Monday, September 27, 2010


A big week for Herbie. First solar power, tomorrow the Boat Safety inspection, and thirdly, an announcement! (later)

The solar panel is installed and working and looks pretty good. After the cables disappear into the mushroom vent the are not seen again until they approach the regulator. My questions and researches into cable safety suggest that my EVA sheathed cables do not contain plasticisers and are safe against polystyrene installation. To be sure I wrapped the relevant length in the polyethylene duct tape.

As to the frame, it works well, although I'm not so impressed with the magnets as they stick, but are still fairly easy to lift. I might get some stronger ones or I might stick them down with adhesive. On Carrie's advice I have also ordered a security cable fitted with a loud alarm which goes off if anyone tampers of tries to cut the cable.

Yesterday was overcast and rainy, but the panel was still feeding power into the batteries and the smartgauge showed around 13.5 volts all morning, so that's good. Once you have one of these panels it suddenly dawns on you what a great thing it is. You don't have to switch it on, or feed it, or maintain it or do anything. As I write this at home on Monday morning, the panel will be silently feeding power to the batteries and it will do this every day for years and years. Admittedly not a lot in short winter days, but when the boat is left alone the batteries will never lose charge. I like it.


Simon said...

I was over briefly myself yesterday, but didn't see any signs on life on Herbie - I did admire the panel, though. Reckon it's solid enough against wind?

Pre-empting a possible post of my own, I was amused to see that my meagre panels have kept the batteries full - I ran up the mains charger and it quickly decalred the batteries full, too. Can't complain.

Neil Corbett said...

I don't think I'll ever leave the panel up at an angle in a strong wind, although it actually seems pretty rigid once the clips are over the hinges. Using angle strip gives a fair bit of resistance to bending.

Whenever we leave the boat, we'll leave the panel flat.

Halfie said...

Did you consider (and reject) the possibility of mounting it on a turntable so you can follow the sun even more closely?