Saturday, September 18, 2010

Solar progress

Lots to tell you. Where shall I start? How meeting David Milliband forced me to play bagpipes in a pub. I'll save that one for a day or two. How I stole yet another boat ride this week. Maybe next time. Why I'm dismantling Herbie's ceiling. Later perhaps.

Solar panel mounting frame progress. Yes, we'll go with that. And here it is.

You have to imagine the panel. Here the aft facing edge of it is represented by the upper aluminium strip. So we see it as we would looking forward from the rear deck. First we see it lying flat on the roof. Note the magnetic feet, which will give the lower part of the frame enough clearance at the centre to allow for the curvature of the boat roof.

Now we see the frame raised to angle the panel towards port

and then towards starboard.

All without unscrewing or disconnecting anything. I am not however fully confident that the hinges won't fold under stress from wind etc. so I will probably also make a simple rigid prop to make sure the raised panel doesn't fall.

The panel itself took ages to come. I bought it from Midsummer Energy who handed it over to an "overnight" courier, Fastway (. . Hmmph!) a week ago on Thursday and they failed miserably to deliver, day after day. Phone calls to Fastway from me and from Midsummer resulted in them just telling us porkies about it being on the van today etc. Eventually it arrived a week late, so I'm afraid I gave the poor delivery driver a right ear bashing, only to find out that he was from Parcel Force and they had only had the package overnight. It seems that Fastway had got such problems that under pressure from us they had got Parcel Force to take it from them and do the delivery instead.

Ah well it's here now and it looks smashing. The nice people at Midsummer gave me extra length cables to my measurements for no extra cost.

And so to dismantling Herbie's ceiling. As you might have guessed this is to do with feeding the solar panel cables through to the controller which will sit just inside the rear doors of the boat. To save drilling holes in the roof, the cables will come inside via a mushroom vent shown here with its grille cover removed. Ideally I would just poke the wires through the gap between the ceiling and the roof metal, but as you can see it's packed solid with insulation.

Very close by, is a joint between ceiling panels covered with a hardwood strip. I'm hoping to unscrew the edge of one panel and prise it down just enough to poke the wires in and run them to the edge of the ceiling where they can run along the existing lighting trunking, here show dismantled. However I very much fear this will not be as simple as it sounds as the ceiling stuff is very stiff.

Watch this space.

David Milliband? Next time.

3 comments:

Rainman said...

No wonder we've been blogless for so long, while you were creating such a wonderful apparatus, let alone hob-nobbing with with the movers and shakers! David.

Halfie said...

Rather than use a separate stay (I've gone off the word "prop") could you not slide a tube over the 180 degree angle to prevent it collapsing? If both hinged arms are the same length you could cut a slot out of the bottom of the tube so it would clear the bottom part of the frame. Just twist 90 degrees to "lock" into position. Or is it too late now that you've riveted it all together?

VallyP said...

Progress!! Can't wait to see the final result.