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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #11  
Old 03-08-2007
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sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice
I've got 260 watts of solar panels on a 28' boat....but my boat is 18' wide...
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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  #12  
Old 03-08-2007
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We were recently priced out of our slip when Huizenga bought our marina and increased our slip fee 400% so we are on a mooring in the intra-coastal now and learning to deal with the battery charging challenge given we use our Westerbeke diesel engine and a genset. We've been looking at the solarstik system which we can mount on a vestigial radar mount on our stern. The system has two solar panels and a mount for a wind generator. We've checked the units out over the last year and have heard nothing negative about them so we're getting ready to pull the trigger and install a system. Hope this is of interest for your given application and if anyone has any good or bad to say about solarstik I'd appreciate hearing from you before we write the check!
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Old 03-08-2007
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Mike...my opinion on the solar stick is that it is a good but expensive mounting system that provides a clear path for sunlight to your panels which helps on smaller vessels or vessels with a lot of shading. Their graphs are BS unless you are out there adjusting your panels hourly as the sun moves. My two panels were mounted on my stern rails in a horizontal position and were dual 80 watters with NO SHADING affecting them. On a good day...they produced 40-50 amps. If you get that much out of your proposed install of 100W panel even with the MPPT charger I will be surprised. If that is what you expect out of them...then write the check.
BTW...I spent 9 months at "rob the rich" in 2005!! A shame....
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Old 03-09-2007
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I'd second Cam's last post. You really won't get the efficiency they're claiming out of their panels, unless you are anal-retentive about trackng the sun with them. That gets old fast...

The other problem I see with the solar stick type mounts is how durable they will be when you have any significant wind. Rigid solar panels are heavy and present a fair bit of windage. Without proper support, they can destroy the mounts. Mine mount to two 1" stainless steel rails and the bases are through-bolted where they attach to the boat.
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Telstar 28
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #15  
Old 03-09-2007
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Mike,

I wonder if you would be better served spending the $ of the stick on more panels?

If you are trying to bulk, 14.2 V, that only gives you 7 amps peak service/hour. FLoat might be better?? The MPPT is definietly the better way to go. I keep reserving some of my comments a bit as I want to give everything totally first hand, though I have seen this system on the boat beside me firsthand (though he used 6 panels, not 4). He put out a sold 65/hour during summer, over 90 degrees. As many know, that is an important distinctio as panel output diminishes with heat. At colder temps, your panels will likely put out more than specs.

Cam,

As far as the arch, absolutely will get a bunch of pictures. I have about 6 now but they are not really good. I used (let me rephrase, had the machine shop use) 2 inch, polished, double bright-dipped anodized for the arch. It is double barred with lots of reinforcements. I almost went stainless, but decided against becuase of weight. I bet this thing does not weigh 100 lbs!!! One man can lift it. For the panels, I had aluminum angle-iron welded for each panel, welded to the arch, and through bolted. Lots of support for the panels. Now done, it matches into the rest of the boat nicely, and the arch will easily supprt (in seas) over 500 pounds easily!! My panels do not weigh anything near that. I can walk across it and it does not bulge. THis whole structure is through bolted and 4200 (not 5200 since I may need to take it off at some point) to a double reinforced plate glassed in through the deck.

Then panels themselves fit snugly across the arch in the angle iron, running with the length of the boat. I could add at least one or two more with a minimal cost and some more machine shop time... but I have hopes (low hopes) my wind will make up the difference.

I don't know if all that made sense??? Pictures will help. I will do what I can.

- CD
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  #16  
Old 03-09-2007
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CD...Yup...I can almost picture it. Should be interesting...can you get them off reasonably quickly in storm prep?
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Cam,

YOU BETCHA!!! After Gabrielle, charlie, jean, (oh... yawn) Francis, Ivan... nothing goes on this tub that cannot come down within hours. The arch is permanent, obviously, but the windage on that is very low. If it takes the arch off there wont be any boat left anyways.

I will try and get pics soon.
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  #18  
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Much food for thought. We're holding off on the solarstik (sorry for the digression) and looking at incorporating a few of the excellent suggestions on this thread. Cam - were you at Rybovich in WPB by any chance???

And thanks again for all the sage advice!
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Yes Mike...in 2005 up till September. Just as Huz was taking over the operation. We were in the floating shed much of the time...probably met you or saw you on the docks. Don't recall your boat though...got any pix?
You are not exactly in protected waters right there...must be fun when the weather blows in!!
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interesting thread

Well this has brought up a few questions for me. First of all I'll let you know what I'm planning on here. We've got six Trojan T-105 golf cart batteries with a total (rated) capacity of 675ah. I don't want to run our poor old universal to charge the batteries. We have pretty minimal electronics. LED running lights and cabin lights, computer was designed with no moving parts and a 12'' LCD, small compressor/evaporator refer with interior closed cell foam inserts for extra insulation in the tropics, low draw fans, foot pumps for the sinks, monitor windvane, Raytheon sailing interments, small and simple GPS, and a conservative Furno radar. I figure our daily consumption at about 100ah. I know that these estimates are always low but I am assuming that we'll only use the windlass and electric autopilot when motoring or when we'll be motoring soon. So, we have an AirX, which is loud and not serviceable at the moment but we're going to keep it. the next purchase is a solar array. Kyocera panels have been suggested more than once and they are on the short list. I was thinking two 80w panels for the radar arch or one larger panel for the arch and two 80w panels for the rails.
Now for the questions. First of all, regulators. We have a balmar ARS-5 for the alternator but there has never been a regulator for the AirX. I'm wondering what you all would recommend for a charge regulator that would handle both the solar and wind generator. Second, radar arches. I'm curious about the practicality of aluminium. In my experience driving (yes I call it driving if the boat has no sails) aluminium safety boats with aluminum radar arches the welds break loose unless the thing is so over built that it weighs as much as steel. If anyone has experience otherwise I'd like to know. Any pictures of successful arch designs, of any material would be appreciated too.
Now for the questions. First of all, regulators. We have a balmar ARS-5 for the alternator but there has never been a regulator for the AirX. I'm wondering what you all would recommend for a charge regulator that would handle both the solar and wind generator.
Second, radar arches. CD-I'm curious about the practicality of aluminium. In my experience driving (yes I call it driving if the boat has no sails) aluminium safety boats with aluminum radar arches the welds break loose unless the thing is so over built that it weighs as much as steel. If anyone has experience otherwise I'd like to know. You seem quite happy with yours, I'm curious how you overcame this. Any pictures of successfull arch designs, of any material would be appreciated too. Thanks agian in advance.
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