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 Testing new toy - solar panel
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Davy J
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
1511 Posts

Initially Posted - 02/21/2011 :  05:50:54  Show Profile
Added this solar panel and got to test sail with it on Saturday. I am glad to report it works great.







I added a couple of "arms" so that I can tilt it towards the sun.



It's an 80 watt Kyocera, even with some clouds, it maintained voltage between 13 and 14.2 volts.

Davy J


2005 Gemini 105Mc
PO 1987 C25 #5509 SR/SK
Tampa Bay

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TCurran
Admiral

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USA
588 Posts

Response Posted - 02/21/2011 :  06:05:38  Show Profile
Dave, how much "stuff" did you have running and maintained the 13+ volts? Looks nice.

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redeye
Master Marine Consultant

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3474 Posts

Response Posted - 02/21/2011 :  06:09:32  Show Profile
Wow.. That rocks.. and it provides shade..

Very nice... Now you can have a good/great stereo. Where did you buy that?


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Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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USA
5862 Posts

Response Posted - 02/21/2011 :  06:18:49  Show Profile
Was the mount manufactured, or did you fabricate it yourself. If manufactured, what company made it?

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Davy J
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
1511 Posts

Response Posted - 02/21/2011 :  06:38:49  Show Profile
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"> Dave, how much "stuff" did you have running and maintained the 13+ volts? Looks nice.<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">
Sony Radio w/MP3 and Garmin GPS w/sounder. The reason it stays between 13 and 14.2 volts is because the charge controller starts charging when the voltage drops below 13v and the controller stops charging at 14.2v.
The real test is yet to come. I bought a Engle refrigerator for our next trip, so we will have that running as well.

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Where did you buy that?<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">
Solar panel purchased on eBay. I think I paid about 150.00.

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Was the mount manufactured, or did you fabricate it yourself<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">
All the mounting brackets are self-fabricated. I had to make the panel easy to remove because I have to lower the mast. The main "clamps" are Magma grill mounting clamps. They are attached to two sections of aluminum square tubing. The "arms" are fabricated from Bimini parts. The main SS frame is clamped to stern rail. I already had that there because it holds my mast when I lower it to clear a bridge.

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DaveR
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
2015 Posts

Response Posted - 02/21/2011 :  06:57:27  Show Profile  Visit DaveR's Homepage
And I thought my 45 watts was overkill. Good price too. You should never kill a battery again!

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OLarryR
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
3375 Posts

Response Posted - 02/21/2011 :  08:04:03  Show Profile  Visit OLarryR's Homepage
Looks great ---Plenty of power !

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islander
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
4000 Posts

Response Posted - 02/21/2011 :  09:59:30  Show Profile
Davy, That looks great and a nice neat install but I know I'd be banging my head into it. I'd probably put the tilt mounts more to the front of the panel thus moving the panel out of the cockpit and more over the water. The "In the way factor" Is why I didn't get a bigger panel and opted for a 15 watt but you've given me new ideas.Nice, Thanks.

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Davy J
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
1511 Posts

Response Posted - 02/21/2011 :  14:23:46  Show Profile
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">I'd probably put the tilt mounts more to the front of the panel thus moving the panel out of the cockpit and more over the water<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">
I was originally going to mount it that way, but I thought it might be more difficult to tilt the panel forward.

With only one sailing, I can't yet comment on the "in the way" part. However, the panel will only be used for trips, not on day-sails. Since I have to motor through canals to get to the bay, the alternator on the Tohatsu charges the batteries for the most part. The panel, however, will make using the boarding ladder more of a challenge.

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NautiC25
Admiral

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USA
957 Posts

Response Posted - 02/25/2011 :  10:15:40  Show Profile
Very nice looking setup. I bought a $75 9watt panel from Walmart, but it's just sitting on the deck. I'm too cheap to buy the nice Magma Grill rail mounts like you did. lol
I built a cheap alternative and plan to test it out this weekend.

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Davy J
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
1511 Posts

Response Posted - 02/25/2011 :  10:40:53  Show Profile
The aluminum tubing, grill mounts, bimini parts, wiring and solar charge controller cost about as much as the solar panel did.

I had to show real restraint when it came to the charge controller, the fancy MPPT types run 225.00 to 300.00. The regular type that I purchased was 29.99. I couldn't justify the extra expense, for the extra 10% output.

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calden
Navigator

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USA
194 Posts

Response Posted - 03/16/2011 :  07:20:17  Show Profile
I am also looking at buying a solar panel, just to keep my battery topped up. For those of you who have it laying on the deck, and stow it when you sail, do you just leave it wired in and tuck it away, or do you have a quick and easy way to disconnect it from the battery? Anyone have any kind of plug system to disconnect?

Thanks,
Carlos

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Davy J
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
1511 Posts

Response Posted - 03/16/2011 :  10:16:17  Show Profile
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Anyone have any kind of plug system to disconnect?<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">

I am currently using this fancy-shmancy thingy:
http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10001& storeId=11151& partNumber=152942& langId=-1

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cshaw
Captain

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USA
460 Posts

Response Posted - 03/16/2011 :  10:54:59  Show Profile
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by calden</i>
<br />I am also looking at buying a solar panel, just to keep my battery topped up. For those of you who have it laying on the deck, and stow it when you sail, do you just leave it wired in and tuck it away, or do you have a quick and easy way to disconnect it from the battery? Thanks,
Carlos
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">

Carlos.

I just got the "Trickle Charger" solar panel from West Marine ($69 ) and simply have it sitting on the cockpit seat where it gets sunlight most all the day. It came with a long cord, with a connector very similar to the "fancy-shmancy" one DavyJ posted :-)

It also came with two other cables with mating plugs to the one on the cable from the Solar Panel. One has two alligator clips on it, and the other cable has a 12v cigar lighter male plug. I clipped off the clips and put on eye terminals to attach to the battery. That way I have an easy way to put a volt meter on the battery without opening up the battery box, and also have a simple plugin to connect the charger when we close up the boat.

I consider laying the panel in the cockpit a temporary location, and am still looking for a simple and CHEAP mounting approac and location to clip it on to while sailing, etc. But with 3 grandsons crawling all over the boat, I will probably keep it stowed when they are on board!!

Chuck

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Prospector
Master Marine Consultant

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Canada
3159 Posts

Response Posted - 03/16/2011 :  14:27:20  Show Profile  Visit Prospector's Homepage
our solar panel kit included a number of different couplings, including the one DavyJ posted, a cigarette lighter type, round battery ring terminals, and others.

they are all interchangeable, but I just plug it into the chargecontroller when we use it, then stow it away in teh quarter berth to sail.

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DaveR
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
2015 Posts

Response Posted - 03/16/2011 :  16:05:49  Show Profile  Visit DaveR's Homepage
Ya know Davy, I didn't pay enough attention to your mount when I first looked at this thread, that's a damn good piece of engineering there I haven't used a mount so far, just pinned it underneath the jib halyard on it's way back to the cockpit and put it below while underway, but I'm loving your idea

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mcmpw
Deckhand

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USA
1 Posts

Response Posted - 04/30/2012 :  21:32:58  Show Profile
"I bought a Engle refrigerator for our next trip, so we will have that running as well."

curious to how it worked with the refrigerator?

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dmpilc
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
4593 Posts

Response Posted - 05/01/2012 :  05:36:34  Show Profile
Nice job. Is that the same tubing you use to drop your mast?

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Davy J
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
1511 Posts

Response Posted - 05/01/2012 :  05:49:13  Show Profile
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">curious to how it worked with the refrigerator?<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">
It works extremely well with the Engle. We used the Engle as a freezer and I also had on Dometic that we used as a fridge. We were out ten days and had no problems. Both units automatically switch to AC power once you are tied up in a marina. No more chasing down ice, we made our own.

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Nice job. Is that the same tubing you use to drop your mast?<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">
Correct. I only use the solar panel when we go out on a trip. The rest of the time the tubing is there to support the mast as we transit the damn bridge.

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dmpilc
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
4593 Posts

Response Posted - 05/01/2012 :  06:05:07  Show Profile
The one I built, copied from you thank-you, for the boat I unfortunately just sold, worked very well. For a roller, I put a surplus turnbuckle boot tube on the cross piece.
It also was a good place to hang wet life vests after a swim!

Edited by - dmpilc on 05/01/2012 06:08:41
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