Beefy enough for a tilting solar panal?

GHA

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I'm looking to mount a couple of solar panels off the radar arch. Todays plan is to hinge the panels at the radar arch - 2 x 50w forward & 1 x 80w behind.

Then use a telescopic tube each side attached to the top pushpit handrail, so at least they can be adjusted towards the sun in one plane.

Has anyone used these clamps - reckon they are up to the job? From seascrew.
https://www.seascrew.com/browse.cfm...OAT-HANDRAILS--PULPIT---PUSHPITS&l=0000000175

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Ta
 

ghostlymoron

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I'm sure they would do the job but, as for adjusting to the Sun's elevation, which changes continually, it would be be too much bother for me.
 

VicS

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I'm sure they would do the job but, as for adjusting to the Sun's elevation, which changes continually, it would be be too much bother for me.

So you would not make the whole lot swivel through 360 degrees as well so that they could always be made to face the sun exactly.

A few little motors and a bit of computer wizardry and you could have an automatic OAAT ( opitimum altitude and azimuth tracking) controller.
 

GHA

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So you would not make the whole lot swivel through 360 degrees as well so that they could always be made to face the sun exactly.

A few little motors and a bit of computer wizardry and you could have an automatic OAAT ( opitimum altitude and azimuth tracking) controller.

Didn't want to delete that post, blimmin tablets, anyway, as I was saying - I have actually had a think about that - a little dome of photo resisters to see where the sun is, an arduino & a few servos....... maybe just going a wee bit over the top ;)

But extended periods on the hook one does get a bit obsessive with power, getting another half amp for a quick adjustment would be cause for celebration :)

And they need braced anyway, seems silly not to get some adjustment in there while we're at it.
 

bbg

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If you are happy with the single support, you could use a rubber piece to mount the panel. I don't know where you would find one, but you can see one in this picture of my (ex) boat.

I then had one light line to each corner of the panel down to a couple of eyes and secured with a rolling hitch so it was easy to adjust the angle of the panel as desired.

IMG-20110904-00040.jpg
 

wilkinsonsails

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We use the same clamps and fittings for our solar panels .We had to drill the grub screw out as it didn't hold, and fitted a through bolt,to make it more secure.
Cindy
 

William_H

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Tilting the panels will improve the output however as said they must also be facing the sun. Or as a compromise facing the sun at mid day. The tilt will however cause much less output if the panel is not facing the sun compared to just plain flat where the panels will get a bit of sun throughout the day.
So unless you are prepared to keep moving the azimuth of the panels throughout the day and with swing of the boat (on an anchor) then flat would be best.
Of course if you are in a fixed direction mooring then slope the panels and face due south. good luck olewill
 

ghostlymoron

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Glad I'm not the only one to suffer from accidental deletes on phone/tablet. Judging by the number of "Deleted by xxxxx" messages its really common and mainly on this forum.
Didn't want to delete that post, blimmin tablets, anyway, as I was saying - I have actually had a think about that - a little dome of photo resisters to see where the sun is, an arduino & a few servos....... maybe just going a wee bit over the top ;)

But extended periods on the hook one does get a bit obsessive with power, getting another half amp for a quick adjustment would be cause for celebration :)

And they need braced anyway, seems silly not to get some adjustment in there while we're at it.
 

GHA

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Thinking more about this, it would be nice to have adjustment in 2 planes, this would need both hinging about the radar arch and rotating about the fore/aft axis of the boat - but how, some sort of ball/socket joint? Or a tube under the panels into a clevis at the radar arch and pillow bearings /bushes onto the panel?
Nothing off the shelf on Google - any ideas?
 

ex-Gladys

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This sounds like a job for an adapted Scanstrut Rokk mount... My plotter is mounted on one on the Crash Bar of the wheel pedestal. It's effectively two ball joints with a single handscrew to lock both. Comes as either deck mount and rail mount and I'm sure one of the standard plotter mounts would give you a good start.

http://www.scanstrut.com/products/product-page.php?range_id=10052&type=Sailboats

Having said all that, my panels are flat (well slightly curved) on the wheelhouse roof, and to be honest sticks so much into the battery banks I wouldn't worry about tilt unless your panel(s) are on the limit of keeping your batteries charged. 2x45W solara semi flexible panels get the batteries back to full charge once the electrics are off in about 48 hours
 
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GHA

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This sounds like a job for an adapted Scanstrut Rokk mount... My plotter is mounted on one on the Crash Bar of the wheel pedestal. It's effectively two ball joints with a single handscrew to lock both. Comes as either deck mount and rail mount and I'm sure one of the standard plotter mounts would give you a good start.

http://www.scanstrut.com/products/product-page.php?range_id=10052&type=Sailboats

Having said all that, my panels are flat (well slightly curved) on the wheelhouse roof, and to be honest sticks so much into the battery banks I wouldn't worry about tilt unless your panel(s) are on the limit of keeping your batteries charged. 2x45W solara semi flexible panels get the batteries back to full charge once the electrics are off in about 48 hours

Thanks, almost, but the radar arch is 60mm so won't really work I don't think.

48 hours is a long time liveaboard with no power :)
 

bbg

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Thinking more about this, it would be nice to have adjustment in 2 planes, this would need both hinging about the radar arch and rotating about the fore/aft axis of the boat - but how, some sort of ball/socket joint? Or a tube under the panels into a clevis at the radar arch and pillow bearings /bushes onto the panel?
Nothing off the shelf on Google - any ideas?

See my post in 5. Something like this.

http://www.3arubber.com/display.asp?id=161

20126922394282072.jpg


You would need something to articulate it and hold it in place. As I said in 5, I used light cord to each corner of the panel down to a couple of eyes on deck. Adjustment via rolling hitch. Easy peasy.
 

GHA

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See my post in 5. Something like this.

http://www.3arubber.com/display.asp?id=161

20126922394282072.jpg


You would need something to articulate it and hold it in place. As I said in 5, I used light cord to each corner of the panel down to a couple of eyes on deck. Adjustment via rolling hitch. Easy peasy.

Thanks, but iI wouldn't really feel too comfortable with 100w of solar just on one of those in a rising gale. These things happen.
Might just hinge for now, unless something obvious and available pops up.

Ta
 

bbg

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FWIW my panel spent 3 years on something like that, in all weathers, and as far as I know it was on there for a few years before I bought the boat. I believe it has done another Atlantic crossing with the same fitting since I sold the boat.

When I crossed the Atlantic I saw winds of 40 knots, and sailed for at least a week (all told) upwind in 25 knots. I was worried about a lot of things failing, but not that. Granted my panel was probably smaller than yours, but don't underestimate the strength of these things. You can get them in different sizes, obviously.

I would say the important thing is to secure the corners so the panel doesn't swing around.

And here you go - a UK supplier, less than £5 each, and you can "ask a question" to see if it would cope with the loads. I suspect mine was closest to part number 717-404857

http://www.wdsltd.co.uk/product/4071/rubber-buffer-mounts-female-threaded-wds-717
 
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ghostlymoron

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Do people really sit there and align their panels all day? Up, down, left, right. I know there's not much to do on an Atlantic crossing but really.
 

GHA

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Do people really sit there and align their panels all day? Up, down, left, right. I know there's not much to do on an Atlantic crossing but really.
,
Even when they are just sitting on deck realigning a 2 or 3 times a day can make a big difference.
Live on the hook for half a year or so and you too can be obsessive about power, every amp counts, if it goes out you need to put more back in and batteries will hate you for not feeding them until full every day :)
 

bbg

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Yes, crossing the Atlantic that is pretty much what I did - maybe adjust 3 or 4 times per day (or more if I was tacking or gybing). It isn't something you do "all day", just a few times. It only takes a minute or less so it isn't that big a deal. One spends a heck of a lot more time adjusting the sails or autopilot than the solar panel.
 

GHA

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Well the 2 50W's are in place, went for 2 x hinges in the end. jury rigged with the topping lift to angle. In the last of the afternoon sun pushing out about 1.3A flat and 2.6A angled, with the mast shadowing a lot of one of the panels.
So worth a little extra outlay and effort.
 
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