Adding More Semi-Flexible Solar Panels
|The backstay comes through the aft section of the bimini and a zipper is used on the |
boat's centerline to accommodate bimini removal. We frequently open the zipper
to hoist our American flag up the flag halyard mounted on the backstay.
|I used the same templates as I used previously on our 100-watt panels. I simply |
printed out new ones and adhered them in place. The slots for the fasteners
prongs were cut with an engraving tool in a Dremel tool.
|Finally, all eight fasteners were installed--it took me about 1/1/2 hours to install four |
fasteners in each of two panels for a total of 3 hours.
|To install the solar panels on the bimini, we first have to mount the bimini on its frames. |
Then we tilt the assembled bimini forward so that we can reach the solar panel
mounting locations from the cockpit.
|Once the three solar panels are mounted on the tilted bimini, we raise the |
bimini into its normal position and hook up the cables.
|We can now generate 300 watts of power during most of the daytime hours. The top of our |
bimini is seldom shaded from the sun and generate power even on cloudy days.
Addendum - May 18
Recently, our refrigerator stopped working. I thought it was due to the slow freon leak that we haven't been able to find. When I opened up the compressor compartment, I noticed that the fan that cools the compressor was not operating. I just happened to switch the battery bank and it started up again. In checking further, my battery monitor (which I don't have a lot of faith in) was showing one battery bank as dead. I assumed that it was my bank number "2" which has the oldest batteries. I carted the heavy AGM batteries off the Steven's Battery Warehouse in Annapolis for testing--they tested fine, so I reinstalled them. As I began to look at battery bank #1, I noticed that none of the lights on the voltage controllers for the solar panels were lit. The light goes out when the connection to the battery is lost. The problem soon surfaced as a blown fuse between the voltage controllers and the batteries. I forgot to increase the size of the fuse to accommodate the additional 100 watts of solar power I just added. I changed the fuse to a 30-amp rated fuse and everything works fine.