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Build a stand-alone shore Solar charge station?

Mar 10, 2016
7
Nil 30 Gimli
Hi all!
First post on here. I've been lurking for a few months and learned plenty and now I would like your opinions on something I have on my mind.

First my back story:

There is shore power at my marina, but not at my slip. We don't consume much power - no fridge: we have an ice box, and some simple electronics. But still I want to keep on top of my electrical charge.

I own a Mega 30 and with its unusual deck shape, I can't really find a place to put sufficient solar panels. I do place one on the fore deck when we are docked but it isn't mounted permanently because it would interfere with the headsail, so it doesn't provide power when we are sailing.

Here's what I have in mind:

I plan to put a permanently mounted dock box at my slip, I have lots of space so it can be a big one. I'm thinking I could mount solar panels that feed to a power supply in the dock box therefore charging independently all day. Then when I come back from sailing, I could plug in and have that reserve of power charge my onboard batteries. Also when I am docked, I would have more solar power feeding my batteries than just the one on the boat. Allowing for more power consumption at the dock.

The boat has a shore power plug that charges the onboard batteries. So I suppose I could have the battery box feed an inverter that would then be changed back into DC by the onboard system to charge the batteries. That also gives me access to AC power at the dock if needed. I figure it is simpler that way, since I don't have to alter my boat and can still use the boats shore AC plug if I find myself somewhere else and having access to short power.

I hope that makes sense...

What are your thoughts?

Thanks in advance for your input.
 
Nov 26, 2012
2,315
Catalina 250 Bodega Bay CA
I would not spend the money for such a limited use shore unit. Find a way to mount panels, controller on board. Then consider an on board inverter. Be aware that inverters demand much DC current and demand large panel arrays on or off the boat. On my boat I limit max size of inverter to 500 watts for these reasons. My Reefer, TV, steering, etc are all DC. I can power my boat indefinitely away from shore power with 160 watt panels and 180 ah battery bank. Hope this helps. Chief
 
Jan 19, 2010
6,684
Hunter 26 Lake Martin AL
Charging a battery in an efficient manner requires a bit of an over voltage. A typical "12V" solar panel will often put out 14V. So charging on-board batteries with over board batteries will be hard to do well. The over-board batteries will have essentially the same voltage as what you hope to achieve on board... and you will have some voltage loss due to the length of the lead. Have you considered mounting a pole on your stern for use as a solar mount? It would probably cost less than what you are proposing and you will have mobile charging capabilities.
 

Attachments

Jan 4, 2010
745
Farr 30 San Francisco
overly complex, how much of the time will you be sailing? How much of the time will you be in your slip? If you are typical it is 6 hrs sailing and 160 hrs in the slip. Just mount a solar panel on your slip and connect the DC output of the panel to your boat, where the charge controller is mounted.
 
Feb 26, 2004
20,738
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
Welcome.

KISS, pretend you're on a mooring. Get a panel, mount it somewhere on your boat that you can take it off or stow easily, and be done with it. Or, do your dockside thing, but just do what John suggests.

KISS.

Good luck.
 
Mar 1, 2012
1,822
1961 Rhodes Meridian 25 Texas coast
a friend lays her solar panel in the cockpit when not aboard, she checks charge a few times a week (lives close). No problem.

Sounds overly complicated to me
 
Dec 11, 2008
1,337
catalina C27 stillwater
Use a loose panel. Put a plug in the cockpit coaming. From the plug go to your charge controller then to the battery/batteries.
When you leave the boat set the panel in the cockpit and plug it in. When you get to the boat disconnect panel and toss under quarter berth cushion.
 
Dec 19, 2006
5,572
Hunter 36 Punta Gorda
I would try mounting a large solar panel some place on your boat maybe folding up or down off the stern or side of the stern like I have seen on a few boats or maybe over the dodger or
over the bimini or some where where mounted so they can be folded away and this way the money you spend on solar system will be utilized all the time and keeping batteries charged
no matter where you are.
I have 2 mounted solar panels above my bimini 24/7 and hardly ever need shore power.
Nick
 
Aug 17, 2013
304
Olympic Dolphin 23 Ottawa/Gatineau
there is a thread on here about solar panels and the person has it mounted on their backstay, it's a nice compromise I find, I might just do it on my boat, but it could be a good alternative for your boat
 
Mar 10, 2016
7
Nil 30 Gimli
there is a thread on here about solar panels and the person has it mounted on their backstay, it's a nice compromise I find, I might just do it on my boat, but it could be a good alternative for your boat
Mounted on the back stay you say? That is interesting! I'll have to look into that. I don't have a Bimini or dodger to mount above the cockpit so this might be a good option. Thanks for your input
 

Brian D

Moderator
Feb 17, 2006
4,531
Lancer 27PS MCB Camp Pendleton KF6BL
My panel is mounted on my starboard stern rail. I use a PVC pipe to keep the panel horizontal, but can drop the panel to vertical if need be. I am sure you will find a good location for yours.

Good luck!

Solar 1.JPG
 

Maine Sail

Moderator
Feb 6, 1998
11,037
Canadian Sailcraft 36T Casco Bay, ME
Mounted on the back stay you say? That is interesting! I'll have to look into that. I don't have a Bimini or dodger to mount above the cockpit so this might be a good option. Thanks for your input
Product, sold as individual pieces to build a kit, is still in development stages but should be available soon.
 
Jan 19, 2010
6,684
Hunter 26 Lake Martin AL
Mounted on the back stay you say? That is interesting! I'll have to look into that. I don't have a Bimini or dodger to mount above the cockpit so this might be a good option. Thanks for your input
Look at Main Sails recent posts. Last week he released a prototype solar mount made to attach to the back stay
 
Mar 10, 2016
7
Nil 30 Gimli
Wow that is innovative! I like it... Although I don't have a single back stay on the Mega, I have a split back stay with adjuster. May have to find a way to adapt that setup....
 
Mar 20, 2014
675
Hunter 31 Shoreacres, TX
My PO mounted a solar panel on the split back stay on a pvc pipe using some brackets mounted to the stays. I will try to remember to take a pic next time I'm at the boat. It sits above the bimini. I thought it was a very clever solution. Here is a picture from far off. If you zoom in you will get the idea.


image.jpeg
 
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Jun 4, 2009
3,244
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
We mounted ours directly to the Bimini, it was fast, cheap and simple. We will mount it to bars over the Bimini soon.
looking at the photog.JPG