OCEAN EXPLORER

SOLAR PANELS AND

WIND GENERATOR

 

The photo above shows the upper part of Ocean Explorer's radar arch with the Everfair Fourwinds II wind generator mounted on the 316 plate welded into the middle of the arch.  The solar panel is a 120 watt Kyocera which is mounted via thru-bolts to 1" 316 tubing that I purchased from Tops in Quality (the same folks who Valiant commissioned to build the arch).  The 1" tubing is fastened to the arch via U-bolts as detailed below.  You can see the junction box on the port side.  Wiring passes into and through the tubing to head down below.  Note the grommets and drip-loops in the wiring.  The grey box on the starboard side under the panel is a wireless temperature-sensor that measures outside temperature and reports to readouts down below.

 

This photo is a close up of the mounting technique used to hold the 1" tubing to the arch.  I used U-bolts passed over a wrap of adhesive-backed 1/32 inch neoprene on the arch tubing.  The neoprene very effectively prevents motion of the 1" tubing on the arch tubing.  The top of the arch is not level, so to prevent my panel from tilting aft I placed UV-resistant, black, Delrin blocks between the tubing at the forward U-bolts.  The U-bolts pass right through the Delrin blocks, so they are captive.

Note the loop of line on the right of the photo.  This goes up to a bicycle caliper brake device that compresses the hub of the wind generator to slow and stop it.  There are three ways to stop the wind generator - the bicycle caliper, a current reversing switch to slow it, and a grab-line on the tail to swing the unit out of the wind.  I almost always use the grab-line to stop my generator.  I then tie the blades off with a piece of light line attached nearby for that purpose and use the grab-line to tie the tail to one side or the other of the arch so that the long axis of the generator lies transversely and thus eliminates shadow over the 120 watt Kyocera 50% of the time.

 

This photo shows two 60 watt Kyocera solar panels mounted on the hard dodger.  I wanted at least two because I expected that part of the hard dodger would be shadowed at least part of the time by the boom and sail while underway.  Since the total of three panels are all isolated from each other by diodes, shadowing of one panel does not affect output from the other two.  There might be some argument for putting three panels on the hard dodger for the same reason if one could fit them on.  At anchor we swing the boom to one side or the other to eliminate shadowing of either hard dodger panel.  Backstay shadow is penumbric at best, and really does not seem to affect these panels.

 

This photo shows the central mounting of the two hard dodger panels.  I used hinges because I wanted to be able to detach one side or the other of these panels for servicing and cleaning underneath.  The hinges are fastened such as to lift the panels off the top of the dodger a bit to allow cooling.  The lift is much more appreciable laterally, as shown in the next photo.

 

This photo shows the lateral mounting of the hard dodger solar panels.  Because of the curve of the top surface of the hard dodger, I lifted the lateral sides of the panels with UV-resistant, black, Delrin blocks (you can buy Delrin from McMaster-Carr).  Again, hinges were used for mounting for the reasons stated above.  The Delrin blocks were through bolted to the hard dodger.

 

This is just another shot to show detail of the mounting of the outboard side of the hard dodger solar panels.  If you put panels in this location, check for sharp edges in the frames, and file smooth as necessary.

 

Regrettably, this photo is out of focus, but it does give a little more perspective of the arch, the 120 watt Kyocera, and the Fairwinds II wind generator.  Note the grab-line on the far right of the photo going from the steel loop on the arch up to the tail of the wind generator, and then note how in this position the wind generator does not shadow the solar panel from any sunlight coming from 180 degrees or better around the stern.

 

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