You’ve all heard the old thing about having a roof over your head. Well ESPcat now has a roof. I can assure you that having a roof over your head is a great milestone.
The roof is fabricated from 12 mm (.47 in) celuka PVC panels. The panels are 1220 x 2440 mm (4 x 8 foot). The roof has 9 panels that did not need to be cut as I designed the roof with the panels in mind. The frame is made from rectangular PVC down pipe 69 x 56 mm (2.7 x 2.2 in). Everything is welded together with PVC welding cement which is simply PVC with some volatile solvent to make it a thick liquid. The welding cement is quite good at gap filling so covers up a multitude of mistakes. Next come the cabin sides.
The final decision on solar panels has not yet been made but the current idea is to use semi-flexible, 200 W panels. 3 of these solar panels will fit on each of the 9 celuka PVC roof panels for a total of 27. I will probably actually have 26 panels to leave room for some other things on the roof such as a horn, a wind speed sensor, radio antenna and lights.
Current thinking is to have 24 panels in two groups of 12 for propulsion and two panels for powering up the home comforts such as lighting, refrigerator, microwave oven, anchor winch, radio, bilge pumps, electronics and toilet. That gives 4,800 watts of solar power for propulsion. Remember that 4,800 watts is at high noon on a clear day in summer and assumes that the panels are oriented directly toward the sun (which they are not). The actual power that will be available to charge the lithium-ion propulsion batteries remains to be seen. That’s what building a prototype ESPcat is all about. When I learn it, you, my blog buddies, will learn it.
Time to give boat building a rest and spend some time with my Honey. We may even get out on The Man’s Machine over the long weekend.