Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Project completed

There’s an old guy on our dock who says it will all blow off in the first big windstorm.  And he may very well be right – its too soon to tell.  But until it does blow off the solar panel install is complete.


That’s the framework ready for the panels.  The panel area is roughly the same as the canvas that used to live up there.  It might actually be less total area but it for sure isn’t any more.  The framework is slightly better anchored than it used to be.  Its not a big difference but there are a couple of braces back to the mast that didn’t exist previously so based on that rough comparison I think it is solid enough. 


I got some decent weather for a change which made the process a lot more pleasant.  I had a quite a bit of work to do in the engine room to fit the charger and run the wiring so I did that while the weather was crap and worked outside when the sun came out.  Fortunately there was no wind the day I was ready to lift the panels into place.  I was really worried about them once I got them lying in the framework because it wouldn’t have taken much wind to lift them out again. 

Now I need to test the system out.  Sitting here at the dock with 30 amp power on the pedestal doesn’t give me much of a test.  I know I will still need to run the generator and at this time of year I will probably have to run it more than I would like to.  What I’m hoping is that I can make meals on the generator but immediately afterward shut it down and let the panels finish off the charge.  Time will tell.  I would have left for Vancouver this morning but the weather was windy and the clouds were low so I decided to wait for tomorrow when the forecast is slightly better. 


Actually I’ve pretty well given up on listening to the forecasts and mostly depend on my own predictions.  I’ve found that I am generally better than the radio.  Not that I’m 100% right but they sure as hell aren’t right all the time either.  The picture above is what is called a GRIB file displayed in a viewer.  I don’t remember what the acronym stands for (and don’t care enough to look it up right now) but my understanding is that they are an automated way for meteorologists to exchange information.  They don’t explicitly show highs and lows like a weatherfax would but you can infer which is a high and which is a low by the wind direction.  Right now we’ve got that big low off the Oregon coast that is still sending some cloud and wind over us but by tomorrow morning it looks like that will have passed and we’ll be waiting for the next big bugger which is forming up  over Hawaii right now.

I’ve found that my light duty assessment of GRIBs is generally pretty good 36 hours out and somewhat useful 48 hours ahead.  Beyond that its all just a WAG anyway.


Capt. Joey said...

How do you think the sea salt from the spray will effect the panels?

Jorgito's dad said...

Virtually every sailboat out here has one or more panels hanging off the rail or over the dinghy davits. I assume its the same on the east coast. The corrosion won't be any worse than what I see on them and I haven't actually noticed any corrosion on them, although there obviously must be. The ones I see on sailboats are much more likely to get drenched with saltwater than mine are. If I take a wave over mine then likely corrosion is the least of my worries.

I worried more about corrosion in the wire connections. I used sealed connectors and filled them up with copper coat before I plugged them together. Time will tell. And old German Bob says the whole issue is going to go airborne in the first big blow anyway.