Solar panel installation

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After yesterdays Super Bowl food overdose, we were ready to work hard today on installing our new flexible walk on solar panels. We have been working toward getting these for 10 months now and are so excited to finally be installing them.

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The installer, Dave, came over this morning and he and Danny tore the boat apart, removing panels and cushions to map out where all the wiring had to be run.

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Danny measured with great care where the solar panels would lie and where screws needed to be placed.

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We decided to place three of the panels on the hard top over the stern salon, and one of them on the hard top over the helm station. Having all the panels in one general area allows us to wire each pair in series and then both pairs in parallel. I placed a piece of scrap wood under the panel and drilled holes through the panels in each spot where a screw would be placed, and taped the panels down where we wanted them.

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We then drilled holes in the bimini where the panels were to be placed, and used marine grade clear silicone in each hole we’d screwed as well as in a line joining each screw hole and some extra lines over the area where the panel would lie.

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After we had carefully placed the panels over the silicone, we used (#8) 1″ screws and finishing grommets and screwed the panels down.

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Meanwhile, down in the main salon, Danny was using his ninja skills and cut out the perfect spaces needed for the battery state-of-charge meter and the Outback Mate2 controller. We placed these right above the main control panel so that everything is in one place.

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Danny and I ran the Cat5 cables for the meters through the ceiling panels to the Flexmate 80 solar charge controller, which is now mounted under the salon seats.

Tomorrow we will tie all solar panel wiring and fire up the system. We are really excited to not have to run our generator every day. The solar panels equal 1000 watts (4x 250 watt panels) and our lithium ion batteries hold 1200ah of energy.

It is so rewarding to save up and make good purchases, work hard and install things ourselves, and look back and see the progress we are making in our home on the water.

Emma and I took the dinghy in to the marina office to grab our mail at one point during the day, and on our way home helped an older gentleman and his daughter who’s dinghy motor had given up the ghost. Emma is such a great dinghy driver, and our new friends in distress were very grateful.

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It was such a beautiful day here in Marathon Key. We passed a catamaran with lots and lots of plants all over the place. They are obviously here in the marina to stay!

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Tanda Malaika looked so pretty sitting on her mooring ball.

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