Solar Panel Installation

Ben423
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Fri May 10, 2019 12:13 pm

I recently completed the installation of a solar panel on my 2005 28TE. Here's a photo of the control panel and I documented the entire project on my blog here: www.cruisingboatdesigns.blogspot.com
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catalina_mike
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Fri May 10, 2019 1:13 pm

Nice updates we need to plan a trip together! We are in Dana Point with our 28TE.
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Ben423
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Fri May 10, 2019 6:49 pm

We're at the Isthmus a couple times a month, usually midweek, on the south side of the pier. All Albineers are always welcome to stop by for a beverage. Looking forward to seeing you there!

hatchetjoe
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Fri May 10, 2019 8:16 pm

Very nicely done!
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catalina_mike
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Fri May 10, 2019 10:23 pm

Ben423 wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 6:49 pm
We're at the Isthmus a couple times a month, usually midweek, on the south side of the pier. All Albineers are always welcome to stop by for a beverage. Looking forward to seeing you there!
We have a place in Avalon but are planning a isthmas trip before to long. Please email me or text if you want to coordinate. Mike@pacificwestcontrols.com 559-280-six2two6
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Norseman
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Sat May 11, 2019 7:22 am

How many amp/hours a day do you get out of the 50 watt panel?
Is the controller one of those MPPT units?
Been planning my own solar panel for a while, was thinking 80-100 watts, but a 50 may be enough with an MPPT controller..?
2001 28TE, 6LP-STE, 1,000 hrs. 19X18 four-blade wheel.

Ben423
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Sat May 11, 2019 9:46 am

The 50 watt panel produces approximately 4 amps in good conditions, so in six hours of sunshine you can expect it to produce 24 amp hours. But that is dependent on many variables: Will it see six hours of bright sunshine? Is it pointed directly at the sun or at an angle to the sun? How much of it will be in shadow? (10% of the panel in shade seriously affects the amount of power it produces). Is it clean? A dirty panel generates less power. How long are the wire runs from the panel to the battery? The bottom line is that no panel generates the amount of power listed on the box.

The GPM30 controller is not a MPPT unit but it does have a "Boost" setting that will charge the battery at a higher than normal rate.

Lastly, my goals were limited: I wanted an economical panel that would extend my electrical independence by a couple of days and I didn't want a large solar array on the cabin top because we have been known to scamper up there and jump off while we're on a mooring at the Island.

Ben423
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Fri May 31, 2019 10:39 am

We just returned from three days on a mooring at the Island, and are very pleased with the solar charging system. The weather was clear and the panel got about eight hours of unobstructed sunlight daily. We lived aboard as we usually do, charging phones, Pads and Kindles as well as using DC power to keep the fridge cold. The panel topped up the batteries daily and we were able to avoid running the engine to charge batteries. I was prepared to add another 50w panel, but now I don't think that will be necessary.

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Norseman
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Sun Jun 02, 2019 7:36 pm

Ok, 24 daily amp hours from a 50 watt panel is pretty good.
I guess solar tech has improved since I did my sailboat 18 years ago, then the 150 watt Siemens panels (2 X 75) would give me 50 amp hours daily in Florida and with an MPPT controller as much as 10 ah hourly in the Exumas, 60-65 daily perhaps under the very best of conditions. :!:

Getting closer to installing a panel as of today: Now installing a Furuno Navtex, running antenna wire through the arch tubing and was disappointed on size of the holes from tubing to fiberglass. (3/8”)
Took 4 hours with help from a friend and a remote endoscopic camera, finally got the antenna cable through the Port side (Starboard prefered but impossible) and now ready for more routing to the electrical panel, down under the floor, up under the head area to the receiver above hanging locker on the shelf.
The point is: I ran a messenger cable through the arch at the same time for the future solar panel power cable. (Guessing 10 gauge for a small panel)
Now that everything is open and messenger ready to go, might as well do the solar panel.
Looking at a rigid panel 60-70 watts running North-South over the hardtop and through bolted: Top is cored, don’t want compression problems and don’t want to fiberglass in place spacers or make a big deal out of it.
(How to have your cake and eat it too?)
Need rock solid installation because of Florida hurricanes.
Still on the drawing board,
Last edited by Norseman on Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.
2001 28TE, 6LP-STE, 1,000 hrs. 19X18 four-blade wheel.

Ben423
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Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:55 pm

I also had rigid solar panels on my last sailboat, a Beneteau 423. I installed 3 fifty watt panels on the aft end of the bimini using Magma barbecue mounts. With that arrangement, the panels were almost always in unobstructed sunshine and they could easily be adjusted to present the optimum angle to the sun. We sailed the boat about 25,000 miles and the three panels provided us with nearly all our electrical needs during that time. I chose smaller 50w panels specifically because we cruised in hurricane country and they could easily be removed and stowed below whenever a hurricane threatened.

IMHO, nowadays flexible panels are the best solution because they can be securely mounted in a manner that conforms to the crown in the cabin top, present almost zero windage, and don't need to be through- bolted. An additional benefit is that they are almost invisible unless you climb up on top of the boat.
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Norseman
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Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:16 pm

. Since all of our lighting is LED, the primary consumer of electricity is the refrigeration system.
We are in the same boat: All LED, fridge big consumer.
Ordered a 75 watt panel with an MPPT controller and a battery temp and voltage sensor.
Ran all the wires, but screwed up: No need to go through the arch and tubing: Much easier solution, will take a picture and post once it quits raining. (Re-wired after all the work going up the arch. :roll: )
Stay tuned.
2001 28TE, 6LP-STE, 1,000 hrs. 19X18 four-blade wheel.

WillieC
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Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:06 pm

Nice work, Ben. Thanks for the link to your pictures and details. Well documented.

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Norseman
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Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:12 pm

. IMHO, nowadays flexible panels are the best solution because they can be securely mounted in a manner that conforms to the crown in the cabin top, present almost zero windage, and don't need to be through- bolted. An additional benefit is that they are almost invisible unless you climb up on top of the boat.
Flexible panels still needs airflow underneath so as to stay cool and produce power?
Or can they be plonked down on the cabin top like a blanket? :shock:
2001 28TE, 6LP-STE, 1,000 hrs. 19X18 four-blade wheel.

Ben423
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Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:28 pm

Solar panels attached directly to the cabin top can be a fire hazard because they can overheat. You can find a few instances of this on the Internet. I made spacers out of 1/4" Starboard for mine. This way the panels are always high and dry and don't trap water between the panel and the cabin top. I'll be at my boat this weekend and will take photos of this detail.

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Norseman
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Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:57 pm

Ben423 wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:28 pm
Solar panels attached directly to the cabin top can be a fire hazard because they can overheat. You can find a few instances of this on the Internet. I made spacers out of 1/4" Starboard for mine. This way the panels are always high and dry and don't trap water between the panel and the cabin top. I'll be at my boat this weekend and will take photos of this detail.
Ok, thx.
Got my panel today, planning on 40 mm brackets to lift it off the hardtop for good ventilation, improved performance and no fire hazard. :shock:
2001 28TE, 6LP-STE, 1,000 hrs. 19X18 four-blade wheel.

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