Chip Ford's 1974 Catalina 22 Restoration Project
Sail #3282  l  Marblehead, Massachusetts

The never-ending project to fill my hole in the ocean while bailing it out

Preparing for Sailing Season '04
Installing a Solar Panel

Click thumbnails for a larger picture


For my planned month's cruise up the coast of Maine in August, I decided a solar panel was needed to keep the battery charged between occasional transient slip rentals when I can hook up to shore power (and grab a shower and a real meal). Without a stern pulpit yet, finding a place to mount it was a problem that limited the size of the panel. I ended up with a Uni-Solar US-5 (watt) that'll provide .3 Amps -- not much but better than nothing and it's supposed to keep the battery up (we'll see). I'll mount it between the pop-top and the mast step.

When it arrived, I found the apparent way to mount it is by inserting screws through slots in the channels, one slot top and bottom.  I'll mount it on a teak frame attached to the panel, then run four screws up to the frame through the deck from inside the cabin overhead.

I again measured the space I had to work with, and took as good an image of the deck curve as possible.

Along with a few photos like above (and some closer shots), I sketched out a diagram of the dimensions. The small teak frame rails project went to the boatyard carpenters to cut.  (Apr. 21, 2004)

The teak frame rails came back a perfect fit! Also required is either a blocking diode or a controller. I picked up a Morningstar Sunguard-4 solar controller, the necessary in-line fuse, a deck connector through which the electrical wiring cable will run, and the fastening hardware.  (Apr. 24, 2004)

First I sanded and oiled the teak frame rails. Instead of the apparent method of attaching by using the slots and channels on the solar panel, I drilled the channel and fastened the rails with stainless steel self-tapping sheet metal screws through countersunk holes into the solar panel channel.  It's now ready to mount on the deck.  (Apr. 28, 2004)

After bringing the battery aboard, I began the installation by mounting the controller beneath the aft dinette seat on the aft bulkhead going to the port cockpit bilge, then did the wiring up to where the panel's cable would enter the overhead.

Next, I drilled for deck holes to fasten four #8X1 1/2" up through the overhead and into the teak rails, one at each end. Finally, I drilled a hole for the power cable and ran it through a watertight deck fitting and into the cabin, then applied 3M 4200 sealer to the holes. I laid the panel over the holes and went below ...

From below, I fastened the four screws with finish washers up through the overhead and into the teak rails, finished up the final wiring connection, ran the panel wiring cable along the mast lights cable route across the overhead and down the port side behind the V-berth bulkhead then beneath the cabin aft to the electrical connections.  (May 1, 2004)

The solar panel project completed:  moving on with the deck organizers and all lines led aft project next.  (May 2, 2004)

Moving on with Season 2004 improvements
It's never-ending ... but spring is in the air at last, the projects have begun!

--   Back to Page 12 --

Return to Top of Page