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  #1  
Old 05-29-2012
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Homemade solar panel bracket for under $40...

After purchasing a solar panel for the boat I came to the stark realization that a commercially made bracket for it would cost more than the panel itself. In fact, some that I found cost nearly $350 and it didn't appear that sturdy. Being somewhat creative (old folks have to be creative cause we're always broke) I sat down and designed an adjustable bracket that would mount on any, relatively straight segment of rail. Something that was sturdy, stainless, and wouldn't cost an arm and a leg. Here's what I came up with:


All of the parts were purchased online and were really inexpensive. The only part that was not purchased online was the two short sections of stainless steel tubing, which I procured from a shop that makes Bimini tops. They were scraps that he donated to the cause.

Cheers,

Gary
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Old 05-29-2012
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Re: Homemade solar panel bracket for under $40...

Nice. You wouldn't be Scottish by any chance?
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Old 05-29-2012
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Re: Homemade solar panel bracket for under $40...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ritchard View Post
Nice. You wouldn't be Scottish by any chance?
Scots are cheap, he is frugal

Great job, and thanks for sharing. That type of practicality is right up my alley.
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Old 05-29-2012
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Re: Homemade solar panel bracket for under $40...

Good job Gary. You gave me inspiration for my panel project next year.

Its low so windage will be no issue, but Is it high enough so as not to block your stern running lights visability?

Dave
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Old 05-29-2012
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Re: Homemade solar panel bracket for under $40...

No problem with the stern light, Dave. The only way it would be blocked is if you were directly above the light and looking down upon it. One of the other guys at the marina asked the same question so I turned on the running lights and had him walk around the boat and look from all angles--no problems at all.

Cheers,

Gary
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Old 05-29-2012
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Re: Homemade solar panel bracket for under $40...

Another cheap, sorry, frugal way : Mounted mine using an old concrete bullfloat joint: heavy duty aluminum, adjustable, and cheap. If it had a "marine" price tag, would probably cost $200. I think you can get 'em new for around $40 from any tool store.
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Old 05-29-2012
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Re: Homemade solar panel bracket for under $40...

Very clever, Gary. I like the inherent stiffness of having the end fittings installed 90 degrees to each other- elegant and simple.
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Old 05-29-2012
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Re: Homemade solar panel bracket for under $40...

Excellent design... Why did you not post to Low Buck projects?
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Old 05-29-2012
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Re: Homemade solar panel bracket for under $40...

What a coincidence! I just bought some used ends today to make an adjustable bracket for my solar panels. We have a boat store in town that sells a lot of used stuff as well. Picked up 4 of those bimini ends for $2 each and he has some used 1" tubing he'll sell me as soon as I get the measurements. Preliminary investigation indicates I'll be able to slide a piece of 7/8th tubing inside a piece of 1" tubing so I can adjust my panels at a 45' angle or horizontal. My panels are mounted on tubing off my life lines and I've been swinging them out and then tying them off with a piece of line to my bimini top but I want to be able to pole them out with a piece of tubing for support below. I love additional ideas to save money. Thanks for posting.
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Old 05-29-2012
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Re: Homemade solar panel bracket for under $40...

And I have three that I need to mount. Thanks!!
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