How-to: Install solar panels on your sailboat | Sailing Zingaro

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How to install solar panels on your sailboat! This is an in-depth video on how I installed my 300W solar system. I’m not advocating any particular vendor, just …



47 thoughts on “How-to: Install solar panels on your sailboat | Sailing Zingaro

  1. Anjin San

    To James and anyone else considering a substantial / serious / dependable electrical system on a boat the best videos and information are by Jeff Cote and a must-see. This guy is the master and the authority of the universe (in my opinion) for electrical on boats. The runs a business called Pacific Yacht Systems (marine electronics and electrical).
    He really knows his shit. He goes into great detail in his videos / seminars on YouTube and can be downloaded also from the Off Center Harbor website that caters to the Sailing Community on all kinds of subjects from construction, repair, sail making, rigging, electrical- you name it's in there. It is a great website. Members get access to all the videos and a cool hat. I thought the money was well worth the Treasure Trove of information I have gathered. Fairwinds everybody.

  2. Anjin San

    Hi James. Great shows(s). Enjoy them all very much.Just a heads up. (you may have already thought of this) if your Boat is on a 12 volt system, hooking up your Solar panels in series is Baaad. 3 x 12v panels in series = 36 volts @ same amps/current. 3 x 12v panels in parallel = 12 volts but 3 x the amps/current. Sorry about the lightning strike that took out your stuff. That sucks.Fair winds, Man.

  3. kslats916

    Can you provide some specifics about your electrical generation versus average load? Are you quite comfortable or do you really have to pick and chose when you can run stuff? What kind of electrical devices do you have on board? As an engineer, this stuff is of great interest to me.

    Loving your videos by the way.

  4. Michael Shreeve

    One thing I would recommend for a smart guy who could probably understand whats going on, but would be confused as to why certain things are happening, or maybe want to check a particular measurement, would be this meter. It makes it possible to check each panel without disconnecting anything, as long as you can get one wire from the panel in the jaws of the device. Plus it works as a meter for everything else.

  5. Michael Shreeve

    you got great advice on this install. MPPT, an incredible choice. Where did you get your advice ? But, on the wire, is it solid core romex ? Too bad your busses look all filled up. Its nice when they give you about 25% extra for expansion.

  6. Mike Poliszuk

    Your sailing videos stir the soul, but as a recent boat owner, (Tanzer 28), these 'how to' videos are a necessity for me. I was trying to estimate how many hours of work went into creating these videos … thanks for your help!
    ¡Ahora quiero navegar a Cuba también! Now I want to sail to Cuba too!
    He estado estudiando español durante más de dos años.

  7. Waco Tx

    there are far better Crimping tools that have three colore markings on them for Crimping connections, also Use Marine grade Connectors that have Heat shrink tubing already on them. or at least add Heat shrink to the wires . I do both . double Heat shrink all my connections.

  8. Waco Tx

    Tip Through hole fittings requires Resin through the Hole in the Hull or deck to prevent any water penetration into Fiberglass for delamination down the road. holes not resined will rot also any would for balsa core so resin is needed to prevent wood rot in balsa core . . moste add ons with through hole fittings is done wrong with not resin and causes water problems much later on for the boats.

  9. Link Solar Electric Group Co.,Ltd.

    these kinds solar panel only last 6month to 1years or 2years if you clean it well.but the power will lose more after 2years,and not suggest to install them on yacht or boat,because the material are not weatherproof . We are solar manufacture we know the material well.that's we do not produce PET flexible solar panel now.

  10. S/V Redemption

    Oh man you are going to hate those brass grommets next year… I had HQST and switched to PowerFree 135w because they have a glaze on them and SS grommets. The 120w and below at PF are NON-coated. My HQST panel is 6 years old today, kinda yellow but still producing nearly 100w (it's a 100w). That Charge Controller is OVERKILL! Love it!!

    It's not too late to ream out the brass and goto SS.

    Totally agree on the Lineman Pliers. Best there is.

  11. spinnaker5514

    Really enjoyed your video on Solar Installation. I'm about to install solar on my boat this year. One thing you didn't mention was the calculation of panel size and battery size. Do you think you could go over that? I have no AC power on my boat (strictly off grid) I would like to add a small DC refrigeration unit to my boat, along with the usual radio, radar, GPS and I have converted all lighting to LED on the entire boat. I'm thinking (2) 400 amp/hr batteries would fit under my settee. I only have a 27' boat. (solo sailing) Any information or advice you could extend would be greatly appreciated as I know nothing about electricity. If you'd like to email me add solar to subject line please. Thanks and good luck! Bill S. s/v ODIN

  12. Josi Dasilva

    I could not find the input voltage rating for your charger; if it is equal or above 53.1 VDC, the most efficient connection will be series (it reduces the voltage drop by reducing the current).

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