attaching a solar panel

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attaching a solar panel

Postby Moondance » Sat Apr 10, 2021 6:21 am

I am in the process to install a 300 Watt solar panel. (60" x 40")I like to hang it from tha rear railing at the fly deck. Can anybody suggest where to get the appropriate hardware? I like to have it hinge on the railing so I can ajust it from a horizontal to an angled possition. So I am looking for adjustable support/braces, to secure it safely and to angle it to approx. 30-45 degrees.
Hans
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Re: attaching a solar panel

Postby Harlequin » Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:38 pm

We had a solar panel hung on the aft railing of the flybridge above the cockpit of our Camano that we sold last summer. This panel had the same dimensions as what you want to mount but, with new technology, you'll generate three times the power.

The top of the panel attached to the top railing using bbq mounting clamps. The clamps allowed tightening or loosening to adjust the panel angle. I locked the angle with a telescopic aluminum arm mounted to the bottom of the solar panel and to the bottom rail.

As the solar panel obscured the stern light I raised the light on a short pole above the height of the panel. Sorry, I don't have a good photo of the solar panel set up.
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Re: attaching a solar panel

Postby Moondance » Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:24 pm

Thank you Harlequin
Things are slowly coming together, thanks for your comments.
One more question; The telescoping support where did you find it?
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Re: attaching a solar panel

Postby Harlequin » Wed Apr 14, 2021 9:57 pm

If memory serves,I adapted an extendable bimini brace that I picked up from a chandlery.
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Re: attaching a solar panel

Postby chrisaensing » Sun May 16, 2021 2:25 pm

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Re: attaching a solar panel

Postby DeTour » Tue May 18, 2021 6:22 am

I put 6 - 100 watt panels on top of my bimini with magnets.
Awesome installation works great.
Colin
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Hull 248
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Re: attaching a solar panel

Postby Moondance » Wed May 26, 2021 5:17 pm

Harlequin;
Thank you for your explanations and your suggestions earlier. I finally completed installing the solar panel and the connection to the batteries. It turned out well. The 335 Watt Mono Panel 67” x 40” was attached on the top rail at the back of the boat. Two pieces of aluminum angle iron were attached on the rail by 3 U blots and wing nuts. The panel is held up braced by two aluminum braces. These braces consist out of a sched. 80 aluminum pipe and a thinner round tube which allows it to slide inside in order to adjust the length of the brace . This will give us the option to adjust the panel angle if needed. At the moment the panel is at a horizontal fixed level..
We installed a Victron Smart MPPT controller to manage the current coming from the panel to the 4 home lead-acid batteries. This is a very efficient unit which is supposed to adjust quickly in cloudy and changing conditions, improving the energy “harvest” compared to slower units. This unit has a Bluetooth option to pair with our phone or tablet . This provides one with all the info you need regarding the state of the batteries and the wattage being generated by the panel . We are very excited about the generating power of the panels even during not too sunny days. So far, we know that the batteries remain fully charged easily, when the fridge is on 24 hrs.even during cloudy days. We will find out more when we‘ll consume more wattage when we start on a cruise this summer.
About the wiring: From the panels we lead the (not connected) wires along the inside ledge on the upper deck. We removed the cover which houses all the wires from the fly deck controls and lead our solar cables to the cockpit area below. The same procedure as at the flydeck was done leading the cables from the cabin all the way to the engine room. No need to mention that an assistant is very welcome to pull the wires during this process.
The controller was mounted before, beside the existing battery charger in the engine room. I used a wooden spacer assuring enough ventilation. First connection was made from the controller to the batteries with an inline 40 Amp fuse in the positive cable. After that, we connected the cables to the (not connected) panel. We covered the panel with a blanket before the connections at the panel were closed.
Our battery monitor is also connected to an app on our phone, displaying state of charge, pos. or neg. current, voltage, time remaining at current consumption. Also the state of the starter battery can be monitored. It is nice to be able to monitor things easily this way.
Moondance, Sidney BC
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Re: attaching a solar panel

Postby Moondance » Wed May 26, 2021 5:25 pm

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Re: attaching a solar panel

Postby DeTour » Thu May 27, 2021 5:31 am

very similar install as I did.
Did you put a battery switch between the panels and the controller so if need be you can quickly isolate the panels from the system. I put in just before the Mppt controlller
Colin
DeTour
Toronto/ Midland
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Re: attaching a solar panel

Postby Moondance » Sat May 29, 2021 12:58 pm

DeTour wrote:
> very similar install as I did.
> Did you put a battery switch between the panels and the controller so if
> need be you can quickly isolate the panels from the system. I put in just
> before the Mppt controlller
> Colin
> DeTour
> Toronto/ Midland
No, I did not . I was told by some folks not to bother, others thought the opposite. We'll see if I will add a swith in the future. For now, in case of cutting off the power from the panel, I throw a cover on the panel ! ! !.
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