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Old 06-10-2008, 11:57 AM   #1
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Hi,

We installed 2 x 150W solar panels on our small sloop we sailed from Perth to Cairns - ran out of funds to also instal a wind generator ( or an autohelm - take a look at a map of Oz and imagine hand steering all that way! ) Panels worked out fine - top of Australia August - Dec - pure sunshine - we could have run a small town on the power we generated

Now in Cairns and with our new yacht (33' Alajuela Cutter) we have an Airex but no solar. More wind over here so we get by pretty well until we get glass off conditions and need to crank up the 39hp iveco diesel. No big deal but at the end of the year we're heading off into the South Pacific and think we'll need to instal solar as well.

Here's the rub, with a canoe stern and a large windvane steering setup, low boom over the dodger and dingy & liferaft up forward, where do we put them?

Only option I can see is to mount them towards the stern on frames either side of the rails that can be hinged in or out. I have heard of this but have never seen it. Given that this position leaves them pretty exposed to spray and (lets face it - strong breeze and flying a shy kite) a good deal of soaking - how do you waterproof them whilst not leaving them subject to overheating? Any thoughts, comments or ideas most appreciated.

Kind regards,

Robin & Shaun
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File Type: jpg Stern.jpg (53.1 KB, 149 views)
File Type: jpg Aft.jpg (47.9 KB, 141 views)
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Old 06-10-2008, 03:38 PM   #2
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Very simple...place them on top of your bimini and dodger. This is the project I'm presently working on.

Judging from your pictures, you could probably get a 200W panel across your bimini and 2-50W panels on your dodger.

Nice pictures by the way!

Also, how do you like your wind generator? What kind of output are you getting?
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Old 06-10-2008, 09:31 PM   #3
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Very simple...place them on top of your bimini and dodger. This is the project I'm presently working on.

Judging from your pictures, you could probably get a 200W panel across your bimini and 2-50W panels on your dodger.

Nice pictures by the way!

Also, how do you like your wind generator? What kind of output are you getting?
Hi,

The pics are a bit deceptive as the boom comes back almost two thirds across the bimini. The boom's low gooseneck means it only just clears both the bimini and dodger when fully cranked on.

There is no room to lift the boom without having to recut the main. On our small sloop I built a large targa bar extending out over the stern (see pic). We were asked if we were going to enter it in the Indi 500! but interestingly enough, despite my concerns of the added windage, it remained stable in some pretty scary weather across the top. I'm not sure if tilting them down at the front edge made them act like a spoiler - I'm assuming so.

Thanks for your comment on the pics by the way. We are extremely pleased with Mico and are amazed at the deck and cockpit space we have. Mind you, after spending twelve months together in an area the size of a small broom closet albeit a well designed broom closet - it's hardly suprising! When I get the hang of this site I'll create a gallery.

Boatbuilding (glass & timber) I'm pretty at home with - electrics are a bit of a new frontier for me so I'm not totally certain of what we are getting out of the Airex - I'll check it out. We get a lot of wind throughout the night so that it comes in handy. Unfortunately it drops off around daybreak and does not come in again till around midday so solar panels would be handy then.

Regards,

Robin & Shaun
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Old 06-10-2008, 10:37 PM   #4
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Hi Folks,

Trim's Ken got to the answer that I was going to go for -- flexible panels on the Bimini and/or the Dodger. Talk to this outfit :- Solar Australia

Richard

PS. Like the double Decker Bus stuck under a bridge - let the air out of the tyres.

Reduce ? height of Bimini and/or dodger slightly ??
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Old 06-11-2008, 05:59 PM   #5
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Hi Robin and Shaun,

fixing the solar panels to the rail at the stern on both sides has advantages:

- the chance of sitting in the shade of the boom (at anchor) or of the main (at see) is smaller as when both are placed close together on the dodger or on the bimini, where it is closer to the rigging and sails.

- you can adjust the panels at least around one axis (the rail) for better performance by leading a rope to the aft stay for lifting or lowering the panel. Now you can get even more out of the late afternoon sun.

- big advantage: ventilation of the back side, because it is not obstructed at all!

But it is advisable to have a solid rail instead of wire to mount a frame to, a frame with two hinges, running on the rail.

And spray should only be a problem to the point(s) where the wires enter the system: I covered the lids with an exta layer of self almagating rotunda-tape (stays flexible and can be easily cut away for opening the connecting box for inspection, what should be done on an off).

And there remains the argument of what happens to the solar panels in rough conditions:

With a watertight plug and socket I can disconnect the panel instantly, take it off the rail and stow it below (ant let the wind gen do the work).

(As I have no solid rail, I just install the panel occasionally on it under light to normal condition and place the panel on the cabin top under oll other conditions. And even there spray and green water soaking the backside did not kill my old Siemens panel yet after 10 years of use. But I must say that I remove it completely when not in use over a longer period of time or under extended bad conditions without sun.)

Uwe

SY Aquaria

with 32ft also with limited space on deck

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Old 06-16-2008, 08:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trim50 View Post
Very simple...place them on top of your bimini and dodger. This is the project I'm presently working on.

Judging from your pictures, you could probably get a 200W panel across your bimini and 2-50W panels on your dodger.

Nice pictures by the way!

Also, how do you like your wind generator? What kind of output are you getting?
Hi,

Just spent the last 2 weeks walking around mico with tape measure and a head full of options re solar panels. Side mounting is going to be too restrictive in relation to lowering the outboard, accessing the barbi and life rings etc - oh well. Ended up moving the bimini back slightly which now gives us an area of 1700mm x 800mm clear of the boom. I'm sure we'll find a panel to suit that. I am interested in your plans to mount yours on your bimini.

I figure I will need to add a couple of vertical struts to re-enforce the bimini as its a simple kit style affair. My thoughts were then to construct a lightweight aluminium frame (probably square) and bolt this on top. What do you think?

Regards,

Robin & Shaun
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