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Rodney and Denise came up to go sailing, but the boat had a hole in it and was not sail-able so we worked instead.  We installed the four 100W solar panels.

We hinged the panels together with aluminum hinges riveted to the aluminum frames with aluminum pop rivets, set in Tef-Gel, a teflon paste that’s permanently sticky and messy.

Then we attached stainless steel collapsible braces on the sides of the panels and mounted the panels on the aft rails with the same stainless steel pad-eyes we used on the swim step.  We used stainless steel pop rivets, also bedded with Tef-Gel.

While I drilled a hole in the deck to connect the panels to wiring in the lazarette,

…Rodney wired the panel into the MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) charge controller in the engine room.  The MPPT matches the output of the solar panel, which constantly changes with the sunlight, cloud cover, and shadows, to the requirements of the batteries that need specific voltage and currents depending on their state of charge.  The MPPT controller effectively makes the panels 30% larger.  Rodney also cleaned up a large part of the wiring mess and generally made the engine room a nicer place to be.

I bought two stainless tubing braces, one to use on starboard and one to port, but we decided that we needed to use both to make the port panel stiff enough when deployed flat.  So the starboard panels are waiting on UPS to be installed.

Nancy and Denise worked like mad while their men worked, but there are no pictures, so it’s like it didn’t happen.  I’m sure it was all mission critical, though.

These four panels were the last pre-punative-duty Chinese solar panels to make it into the USA.  We paid about $1.50/Watt, which is almost an appropriate price.  They are also very well made.  This last weekend the most we saw was 104 Watts from the 200 Watts of installed panels.  We should get closer to rated power as we move south.

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