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  #1  
Old 02-08-2014
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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!
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Old 02-08-2014
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Re: Cost of bimini fittings: HOLY MOLY!

Search for marine part depot. Get on their email list for regular discounts of 15% or so off already low prices and free ground shipping. All 316 stainless. I've ordered many parts over several years with good results at FAR lower prices.
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Old 02-08-2014
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Re: Cost of bimini fittings: HOLY MOLY!

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Originally Posted by xort View Post
Search for marine part depot. Get on their email list for regular discounts of 15% or so off already low prices and free ground shipping. All 316 stainless. I've ordered many parts over several years with good results at FAR lower prices.
Ehm, that's exactly where I priced the parts. And yes, shipping is free, as I also said.

I am on their mailing list but I found that the additional discounts are typically very specific, like only anchors this month.
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Re: Cost of bimini fittings: HOLY MOLY!

I've looked into making similar parts and a lot of it is liability insurance. When you say "marine" , liability is nuts.
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Old 02-09-2014
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Re: Cost of bimini fittings: HOLY MOLY!

I understand the frustration of paying for stainless steel stuff. When I bought my two Kyocera 135 panels, by the time I had bought a controller, wiring, and the stainless steel tube mounting hardware, installing and mounting them added up to just about the same as the panels cost me in the first place.

But, they have been one of the best things I added to my boat.
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Re: Cost of bimini fittings: HOLY MOLY!

Have you tried McMaster-Carr?
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Old 02-09-2014
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Re: Cost of bimini fittings: HOLY MOLY!

Oooops, speedreading thru your post I missed that you already are at the best source available. Try West marine! 3 times more.
I have sent emails to marinepartdepot asking for a discount on a certain part and they sent me a discount code good for 10 to 15%. You might try sendi g an email with the list of all the stuff you want to order. I'd bet you can negotiate a 15% discount.
stainless is just not cheap, period. Especially polished 316.
B O A T.
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Re: Cost of bimini fittings: HOLY MOLY!

Quote:
Originally Posted by xort View Post
Oooops, speedreading thru your post I missed that you already are at the best source available. Try West marine! 3 times more.
I have sent emails to marinepartdepot asking for a discount on a certain part and they sent me a discount code good for 10 to 15%. You might try sendi g an email with the list of all the stuff you want to order. I'd bet you can negotiate a 15% discount.
stainless is just not cheap, period. Especially polished 316.
B O A T.
Yes, good idea. I had thought along the same lines since last night. They offer free shipping without a minimum order, which is great. But that means that if I order my dozen-and-a-half parts in one order, they will save a bundle on S/H. I hope they will share some of that with me.

I will let you know how that goes.
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Re: Cost of bimini fittings: HOLY MOLY!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Multihullgirl View Post
Have you tried McMaster-Carr?
Yes, I did. Some parts are similar in price (though they add shipping), most are considerably more costly than marinepartdepot. But thanks for the suggestion.
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Re: Cost of bimini fittings: HOLY MOLY!

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Originally Posted by Group9 View Post
I understand the frustration of paying for stainless steel stuff. When I bought my two Kyocera 135 panels, by the time I had bought a controller, wiring, and the stainless steel tube mounting hardware, installing and mounting them added up to just about the same as the panels cost me in the first place.

But, they have been one of the best things I added to my boat.
That is good to know.

But the panel PLUS the controller (a decent Morningstar dual controller with PWM technology) will cost me less than just the stupid fittings! And not even counting the tubing.

Maybe I should stop whining and be happy that the panels are now so affordable...
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