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Solar panels on hatch garage

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Matt1 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 03 May 2019 at 10:17
Hi - Am going to install a 100w Sunpower solar panel on the hatch garage of my 418, which looks like it will fit nicely. Looks like the garage flexes a fair bit, hence the sunpower flex panel. Anyone care to comment on the cable route to the battery? Am assuming the cable would run fwds, under the deckhead towards the mast and then follow the route that any of the mast cabling takes back down to the port side electrics / battery area. Plenty of room by the batteries for the controller. I'm assuming that the headliner panels that are free of screw fixings are held in place with adhesive velcro pads or the like and simply pull off?
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S&J View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote S&J Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 May 2019 at 11:16
With a bit of work, I got a cable into the void under the sprayhood support and took this to the port side where I was able to access it by removing the companionway light.  From there to heads and battery was reasonably easy.
This was on a 385 but I imagine a 415 /418 is similar.
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Matt1 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Matt1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 May 2019 at 12:25
ah. Marvellous - I had assumed there wouldn't be a route via the heads. Thanks - that will be this weekend's fun
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mike2145 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 May 2019 at 18:53
Originally posted by Matt1 Matt1 wrote:

ah. Marvellous - I had assumed there wouldn't be a route via the heads. Thanks - that will be this weekend's fun

Let us know how you get on.  Iíve got the same job in a few weeks. 
Cant take a joke, don't buy a boat.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Petersson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 May 2019 at 20:10
S&j: i have a 385 and would lile to do something similar. 
What void are you talking about though? Any chance you have pictures on how and where you entered the hull?
Also which physical size were you able to fit?
Thanks//H
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Matt1 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Matt1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 May 2019 at 20:19
Will do. 

Ideally I wanted the solar panel footprint to be contained within the shape / size of the hatch garage but in the end got the 110w panel from sunpower, which was the same physical size as the 100w panel, but turned out to be slightly longer than the hatch garage. (I had misread my measurements). It will just have to overlap the fwd join between the garage and the deck. I didn't start on it today as there was 15 knots blowing ....so I went for a little singlehanded circumnavigation of the Brambles instead ;-) 

I'll route the wiring tomorrow (hopefully) and then fit the panel Sunday. I'll take some pics and see if I can upload them here.

The Victron MPPT looks cool - it has Bluetooth so I can see what charge I'm getting from the panel. Was £20 more than the std one
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S&J View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote S&J Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 May 2019 at 03:39
I also wanted my solar panel within the footprint of the hatch.  From memory I think that the 388 (and possibly 418) have a more flush design that would allow a panel to project forwards over a drainage channel.

In my 385 I have a Gioco 80W panel.  See http://www.giocosolutions.net but check the dimensions as it looks like they may have changed their product numbers.  The 80W was an almost perfect fit.

[Edit:  I needed to replace this panel and now have a 100W panel from https://www.portablepowertech.com/product/100w-12v-semi-flexible-solar-panel which I am very impressed with.  Very good build quality and working well.  Also a very good fit for the 385 hatch.]

The fixed cables from the panel emerge from the centre of the panel and I ras these into the raised ridge that the sprayhood channel fits onto.  To do this I needed to remove the sprayhoox and then the entire hatch cover which is just held in place by anout 12 large screws.

I needed to cut off the supplied plugs and used a cable connector secured with cable ties to stop it interfering with the sliding hatch.  

I then drilled a hole to pass the cable through in the port side wall of the hatch cover and carefully measured the location so I could drill a matching hole on the port side of the raised area for the sprayhood that is part of the deck.  I then had to replace the hatch cover and jiggle the cable through the two holes.  I also cut a ring of compressable foam then I ised a a seal.

Once this was done, the rest was easy as I was able to reach the cable from by removing the companionway light.

As you can tell, this was somewhat convoluted, but I felt that the effort involved gave me a much tidier solution with shorther cable runs than taking the cable forwards to the mast.  

I am not on the boat at the moment but will try to post pictures an a week or two.



Edited by S&J - 23 July 2019 at 08:53
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Matt1 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Matt1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 May 2019 at 07:31
thanks Stuart - Great minds and all that! I had exactly the same plan wrt to the hatch garage and cable access via the raised sprayhood coaming. I thought it best to run the cables up from the battery first before fixing the panel but try as I might I can't find a route. I've dropped all the lights out, removed the odd storage recess in the heads etc. The issue appears to be where they have glued the deck liner to the deck with beads of glue that don't have any gaps to allow the cable to pass. I'm taking a USB endoscope to the boat today and more coat hangers!!

Presumably you had to cut the channel for the sprayhood bolt rope? Mine is a single continuous span across the whole deck

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Petersson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 May 2019 at 09:10
S&j: thanks. No pictures required for me anymore. 
@matt: i think he ran the cable underside hatch cover. Thus no needofcutting the spryhood bolt rope peofile to pass.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote S&J Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 May 2019 at 10:19
My sprayhood was ordered from Inspiration Marine.  The main part of the fabric zips into a separate boltrope, so it is amazingly easy to get the sparyhood in position and just zip it in.
I do also have a tonneau cover which does not have the zip and I needed to cut a small access channel in the centre of the plastic retainer so I could feed it in from the centre in two halves as it won't strech around the entire curve in one go.

I have found a cheap (Ikea) retractable steel measuring tape useful for getting cables routed.  The advantage of this is that it is stiff so can be pushed through, but is also inclined to bend around curves (at least on one direction).

The challenge in getting cables from the main roof space is that you have a double curve from the roof to the side wall, and then from the side wall to the deck.  It took a while but I did manage to get this done.  I stronglt recommend getting all cables in place before comminting yourself to any particular installation.


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