Replacing original solar panels

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joe
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Replacing original solar panels

Postby joe » Fri Aug 24, 2018 7:28 pm

Has anyone replaced the original panels on the hardtop with new same or similar sized ones? I would like to boost power output with the same footprint.

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thinwater
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Re: Replacing original solar panels

Postby thinwater » Fri Aug 24, 2018 8:47 pm

Standard sizes have changed. Additionally, I'm sure the original controller was PM rather than MPPT and thus is obsolete. This field has move far in the past decade.

You probably just need to start over. Not a big deal. I consider the specific equipment I installed ~ 8 years ago obsolete in terms of recommending anything, so I won't. I still like the mounting, though. Very simple and very strong.

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joe
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Re: Replacing original solar panels

Postby joe » Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:28 pm

Thank you . Will continue onward thru the fog !!

Iriemon
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Re: Replacing original solar panels

Postby Iriemon » Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:37 pm

Hey Joe,

I've been researching this as well, as part of a scheme to do a solar upgrade this fall which will include adding a couple 150 watt panels over the hardtop and a couple 100s mounted over the stern. My preference would be to mount the new panels in the existing starboard mounting frames so I'm approaching it from that perspective.

I have not found any new panels which are the same size of the original Siemens 50watt panels that came with the boat. They measure 23.5 x 31.

However, here are a few options to consider:

A combination of a couple of these 70 watt panels (21.65 x 32.68, $130) https://www.amazon.com/Watts-Solar-Pane ... NEL+solar; with one of these 50 watt jobs (21.3 x 24.8 ($72.19) https://www.amazon.com/Renogy-Watts-Vol ... anel&psc=1 which measures 21.3 x 24.8 ($72.19). The combination would give you 190 watts (versus the 150 watts from the Siemens trio) about for $335, or $1.76 per watt. These panels are narrower that the stock Seimens by a couple inches, so you'd need some spacers, or to move one of the starboard mounts in a bit. But they should fit lengthwise, 90.2" versus the stock 91".

I also found some 30W panels which measure 23.8" x 13.5 @ $47 each. https://www.amazon.com/Mighty-Max-Batte ... ar+30+watt. You could mount 6 of them in the current frame, though you'd have to move one of the frames out by about 1/3 inch. That would give you 180 watts at $1.56 per watt.

Finally, these 30 watt flexible panels are advertised as measuring 20.5" x 13" and sell for $45.21 https://www.amazon.com/Feileng-Maintain ... ar+30+watt. You could fit 7 of them in the current frame for a total of 210 watts. ($1.51 per watt). You'd need to build frames for the panels to mount them on, however.

I cannot speak as to the quality or reliability of these panels.

Let us know if you find something with a better fit.
Last edited by Iriemon on Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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thinwater
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Re: Replacing original solar panels

Postby thinwater » Mon Aug 27, 2018 6:18 pm

I've done well with Renology panels. Over 8 years and still going.

I've also done well with semi-flexible panels from Chinese sources. I was planning to permanently install a bunch of these, but ended up selling the boat. However, one of them lives on with my F-24 and I am very happy with it.

The key is to remember that these use the SAME cells without the glass to protect them. They must be well mounted and not walked on. That said, they are easy to mount and very light. I would NOT but them on canvas, only on solid surfaces. The advertising about bininis is largely BS from an engineering perspective.

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Iriemon
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Re: Replacing original solar panels

Postby Iriemon » Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:41 pm

I have read that panels should not be mounted flat onto a surface, so they can dissipate heat for better efficiency. It wouldn't be an issue with rigid panels (i.e. those that come with an aluminum frame with edges to keep the panel off the surface). But I have no idea what efficiency affect, if any, mounting them flat on a surface would have. Probably more of an issue, if at all, in the tropics.

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thinwater
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Re: Replacing original solar panels

Postby thinwater » Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:09 pm

Yes, heat might be an issue in the tropics. It will reduce efficiency a few %. There are several solutions:

* Mine is mounted on a 1/8" thick slider turtle, so little different than mounting on canvas. NOT a PDQ solution, but it was a part of my reasoning.
* Many slip a layer of something corrugated under them to allow for breathing. This could also be done with thin strips of prelaminated FRP for just a few $$. This latter is what I did on the PDQ. Bond the strips to the panel and then screw the panel down. In fact, I used Velcro on the PDQ (3M Dual Lock). In fact, just bonding them with strips of Dual Lock will give considerable ventilation. This stuff is like Velcro-Zilla. It snaps in place.

On the other hand, many respected manufacturers don't see it that way. Direct bonding is common practice.


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