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Old 05-15-2019, 06:33 PM   #1
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My new Solar System

Installation completed this morning.
I now have 2 panels, each 160w, 58" long x 26"wide. Each is mounted to hang from the rail on the upper deck and to swing up to a horizontal position if that is needed.
When I plugged them in this morning, the controller registered them and my house bank voltmeter rose after about an hour to over 14v. I am now unplugged from shore power, with the fridge on. I will check the house voltage over the next few days to see how well they are staying ahead of fridge consumption. As we are not staying on the boat at the moment, the fridge door doesn't get opened much, so I expect to be well ahead of usage with the panels in the hanging position. When one goes into the shade, the other comes into the sun.
The trickiest part was drilling holes to allow the wires to enter the boat. I found a hole that used to allow a coaxial run from a TV antenna to enter, that I enlarged so 4 #8 wires could enter. I stuffed the small amount of extra space full of butyl tape, so it should be water proof, and the location had never seen water enter while used for TV. then down into a cabinet and then down into the ER and fwd to near the batteries. Pretty easy install.
The solar panels each mount on a pair of hinges made from bimini and lifeline fittings, to get the offset right and to allow the swing up. A piece of maple flooring props each panel in the horizontal position and they are very stable. That is prototype material, but may be all I need.
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Old 05-15-2019, 09:40 PM   #2
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Love to see photos.
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Old 05-16-2019, 01:00 AM   #3
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Love to see photos.
+1. looking to do the same, our boat is similar to yours in layout. Would love to hear how the reefer does... what model/size is it?
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Old 05-16-2019, 01:09 AM   #4
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+1. looking to do the same, our boat is similar to yours in layout. Would love to hear how the reefer does... what model/size is it?
I will get photos tomorrow.
Fridge is a DC only, Danfoss that uses <3 amps when cycling on. In a Norcold 8 cu ft case. I also have a s cu ft Danfoss freezer that I hope will not tax the Solar system. The freezer is not presently in use.
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Old 05-16-2019, 07:12 AM   #5
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Excellent post
Just what i need as I still work to get my solar ideas going.

I am looking forward to pics.

Why did you mount on rails instead of (as some boats do) on the front of the upper helm?
Would love to see precisely how you mounted on the rails.

What brand name panels/equipment did you choose and why?

So, from your description, the installation was "easy" and hook up of the various electrical components was adequate to accomplish by a non-professional electrician?

Thanks for your input.

Tim
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Old 05-16-2019, 07:15 AM   #6
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On another note
And I want to keep this TOTALLY non-political! This is a purely economic query.

With the new tariffs in the trade with China coming to the American market; and since most (if not all) solar comes from China.

Should anyone looking to purchase solar (and perhaps most other major boating components) buy now instead of waiting?

I am interested to know what others are considering.
I am planning on buying solar (probably late this year or early next year) but I do not want to pay added tariffs and hurt my own bank account. So I am seriously considering buying the set up in the next few weeks.

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Old 05-16-2019, 08:24 AM   #7
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Yes, theoretical economics says when you increase a tariff from 10 to 25% on an imported good the imported price goes up 15%- duh!!! When the good is mostly imported from the country with the tariff, the wholesale price of all goods even those made in our country goes up 15%.

But the imported/wholesale price is probably only 60% of the delivered retail price so that price will probably go up only 10%. And it is entirely possible with production efficiencies the price would have otherwise gone down 10%, so no change to the consumer (but a lost cost decrease of course).

No politics, only pure economics here .


BTW, I am interested to see how your rail mount works. Will you get decent sun if you leave them vertical? I doubt it, probably half of what an unshaded horizontal panel will provide.


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Old 05-16-2019, 09:49 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
Yes, theoretical economics says when you increase a tariff from 10 to 25% on an imported good the imported price goes up 15%- duh!!! When the good is mostly imported from the country with the tariff, the wholesale price of all goods even those made in our country goes up 15%.

But the imported/wholesale price is probably only 60% of the delivered retail price so that price will probably go up only 10%. And it is entirely possible with production efficiencies the price would have otherwise gone down 10%, so no change to the consumer (but a lost cost decrease of course).

No politics, only pure economics here .


BTW, I am interested to see how your rail mount works. Will you get decent sun if you leave them vertical? I doubt it, probably half of what an unshaded horizontal panel will provide.


David
The difficulty with a horizontal fixed mount is to find a place on the upper surfaces of the boat that is available, unshaded, protected from walking, placing random objects, dropping stuff on. Some boats have lots of available space, my has none. I did look into soft panels that would velcro onto the bimini, but my bimini has to be allowed to fold, so that would create other difficulties.
Last year I was aboard a boat with the mounting vertical, lifelines providing the support of a pair of 100w panels, mounted so the only issue was blocking the view from that 40' sailboat windows. Not a serious issue. His report of usage was exactly what I planned, just to run a DC fridge and freezer and keep he batteries up. He was very pleased with the result.
Mine are 160w panels, and I can flip them up to horizontal, with some likelihood of shading one at a time. With only 6amps of fridge and freezer combined, when they are cycling on together, I hope to report back at the end of the summer that production of up to 18 amps (max production) for a few hours a day will not be required, so they can remain in the vertical position. Time will tell.
As to pure geometry, I boat from 48 north, so vertical panels are actually closer to the sun than horizontal, so when I am tied to the dock and one is aimed in a southerly direction, I will get almost as much total sun as having both up in the horizontal position, with shade from the mast, bimini, etc inhibiting one of them.
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Old 05-16-2019, 10:26 AM   #9
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Congrats Keith. I hope you can achieve what you are hoping for. At a minimum, you will achieve a reduction in generator run time.
As you know, in my setup (1 years experience with it) we only had to run the generator for hot water and on days where the fog did not lift (til late in the day). For others info, my main draws are an 8 cubic foot RV style fridge and a portable freezer.
Regards,
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Old 05-16-2019, 06:41 PM   #10
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Photos below.
On arrival at 09:00 this morning, the voltage was 13.1v, so the solar had kept ahead of consumption while there was sun yesterday and had recovered from whatever deficit the fridge induced overnight. The day was mostly dull, but when I left again at 4, the voltage was 13.5. I had one panel tilted up to horizontal for a while, but mostly the vertical panel was towards the sun, or the brighter clouds. I again left shore power disconnected for the night and will check again in the morning.
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Old 05-16-2019, 07:12 PM   #11
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Great idea on the hinges. Eliminates the panels' horizontal footprint and you deploy them when desired. Slick!
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Old 05-16-2019, 09:40 PM   #12
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Is there a chance you could provide details on the components you used for this?
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Old 05-16-2019, 09:57 PM   #13
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Nicely done Keith.
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Old 05-16-2019, 10:10 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Is there a chance you could provide details on the components you used for this?
two of these: HES-160-36PV Solar Panel 160 Watt - We Go Solar Canada

this controller: SS-20L SunSaver 20A 12VDC PWM Solar Controller with Low Voltage Disconnect - We Go Solar Canada

wire, connectors, fittings to suit.
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Old 05-16-2019, 10:13 PM   #15
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Thanks a ton!!!
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Old 05-16-2019, 11:59 PM   #16
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Great post/thread, thanks!
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Old 05-17-2019, 12:02 AM   #17
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Yes great...but your first link is says is not correct
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Old Yesterday, 05:02 PM   #18
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Great thread. Loved the info
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Old Today, 01:17 AM   #19
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solarpanel

We have 2x100w and it is worth every "penny".. max out 13A. We are for the most outport, on west coast Norway. The fridge consume aboat 5A, I mounted back, so i can tilted them towards the sun.
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Old Today, 05:48 AM   #20
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I have had 2 panels mounted this way for years. While vertical and pointed at the sun, versus the 2 panels I have that usually lay flat, the hinged ones produce 2-3 times the wattage when pointed at the sun. By 10-11 o"clock, I hinge them up to be flat to catch the noon sun. Then down again in late afternoon. If not within about 45 degrees of the sun in any direction, there is not a huge difference in wattage.


Seems to be coming a popular way to mount a couple panels as I have seen more and more boats doing it.



For anyone who does thus, be careful of your supports in winds over 15 knots or so and the panels still hinged up. I have list a few even though I tie the panes tight to the supports with para cord. Your attachment has to be quite strong to avoid the panels from moving.
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