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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 08-28-2009
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Solar panel on c-way hatch?

Been thinking about mounting an 80W solar panel on the companionway hatch, so that the panel would slide with the hatch .... but can't figure out how to handle the cabling.

Any ideas/comments appreciated!

--Tim.
'78 Columbia 8.3
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Old 08-28-2009
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thats not the best area, esp with the boom and shrouds/stays shading it.

the second issue is the wiring, but that can be taken care of
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Old 08-29-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottyt View Post
thats not the best area, esp with the boom and shrouds/stays shading it.
I'm already aware of the shade issues. For my current battery setup and docakage situation it won't be a problem.

Quote:
the second issue is the wiring, but that can be taken care of
Could you share some ideas on the wiring?

Thanks.
--Tim.
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Old 08-29-2009
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one option for the wiring is to mount a genny track with a few cars. the cars would support the wire, and allow it to droop, but not excessively. figure the cars about every 8 inches of wire. i would either slightly undersize the wire or run parallel 2 smaller cables to flexibility reasons.

another option would be to get some sort of spring wound drum to wind up the wire as the hatch opens. somebody like grainger should have that.

or a tricky one would be a conductive track with brushes. the track is easy, go get a low voltage flexible track light system and rob the track out of it.
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Old 08-29-2009
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I've got no idea how your boats set up but as an idea what about some elastic cord (shock cord). It could be set up so that as you open/close the hatch it tensions/relaxes to keep the cable up out of harms way. It might not be a permanant solution but properly set up it might work while you have time to think of a better idea. As a plus it would only cost a few dollars.
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Old 08-30-2009
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Thanks for the ideas guys :thumb:

While doing some work on the boat yesterday, it occurred to me that the panel could be installed in place of a seahood. Definitely not an ideal location, but with 4 adjustable 'legs' the panel can be flat while underway, angled towards the sun while docked/anchored, and the cable only needs a little slack.

Follow-up question: where's a good place to put the charge controller? I'll be installing a Morningstar Duo with a remote display. The Columbia 8.3 has the DC breaker panel mounted in the center, behind the companionway stairs. The 2 batteries are about 6' away, under the port settee. Tucked into the corner between the panel and the settee is the galley stove.

Thanks again.
--Tim.
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Old 08-30-2009
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On my Bristol 24, I had no deckspace for an 80 watt panel. I mounted two eyebolts to it's frame and threaded a lifeline through them. Underway,the panel lay down under the lifeline secured to the toe rail with the photocells facing outward. At anchor, the panel is hinged outside of the lifelines with the angle being set by a prop stick that hinges out of the way when not in use and adjusts to different lengths.
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Old 09-01-2009
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Thanks again for the input. Mounting the panel at the stern would probably be the best place, mounting over the c-way hatch would be the least obtrusive for me, shock cord sounds reasonable in the short-term ....

All in all, using an 80W panel to trickle charge two 105aH batteries in overkill anyway, and the most of the deck will be ripped apart for a re-core this winter, so I'm going to do a 'quick-and-dirty' job and fix the panel to the cabin top as if it were a seahood.

Clearly this is going to take a bit more thought and some planning!!

--Tim.
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