Friday, 22 March 2013

Playing with Solar

Well I always wanted to get some power from the wind and sun.

I have been experimenting with a large wind turbine but it was not tenable on the boat despite running an electric fire when windy.

Mrs B just would not wear the ear defenders for some reason. ???

It is waiting to be re erected on land. I have planted the pole (behind wheelhouse) but you know what it's like.


I happened across some solar panels from Maplin, cheap they were and I sold the 12v regulators on ebay. I know the amorphous aren't as good as polys but I'm experimenting.

I got the 4 (12v) panels in two strings through a maximum power point tracker regulator (
photonicuniverse) to get the best out of them. The MPPT does magic and things and has leds and lcd screens.  It basically means that it makes the most out of the least from the available energy.

The contraption on the left of the roof is for the solar tubes for heating the water.  The rollers have just arrived to get the turntable turning.  Gosh some things take an awful long time.  I have enough projects on the go to last another lifetime never mind what's left of this one.  Hey ho. 


Good day for free power, wind and sun. The solar panels are kicking up 100w which is around 4AHr at 24v or 8 at12v. Wicked.

Found a good site that explains the best angles for the different times of the year and how to make the most of it.

I will try to make my attachment frame adjustable as you can nearly double your output with correctly aligned panels.


Well the panels have been well and truly insolated and have proved to be effective. I unplug the mains lead and run on the sun when it's out.

I would like to make a mount for the panels now and I reckon the best place would be to hang them off the mizzen (back) mast. I want to be able to turn them south wherever we are and, ideally, to tilt them depending on the season, up or down to catch the sun better.  Think of them as a solar sail.  Now there's a thought......

Much research later and a pole mount is what's needed. This one is from Unirac but you get the idea.


I will replace the wooden mast with a steel tube and the mount will be able to rotate on the top of the tube. A stay with adjustment holes in it will allow for vertical adjustment. To cut down on weight I got some T6 1/4" ally angle from the Aluminium Warehouse. Not a bad price, good delivery for something 5 metres long too.

This is a 4 panel mount and I hope mine will be something like it.


This is actually a Lorentz 600 Tracker and moves to stay in line with the sun. It's around 700 golden coins but you have to be a long way from the coast for the guarantee.

I reckon the all up weight of the mount not including the pole will be around 80Kg.  Add the wind loading of a couple of square metres and the lurch factor (when the boat rolls) and it will have to be pretty strong.

Now where's m' welder?


I bought and ex hire Kemppi 1500 master tig from Holland when I started the barge and it's still going strong. Does stick too of course. 

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