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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Solar Power for catalina 27
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Thread: Solar Power for catalina 27 Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
07-28-2013 10:40 PM
Alex W
Re: Solar Power for catalina 27

The clamps are from Taylor Made. Look at Maine Sail's article referenced above.

The strut is a Sea Dog Line hatch strut, it cost about $20. Like everything Sea Dog Line the quality is low and it is getting rust spots after 3 months.
07-27-2013 06:07 PM
JoeLena
Re: Solar Power for catalina 27

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex W View Post

That is what I've done on my Pearson 28-2 (not yet wired when this was taken):


That is a 30 watt panel and it puts out a little over 2 amps at noon on a sunny day.
Alex, what about the support and clamps on your Pearson, where can I get that support? Looks nice and clean. And which model clamps?

Very nice!
06-09-2013 11:57 PM
asdf38
Re: Solar Power for catalina 27

I made decent rail mounts out of PVC lumber before deciding not to use them. Cut a square or rectangle, 1" hole saw the middle, saw it in half. Bolt the two halves back together around the rail.

Though if I had known that those rail mounts were available for $10 I would have gone for those.
06-09-2013 11:51 AM
Alex W
Re: Solar Power for catalina 27

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamLein View Post
Where'd you get these clamps?
They are stocked at Fisheries Supply. They are also standard items on a lot of rail-mount hardware (Dickinson uses them for their BBQs, my Jim-Buoy life ring also uses them).

They are distributed by Sea-Dog:
Sea-Dog : Quality Marine, Industrial and Rigging Hardware

The plastic is pretty soft, so they don't have the highest clamping power. They really only work for this if used in a balanced way. They are inexpensive though.
06-09-2013 12:09 AM
mitiempo
Re: Solar Power for catalina 27

I use Magma bbq mounts that allow you to adjust the panel's angle in seconds and lock them in place at any angle. They are more expensive than the ones pictured above but work very well.
06-08-2013 03:49 PM
tommays
Re: Solar Power for catalina 27





Sailrite has a nice selection of hardware
06-08-2013 03:20 PM
AdamLein
Re: Solar Power for catalina 27

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex W View Post
Clamps are visible here in the upper left:
Where'd you get these clamps?
06-07-2013 10:44 PM
mitiempo
Re: Solar Power for catalina 27

Quote:
Originally Posted by PetePearson View Post
I use a Morningstar "SunSaver Duo" solar charge control regulator that can charge two batteries independently. It charges one then switches to the other once fully charged. I'm not sure if you can force it to charge Batt #1 or Batt#2.
can handle up to 25 Amps and has a digital display. Has worked well for 5 years.
Actually the SunSaver Duo charges both banks at the same time. You can set charging priority to either 50/50 or 90/10 by adjusting the dip switches. 90/10 makes the most sense for a house bank/start bank arrangement on a boat. If set as 90/10 it will charge both banks with 90% going to house bank and 10% to the start battery. After the house bank is fully charged it will divert more current to the start battery if needed. If it is either engine dedicated or an emergency battery it will be charged long before the house bank is fully charged however.
06-07-2013 01:36 PM
asdf38
Re: Solar Power for catalina 27

This was my solution this year.

I picked up a Genasun MPPT sort of spur of the moment when I saw that it was only $50 and added a 20W panel from Amazon for another $50. Seeing how expensive rail hardware was I went my own way.

First I made fancy PVC lumber clamps. But then after some additional thought I decided to go simply with cable ties. Two of the ties go through the frame and the others go through the PVC lumber support bar running the length of the panel. I needed something to support it in the middle that was flush with the frame. The PVC bar is attached to the panel just with 3M VHB tape. It's basically free and was easy. At some point I'm going to reverse the ties so the latch part isn't visible.

The perko connector in the deck is spaced off the deck with a PVC lumber donut spacer. (I love/hate those perko connectors - they don't prevent momentary reverse polarity connections so I added series schottky diode to protect the controller from being hit with the panel voltage in reverse).



06-07-2013 10:51 AM
Alex W
Re: Solar Power for catalina 27

I use a setup similar to the one suggested by Maine Sail and tommays. It's works well for me.

A 30w to 40w panel (mono-crystalline for the best efficiency) is about $100 through eBay or Amazon. The Genasun MPPT controller is about $60 or $70. Mounting hardware actually ends up being the most expensive thing to sort out. On a tiller boat a cheap option is to use some good quality clamps mounted at the midpoint on the panel, with the panel mounted on the back rail. That works best with smaller (lighter) panels. It's not meant to illustrate it, but this is how I had the panel installed on my Catalina 25:


Clamps are visible here in the upper left:


That Catalina 25 doesn't have shore power and it's batteries are primarily charged by the 20 watt panel.

On a wheel boat this doesn't work so well because the panel intrudes into the cockpit space right about where the helms person wants to sit. Maine Sail has a guide on how he mounts panels that fixes that issue, but requires over $100 in hardware:
Installing A Small Marine Solar System Photo Gallery by Compass Marine at pbase.com

That is what I've done on my Pearson 28-2 (not yet wired when this was taken):


That is a 30 watt panel and it puts out a little over 2 amps at noon on a sunny day.

Adding a battery monitor system (http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/battery_monitor) will give you a lot of insight into your power consumption. I didn't have one on the Catalina 25 and was flying blind but with way more battery capacity (2 group 24, so 150 amp hours) than I needed for an all LED boat. I added one to my Pearson and it's really helpful to understand power demands and battery state.
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