ratlines(?) to climb up the rigging. Is that what the midships ladder-type arrangement is called? As a couple of others have done, it doesn't look like it'd be too hard to maybe move or fasten the two panels together if you're so inclined.
Thanks Exile. Yup, themís is ratlines. Is kinda useful at times to get up the mast quickly. But more importantly, makes us look very ďshippyĒ .

Yes, I could easily move them together. You canít see it, but I designed it so there is a slight angle to the panels so they drain in and forward. My intention was to install some sort of conduit between the panels for water collection, but since then Iíve learned that I appreciate being able to see through the gap to monitor my mainsail while sailing. Itís useful having this window of visibility.
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Old 03-03-2019, 09:16   #24
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Re: Bimini made from solar panels?

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
Thanks Exile. Yup, themís is ratlines. Is kinda useful at times to get up the mast quickly. But more importantly, makes us look very ďshippyĒ .

Yes, I could easily move them together. You canít see it, but I designed it so there is a slight angle to the panels so they drain in and forward. My intention was to install some sort of conduit between the panels for water collection, but since then Iíve learned that I appreciate being able to see through the gap to monitor my mainsail while sailing. Itís useful having this window of visibility.
Great idea. I think that's the number one downside for me when my bimini is up, namely it's harder to see the mainsail. It's not really much of a "problem," just more of a "thing" I have about keeping an eye on the sails. I sometimes worry about being able to get the bimini down in a hurry in the event of a serious blow, but I bet it's less of an issue with a well-constructed fixed structure that lies mostly horizontal to the wind. Seems like it would function more like a pilothouse.
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Old 03-03-2019, 09:45   #25
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Re: Bimini made from solar panels?

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Sure, but they will likely leak between panels. maybe just put a thin sheet of... fiberglass sheet, PVC sheet or etc under the panels. Or even lightweight coated 1/4 plywood
More or less what we did as outlined in my previous post but if using a non conductive material like the Sintra we used one must introduce a gap or gaps. We used 0.5" wide strips of the 0.25" Sintra glued on the 0.25" thick Sintra panels and as the gaps are positioned to allow warmed air to flow higher under the solar panels on the curved sintra panels it solved the problem of rising temps.

The curved sintra top is also more attractive than a flat surface and being curved much stronger. We added perforated painted and slotted PVC pipe along the edges making for a very effective water collector.

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