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
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
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.
my Catalina 270 page.