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    4788 pilothouse solar panel installation

    Today I am happy to report that my solar panel project is over.

    What I did was to install a total of four 175W Renogy flexible solar panels on the pilothouse of my 4788.

    These are divided into a port bank and a starboard bank. Each bank is two panels in series, connected to it's own Victron charge controller.


    Here is a photo of them in action.

    Click image for larger version

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    KEVIN SANDERS
    4788 DOS PECES - SEWARD ALASKA - LA PAZ BCS MEXICO


    Whats the weather like on the boat
    https://www.weatherlink.com/embeddab...59665f4e4/wide


    Where am I right now? https://maps.findmespot.com/s/2R02

    #2
    Looks great…how are
    panels?
    Mark
    USCG OUPV
    1990 4588
    Carlsbad, CA

    Comment


      #3
      The panels are light and flexible. Similar to very stiff cardboard.

      Installation was as easy as screwing them down. They have grommets pre-installed for hold down screws.

      I am completely in love with the Victron system. Plug in the com cable and it talks!

      KEVIN SANDERS
      4788 DOS PECES - SEWARD ALASKA - LA PAZ BCS MEXICO


      Whats the weather like on the boat
      https://www.weatherlink.com/embeddab...59665f4e4/wide


      Where am I right now? https://maps.findmespot.com/s/2R02

      Comment


        #4
        Looks great however just an FYI.

        Having had experience with flexible panels on a hardtop I can tell you they do need airspace underneath to avoid overheating and therefor reducing output. The other issue is osmosis if the hardtop cannot breath. Here is how I redesigned mine after finding out the drawbacks.

        I secured them using some standoffs I made using a small stainless plate with a 5/16" threaded rod welded to it. This gets simply glued down with 4200 or sikaflex so no hole to make and 100% removable with no visible damage. I used 3/8" closed cell foam strips that I applied under the panels to create a gap running them in the direction water flows naturally off the top. Using nyloc nuts I secured the panel via their grommets not tightening them down all the way in order to maintain the gap in those areas. Pretty much the same as you however only 3x 175w Sunpower panels.


        Click image for larger version

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        Attached Files
        Cheers, Hans
        2007 Carver 41 CMY
        Twin Volvo D6-370
        Montreal, Canada
        Midnight Sun I Photos

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by MidnightSun View Post
          Looks great however just an FYI.

          Having had experience with flexible panels on a hardtop I can tell you they do need airspace underneath to avoid overheating and therefor reducing output. The other issue is osmosis if the hardtop cannot breath. Here is how I redesigned mine after finding out the drawbacks.

          I secured them using some standoffs I made using a small stainless plate with a 5/16" threaded rod welded to it. This gets simply glued down with 4200 or sikaflex so no hole to make and 100% removable with no visible damage. I used 3/8" closed cell foam strips that I applied under the panels to create a gap running them in the direction water flows naturally off the top. Using nyloc nuts I secured the panel via their grommets not tightening them down all the way in order to maintain the gap in those areas. Pretty much the same as you however only 3x 175w Sunpower panels.


          Click image for larger version

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          Very nice! I'll be monitoring these and will report how they do. Technology is always changing. Perhaps they solved the problem???

          KEVIN SANDERS
          4788 DOS PECES - SEWARD ALASKA - LA PAZ BCS MEXICO


          Whats the weather like on the boat
          https://www.weatherlink.com/embeddab...59665f4e4/wide


          Where am I right now? https://maps.findmespot.com/s/2R02

          Comment


            #6
            Kevin;
            how did you run the cables back to the Battery banks? did you go down the Port side conduit? Would love to chat with you as that just what i need to do this winter while i am on the hard.
            Charles Matthews
            Camelot 1998 4788
            Old Saybrook, CT

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by CAM39G550 View Post
              Kevin;
              how did you run the cables back to the Battery banks? did you go down the Port side conduit? Would love to chat with you as that just what i need to do this winter while i am on the hard.
              I ran the cable through the valance, and then straight down to the DC buss bars that serve the breaker panels easy peasy

              KEVIN SANDERS
              4788 DOS PECES - SEWARD ALASKA - LA PAZ BCS MEXICO


              Whats the weather like on the boat
              https://www.weatherlink.com/embeddab...59665f4e4/wide


              Where am I right now? https://maps.findmespot.com/s/2R02

              Comment


                #8
                My boat came with some very old flexible panels 4x100 that didn’t work well. I changed them with 2 x 320 watt ridged panels. On a sunny day I’ve seen 36 amps most of the time it’s around 32 amps. Best part is not having to use the generator.
                1992 4588
                WitchWay

                Seadoo Wake 170

                Comment


                  #9
                  Here is a live shot. Northern California. Sun directly overhead. Do not know is charge current is being limited because the engines are on and the alternator is working.

                  Click image for larger version

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                  KEVIN SANDERS
                  4788 DOS PECES - SEWARD ALASKA - LA PAZ BCS MEXICO


                  Whats the weather like on the boat
                  https://www.weatherlink.com/embeddab...59665f4e4/wide


                  Where am I right now? https://maps.findmespot.com/s/2R02

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Nice install. I would agree that the alternators are taking some load when underway. I see the same thing with my Victron. (I love the victron too, it works great). On the hook I only need to run the gen to heat water or run microwave. My inverter is stand alone so I want to add a relay or switch to tie to some of the ac loads. I only have 4 lifeline Agm batteries so I am a little light on my battery bank. May add twwo more, or BITE the bullet and shift to one start battery and drop in an 8d lithium as a dedicated inverter battery with a dc to dc charger to put power to the lithium while underway. Any thoughts on that?

                    am I better to change the inverter to a inverter charger (really like Kevin’s set up).
                    Cool Change - 1999 4788
                    330 Cummins
                    Custom enclosed hardtop

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Fully integrate an Inverter/charger all the way.

                      I have the 3000W Victron - 50A transfer switch built in and assist feature..... best upgrade I have made. Brings joy every time I go do something with it. Took a bit of rewiring on what I wanted to work on inverter, what would get the assist, and what is just off limits for the inverter.

                      I think the newer model has most of the functionality of the Cerbo unit built in.
                      1999 Sandpiper Pilothouse - Current
                      1989 3888 - 2011-2019, 1985 Contessa - 2005-2011, 1986 21' Trophy 1998-2005
                      Nobody gets out alive.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        This is the maximum amount of solar panels I can install on the boat without building a frame of some type.

                        I'm hoping this will supply the vast majority of my energy needs in Mexico, and I'm glad to see that the Victron system is smart enough to back down the shore power charging when solar is present.
                        I'm going to spend some time evaluating this setup and will potentially be playing with the settings to basically ignore shore power unless absolutely needed.

                        The challenge with that is the lifecycle costs of my house battery system. If I cycle the house batteries every night and recharge every day would I be cheaper to utilize shore power at night at $0.30 per KWH in mexico?

                        Interesting thought.

                        KEVIN SANDERS
                        4788 DOS PECES - SEWARD ALASKA - LA PAZ BCS MEXICO


                        Whats the weather like on the boat
                        https://www.weatherlink.com/embeddab...59665f4e4/wide


                        Where am I right now? https://maps.findmespot.com/s/2R02

                        Comment


                        • Destiny_4588
                          Destiny_4588 commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Side note watch that electric charge in mexico, we had a really high bill at Costa Baja and were not on the boat, next time I stow my shore power and just let the boat run on solar when not on it. I think other plug into your outlet if you are not there...just sharing, love the idea of not plugging in, but you will need for the AC if nothing else.

                        #13
                        If I was going to be spending a lot of time in Mexico - I would want a lot of shady spots to get out of the sun.

                        I am a hardtop advocate (high capital, low upkeep) but a Bimini frame that lives there all the time is a good place to be able to add more panels and not end up a dried out piece of leather to boot.
                        1999 Sandpiper Pilothouse - Current
                        1989 3888 - 2011-2019, 1985 Contessa - 2005-2011, 1986 21' Trophy 1998-2005
                        Nobody gets out alive.

                        Comment


                          #14
                          Originally posted by kwb View Post
                          If I was going to be spending a lot of time in Mexico - I would want a lot of shady spots to get out of the sun.

                          I am a hardtop advocate (high capital, low upkeep) but a Bimini frame that lives there all the time is a good place to be able to add more panels and not end up a dried out piece of leather to boot.
                          I like the idea of a hard top as well. But... I have a really good sewing machine and I can remove the bimini for hurricanes. A hard top might be a problem during a hurricane. Maybe it would end up in Mazatlan. but... The renology panels would mount perfectly on the bimini.

                          KEVIN SANDERS
                          4788 DOS PECES - SEWARD ALASKA - LA PAZ BCS MEXICO


                          Whats the weather like on the boat
                          https://www.weatherlink.com/embeddab...59665f4e4/wide


                          Where am I right now? https://maps.findmespot.com/s/2R02

                          Comment


                            #15
                            Looks great, i am thinking on putting them on my Bimini's and using fasteners for disconnect and removal. like the idea of mounting the controller in the CB Panel, but how to get the Batt temp sensor back to the batts?
                            Charles Matthews
                            Camelot 1998 4788
                            Old Saybrook, CT

                            Comment

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