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Old 12-12-2017, 09:01 PM   #1
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Question Hinged Solar Panel Mounts

As a winter project, I'm getting my solar install together. I'm installing two rigid 150 watt panels (approx. 40"x40")on the pilot house roof. In order to keep them hidden behind the name boards,I would like to keep them as low as possible, while still allowing a sufficient air gap. I would like to have them hinged in some manor to allow access for cleaning underneath etc. The ideal arrangement would be to have the forward mounts to be hinged and the rearward to either have detent pins or screws securing them. I would also like to keep what ever mounting arrangement under the panels as best as possible, there by keeping the over all footprint close to the panel size.

So far I have not been able to find mounts that meet my criteria any where on the web. Interested to see of anyone has DIY'd or found such a mount to be purchased.

Thanks
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Old 12-12-2017, 10:18 PM   #2
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I configured my 4 120W panels to fit on my PH roof, wanted to have them hinged so I could maintain access to the areas under the panels. They hinge in the center so I can swing both of them up and tie them together. It involves removing (4) 1/4-20 bolts, the panels fold up & cabling all stays in place, no disconnection required. Photos on my blog here> Solar project

I had my local sheet metal shop fabricate all the components/brackets from stock aluminum angle or sheet, ordered the hinges from McMaster. Cost of mounting was about $1300. Not inexpensive, but accomplished what I wanted to do with minimal impact on the boat structure. Panels attach to frame with 3/16 aluminum pop rivets, the entire mounting system is attached with 6 #14 screws that attach to the PH roof. The penetrations are potted with thickened epoxy since the roof is cored construction. All the stainless fasteners are electrolytically isolated from the aluminum. 2 yrs out and the installation shows no sign of corrosion.
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Old 12-13-2017, 12:17 PM   #3
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I did something similar to what Steve did. I installed 2 small anodized aluminum angle brackets to the underside of the panel. Then attached 2 bimini fittings to each of the 2 brackets. (total of 4 fittings) These "mesh" with 4 other fittings - in my case attached to rails but could be attached directly to your deck. The pins go through the "meshed" fittings holding everything very securely in place. Remove the pins and the panel comes away.

Ken
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Old 12-13-2017, 02:00 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mragan View Post
As a winter project, I'm getting my solar install together. I'm installing two rigid 150 watt panels (approx. 40"x40")on the pilot house roof. In order to keep them hidden behind the name boards,I would like to keep them as low as possible, while still allowing a sufficient air gap. I would like to have them hinged in some manor to allow access for cleaning underneath etc. The ideal arrangement would be to have the forward mounts to be hinged and the rearward to either have detent pins or screws securing them. I would also like to keep what ever mounting arrangement under the panels as best as possible, there by keeping the over all footprint close to the panel size.

So far I have not been able to find mounts that meet my criteria any where on the web. Interested to see of anyone has DIY'd or found such a mount to be purchased.

Thanks
I did this last winter, 2" * 2" * 1/4" Alum angle, had it welded & anodized, works great but it was a bit of work ... FB
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Old 12-13-2017, 03:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maerin View Post
I configured my 4 120W panels to fit on my PH roof, wanted to have them hinged so I could maintain access to the areas under the panels. They hinge in the center so I can swing both of them up and tie them together. It involves removing (4) 1/4-20 bolts, the panels fold up & cabling all stays in place, no disconnection required. Photos on my blog here> Solar project

I had my local sheet metal shop fabricate all the components/brackets from stock aluminum angle or sheet, ordered the hinges from McMaster. Cost of mounting was about $1300. Not inexpensive, but accomplished what I wanted to do with minimal impact on the boat structure. Panels attach to frame with 3/16 aluminum pop rivets, the entire mounting system is attached with 6 #14 screws that attach to the PH roof. The penetrations are potted with thickened epoxy since the roof is cored construction. All the stainless fasteners are electrolytically isolated from the aluminum. 2 yrs out and the installation shows no sign of corrosion.
Steve, Nice job on the panels! Did you seal up the hatch in the Pilot House?

And your blog is Awesome! I really like the ease of navigating through it. 👍👍👍
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Old 12-13-2017, 04:55 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Crusty Chief View Post
Steve, Nice job on the panels! Did you seal up the hatch in the Pilot House?

And your blog is Awesome! I really like the ease of navigating through it. 👍👍👍
Thanks for the kind words. The pilothouse hatch is still operable. It can be opened about an inch, enough to get some ventilation, although not often needed.

The blog has been going on 10 yrs, it's a bit of a challenge to keep it fresh with multiple ICW trips. We try to visit different locations or spend more time in places we've been before to discover new stuff. But knowing that folks are visiting helps the incentive!
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Old 12-25-2017, 11:16 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the suggestions. Some really nice mounts. I'm lucky in the fact that the areas where I intend to locate the panels is flat and unobstructed. I think Ken's idea about using bimini deck hinges with removable pins will be a good fit for my application. I will use nylon bushings to isolate the SS from the aluminum brackets.

Thanks again.
Merry Christmas!!
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