Solar Panels (07/2018)

Now that I added instrumentation and other electronics, I need to power these somehow. Time for some solar panels!

There's not much deck real estate on the C270 so coming up with a good place for panels is not easy.

Several nearby boats at my harbor have them on hinged panels on the pushpit but given the open stern on the C270 this would only work for really small panels.

On the C270 email list I saw photos of a nice install right in front of the traveler. A good options, but I do like to be able to walk in that area so I didn't want to put them there.

I thought of a removable panel in front of the mast like my slip neighbor has. Plenty of space there and it's the only position where it could get sun all day while in the slip. Downside is having to remove it while sailing so that's not so great.

In the end, because my C270 has a dodger, I went with flexible panels on top of the dodger. The space is otherwise unused so placing the panels there doesn't interfere with anything, a big plus. On the downside, they can often be shaded by the boom. But the other choices listed above were worse so this seems like an ok compromise given the constraints on the C270.

I was able to fit two 55W panels for a theoretical total of 110W. Well, in reality it is more like 55W because while in the slip only one gets sun at a time. The port panel get sun in the morning and the starboard panel in the afternoon. While sailing it might be worse if both are shaded by the main but depending on wind and sun angles they might also both get sun.

I really don't like the cable runs on top of the dodger, it's a bit ugly. But it's the best routing I could come up with.

On the underside of the dodger it looks nice because the cables go inside the zippered fold, so they are not visible.

The other dilemma I had was where to cut holes for the cables to go inside the boat? No good solution here really. Anything would be a bit ugly somewhere.

Ideally they should go through at the base of the dodger tube seen in the photo below. But that puts them right by the galley light inside which wouldn't look good. I'd rather have them go to the port locker. Given the choice between ugly cables in the galley or have them run awkwardly far back outside by the dodger, I chose the latter.

I used Ancor Through-Deck Wire Seals (if link doesn't work anymore try searching for the name) which seem to work well.

This position puts the cables in the port locker so I mounted the solar controller right there, next to the shorepower battery charger.

From here the cable runs behind the galley drawers to the batteries, so nothing is visible inside the boat.

Inside, there is a display which shows how many amps the panels are delivering to the batteries, which is fun to monitor.

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