Solar and a bimini

As if searching for a new motor wasn't enough (thank you to the forum for helping me find one for sail from a fellow member!) we are interested in putting a solar panel on our E27 to help trickle charge the batteries. Any great ideas on where to install it? We were also wondering if anyone with an E27 has put a bimini over the helm area? The boom comes back pretty far so I'm wondering if anyone has thoughts/pictures/advice on that as well. Thanks in advance!!
 
Also... while I'm asking questions.... How much weight do you think is safe to send up in a bosun's chair on an E27? I had someone tell me my husband (6 feet tall 200 lbs) was too heavy to send up the mast. Thoughts?
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Also... while I'm asking questions.... How much weight do you think is safe to send up in a bosun's chair on an E27? I had someone tell me my husband (6 feet tall 200 lbs) was too heavy to send up the mast. Thoughts?
That's a large-enough displacement boat that it's probably not going to fall over from his weight. As for the gear being up to the purpose, your halyard and winch conbo should be fine as long as the halyard is in good condition. Do the lift with two halyards, one acting as a safety line, and always tie a bowline, not relying on a shackle.
BTW, when he's up there and the boat rocks a few degrees..... it will not 'feel' o_O as secure as theory and science tells / reassures him!

When I am at our masthead, about 50 feet off the water, I only have some mild acrophobia, and my fingerprints on the aluminum are not permanent.....
 
That's a large-enough displacement boat that it's probably not going to fall over from his weight. As for the gear being up to the purpose, your halyard and winch conbo should be fine as long as the halyard is in good condition. Do the lift with two halyards, one acting as a safety line, and always tie a bowline, not relying on a shackle.
BTW, when he's up there and the boat rocks a few degrees..... it will not 'feel' o_O as secure as theory and science tells / reassures him!

When I am at our masthead, about 50 feet off the water, I only have some mild acrophobia, and my fingerprints on the aluminum are not permanent.....
That's a large-enough displacement boat that it's probably not going to fall over from his weight. As for the gear being up to the purpose, your halyard and winch conbo should be fine as long as the halyard is in good condition. Do the lift with two halyards, one acting as a safety line, and always tie a bowline, not relying on a shackle.
BTW, when he's up there and the boat rocks a few degrees..... it will not 'feel' o_O as secure as theory and science tells / reassures him!

When I am at our masthead, about 50 feet off the water, I only have some mild acrophobia, and my fingerprints on the aluminum are not permanent.....
Thank you! HE'S not the one worried, he loves going up to sketchy high places. I'm the one who gets light headed even climbing on our roof. I guess I was more worried about the pressure it would put on the mast itself, and the halyard. I hadn't even THOUGHT about it tipping over. lol
 

Mark F

Contributing Partner
Blogs Author
Hi Denise,

I'm sure there are a bunch of posts on this subject. There is a recent post on a bimini/solar for an E30 - titled
Solar panel installation location 30+
 

Tin Kicker

Member III
Moderator
Hi Denise -

You need to relate your question to how you define "help trickle charge the batteries" in terms of what you are using them for. The following is copied from my post #256 here: https://ericsonyachts.org/ie/threads/chesapeake-ericson-club.17137/page-13

Bob

Almost anything from Will Prowse is really good (https://diysolarforum.com/members/will-prowse.1/) and there are a ton of other good resources online.

But it always starts with estimating a solar budget which means figuring out what you will have consuming power and for how long. We don't have electric galleys or AC and can switch most of the lights to LED, so we don't need lots of watts. Below are some fairly conservative numbers from my notes and what is below that is copied from my own numbers so you can use them as a place to start:

3W LED nav light bulb replacements (worst case each)
4.8W Marine Beam mast head and steaming light (2W for just steaming without deck light)
1.5W LED Interior bulb replacements
18W iPadPro11 (mine),30W MacBook, 87W MacBookPro, 85-150W Full MiniMac
.55A/6.6W standby mode for Standard Horizon GX6000 radio. Receive (max) .9A/10.8W, Xmit 5A/60W, Hailer 2.1A/25W
12W B&G Vulcan 7 chart plotter

Anchoring at night and using lights for 4 hours/night, I'd need about 386 Wh/day or 386/12= 32A:
(Anchor light 11 hours times 2W = 22 Wh) + (4 hours times 3 interior lights = 13.5 Wh) + (4 hr iPad = 72Wh) = (24 hours of radio X 6.6W = 158Wh) + (10 hours chart plotter X 12W = 120 Wh)

I currently have two 100 Ah lead acid batteries and don't want to discharge more than 50% so this can go without sun or charging for 3 full days. There likely will not be enough left to start the motor but the batteries won't be damaged in the worst case. For a normal weekend with some use of the motor (50A alternator times number of hours of use) and existing 50W solar it would be fine.


We are far enough north and cloudy often enough that my solar notes show that per day we should collect at least three times the watt hours a panel is rated at, so would average 150W with my existing panel. Obviously, hard will collect more than flexible, sunny summer days will be more than cloudy or in the winter, etc, but this is a place to start an estimate from. If I'm using the boat for weekends, the 50W panel is enough to recharge the batteries during the days not in use, especially if the motor is used to get to and from the dock.

If I wanted to stay out I would need to turn off the radio and chart plotter when possible &/or put another 100W panel out. I have two 175W hard panels in the shed (350W total) for when I go on a longer cruise and plan to just hang one or both from the life lines.

Last note is about buying stuff: There are all sorts of kits and places happy to take your money, but you can save a LOT by Googling reviews for what is available and comparison reviews. My system has:

$69.99 Richsolar 50W 12V ETFE flexible solar panel. It's cheap enough to replace every few years.
$47.95 HQST 20A MPPT controller. This is big enough to connect one of the big panels I have but not both. I only need one.
$12.53 Two bulkhead glands to run the wire through the cabin roof. Only used one.
$9.98 For 5 pair of RENOGY solar connectors
$5.36 Solar connector tool for assy & disassembly
$15.95 Solar connector pin crimping tool
$161.76 Total

Rather than buy cable, I made my own using Anchor Wire tinned marine grade 12/2 AWG Duplex. This is a much less expensive and better tailored approach. When I go to use the 175W panels I have the solar connectors and always have wire on hand so will be able to do the install very quickly.

LOTS of industrial velcro:


Panel installed with the bulkhead in the lower left before cleaning up the exposed wiring shows the RENOGY solar connectors:


Using coat wire to pull the cable behind the trim so it won't show:


Mounted the MPPT, breaker, and a directional switch to each of the batteries on a piece of aluminum:

 

sailing42

Pls Contact Admin
Hi Denise
I fabricated a solar panel mount using aluminum angle,bimini fittings and some tubing from an old bimini frame. The panel i have is a 50 watt panel with a Morningstar controller. The panel sits at the stern and is supported by the stanchion using some bimini fittings. Cable is routed through the post and through the bottom into the boat. B559686B-5184-4357-B139-181449C0239F.jpeg1C7D2B4E-4299-4A24-9A08-17E4500CB36E.jpegB559686B-5184-4357-B139-181449C0239F.jpeg1C7D2B4E-4299-4A24-9A08-17E4500CB36E.jpeg
95D1CC58C-AA83-47CE-AE47-6CAD329B8E93.jpeg
 

debonAir

Member III
I just replaced my 100W panel I keep on the dodger. I had an "Allwinners" panel that seemed to keep the battery topped off well, but I never really saw more than 1.5A from it which seemed really low. Then it broke completely this summer and I replaced it with a Renogy 100W flexible panel. Within minutes of connecting it I was seeing 6.5A at over 14V (100W as advertised..wow). Super happy with the Renogy panel. I had previously installed a Renogy battery monitor and that is working out very well also.

I had thought about the MPPT box mentioned above, but decided to go with the same product but with higher capacity in the event I want to install a fridge and get a few more panels. Getting 6A out of a single panel could get addicting. Maybe my house is next...
 

1911tex

Member III
I'm thinking about retiring for the 3rd time by inventing a 100% ultra light solar panel foresail. Thinking about a 120% Genoa in size. Might add a 100% solar ultra light main to match as well....all priced cheaper than the lowest priced Dacron sails on the market; all made in the USA; custom made to fit any sailboat worldwide...made in my own factory where everyone will wear a mask and work 6' apart next to a hand-wash basin.....alternators will become obsolete. I will have enough profit to buy a 60' live-aboard E-trimaran on my own 20k acre lake inside my 1000 acre ranch in the Sierras.

Then I will invite all my Ericson forum friends to ride in my pull behind well stocked custom made guest E60 that I will ask Bruce to design. That should be a good tax deduction. My customers will have enough surplus energy to sell that they too can live up on snob hill. May offer interest free 100 month finance payments so my customers surplus energy will pay for the sails!

Yep, may apply for an SBA loan. Just pulled out a wadded up sheet of old scratch paper and sharped my pencil down to 2.5 inch length to fit lazily in my oversized mitt. Yawn...oops, think I will take a little nap first...............................................hasta manana
 
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I'm thinking about retiring for the 3rd time by inventing a 100% ultra light solar panel foresail. Thinking about a 120% Genoa in size. Might add a 100% solar ultra light main to match as well....all priced cheaper than the lowest priced Dacron sails on the market; all made in the USA; custom made to fit any sailboat worldwide...made in my own factory where everyone will wear a mask and work 6' apart next to a hand-wash basin.....alternators will become obsolete. I will have enough profit to buy a 60' live-aboard E-trimaran on my own 20k acre lake inside my 1000 acre ranch in the Sierras.

Then I will invite all my Ericson forum friends to ride in my pull behind well stocked custom made guest E60 that I will ask Bruce to design. That should be a good tax deduction. My customers will have enough surplus energy to sell that they too can live up on snob hill. May offer interest free 100 month finance payments so my customers surplus energy will pay for the sails!

Yep, may apply for an SBA loan. Just pulled out a wadded up sheet of old scratch paper and sharped my pencil down to 2.5 inch length to fit lazily in my oversized mitt. Yawn...oops, think I will take a little nap first...............................................hasta manana
I’m in!
 

1911tex

Member III
Denise, you will be my first customer...so your solar sails will be free and have the honor of "the demonstrator" ! I am sure when you flick on the master switch, your eyes will light up!
 

william.haas

William Haas
Hi Denise. We have a E28 with a nice Bimini and dodger setup. Being of a similar size, I am certain you can come up with something that gives you some shade. The admiral is fair skinned and I am pretty sure this upgrade was condition of marriage.

The “connector” between the Bimini and dodger is primarily used when we are not sailing (the boom just gets in the way). We also have a “skylight”or window in the Bimini top which allows viewing of the main while under sail from the helm. It has a built in flap that snaps/unsnaps to cover it with straps that hold it in place. A worthwhile addition to avoid the “whose on first / how’s the main look” dialogue.

I also added a pic that shows our solar setup, with the panel off the stern. That was assembled with some planning and fittings from Defender.

If you have any questions about our approach or want specific pictures (I just shared what was in my camera roll) please just ask.
 

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