solar panels

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  • March 14, 2012 5:25 PM
    Reply # 859066 on 855217
    Deleted user
    That's excellent Mike, are you in Rio Dulce ?
  • March 14, 2012 10:32 PM
    Reply # 859327 on 855217
    Here is a pic of my solar panel installation. Sorry, seems like all I can do is provide the link.  Cntrl C/Cntrl V from my album doesn't seem to work for me.

    Some other tidbits about the installation:

    I used 2 1/2" x 1/4" aluminum bar stock with stainless U-bolts to mount the tube(s) to the stanchion and boom gallows. All four 'adapters' are the same. You can enlarge the photo to see the aft port side 'adapter' on the boom gallows.  This method makes for a very rigid assembly and I even use the tube(s) as 'hand rails' when moving about the cockpit. I used that same bar stock to mount the panels to the tubing. You can also see one of the white friction lock 'hinges' on starboard solar panel (sorry about my shorts hanging to dry :)

    I just used 14 ga outdoor extension cable to connect each panel to an AquaSignal 5 pin deck connector (one for each panel) mounted on the bulwark aft of the hawse pipes..  Not cheap but these were the only thru hull connectors I could find that were waterproof, rated for the amperage and would allow me to easily disconnect the panels if needed.  Once thru the deck I used Ancor tinned duplex wire to connect them to a 3 stage Morningstar controller.  The output from the Morningstar runs thru a simple divider circuit (couple hi amp diodes) to feed my two separate house banks.|328|49758|112306|316479&id=680929

    The only downside I've found is when the panels are fully 'deployed' (totally horizontal) the tops of the panels above the tubing extend inboard to the degree I can barely squeeze my fat butt between the panels and my dodger.

    And once, while underway with them fully deployed an unexpected roll sat me right down and in doing so the edge of the panel clipped a quarter sized piece of scalp from the top of my head.  I now 'cushion' the top edge when needed with a piece of plain ol split foam tube insulation intended for waterpipes.

    On the upside they do add a bit of privacy and protection from the weather.

    p.s. Yes, I am on the Rio Dulce.  Seems to be a popular spot for Westsails. I've see at least 6 WS32's and a couple WS42 pass thru.  Counting mine there are three WS32's here right now (although one is leaving tomorrow for Spain).
    Last modified: March 14, 2012 11:22 PM | Anonymous member
  • March 15, 2012 10:59 AM
    Reply # 859891 on 855217
    Deleted user
    OK, here's a question from a guy who has barely enough sense not to stick a knife blade into a wall socket -- what do I need to tap into with a multimeter to see what kind of output I'm getting from my panels?  They were on the boat when I bought here some years back, and I was told that they worked.


    Terry Shoup
  • March 15, 2012 3:53 PM
    Reply # 860159 on 855217
    Deleted user
    Terry, There are two basic tests to check a solar panel.  The first is the VOC (voltage open circuit).  Connect you meter to the panel and point the panel to the sun, preferably at noon and read the voltage.  It should be the same or very close to the manufacture's spec and should drop as you turn the panel away from the sun.  The second is the ISC ( internal short circuit).  You do the same test but with the meter connected to read amps.  Most volt meters can read to ten amps. Also check the the wiring and connections as the slightest resistance will drop output.

  • March 26, 2012 3:46 PM
    Reply # 868949 on 858754
    Mike McCoy wrote:Regarding brands, I'd like to put a plug in for Kyocera solar panels.

    I have two Kyocera 125 watt panels mounted on a HD stainless tube mounted between the boom gallows and the 1st stanchion forward of the gallows.  The panels are mounted to the tubing with friction locks so I can rotate them out..

    We have two Shell Solar 75W panels mounted on lifelines. no tubing. I went simple way. just drilled holes in panel frame and put through holes lifeline. Angle could be adjusted with short line one end tied to top edge of panel and another I fasten on the cleat below. When batteries are full they are vertical and working like privacy curtains.
    Two 75Watts on turtle (those not really adjustable) and one 75W forward. next to mast. That gives me 375W in ideal conditions. I also installed Fourwinds II wind generator.
    And Recently I disconnected "smart" solar charger. It was constantly undercharging batteries. In 18months my batteries is finished. It does not reach equalization voltage.
    So I think it's good idea to have one connected ONLY if there no one aboard to monitor.
    Hope this helps.
    Last modified: March 31, 2012 7:29 AM | Anonymous
  • March 29, 2012 9:20 AM
    Reply # 871724 on 855411
    Jim Focha wrote:Most of the major brands will work just fine.  We have two 35 watt Kyocera panels mounted on the radar/wind generator poles, which are permanent . There are two more 75 watt panels that mount on supports on the boom gallows.  These are only up when we run the water maker. Try not to mix brands, but if you do, make sure they have the same specs. If you mix panels, the ones with the larger rating will be slightly degraded.  A smart charger significantly adds to the charging efficiency.  We've used a Blue Sky solar boost for five years. 

    Our panels are fully adjustable. Adjustable panels can triple your daily output. 

    Just wanted to get things straight. Possibly I'm wrong, but nowadays all panels that I know of are made with diode bridges which don't let them drain batteries at night like they used to do years ago. Unless someone installed diods themselves. So in mixing bigger and small. Or mixing their types. I don't see how it could affect performance? Unless you wired them in pairs for 24 volts.
    Monocrystalline panels (my only choice) have highest efficiency possible, but hates be shaded. even if shade only from single line. then their output drops more than other types. But I figured if their output highest I'm  still making more. BUT THEY HAVE TO BE ADJUSTABLE.
    Problem is Siemens stopped making them. My friend bought bunch monocrystallines from China. So far no problems. I better bought my on Ebay. They were not new, but in good shape. And Shell brand I trust more than chinese noname.
    Good luck with your choice! and correct me if I'm wrong!

  • March 30, 2012 6:25 PM
    Reply # 872933 on 855217
    Deleted user
    I don't think you're wrong, I probably didn't make it clear.  I wasn't talking about discharge but one panel's output not being as high as it could be due to the way solar panels work. As in the other post were I said that a battery lowers voltage of a panel to near battery voltage, a panel will do the same. It's recommended that their specs be the same but in the real world it won't affect output much. 

  • March 31, 2012 6:52 AM
    Reply # 873245 on 855217
    Deleted user

    We have 2 - 135 Kyocera and 1 - 60 Kyocera on Mary Rose V

    The two 135's are mounted on each side of the radar arch on the stern on an arm that extends out from the arch qand the panels rotate on the arm so that they can be manually adjusted to follow the sun at anchor or lite sailing conditions.  The 65 w panel is mounted up higher on the radar arch at the stern and articulates in one direction.  The articulation is a big boost in output and allows us to keep our 440 amp hour house bank fully charged at the end of a sunny day. Total is 330 watts I will try to attach a photo here but there is one that shows the "winged" solar panels in the current issue of wind blown.  Can't seem to figure out how to post pics here.  Email me at if you can't find the pics on The Windblown article




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