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Old 02-15-2016, 11:06 AM   #1
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solar panels

anyone mounted solar panels on a trawler? suggestions of where and how please......bimini?

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Old 02-15-2016, 11:21 AM   #2
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I haven't mounted on a trawler, but I were to I'd certainly of onto of the bimini in ours.

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Old 02-15-2016, 11:28 AM   #3
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I would weld up a aluminum hard top and mount the panels on top just make it so you can unbolt it quickly. If I every had to switch to a mooring ball that is my plan.
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Old 02-15-2016, 11:30 AM   #4
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I have been thinking about having a frame built to mount solar panels over the aft cabin on our Double Cabin Taiwanese Tub and maybe putting a hard top on the frame then adding fixed panels.

If you leave the bimini up all the time, you can probably mount them on that frame. At least one TF poster has used soft panels on his bimini.
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Old 02-15-2016, 11:51 AM   #5
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I have installed two panels on "trawlers" recently.

The first was for my buddy's CHB 45 pilothouse. Above the pilothouse and forward of the fly bridge is a nice flat area that could hold 2-200 watt panels. It is open to the sun except when it gets down to 45 degrees and is to the aft of the boat where the fly bridge bimini shades it.

We used aluminum L shaped brackets to support it off of the roof for ventilation and glued the brackets down with West System epoxy and bolted them to the frame of the panels. We then ran two 12 gauge cables, one for each panel down to a convenient spot inside where we tied into a 45 amp Blue Sky MPPT controller. From the output of the controller we ran #6 cable down to the battery through a 50 amp fuse near the battery.

The system will put out almost 30 amps at 12V when the sun is overhead and makes about 120+ amp hours each day. Since that boat has propane refrigeration, 120 AH will fully cover my buddy's needs even with a few cloudy days each week.

The other system was a simple 100 watt panel that I mounted on my Mainship Pilot 34 to charge up the batteries after getting back to the mooring from cruising and keep them topped off. I had at least a week to recharge so I didn't need a big, powerful system like on the CHB. Plus I wasn't living aboard so even on week long cruises I was motoring to our next anchorage every other day so the batteries pretty well got recharged from the propulsion engine.

The system consists of a 100 watt panel with hardware store rubber feet mounted on the corners. It just sits on the roof of the hardtop P34. I cut off the MC4 connectors and spliced #12 wire and ran it down the side, through an air vent and into the engine room. I connected it to a Morningstar 10A PWM controller and then to the battery through a 15 amp fuse.

That system will put out abut 5 amps (you lose another 15% with a PWM controller but I didn't care) at noon and charges about 25 amp hours on a sunny day. It works fine to top off my 220 AH GC house bank.

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Old 02-15-2016, 06:59 PM   #6
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My boat had a bimini when I bought it, but it was too low and I could not stand upright beneath it. So change was needed.

I had a custom hardtop made, which is OK but I'm not overly enamored with the aesthetic. It holds 5 x 260W panels. Had we planned it better I could have added a sixth, but the mast is in the way at present. I also added 2 x 260W panels on the pilothouse roof. I'm planning on moving those as they are often partially shaded by the hardtop. They are only delivering half the amphours of the others.

Were I doing it again I think I would have increased the height of the existing bimini (or made a new one) and used soft panels. It would look better and avoid having quite a lot of weight up high.
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Old 02-15-2016, 07:25 PM   #7
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Solar panels

Mounted mine on rear rail. Tilts forward and rear to follow the sun if needed.
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Old 02-16-2016, 02:40 AM   #8
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Krogen 42 pilot house roof is a perfect location for solar panels. Used 1" square aluminum tubing as a base mounted to the roof and then mounted the panels onto the tubing. This kept the panels away from the roof and allowed air for cooling to circulate under the panels.
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Old 02-16-2016, 06:00 AM   #9
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Decide on the purpose first.

Just to leave the boat and keep the batt sets humming 1 panel will do.

If you want to top off a mostly charged batt set a couple of panels will do fine.

If you dream of handing a cruisers biggest load , the reefer, to panels ,

do the math and decide if you really have real estate to put usually 200+ AH back in your batt bank, daily

This is a case where spending BIG on an efficient fridge may pay well.
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Old 02-16-2016, 07:05 AM   #10
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Solar Panels

Keith, you did not mention what type of trawler you are referring to for the solar panel mount. Lots of ideas out there. Trawler type?
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Old 02-16-2016, 08:11 AM   #11
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I mounted 3 275 watt panels on the hard top of my bridge. , nothing to cause any shadows, on a good day it will charge the batterIes with 50 plus amp. So far this winter I have seen a maximum output of over 225 amp hours per day, I expect more as the days grow longer
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Old 02-16-2016, 12:52 PM   #12
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I've installed four 335 watt panels on my 58 Vantare over the bimini and love it. But then I'm off the dock 3-6 weeks at a time. Built an aluminum frame that mounted to the radar architecture and a structure similar to a wake board tower for support
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Old 02-16-2016, 06:21 PM   #13
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HI folks,

Great thread so far. Would it be asking too much to have some of you post pictures of your set ups? I am also considering adding solar, but I am unsure where to mount it. On my last sailboat I mounted three 175w panels on the rear arch. What a great thing for Mexico, with lots of sunny days.

Cheers, Bill
"There is simply nothing more worth while than messing around in boats."
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Old 02-16-2016, 08:05 PM   #14
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I wanted a Bimini so just got a frame made and used the flexible panels as the top stuck on with sikaflex. I measured the area that I wanted to cover then ordered the panels that size would best cover and in my case 180 watts.
More than happy with results but I'm sure it's not to everyone's tastes.Click image for larger version

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ID:	48910Click image for larger version

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Old 02-16-2016, 08:10 PM   #15
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We've been looking at installing solar panels on a boat we are buying. Initially I was going to put a hard top on her to mount them but with the new flexible panels available will probable just mount them on the bimini with Velcro, zipper or something similar.

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