Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sailboat solar panel rack

I went around hunting up parts for a solar panel rack. Right now I’ve got about $35 dollars into the project -mostly for stainless steel nuts and bolts, plus a good piece of aluminum pipe. Your basic small “marine” solar panel rack starts around $550. I can’t spend that kind of money. So now I’m picking up odds and ends from the hardware store and Tractor Supply.

The plan is for the whole pole/rack assembly to slide into a fishing rod holder. It has to be removable for trailering.

Space is limited on a small boat and I have to make sure nothing interferes with the rigging, sails, outboard, boarding ladder or anything else.

It seems like a lot of work for a small 30 watt panel. That’s enough power to keep a trickle charge in the battery. I don’t use much power, so it should save me from starting the motor just to top off the battery. That’s a terribly inefficient way to charge a battery.

Let to itself, a battery will slowly discharge. The solar panel should prevent that. Keeping a battery fully charged extends its life. Every little bit helps.

Once the project is completed, I’ll post some photos. It’s supposed to be nice sailing soon so I hope to get some photos from on the water.


1 comment:

  1. Be careful of what kind of aluminum you use new salt water. Waiting to see pictures.