Join Date: Nov 2010
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Cost of bimini fittings: HOLY MOLY!
This is the winter where I will finally be going solar on my boat. So I ordered a solar panel and am about to order a controller. In-between, I thought I quickly make a list of the fittings I need to put together a simple frame to mount the panel on (just four pieces of tubing arranged in a rectangle to go under the panel), and to attach that to the existing bimini frame. So I made a drawing and counted up all the rail clamps, top caps etc that I need.
I couldn't believe the grand total: Nearly three-hundred dollars!!! This is a lot more than what the 100W panel plus controller will set me back. And it does not include the tubing (which I already have) and the hardware needed to attach the panel to the rails (which I still have to figure out).
There are no expensive parts in there, just a lot of pieces (16 one-inch top-caps are already close to 120-, at $7.32 per, I need 5 opening rail mounts which cost twelve dollar something per, so over 60.-, and so on). All but one are prices from marinepartdepot.com and include shipping. I have bought from them before and found their parts decent and their prices OK (and NO, I have absolutely no other connection to them, other than as a customer). I looked at some other vendors and it was worse.
I don't have equipment for welding, and whatever skills I used to have in that department has been long lost.
So I guess I will have to bite the bullet and just buy it. Bummer!