Craftsman's Corner

See modifctions and improvements other owners have made..Click on a Project at Right-------->

 

Hull 923 Harness The Sun-Solar PanelsThe TaproomHarley Gee

My wife, Anna, and I enjoyed cruising our Catalina 320 to California’s Sacramento Delta for a month each summer. To keep our beer and food cold, we either had to run the engine daily or get ice. I promised myself that when we moved up to a Catalina 42, it would be equipped with enough solar panels to meet our power needs for refrigeration and other electrical devices while at anchor. When we took delivery of “the Taproom,” C-42 hull #923, in May 2006, I set to work figuring out what I needed to do.

But which panels should I get, how many watts do I need, where should I mount them? The last question was easy. Our boat was ordered with the factory hard dodger, which affords us 84” X 40” of usable space to mount solar panels permanently. I chose to mount three Kyocera KC85T solar panels as they fit perfectly requiring a space of 77” X 39.6” and generated about approximately 1,275 watts a day. I estimated that my power needs for lights, stereo and refrigeration would be between 800 to 1,150 watts a day.

 

There were three challenges involved in installing the panels. The panels needed legs to raise the edges to allow clearance over the curving dodger and clearance for each panel’s junction box which was lower than the sides of the aluminum panels. The mounting bolts would have to be over 3” long and could not be installed to the panels from below or above. The lock nuts to mount each panel would have to be installed from below on a bolt with just enough length to lock the nut.

I solved the problem of legs by cutting 18 from a teak board. The dimensions are as noted on the illustration. One side of the height is shorter by 1/16” to compensate for the curvature of the dodger. A hole was centered and bored through the height and tapped with a ¼” - 20 tap. Six legs were then temporarily mounted to each panel with cheap ¼” X ¾” bolts. The bolts were tightened only enough to hold the legs steady. Place all three panels atop the dodger and arrange them where you want them.  Each panel’s junction box should face forward. If a leg needs to be lengthened/shortened, make adjustments to the leg or make a new leg. Carefully pencil the circumference of each leg’s footprint on the dodger. Drill the necessary holes through each footprint.

 

I solved the problem of legs by cutting 18 from a teak board. The dimensions are as noted on the illustration. One side of the height is shorter by 1/16” to compensate for the curvature of the dodger. A hole was centered and bored through the height and tapped with a ¼” - 20 tap. Six legs were then temporarily mounted to each panel with cheap ¼” X ¾” bolts. The bolts were tightened only enough to hold the legs steady. Place all three panels atop the dodger and arrange them where you want them.  Each panel’s junction box should face forward. If a leg needs to be lengthened/shortened, make adjustments to the leg or make a new leg. Carefully pencil the circumference of each leg’s footprint on the dodger. Drill the necessary holes through each footprint.

 

You will need 18 studs all 3¾” long X ¼” – 20. These can be fabricated from two pieces of 3 foot long ¼” – 20 marine grade stainless steel rod. 3¾” lengths can be snapped off the rod.

Each leg must be permanently mounted in its original location on the panel. Perform this installation one leg at a time. Begin by unscrewing the leg and removing the bolt from the panel. Thread a 3 ¾” stainless steel stud through the leg. Screwing a cap nut on the stud will make this process easier.  The length of stud left protruding from the bottom of each leg should equal the thickness of the hard dodger (approximately 7/8”) plus the height of the washer and lock nut. Slip the top of the stud and leg through the mounting hole in the panel. Fasten the leg with a washer and locknut. You may need to keep the stud from spinning by holding it with vice grips. The threads in the leg will hold the stud and allow the lock nut to be tightened. Note: over tightening will strip out the threads in the leg. Be sure that the taller side of each leg faces the outside of the length each panel.

Connect 60” or more of 10 AWG cable to the starboard panel’s junction box. Connect 30” or more of 10 AWG cable to the center solar panel’s junction box. Connect about 18” of cable to the port side solar panel. Install the starboard side and center solar panels onto the hard dodger with washers and locknuts. Drill a hold through the dodger and dog house to pass the 8 AWG cable that will run from the splice at the panels to the controller (see pictures). Tread the 8 AWG cable up through the dog house then through the dodger. If you are using waterproofing plates around the 8 AWG cable, be sure to feed them through on the correct side of the dog house and dodger. Waterproof the splice that connects the three panel cables to the 8 AWG cable. Permanently mount the port side solar panel with washers and locknuts. Tie the cable to the stainless frame of the dodger.

Follow the instructions from Blue Sky for mounting an SB-2000E Solar Boost Controller. Locate it where it will be easy to view and gain rear access. Run the 8 AWG cable to the controller and then to the batteries. A 30 amp fuse or circuit breaker should be wired to the positive cable close to the batteries.

 

Solar Panels:

          Three Kyocera KC85T solar panels -                            Cost w/shipping:  $1,362 

Fasteners:

            1 bag (100) ¼” 316SS flat washers, 1 bag (100) ¼” – 20 316SS lock nuts
            2 pieces of ¼” – 20     3’ threaded rod 316SS              Cost w/shipping:  $     33                      

Cable:

2-Conductor #8 AWG Outdoor Wiring Cable (25 feet)
        2-Conductor #10 AWG Outdoor Wiring Cable (12 feet)
        30 amp Circuit Breaker (or Fuse)                                      Cost w/shipping:  $     56

Controller:

            Blue Sky SB-2000E Solar Boost Controller                  Cost w/shipping:  $    216      

                                                                                                            Total Cost:  $1,667

Hull 704 Watermaker
By Capt. Rick.

 

A Village Marine Little Wonder watermaker was installed. The link below will allow you to download (recommend Save to hard drive, not just Open) a 376KB PDF file with several photos(Requires a PDF reader on your computer.).

Join our mailing list here and we'll keep you in the loop regarding special events, updates, discounts, and promotional offers.
Note: this is for email notices,not membership signup

Subscribe for Updates

© 2015 by Catalina42.org. Proudly created with Wix.com

  • Facebook Basic Black
  • Twitter Basic Black
  • Google+ Basic Black