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Solar Tracker Installation Tips: Mast and Can Installation

Posted by Dick Hopwood on February 1, 2017 in Solar System Installation, Solar Tracker Install, Dealers

One Day Solar Tracker Installation: Mast and Can

The New Year is upon us and with it comes Tracker Tip #3. In the last Tracker Tip I discussed building the frame efficiently. The frame assembly is ready to be lifted onto the can, but you have not installed the mast and can yet. One thing we emphasize on our team is efficient use of manpower. Remember that our objective is to install an AllEarth Solar Tracker in one day, so the different phases of the installation process work best if you divide and conquer when needed. The mast and can installation is an example of this.

Installing the mast and can is a two-person process. Based on installing the tracker with a team of four, you will utilize all four people when starting to build the frame but split up after starting to land the rails onto the frame (if you're a dealer partner, you can refer to ‘Crew & Order of Assembly’ on page 11 of your manuals). This will allow half the team to finish the frame assembly process and the other half to install the mast and can.

As you place the mast on the base remember the following hints:

  • The hole in the mast faces north, directly over the north hole of the base.
  • Use a maximum of four washers between mounting feet and base if not level. The nut will not have adequate threads for tightening if more than four washers are used. If using a pour-in-place base with threaded rod you will adjust the mast for level with the pre-installed nuts/washers on each threaded rod.
  • If your base is level and no shimming is needed the minimum number of washers on each bolt is THREE! The first one is placed on the bolt before sliding up through the hole of base and each mounting foot. The second is the DTI washer with paint down and the bumps facing up. The third washer is placed on top of the DTI washer, then install the nut onto the bolt. Follow the provided directions for tightening the DTI washers correctly.

You are now ready to land the can.

Three steps to remember here: Slinging safely, mini mast bolts and north hole sticker.

  • Always slinging through the holes in the top area of the can and using a locking swivel hook is recommended. This will prevent the slings from slipping off the can during the landing process and allow you to spin the can during the landing process.
  • Preload the three mini mast bolts into the can assembly and three bolts into the top of the can. Spin the nuts all the way onto the bolt and then spin out to flush with the end of the bolt for the landing process. This clears any excess galvanization that may be in the threads, preventing the bolts from spinning during the tightening process. After landing the can apply 4 - 5 drops of provided Loctite 263 to all six bolts and tighten to 260 ft./lbs.
  • When landing the can, verify the north hole sticker is directly over the north hole of the mast. This completes the north alignment of the base, mast and can. Feed the SO cables out through the North hole of the mast, and be careful to keep the SO cables clear of any pinching points while landing the can.

As soon as you land the can, have the lifting equipment immediately hook up to the frame assembly. The mast and can crew will tighten the mini mast bolts and the completed array is now ready to be landed onto the can. I will cover the landing of the Frame & Rail Assembly in Hint #4.

Remember your objective is to install an AllEarth tracker in one day!

I hope that Hoppers Handy Tracker Hints were helpful.

Next month’s Hint: Landing the Frame & Rail Assembly (followed by lunch break!!)

 

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