Re: solar panel

Nick Fowle SM 404 Rascal <svrascal@...>


I have two Solbian SR+ 240 on the Bimini. It’s a love hate thing with them and the Bimini. The Bimini was made in Antigua and sadly not well. On top of that The panels weigh enough to cause sag and chafe. I’ve had the Bimini adapted here in Grenada to support the weight. I have attached a few photos which I hope illustrate this, if not let me know and I will send some more. 

Worth noting that my Bimini is pretty much fixed in place. Taking it down for repairs etc is pretty time consuming and complex process as it now has four stainless bars running front to back holding the panels and these bars are hidden in pockets . I hope the pictures help illustrate this. Let me know if you would like more. 

I ran the cables through pockets stitched into the bimini so they are protected from main sheet/ sun etc , down the stb side Bimini and into the area where the winch circuit breakers are housed on the SM, which is above the pilot berth. From there the cables run direct to the Victron MPPT which, along with the two other MPPT’s are housed next to the nav station, taking over the wet gear hanging area, if that makes sense. I don’t know 54’s that well so this may not make sense. This puts the MPPTs a very short distance from the main battery bank. All the solar and wind MPPTs are isolated with circuit breakers between the panels / silent wind and their respective MPPT and then again between the MPPT and the batteries. 

The Solbian  panels were fearsomely expensive when compared to the LG’s and other Brand’s of semi flexible, but they work,  are apparently very efficient and so far I haven’t had any of the overheating issues I have read about on other semi flex panels. I do feel better now knowing they are very well supported and ventilated after revising the Bimini. On anchor I move the main boom away from the panels to avoid shade. I can’t do much with regards the masts ! 

I think you are spot on with the 3km vs 5Kw. I have looked up changing mine, but haven’t yet. My experience is that with 600amH of lithium used for everything (cooking etc) on anchor I have to dial back in what I’m using. For example oven and two rings is about ok, if the immersion is on, that’s too much. The water maker is the “problem”. I know I can get 30mins before it cuts out, so I tend to do short daily runs, and then once a week fire  up the genset and top up tanks and batteries if I need. 

I’ve looked at the 5Kw as a solution, and it’s a tight fit in my engine bay, unless I remove the MasterVolt 100amp charger, which I am loathe to do right now. However I have also read that the 5Kw when being used heavily doesn’t like poorly ventilated areas. I think from my experience that’s also true of the 3KW which may actually be my real problem when just using Water maker alone. It’s such a constant draw, whereas the galley equipment  alternates much more than the WM, so in my simplistic mind gives the Quattro a rest and allows some cooling down.  My sense is that unless I move the Quattro, even with a 5Kw I am likely to have overheating issues. I’m not an expert on this, just seems logical to me and would be an expensive experiment. 

I don’t have a compressor on board, but I’m doing more diving than I thought and have started looking at models and where to possibly mount it. I like where it’s supposed to go on the SM , but putting it there means I have to play musical chairs with a lot of other things. With a compressor I would have to solve the Quattro size and overheat issue beforehand. 

Hope this helps. 

SV Rascal

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On Fri, May 21, 2021 at 1:41 PM, Scott SV Tengah <Scott.nguyen@...> wrote:


I would love to hear more about your Bimini panels. Model, how you mounted them, how you ran the wires, etc. 

Now that we're going to try to cook more on induction, I surmise I may need to add more solar.

Also I can't remember who was discussing the 3kw vs 5kw, but I think your experience is evidence that with the current delivery capacity of lithium, it makes all the sense in the world to get the 5kw. With our 5kw Quattro, it has never overheated even running the dishwasher, washing machine and occasional kitchen appliance concurrently. 

If you have a scuba compressor, it's a no brainer, imo. Even with a intake hose extension, I still don't like running the genset at the same time as the compressor to avoid the off chance that I get exhaust fumes in my scuba tank. Enough stuff to worry about diving in the middle of nowhere, far from a decompression chamber. We have filled 3 tanks sequentially on inverter/battery with no overheating issues.

There's the 8kw Quattro, but the idle power consumption of that monster is excessive.

2007 A54 #69
SV Tengah

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