300W 400W Solar Boat

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by drpatso, Nov 4, 2016.

  1. drpatso
    Joined: Nov 2016
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    Location: Boise, ID

    drpatso New Member

    I really would appreciate any input from some boat veterans!

    I have been seriously contemplating a 300-400w solar RC boat. Made from 3 or 4 43.3 x 22.4 100W panels

    So you can imagine dimensions of boat, Maybe something like 3 running perpendicular to the boats front and back.. Boats front to back being 67.2 inches or 89.6 inches (depending on solar used) and width being 43.3 inches.

    I want to avoid the solar panel deck cutting in to waves, but make self righting if flipped in a huge wave. Seems like this puts a single hull out of the question as it will be quite wide and no longer efficiently cutting through the water. I have an engineer friend who is happy to help build in CAD and help with templates and foam blocks. Likely we will choose carbon fiber instead of fiber glass, we are already familiar with carbon fiber techniques. We are seriously considering trimaran but I'm not sure if that's ideal for giant waves, rough seas.
  2. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    How much weight in those panels ?
  3. mydauphin
    Joined: Apr 2007
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    Location: Florida

    mydauphin Senior Member

    Realise solar panels seldom give anywhere near rated power unless you point them at the sun all the time. So if you just lay them on the deck facing up, they will provide power on a clear from 11am to 3pm or so. That plus the weight of batteries and motor will make your small solar boat a problem. Solar boats like steel boats do better a little bigger scale because of the weight issue. The problem you have in a boat say 4 feet long is not the same problem in a boat 25 feet long.
  4. Skyak
    Joined: Jul 2012
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    Location: United States

    Skyak Senior Member

    You need to tell us a bit more about what you are trying to achieve with this boat. Is it autonomous? If not it will go out of range quickly.

    You say you are looking for self-righting but you are leaning toward a multihull. Those two requirements tend to fight one another. A long monohull would naturally self right and have low drag at the low power you you will likely net. Waves going over your solar panels is unavoidable in a boat this size crossing oceans.

    Just today I saw information about solar panels attached to sails. They may interest you because they had micro-prisms to get more power at off angles.

    Autonomous sailboats with solar powered controllers have been done. What you are proposing should be easier.

  5. drpatso
    Joined: Nov 2016
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    Location: Boise, ID

    drpatso New Member

    Thanks for all the input guys! I really appreciate it.

    This would be autonomous with waypoints sent via iridium rockblock. Other boats have max speed of 3mph are 25-30lbs+ and usally they have only 200W of solar panels. I think 400W of solar panels it could be a little better. I realize that best case scenario this is about 360W only from 11-3pm, but we could go a bit faster during daylight hours which seems like hasn't been done.

    So far we know we'll have flexible , bendable panels that weigh in about 3-5lbs each. We probably a 9-15lb 14.8V 18650 1kWh battery pack. So a long slender hull seems to be the ticket? Or could the hull be 42 inches wide or close to to accommodate the solar panels?

    We have experience with carbon fiber so unless there is a significant reason not to use that, that's likely what we would use and keey it fairly thin,, maybe 2-3mm.
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