Price List: Solar Tracker (Sold Out Nov 2012)
Standard Solar-Tracker: fits up to 50-watt solar panels such as those available on amazon (you supply solar panel and wiring). Kit includes tracker assembly with 38" to 48" vertical tube length, bracket for 1" pushpit rail, universal deck U-bracket, locking cable, panel mount bolts, lock nuts, nylon washers, four rubber caps for solar panel corners. All electro-polished 316 stainless steel. You drill your panel’s frame to match Tracker bracket holes and attach mounting bolts. $520 plus shipping
(No longer being produced as of 2013)
54-watt Solar-Tracker Kit: includes tracker assembly as above with pre-fit KC50T solar panel. $885 plus shipping (No longer being produced as of 2013)
(Similar tracker systems, including a version that will fit larger panels are available from Custom Marine Products.)
Solar-Tracker Installation and Operation
- The upper U-bracket and stainless steel angle braces come pre-assembled. Two of the three tension knobs have the tips of threads welded to prevent panel theft or accidental loosening from vibration. You shouldn't need to disassemble the knobs, but if you ever do, cut off or grind away the tip of bolt end and remove. Bolt the angles to the supplied solar panel as indicated so that the black plastic locking knob is on the opposite side of the solar panel’s junction box. Large nylon washers go between the angles and the solar panel’s aluminum frame and the small nylon washers go under the frame between the stainless washer and the ¼” Nylock nuts. If you supply the solar panel yourself, then drill the aluminum panel frame to match the Tracker bracket holes, attach four ¼” x ¾” mounting bolts with insulating nylon washers. Always place a piece of plywood under the drilling area to protect the back of the solar panel from the drill bit as it suddenly breaks through the aluminum.
- The main mounting tube can be ordered 38" to 48” long. The lower height may be better aesthetically and it strengthens the whole assembly, but the taller height gives better clearance to duck under or sit below the solar panel. If you decide to reduce the overall height of the tube as supplied, cut the main tube at the lower end and redrill the two 21/64" tube holes to fit the U-bracket.
- Once the panel is fit to the upper bracket assembly, set it aside. Find a suitable location near the aft corner of the transom area, taking into account any clearance needed for windvane self-steering, outboard brackets, barbecue, antennas or other gear. Pre-fit the 1 1/4" tube vertically to the pushpit with provided rail clamp and loosely tighten bolts to hold in place while allowing movement to line up the lower U-bracket. Bolt the vertical tube to the U-bracket and swivel tube until bracket sits flat on its mounting surface. Decide if you are running the wire straight through the 1/2" hole in the center of the U-bracket or out the bottom of the vertical tube and through a deck cable clam. Mark, drill and bolt on the U-bracket with 1/4" stainless hex bolts and sealant, drilling the center hole for the cable if needed.. (The U-bracket can bolt to any flat or angled surface of the deck, toe rail or cockpit coaming.) If the vertical mounting pole cannot be placed against the pushpit, you can fit it with optional 1-inch tubing struts as needed (check with us for parts details).
- You have the option of running the #12 AWG duplex wire directly through the center hole of the small lower U-bracket with a bit of sealant if not using a cable clam. The #12 AWG duplex wires are finished off with disconnect fittings next to the panel's junction box. Slide your duplex wire up and out of the top of the vertical tube. While holding the solar panel just above the mounting tube, slide the wire up and through the upper assembly and then lower the assembly down over the tube. Crimp the wires to the supplied disconnects with an offset so the disconnects can easily pass through the hole in the end of the upper swivel U-bracket. If the disconnects were not staggered, they would not both fit through the hole together. You can wrap the disconnects in rigging tape to waterproof them.
- Remove the Nylock nut and vertical swivel tension knob and reattach, slipping the loop end of the locking cable through the tension knob bolt.
- Apply sealant to wire above and below where it passes through deck if not using a cable clam. Run wiring to your circuit breaker or fused switch, charge controller and battery bank.
Tension the knobs enough to allow the panel to swivel in all directions. A black plastic spring-loaded knob locks the panel at various angles, which you pull to disengage. When boat is untended at anchor or when your electrical use is minimal, you can leave the panels horizontal. When boat is stored in a marina you can leave them tilted for best angle to the sun. When living aboard and needing maximum output, tilt and swivel panels a few times a day to track the sun.
When entering or departing a marina, tilt the trackers vertically so they do not snag a piling or other obstruction if you have them mounted so that they overhang outside the deck’s aft corners.
For long-term storage or during hurricane threat, unplug the wire disconnects, remove the tension knob and Nylock nut attached to the locking cable and lift the trackers off the main support tube for storage below.